Important Messages

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Hey Stranger!

When evangelism in the Bible took place, what was the primary method? Just as we learn about other biblical disciplines in light of Scripture (prayer, fasting, tithing, preaching, fellowship, reading the Word, etc.), we must also examine evangelism in light of God's Word, in particular, the New Testament. As we do this, we see clearly that the primary method of evangelism in the New Testament is to engage strangers. We should learn from the example Jesus gave us in the Gospels as well as the early Church in the book of Acts.

What we discover is that 87% of the witnessing encounters were to complete strangers. We see one stranger walking up to another stranger and getting into a conversation. Mark 16:15 commands us to "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation." Since we can't make friends with everybody, and we need to preach the good news to all creation, it makes sense that we see Jesus and the early Church talking to complete strangers almost 9 times out of 10.

Of the 89 instances of Christ and His associates doing evangelism in the four Gospels, 77 happened in the context of confrontational and 12 in the context of friendship/relational evangelism. Of the 46 instances of the early church engaging in evangelism as recorded in the book of Acts, 38 happened in the context of confrontational and 8 in the context of friendship/relational evangelism.

Scripture references for confrontational evangelism in the Life of Christ and the early Church are below:
Matthew: 3:1-17; 4:18-22; 23-25; 5-7; 8;1-4; 5-13, 18; 9:1-8, 9, 18-26, 27-31, 35-38; 10:1-11; 12:1-8, 9-13, 15, 22-30, 46; 13:1-12, 54-58; 14:13-21, 34-36; 15:21-28, 29-31, 32-39; 17:14-21; 16-26; 20:29-34; 21:8; 231-39; 17:11-14; 28:18-20
Mark: 5:1-20; 7:31-27; 8:22-26; 10:1-12; 16:15
Luke: 2:16, 36-38; 5:1-11; 7-16, 24-30, 36-39; 8:1-3; 9:10-11, 51-56; 10:1-16, 25-37; 11:14, 29-36; 12:13-21; 13:10-17, 22-30, 14:1-6, 25-35; 17:11-19; 18:15-17; 19:1-5, 28-44; 22:66-71; 23:42-43, 47-49;24:46-47
John: 1:35-42, 43-51; 3:22-36; 4:1-26, 39-42, 35:1-9; 6:22-59; 7:25-31, 32-36, 8:1-11; 9:1-41; 12:20-26; 18:20-21
Acts: 1:8; 2:5-13; 3:1-10, 11-26; 4:5-12; 5:12-16, 20-21; 6-7; 8:4, 5-8, 26-40; 9:17-19; 10:24; 11:19; 13:5, 6-12, 14-33, 44-45; 14:1-5, 7, 15, 16;11-15, 25-34;17:1-9, 10, 17, 22-34; 18:4-6, 7-11, 19; 20:20; 21:40-22:23; 23:1-11; 24:10-25; 26:1-32; 28:7-15, 17-22

Scripture references for relational/friendship evangelism in the Life of Christ and the early Church are below:
Matthew: 8:14-17; 11:19; 25:34-36; 26:6-13
Mark: 2:15-17
Luke: 7:36-39; 10:38-42; 11:37-44; 15:1-16:13; 19:5-10
John: 2:1-10; 11:1-44
Acts: 9:20-22; 19:8, 9; 20:20; 24:26-27; 27, 28:23, 30-31

Jesus said to "Follow me and I will make you fishers of men." Hearing this and seeing it lived out in scripture has encouraged me to do what Jesus and the early Church did; namely, talk to strangers about Jesus Christ. I hope you are encouraged as well!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Interview with Tyler and Shaun


Yesterday, we hit the Redondo Beach Pier with some gospel tracts and some gospels of John hoping to talk to some people about where they are going to spend eternity. The first two people I talked to were two brothers, Tyler and Shaun. The beginning of the conversation was spent listening to their thoughts on the afterlife. They seemed to believe that whatever a person believed, based on how they were raised, determines what happens to a person when they die. Before I had a chance to explain the gospel to them, their bus came and they were about to leave. I tried my best to convey the truth about heaven to them but only had a short time to do so. They boarded the bus and I was off to find some others to witness to.

As I was walking around talking to others, I heard Shaun and Tyler call my name. Apparently, the bus was not leaving for another 10-15 minutes and they wanted to finish our conversation. I was thrilled. I didn't want this opportunity to slip away so I made sure to explain the gospel to them before they left. By the end of the conversation, they were eager to take some gospels home and were soon back on the bus.

I enjoyed talking with these two young men. They told me they were 17, which is the same age I was when I became born again. I pray that they would come to place their trust in the only one who can lead us to the Father in heaven, Jesus Christ, who said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father, except through me." John 14:6

Friday, May 21, 2010

Practice, Practice, Practice!

Think about this question: What is one thing you will never be able to do in heaven? Answer: Share your faith with a lost person. Why? Because everyone in heaven is a believer. Since that is true, shouldn't it be a priority for us to reach out to as many lost people as we can while we have time.

If you do something enough, you are going to get pretty good at it. I grew up playing ice hockey and golf. I practiced multiple times a week in preparation for tournaments and games on the weekends. Through dedication and commitment to improving my skills, I was able to compete on teams that won state championships and traveled throughout Canada looking for better competition. I even spent 3 weeks during summer at an ice hockey camp in Minnesota to improve my skills. It was not only a time investment, but financial as well. Many of you are probably familiar with the idea of spending time and money in order to improve your skills at some sport, hobby, or personal talent.

The same is true for sharing our faith. So if we can't witness in heaven and can only witness here on earth, what is the only way we will ever get good at it? Practice, practice, practice! I believe that witnessing is a learned talent. God burdens our hearts for the lost, but we must get out there and start practicing those conversations. The funny thing I've discovered recently is that the more you practice, the easier it becomes!

Can you think of someone you need to practice with today? I'm not talking about role playing, but an actual conversation with a friend, co-worker, or neighbor? Go for it! You will be glad you did!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Rich Man and Lazarus

In Luke 16:19-31 we read about the Rich man and Lazarus. Lazarus was a poor beggar who lived outside the gates of the rich man's house. Lazarus was covered with sores and longed to be fed with the crumbs that fell from the rich man's table. When they both died, Lazarus went to Abraham's Bosom, heaven's waiting room, and the Rich Man went to Hades, hell's waiting room.

As we read, we see the rich man now becomes the beggar, longing to have Lazarus dip his finger in water and touch the rich man's tongue to momentarily quench the agony of the flames. The problem for the rich man is that there is an impassable chasm between them and no one can cross over from one side to the other. In other words, it is a one way road to heaven or hell and once you're there, you're there for all eternity.

Understanding this reality, the rich man pleads with Abraham to send Lazarus back to warn his five brothers so they can avoid the terror and torment of hell. "If someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!", cries the rich man. "If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead”, says Abraham. Simply stated, this story reveals the fact that people in hell understand the importance of personal evangelism. "Please warn my five brothers," says the rich man.

Think about the people you meet during the day? Store clerks, co-workers, telemarketers, baristos, and neighbors; could it be that they have relatives in hell, begging for someone to go share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with their loved one "so that they will not also come to this place of torment." Think about that next time you speak to a stranger or a person you know would not be going to heaven if they were to die today. Don't just pass them by. If we are committed to the cause of Christ, then we are here to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10). We are here to walk into people's lives and warn them of the torment to come in order so that they, like Lazarus, may be comforted in the life to come.

Witnessing to 3 Teenagers at the Redondo Beach Pier

Last Friday I had the opportunity to speak with 3 teenage girls at the Redondo Beach Pier. Each of them had different views on eternity and were interested in talking about eternity, judgment, forgiveness, and salvation. Please pray that they would continue to think about eternal things and that God would water any seeds that were planted during our conversation.


Witnessing to two brothers at the Redondo Beach Pier

For the past few months, I have decided to spend an hour down at the Redondo Beach Pier witnessing to people. Every Friday afternoon from 5-6 pm you can usually find me down at the Redondo Beach Pier doing some fishing. This past Friday I had the opportunity to meet two brothers who were fishing at the pier. When I asked them where they were going to spend eternity, they said "hell" with a slight laugh. It turns out these two brothers were raised in a Christian home but were not walking with Christ. They were currently living sinful lives that they knew would end them up in hell and were not trusting in Christ for salvation. I pleaded with them to turn from their sin and not to risk eternity on temporary pleasures. Please pray for them, that they would turn from their sin and trust in Christ while they have time.

Trust Jesus!

Recently, my scooter broke down and I have since started riding my bike to work again. This is actually good in that it gets me some extra exercise every day and saves me a little money on gas. An added benefit that I didn't realize until I started riding was that it also gives me extra opportunities to proclaim the name of Jesus Christ to people.

On a typical day, I hear many more people around me taking the name of Jesus Christ in vain at work, at stores, and on TV, so I determined that I would not let those people be bolder in proclaiming the name of Jesus than me. So when I ride my bike past people, I try to say something like "Trust Jesus!" Some people smile, others give me a bewildered look, and one time so far, a man looked at me and said "I do" and gave me a thumbs up!

We live in a country where most people call themselves Christian. If that were the case, at least half of the people I said "trust Jesus" to would smile, give me a thumbs up, or say "I do." However, I have had 1 person so far give me a positive response. I encourage you to be bold in proclaiming the name of Jesus Christ! It is the most powerful name in the universe! One day, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. If nothing else, it gets people to think about Jesus Christ, who He is to them, and perhaps how they may have misused His name at some time during that day.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Let Down Your Nets!

Our greatest calling in life is the calling Jesus gives to those who choose to follow him. In Matthew 4:19, Jesus says to Simon Peter and Andrew "Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men."

As fishermen, they used nets to catch fish. As followers of Jesus Christ, the Law and the Gospel are the nets we use to catch men. We don't want anyone to swim past these nets and into the gates of hell. We want to prevent as many people as possible from going anywhere near those gates.