I believe that one of the most beneficial changes any church could make is to correct their misunderstanding of evangelism. We’ve made such a monster of it in our minds that very few of us do any of it at all. We count on having user-friendly churches with seeker-sensitive assemblies featuring a great preacher, state-of-the-art equipment and methods. We rely on doing Bible classes and assemblies so well that when people visit us to do their church shopping, we hope they’ll choose us instead of that other church down the road. There are three things wrong with that.
· First, it’s not evangelism it’s accumulation.
· Secondly, people who have to be won by attractive methods and surface cosmetics will only last as long as those remain valid.
· Third, it is a focus and emphasis unknown by Jesus, the apostles and the early church.
The church that won the Roman Empire knew nothing of “user-friendly” or “seeker-sensitive churches or spectacular methods of reaching the unconverted. Mark Galli writes,
What it did have seems paltry: unspectacular people, with a hodgepodge of methods (so hodgepodge they can hardly be called “methods”), and rarely a gathering of more than a handful of people. The paltry seems to have been enough, however, to make an emperor or two stop and take notice (Christian History, Issue 57, p. 8).
Without publicized campaigns or even an explicit evangelistic strategy, Christianity made its way quietly and effectively in an environment not wholly unlike that in the post-Christian West today.
Glenn Hinson writes, “Most churches had the same goal: evangelism.” But it was not evangelism based on getting people into church buildings since it was nearly 300 years before the first one was built. This was evangelism by friendship. It was outreach through good works such as feeding the hungry and rescuing abandoned children (1 Peter 2:12). It was the message of a moral and pure way of life (1 Peter 3:2). It was seen in their keen pursuit of justice. Each disciple was ready to tell their friends and associates the reason for their hope (1 Peter 3:15).
Evangelism is the life-blood of any congregation of the church. Only if it becomes our goal, we will truly become alive.
Filed under "Worship Services", Advertising, Altruism, Assemblies, Christlikeness, church, Church Buildings, Churches, Community, Evangelism, Friendship, History, Jesus Christ, Kingdom Growth, Missions/Evangelism, Persuasion, Preaching/Teaching, Religion, Respect, Restoration
I have finally come to grips that I will not be a “mover and a shaker.” The world, alas, is not clamoring for my opinions, my advice, my counsel, my pontifications. The President and members of congress no longer call (man, could I give them an earful if they did!). It has been some time since some anchor person contacted me to get my take on foreign or domestic events and developments. Celebrities fail to call me for my thoughts on the directions their careers should take. No one sends me scripts for potential movies or plays anymore. Congress persists in passing bills without my input.
So what can I do to make the world a better place? Jesus said we can do this by serving; by letting our light shine through our good works (Matthew 5:13,14). Consider:
Think of your fellow man
lend him a helping hand
put a little love in your heart.
You see it’s getting late
oh please don’t hesitate
put a little love in your heart.
And the world will be a better place
and the world will be a better place
for you and me
you just wait and see.
Filed under Aging, Awareness, Change Agent, Christlikeness, Culture Wars, Discernment, discipleship, Edification, Encouragement, Friendship, Jesus Christ, Love, Music and Poetry, Poetry?, Selflessness, Uncategorized
I am thankful to God for so many things…primarily that He has loved me so much that He has made provision for my eternity through the gift of His Son and the Grace and truth He introduced into the world. It is beyond possible to thank Him enough.
I also have multitudes of people to thank in this life. If it were not for my late father-in-law, and his generosity life would have been very difficult in some of the early years of our marriage when medical bills threatened to sink our ship. I don’t think we ever asked for his help, he was just tuned-in enough to know when it was needed. I trust he is enjoying his heavenly reward.
Nearly every job I’ve had was the result of someone suggesting, recommending, pulling strings, pulling rank or vouching for me. I can only think of a few times I was hired because I acted totally on my own.
The church has been the source of so many blessings. Lake Highlands church in Dallas was my sponsoring congregation as Brenda and I did mission work in Australia. Aside from their prayers and monetary support, they sent things to us that made our work easier. North Davis church in Arlington literally saved us from being homeless and broke during a very difficult time. Our present church home, University church in Abilene has overflowed with kindness toward us many times.
I don’t ever want to be guilty of forgetting those I cannot embarrass by naming here. Brenda and I have been the recipient of gifts from many people in Australia and here at home. Frequently those gifts have arrived at very critical times. We have enjoyed the hospitality of wonderful Australian and New Zealand saints in our travels. They have fed us, sheltered us and entertained us simply out of their love for Jesus. Truly, God works through His people!
In my meditations I often review, with tears, the kindnesses and mercies of God and His people who have loved us, prayed for us and given to us. I can only say from the depths of my heart, THANK YOU!
Filed under Blessings, church, dependence, discipleship, Encouragement, Friendship, Gratitude, homelessness, honor, Love, Salvation, Selflessness, Thankfulness
- O would some power the giftie gie us to see ourselves as others see us.
Robert Burns, Poem “To a Louse” – verse 8
- Bill Maher is a self-proclaimed non-Christian so the language in this clip should surprise no one. If you are offended by the language used by those outside of Christ use…good! So am I. This is from one of his shows back in May…but I am posting it now for two reasons. First, because my good friend Noel Malan posted it on Facebook and I just now became aware of it and, second, because we need to understand how the world perceives us as a religion. Even a pagan like Maher knows enough Scripture to see the disconnect between what Jesus said and how so many who claim to follow Him actually act. I hope you will view it and I hope you cringe in the appropriate places.
- Notice that he is attacking our hypocrisy, not what Jesus taught.
The truth is, if everyone who claims to be a disciple of Christ would imitate Christ not only would the kingdom explode in size but I seriously doubt that our government would be messing around killing folks in the Middle East. Why is that? Because they would see the good works of the Christians in our nation and glorify God.
When one thinks of the lives lost and the resources expended on our fruitless wars and political meddling in the Middle East it should bring us to tears. What if those same lives and resources were given to win the hearts and minds of the Islamic world? What if we were known for acts of mercy instead of violence? I’m not talking about the government here, I am talking about the kingdom of God. Peter wrote, “Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; 16 but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name” (1 Peter 4:15,16). Too often, as Christians we have supported our government as they meddled and murdered!
What if Christians were known for being first on the scene of earthquakes, tsunamis, famine and pestilence? What if we were known for helping instead of meddling? What if we spent money on lives and souls instead of buildings and flashy “worship services.”
We have several fine ministries that seek to do just this. Here in Abilene, we have Global Samaritan Resources that has helped many thousands. But it is a separate ministry from the church and has to struggle to raise funds like so many similar efforts. Shame on us! We had rather build buildings and divert needed funds to projects Jesus never even hinted at. Our “ministries of mercy” ought never need to go begging…they should be overwhelmed with resources to couple the gospel with the mercy of the Prince of Peace!
What excuse did we give to Bill Maher to say what he said? By not carefully following Christ in attitude, word or deed. Time for self-examination!
Peter echoes the words of Christ in Matthew 5:14 “Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation” (1 Peter 2:12).
Do this, and Bill Maher (and many others) will have little material for their writers.
Filed under Altruism, Atheism/Theism, Attributes of God, Christlikeness, church, Contradictions, Culture Wars, Current Events, discipleship, Evangelism, Food, Friendship, Good & Evil, Hypocrisy, Ignorance, Infidelity, Islam, Jesus Christ, Kingdom Growth, Middle East, Missions/Evangelism, morality, Natural Disaster, Palestine, Peace, Persuasion, Politics, Religion, Respect, Ridicule, Scripture, Selflessness, Suffering
I am excited to announce a new blog by my dear friend, Randy Becton, called “A Caring Touch.” Randy will be writing words of encouragement and comfort in his inimitable style. He has posted his first article, “Old Books and Forever Friends” and you may enjoy it by going here. These will be great articles to send to friends who are in need of an encouraging word.
Be sure to subscribe and spread the word!