Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Well Known Atheist Advocates Evangelism

Well known atheist Penn of Penn & Teller says you should be sharing your faith.

After one of his magic shows, he was greeting people in the crowd. There was a man waiting for him in the wings with a Gideon's New Testament. He gave Penn the Testament.

Penn graciously speaks of this experience and is complimentary to the man. But most importantly, he says something to believers about evangelism in this video.

Link to YouTube Video

Embedded video below...

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Julia Champion's Testimony

Julia gave her heart to Christ through our ministry at Moore Square in May of this year. Hear how the Lord has been at work in her life since then. The video gets shaky at the end but the message comes through.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Being Jesus Among Them

"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:14 ESV

In 8 more days, we will celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. I know that December 25 was not His actual day of birth, but I am more concerned about the event rather than the date.

As we peer into that manger, we see more than just a frail human baby; we see God the son taking on human flesh and blood. God chose to enter the human experience in order to redeem humanity. According to scripture, there was a valid reason for what we call, the Incarnation...

Hebrews 2:13-14 MSG says, "Again, he puts himself in the same family circle when he says, Even I live by placing my trust in God. And yet again, I'm here with the children God gave me. Since the children are made of flesh and blood, it's logical that the Savior took on flesh and blood in order to rescue them by his death. By embracing death, taking it into himself, he destroyed the Devil's hold on death."

It goes on to say that Jesus was tempted as we were in every respect, yet He was without sin. (Hebrews 4:15)

By entering humanity, Jesus chose to experience life as we experience it. He experienced, joy, pain, friendship, betrayal, being loved, being hated, happiness, sorrow, satisfaction and hunger and every other human emotion. This was so that He might be able to help us when we are tempted.

I also believe that He did this so that we could relate to him. Trying to understand a limitless God with our human minds is the equivalent of ants trying to understand people. But, I can relate to someone who has had the experiences that I have had.

As witnesses for Christ, we must live a life that is reflective of the incarnation. We must seek to be Jesus in the midst of a hurting generation of people.

On the streets this year, I have witnessed to drug dealers, prostitutes, the homeless, alcoholics, drug addicts, gang members, politicians, activists, the affluent, the penniless, the outcast, the in-crowd and many others in between. In each case, I have sought to understand their mindset, their fears, their emotions, their motivations, their pain and their spiritual condition.

Even though I have not "walked a mile in their shoes," I have sought to love them with the love of Christ without compromising the gospel message.

If you and I are going to touch the world with the saving message of Jesus Christ, we must learn from the example of our Master Jesus. We must love the Lord our God with all of our being and love our neighbor as we love ourselves.

Merry Christmas!

NOTE: There will be no blog post next week due to the Christmas celebration. God bless you and your family.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

"Everyone has a Different Opinion"

Monday, I was in Atlanta, GA for a Christmas luncheon for the Intentional Community Evangelism (ICE) consultants. It was an awesome time of fellowship and we all received endorsements from the North American Mission Board as ICE instructors.

Our luncheon was held at a local restaurant. As the meal came to a close, our server brought the check to Victor, the Urban Strategies Consultant. Victor engaged her in spiritual conversation as she waited at the table.

Ava was from France - verified by her thick accent - and a practicing Buddhist. Victor shared a brief bit of his testimony with her and how Jesus said that he was "the way, the truth and the life. " Ava, responded, "we each have our own opinion."

Victor graciously ended the conversation with her and asked her to read the "Here's Hope" tract that he had given her.

I have been mulling this conversation over in my mind for two days. It represents the current stream of tolerance prevelant in our culture. There are several thoughts that I would like to share with you when responding to this absurd viewpoint (that everyone has a right to be right.)

First of all, when someone responds with this perspective they fail to realize that they are contradicting their personal belief about tolerance. You, as a Christian witness, are telling them that there is only one way to eternal life which is Jesus Christ. They are saying that they do not agree with you (that there is only one way to heaven.) Yet their disagreement with your viewpoint violates their belief that all religious viewpoints are equal (All paths lead to God.) If they were true to their position, they would give equal consideration to your viewpoint, rather than instantly disagree with you.

Second, the idea that spiritual matters are relegated to the realm of mere opinion invalidates all spiritual beliefs by reducing them to subjective ideas. Religion by definition deals with weightier matters such as the nature and purpose of the universe and morality. Religion then becomes a matter of what I like rather than what is truth. It can no longer speak to external matters.

Finally, it is impossible for two or more contradictory belief systems to simultaneously be true. I can't say that chocolate ice cream is the best dessert in the world while agreeing with your opinion that lemon pie is the best dessert in the world. While it is true that they are both desserts and have a few common ingredients, they each have completely different tastes, textures and calorie counts.

Christianity teaches that there is one, personal God who exists in three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God redeemed humanity and opened the way to heaven by sending his Son to die on the cross for sin and raised Him from the dead. Buddhism teaches that God is an impersonal force that makes up all things and holds the universe together. Salvation - if you can call it that - is obtained through following the eight fold path which leads to Nirvana, a state of impersonal nonexistence.

If you have an opportunity to witness to someone that holds to this viewpoint, you must help them to see how illogical their position is by lovingly pointing out the contradictions within belief systems. Only then can you expose them to the claims of Christianity.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Sowing the Seed

Chuck Kelly, President of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary once said, "Southern Baptists are a harvest minded denomination living in the midst of an unseeded generation."

This is a quote that transcends denomination and speaks a great truth about the current gospel climate in the western world. We as the Church have not effectively sown gospel seeds in the midst of our culture. We have not exposed people to the message of Christ, yet we expect to see an evangelistic harvest from out of our culture.

I have shared the gospel with thousands of people over the past 12 years either one-to-one or in mass through crusades and revivals. I have walked away from many of these encounters with a sense of disappointment due to the fact that I did not see a harvest. As I reflect on that fact, I have come to realize that I need not be disappointed. Why?
  • I have done what was required of me by obediently sharing the message of Christ. (See Ezekiel 3:19)
  • I may be one link in the chain of witnesses that eventually leads to salvation for that person.
  • I cannot see how the Holy Spirit is working in the life of the hearer.
  • The Word of God will never return void.
These previous encounters were seed sowing opportunities. If we approach each divine appointment as a seed sowing moment, we will not walk away disappointed.

We should make every attempt to intentionally sow gospel seeds as we go about our daily lives. Here are a few suggestions that you can incorporate into your life to sow seeds.
  • Build a relationship with those around you who don't know Christ with the aim of sharing the good news.
  • Carry and distribute gospel tracts or witnessing cards with you. Give them to cashiers, servers, people you meet on the street or anyone else that God places in your path. Say something like, "Here is an encouraging little book of wisdom that I just read, perhaps you will enjoy it too."
  • If you are allowed to play music at your workplace, then play Christian music.
  • Wear Christian apparel whenever you can. A good Christian Shirt can spark a conversation.
  • When eating at a sit down restaurant, always ask your server for prayer requests before you pray for your meal. You would be surprised how many spiritual conversations this will lead to.
  • Invite co-workers, friends and neighbors to special events at your church such as Christmas Cantatas and so forth. Treat them to dessert after the performance and talk about what you have just enjoyed together.
  • A friend of mine has memorized the spiritual meanings of hundreds of names. When he meets someone new, he tells them what their name means and turns it into a gospel conversation.
  • Give out CD's of your pastors best message to people.
Look for creative ways to share the gospel with those around you. Even if you are only able to share a "sound bite" with someone, you might be surprised at how it sticks with them.

Imagine the impact upon the kingdom if believers begin to practice this seed sowing in their daily lives.