Big Lie #1: The Cross of Christ is Powerless

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“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”     1Corinthians 1:18  (NKJV)

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Sometimes the best way to understand the value of something is to evaluate what would happen if it did not exist.  For example, there is much controversy over using certain types of energy because of issues of price, pollution, or international trade.  But, only when the world is imagined without a form of energy can we really see the impact.  For example, the day that gasoline is not available, or costs too much, for you to to drive a car, or coal or oil is not there to heat your  home — that’s when we know what energy is really worth!  It’s worth jobs, and staying warm, and traveling for work or pleasure. Suddenly necessity and life factor into the evaluation, and answers become much more personal! That’s the way it is with the Cross of Christ.  Imagine life without it!  If you know someone who has not trusted Christ – they have life without the Cross.  They have:

  • No evidence of the depth to which God will go to love us.  They may think they just don’t belong…
  • No understanding of their intrinsic value to God, even if we are hated or devalued by people.  They may think they must please everyone…or try…no matter how it hurts them.
  • No way to reconcile their relationship with God and know Him.
  • No way to be forgiven for sins that they have committed, hate to commit, and will commit over their life time.
  • No peace in their heart that frees them to live for Him the best they can, knowing they will fail, but that they cannot be separated from His love by any means known to man, even death.
  • No Holy Spirit to guide and correct and grow them into spiritual maturity.  No “greater is He that is in us, than he that is in the world.”
  • No Heaven! Since there is no way to earn their way there, they are doomed.

Big Lie #1 Is False and We Can Demonstrate It!

We fight Big Lie #1 with our TESTIMONY, with the WORD of God,  with the rich knowledge of our “before Christ” and “after Christ”  and what wonder He has worked in us.  Every person needs to be able to share their testimony with the gospel embedded in it!  You fight Big Lie #1 with your life every time you share your “3-Word Testimony.”

Big Lie #1 is False and We Can Explain It!

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the explanation of the ways in which the lie distorts what God has done through His Son.  You fight Big Lie #1 with the Word of Truth: 1 Corinthians 15:1-8, and Acts 2, where the truth is explained to thousands by Peter when the Holy Spirit made a fisher of fish into a fisher of men!   With the story of a man, a stone cold killer, who became a missionary to the world.  With the story of a businesswoman who provided a home for the church — a home that became a hub of ministry.

The enemies of Christ and the Cross race about in a frenzy, doing all they can to eliminate Christian crosses (even ones in the middle of the desert) from the public landscape —   because they are afraid.  

They are afraid of changed people, like you, who have trusted Christ for salvation, who have living in them the Holy Spirit, who are unafraid of whatever the world can throw at you.

They are afraid of our prayers and of our impact on their culture of meanness, death, and greed.  They are afraid that they will lose their power!   And they do lose their power because they have believed the Lie.  We have realized that God loves us and we are more able, more powerful, and more confident than we have ever dreamed!

We  know that the God of everything loves us, and listens to us, and is making a place for us in Heaven.  We can go on being His forever – and we know how to tell everyone else how to get there, too!

Making the God Connection: Taking a Chance on Jesus

Who DO You Trust!

Adult members of the Millennial Generation have the lowest level of trust among all generations in America.  Only 19% of them felt that people generally could be trusted.  In their recent review of social trends, Pew Research offered this chart, Millennials Less Trusting of Others, which has implications for us as we try to Make the God Connection with anyone.

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Source:  http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2014/03/07/millennials-in-adulthood/  accessed 4/1/2014.

When we share the gospel of Jesus Christ with someone in the millennial age group, we have to face the fact that they are a pretty wary bunch, even when they are not confronting life-changing challenges.  As you share the gospel with them you might consider these three things:

  1. Remember Who’s in Charge!  This is not always easy.  Just pray for an opportunity to share the gospel.  Honor the Lord by learning to share the gospel clearly and simply with Biblical accuracy.  Then do the best you can to declare the gospel, with personal authenticity, in the context of a person’s current situation that they have revealed to you.  The Holy Spirit is in charge of whether or not the person trusts Christ.  So that’s good news.  Relax.
  2. Recognize that trusting may be really tough.  Your clients often have had a rough life and people around them may not be trustworthy at all!  This is why your demeanor of grace and the center’s integrity and care for a person may be so novel that she will later say to you, “You were so nice.  You guys really cared about me!  That’s why I came back.”  If she can trust you, that’s a good start!  Be ready for questions and, if you don’t know an answer, say so, and tell her you’ll get back to her.
  3. Gospel conversations are not abrupt!  You just can’t leap into the gospel from a conversation about unplanned pregnancy without first touching on some spiritual topic.  Sometimes, I ask a person, “Who or what do you rely on when times are hard?”  Maybe they know more about trust than you think!  Their answer often tells something about whether they have any spiritual beliefs.
    1. If the conversation is progressing, take the opportunity to share your testimony about how trusting in Christ for your salvation has changed your condition and your hope.  If you use the “Create Your Three-Word Testimony Worksheet” it will help you write your testimony with the gospel embedded in it.  You’ll be sharing how you decided to “Take a Chance on Jesus” and trust Him for your salvation.  Learn to create your testimony here:  http://evantell.org/Tools/Article-Detail/Article/11/How-to-Develop-Your-3-Word-Testimony#sthash.ukcpUSqo.dpbs
    2. Use a single verse, John 3:16, to share the gospel.  Grab the instructions here: http://evantell.org/Tools/Article-Detail/Article/67/How-to-Share-the-Gospel-with-One-Verse#sthash.1JEvDgxG.dpbs
    3. If you have a smart phone or iPad, you can link to EvanTell’s mobile site on which there is a video of the gospel presentation that you and she can view together! Just get on your mobile device and key in http://www.evantell.org and the mobile site will come up with the gospel presentation on it!

If a person trusts Christ alone for her salvation, there’s wonderful opportunity to help her know what to do next to grow in her faith.  We will be posting on “3 Crucial Steps for New Believers” next week!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Making the God Connection: Listening – 2 of 3

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What can you do button“We’re so glad you came,” the client advocate said.  “We are a full-service agency.  We care about you – your physical, emotional, practical, and spiritual needs.  So, you’ll receive helpful information about each of these areas at some point in your time with us at the center.”  In those few phrases an advocate sets expectations so that the woman who came to the center for help understands the center’s sincere view of her.  She is a whole person with various needs.  The center is willing and able to respond to those needs and you are truly glad she came.

Making the God Connection starts with a people connection.  We really don’t know each other, do we?  We only know what another person is willing to share with us.  So, to the extent that we are open and willing to know what the client needs from us, just as she is, without out judgment, we will signal that we care about her and want to help her.  The Lord asked people questions all the time!  Spend some time reading some of His questions (Luke 6:32-36; Luke 7:40-43).  What do those questions tell you about you and your client?

4 Tips for Making the God Connection through Questions and Listening

1. Conduct an “open” conversation.  You can get  information you need, or explore an intake form that the client has completed, by having a conversation.  Example:  “I see you wrote that you have two children at home! Tell me about your children.  What’s the thing you like the most about your children.”  Then, “Tell me how your circumstances today differ from when your other children were born.”

  2.  Establish her value as a person.  You do this when you ask her questions that relate to her value.  Ask her, “What makes you feel proud of yourself?” Listen! You might be able to say in the conversation, “It means a lot to me that when God reviewed all He had made, He said He did a “very good” job with people.  Sounds like He gave you a gift for __________.   We all have value to God even if we make mistakes or don’t know anything about him. It’s true that we mess up.  But HE didn’t mess up…”

3.  Ask, “How can we help you today?”  How can you help if you don’t know the real answer to this question?  There is usually more there than the first question reveals.  Try to understand. “Tell me about the support system you turn to when you need help?”   God is the head of your client’s support system, whether she knows it or not.  “If you had power from God to make your life better, what would you want to be able to do?” Many have prayed to be “un-pregnant,” but, instead, God brought her to your center so you can help her through a very difficult time and help her find her way to Him.

4.  You probably know enough about your client now to share the gospel in the context of what she has told you.  She may trust you enough to let you do it.  So you can ask her the question:  “Has anyone ever taken a Bible and shown you how you can know for sure that God will walk alongside you every day to help you live and, one day, when you die, you’ll know for sure that you are going to heaven?  May I?”  You know the rest…or if you don’t know the rest, take online ACT Personal evangelism and Save the Mother, Save her Child training at http://evantell.org/Training-Outreach/Online-Training/Personal-Evangelism.

Making the God Connection – 1 of 3

mmg tiny       by Mary Margaret Gibson
This is the first of a three-post series on Making the God Connection.  First, is an update on who is actually doing evangelism these days.  SMSC-trained pregnancy center staff and volunteers are so accustomed to sharing the gospel–and it is so often well received–that it’s good just to check the temperature “outside” the center from time to time. In post 2, we’ll look at how to make The God Connection very quickly with someone who has come for help to your pregnancy center or other life ministry.  In post 3, we’ll offer you a neat new parent’s class to help them hear the gospel themselves and then learn to Make the God Connection with babies 0-3 years old!

In December, the Barna Group sent out an update with the interesting title, “Is Evangelism Going Out of Style?”  You can find the article at https://www.barna.org/barna-update/faith-spirituality/648-is-evangelism-going-out-of-style#.Ut66p9HnZjo

Salvation is to be found only through trust in Jesus Christ as Savior, and we spend our days training folks and equipping them to share that good news.  So we were mighty interested in the information in this article.  Here’s some news that may surprise you:

The Most Evangelistic Generation    They’ve been called “the social justice generation,” and for good reason—Millennials are actively taking up the cause of the poor, the oppressed, the orphan and the widow. Yet the most common critique leveled at this surge in social compassion is that it comes at a great expense. Sure, skeptics argue, they might feed the hungry and free the captives in this life, but what about the next? According to this view, Millennials are elevating physical needs over spiritual needs and forgoing evangelism altogether.

     Yet the latest Barna research reveals this is not the case.

    In fact, in answer to the question of evangelism on the rise or in decline, Millennials are a rare case indeed. While the evangelistic practices of all other generations have either declined or remained static in the past few years, Millennials are the only generation among whom evangelism is significantly on the rise. Their faith-sharing practices have escalated from 56% in 2010 to 65% in 2013.

     Not only that, but born again Millennials share their faith more than any other generation today. Nearly two-thirds (65%) have presented the Gospel to another within the past year, in contrast to the national average of about half (52%) of born again Christians.”

This is encouraging news indeed!  It tells me that more and more people in the age group served by SMSC-trained pregnancy centers may have heard the gospel somewhere!  It also tells me that there are probably young people in every church who share the gospel regularly.  It gives me great hope that as we share the gospel in pregnancy centers, we may find that Millennial folks may see life ministry as a way to combine their desire for social justice and mercy with a clear, simple way to share the gospel in conversation.

We’d be very interested in your opinions about this article.  Do comment.

Movie and DVD Resources for the Pregnancy Center

Many SMSC Pregnancy Centers are using DVDs or movies on the life of Christ to help share the gospel.   We recognize there are times when a client might be willing to watch a video or two as part of the incentive program and you can augment that video about Jesus with a gospel presentation.

Below is a list of resources and recommendations we have put together to help support you in thinking about how to use some video resources. The first three are movies and the last two are the May I Ask You A Question?/ Bad News, Good News in DVD format.

We hope these ideas help you expand the great work you are doing!

1.  Here is the link for the streaming version of the Jesus film, available in many languages, so you would even have it for those folks whose first language is not English:  http://www.jesusfilm.org/film-and-media/watch-the-film   It would be possible to have both the Jesus film and the Children’s Film available on demand.

2. TBN’s movie, The Revolutionary, www.TBN.org  is very good.     A clip for this and MANY others is available at this You Tube site a veritable hub for Jesus-related films, clips and sources:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAekTRzw-BE   This is a great collection of short subjects.  So easy to make these available wherever you do your incentive programs, etc.  This is the link to the first section of The Revolutionary:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQpyvJD8T7A&feature=related which starts with the Christmas story and is the Life and Teachings of Jesus.

3. The Gospel of John, a full length film – here’s a review:

July 19, 2005 (LOS ANGELES) The Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) is rolling out the proverbial red carpet as “THE GOSPEL OF JOHN” will be shown in its entirety with no commercial interruptions on the world’s largest religious network on Friday, July 22 at 7:00 pm and again on Saturday, July 23 at 2:00 pm (PST). Paul Crouch Jr., Vice President of Administration and frequent host of the popular TBN program “Behind the Scenes,” officially announced that the network has secured the exclusive rights to broadcast the world premier of “THE GOSPEL OF JOHN,” the story of Jesus Christ’s life as told by the apostle John and narrated by internationally acclaimed Canadian actor, Christopher Plummer, a veteran of over 80 motion pictures. Plummer, no stranger to the genre of Biblical cinema, says he welcomed the opportunity to participate in the word-for-word version of “THE GOSPEL OF JOHN” as the film’s narrator. According to Plummer, he was absolutely riveted to the story in the film. “For many, it’s part of their childhood, yet for the first time it seemed totally fresh and new to me,” he says. “The world premier of “THE GOSPEL OF JOHN” on TBN is a clear example of this network’s ever increasing commitment to broadcast thought-provoking venues that impact people from all walks of life in a positive and uplifting manner, while engaging their mind as well as their spirit,” reports Crouch, the eldest son of TBN founders Paul and Jan Crouch.

4.  Here’s our recommendation for how to use movies:

      — Show the movie

      — Add one of the following two You Tube evangelism videos from Evantell to the movie presentation.  Feel free to use these separately, of course, and put them wherever they are useful to your ministry:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUe9ZgADBNQ  This is May I Ask You a Question? And it is exactly as you present it so you can hand out a tract to someone and watch this together at any time.  Then you can follow up with the last part of the tract and discuss it, hopefully leading to a decision to trust Christ!

Overcoming the Tyranny of the Urgent  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hwDy8i5U8k  also from EvanTell.  This is a longer (7 min) video with rationale and the Bad News/Good News in it.  We have had very good reviews of this one and it can be used as a stand-alone presentation or as part of a discussion – for example at a Parents Class or Pre-Natal class with a chance to talk with a counselor afterward to go over the tract or another of the booklets you have from SMSC

Sharing a Message of Grace

Guest Blogger
Elaine Ham, Plans For You
SMSC Master Instructor

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This the first in a series of guest blogs focused on Evangelism Basic Training for pregnancy center staff and volunteers.  Our guest blogger today is Elaine Ham, a SMSC Master Instructor. She has trained hundreds of volunteers over the years and has over 16 years of experience in working with pregnancy centers. We couldn’t think of a better person to write about the fear of offending an abortion-minded client in sharing the gospel.

Every client advocate who has ever counseled in a pregnancy center knows the sudden rush of fear that envelops us when a young, single client learns she is pregnant. We ask a question such as, “What are your plans for your baby’s future?” and pray that whatever she says will not include the word “abortion.” The bad news is that her response almost always does include the “a” word, whether she’s just thinking about it or she has already made the decision to abort. As Paul said in Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Without a relationship with Christ, neither we nor our clients will ever make Godly decisions.

The good news is that no matter what has happened in her past, God loves her unconditionally and showed that love by giving His Son to die on a cross for her so that her sins might be forgiven. But how do we go about sharing that without causing offense or watching her make a quick exit from the counseling room? We know the comfort she is seeking and the answers she needs are found only in the loving arms of our Savior, Jesus Christ; yet we also have another voice speaking into our ear telling us not to go there, she would probably say no or think we’re a religious fanatic.

When God called me into the pregnancy center ministry 16 years ago, I heard that same voice and felt those same insecurities. The difference between then and now is that I didn’t recognize the source of the voice, and I spent nearly a year running away from God’s call. Thanks to the wisdom of a Godly pastor, I finally understood that those discouraging thoughts were intended to distract me from hearing God’s voice and sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ with those in need of God’s Amazing Grace.

As a client advocate, you have experienced the forgiveness and all-consuming love of God that can only be received through believing in Christ alone for salvation. You are in the counseling room because God has placed you there for the purpose of sharing that message with broken women who are looking for answers. You have been given the privilege by God to deliver His message of grace to your client and to lead her into God’s presence. In so doing, you have also given her the comfort and hope she is really seeking that will allow her to choose life for her unborn child.

Where do you start? How about with these words?—“May I ask you a question? Has anyone ever taken a Bible and shown you how you can know for sure that you’re going to heaven? May I?” You will soon find you are in for the most exciting experience of your life. Hang on and watch God work.

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Author Info:  Elaine Ham is a full-time on-site trainer and pregnancy resource center coach for the company she founded in 2000—Plans For You, Inc., creator of the Baby Bottle Boomerang. She has helped centers across the country raise over $75 million for their ministries. She also served as a PRC director and director of development at Piedmont Womens Center in Greenville, South Carolina for eight years and as National Consultant for the North American Mission Board/SBC and its 275 affiliates for seven years. Elaine is a SMSC Master Instructor for EvanTell/SMSC and a Licensed Life Affirming Specialist with Heartbeat International. Elaine Ham can be reached through her website, www.plansforyou.org.