Why Share the Gospel in Mercy Ministry?

DangerThe world is full of very real dangers  –  violence, poverty, broken relationships, poor health, emotional disturbance, disrupted communities…so many things.  All these things can hurt us and we spend our lives trying to avoid them or change them! But none of those things is as dangerous as failure to trust the only One who can provide our permanent hope and security – Jesus Christ.

The Bible describes the situation:

And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son of God has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.”  1 John 5:11-12

One either has eternal life in Jesus, called the Christ (Savior), or eternal life without Christ.  God Himself sends people to be carefully served by us in our ministries and provides the opportunity for us to partner with Him to show people the way to Jesus and eternal LIFE.

StubbornWe can help someone realize that when anyone leaves God out of their worldview, decisions, relationships, and actions it is called “sin” and causes the person to be separated from God, who is holy and cannot tolerate sin. Essentially the person is saying, “I can do this myself.  I don’t need God.”

As a result, the person operates at a terrible disadvantage every day!  He or she faces life without a relationship with the God  of the Bible — from whom all truth and good  comes!  He or she faces eternal life separated from God forever. But God provides a remedy for this condition because He loves each person!

Paid in FullA person can be rescued from this sin condition, and receive God’s gift of relationship and LIFE.  From the moment of decision to trust Christ alone as Savior, a believer is declared forgiven and adopted by God.  Christ, the Son of God, died as the substitute for their sins, rose from the dead, and was seen alive by hundreds of people, proving that death and sin were conquered forever. (2 Cor. 15:1-8)

For those who trust Christ as the One who paid the full penalty for sin, God gives the gift of eternal LIFE in relationship with Himself.  No one earns it.  God gives it once and for all! Eternal life includes all the work of God’s grace day by day, to help the person who has been made new – no longer estranged from God but now adopted by God into His family.

This eternal life gift extends out through all of life on earth as the Holy Spirit gives strength to a believer to resist sin and choose truth.  He provides comfort, teaching, and power as  Christ continues to intercede for the believer, all the way into joyful eternity.

The message of God’s grace to sinful men is not merely a proclamation of eternal condemnation [for those who do not trust in Christ]; it is rather that the chief of sinners may be saved through the Savior that infinite love has provided.” (Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology, Volume 4, p. 433)

In The Evangelism Study Bible, p. 1176,  there’s a note on 1 John 4:11 that helps us understand why to share the gospel with someone.  It’s entitled, “Love is Putting Somebody Else First.”  It says, “Through His death on the cross and resurrection the third day, Jesus Christ satisfied the wrath of God against our sin.  Now God freely extends eternal life as a gift to all who trust His Son.”  And, “Christians who demonstrate sacrificial love stand out like a lighted billboard on a dark night.  When others notice our love, we have a wonderful opportunity to share the love of Jesus.”

Prepare to help a new Christian to grow in their faith, to learn to pray, to become established in their understanding of Scripture — in short, help them find a home in a church that loves new believers and knows how to help them grow in their spiritual life.

Pray that God will cause  you and partners in your ministry to think of others first and share the gospel.  Be one of those “lighted billboard” people that God will use to both LIVE the gospel through your ministry, and SAY the gospel so it can be heard by a person who does not know Him.

Learn more here: Online evangelism training is available through EvanTell,  24/7, Free Online Evangelism Training.

Prepared for Action! New Bible Study in 6 Sessions

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SMSC folks can understand the Life Guards! This group of soldiers in Britain has performed their unique role for hundreds of years. The Life Guards’ specific duty is to protect the household of the monarchy of England – at this time, the Queen and her family.  They study.  They train.  They expect the unexpected.  They obey.  They go where they are called.

Wow!  Sounds like our job as a maturing Christ Follower!  Learn, train, pay attention, obey, and Go!   

Please grow with us as we study how God matures every Christ-follower who desires to be His disciple!  Every two weeks we’ll post a session of our new 6-Session Bible Study called:  Prepared for Action!    

We will dig into action-packed events, revelations, and experiences, described in Acts of the Apostles, and in 1 Peter.   These maturing experiences of the disciples and apostles show us how the Holy Spirit works in Christ-followers to help us grow in our love relationship with God and fulfill the purpose for which we are called!  

Just click on Prepared for Action Bible Study on the main menu bar, and it will take you to the introduction we posted today, February 9, 2014.  All the studies will be posted to the Prepared for Action! page.  All the studies will stay up, so people can begin at the beginning whenever they like.

Prepared for Action! is a labor of love!  Come grow together with us as we explore these encouraging stories from the Lord to show us how He grows us for the service to which we are called!  Praise God for His Teacher and Guide!  

 

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.