Tuesday, February 26, 2008
I cannot believe how much I learned, not to mention how fired up I got to share my faith. I realize now, that I have been a very selfish person. I am selfish in the fact that I have not been sharing the gift of eternal life with people I come in contact with, even though I had someone share with me.
It is easy as a Pastor to think that I am doing enough. It is easy to have the mindset that the congregation is supposed to "Go" and that I am supposed to "Stay" because I am going to reach those who come to my church who happen to be lost. This should not be the case. This should be the exact opposite, because as leaders we are to set the example to those who look up to us.
I wonder sometimes if we don't spend entirely too much time being "churchy" and not enough time being "Christ followers." If we were truly Christ followers we would have the heart and compassion for the lost that would not allow us to even sleep without a heavy heart and burden for people all around us who have no relationship with Christ and thus no hope of eternal life.
Watch this video that will help to illustrate this point.
As you can see, we have a long way to go in order to have a true heart for the lost. I hope that we can all do everything we can to "make disciples of every nation." We must stay in a prayerful, personal relationship with God and ask Him to send us the relationships He wants us to have influence over.
I must say that evangelism as we know it is not the way we make it out to be. It is not about "selling" anything to anyone, and if that's what it is to you then you must reevaluate your motives. Evangelism is nothing more than being prepared and obedient to the "divine appointments" that are in our lives. If we are involved with divine appointments, it will make no difference whether they receive Christ or not, because you will know that your seed has been properly planted and God will send the witness later that will reap the benefits of that.
Please be intentional in your evangelism and develop relationships that God would have for you, but not because you are trying to sell someone, but because you are looking at things through the same compassionate eyes that Jesus does.
Thursday, February 7, 2008
My house in South Carolina sold.
That is pretty exciting. We have been trying to sell that house since October 2005. The market is really bad there, worse even than in Florida, so it is a huge blessing to have that off our backs.
They obviously have a long way to go, but the progress is pretty amazing. Other than that life has been pretty ordinary. I am teaching the tenth grade Bible class which is a lot of fun. In March I am marrying my cousin. Seriously, I am marrying my cousin. Not like they do in South Carolina, I am performing the wedding of my cousin to another man that she is in no way related to. That will be fun.
I know I need some pearls of wisdom to impart on all of my readers, but I just don't know what it is.
I will let you know what we have been learning in youth group. For the last four weeks we have been doing a series on Deal or No Deal. We had someone come out as Howie and we played the game (we used the web version on www.pacdudegames.com) and then we taught on things that some people wonder, "What's the big deal?"
First we looked at "What's the big deal about God." We systematically looked at reasons for and against the existence of Creator God. The students seemed to enjoy when I took a hammer and smashed a remote control to pieces in an attempt to disprove the Big Bang Theory.
The next week we looked at "What's the Big Deal about Jesus." Once again we sytematically looked at reasons for and against the existence of Jesus. The most compelling point to me was that no one would be willing to die for a lie. If Jesus wasn't who He said He was then the disciples would have known it. If the disciples knew that Jesus was a fake then all of them would not have died horrific martyrs deaths for something they knew wasn't true. (John died of natural causes but he too was tortured for his beliefs)
After that we looked at "What's the Big Deal about Christianity." and we looked at the main doctrine that we believe as the Christian church which consists of the doctrine of God, Jesus, Man, Trinity, Salvation and the Church. Everything else is negotiable, for instance if you believe that you should baptize by sprinkling that is your opinion but we can still call you Christian and we can still fellowship together. But if you believe that there are more than one way to Heaven, then Jesus died for nothing and you are not following Christian beliefs, because Christian doctrine says the only way to Heaven is throught faith in Jesus Christ.
Two days ago we finished up the series by looking at "What's the Big Deal with World Religion." It was an informative message that looked at the basics of Islam, Hindusim, Buddhism, Mormonism, and Jehovah Witnesses. We then took what they believe and matched it up with what we believe. We decided that Christianity must be the real deal for a few reasons... first is grace. To live your life for works is a life of hopeless despair, because how will you ever know if your good works is good enough to get you to Heaven. (or Nirvana) Lastly, we believe that Christianity is the real deal because Jesus is alive! The "gods" of the other main religions are dead and their bodies are there in a tomb or a grave, but Jesus' tomb is empty! Because He is who He said He is. Because He did what said He would do... He rose from the grave!
To end every week I made this point: If someone gave you a Ferrari for $5 what would you do? Well, after you peed your pants, and then borrowed five dollars from your parents, you would call up everyone you knew and tell them about it. Why? Because you got such a good deal. The Christian life is the same way, we got what we did not deserve and it is a GREAT DEAL, so go and tell someone about the great deal that you got and let them know that the deal is available for them too.
How's that for writer's block?