Monday, July 24, 2023

Jesus Sent the Disciples to Tell His Story (Witness)

While on a trip in Brazil a long time ago, my interpreter said, "Here, Tara, here!" When I asked him later why he chose those three women for me to share the story of Jesus he said to me, "They were people of peace."

This was the first time in my life I heard about seeking the people of peace. I had read the passage numerous times, but in this moment I caught the truth found in Matthew 10:13.

It's been a couple of days since I had time to do an evangelism Story so, today, I wanted us to turn to Jesus and see what He expected of the disciples. Remember, we want to examine the action words that we are able to do today. 

As I read Matthew 10:5-13, I circled the action words that Jesus commaned the disciples to do when they went to go share the good knows about Jesus.

Please keep in mind in verse 1 it says that Jesus gave them all authority to go and do the miraculous.

1. Go in Jesus' authority not your own.

2. Go.

3. Proclaim the kingdom of heaven. 

What is the kingdom of heaven? 

It is God 's dwelling place. 
You are invited to join Him through Jesus. 

Believe in Jesus and you are a part of the kingdom of heaven.
This means you will repent of yours sins and move from darkness to light.

4. Heal the sick. This is God's work. Our role is pray for it in faith. 

5. Raise people up from spiritual death.

6. Cleanse those that are ostracized and bring them back into community. 

7. Give freely the truths you have been given.

8. Find worthy people. These are tge people of peace that are willing to let you share about Jesus.

9. Stay with the worthy people and disciple them.

10. Greet with a spirit of welcome.

11. Give your peace to those that are ready to receive.

12. Hold your peace and move on if a person is not open to receiving the truth about Jesus.

In all of this know that you will have those that want to stop you as you go.

Thursday, July 13, 2023

Witnessing while Suffering

Evangelism Story #5: Witnessing while Suffering based on Acts 16:16-40.

Sometimes when we are doing the right thing and even going to the right places there will be things that will annoy us, harm us, challenge us, and quite honestly hurt us. Honestly, this is the part of sharing the truth that is down right hard. Not everyone wants to hear the truth. Sometimes, someone can know the truth and even speak it, but they cause more harm than good. Their voice becomes a clanging gong that hinders the gospel. 

Paul and Silas find themselves hounded by a demon possessed girl that follows them every where and this time their sharing of the story of Jesus gets them beaten and thrown into jail. What do they do? They sing and worship. Let's see what we can observe about this particular encounter.

1. Be faithful to go to the place of prayer.

2. Know that you could encounter people that are possessed or mentally ill.

3. Know that you will get annoyed. Things will not always be easy or pleasant.

4. If you encounter evils spirits command them to leave in the name of Jesus. 

5. Understand that attack is inevitable. 

6. Understand that attack will come in many forms: mentally, emotionally, socially, physically, and spiritually.

7. Understand that attack can be painful and extreme.

8. Keep praying, singing, and worshipping God because others are watching.

9. Pay attention and always seek to protect souls even those that imprison you.

10. Watch and be amazed as whole households will be changed.

11. Recognize that your suffering can be used as the open door for another to believe so be aware, be faithful, be consistent in Jesus. 

12. Stand firm in your rights legally.

13. Fight for justice.

Today's story removes any romantic thoughts toward sharing our faith. This is a serious encounter that has eternal consequences. This is why attack happens. The enemy of God wants us to stop, be afraid, walk away,  and give up. But the LORD will honor those that keep moving forward in due time. We may not see our reward today, but we must keep moving forward. Who knows whose family needs you to share with them so the whole household can know Jesus?

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Witnessing in a Place of Prayer based on Acts 16:11-15).

Evangelism Story #4 based on Acts 16:11-15.

Sometimes, one of the last places we would anticipate witnessing will be in house of prayer or a known place of worship. But, sometimes these can be the places we might encounter some of the toughest resistance and attack.

This was true for Paul & Silas. First, I want you to notice that he has a new leader on his journey with him. Don't ya know this is because he sought to invest deeply in Silas. Oh boy! Was Silas about to learn some seriously hard lessons. Like, going to the house of prayer does not mean all things will be lovely and easy. Quite the contrary! 

Witnessing in a house of prayer based on Acts 16:11-15.

1. Go to places of prayer as you travel about.

2. Enjoy conversations with those present. In this case, it was only women that were present. They were not ignored because of their gender or told to go home. They were engaged in conversation because they were there to worship.

3. Trust God to open the hearts that need Him. So do not assume that because someone is in a house of prayer to worship that they have believed in Jesus as their Savior (for the forgiveness of sins). 

4. Once someone believes, support them to follow through of baptism to show that a decision to follow Jesus has occurred. Remember, baptism is an outward expression of an inward change.

5. Watch for faithfulness. You will be able to see that a heart change has occurred by the actions that are taken after as well as the impact on others around them.

Did you notice that we cannot assume belief based on a person's presence in a religious setting? We must remain faithful in sharing the goodness. God will reveal what needs to happen to the heart that is open for true worship.

Monday, July 10, 2023

Witnessing in the face of opposition based on Acts 13:3-12

Day 3 of Evangelism Stories:

So yesterday in church as Dr. Eckman taught, he mentioned a story I hadn't considered using, but it was so profound that I added it to my story set.

Today's story is based on Acts 13:3-12. It is quite short, but so profound. I am ashamed to say that in all the years that I have read through the Bible I have never noticed Sergius Paulus until yesterday. But, Oh how I love him now! 

This story models for us how to travel to far places to share the good news and what to do when confronted with opposition that hurts the faith of those seeking truth.

1. Fast and pray with your believing community.

2. Trust your community to lay hands on you and send you. (This represents support, authority, and provision).

3. Make sure you are sent by the Holy Spirit.

4. Proclaim the Word of God upon arrival in the synagogue (the place where the religious go).

5. Travel in pairs like Paul and Barnabas and welcome others join you (Mark).

6. Travel sharing all over.

7. When requested, go to share with the one requesting you to share.

8. When confronted with evil opposition or false teaching that hinders the faith of others rebuke them in the Holy Spirit's leading. Confront it head on.

9. Speak a miracle into happening. I confess that this one is harder for me. It may be my lack of faith or upbringing. I know God can do the miraculous, but I might not pray something like strike him with blindness. I am more likely to pray LORD, give us a miracle like you did for Paul with the evil magician. Move in such a way that he is silenced and those watching are amazed. Move in such a way that they cannot help but believe. So, I will pray for bold belief to speak what I must so that the enemy is silenced and faith increases.

10. Watch as others believe and are amazed at the teaching of God's Word.

I am so glad I caught this little story. It really is profound as a model for us as we go and share the good news of Jesus.

It is fun to be in the Word, to be with Jesus so we can be transformed. 

Shalom y’all!

Sunday, July 9, 2023

Witnessing with a Seeker based on the Story of Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch

Day 2 of how to do Evangelism Stories:

Just as each of us are created uniquely, our spiritual journey will be just as varied and unique. The reason, the approach, and timing will be specialized based on our need.

In today's story, we will discover that sometimes the Spirit of God will tell us to go do something that requires us to take a journey in order for someone to hear the story of Jesus.It was a 47 mile journey from Jerusalem to Gaza. It would have taken at least a day to get to him by foot if he was stopped, but remember the Ethiopian Eunuch was traveling so Philip was also trying to listen and see who the Spirit of God was wanting him to share with on the road. When someone is truly seeking, God will send someone to go and share the truth in a way they can understand.

As we go through these stories we should observe the outcomes for both the disciplemaker and the one being discipled.

I have titled this story, how to witness to a seeker.

1.  Listen to what the Spirit of the LORD speaks to you.
2.  Rise up and do it!
3. Pay attention to what is happening in the surroundings and in what the people are doing.
4.  Ask questions for clarification.
5.  Help the person to understand the Scriptures.
6. Listen to the person's questions.
7.  Answer the questions and share the good news of Jesus.
8. Take your time with them.
9.  Be spontaneous when necessary.
10.  Help the person follow through with baptism.
11.  Know the person who understands will leave rejoicing.
12.  Go to where the Spirit takes you.
13.  Continue preaching the good news of Jesus where ever you go.

There are certain elements that will always be the same like telling the person about Jesus. While the way, the how, and the why will be varied from person to person.

Saturday, July 8, 2023

How to share a testimony based on Paul's Testimony before King Agrippa in Acts 26

I was recently asked by a leader in an oral context how to tell a personal testimony in an oral culture. I didn't want to just give the typical here are the three things you must do. It is important to me that I am using Scripture as the authority to teach the process.

Who better to start with than Paul as he stood before King Agrippa? 

So, I am looking up various stories in the Bible that model sharing a testimony. 

Here is what I discovered from Paul's encounter in Acts 26. Go check it out and see if I missed anything.

1. Get permission to speak. 

2. Find a way to bring honor to the one you speak to. This is not for manipulation, but for connection!

3. Share about the one thing in your past that has changed the most. Do not give ugly details. Simply the gist of it.

4. Share the hope you now have in Jesus.

5. Explain why you are now sharing with the one you seek to honor with your testimony.

6. Share why it is important to know Jesus and what one must do as a next step. 

   A. Open your eyes. 
   B. Move from darkness to light.             C. Receive forgiveness. 
   D. Repent and turn to God.             
   E. Produce the deeds in keeping with repentance.

7. Give praise to God for His help.

8. Speak boldly even when accused and rejected as you are called out of your mind.

9. Point out that you are speaking truth rationally. Make sure you do so!

10. Point out how you and the one you are sharing agree. 

11. Be persuasive so that a nerve is struck.

12. Express that you long for them to be like you in what you know and believe. 

Please know there is no set order and there may not be all of these elements, but it is a good pattern to follow because it is provided as an example in Scripture.

Saturday, July 1, 2023

What does it mean to walk worthy of the manner of your calling? (Based on Ephesians 4)

What does it mean to walk worthy of the manner of your calling? 

Well, we do not have to work hard to think about it because Paul gives us quite a hefty list in Ephesians 4 that shows the does and don’ts. 

I love that Paul starts us off with knowing and understanding the character and nature of God! He doesn’t hit us with how we should behave until he has first shown us how God is toward us. The very first thing Paul makes sure to clarify is that we have One Father, One God, who is Father of ALL! We need to get this right. There is ONE Most High GOD that is Creator God! He alone provides us with the spirit of unity and peace. He graciously provides us with grace gifts that are intended to be used for building up the kingdom of God not ourselves! This means that the very words we speak about another and how God has chosen to give them a grace gift must build them up NOT TEAR THEM DOWN!!! Otherwise, we are dissing God! Hmmmm! That should truly cause a holy pause every time we speak. 

The LORD gives grace gifts in accordance with the measure given in Christ Jesus’ gift. How He chooses to bless a person with certain gifts is not up to them or to those around them. It is GOD given with the intent that it is used to attain unity! Let me repeat this one again. IT IS GIVEN SO IT WILL BE USED TO ATTAIN UNITY! 

This type of unity will build up the faith of others, build up the knowledge of God, bring about maturity that understands the stature and fullness of Christ not just among the believing community but with those watching us. 

Paul does not say it here, but I am hearing the beautiful sound of love he speaks of in 1 Corinthians 13 making a melody in the heart, mind, soul, and spirit. NOT A CLANGING GONG that hurts!!! We must remember that those around us are listening and watching us! Do they see love? Are they drawn into His presence by our words? 

Paul reminds us that we are a body as believers. This means that when one of us hurts we all hurt. If I destroy someone verbally or hinder their use of their gifts, then I am only hurting myself. Silencing someone from using their Christ given grace gifts given by HIS measure hurts the whole believing community. This terrifies me! I do not want to be the one that hinders growth in my own body! Do you? 

It also terrifies me because when we walk in darkness, we become calloused, and our hearts are no longer soft. Maybe this is why Paul reminds us to get rid of bitterness, anger, wrath, clamor, and slander. We are created in the likeness of Christ and He is the Light of the World (Genesis 1:27; John 8:12). 

If I am ignoring or hurting someone based on the grace gift given to them through Christ, then I am snuffing out the method God has chosen to shine the Light of the world! 

I love that Paul reminds us that we must put on soft hearts that are pliable, generous, pure, and full of truth. 

Have you ever thought of the fact that it is generosity that allows someone to use their grace gift? 

These character traits are not spoken to any one type of person not male, female, race, creed, educational status, etc. These are spoken to the body of Christ! 

Paul tells us that we must put on the blessing of a pliable heart that is generous, pure, kind, righteous, holy, honest, forgiving just to name a few of the character traits he reminds us to live by as we seek to live at peace as we serve. 

When Paul says, “walk in the manner worthy of your calling,” I am reminded clearly that I must seek to honor the gifts that I have been given and one of the best ways to do this is to use them to build others up. I also want to give them the opportunity to use their grace gifts to build others up as well! This is what brings honor! 

Beloved, we are created after the likeness of God. We are created in Him for His glory to build up the body of Christ. When we are living and serving properly the entire body of Christ will grow. Maturity is a calling to holy excellence! This is what it means to walk worthy of the manner of your calling.