Archive for the “evangelical” Category

7In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!
Luke 15:7 (NLT)

Jesus concludes His parable of the lost sheep with these words. He tells us that all of heaven rejoices when a sinner repents. In fact, they rejoice more over the one who returns than the overwhelming majority who simply stay the course – finish well. My life is largely focused on finishing well and helping others to do so. My focus isn’t on the lost. It’s how I’m wired. It’s how I’m gifted. But that doesn’t excuse me from praying and participating in the seeking of the lost.

If my desire is to bring God joy (and it is), can there be a better activity to participate in? It sure doesn’t sound like it from this passage.

But as I said, I’m not wired for evangelism. I’m wired for teaching. Nevertheless, I can add activities to my everyday life that support evangelism without taking away from my spiritual passions and giftings. Here are some ideas:

  • Pray. Yes, this is the most obvious, but praying for the lost isn’t something I do regularly (forgive me, Lord). Discipline yourself to pray at those times when your mind tends to wander – for example, while driving or while doing household chores. There are a number of ways we can pray:
    • Pray specifically for the hearts of those who don’t know Christ to be softened.
    • Pray for specific people, by name.
    • Pray for God to put others in their path who will spark their interest in the spiritual realm.
    • Pray for the circumstances in their lives to bring them to recognize their need for God.
    • Pray for evangelistic activities that are occurring, such as Billy Graham’s broadcast, America My Hope, and local evangelistic outreaches (even if they’re done by other churches).
    • Pray that God would use you to spark an interest in Christ before attending events or functions where non-believers will be present.
    • Pray for courage to speak out for Christ and to have that word aptly spoken” (Proverbs 25:11).
    • Pray to live a loving, joyful, righteous life.
  • Smile. Laugh easily. Confound their stereotype that Christians are serious and boring. I have to work at this. I am a serious person by nature. Yet I know God wants me to smile more. I want the peace and joy I experience in Him to be evident to others. One way that happens is by smiling and laughing.
  • Be friendly as you go about your everyday. It’s easier for God to open a door when you smile and nod to that person in front of you than when you’re staring down at the groceries in your cart or at your cell phone to read your friend’s latest Facebook post
  • Be helpful. When you see someone struggling to reach something in the store and you can get it for them, do so. When they’ve dropped something on the floor, help them pick it up.
  • Don’t be rude, distant or distracted. That feeds the stereotype of the self-righteous Christian. Be present in whatever situation you find yourself.
  • Be a good-finder. That’s a Zig Ziglar-ism. Be a good-finder in those around you. When your internal attitude is to be critical of that person near you – because they’re too unkempt or too fashionably dressed, because they have too many tattoos or look like a person that would never have a tattoo, because they’re too fat or too skinny, because they’re too loud or too timid, because they’ve filled their cart with junk food or the most expensive offerings in the store – when that thing (called sin) rises up in you to begin to be critical of that person, stop. Be a good-finder. Look at the person and ask God to show you the good in them and then pray into that. Perhaps even compliment them on it. Are you in your grunge clothes and the fashionably dressed person walks by and you’re tempted to be critical because she obviously spends too much money on clothes. Stop. Sincerely compliment her on her sweater or shoes or hair. You get the idea. Criticism doesn’t open the door to share Christ. (And it closes a door to God.)
  • Rehearse the Gospel. Be ready to share the Gospel in a number of different ways and in different timeframes.

15Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. 16But do this in a gentle and respectful way.
1 Peter 3:15-16a (NLT)

  • Follow God’s promptings. If you’ve asked Him to use you, He will. If you are willing to be used. It’s one thing to pray; it’s quite another thing to be obedient when God gives opportunities in response to those prayers. I know that I have ignored the Lord’s promptings to pray with or speak to a stranger. (That’s where praying for courage comes in.) I want to follow God’s promptings. How amazing is it that He even asks me to be involved in eternal things? Pretty amazing I think. And humbling. Let’s be obedient and following His promptings.

What other ideas do you have for incorporating evangelism into your everyday life? Share your ideas on our Facebook page or as a comment to this post. Let’s help one another bring joy to all of heaven!

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Now you might read this title and think I’m going to write something really deep about being a Christian living in a world in which I’m a foreigner, waiting for a new and better Kingdom to come.

You’d be wrong.

I’m writing instead about living between the worlds of evangelicalism and pentecostalism. Yep, that’s me. I know I’m not alone. While attending grad school, there were a number of students that described themselves as “bapticostal” or some similar title. Many charismatics/pentecostals “live” incognito in evangelical churches. I’m not sure I’ve ever met an evangelical who’s lived incognito in a charismatic/pentecostal church, but there are probably some out there.

Phil & I prefer the title “empowered evangelicals” stolen from the title of Rich Nathan’s book. Great book. He finds a way to bring both sides together, avoiding extremes in all issues, but allowing for the Spirit to move freely and in power. (Well, maybe not as freely as some from a pentecostal background might prefer!) 🙂

We have often felt that God had called us to be “bridge people” – called to influence the opinion of our evangelical brethren toward charismaticism and vice versa. For much of our Christian life, we’ve “lived” as empowered evangelicals in evangelical churches. We often felt like we had to hide the “empowered” side of our walk with the Lord, at least until people knew us and trusted us…because we’re WAY more charismatic than our evangelical friends suspect. We’re currently living as empowered evangelicals in a church with strong pentecostal roots. We sometimes feel like we need to hide our evangelical leanings in the same way…because we’re way more evangelical than our pentecostal friends suspect.

You know, guys…God is way bigger than this. His “personality” is both evangelical and pentecostal. And He desires for His Church to be a reflection of Him. Can’t we all just get along?
I’m sure my tension in this area will come thru in these blogs. Feel free to add your comments.

Comment from dansdesk
You’ve certainly helped move me to a more balanced position. Thanks! I need to read that book!Dan
Thursday July 19, 2007 – 04:17pm (EDT)

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