With everything that is in me I want to share that personal evangelism is what the Holy Spirit continues to impress on my heart for 2013 - namely, for us to grow as a church body to the next level in both breadth and depth it will be primarily through brave and faithful persons such as yourself not only building relationships with pre-Christians (most of you excel at that!) but to take the courageous next step across that bridge you've built with friends, neighbors, & co-workers to share a message of good/freakin' awesome news - a.k.a the gospel.
This is why we build relational bridges - you earn the right to share the gospel with someone and you grow to love them enough to share the key to eternal life with them.
Somebody in the church steps up. And it's not just me, by the way, who senses this call to GO OUT and share the love of Christ in word and deed - it's people in the church stepping up to God's call. People like my friend Sean Glidden. Last year, the elders and I prayed SCC would be blessed with the opportunity to embark on our church's first ever missions trip. Just as with praise and worship, we prayed God would call someone to step up (and we see what happened there - Lisa Welman stepped up and now we have three worship leaders!). Sean approached me toward the tail end of last year excited about a calling to reach the lost locally and abroad through missions. Lord willing, we will embark on our first missions trip this year with the help of his organization and mobilization. Sean and Kacey may even start up a Missions-based Community Group!! (To be continued...)
Over the coming four weeks, we will spend Sunday Mornings equipping and preparing you to creatively share the gospel. I say creatively because, as we discussed on Sunday, pre-Christians are no longer asking the same questions they once did 25 or even 10 years ago. God does not factor into their questions - at least as far as they know. In actuality, I've discovered most people's immediate questions pertaining to life, though they contain no mention of God, are in fact answered by God's gospel message. If you ask a person, like I did over the past six months (a little side experiment): "Take God out of it for a moment - what's the biggest obstacle in your life right now?", you might be surprised how the gospel provides both a framework for understanding that obstacle and a solution to it.
So get ready for Answers without Compromise: Sharing the gospel in ways that answer people's most immediate questions without compromising its message... Okay, so you may only remember the first part. No worries. Here are those most immediate questions:
- Jan13: Why is life so hard for me? (Suffering)
- Jan20: Who is going to pay? (Justice)
- Jan27: How can I live confidently without Ego, yet humbly without Eeyore? (Humble Confidence)
- Feb3: How can my emotional & physical needs be met while I meet them in others? (Red-Hot Romance)
How it will "work." My goal with each message will be to, as best as can be done in sermon-form, make it as conversational as possible - as if I'm having a conversation with a pre-Christian about their question. So I will be trying to explain concepts about Jesus, His good news, and life from a biblical perspective in seeker-sensible ways that someone who has no clue about any of above can understand. Please also note: I'm going to get right into the conversation, which means I won't be pausing to explain to Christians why I've decided to, for example, share directly from Isaiah 53 at one moment but only summarized Sin & Satan from Genesis 3 at another. However, I am certainly open to any questions (or suggestions) afterward re: why I said x, y, or z. My hope is that you can jot down an outline of the points made, the Scripture utilized, and a story/moment/illustration that "grabs you" so that you can re-use them when you share.
How you can prepare starting today:
- Pray. Pray for any and every pre-Christian in Cayman who comes to mind that the Holy Spirit would begin to pursue their hearts. Pray that you and your fellow brothers and sisters in SCC would have the courage to invite friends to hear the gospel message answer their most immediate question. Pray against the enemy's desire to block this message from reaching ears that need to hear it. Pray for my explanations of the message from God's Word - I need help! Pray that this effort would extend beyond Jan 2013 and that we will use what we've learned going forward. Pray that lost people would be found as they trust Jesus as God of their life who can forever forgive their rebellion.
- Wherever you are and with whatever you have nearby, jot down the names of 2-3 friends, co-workers or neighbors who immediately come to mind as you read the above questions. Now, invite them and offer to pick them up!
- Print out a flyer that one of our church members has worked on and voluntarily paid to have posted this whole week in the Cayman Compass. Post at your work bulletin board or hand to a friend. If the jpeg of the flyer pasted below isn't high quality enough, you can obtain a better image by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You were once lost but now are found. It's time for found people to find people!