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Archive for the ‘evangelism’ Category

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. – Matthew 5:16 (ESV)

As promised, I have included a Black Friday free resource for you.

Let Your Light Shine: Share It & Show It

My hope is that this resource might serve as an impactful part of your reading.  It serves as a foundation for some other work that we have coming up but it also stands out as a simple reminder of our root cause and calling as a believer.

Faith Impact Training is about inspiring hearts, minds and souls, particularly for outreach/ evangelism and service through good works.  Our mantra is making a difference today, while leaving an impact for life.  Part of our work includes the development and distribution of publications and trainings.

Stay tuned.  There is more to come.

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“Be not simply good – be good for something.”

– Henry David Thoreau

Imagine if you had nothing getting in your way, nothing holding you back.

What would you do with your life?

Could you see yourself doing whatever you could to help someone else?

Could you see beyond yourself and make a difference for someone else?

Just imagine if you had that opportunity.

No obstacles.

No opposition.

No other objective.

Just being in the position to do good for someone else, uplifting their spirit and blessing them through what God has already done for you.

Now it’s time for a reality check.

The only thing holding you back from doing such mighty works is you.

YOU…Your Own Unwillingness

If you could somehow shake that unwilling spirit, then you can do it.

Oh, that’s not you?

Then it must be. . .

YOU. . . Your Own Unworthiness

That is the pitiful self image that says that you are not worthy of doing good because you know that you are of no earthly good.  Our Bibles tell us that we are a “new creation” based upon the work of the Lord.  We are worthy!

So, you still think that’s not you?

How about. . .

YOU. . . Your Own Unfaithfulness

You just don’t believe that God can use you in such a way.  You don’t believe that you can be a blessing, especially since you are in the need of a blessing yourself.  Elijah was fed by ravens by a brook, and then he was fed by an impoverished widow.  There was another widow who gave all that she had when she placed two mites in the offering.

Get YOU out of the way and let God have His way.

Sit YOU down and set yourself up to be a blessing to someone.

Give YOU his walking papers and give God an open opportunity to use you like He’s never used you before.

He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God? – Micah 6:8 (NASB)

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The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt,

their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.

– Psalm 14:1 (NIV)

Some recent Hollywood cinema attractions have been aimed
at the Christian audience.  God Is Not Dead and Noah are two box office blockbusters that have been gaining a lot of ground in Christian circles.  One is anything but a biblical based account of one of the most well known biblical characters of the Old Testament next to David, Moses and Abraham, while the other is definitely geared towards Christians and seekers alike.

We have been here before.

The Passion of Christ swept us all up into a frenzy a few years back.  It went so far as to even go authentic with language and use English subtitles in order to maintain the integrity of the New Testament’s usage of the Greek language.  It caused a media frenzy.  It caused an uproar among atheists.  It caused much discussion on the depth of sacrifice that Jesus endured for our salvation.  It hit right at the core of the soul’s dichotomy between humanity and holiness, total assurance  and total depravity.  It hit us all with shock value and made us look once again at the life and times of Jesus as well as His sacrificial work on the cross on Calvary.

We saw a similar stir to a lesser degree with Kirk Cameron in Fireproof  (2008) and Courageous (2011).  Unlike Noah and The Passion, these were made by Christians and presented in a manner that was not offensive but undoubtedly had Christian values and principles oozing out of scene after scene.  Outreach Magazine hosted movie discussions in theaters and churches all across the country with its church and para-church partners.  Other faith-based groups hosted viewing nights as well.  We got caught up in these movies and they offered us an opportunity to share the Good News in an environment where people could talk about Christianity without someone jumping on the defense on either side.

Noah is nothing short of artistic license at best.  It makes Noah into a totally different man than the one that many of us came to know through Sunday School lessons.  Sadly, it has been publicly shared that the intent of the movie was not to portray the biblical account of Noah but a very secular interpretation of him. (SMH in the name of Jesus and everything holy!)

God is Not Dead on the other hand, is the type of movie that allows us to walk along with those who dwell in logic and philosophy with our Bibles and history books open at the same time.  It offers us an opportunity to have an open dialogue about what can be done and how much we can explore beyond what we have heard from the pulpit or in Sunday School to truly defend the Gospel.

We are under attack as Christians.  If you did not know that, just go to your local movie theater.  It’s right there on the big screen before your eyes.

 

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5 And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” 6 So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully. 7 But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, “He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.” – Luke 19:5-7 (NKJV)

Let’s just say it like this.  In the Gospel of Luke, we see Jesus engaging in some intimate interactions with some sinners.  Similarly, He goes to the house of Levi the tax collector and dines with other tax collectors and sinners.  What is surprising is not the invitation itself.  What is truly surprising is the response of people to the Lord’s invitation.

In Luke 19:6, Zacchaeus is said to have moved hastily “and received Him joyfully.” In Mark, Levi and his friends sat with Jesus and His followers.  This was in response to Levi (Matthew) following Jesus after His initial invitation to follow Him, leaving all of his tax table and other wares behind.  In Luke, it is reported that the tax collector hosted a large feast; “. . .  And there were a great number of tax collectors and others who sat down with them.” In fact, the Samaritan woman who encountered Jesus at the well went out and shared her experience with others.  And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all that I ever did.” Thus, Jesus’ invitation prompted these people to invite others to join them.  Therefore, the invitation inspired them to take action one way or another.

Others responded with despise for Jesus.  In fact, some exhibited such piety that they despised Jesus more than the tax collectors or others.  Pharisees could not get beyond His fellowship with such defiled people.  Other folks just couldn’t believe that a holy man could have fellowship with sinners.   That was definitely the other side of the coin when it came to such a public invitation.

So what do you think? Could you be part of the joyful reception of the Lord’s invitation to the outsiders and outcasts of your community and social order? Or,  do you feel inclined to indict others for their efforts to get down and dirty among the “least of these?”

Pray about it.

Think it over.

You never know what the Lord may bring your way today.

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18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:18-20 (ESV)

Many Christians have heard this passage referred to as the Great Commission.  It is filled with the work that Christians must do within this world to go out and make disciples.  It is oftentimes utilize to inspire us to get up and go out to spread the Word.  Yet, let us be careful to take heed of the actions that this passage requires of us.

  • Go. . . We need to see that the Lord calls us to “go” based on His authority that He speaks of in verse 18.  It is logical that we go based on His authority and lordship, but also based on His power, not our own.
  • Make. . . All of our going has an end result in mind.  All of our spreading and sharing should lead to a final objective.  Our objective is to “make disciples of all nations.”  In other words, we need to make disciples everywhere we go.
  • Baptizing. . . Baptism is a symbolic union of the believer with the Savior.  Our baptisms serve as an indication of the increase in unions that occur as we go out and do the work.  Baptizing is a sign of salvation having taken place.
  • Teaching. . . Introducing someone to Christ is only the starting point.  Once someone has accepted Christ as Savior, then he or she must be taught in the way of Christ to live for Christ and to live like Christ.

Remember, we are making disciples of the Lord.  We are not making converts to church but to Christ.  We are not making disciples of our denomination.  We are making disciples and that requires us to take action.

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He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son

– Colossians 1:13 (ESV)

We have been saved.

Our deliverance has come through Divine intervention in the Son of man who suffered, bled and died for sake, only to rise again from the tomb and conquer death itself to reign and rule this kingdom forever.  He did it to save us and he asked for very little in return other than for us to accept Him as Lord and live under His Word as his servants.

However, He did share a caveat with His followers.

We will suffer for His sake.

Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. – John 15:20 (NKJV)

But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you,delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name’s sake. – Luke 21:12 (NKJV)

Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. – Matthew 5:11 (NKJV)

We may not see it, but many suffer for His sake.  They claim His name in places where they face firing squads and lifelong imprisonment for doing so.  They preach His Word in places where death stares them in the face for uttering a word of the sacred text that others find to be blasphemous.  They walk in His ways in places where they are persecuted, punished and put out due to their newly found joy and freedom.

These are modern day martyrs.  They are not the early church believers of the First Century of whom we read about in Acts.  These are not the famed Apostles of Jesus who endured persecution by the Sanhedrin for speaking in His name.  No, these are men, women and children who were once Hindu, Muslim (Moslem) and countless other faiths prior to coming out of the darkness that Paul speaks of and into the kingdom of the Son of God.  They face terror and treachery, not for fame or glory.  They do so for the sake of the Savior.

For those of us in the United States and other free countries in the West and elsewhere, we must look at all of the freedoms that we take for granted and all of the freedoms that He has granted to us in light of the realization that we do not suffer like these other Christians.  The threat of losing your nonprofit status due to taking a public stance on abortion, immigration or same-sex unions/ marriages is not  persecution.  After all, there was a church that did good works and accepted free will offerings long before there was an IRS that provided an added tax benefit of a write-off for yearly contributions.

Let us renew our vision of working for the Lord.  Let us recharge our spirit of joy and thanksgiving as we exercise our freedoms to spread the Good News with fervor and tenacity.  Let use every ounce of our being to take this charge and calling of Christianity to a higher level of manifestation with prayer and through His power.  Let us awaken American and all of the communities, barrios, ‘hoods and trailer parks within it by a force of faith that sweeps every street and attacks every avenue with the Word of Jesus Christ.  Let us use Bible tracts, billboards, newspaper and magazine ads, Twitter feeds and hashtags, and everything else that we have within our legal means to spark a new spirit for the sake of the Savior.

There are those who still suffer for His name.  We may not see them.  We may never hear of them and their stories.  Yet, we must do our part for the kingdom in His name and for His sake.

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25 And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man wasjust and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. – Luke 2:25-26

36 Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity; 37 and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. 38 And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem. – Luke 2:36-38

Several years ago, I was at a conference with some faith-based leaders and clergy, where one of the breakout sessions placed us in small groups.  There some serious big named theologians and pastors in the small group that I ended up with, but I dare not share any names.  As we entered our brainstorming on our given topic, some discussion came up about the Advent.  The term was repeatedly thrown around and discussed by some, but others simply sat and stared in confusion.  Finally, one of the brethren leaned over and whispered in curiosity, “What is this Advent thing?” I smiled and whispered back,”They’re talking upon Christmas and the arrival of Christ on the scene.  That’s what they mean.” He smiled and eventually joined in the brainstorming session with the rest of us.

Christ’s arrival was an anticipated event.  It had been prophesied.  It had been preached.  It had been predicted.  It had been planned.  It had been purposed.

We have given it many names:

  • Advent
  • Birth of the Lord
  • Nativity
  • Christmas

We have come to look for Christmas as a season rather than a fulfillment of God’s plan.  We struggle and fight with the world to put Christ back into Christmas, erasing and eradicating the marketplace of X-Mas.  We have regulated our recognition of Christmas as a time for doing good works for the poor and needy rather than proclaiming the Good News of His arrival and eventual return.

What if we took on the zeal and dedication of a Simeon and Anna?

What if we did as the psalmist instructed and “waited patiently on the Lord?”

How about we change the scenario and flip the script this Christmas season?

Let’s Speak Christ 

We ought to let our words share about Christ.  We should preach and proclaim Him and His redemptive acts over and over again all throughout this season.  Say something about Him and for Him.

Let’s Show Christ

Believers are unique because they act on their belief.  Let’s go there with folks.  Let’s show the world that we are serious about our beliefs and put them into action.  Giving and helping are not seasonal activities for feeling good about what we have done.  We are to practice good works continually.  Let’s be more like Christ like and do more activities like Christ would do while we are on this earth.

Let’s Serve Christ

We do not do good because we are so good.  We do good because we serve a master who has been so good to us that we cannot help but serve Him for our entire lives while covered by the grace of His blood.  He’s been to good to us.  He’s done too much for us.  Serve our Lord with gladness and with fear and trembling.

Everyone wasn’t waiting for the Christ, the Anointed One, or the Messiah, the Anticipated One.  Some folks had just given up hope.  It had been too long to ever happen in their time.  Look at Simeon and Anna.  They held on and held fast.

Merry Christmas to you and yours.

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