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Archive for the ‘street ministry’ Category

. . . I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.  I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.
– 1 Corinthians 9:22-23 (NIV)
“Let us long to be used in the conversion of sinners.” – Charles H. Spurgeon

The people of God are called to make a difference in this world.  That’s why the Lord called us salt and light.  We have a calling to make the world a different environment than a realm of sin and debauchery.  He desires us to have a positive impact upon others by serving Him through our daily interactions within this world.  We are to live in contact with the world, both believers and others.  The Lord does not leave us on earth to live in isolation like the Essenes of ancient times, hiding ourselves from others of this world in order to remain pure among ourselves.  We are to live in this world.  We are to be in close contact and proximity with the world around us, making a difference in the world before the very eyes of those who are full of doubt and unbelief.  We, as Christians in this society, must serve as the very salt and light necessary to purify what has become polluted and penetrate the darkness.
God wants us in contact with others.  God wants us actively making connections with the people who live in both doubt and darkness, the ones who live without hope.  Jesus said that we should let our light shine so brightly that others would see our good works and glorify the Father (Matthew 5:16).


In order to connect with them, we have to make contact with them.  We have to shop with them, play sports with them, and hang out with them.  We have to interact with them.  We have to hang out with and be around them.  We have to show them our light as the light of the world.

I know you have heard some interpret Paul’s words of light having no fellowship with darkness as to mean that we should not have anything to do with so-called sinners, but that is an extreme interpretation of that biblical text.  How can we impact a dying world without ever interacting with it? The onus is on us.  We are to share the gospel with the hopeless and doubtful.  It is up to us to reach those who do not know the love of Christ with a message of hope and a ministry of reconciliation.

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At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God.  All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?”
– Acts 9:20-21 (NIV)

When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus. – Acts 9:26-27 (NIV)

Look at Paul during his transition from persecutor to preacher.  He was constantly met with opposition to his change.  People repeatedly questioned him.  After all, he had been on his way to persecute the church more than what he had already done.  In their opinions, he was still “the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem.”  From where they stood, he was still a persecutor of the church.

Thank God that Paul didn’t fall for it.  If he had wimped out and succumbed to their views, he would have never accepted going forth with the message as a missionary.  He would have wallowed in self-absorbed pity and kept to himself.  He would never have raised his voice beyond his original detractors.

God inspires us to go beyond the thoughts and ideas of the very people around us.  He inspires us to impact others beyond our family and friends.  He offers us fuel to fortify us against the negative perceptions of the people that we may very well be trying to help and who act like we are not worthy of offering such help.

Think for a minute back to 1992 and the riots in Los Angeles that immediately followed the verdict of the Rodney King trial.  Many will recall the looting and burning of many parts of the city of Los Angeles.  There was Reginald Denny, the white man pulled from his truck and beaten in the streets.  The media made that gruesome footage part of our daily diet as it replayed it again and again. 

However, few will recall the name of the man who stepped in to help Denny.  Bobby Green was his name.  He witnessed the mayhem and decided that enough was enough.  He made the trek about a half a mile from his home to where Denny was being beaten on live television and saved the man’s life.  It is a shame that we cannot recall such a man as Bobby Green, but we surely must understand that we, too, must impact this very world where evil gets splashed on the front page and scandal makes the eleven o’clock news broadcast

Imagine what breaking news it would be if we all started impacting our world because we were inspired to do so.  Don’t simply go with the flow.  At times, God will direct you to simply go against the grain.  Bobby Green did so in our times.  Paul did so in his times.  John the Baptist did so.  Jesus did so. 

Let yourself become inspired to impact others.  Let God use you for you to do so.

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4 When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” 5 But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.” 6 And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. 7 So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. 8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” 9 For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken; 10 and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.” 11 So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him. – Luke 5:4-11 (NKJV)

Evangelism is a lot like fishing:

  • You have to go out to bring them in
  • You cannot catch any more than your net can handle
  • You can spend all day out there and never get a nibble
  • You have to exercise patience
  • You can use a lot of bait and lures but never catch many fish
  • Your best option is to get up early and go where the fish are really biting

Get more evangelism tips from Life Path Ministries online.

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Key question: Have you built a ministry that builds up people to be better servants of the Lord?

Take your time.  Think about all of the people who serve under you.  Let things play back in your mind. 

We need people experiencing edification.  We need people being built up within our midst.  We need to get busy building folks up.

Why?

Their responsibility is to equip God’s people
to do his work and build up the church,
the body of Christ.
– Ephesians 4:12 (NLT)

We are called to do so.  We have been commissioned to do so.  It is our calling.  Let us live up to it.

Give the people who come to you an extreme experience.  Offer an edifying experience.  Take people to the edge by standing on the cutting edge as opposed to the status quo.  Let people experience Christianity beyond the stuffy, Sunday morning sermonized Savior that seems so distant that He could not have possibly walked on earth.  Give them the real deal when you share about the Savior.  Show them the Jesus who saves.  Share the Jesus who sacrificed for the sinful.  Provide an opportunity to experience Jesus in spirit and in truth.
Look at some examples of radical Christianity. . .

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“We have to take initiative where we are, not where we have not yet been.” – Oswald Chambers

Imagine helping everyone else except for those whom you love.  You offer strangers and others more than your own children and loved ones, even your closest friends.  That would sound sort of strange, right? That would make you seem like some sort of hypocrite.

You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me. – Matthew 26:11 (NLT)

We need to stop overlooking the needs that go unaddressed right around us daily instead of seeking to go off to some distant land and do the same good that we never ever attempted at home.  We should go abroad and carry the Good News of Jesus Christ.  That is certainly the truth.  However, we do not need to leave needs unmet right at our own doorstep.

What was it that James said about true religion?

Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. – James 1:27 (KJV)

We need to start right where we are.  We need to start doing good works right where we live every single day.  We need to do our part to keep things in order right where we live.  Our works should start with what we have done on our home turf.  Then, as we build up those around us by equipping and empowering them, we can branch out from there.

On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.” – Acts 1:4 (NIV)

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. – Acts 1:8 (NIV)

Until the Lord directs you, don’t leave where you are today.  Get busy doing His work with His Word right there.  Stay on task.  Once He has developed you, He will direct you.  When He has readied you for branching out, He will tap you for further service.  He wants you working on His good works in His name.  Your best bet is to start where He has planted you.  He has put you here for a reason.

You may not be able to go to the ends of the world and do every good work, but you have somewhere to start.  You something to offer.  You can get started right here.  You can grow as you do good.  Let doing good works do you some good, too.  Let it be right where you are today.

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In 1967, our vision was to reach Los Angeles. This vision broadened to include California, then all of America, then the entire world.  – from The History of Victory Outreach International

As Christians, we are to be in a position of ambassadors of Christ to others.  We can be a bridge between people and the Savior.  We need to be messengers who share the message of the Good News about the victory that is complete in Christ.

Victory Outreach started with a novel concept.  They sought to reach the city of Los Angeles with the gospel.  That grew and expanded since 1967. 

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. – Acts 1:8 (ESV)

What if you simply set your focus on reaching a city or region for Christ, spreading the news about the victory that is available through Him? It is possible.  It is doable.  It provides us with a focal point for the work of the ministry.  We can do more for the Lord with a focus that can help us grow from there.  We can be voices of His victory on the street corners of metropolitans like Los Angeles or we can speak loudly about His victory in a rustic church out in a rural area.  Location matters as a starting point.  Location should not stifle us from doing the work of the ministry.

Where is your Jerusalem? What serves as your home base or headquarters? Start right there.

What is your Judea or Samaria? Identify surrounding areas near your locale to spread the news of Christ’s victory.  Use these as key points on your map of ministry.  These will serve as the points where you have identified the need for both the presence and preaching of gospel-believing people.

. . . and to the end of the earth

God will send you where He has for you to serve Him.  He may start you out in one place, but He may send you further and further away from “home.” He wants to use you.  He start you out right where you are and grow you right before the eyes of your family and friends.  He could also send you away to develop you far away from all that you have known.  He just wants you to serve as a voice of His victory and the victory that you have in this life through Him.

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“We cannot expect people to be saved by our messages

unless we really try to instruct them by what we say to them.”

 – C.H. Spurgeon

Let’s do something different in 2012.  Let’s try to become a little more radical, even revolutionary, with how we share the Word of God with others.  I do not mean for us to get people in an uproar or upset.  I dare not mean for us to simply cause people to become rebels.  I simply implore and beseech us to revolutionize how we live out the gospel of the Lord.

Take an example from some of the modern-day revolutionaries out there:

  • John Burke: The Soul Revolution and No Perfect People Allowed are books by Burke that can help us see how to radically alter our approach to church and Christianity.
  • Brennan Manning: Author of The Ragamuffin Gospel, Manning shares that we cannot serve as self-appointed gatekeepers in this timely treasure of a grace-oriented perspective on the Christian faith.
  • Shane Claiborne: His aptly titled The Irresistible Revolution sent shock waves throughout the Christian community as he shared about the Simple Way and his personal reflections on the Word and the ways of the world in war and peace, even what we have come to accept as love.
  • Francis Chan: “Jesus asks for everything,” Chan wrote in Crazy LoveHe gives us a straight talk on what we should be in Christ and where we fall short if we do not submit to the Lord.
“Mother Theresa always said, “Calcuttas are everywhere if only we have eyes to see. Find your Calcutta.”
Shane Claiborne, The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical
 
Let’s revolutionize our ministry in 2012.  Be blessed.

 

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