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Posts Tagged ‘outreach’

“More people are coming to Christ now than at any other time in history.” – Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Church

The church has a real responsibility.  It is revealed in the Word of God.  It is real work.  It amounts to the work of people.  People make up the church.  Therefore, the work of the church has plenty to do with the people who come into the church and are touched by the church.

The church has a responsibility to the Lord for how it handles people.  Its ultimate responsibility is to answer to the Lord and His commands of them.  It represents the Lord on this earth.  Its works shed light into the darkness of this world and offers mankind a reason to glorify God the Father in heaven.

The church is called to reach people.  We reach people with people and through people.  We do the work that touches people and impact lives on this side of heaven.

The church is called to receive people.  The Lord adds to the church.  That part is on Him, but we have a responsibility, too.  We are to serve as wise stewards over what He provides for us.  We need to handle what (and who) God gives to us in a manner that blesses God.

“Jesus commanded us to make disciples.” – Ted Haggard

“People need to feel needed.” – Myron Rush

“God has ordained the church as a place of truth.” – Bob Russell

“Ministry is a marathon.” – Rick Warren

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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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 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
– Matthew 9:37-38 (ESV)

Jesus expects us to have compassion on the sight of those who look like sheep without a shepherd.  He also wants us to be discerning about what it takes to the reap the harvest of souls throughout this world.  He knows that our hearts cry out for the very souls of the poor and needy, the ones who do not accept the Lord as Savior and those who never heard His Word.

The Lord has an expectation of us as believers.

He wants us to be more:

  • Ready: The Lord stated the bounty of the harvest.  If we are to harvest souls, we need to be ready to reap.  Our readiness will determine how much and how well we reap what has ripened in its season.  He expects us to be ready.
  • Responsive: The Lord points out that the laborers are few.  In the right season, you will be expected to be responsive.  The appropriate response to the harvest is to get to work and pray.  Work with what the Lord has provided you in your spiritual gifts and resources, but also be sure to pray to the Lord of the harvest for the help that you need for the harvest.  Work and pray as part of your response to the Lord placing you in position to respond to the plentiful harvest.
  • Reliant: The words of Jesus make sense.  We are expected to work in the midst of the harvest.  However, we are also expected to pray and rely upon the Lord of the harvest for who He will send our way and into the harvest.  We cannot simply rely upon what we have in our hands or heads and on our hearts.  We have to rely on God Almighty for all the help that we need for the harvest.  He is the Lord of the harvest and has all things within His power.  We need to become more reliant upon Him throughout the season of the harvest.

 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.
– Mark 16:15 (ESV)

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O taste and see that the LORD is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!- Psalm 34:8

The psalm shares how taking refuge in the Lord can cause one to be blessed.  In fact, it starts this particular verse with an intriguing invitation to “taste and see that the Lord is good.” It is an entreat, starting with “O.” It implores and beseeches the one who reads or hears it read to pay close attention to what is being said.  It calls upon one to open his or her ears and eyes to what is being laid out.

O taste and see. . .

In other words, the psalm writer is beckoning others to come and try the Lord out for themselves.  He doesn’t simply say for others to take his word for it.  He offers others the opportunity to taste and see about the Lord on their own.  He assures them that once they have tasted of what the Lord has to offer that they will see just how good He truly is to those who seek Him.

Beyond everything else, the psalm shares how taking refuge in the Lord can lead to one being blessed by the Lord.  You do not have to keep running around and looking here and there.  Run to the Lord.  Seek refuge in Him.  Go to the Lord.  Flee to Him.  Make haste and come unto Him.  He alone can bless you beyond belief.  God alone can bestow blessing upon you that surpass your own imagination.

Try to recall the last time that you invited someone to taste of the Lord’s goodness and see for themselves.  Offer the invitation to the blessing of a lifetime to someone who may be near and dear to you.  Share it with a perfect stranger.  Put it on your Facebook status.  Tweet it in a direct message to a friend.  You’ve already tasted of His sweetness.  Share it with someone else.

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We need to look at how we present the Gospel.  We need to be mindful of how we share it and spell out what it means to accept Christ as one’s personal Savior.

Yes, we can lead someone down the Romans Road, but it needs to lead them to the cross and to Christ.  That should be the main aim of our Gospel presentation.  Regardless of the format, whether  Bible study, revival, small groups, etc., our focus should remain pointing people to Christ.

Here is an example developed some time ago through Life Path Publications for offering salvation without strings:

Salvation: Study the Romans Road to lead someone to the cross. Romans 10:13
Offered: Without putting what is studied or understood into practice, we are negligent. Romans 10:14-15
Without: Drop those hang-ups about evangelism Matthew 28:19-20
Strings: Share the Gospel of salvation alone.  No pressure needs to be added upon the person.  Scaring someone out of hell is NOT the same as sharing the Gospel that will keep them from an eternity in hell. 1 Corinthians 2:2

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Evangelism is a lot like golf . . .

  • Nothing beats simply making solid contact on a consistent basis
  • The goal is to move forward with every effort
  • You can believe that you are in competition with others when you really aren’t
  • Some challenges are more forgiving than others
  • You had better consider the conditions before you make the wrong move
  • See that every challenge has multiple approaches

 

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For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
– Mark 10:45 (NIV)

Outreach is delivered best personally.  Jesus showed us a personal example of conducting outreach, demonstrating before delegating.  Jesus showed the way.

He called us to serve as ambassadors in His name.  He wants those who know Him personally to introduce others to Him.  He wants us to invite others to join us in union and fellowship with the Lord.

We ought to be one of the active ingredients in the recipe that saves souls.  Our connection with Jesus Christ should serve as a major factor in how we connect others to Jesus Christ.  We proclaim Jesus Christ as our personal Savior.  Since He is so good to us, we should readily share Him with others.

Download one of Life Path’s e-books today and let your light shine!

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Holiday: “A day of festivity or recreation when no work is done.”

Break it down further.  Holiday is derived from the term “holy day.”  Look at it.  It even looks like a compound word.  However, Halloween is even derived from a compound word: “Hallowe’en” or “All Hallow’s Eve.” It marks the evening leading into All Saint’s Day (“All Hallows Day”).  It originally started out about saints and mass related to those who are held in purgatory.  Originally, All Hallows Day was preceded by All Hallows Even. 

Or was it really?

The expansion of Christianity throughout the world was primarily done through the missionary work of the Roman Catholic Church through exploration and colonization.  Part of how the church spread to indigenous people of colonized lands was to utilize existing celebrations and convert the celebrations into Christian holy days.  Halloween was originally a celtic festival of Samhain, called a “festival of the dead.” Combined with mythology and folklore, this special time of the year dates as far back as Roman mythology and the goddess of fruits and seeds. 

Let me give you an “old farm boy” interpretation like my Grandpa Harvey would say it.  What it has to do with is the belief that the fertile soil would be at the discretion of the gods, so the people paid homage to the gods and the dead so that the winter season would not leave the ground unfertile when it came time to plant.  Folks believed that the gods gave the dead dominion over the land in the coming of winter and took every precaution to stay in good standing per se with the dead spirits that might haunt the land or even take the innocent children.  Thus, costumes were introduced to disguise the children in order that the evil spirits would not take them away.  The “treats” were about sacrifices that would please and satisfy the evil spirits.

So fast forward to today.  It’s not a religious holiday at all.  However, churches throughout the nation, even the world, have adapted the holiday in similar fashion to Christmas pageants and Easter celebrations.  It is used for evangelism, outreach and children’s programming.  The modern church has put a positive spin on the occasion.  Use “Tracts for Treats” as a way that you can evangelize within your community during this time and on that day.  Offer input and comments here at this blog so that we can update and upgrade the evangelism guide that has been a timely reminder for us reaching the world through the Word.

Download: Tracts for Treats

Provided by: http://virtualbizcoach.ning.com/

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