Can you spare a little time to pray? Can you dedicate the next 31 days to seeing God be glorified all around the world, in every nation, among every people? This 31 day prayer guide will tell you everything you need to know to pray effectively for just that.
When Jesus told his disciples to go make more disciples (you can read his Great Commission in Matthew Matthew 28:16-20), He told them to go to every nation. The world translated nation is actually ethne, from which we get the word ethnic. I like the Wycliffe translation: “Therefore go ye, and teach all folks…” We call them people groups—a group of people with the same cultural identity, separated from other groups with different cultural identities because of their differences—languages, customs, socio-economic status, caste, or even a physical or political barrier such as a mountain range or closed border. Continue reading
Pots of blooming bulbs greet me as I walk into Walmart. Last month’s heart-shaped boxes of chocolate have been replaced with jelly beans, pastel peeps, and chocolate rabbits. Displays at the end of the aisles feature stuffed bunnies and lambs. And at church, there’s the annual push to invite guests to the Easter service.
This year, Easter (aka “Resurrection Sunday”) falls on March 27. That’s only a couple of weeks away. If we are going to invite anyone to church, we’d better hop to it.
TRUE or FALSE: the Bible tells us to pray for people to be saved.
Have your answer? Probably, like me, you read this question and answered, “Of course we should pray for people to be saved!” I thought it was totally obvious, until our pastor said something that challenged my belief.
He told us, “God never said that we should pray for the harvest. We are to pray for workers!”
When telling someone else about your faith, what do you think is most important? A clear, concise presentation of the Gospel? Good theology? Answers to all their questions? An exciting testimony?
No question, all those are important. As the church, we’ve put a lot of effort into making sure we can explain the Good News in a way a non-Christian can understand. We have tracts, websites, and billboards. Churches and neighborhood Bible studies describe themselves as seeker-friendly. We take classes in evangelism, learn the “Roman Road” verses and memorize John 3:16. Fans hold up signs at ball games and players tattoo Scripture on their arms, crediting God with every win.
With all the witnessing going on, you’d think the church would be growing by leaps and bounds—but it isn’t, at least here in the U.S. Why not? Could it be that we’re going about evangelism all wrong?
Most Christians would agree that it is supremely important to win converts. We were rescued from hell, and it is imperative that we share what God has done for us so that others can be rescued too.
Likewise, most Christians would agree that evangelism is one of, if not the, hardest job they’ve ever faced. Just the thought of it causes our pulse to rise and our stomachs to churn.
I’ve struggled with the issue of evangelism for every one of the 39 years I’ve been a believer. Maybe I remember too well how disrespected I felt for all those years before I met Christ, when Christians tried all sorts of ways to convert me. I was misled, insulted, ridiculed, yelled at, argued with… and none of those things moved me one step closer to faith. In fact, they probably delayed my decision for several years.
A couple of missionaries in Cambodia wanted to do something to encourage the church they had planted, give them more credibility in their community, and provide opportunities for evangelism. Seeing the health needs around them, they decided to bring a team of doctors and nurses from the United States to serve the Cambodians.
The medical team arrived, and everything when according to plan. They visited Cambodian families in their homes, treated their medical needs, and shared the Gospel. May responded, accepting Jesus and agreeing to come to church.
I’m sure the Americans went home and gave a glowing report about the great work God had done in Cambodia.
Picture this: two extremely “clean cut” young men on bicycles, dressed in nearly identical blue suits, skinny ties, white shirts. They’ve each got a leather binder under one arm, and they’re pedaling from house to house, knocking on doors.
At this point, you’re probably pretty confident that I’m talking about either Jehovah’s Witnesses or Mormons. Both groups are noted for their determined door-to-door evangelism. Perhaps as a result, the Jehovah’s Witnesses can be described as the fastest-growing religion in America (as a percentage of their relatively small membership.)
Most evangelical churches don’t expect their members to knock on doors in an effort to win converts. (I’d look pretty awful in a navy blue suit, not to mention the mandatory haircut.) But I vividly remember my freshman year in college, when two upper class students from Campus Crusade came to my dorm room. An ardent atheist at the time, I’m embarrassed to confess that I wasn’t exactly cordial.
Yay! I convinced my son-in-law Jeremy to write another guest post for me. Have you experienced anything similar in your school, now or in the past?
Nothing is worse than having to sit through a class you cannot stand, as an unfair professor can make your life a living hell. But now that an entire season has passed and I’ve had ample time to recover and even procrastinate, I feel the need to follow up on something. Several months ago I wrote a short, satirical essay [College: Where You’re Liberal or You’re Wrong] about my first college class, and how it turned out to be a waste because my professor, Mr. R, was a hypocritical bigot.
Although much of the same abuse which I discussed in that paper persisted for the remainder of the class, eventually Mr. R and I found some common ground and slowly developed a mutual respect for one another. Considering his attitude towards me and my beliefs, the fact that the two of us were ever able to see somewhat eye-to-eye is actually rather remarkable, so I (driven by the gentle, yet persistent, persuasion of my lovely mother-in-law) felt it would be good to share a little bit about how that came to be. The following is a random assortment of our exchanges which brought us to our somewhat common ground.