Friday, September 25, 2015

Evangelism and Why We Struggle

Most people struggle, not with being a good person, but with sharing our faith in Christ which has now allowed us to live a life of righteousness that is acceptable to God.  Most would say that our goal is to point people to Jesus Christ but yet they often never verbally share the Gospel message (that we all have a sin problem that only the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus can cure).  Jesus Christ came to save sinners and bring them into a relationship with Him.  Romans 10:17 tells us that, "Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God." Our responsibility is to share what Christ did for the sake of sinful man.  God's Word and His Spirit can work mightily through our faithfulness and willingness to share the Gospel.

We can often hit roadblocks and  fail to live and share the Gospel.  I'm not saying that we fail in going to church but that we fail in sharing our faith with a lost and dying world.  The church (you and I) can be very busy with nice and wonderful things that serve the saints but the urgency is still taking the Gospel to our dying community without Christ.  What will we do personally about this?

Thom Rainer wrote about various roadblocks that we encounter as a church and I believe it is worth considering:

1.    Christians have no sense of urgency to reach lost people.
2.     Many Christians and church members do not befriend and spend time with lost persons.
3.     Many Christians and church members are lazy and apathetic.
4.     We are more known for what we are against than what we are for.
5.     Our churches have an ineffective evangelistic strategy of “you come” rather than “we go.”
6.     Many church members think that evangelism is the role of the pastor and paid staff.
7.     Church membership today is more about getting my needs met rather than reaching the lost.
8.     Church members are in a retreat mode as culture becomes more worldly and unbiblical.
9.     Many church members don’t really believe that Christ is the only way of salvation.
10. Our churches are no longer houses of prayer equipped to reach the lost.
11. Churches have lost their focus on making disciples who will thus be equipped and motivated to reach the lost.
12. Christians do not want to share the truth of the gospel for fear they will offend others. Political correctness is too commonplace even among Christians.
13. Most churches have unregenerate members who have not received Christ themselves.
14. Our churches have too many activities; they are too busy to do the things that really matter.
       Please pray for someone today who does not know Jesus Christ as Savior that you would have the opportunity to share Christ with that person.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Spiritually Parched

There have been times in my life that I have been spiritually parched and have even become dull towards the things of God.  Those times were typically marked by a lack of focus and a lack of desire to maintain a relationship with Him.  I suppose one could say that I was walking in the wilderness of life with no real purpose for existence--I was living for the moment and for myself.  Those were times that I lost sight of my high calling as a believer and shifted the focus from Christ to me.

As I study church history, going back to the reformation, God worked mightily on behalf of those who sought Him with a pure heart.  It was through those who were willing to set their own agendas aside and hear from God that great things were done.  The reformers and preachers that were involved in the great revivals testified of God's blessing due to a humbling of His people, praying for God to change them, yielding to Him in obedience, and then God added His blessing.  It was really nothing magical; God operates on the principles set forth in His Word.  Many times we as believers are guilty of wanting the garbage in our lives to stay there while we offer our sacrifices of praise to the Lord.  We often want God's favor and yet we fail to understand what He wants from us (holiness).  God is clear that he desires our obedience first and foremost and not our burnt offerings as a result of our disobedience (1 Sam. 15:22).  Great things happen when God's people humble themselves and seek the face of God (2 Chron. 7:14).  We will remain spiritually parched apart from God.

Jesus said in John 4:14, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” There are no substitutes to what we find in Jesus Christ alone.  Jesus Christ came in order that we might have life and that we might have it abundantly (John 10:10).  Please do not misunderstand the life that Christ gives.  He call us to a life of denying our own desires and a life of "taking up our cross" and following Him.  This is a matter of choosing to obey Him each day and focusing on His glory and not ours.

As long as we are pursuing the things of this world we will remain spiritually parched--we can expect heartache, frustration, and disappointments. God wants to revive our hearts for His glory.  Could we humble ourselves today,  seek His forgiveness for our disobedience, and love Him with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength?  This is indeed the way to an abundant life.

"Please revive our hearts O God that we might make YOUR name GREAT!"