Evangelism

Multi-ethnic Group

I once heard someone say that every Christ follower is a missionary or a mission field.  And when you cease to become a missionary – that is, a functioning ambassador for Christ – you become someone else’s mission field.  Whether that’s true or not, one thing is certain: every believer has been given the mandate to impact other lives positively for a living Christ and His gospel.

Yes, that means you, even though you most likely don’t consider yourself a missionary in the classic sense of the word.  But I want to remind you that you quite likely stand on the spiritual shoulders of a first-century Apostle who had this to say:

For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more. To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law though not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law; to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some. I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it (1 Corinthians 9:19-23).

This man dedicated his life to sharing a message of hope, grace and forgiveness for one purpose:  winning.  But not winning in the sense of producing a gaggle of losers in his wake.  No, he said winning meant that those who heard his message became fellow partakers of the good news.  That meant an ongoing relationship.  And when you read the letters Paul wrote, you see that he did that very thing… he kept “partaking” in the gospel with them… showing them its implications, giving and receiving its encouragements.

So what about you?  Who are the potential “fellow partakers” in your world?  Who are the people you are uniquely positioned to influence?

Before you give me that “aw shucks” kick in the dirt or your eyes glass over, let me show you three ways to answer that question.  Answer these three questions and you’ll find three fields of influence in your life: [click to continue…]

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GatheringWhen they were filled, He said to His disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments so that nothing will be lost” (John 6:12)

An interesting instruction from Jesus after the feeding of the 5,000.  And certainly an object lesson.  Jesus wanted his chosen Twelve to see something. To learn.

He returns to this theme a few verses later, when He says in verse 39, “This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.”

Into the lives of these twelve men, Jesus was building the quality of being a gatherer.  And He was starting by showing them something He would actually do for them in the near future.  When Jesus was arrested, they all scattered.  They “forsook Him and fled.”  Yet He gathered them up.

He also sent them to be gatherers of men. [click to continue…]

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Many years ago the cartoon character Cathy expressed the anxiety many people feel this time of year.  She says to her boss:  “My left brain is making lists of people I haven’t sent cards to yet.  My right brain is at the craft store, thinking up creative gifts I could make before Christmas.  My nerves are at the mall, worrying whether I should have gotten the other necktie for my Dad.  My stomach is still at last night’s party begging for more Christmas cookies.  My heart is stuck in traffic somewhere between my mother’s house, my boyfriend’s house, and the adorable man I saw at the post office.”

Her boss asks, “What is it you want, Cathy?”  Cathy replies:  “May what’s left of me sneak home early and take a nap?”

For many people, Christmas has become something other than a celebration.  It’s more like a mission. The holiday, instead of being a holy-day, has become a holocaust.  The celebration has become a sale, “Silent Night” has become replaced with “Walmart Fight.”

And have you noticed how guilty you always seem to feel at Christmas?

You spent too much money, or didn’t spend enough.

You didn’t get everything your kids asked for, or the present wasn’t the right size.

You didn’t give enough to the church or the Salvation Army.

You “put Christ back into Christmas” and were “too spiritual,” or you had too much Santa Claus and reindeer.

Do you ever wish you could just somehow go back and start over?  Football coaches have a good term for this:  they call it going back to the fundamentals.  Let’s give that a try this year.  Let’s make Christmas a celebration again… 100% guilt-free! Click to see a great idea for connecting with people

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For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).

He had my attention at “prosper.”

That’s what He said His plan was.

He’d turn my adversity into a hope and a future.

No more bondage.

No longer dogged by a shameful past.

Just the sure promise – it’s gonna get better.

Then He threw me a curve. [click to continue…]

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The Delivery Room

by Andy Wood on August 22, 2012

in Five LV Laws, LV Cycle, Principle of Increase, Waiting

It’s a busy place – a hubbub of activity as people move swiftly to their assigned places.  Timing is critical. Everyone must be ready at the appropriate time, and yet few would dare to hasten the process.  There is tension, mixed with great anticipation.  But above all, there is joy.

Host of a strange mixture of humanity, this place.  Highly-trained professionals and knowledgeable assistants mingle freely with ordinary folks.  Anxious fathers and burdened mothers await an event that can change their lives forever.  The brilliant and the simple, the wealthy and the poor, the veteran and the newcomer all watch with wonder as they witness the miracle of birth.  No matter how many times they’ve seen it, each time it’s new and fresh.  And there is great, great joy.

Make no mistake about it:  this is a work place.  In the midst of the video recording, the spectating, and the bystanders waiting in the wings, this is a place of… dare I say it?… labor. [click to continue…]

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What turned my head was the sign for Aunt Beaut’s pan-fried chicken. 

Why is it when God wants to get my attention, the easiest way to do it involves chicken?  My belt really is a leather fence around a chicken graveyard.

Anyway, last week we were in downtown Charlotte on vacation.  And there on the corner of West Trade and Tryon Street was the King’s Kitchen.  Open for lunch or dinner, the restaurant trumpets “New Local Southern Cuisine.”

They had me at “Southern.”

True, I can get fried chicken anywhere.  But when was the last time you went into a restaurant that had collard greens, cream corn, and butter beans all on the menu for lunch?

So I staked the place out, and the next day my wife and I walked the block from our hotel to sample the King’s Kitchen for lunch.

I immediately knew something was different about this place when I read the quotation on the wall just inside the door [click to continue…]

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How’s this for a welcome to a pastor’s study? 

NOTICE

The Pastor of Calvary Church Receives Sinners and Eats With Them.

Any Questions?

Now there’s a guy who’s either long on courage or short on brains!  But he knows his New Testament.  And if he does it in the right spirit, he also understands something about the searching heart of God.  

In answer to the question hanging on the pastor’s door, Jesus once told a story.  [click to continue…]

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So Send I WHO?

by Andy Wood on November 18, 2009

in Executing Your Plan, LV Cycle, Tense Truths

map and time

(Tense Truth:  The perfect truth of the gospel was placed into the hands of a group of people whose lives were a complete mess.  Jesus knew this, but commissioned them anyway.)

Picture the scene in that upper room on the day of the Resurrection.  Rumors and testimonies are flying!  A strange mixture of fear, joy, and disbelief.  Suddenly, according to John’s account, the Lord Jesus appears and says, “Peace to you; as the Father has sent me, so I’m sending you” (John 20:21). 

Hello and head out!  Victory and a vision.  A Conqueror with a commission.  And now these disciples would duplicate on earth what was first transacted in heaven.  “The Father sent me.  In the same way, I am sending you.” 

But wait a minute.  Before we glory in our visions of Pentecost, it would do us good to remember who it was the Lord was talking to.  So send I . . . WHO?  [click to continue…]

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The Catch

by Andy Wood on September 11, 2009

in Turning Points

(A Turning Point Story)

bass 2“So I guess you’ll write something about this in your article,” my dad said. 

“Probably,” was my reply.  Probably, indeed.  I don’t know what you do with your fish stories, but mine wound up in the freezer.  And somewhere in heaven, Jonah must have been smiling.

Long ago now – about 15 years – I took the kids fishing.  This trip was a lot more fun previous ones because they were able to bait their own hooks.  All totaled, they caught 18 fish, and loved every minute of it.  I just caught one.  But I had no complaints. 

“Asking to be caught.”  That was my interpretation of what Daddy called “guarding his nest.”  I called him Big Boy, and for good reason.  He was the biggest bass I had ever seen in all my years fishing the family pond.  And what was most amazing was that I actually saw him!  Hovering in the water there, about three feet from the dam, he just stayed in one position. 

Silently, breathlessly, I flirted with Big Boy for an hour. [click to continue…]

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I expected to learn some things and be reminded of some things when I made my first trip to Thailand.  I was not disappointed.  To put an exclamation point on our trip, here are some things I learned along the way…

humidityYou may think you know what humidity is, but you’re wrong.

My wife had one unending childhood adventure.

Churches everywhere are made up of humans, with human needs, human potential, and human flaws.

Pastors may not speak the same language, but the leadership issues they face are the same worldwide.

smilesIt’s amazing the trust you can gain with a sincere smile. [click to continue…]

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