March 25, 2020 at 4:51 am #12482
As I mentioned in a previous post, although the present time seems like a bad idea to talk about evangelising due to the social restrictions, I am nevertheless going to post it now because of its relationship to end times bible prophecy and the mounting fear out there.
There is much discussion as Christians in these last days in debating the timing of the rapture, the identity of the anti-Christ and all sorts of end times issues but, as important and these issues are, are we prioritising things correctly such as the power of prayer. I would now like to throw Evangelism into the mix and suggest how vital that is in these last days. It is vital to those who are unsaved in that they need to be told how to escape Gods wrath to come, whether temporal or eternal, and for us as Christians since we will receive great rewards at the Bema seat judgement.
I go out evangelising by myself two days a week in various towns in the South West of England. I don’t preach out loud but rather hand out gospel tracts and engage people in conversation when I can. A few months ago I got talking to a man who was actually a Born again Christian and was very encouraging to me as many have been over the years. Many Christians, from various countries, have stopped to pray for me there and then and I really appreciate it. Anyway this particular Christian man revealed to me that he had thought about evangelising but he said that he was a little bit fearful or overwhelmed with the notion. I then confessed to him that 10 years ago that’s exactly where I was. I saw Christians evangelising in town centres and I would think to myself : “well God bless them for that..but it’s not really for me”. How wrong I was !.
About 9 years ago I decided, or more accurately, the Holy Spirit prompted me to go along the beach area where I was living at the time and hand out a fistful of gospel tracts. I had no intention at that time of engaging people in conversation but to stay underneath the parapet !. After a while people would say “oh what’s this” and I would say “it’s just a little leaflet about the bible”. I now often follow that up with “and I’m not a Jehovah Witness either” which most often than not gets a laugh. Anyway before I knew it I was talking to people about the Bible and sharing the gospel with them. It was as if God set me on a path, through the strength of the Holy Spirit, by stealth. (I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Phil 4:13). Since then the Lord has used me to lead many people to Him and I can honestly say that it is one of the greatest joys of my life. What breaks my heart is that in most evangelical churches there are probably a handful (maybe only a couple) who have been given the gift of evangelism (Eph 4:11) but it is not being tapped into, encouraged or cultivated by the Pastors & Elders. We do not need to go on special training courses or conferences to be evangelists, we have the word of God in our hearts and in our mouths. The gospel is Child-like simple but having a good working knowledge of end-times bibles prophecy is a bonus which is why I am posting this here. Over the last 2 to 3 years especially I have noticed a marked increase in the level of fear out there amongst people and they are genuinely afraid at the changes and violence in their own neighbourhoods, local cities, countries and in the world at large. What we as Christians need to do is change that fear to a Godly fear and that Godly fear into a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. I am constantly amazed and still challenged and somewhat convicted by how peoples appearances can mislead us. I have witnessed to really tough intimidating looking men and seen them reduced to tears over the gospel message and then I walk a few yards up the street and speak to a little 80 year old lady who seems to have such a hardened heart. How sad.
I wont go into details here of how I go about engaging people in conversation because this probably isn’t the forum to do that but I thought that it would be appropriate to share with my Brothers & Sisters here what a great benefit the study of bible prophecy has been to me in talking with people. I can tell them of specific bible passages which are so in line with todays newspaper headlines. Many people are fascinated and its a great platform to launch into the gospel and a conviction of their own sin before a Holy God. I am often quoting 1 Tim 6…”He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen“. I am resistant to entering into long drawn out debates with people about evolution and creation. I can debate this subject but people sometimes are just looking for an argument or wasting time, instead I think its important to lift up the overwhelming proof and authenticity of God’s word and provide an opening for the gospel to be communicated. Ecc 3:11 says that “God has set eternity in their hearts” so with this together with Romans 1-2 teaches us that mankind already knows that there is a God and that they are eternal beings and that’s why so many people have said to me things like “I get a sense that when I die that’s not an end of me, I believe that there is something beyond but I don’t know what”.
Can I let my fellow Brothers & Sisters here know that we all have the authority, power and the commanding to tell them what that “what” is and my earnest prayer is that God will add the desire and calling also. Having a knowledge of End times bible prophecy is a great advantage in this.
March 25, 2020 at 9:19 am #12493
Glad you started this evangelism thread, David. I admire you for setting aside 2 days a week of your time to do street evangelism! I will be praying for you!
What I found helps a lot is to pray ahead of time before heading out … not only for safety on the roads but for the Lord to use me that day and to send the right people to me to share the Good News with. This made it much easier because He faithfully does send them … I found them to be extremely chatty. Also I never use Bible Tracts with the church name stamped on the back because 99% of the time people will not take it. So I order them directly from the distributor so the backside remains blank and just has a sample prayer written.
Experiencing the same here with the social distancing … it’s far and few opportunities now. The only people at the grocery stores that will talk to me are the stockers & cashiers. Most shoppers are running around crazy trying to find what they need before it runs out. The only shoppers that will bravely talk are only asking “where did you get the toilet paper??!!!” and before I could finish “in the frozen food aisle in front of the Jimmy Dean sausage patties” they did a double take … “yep the cases are in THAT aisle” … then they are off racing to get a package of 8 rolls. The store stockers will talk for about a minute or 2 when I ask about when the next shipment will come in but they are also very busy so I don’t want to get them in trouble by keeping them away from their work.
March 25, 2020 at 9:39 am #12495
I think the greatest lesson here for us all, is to be led by the Spirit. This way His time and ours won’t be wasted!
Remembering in the day of the Apostles they had to be led. And some were told or forbidden to go into certain areas. Most probable to narrow down and more directly get them where the Lord wanted them to be! Always good to know where to sow seeds!
Again, I have never had a strong urging for evangelism. Though I have never shied away from speaking about the Lord. I lost my last job because my bosses said I spoke too much about God!
And in a new job that I have now, I offered prayer to my boss at any time for any reason. And recently hooked up with a fellow believer!
March 25, 2020 at 1:10 pm #12503TammieParticipant
David – you will now be prayed for by name, as the Holy Spirit has given you opportunity. I began spending time to pray to the Lord of the harvest, to send out laborers into His harvest, now your name will fill some of that, as does Geri’s. A few years ago, I was heavily burdened looking at all the cars on the I -95 in DC, and just began praying for each of the individuals in those cars that God would open their eyes to His truth, this is on going for me when I am driving. Amazing how many distractions are thrown my way, but to persevere. I have. Not felt led to go as you do, but I have learned to speak to folks when led. Recently and because of current events, I encouraged my Pastor husband to begin streaming his messages and he is currently working on his second one, so now I pray for those who locate them. He is preaching thru Philippians currently. It is truly amazing how God has increased the witness around the world.
March 25, 2020 at 9:10 pm #12525Patricia N.Participant
March 25, 2020 at 10:01 pm #12530
Directness takes boldness. But in the event boldness is lacking I just listen and offer to pray for situations in peoples lives.
Talking about life in generalities to begin with you can share personal struggles and explain how the Lord helped you to get through them! One little ploy is to offer metaphors which point to the Lord.
If someone lets say is having relationship issues, I bring up first loves and how special they are to all of us. Perhaps bringing to mind how at some point in time we all desired another’s love and attention. And that no matter how hard we tried for them to reciprocate our efforts always fell to the ground.
Then I point out that that must be how it is with God. He makes every effort to be noticed and appreciated by all of us and it also simply falls on the ground! God is lonely for our hearts, but we just don’t feel the same way about Him!
March 25, 2020 at 10:49 pm #12534
Before the virus outbreak … if I met people in the grocery stores … they will for the most part complain about the high cost of living, food or whatever. So I let them talk and then I will take out a Bible tract and say well, I got something that is free and its eternal and then will share the Good News.
If someone is holding the door for me … I will said thank you, I appreciate you holding that door open for me! Hey, I got something for you … I then give them a Bible Tract and say did you know Jesus is the door of heaven … and quickly share the ABC’s.
If the person is sad and complaining about their troubles I tell them I will be praying for them and then I say I know Jesus cares for you and wants to do a miracle and change your life around and then I share the Good News as well.
If I see someone who is handicap or injured with a broken leg or arm or old and struggling … I try to help them by reaching for the item on the shelf. Or if they are complaining about their aches and pains, or health condition, etc. I respond with yep, our broken down bodies are frail and I’m even feeling the aches more and more each passing day … but the good news is … in heaven we will have brand new bodies free from all pain and sickness. Then I talk about Jesus and present the Good News.
If someone just lost a loved one and is bitter and angry towards God, I say I understand your heartache … I lost a few loved ones myself (my mom died in 2011, my aunt in 2014 and my dad in 2015) and I was extremely close to them … and now I’m alone for all the holidays. But the good news is I know I will see them again because they put their faith and trust in the finished work of Jesus. They listen because they see I’m not bitter and still smiling and I have that Blessed Assurance Hope.
Sometimes the grocery store has promotions – like stamps to collect to redeem for dishes, or silverware, etc. If someone ahead of me in the check out line isn’t collecting the stamps, sometimes they ask me if I am. If I need them I will say yes. Then when they give me their stamps … I have a Bible Tract ready and I will say thank you … oh and I got something for you. A lot of times they are in a hurry but hey, that Bible tract is now in their hands or they put in their pockets or purse. Hee hee
When I used to shop a lot I would see either people selling Girl Scout cookies, or a table set up for contribution for Veterans or Salvation Army ringing their bell at Christmas, etc. I would give some money for those causes and also hand out Bible tracts to the workers. I believe a few did eventually get saved because their responses were “I recall someone else saying the same thing a few years ago” and it seemed like it finally clicked for them to make the decision. One lady with the Girl Scout cookies was so appreciative of the fact she could have eternal life was handing me a box of cookies and I said oh no no, you keep the cookies. Here I only gave her like $2.00 and the cookies were like $4.00 back then. One handed me a coupon for Chili’s restaurant … that I did keep. Hee hee.
March 26, 2020 at 3:37 am #12546Patricia N.Participant
I admire those of you who do direct witnessing! I pray every night for all the people in the world to hear the gospel by some means and accept Jesus as their savior. Not everyone has someone to pray for them, so I just pray for everybody.
Also, a church I went to said to drop “God words” into conversations, just a reminder to everyone that God exists, he lives in heaven, he heals, etc. so I try to do that.
And if people tell me about their aches and pains, I tell them that I will pray for them.
March 26, 2020 at 5:24 am #12547
Many thanks for the prayers of you all, I really appreciate it and covet the prayers of my Brothers and Sisters in Christ. I totally agree that it is so important to be in prayer before I start evangelising. David needs to be switched off and the Holy Spirit needs to take over, if not I am not going to have any real impact out there.
Patricia has asked the question how we, who evangelise, engage people. Well for me I have found that a really effective platform is to ask people first if they have a bible at home. I am convinced that in America and the UK over 95% of people do have a bible and so straight away I have sown the seed that I am willing to talk about a book that is common to us both. Geri has mentioned that she does not put the name of her church on the gospel tract and I cant agree more. If you start to try to sell your own church it will put people off straight away. It’s very important to realise that the vast majority of people are very weary and even scared of churches. They see the child abuse scandals and the money machine of the Catholics, they see scandals and internal fighting in the church of England and the Anglican church and they think to themselves “if that’s Christianity-not thanks”. So I spend a short time trying to untangling peoples traditional views and pre-conceptions from the Bible.
I then usually move onto the Genesis 1-3 area and explain how a perfectly good creation got corrupted and how death entered the world through sin. This is also really important because a common question I get is about suffering, evil and death and where God is in all that. I tell people that they have been born into a fallen, fractured world and that no amount of religion, ritual or good works can reconcile them to a Holy God. God is a God of love and he loves people enormously but He is also a Holy God and can never compromise that holiness, and so He must punish sin to uphold His holy nature. If I don’t them the bad news and what they are being saved from then the gospel will not have the impact that it needs to have and people will not be convicted of their sin. I am aware that by this stage people are often uncomfortable and feeling convicted and accountable to a Holy God. I watch the persons body language and facial expressions very closely, although I am by no means an expert in this area, and they seem really downcast. I then raise my right hand and say you know what I’m flesh and blood like you and even as a Christian I still sin occasionally because its my nature in this fallen world and I’m not perfect in the body. The change in the persons countenance when I say that is instantaneous and a joy to see. It happens virtually every time and it closes the gap between them as convicted sinner and a perceived man in their face who may just be another one of those sanctimonious, holier than thou types that they have been running way from all their lives.
I don’t think I need to say much more. You all know what comes next. The good news that God came to earth in human form and paid the price for all of our sins, past present and future.
With regard to repentance I explain that the word means a change of mind and that they have to come in alignment with God and whatever He says is sin is sin and that the behavioural side of that is a life long battle. No battle then no evidence of repentance. No evidence of a changed life then probably no salvation. I remember a chap that I was witnessing to about 7 years ago who asked me a really good question about repentance. He said that it we are asked to repent of our sins then isn’t that doing good works to be saved !. What a great question and I am convinced that he asked it from a genuine heart. I pointed him to Romans 2:4 that says :
“Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance”?
It seems that God brings all of the components himself into the salvation process.
March 26, 2020 at 9:33 am #12549
David, I admire your faithfulness and boldness with your street ministry and the effectiveness in reaching the lost around your community! Way to go, brother!
Patricia, don’t short change yourself. You also play a BIG important part with your prayers! They are powerful and the Lord hears and answers! Also dropping God’s Word into conversations is another GREAT way to witness along with your acts of kindness to the people you’re in contact with. Great job! This is all planting the seeds by prepping their hearts to be soften for the next person to come along and share even more from God’s Word. If you’re looking for other ways to serve in the outreach ministry … some will give money/tithes for the mission programs in their local church or some other outreach program that is sound. God honors and rewards those who play a part in that way as well. Some churches might have door to door Saturday outreach programs. The church I used to attend in Massachusetts had that Saturday program but we didn’t attend because we would spend the whole day in Saratoga Springs, NY shopping and sharing our faith with those shoppers or sales workers at the stores and restaurants. The harvest was ripe in that city with MANY receptive people … it was fun times. Meanwhile the Massachusetts church were printing up the books of John and Romans in pamphlets and needed help putting them together. Since there were no hands raised to volunteer and I couldn’t be there Tuesday night, I suggested to the Pastor could I bring the boxes home to work on and bring back next Sunday morning? He said great idea. So a few men in the church packed the back of our suv and my mom and I would sit on the floor putting the printed material together while watching Yankee baseball. It made the 4 hrs go quickly. The next night we did the same. Then the pamphlets were brought back on Sunday and someone else did the trimming, another person had the machine to bind it with a thin leather cover with the words “John / Romans” and they were ready to be handed out for the Saturday door to door outreach. That batch lasted the entire summer. Then they decided to print up more in various languages so they could ship out to the missionaries they supported. We and a few others in the church volunteered with that project as well knowing they could work on them from their homes. Glad they had the numbers in English so we were able to figure out the sequence.
Patricia, when you wrote “you drop God’s Word into conversations” reminded me of my aunt. This is exactly what she did as well … she had the knack to use Scripture and incorporated in with her everyday conversations and her co-workers were clueless she was actually quoting Scripture because she left out “and the Bible says in this verse” … because the company she worked at forbid religious talk. But this is how she sneakily got around that rule.
March 27, 2020 at 5:14 am #12605
I think you have raised some really important points in your message to Patricia that all Christians need to hear. We are all in ministry in some way or another and all have been given different gifts by the Holy Spirit and ideally we should be operating in unity within the body of Christ.
The ministry of prayer is of vital importance within the body of Christ and I believe that if someone who is engaged in a more tangible or visible ministry views their ministry as more important than someone else then there is a serious issue of pride going on. God does not operate, judge or reward along the same lines as we do. He is not constrained by our economic philosophies or merit based thinking etc. When I go out on the streets my lovely wife Rachel continually prays for me and I consider it a vital part of my ministry and in no way inferior to it. I recall an Old Testament picture of this principle when King David rescued his family from the Amalekites after they had made a raid on Ziklag. 400 men went into battle and 200 stayed behind with the baggage. After the battle the 400 did not want to give any of the spoil to those who stayed behind. (I bet they were praying !!). King David, an Old Testament model of Jesus, had other ideas and rewarded them.
1 Samuel 30:23-25 New King James Version (NKJV)
23 But David said, “My brethren, you shall not do so with what the Lord has given us, who has preserved us and delivered into our hand the troop that came against us. 24 For who will heed you in this matter? But as his part is who goes down to the battle, so shall his part be who stays by the supplies; they shall share alike.” 25 So it was, from that day forward; he made it a statute and an ordinance for Israel to this day.
Many God bless us all in the particular gifts that He has given us in the days that remain.
PS: I am new to this forum and cant see how to edit a post after I have submitted it. I posted yesterday and lost the last paragraph when I submitted it. Maybe I got timed out or something. Can anyone help ?
March 27, 2020 at 4:39 pm #12625
In agreement, David. The entire body of Christ whether they are on the front lines of the battlefield preaching, teaching, out soul winning, show their musical talents or those who work behind the scenes with the sound system, the prayer warriors, those who check on people and make meals for the sick or drive them to their appointments, the person who orders the Sunday School material, the lawn maintenance crew, carpenters/plumbers repairing things, the janitorial crew, the nursery and kitchen workers, etc. All are important and the Lord will honor and reward their faithfulness. Sadly a lot of times those who work behind the scenes never received the recognition but the Lord keeps perfect records and will remember them at the Judgment Seat. Here’s an example. In our old church there was this one deacon that was “in charge” of the moving crew since a lot of new members relocated to the area and the church wanted to help them out as well as members whose job transferred them out of state. The head honcho guy that oversaw the moving crew was nothing but a lazy bum because all he did was show up, nosy around from room to room in the house and whistle while watching the other men transfer the boxes off the truck or onto the truck and struggle with the heavy furniture. Then on Sunday morning the pastor would praise ONLY him with the successful job well done. I saw my dad and a few other men just glance over at each other and shake their heads … while the deacon wouldn’t even correct the pastor and mention those who actually did all the work. And it got even more pitiful because my dad was faithfully helping others move, but when it came time for our move … it was a no show … nobody volunteered to help. So he asked 4 unsaved former co-workers if they wouldn’t mind. They were glad to help and only took less than an hour to load up the truck since we were bringing stuff up a little at a time. He wanted to pay them but they weren’t looking for money so I quickly ordered a few pizzas and picked up sodas and they were satisfied with lunch.
March 27, 2020 at 5:29 pm #12626
March 27, 2020 at 5:44 pm #12628ArthurParticipant
March 27, 2020 at 5:51 pm #12630
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