Sunday, January 23, 2022

LOYAL SHEPHERDS WHO WILL LEAD YOU WITH KNOWLEDGE AND SKILL

 

“Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." Matthew 4:19.

Hello Friends:

     Last week we capped off Pastor Aubrey Maye’s Pentecostal Witnessing book, Chapter 4. We discussed the mental attitudes we must have to be effective soulwinners. Also, the benefits of having a plan to share Jesus with people.
     This week I was a little stymied in direction. I prayed and I’m sharing a post about “Loyal Shepherds Who Will Lead You With Knowledge And Skill”, and I’m trusting God’s Holy Spirit to use it. It’s based on Jeremiah exhorting the scattered Israelites to return to God. Jeremiah then made a declaration directly from God in Chapter 3:15, where God said, “I will give you shepherds who are loyal to me, and they will lead you with knowledge and skill.”
     First, what leads to sheep being scattered? It’s likely due to shepherds that don’t really care about the sheep, and/or ones that don’t attain the knowledge and skill needed to lead and guide them effectively and safely. Think of the times that we had knowledgeable and skillful bosses. They knew each employee and the strengths each possessed to draw them in to move collectively toward getting the job done. 
     Then compare it to a boss that might have been promoted but doesn’t really have the best interests of the team or the goal in mind. That boss wants to exert authority and they usually make decisions to show that he or she is as my wife sometimes says, “are large and in in charge.” The employees under them usually are unsettled and in many cases scatter toward other jobs.
     Most people, me included, usually gravitate toward the boss that really cares, and has a great deal of knowledge and skill in guiding the needed processes toward getting the job done. The boss doesn’t even need to be the most personable person on the planet if they know what they’re doing and can encourage and draw in their employees to follow the path toward the goal.
     Why is it in churches that we don’t require, or at the least encourage those same types of qualities? We think that if a person has a somewhat dynamic personality with a degree of charisma, that he is a good fit to be the leader of a church.
     Think of the time of Saul and David. Saul was chosen to be the Israelite king. He was what today we might call “a man’s man”. The problem was that he was very insecure, had very poor judgement, was full of jealousy and rage, and he proved to be a very poor leader.
     Then comes David. He was the runt of his family. Everyone thought that Samuel would have chosen his bigger, more experienced brothers to be the next Israelite king in place of Saul. David was just a shepherd boy. Oh, but what they didn’t figure out was that this little shepherd boy was very knowledgeable and skillful in leading and guiding his flock, and in slaying imposing predators. He didn’t meet the “eye test”, but he certainly met the loyalty, knowledge, and skill test needed to be a good king of Israel.
     I’m not posting this to just dog the church as it exists. I understand the importance of loving and supporting the church body and its leaders. But as a layman and a longtime Christian, I am posing these questions with concerns that I think church leaders should consider moving forward.
     What is the motivation of someone wanting to be the shepherd of a group of people? Following are what I think are prerequisites of choosing shepherds of churches. They should:
  1. Be loyal to God and His plan on earth. What is His plan? Jesus said in Luke 19:10, “I came to seek and save the lost.”
  2. Embrace knowledge and skill to effectively lead the flock toward God’s goals as outlined in the Bible.
  3. Protect the flock from danger.
  4. Love the flock deeply with great passion and energy and go after sheep that are scattered. 
  5. As the shepherd gets to know the traits of each sheep and lamb to keep them safe and in the fold, the Christian shepherd should also get to intimately know his sheep, to really know “what makes them tick”. In that way the sheep are naturally drawn toward him because they sense his great care for them. 
     One of my main reasons for sharing this post is because I know how important it is when we evangelize people in desperate need of Jesus, that we can direct them to safe havens with leaders that are very “loyal” to God, and they lead with great “knowledge and skill”.

See you next time,
Arlen

Friday, January 14, 2022

THE SOULWINNER’S MENTAL ATTITUDES AND PLAN! by Pastor Aubrey Maye


 

“Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." Matthew 4:19.

Hello Friends:
      Last week we discussed Pastor Aubrey Maye’s encouragement that all Holy Spirit filled believers can be soulwinners. He touched on the fact that telling our personal experience in committing to Jesus has a powerful effect on soulwinning, then he gave some personal requirements to become a soulwinner, like sharing our personal experience, the importance of living a consecrated and Holy Spirit filled life, having a dynamic and powerful prayer life, steadily studying and having a deep knowledge of God’s Word, and lastly . . . acquiring a deep compassion for lost souls.
      This week we’ll cap off Chapter 4 by talking about what Pastor Aubrey Maye said are the mental attitudes a soulwinner must possess to share Jesus with people. Then we’ll end the session with discussing the benefits of engaging in some personal training and developing a planned approach to soulwinning.

THE SOULWINNER’S MENTAL ATTITUDES
      Pastor Aubrey Maye emphasized there are certain positive mental attitudes which the Christian who would be a soulwinner must possess.
  1. Be convinced that we should be soulwinners.
    • Before we will ever be consistent and effective witnessing Christians, we must be firmly convinced that we should be soulwinners, and that the Holy Spirit living inside us empowers us be one. Then we can do so with great confidence.
  2. Be convinced of the great need for personal evangelism. 
    • We must become keenly aware of the possibility that there are people who will never be reached with the gospel unless you and I reach them.
    • We must see the real value of a soul. Jesus said in Mark 8:36, “For what does it benefit someone to gain the whole world and yet lose his life” (or soul).
    • We must see it’s worth the effort for us to win just one soul through personal evangelism.
    • We must be convinced the Church will never be able to fulfill its responsibility to evangelize lost people of this generation unless there is a revival of personal evangelism.
    • We must become interested in encouraging and training others to join us in this challenging work.
  3. Be dependent on the Holy Spirit. 
    • We should always keep in mind in doing personal evangelism that we aren’t presenting "a religion "; we’re presenting a Person—the Lord Jesus Christ. To do this effectively, we must learn to depend heavily upon the Spirit of God. Our ability to reason and to present the facts of salvation will be useless until we depend on and learn to work with the Holy Spirit in our witnessing.
    • We must remember that only the Holy Spirit can bring true conviction of sin and genuine salvation in the heart of a sinner.
    • We must become sensitive to the Spirit’s presence and expect Him to be there when we are dealing with lost souls.
    • We must trust the Holy Spirit to guide and help us lead sinners through the plan of salvation.
THE SOULWINNER'S PERSONAL TRAINING
      Pastor Aubrey Maye wrote that in New Testament times witnessing and personal evangelism seemed to be the normal thing for Spirit-filled Christians to do. This was the example set before them and it was what they had been taught.
      Since most twentieth century, and I will say now twenty-first century Christians have not had this example or teaching, they will need help to get started. There is a need for training.
      Pastor Maye wrote that we need a plan for personal evangelism. He emphasized the benefits of having a plan:
  1. A plan will give us confidence.
    • One of the major problems for the average Christian in talking to others about Christ is fear. This fear can be greatly alleviated by having the confidence of knowing what to say and which Scriptures to use.
    • Remember that most Christians experience some fear when they begin witnessing to the unsaved. You mustn’t allow this initial fear to overcome your determination to become a soulwinner. You can overcome much of this fear by learning well a soulwinning plan.
  2. A plan will enable us to present the gospel systematically.
    • By learning a plan, we’ll be able to explain the way of salvation clearly and simply to the unsaved person. This is very important because most unsaved people don’t know what the Bible teaches about being saved. They may have certain ideas about conversion; but when it comes to what the Bible teaches, most of them don't have a clear understanding.
    • Our goal is to present the simple, Bible plan of salvation in such a way as to bring about the following desired results in the sinner:
      • (1) Genuine conviction of sin.
      • (2) Genuine repentance.
      • (3) Genuine faith in Christ as his or her Savior.
  3. A plan will eliminate blundering and haphazardness. 
    • By having a plan, we will be less likely to antagonize the unsaved person. If the prospect who doesn’t get saved, is left in a good attitude, there’s a good chance that you can deal with him or her again sometime.
    • Careless, haphazard attempts at personal evangelism can close the door to future opportunities. 
  4. A plan will help avoid the following problems: 
    • Learning a plan will immediately eliminate the excuse of not knowing what to say.
    • It will help us to avoid the prospect's unrelated questions and other attempts to get away from the subject of his or her salvation.
      We need to remember that we aren’t the pastor. We’re soulwinners, so it isn’t necessary to answer many of the questions which the unsaved ask. We’re there to present Christ and should stick to the subject.

SOME PRECAUTIONS
      Pastor Maye gave the following precautions when evangelizing. 
  1. Never argue when attempting to win someone to Christ.
    • When the conversation deteriorates to the point of argument, we have lost the opportunity to win the person to Christ.
    • It’s better to change the subject completely than to destroy our future chances of winning the person by hardening him or her against us through an argument.
    • We need to remember that there are many unsaved people who enjoy talking and arguing about religion, so we should try to avoid this.
  2. Don't condemn the person with whom we are dealing.
    • We must trust the Spirit and the Word of God to bring condemnation to the sinner for his or her wrong doings. We aren’t the judge. We’re there to help, not to embitter them by making harsh personal judgments.
    • The Word of God is adequate for this task. The writer of Hebrews 4:12 wrote: "For the Word of God is quick, and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
  3. Don't criticize what the individual believes.
    • If we disagree with some belief they express, it would be better to simply avoid the issue for the time being. The first need is salvation. Beliefs of the unsaved person can best be dealt with after conversion.
    • If they have serious difficulties, it would probably be wise to direct them to our pastor, even after conversion.
  4. Don't criticize the church mentioned by the person and what the church believes, even though sometimes we’ll be asked our opinion of them.
      Pastor Maye wrote before concluding Chapter 4, it should again be pointed out that although a plan is important, our own spiritual condition is more important.
      Pastor Maye encouraged remembering again the verse from Daniel 12:3: “Those who have insight will shine like the bright expanse of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.”
       And lastly, Pastor Maye reiterated, “You can be a soulwinner!”

See you next time,
Arlen

Saturday, January 8, 2022

YOU CAN BE A SOULWINNER!

 


“Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." Matthew 4:19.

Hello Friends:

Welcome to the Soulwinnersr.us website. I’m continuing with the "Pentecostal Witnessing" book, written by Pastor Aubrey Maye, to encourage myself and others to witness to others the wonderful saving power of Jesus Christ. Today’s post is entitled “You Can Be A Soulwinner!” based on Chapter 4. We’re going to just cover the first part of the chapter.

Daniel 12:3 captures well a very important reason to win souls. Daniel wrote, “Those who have insight will shine like the bright expanse of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.” Which of us don’t want to shine like the heavens and stars?

Pastor Maye wrote that being a Christian gives us the privilege and responsibility of being a witness for Christ. He said we can witness simply telling others what Jesus Christ has done in our own lives. Pastor Maye said simply telling others what Jesus has done for us, “is witnessing in its pure and simple form”, and “it has brought thousands of sinners under conviction of sin.”

He wrote, "With the proper preparation and dedication, we can tell an unsaved person not only what Christ has done for us, but also show from the Scripture what Christ has done for them, and how they can receive the same experience that we have.”

Pastor Maye wrote, “Some people have the idea that to be a personal soulwinner, we have to memorize a great amount of Scripture, but it simply isn’t true." We’ll touch on that briefly later in the post.

THE SOULWINNER’S PERSONAL REQUIREMENTS
  1. Personal experience of salvation.
    • We must have a vital personal experience of salvation, a deep knowledge that our sins were forgiven and that we have peace with God.
    • In Luke 10:17-20 Jesus told his disciples that were rejoicing because of what they had accomplished on their missionary journeys, more important was the fact that their names were written in heaven. Jesus was encouraging them that to have a deep personal experience of salvation leading toward heaven is very much more important than anything else in sharing the gospel.
  2. Consecrated and Spirit-filled life.
    • Merriam Webster defines consecrated as, “Dedicated to a sacred purpose.” We can’t be half-hearted in what we believe.
    • Along with consecration to a sacred purpose, we must rely on the Holy Spirit in us to give us the power to share the gospel.
  3. Prayer life.
    • A dynamic and powerful prayer life is essential to have the spiritual strength to witness. Pastor Maye said that private devotional prayer and intercessory prayer for the lost are musts for us to be effective soulwinners.
    • He said, "Prayer is our lifeline to give us victory over sin, and to give us courage to keep at the task of witnessing.” Prayer also renews our compassion for the lost.
  4.  Bible Study. 
    • Pastor Maye said it isn’t necessary to commit to memory a great amount of Scripture to be a soulwinner. But it is definitely necessary to diligently study the Bible “to show ourselves approved” as Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 2:15.
    • Pastor Maye wrote that the Word of God is truly the “sword of the Spirit" for the soulwinner (Ephesians 6:17), and that we must learn to use it skillfully and confidently as our chief weapon to win souls.
  5. Love for souls.
    • Pastor Maye wrote that a genuine love for lost souls is born out of the above-mentioned prayer life, and the study of God’s Word. 
    • He wrote that as we deepen our experience in God, we’ll also deepen our compassion for the unsaved. 
    • When we become more like Jesus, it’s only natural that we’ll look on the needs of the lost like Jesus did in Matthew 9:36-38 where Matthew wrote, “When he saw the crowds, he felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dejected, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest.” ‘
Pastor Maye wrote, “There’s no substitute for real love in the life of a soulwinner.” He went on, “Cold hearts in Christians are prone to make still lips when it comes to witnessing. You can be a soulwinner: But you must first love lost souls.”

Next week we’ll finish Chapter 4, which includes the mental attitudes a soulwinner must have to share Jesus with people. Then we’ll cap off the session with the benefits of engaging in some personal training and developing a planned approach to soulwinning.

See you next time,
Arlen

Saturday, January 1, 2022

HAPPY NEW YEAR! PENTECOSTAL WITNESSING, CHAPTER 3: PRESENT-DAY EVANGELISM, by Aubrey Maye

 

"Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." Matthew 4:19.

Hello Friends:

Happy New Year from the Soulwinnersr.us website. I started the website almost a year ago, and I pray that God blesses our efforts greatly of soulwinning in the New Year of 2022, and the Holy Spirit inspires us to introduce Jesus to people in new and exciting ways.

I entitled my post today “Happy New Year! Pentecostal Witnessing, Chapter 3: Present-Day Evangelism” by Aubrey Maye. I was going to do another post on “The Current Anti-Evangelism Wave”, but I want to do a more positive post to start the New Year.

By the way, I wrote to Pastor Aubrey Maye, and he called me this week from Chesapeake, Virginia. I was excited, and He was pleased that I was using his book that he wrote so many years ago. Pastor May said he's currently 83 years old, and he wrote the book at the age of 27 about 56 years ago, which is amazing to me. So, let’s start off the New Year with a bang on Chapter 3 of this wonderful little book!

Pastor Maye encouraged us in Chapter 3 not to be too critical of our current evangelism methods, BUT, that there’s great value in being honest with ourselves in taking an objective look at the following points related to evangelism:
  • “What's being done.”
  • “What can be done.”
  • “What MUST BE DONE now and in the future.”.
He said “after an honest look at ourselves, we'll probably do one of three things: 
  1. Attempt to justify our failures in evangelism by blaming the evil conditions of this generation.
  2. Attempt to shift the responsibility of evangelism to others.
  3. Rise to the task with new determination and faith.
He said, “For the sake of this lost generation, may God help us to do number three.”

Pastor Maye said that after the initial exciting wave of evangelism and Holy Spirit power at Pentecost, there were centuries of a waning in the spiritual life of the church, and of open evangelism. He said evangelism leading to conversions was replaced by rituals.

The 15th century finally ushered in the Protestant Reformation, with Martin Luther and others who turned the tide back somewhat to the right direction, but there was still a significant lack of evangelistic efforts. A focus on evangelism didn’t return until the 17th and 18th centuries with the appearance of such men as John Wesley and George Whitefield.

So, after about 1500 years of darkness with little spiritual focus, Wesley and Whitefield had great evangelistic success in England and America with thousands of lost souls saved, just like in the time of Jesus and the Early Church. It was said of Whitefield that he started preaching from a hillside, down into an open field that can still be seen today. It's estimated that he preached across the field to up to 20,000 people at one time . . . with no sound system! Periods of evangelism, however, waxed and waned in the next couple hundred years after Wesley and Whitfield.

Wesley and Whitefield were noted for mass evangelism meetings, preaching to thousands of people at a time. Mass evangelism meetings were called various names through a couple centuries: “Revival meetings”, "camp meetings", and "city-wide crusades”, to name a few, and they were greatly used by God to bring multitudes of men and women to Christ.

But mass evangelism had its limitations. Pastor Maye said that personal soulwinning among Christians was a very important supplement to mass evangelism?

Pastor Maye addressed present ideas about personal evangelism and soulwinning by considering three keys that we talked about two weeks ago:
  1. Soulwinning should not be limited to a few key people like a pastor or an evangelist.
    • The job to evangelize should also fall on every spirit-filled Christian to "proclaim" to others the Good News of salvation.
    • Pastor Maye wrote that pastors are somewhat to blame for their lack of emphasis on personal responsibility, and encouraging and teaching their flock to evangelize.
    • Pastor Maye wrote, "Do we really believe that the responsibility of personal evangelism and the great power of the Holy Spirit ended for good at the end of the era of the Early Church in Acts?"
  2. Soulwinning is not limited to certain places. 
    • Soulwinning doesn’t have to occur in a church building, a meeting hall, or a revival tent. Most unsaved people won't darken the door of a church, or a revival meeting hall or tent.
    • We need to go to them as Jesus and the Early Church did. Pastor Maye wrote, “We have no choice! The Church has been commissioned.” He said, “Many churches, instead of growing, are actually dying because they're shackled by this church building-centered concept of evangelism.”
    • Pastor Maye wrote that mass revival meetings are important, but more important is an emphasis on personal evangelism.
  3. Soulwinning is not limited to certain times. 
    • Evangelism isn’t just a seasonal affair, and we don’t have to wait until the calendar says we’re ready to evangelize.
    • Pastor Maye wrote, “Someone has recently suggested that most of us are so busy today working IN the church that we no longer have time for the work OF the Church . . . which is soulwinning.” Pastor Maye wrote, “We usually find time to do those things that we really want to do.
We must want earnestly to introduce Jesus to people in our communities. When we find ourselves so busy that we have little time for any evangelism and no time to train and organize our churches for soulwinning out among the unsaved, we wonder what's happened since Luke said: "Every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved." Acts 2:47.

Pastor Maye discussed the following four points:
  1. “We must stop losing the battle to win lost souls.”
    • The church is making strides in many areas such as Christian education, music, and other areas, but we’re losing the battle to reach the rising, ever-growing population that don't know Jesus.
    • Cult groups such as Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons are growing faster than the Christian church because of their emphasis on personal outreach. 
    • If any group reaches out to their community it should be a group of spirit-filled believers.
  2. “The church is at a crossroads.”
    • The present-day Church is faced with two alternatives.
      • The First Alternative: We can continue the present pattern depending largely upon the revival meetings and other pulpit evangelism which is becoming less and less effective in reaching the sinner (because the sinners don't come). OR . . .
      • The Second Alternative: We can dedicate ourselves to the training of personal soulwinners, pray for a renewal of Pentecostal power and boldness like in Acts 4:29-31, and take the Church to the lost.
    • In order to accomplish this, there may have to be some changes made in local church programs.
    • Necessary steps will have to be taken to put the primary purpose of the Church in its proper perspective – “that the saving of lost souls comes first!”
  3. "Personal evangelism must be revived!"
    • Personal evangelism is encouraged in a few churches, but most times it isn’t encouraged or emphasized at all. Sometimes the youth only are taught and encouraged to evangelize. While it’s a good thing to teach and encourage youth to witness to the lost, evangelism can’t be delegated solely to the youth. It’s the responsibility of the entire Church body.
  4. "A revival of personal evangelism has tremendous potential." Following are some key points about the tremendous potential of personal evangelism:
    • Personal evangelism can be entered into wholeheartedly because such outreach is overwhelmingly supported by the New Testament.
    • Personal evangelism offers the one possibility for a local congregation to actually present the gospel to every person in the community who will listen.
    • Personal evangelism not only helps reach the lost, but the lives of individual Christians will be greatly changed, and their experiences deepened as they begin to share their experience of knowing Christ personally with the unsaved.
In conclusion, Pastor Maye wrote that revival won’t come easily. It will only come as the direct result of deliberate prayer, hard work, and action on the part of God's people.

See you next time,
Arlen

Saturday, December 25, 2021

THE CURRENT ANTI-EVANGELISM WAVE


 

"Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." Matthew 4:19.

Hello Friends:

Welcome to the Soulwinnersr.us website. I entitled my post today, “The Current Anti-Evangelism Wave”. It’s based on my observations of the past ten years that my wife said has been going on for much longer than that.

It’s about a group of prominent church leaders, and others that are sharing what I consider heresies. A heresy is defined as the following in the Merriam Webster dictionary: “An opinion, doctrine, or practice contrary to the truth or to generally accepted beliefs or standards.”

The thing about heresies is that the people spreading them think they are the correct ones, and everyone else is wrong.

A very strong problem is the fact that the beliefs they teach minimize the need for open evangelism. They are very direct and not shy in their teaching that message. I’m having a lot of difficulty understanding where they’re coming from, and why they think the way they do. I have heard it recently talked about as “progressivism”. Following are some of their beliefs:
  1. Genesis, Revelation, and other prophetic books of the Bible make for good storytelling and drama, but they are just that, stories, and play no important role in our Christian faith.
  2. Hell, and an eternity of torment are unthinkable. A loving God would never resort to such gruesome tactics. Everyone might go through some sort of testing, but after their death they will all be in a holding place, and after they come to their senses, they will ALL end up in heaven alongside the saints.
  3. We must live good and godly lives to win people to Christ, and if all else fails, speak the gospel. This thinking is largely based on the Frances of Assisi quote: "Go out and preach the gospel and if you must, use words." This group of people believe strongly that we should not impose our wills on other people by verbally sharing the gospel, but by only sharing it with our actions.
  4. The salvation of lost people was not the primary purpose of Jesus coming to earth. His primary purpose was to honor God. The salvation of lost people was secondary.
I did a dive into what the Bible says about the first set of beliefs today; the belief that Genesis, Revelation, and other prophetic books of the Bible make for good storytelling and drama, but they are just that, stories, and they play no real important role in our Christian thinking. I’ll address the other sets of beliefs in upcoming posts.
  1. The belief that Genesis is not an important book in the Bible.
    • Genesis was the first book with a prophecy about Jesus. It says the following: “I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.” Most scholars suggest that due the fact that God went from plural “offspring” to “he" and "him” two times, that the “he" and "him” refers to the future coming of Christ.
    • Genesis is also the first reference to the fall of man that Paul later talks about in Romans 3:23, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. We wouldn’t even know we are sinners if it weren’t for God telling us in Genesis about it.
  2. The belief that Revelation is not an important book of the Bible:
    • Revelation 1:3 states, “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear the words of this prophecy and keep what is written in it, because the time is near.”
    • Revelation 22:18 states, “If anyone adds to them (the prophecies), God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book.”
    • Revelation 22:19 states, “If anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share of the tree of life and the holy city, which are written about in this book.”
Being blessed by hearing and keeping the words of John’s prophecy speaks for itself. Everyone wants to be blessed. The person, however, that minimizes Revelation might say, “I haven’t physically added to, or taken away any prophecies in Revelation. I just don’t believe they are relevant in my life or the lives of others.” I would say to that person, “What you believe yourself about Revelation is up to you, although I think it can be detrimental to your spiritual and even your physical health, but I would advise you to be VERY, VERY careful if you teach other people that the prophecies of Revelation are unimportant in their lives.

I think Genesis and Revelation are VERY, VERY important Bible books. I think the other prophetic books are also very, very important, and to teach otherwise is outright heresy. Jesus quoted them frequently, and the apostles wrote about, and also quoted them frequently.

Next week I’ll get into the next set of beliefs, that there is no real hell with eternal torment, and that this another belief and teaching that causes people to think that we shouldn’t evangelize.

See you next time,
Arlen

Friday, December 17, 2021

PENTECOSTAL WITNESSING, CHAPTER 2: EARLY CHURCH EVANGELISM by Aubrey Maye


"Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." Matthew 4:19.

Hello Friends:

Welcome to the Soulwinnersr.us website. I entitled my post today “Pentecostal Witnessing, Chapter 2: Early Church Evangelism”. Again, it’s based on an old book written in the 1960’s by Pastor Aubrey Maye of the Church of God. This chapter has so many good points it is difficult to contain my excitement. I pray that you also find it exciting.

Pastor Maye said “the sincere Christian of the Twentieth Century (now Twenty-First Century) is “brought face to face with the power of God glorifying His Son through the weakness of human flesh as these early Christians are engulfed by the Holy Ghost. We are challenged by their courage, shamed by their sacrifices, convicted by their dedication to one supreme purpose, and amazed at their almost unbelievable accomplishments.”

Pastor Maye wrote that while the philosophies of evangelism of the early church in Acts were unorthodox by today’s standards, but that due to their effectiveness we should question our ways of evangelism today, rather than to question the way they did it. He said his purpose of pointing in his book to the early church in Acts is that “the reader will be moved to action”.

Pastor Maye gave examples in the early church of “mass evangelism”, and “personal evangelism”. He said the early church wasn’t as concerned about the “how” of evangelism, "but that the job got done".

Mass evangelism came first, and it was very powerful and effective. But as extreme persecution arose the church scattered, and personal evangelism was the outcome of this. (Just a side note . . . this gives me hope that in today’s world of turmoil that God’s Holy Spirit will fill the lives of people to the point where they are inspired to share Jesus with other people.)

Pastor Maye wrote emphatically about the early church, “they were not waiting for the unsaved to come to them, they were busy taking the church to the world.”

He said that “nothing can take the place of the Spirit-filled life in soulwinning”. He said that the young church in Acts had a deep commitment to the Great Commission, in which “was born a sort of “daring” evangelism”. He said that they “dared to believe that if they continued with His Spirit and steadfast in His purpose, they could not fail regardless of the opposition”.

Pastor Maye said that this doesn’t mean they didn’t face discouragement, weakness, or fear. But that fresh infillings of the Holy Spirit strengthened them.

He wrote that “the spirit-filled life was the “norm” instead of the exception in that day.” He wrote that the nature of evangelism was “spontaneous” and “there was no indication that they had to be continuously prodded and challenged” to reach the lost. Pastor Maye said that Christians in today’s church may very well be filled with God’s Holy Spirit, but are hindered by present day misconceptions and traditions that the early church knew nothing about.

Pastor Maye said the following are some present-day misconceptions about soulwinning:
  1. “Soulwinning is the sole responsibility of a few specialists.”
  2. "Soulwinning should only occur at certain places, like in church buildings."
  3. "Soulwinning should only occur at certain times, like at revival meetings."
But the early church in Acts was not hampered by these misconceptions. He said the following about the early church:
  1. “Soulwinning was not restricted to certain select individuals.”
    • “Every Christian thought it was his (or her) “personal privilege and responsibility to share his (or her) experience with the unsaved.” They didn’t have to wait for a preacher or an evangelist to come along. Pastor Maye said, “They didn’t know any different.
  2. “Soulwinning was not restricted to particular places.”
    • They were never taught that a church building was required for a person to be saved. “The gospel was just as powerful to save sinners in the marketplace, on the street, or from house-to-house as it was in the temple or synagogue.”
    • They took Jesus as “the supreme example” of talking to people everywhere about His saving power.
  3. “Soulwinning was not restricted to a particular time.”
    • Pastor Maye quoted Acts 5 that said, “the Lord added to the church daily”, “because the disciples were spreading the Good News daily”. They didn’t have to wait until a revival meeting to introduce Jesus to other people.
Pastor Maye quoted J.B Phillips in his book “Letters to Young Churches”. Phillips wrote, “These early Christians were on fire with the conviction that they had become through Christ, literally sons (or children) of God, they were pioneers of a new humanity, founders of a new kingdom.” He said, “They still speak to us through the centuries.” J.B. Phillips wrote, “Perhaps if we believe what they believed, we might achieve what they achieved.”

Do you and I feel like pioneers of a new humanity, like founders of a new kingdom, like children of God? Is it possible for us to regain some of the Holy Spirit inspired conviction of the early church . . . to believe what they believed, so that we might achieve what they achieved?

See you next time,
Arlen


Thursday, December 9, 2021

PENTECOSTAL WITNESSING, CHAPTER 1: THE PURPOSE OF PENTECOST

 


Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." Matthew 4:19.

Hello Friends:

Welcome to the Soulwinnersr.us website. I entitled my post today “Pentecostal Witnessing, Chapter 1: The Purpose of Pentecost”. It’s based on an old book written in the 1960’s by Pastor Aubrey Maye of the Church of God. I bought the book from my mother-in-law at her garage sale about ten years ago. It’s become a treasure to me.

I haven't posted in a couple weeks for several reasons: 
  1. The holiday season is upon us, which makes us all become busier with decorating, shopping, gatherings, etc. 
  2. I couldn’t clarify in my mind what direction God might have me go with my posts. 
  3. I was distracted by a number of things, one being sports, especially the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball team, which has become a fun team to follow, post Lebron James.
But I still feel my primary job, after my mental health career was over, is introducing Jesus Christ to people. To be honest, it should have been my primary job during my career, but it wasn’t. I’m not trying to make up for lost time, but definitely I AM trying to recapture my “first love”, which the Apostle John wrote about in Revelation 2 to the Church of Ephesus.

Pastor Maye encouraged readers of his book to read it prayerfully in light of the following questions:
  1. “What is my personal responsibility in fulfilling the Great Commission”?
  2. “What can I do to win souls that I am not now doing?”
  3. “What is my church doing to evangelize its ‘Jerusalem’?”
Pastor Maye encouraged that the first step is to admit that we aren’t doing enough, and back in 1960’s he said, “we must do it NOW”, and, “The only hope for our generation is this: ministers and members alike, full of the Holy Spirit, moved with compassion, telling people everywhere the old, old story that Jesus lives and Jesus saves – even in the twentieth century” (now the twenty first century).

Let’s dive into this wonderful little book, starting with Chapter 1; “The Purpose of Pentecost”. First off, I realize that some might be put off by the term “Pentecost”. But Pentecost doesn’t mean strange church beliefs associated with speaking in tongues. It means that at the time of the Holy Spirit falling on and filling people, they were celebrating the Jewish “Day of Pentecost”, exactly fifty days after the Passover feast, and immediately after the week of “Harvest” celebrations on the Jewish calendar.

Pastor Maye said there were four reasons the Holy Spirit fell on the early disciples at that time:
  1. Act as “a Comforter” to His followers after His departure.
  2. Act as “a guide to lead His followers into all truth.”
  3. Act as “a teacher” to help His followers remember the important lessons he taught.
  4. To remind his followers that His “joy” would be in them, and their joy “would be made full”. John 15:11.
Pastor Maye said that great joy was the result of the Holy Spirit falling on and filling His followers, but joy was, and "is not the primary purpose of the Pentecostal experience”. He said that the joy of the Lord is “certainly essential to the believer”, but “it must always be interpreted as a source of strength and not as an end within itself”.

He said emphatically that the real purpose of Pentecost was “POWER” to give His followers strength when they were weak, to give them courage when they were afraid, and to carry out the true ministry of the Church in the world. He said simply, “the primary purpose of Pentecost was to empower the Church to fulfill the Great Commission”.

Pastor Maye said that Jesus’ followers were not the intellectual leaders of their day, and they could never carry out the task of the Great Commission with their own strength and abilities. They needed the Holy Spirit’s great power to help them to the point where, “they simply could not fail”.

The power His followers felt was not to draw people to themselves, but to take the saving message of Jesus to people everywhere, in every corner of the world, and their personal worlds. Pastor Maye said, “This is evangelism in the fullest sense.”

Pastor Maye said that God’s purpose is very clear according to 1 Timothy 1:15. “This saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”. Very simple, isn’t it? Christ wants to save sinners. Pastor Maye said that saving sinners is “second to nothing else in the work of the Church.”

What then is Christ’s plan to evangelize the world? Pastor Maye said, “His plan was simple. His hope was not based on highly organized and intricate plans of operation . . . PEOPLE WERE HIS PLAN.” “Spirit-filled Christians who make up the Church WERE (and are) HIS PLAN TO REACH LOST SOULS! HE HAS NO OTHER PLAN!"

Where have we gotten off track? How can we get back on track? I’m praying for a move of the Holy Spirit again. It’s our only hope to reach a lost and dying world.

See you next time,
Arlen

Monday, November 22, 2021

MAY I ASK YOU A QUESTION?

 


"Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." Matthew 4:19.

Hello Friends:

Welcome to the Soulwinnersr.us website. I entitled my post today, "May I Ask You a Question?” After last week discussing thoughts about the possibility of church analytics, I was excited this week when some gospel tracts from EvanTell.org. arrived in the mail.

I was in sort of a lull with introducing Jesus to people. Remember the teaching by Dr. Larry Moyer, the EvanTell Founder, that the goal is to “introduce Jesus to people, and not introduce people to Jesus”. I know that it seems a little bit nitpicky and trite, but Dr. Moyer’s point is that if we introduce Jesus to people it takes the pressure off the introducer to feel responsible for the outcome. The introducer’s job is to plant the seed.

After the introduction of Jesus to another person, it’s then the Holy Spirit’s job to nurture the planted seed and to make it grow. You can use a farmer as an example. All he does is till, fertilize, and introduce the seed into the ground. Then it’s up to nature to take its course, with perhaps some watering along the way.

Paul explained the process in 1 Corinthians 3:6. He said, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.” Other verses in the Bible talk about harvesting the crop after it grows to maturity, but I’ll save that topic for another day.

I had been using my homemade Roman Road tracts to give to people, but I had stopped giving them out and talking to people about them. But, I really liked the EvanTell.org “May I Ask You a Question?” approach that I learned in the Dallas Theological Seminary classes, but it took me some time to decide to buy the tracts associated with them to introduce Jesus to people.

Dr. Moyer stated three steps in the seminary classes to use before using the tract.
  • Step 1: Plow and Pursue: Discuss jobs, families or backgrounds.
  • Step 2: Free Up, Don’t Freeze Up: A method of talking about Jesus to other people “frees us up, it doesn’t freeze us up.”
  • Step 3: Secular to Spiritual Focus: You then use a tract like, “May I Ask You A Question?”
You ask; "Has anyone ever shown you from the Bible how you can know for sure you are going to heaven?"
  • “The Bible contains both “bad news and good news.”
  • “The bad news is something about YOU.”
  • “The good news is something about GOD.”
  • “The bad news has two statements, two verses, and two illustrations.”
  • Statement 1: “We’re all sinners.”
  • Verse 1: Romans 3:23. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Note: Sinned means we have missed the mark and the standard God has set.)
  • Illustration 1: "Rock." “Two of us might throw a rock at the north pole. You might throw it further than me, but we will both miss the goal. In the same way we all fall short of God’s standard of perfection.”
“But the bad news gets worse.”
  • Statement 2: "The penalty for sin is death.”
  • Verse 2: Romans 6:23. “For the wages of sin is death.”
  • Illustration 2: “Wages”. “If I work a certain amount of time I'm paid a wage, of perhaps $50. It's what is owed to me. A wage is something we earn for our deeds. The Bible declares we all have earned the wages of death because of our sin, and not just a physical death, but a spiritual death separated from God forever.
“But God made a way for us to live and be with him forever.”
  • “The good news also has two statements, two verses, and two illustrations.”
  • Statement 1: “Christ died for you.”
  • Verse 1: Romans 5:8. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
  • Illustration 1: “Cancer”. "If someone said they will take on your cancer cells to save your life, what will happen? They will die and you will live. They die in your place. That’s what Jesus did for us."
“Just as the bad news got worse, the good news gets better.”
  • Statement 2: "You can be saved through faith in Christ."
  • Verse 2: Ephesians 2:8-9. “For by grace (underserved favor) you have been saved (delivered from sin’s penalty) through faith, and that not of ourselves; it is a gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
  • Illustration 2: “Chair”. "Just as you trust a chair to hold you up while providing no effort of your own, so you must trust Christ alone to get to heaven through no effort of your own. Any good thing you might do can't get you to heaven. It's through Christ alone."
You might say, “I’m religious”, or “I go to church”, or “I’m a good person”, or “I help the poor”, or “I don’t do anything that’s really bad”. "These are all good, but doing these things or any other good thing can’t get you to heaven. You must trust in Jesus Christ alone, and God will give you eternal life as a gift.”

“Is there anything keeping you from trusting Christ right now?” If there is nothing invite the person to pray, but tell them, “It’s not the prayer that saves you, prayer is simply telling God what you have done.”

The prayer is very direct: “Dear God, I know I’m a sinner. I know my sin deserves to be punished. I believe that Christ died for my sins and rose from the dead (10 simple words explaining the Gospel). I trust Jesus Christ alone as my Savior. Thank You for the forgiveness and everlasting life I now have. In Jesus’ name, amen.”

What do you think? I think that the “May I Ask You A Question?” tract might be helpful to me, and perhaps to you . . . as you introduce Jesus to people.

See you next time,
Arlen

Saturday, November 13, 2021

HOW ABOUT CHURCH ANALYTICS?

 


"Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." Matthew 4:19.

Hello Friends:

Welcome to the Soulwinnersr.us website. I entitled my post today, "How About Church Analytics?” With this post I’m going away from my normal direct evangelism emphasis to an indirect evangelism emphasis.

Analytics have become a large part of our lives. Professional and college sports have embraced statistics to make calculated analytical decisions. They go against the grain of old-school coaches and front office workers making decisions based on “gut feelings”.

Whether we like it or not, analytics also plays a large role in marketing on all types of media. Being a senior citizen now I’m totally tired of hundreds of Medicare ads, phone calls, and mailings. Medicare companies spend millions of dollars for these ads based on the fact that analytics has told them they will get a certain “bang for their buck”.

So, I’m posing the question whether there should be “church analytics”. I’m half-joking and half-serious in posing my query about this. I’m half-joking because I know that church leaders, and even members, would likely never embrace such an outlier activity, and they would likely say that the Holy Spirit is their only guide.

But I’m also half-serious because I think the way churches are run perhaps might benefit from a motivation to improve their decision-making processes, that they not just rely on “gut-feelings”. I think it would also help a seeker to have a better chance of finding a good church home.

I’m not speaking about seeker-sensitive decisions here. I’ve been in churches where these decisions led to a watering down of the gospel message, perhaps focusing on aesthetics rather than substance.

If analytics were to be used in evaluating churches and church decision-making, what would be some important criteria or statistics to use?

Following are some criteria that I think might be important if there were rankings, perhaps on a 1-10 scale:
  1. Love: Churches are ranked how many times leadership in each month states the importance of the verses, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind”, and, “your neighbor as yourself.” All church decisions are made with these verses as a guide.
  2. Evangelism: Churches are ranked how many times leadership in each month states the importance of the verses, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations”, and, “you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Churches would also be ranked how many evangelism classes they have each year. All church decisions, especially evangelism efforts, are made with the thought whether the decision will bolster or hinder the church’s role in fulfilling The Great Commission.
  3. Discipleship: Churches are ranked how many classes and/or individual sessions they have each month to teach disciples, including newly converted disciples and older ones. Churches don’t only focus on Sunday morning sermons as the vehicle for discipleship.
  4. Church Member Community: Churches are ranked how many times each month leadership and members visit church members outside the church building. Extra points are given if the pastor, leaders, and members that are visiting other members live in the local community.
  5. Local Community: Churches are ranked how many visits leadership and members make to local community people and events. Extra points are given if the pastor, leaders, and members that visit the local community and events live in the local community.
  6. God’s Word: Churches are ranked by the evidence that the pastor deeply loves God’s Word, teaches it very fluently, and doesn’t compromise it.
  7. Addressing Issues: Churches are ranked by evidence that the pastor and leadership only address member shortcomings when there is evidence of open sin, open resistance, or open laziness in doing the work of the church.
There you have it. What do you think about church analytics? Do you think they will ever be in our future? And do you think they would be helpful for a seeker to find a good church?

See you next time,
Arlen

Saturday, October 30, 2021

MAKING DISCIPLES, NOT CONVERTS

 


"Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." Matthew 4:19.

Hello Friends:

Welcome to the Soulwinnersr.us website. I entitled my post today, "Making Disciples, Not Converts". The post is based on the Dallas Theological Seminary “Evangelism” Session #7, the last session in the series.

Dr. Barry Jones said, “After we bring people to the gospel, which is in 10 simple words: ‘Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead’—now what?”

Dr. Jones said that Jesus in The Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20 has two great assurances: One is the great authority He is passing down to believers to share the gospel, the other is that He’s got our back all the way “to the very end of the age” in sharing the gospel.

Dr. Jones said that The Message Bible says it even more plainly: “Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life . . .” Christianity is not just about gaining converts . . . but it’s about discipleship toward a “way of life”.

He said there is a difference between belief and trust. He gave an example Billy Graham occasionally used of a tightrope walker who asked the crowd, “Do you believe I can walk this tightrope with someone on my back?” Everyone in the crowd enthusiastically agreed that he could do it. Then the tightrope walker asked, “Which one of you then will be first?” He didn’t get one taker. Dr. Jones said it’s one thing for a person to believe someone, but another to trust enough to get on the back of the other person, and in the case of the Great Commission, on the back of Jesus.

Dr. Jones talked about the importance of immediate follow-up discipleship, and long-term follow-up discipleship: He said that follow-up discipleship sets people on trajectory toward growth and maturity.

At this stage new believers are vulnerable. Immediate follow-up discipleship helps them to understand the assurance of salvation talked about in John 5:24, where Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.”

It also helps new believers to stay away from false teaching such as Jehovah Witness, Mormon, and other beliefs.

When I worked in mental health, I had one vulnerable elderly client in a wheelchair. I tried to link him to nearby church, but they didn’t go out of their way to reach out to him. On the other hand, two young Mormon missionaries were johnny-on-the-spot to visit him regularly and offer a form of emotional support he needed. They in essence were there for him when the Christian church was not.

New believers may continue to struggle with sin, with non-answers to prayer, about how to have and maintain healthy relationships, how to deal with a waning of enthusiasm for living the Christian life in the face of difficult circumstances. Follow-up discipleship can help them to navigate these things and can increase the probability and speed of positive spiritual development.

Dr. Jones said that follow-up discipleship should involve linking new believers to a local church, which he said is vital. Dr. Jones, however, did an exercise with the students in the class that showed that many of the students didn’t come from totally healthy churches, in that most of their churches were not good at “introduction” to the gospel, or evangelism. And most were not good at “integration”, or discipleship. He encouraged his students, however, as future church leaders to accept the responsibility of changing churches into being healthy options for new believers.

Dr. Jones said that a focus on new believers reading and understanding scripture should be a prime concern of follow-up discipleship. He said, “The Gospel of John is a great place to start.” He said “John is so deep and rich! It’s a really accessible and a beautiful telling of Jesus’ story.”

He secondly recommended the reading of the Gospel of Mark, which he said is a “basic Jesus-story”, which is the shortest gospel, and is very “action-oriented”.

Dr. Jones recommended Mac Anders’ “30 Days to Understanding Your Bible”, or some other similar book that tells how the Bible fits together.

Dr. Jones encouraged emphasizing the importance of prayer in the formation and development of new believers. He said there isn’t a right way or a wrong way to pray. It’s just talking to God and trying to listen to what He has to say in return.

Lastly Dr. Jones talked about long-term follow-up discipleship. He talked about the importance of catechesis, which in simple terms means instruction before baptism.

He shared the fact that the early church had examples of immediate baptism of new believers, of which Cornelius and the Ethiopian eunuch were prime examples. He said, however, that what set them both apart is the fact that they were what was termed “God-fearers”, in that they were Gentiles that believed in the God of Israel, the moral codes, and thought processes of the scripture.

Dr. Jones said that longer term training was adopted, and is needed today for new believers to unform negative Greco-Roman and unwanted cultural norms, and reform into Christian biblical norms before baptism. He said they also need training to understand the implications of becoming and living as a Christian so that they can in essence “know what they’re signing up for”

That’s it. In conclusion, I think this series of evangelism lessons from the Dallas Theological Seminary were a very informative and thought-provoking way to approach evangelism. I plan to refer to the teachings often to refine my approach in introducing Christ to people.

See you next time,
Arlen

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

BOLDNESS OVERTAKING FEAR

 


"Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." Matthew 4:19.

Hello Friends:

Welcome to the Soulwinnersr.us website. I entitled my post today, "Boldness Overtaking Fear". The post is based on the Dallas Theological Seminary “Evangelism” Session #6. Dr. Barry Jones, the regular instructor, again turned the time over to Dr. Larry Moyer, another seminary instructor whose focus is on evangelism.

One of Dr. Moyer’s main points this session was the fact that we all will have some fear while sharing the gospel message. But the key is to allow boldness overtaking the fear we feel, instead of fear overtaking boldness.

Dr. Moyer said that even he, who is an experienced evangelist, feels fear sometimes when sharing the gospel. He said feeling fear is inevitable, and that if someone claims he or she never has any fear when they are sharing the gospel, they are one of two things:
  1. “Not being very honest,” or
  2. “Crude in the way they go about sharing the gospel”, that they don’t care what people think.
He emphasized repeatedly that he doesn’t know how to get away from having any fear. He said several times, “I don’t know . . . I don’t know . . . I don’t know . . . how to get away from having any fear of evangelizing. He said that even the Apostles prayed for boldness to declare the gospel, and that if the apostles had no fear they wouldn’t have felt the need to pray for boldness.

There are four Greek words that are used many times in the Bible that pertain to sharing the gospel boldly. I’m not well versed in Greek, so I won’t list the Greek words. But the definitions of these Greek terms mean for us to do the following when evangelizing:
  1. Speak boldly.
  2. Speak openly.
  3. Speak plainly.
  4. Speak freely.
  5. Speak confidently.
Dr. Moyer reemphasized the advice he has to overcome the fear of evangelizing is to allow boldness overtaking fear rather than vice versa. He said there are three fears that are hindrances to sharing the gospel:
  1. Fear of man (or rejection).
  2. Shame of the gospel. (Note: Dr. Moyer talked about about Paul’s statement in Romans 1:16, “I am not ashamed of the gospel”.)
  3. Fear of personal risk or injury. Examples might be the following:
    • Fear of getting fired.
    • Fear of family members taking you out of their will.
    • An actual physical attack, like in some countries that are openly anti-Christian.
Dr. Moyer stated also that sometimes we don’t share the gospel because we feel we aren’t good or holy enough because we have occasional sin creep up in our lives. He said, however, that unbelievers aren’t turned off by people that have problems, but they ARE more turned off by people that pretend that they have no problems.

Dr. Moyer emphasized that it’s biblical to pray for the lost, but there's more emphasis in the New Testament to pray for believers having boldness in evangelism. He said emphatically, “GOD IS JUST WAITING FOR HIS CHILDREN TO ASK HIM FOR BOLDNESS!”

Dr. Moyer said that using Paul as an example, we can do the following:
  1. Develop confidence in our message.
  2. Develop conviction that we are God’s messengers.
  3. Develop devout concern for people.
  4. Develop consistency in our lives.
He said that if we develop these four things we will still experience fear in evangelizing, but the boldness we feel can overtake the fear. He said that we can evangelize “in spite of the fear” we feel.

Dr. Moyer talked about “preconditioning” to think about what might happen while evangelizing. He said, however, that studies show that 92% of what we worry about never happens. He said that it if it takes no more time to think about possible positive outcomes than it does thinking about possible negative ones, we should definitely stick to the positive ones.

Dr. Moyer said the successful outcome of our evangelization efforts are totally up to God, not up to us. This lessens the pressure for us to strive for success in evangelizing. God calls us to just be faithful to share Jesus with people, and let God take care of the outcome.

Dr. Moyer said God doesn’t call us to bring people to Jesus, but to bring Jesus to people! He said that most often it takes a person a number of times hearing the gospel before they turn to trusting and believing in Jesus . . . and that we can feel blessed in the fact that we can take part in that continuum of moving that person “one step closer to the cross”.

In conclusion Dr. Moyer quoted John 6:44 that says, “No man comes to me unless the Father draws him.” He said that verse helps show us it isn’t our responsibility to bring people to Jesus . . . But it is our responsibility to allow boldness overtaking fear to bring Jesus to people.

See you next time,
Arlen

Friday, October 8, 2021

THE SIMPLE, CLEAR GOSPEL

“He who wins souls is wise.” Proverbs 11:30


Hello Friends:

Welcome to the Soulwinnersr.us website. I entitled my post today, "The Simple, Clear Gospel". The post is based on the Dallas Theological Seminary “Evangelism” Session #5, which had a little bit of a twist. Dr. Barry Jones, the regular instructor, turned the time over to Dr. Larry Moyer, another seminary instructor whose focus is on evangelism.

Dr. Moyer is the founder and CEO of EvanTell Inc., an evangelism training company. EvanTell's main goal about sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ is the following: "Keep it simple, stupid." No, not really. He actually said, “Don’t make confusing what God makes so simple.” I think that emphasis, which I so much agree with, is that the main reason people, including myself, don’t evangelize is that we think it’s way more complicated than it really is.

I think one of the most important principles Dr. Moyer taught is, “The Gospel in 10 Words”. I know that for many years I got stumped on the word “gospel”. I knew that it had the definition of “good news”, but after that I was almost paralyzed to understand and tell what the word “gospel” really meant.

Dr. Moyer said that less than 10% of Christians, even seminary students, know what the word gospel really means. He said Paul, in 1 Corinthians 15:3-5, helped us sum up the gospel in 10 words: “Christ died for our sins, and rose from the dead.”

Dr. Moyer also emphasized that having a method of sharing the gospel doesn’t make us a “cold”, or “canned”, or “mechanical” person—but it helps make us feel more relaxed so that we can “lock” into people better. Dr. Moyer said that sometimes he gets so “locked into” communicating with people that he doesn’t even know anything else going on around him.

He summed up the presentation of the gospel to others as a clear sharing of the following: “Bad News”, and then “Good News”. He said there’s a pattern we can follow that can lead us.

The “Bad News” has two statements, two verses, and two illustrations:
  1. Bad news statement #1: We are all sinners. 
    • Verse: Romans 3:23. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” 
    • Illustration: “Rock”. “Two of us might throw a rock at the moon. You might throw it further than me, but we will both miss the mark.”
  2. Bad news statement #2: The penalty for sin is death. 
    • Verse: Romans 6:23. “For the wages of sin is death.”
    • Illustration: “Wages”. “If I work a certain amount of time I'm paid a wage, of perhaps $50. It's what is owed to me. A wage is something we earn for our deeds. The Bible declares we all have earned the wages of death because of our sin, and not just a physical death, but a spiritual death separated from God.”
Dr. Moyer said that since we're unable to come to God because of our sins, the Bible says that God came to us. This is the good news! It also has two statements, two verses, and two illustrations.
  1. Good news statement #1: Christ died for you.
    • Verse: Romans 5:8. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
    • Illustration: “Cancer”. If someone said they will take on your cancer cells to save your life, what will happen? They will die and you will live. They die in your place. That’s what Jesus did for us.
  2. Good news statement #2: You can be saved through faith in Christ.
    • Verse: Ephesians 2:8-9. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”
    • Illustration: “Chair”. Just as you trust a chair to hold you up while providing no effort of your own, so you must trust Christ alone to get to heaven through no effort of your own. Any good thing you might do can't get you to heaven. It's through Christ alone.
Finally, Dr. Moyer gave info on how to start and close a conversation about the gospel. The first step to start the conversation is the following:
  1. “Plow and pursue”. (Note: At first, I thought that statement seemed a little aggressive, but the more I thought about it, I would rather be a little aggressive, and have a person trust Jesus as his or her Savior, than be passive, and the person end up in hell.)
    • To plow and pursue we can talk about 3 things that people have in common:
      • #1: Our families.
      • #2: Our jobs
      • #3: Our Backgrounds
  2. The second step: “Free up” don’t “freeze up”. (Note: I think his point of having a method of sharing the gospel is that we don't have to think so hard, and it frees us up to have a deep and caring focus on the other person.)
  3. The third step: Proceed in the conversation from a secular focus, to a spiritual one.
    • Ask the following: "Has anyone ever told you from the Bible how to get to heaven?" 
    • If they say, "No", say, "May I?"
    • If they agree, proceed to the “Bad News, Good News” gospel presentation.
Next is "Closing the Conversation." You ask the following:
  1. “Is there anything that would keep you from believing in and trusting Christ right now for salvation?”
  2. If the person agrees, remember to tell the person it isn’t the prayer itself that saves him or her; rather it’s believing in and trusting Christ that saves. Prayer is simply how we tell God what we’re doing.
  3. Dr. Moyer said that the believing in and trusting Christ actually comes about 30 seconds before the prayer itself.
The presentation by Dr. Moyer was very good. I liked the fact that he emphasized that we make the gospel way too complicated, when it's really very simple. And at the end of the session he again stated the simplicity of “The Gospel in 10 Words”, “Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead.”

Dr. Moyer gave the freedom for people to use his tips. But said that presenting the gospel can be done different ways. I’ll likely stick mostly to the Roman Road presentation I’m familiar with, but I most definitely plan to use a lot of Dr. Moyer's tips to share . . . "The Simple, Clear Gospel".

See you next time,
Arlen

Monday, September 27, 2021

THE "WHY" TENSION



“He who wins souls is wise.” Proverbs 11:30

Hello Friends:

How in the world are you? Welcome to the Soulwinnersr.us website. 

The last few weeks I’ve been posting about the Evangelism training sessions from the Dallas Theological Seminary. I want to, however, divert a little off that path this morning.

Lately I’ve been feeling a little tension. I’ll call it the “The ‘Why’ Tension”. It’s difficult for me to explain where it comes from, and if it’s something to take seriously, and even whether I should tell anyone else about it. I think it may be from the Holy Spirit, but I’m hesitant to declare that this “why” tension is directly Holy Spirit driven.

My tension started after Covid hit and we were subjected to lockdowns and most churches went to online services. I noticed in these online services that most churches have only a smattering of older senior citizens attending, with a few younger ones sprinkled in.

Don’t get me wrong. I love older people . . . in fact I am one. Leviticus 19:32 instructs younger people to stand in the presence of older ones out of respect. Many other Bible verses declare the reverence we are to have toward our seniors and the wisdom they possess.

So you might ask, Arlen, where is your “why” tension coming from? I’ll answer that I think it comes from the lack of young people in the church, and the lack of new people coming to the Lord.

Granted, there are some churches that seem to be thriving more than others. Some of them have seeker sensitive messages with cool lighting and acoustics. Some have dynamic children’s programs with charismatic children and youth leaders, but I wonder if these things produce real lasting results of people trusting Christ as their Savior?

It really hit me last night when I was watching a wonderful preacher and college professor talking about holiness. What he said was spot on, but again it was to a smattering of about thirty-five, likely older people, although I couldn’t see them, in a large church of possibly up to 750-1000 members.

Here’s where my tension comes in. The teachers in our churches may, or may not, show passion with their beliefs about scripture, and what scripture means. But I think what might be missing is tying it to the “why”. Why should we be holy? Why should our lives be set apart free from sin? Why should we talk about being blessed by God? Why should we talk about the Book of Revelation and the promises and curses of the Last Days that it contains?

I realize that after the book of Acts the apostles dedicated themselves to teaching topics like holiness, sanctification, how to reach the fullness of faith, and many other very important topics, and didn’t necessarily directly talk about the “why” of what they were teaching. I think it was implied that they wanted Christians to live better, set apart lives to be good examples to the lost.

I won’t question the apostles, their motives, and the behind the scenes happenings driving their teachings. God had a plan and fulfilled it through the apostles.

I think, however, sometimes God allows some tension and ambiguity to force us to trust the Holy Spirit to help us figure things out.

So I wonder if our teachers, leaders, and all Christians would do much better if we included the “why” in all or most of our messages. And I would go further to say the “why” is to verbally, straightforwardly tie our messages to evangelism to reach the lost, whether they be young or old.

For example, a Christian might say, “One of the main reasons we’re to be holy is so that we might show the difference in our lives to the lost people around us.” Or, “We’re studying the Book of Revelation to try to understand the importance of it, and how we should try to reach as many lost people as possible so they can avoid the consequences of the Last Days.”

I think these simple strategies would not only be exciting, but it would focus us, and the Christians around us, to reach lost people, young and old, for Christ.

See you next time,
Arlen


Tuesday, September 14, 2021

SHARING THE GOSPEL: SYNCHRONIC LEFT-BRAIN APPROACH VERSUS DIACHRONIC RIGHT-BRAIN APPROACH

 


Hello Friends:

Welcome to the soulwinnersr.us website. Remember again Proverbs 11:30 that says, “He who wins souls is wise.”

Last week we discussed Evangelism Session #3 by Dr. Barry Jones, a Dallas Theological Seminary professor. I entitled the post “God’s Unfolding Cosmic Story!” Dr. Jones talked about the term “evangelism”, and how it plays a major part in God’s cosmic story.

Session #4 this week is entitled by Dr. Jones “What is the Gospel?” I especially want to focus on what Dr. Jones talked about toward the end of his session, so I entitled my post, “Sharing the Gospel: Synchronic, Left-Brain Approach Versus Diachronic Right-Brain Approach”. We'll talk about what these mean a little later.

Dr. Jones first explained what the gospel “is not”.
  1. It’s not merely that “life gets better with Jesus”. This he termed as a “consumer product” gospel, and that we can’t just buy what Jesus sells, and things will get better for us.
  2. It’s not merely “the minimum entrance requirement to get into heaven”. He said this is a “reductionist version of the gospel”, only taking into account what will happen when we die, and ignoring the broader aspect of what will happen while we live.
Dr. Jones then explained that the gospel is the “good news” of what God has done in Jesus Christ to accomplish his mission to “rescue and renew His broken creation”, and “to create and sanctify a people for His own glory who will one day dwell in His uninhibited reign characterized by justice and peace”. Dr. Jones uses this definition repeatedly throughout the series.

He discussed four of God’s original intentions for humanity:
  1. God wanted humankind to have a loving relationship, or shalom, with Himself.
  2. God wanted humankind to have a loving relationship, or shalom, with each other.
  3. God wanted humankind to have a sense of harmony, or shalom, with God’s creation, or created order.
  4. God wanted people to have a personal sense of shalom in themselves, and he wanted them to flourish on the earth.
Instead man went his own way into what one French theologian called a “cosmic rebellion”, or “treason” to the point where it “corrupted” and “ruptured” God’s plan for shalom. After this corruption nothing could ever make us good enough to restore that shalom. Only what Jesus Christ did for us as a sacrifice for our sins, and his death and resurrection could atone for the corruption.

Dr. Jones said there are three fundamental considerations of the gospel that we always want to communicate in any gospel presentation:
  1. “The reality of the human predicament."
  2. “God’s provision to address the predicament.”
  3. “Our response to God’s provision.”
Also, there are three fundamental points, or “nutshell” of the gospel, which is God’s provision to address the human predicament, are the following:
  1. “Jesus died for our sins.”
  2. “Jesus was buried.” (Proof that he really did die.)
  3. “Jesus rose again.” (Resurrection.)
Dr. Jones emphasized the importance of the title Jesus had of “Christ”. He said that Jesus was like a first name, but Christ was His title which means “Anointed One” who came into the world as a “liberating king”. Jesus didn’t, however, come to liberate people from government oppression, but He came instead to liberate the hearts of people from the bondage and corruption of sin.

Dr. Jones talked about Dr. Timothy Keller’s “Synchronic” versus “Diachronic” sharing of the gospel message:
  • Synchronic: is like the gospel in bullet point form. It includes more of the nuts and bolts elements of the gospel like what Paul wrote, such as “justification by faith”, “salvation by grace”, and other “personal” components.
  • Diachronic: is like the gospel in story form. It includes the “Kingdom of God”, and the “cosmic” trajectory of the Gospel. (Note: Stephen in Acts 7 used what I would call a diachronic storyline presentation of the gospel.)
Dr. Jones said that both synchronic and diachronic presentations of the gospel are very critical components of the gospel message. But he believes that the diachronic, gospel in story form might be a more effective way to initially share the gospel with an unbeliever, especially in a world where storylines and imagery are very prominent.

Dr. Jones said that the synchronic, gospel in bullet point form is very good in unpacking the gospel elements AFTER the conversion of a person. He compared it to unpacking a suitcase at the end of a journey when one reaches his or her destination.

Lastly, Dr. Jones said that we sometimes look at understanding scripture like a lab worker cutting up a dead frog, trying to understand its pieces and parts. This is what he called left-brain thinking.

Instead, he said that scripture is alive, and we can be inspired to encounter its beauty, emotion, transformational power, and the cosmic implications that come with it. This is what he called right-brain thinking.

Up to this point I realize I’ve been using a synchronic, bullet-pointed, left-brain presentation of the gospel. My Roman Road tract and systematic approach to sharing the gospel are prime examples.

I really don’t want to bog myself down with changing approaches midstream. But, I very well may want to give a diachronic, storyline, right-brain gospel presentation a try.

What do you think? I’d like to get your perspective on what you think is the best way to share the gospel.

See you next time,
Arlen