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

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

GOD'S UNFOLDING COSMIC STORY!

 


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

Dear Readers:

Last week we discussed Evangelism Session #2 by Dr. Barry Jones, a Dallas Theological Seminary professor. I entitled the post “Can I Get A Witness?” In the session Dr. Jones talked about our “divine mission” to witness to the non-believing world, and what the word “witness” means. He said as a qualifier, “It’s always necessary to use words.” But the first step in using words is to earn the right to use those words by “living out the truth of the gospel” so that people can see our changed and different lives of “justice and peace.

The focus this week in Session #3 is the term “evangelism”, which is under the category “witness” of the last session, which in turn was under the category “mission” of the first session. Dr. Jones said our role of evangelism plays a major part in “God’s Unfolding Cosmic Story!”

Dr. Jones quoted D.T. Niles, that evangelism is just “one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread”. I used that quote in a previous Soulwinnersr.us post. He then said that Martin Luther’s last quoted words before he died were, “We are all beggars, that is true.”

Dr. Jones pointed out that our persuasiveness and charisma are not what produces results, and we in fact should not concern ourselves with results, because it’s God’s Holy Spirit that ultimately wins souls for Jesus. Our role is to just use words to tell Jesus’ story of His death and resurrection.

Dr. Jones told of his own experience one weekend where he spoke to a group of teens. He said the first night he was really “really feeling it” as he spoke with power and conviction the message of Christ, but when he gave the altar call not one teen came forward to accept Christ. He said the funny thing was that the next night he felt his message was weak and disjointed, but many, many teens came forward to accept Christ!

To further get his point across of the fact that only God and His Spirit has the power to change hearts is the story of Jonah, and that Jonah did everything wrong and was even “racist” in his lamentations about the people of Nineveh turning away from sin and toward God. In the end, however, Dr. Jones said one redeeming fact was that Jonah likely was the only one who could have truthfully told the story about being swallowed and spit out by the fish, being reluctant to evangelize Nineveh, and showing racism against the people. And in the story in the Bible Jonah didn’t make himself out to be a hero.

An interesting statistic Dr. Jones used is the fact that the average Christian has been witnessed to approximately 32 times before he or she gives their hearts to Christ. He asked his students about their experience in that 32 time “continuum”.

In conclusion Dr. Jones said that modern individualism has hindered evangelism. He and his students talked about the fact that while salvation is a wonderful individualistic experience; it can, however, cause us to "lose or ignore the cosmic dimension of what God is up to in the world”.

I don't want to lose or ignore that cosmic dimension of what God is up to in the world. Instead, I very much want to embrace and play a role in "God's Unfolding Cosmic Story” . . . How about you?

See you next time,
Arlen

Monday, August 30, 2021

CAN I GET A WITNESS?

 


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

Dear Readers:

Last week we discussed Evangelism Session #1 by Dr. Barry Jones, a Dallas Theological Seminary professor. I entitled the post “God’s Great Rescue Mission”. It focused on the “Missio Dei”, which means God’s purpose, in which God chooses, calls, and sends us on His rescue mission to save lost souls.

This week in lesson #2 Dr. Jones talked about our “divine mission” to witness to the non-believing world, and what the word “witness” means. He said as a qualifier, “It’s always necessary to use words.” But the first step in using words is to earn the right to use those words by “living out the truth of the gospel” so that people can see our changed and different lives of “justice and peace”.

Dr. Jones also said the essence of the Bible is God’s unfolding drama in which in the end we play an integral role as witnesses. He said the term “witness” is a narrower category under the term “mission”. And “evangelism” is a narrower category under the term “witness”.

Dr. Jones referenced a book entitled “The Rise of Christianity” by Rodney Stark. The book subtitle reads, “How the Obscure, Marginal Jesus Movement Became the Dominant Religious Force in the Western World In A Few Centuries”. At first I thought he was talking about the Jesus Movement that was related to the hippie movement in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Instead he was talking about the early church discussed in the book of Acts.

One key to this movement was the fact that it was in stark contrast to the prevailing Greek and Roman cultures. One example was that the early church movement treated women very well, unlike the Greek and Roman cultures. As a result many women were saved, and played a large role in the growth of the church. He said another key was the fact that the Greek and Roman cultures distanced themselves from anyone that had diseases like the plague, but the early church, in contrast, embraced and helped people with diseases, and many people got saved as a result.

Dr. Jones stated that there is some dissension between two camps of thought related to how we should witness. One side thinks that humanitarian efforts should be the primary means to share the gospel, and they may, or may not minimize the need for verbal sharing. The other side feels that verbal sharing should be the primary means to share the gospel, and they may, or may not minimize the need for humanitarian efforts. Dr. Jones strongly said that the church needs both.

Lastly, Dr. Jones pointed out that witnessing isn’t an optional choice for believers based on their preferences. He quoted Acts 1:8 which states, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Note the emphasis on “YOU WILL be my witnesses.” Dr. Jones said choosing to witness, or not to witness isn’t an option, and that Jesus gave an emphatic statement of fact.

Dr. Jones also asked students to give possible ways of verbally witnessing, to open the door for future evangelism. Several examples were: The question, “May I pray for you?”, or “words of encouragement”, or “remembering and commenting to people by name”, or “treating all people in the workplace or elsewhere with dignity and respect”.

I still have a long way to go to understand, and to begin the practice of being a good witness for Jesus that opens doors toward evangelism. How about you?

See you next time,

Arlen

Sunday, August 22, 2021

GOD'S GREAT RESCUE MISSION



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

Dear Readers:

Last week we talked about possible evangelism training resources and options, some that are free, to shed some light on effective ways to win souls for Jesus. We discussed the fact that any Christian can become a “lifelong learner” about evangelism, and we don’t have to enroll in an expensive school to do so.

The title of this week's post is "God’s Great Rescue Mission". It's based on the first training resource I discussed, which was the Dallas Theological Seminary’s Evangelism 102 free online course. This week I did the first lesson out of seven lessons in the course.

In the lesson Dr. Barry Jones laid some course groundwork for his students about the first week, and the coming weeks. Before getting into the heart of the lesson Dr. Jones made some key points that the course was more about “evangelism education” than it was about “evangelism methods”, although he said that some methods were to be discussed in the coming weeks.

He used evangelism word associations to identify the bad rap that evangelism sometimes gets. Some associations were the following: “Used car salesmen”, and “street corner or soapbox preachers”.

Dr. Jones also discussed the fallacy that extroverts have an advantage in evangelism over introverts. He said that we can all participate in evangelism with the personality God has given each of us.

Dr. Jones then stated that evangelism is in most cases a “dialogue”, as opposed to a “monologue”. This means it's usually better if there's a conversation as opposed to one person stating his or her own assertions about the need for the other person to come to God.

Dr. Jones main theme was about the words “mission”, and “missional”. He said that God’s mission is the overarching theme of the entire story of the Bible. He said that God’s mission is the following: “To rescue and renew God’s good, but broken creation.” Later he termed it “God’s Great Rescue Mission”.

Dr. Jones also defined “Theology Proper” which starts with God. God then sent Jesus to die for the sins of the people. God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit then sent people in the church as missionaries to the rest of mankind.

Dr. Jones quoted Andrew Kirk, a London theologian, who said: “If the church ceases being missionary (or evangelistic), it has not just failed in one of its tasks, it has ceased being Church.” Those seem like pretty strong words!

One student questioned the stern nature of this quote. Dr. Jones said that he feels like Dr. Kirk may have been using a little hyperbole to get his point across, but feels that the point Dr. Kirk made was true. His point was if the church isn't evangelistic, it essentially ceases being the church performing God's intended mission.

Dr. Jones also said that the missional or evangelistic nature of the church is the primary goal of the church, and churches that have other focuses, even ones that seem good, have it backwards.

He said that focuses such as “worship”, “community or small groups”, and even “discipleship” can be good, but they don’t usually lead us to be missional or evangelistic. But on the other hand being missional or evangelistic usually does lead us to worship, community, and discipleship.

I'm not going to get into all the details of the entire lesson in this post, as it would take too much time. I'm planning to post each week after studying, and hopefully passing, each lesson.

Finally, the point that Dr. Jones reemphasized at the end of this first lesson, was that “God chooses, calls, and sends us”. to participate in "God's Great Rescue Mission".

I want to be part of that rescue mission. How about you?

See you next time,
Arlen

Sunday, August 15, 2021

THE NEXT LEVEL


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

Dear Readers:

Last week we laid out the systematic, fairly uncomplicated Roman Road path to talk to unbelievers about the wonderful gospel of Jesus Christ.

This week's title is "THE NEXT LEVEL". I want to discuss the possibility of taking soulwinning to the next level by engaging in proven evangelism training.

There are a number of quality online training resources that are free of charge. I think these training opportunities and books can shed some light on effective ways to win souls for Jesus, and help us to take our soulwinning efforts to the next level.

I’ve discussed it numerous times, but I think it bears repeating, that no one, regardless of age, race, gender, or even disabling mental or physical condition, is disqualified from becoming part of an effective soulwinning team.

Many of us just last week finished watching the Olympics. The athletes in the Olympics have been training, and have taken many steps for many years to get to the next level where they were good enough to compete on a worldwide stage.

Many people, including myself, sometimes think that we don’t have the capacity to take soulwinning to the next level, and train to become a part of a team to make a difference in the lives of others. I, however, beg to differ.

I’ve come to the conclusion, even though it was late in my life, that our main job as Christians, along with our employment jobs, is to win souls for Jesus.

How can we do that?

I think we can do it the same way that the athletes in the Olympics reach their next level. By taking steps in practicing long and hard some of the principles taught by Jesus, his disciples, and many others about evangelism.

I’m going to present a two of these opportunities to learn the principles of evangelism so that soulwinning will become second nature, or for that matter first nature to us.

Here they are :
A. Dallas Theological Seminary has a free basic seven session online course called “Evangelism 102”. The course has a number of objectives, but for the sake of time I won't go over all of them.
  1. The student will know at least one method to share the Gospel, and begin to integrate it into his/her lifestyle. (Note: Last week we discussed learning the Roman Road method, so we might have a head-start on that objective.)
  2. The student will be interested in developing a plan to reach his/her community for Christ. (Note: This has been my goal for many years. We need to remember that an eternity in heaven or an eternity in hell are in the balance.)
  3. The student will plan and become enthusiastic about sharing his/her faith with non-Christians on a regular basis. (Note: Witnessing to others about Jesus should never be boring or tedious, but it should be our most exciting adventure in life.)
  4. The student will be interested in helping another person become better equipped to share the Gospel. (Note: Helping to equip myself and others to win souls for Jesus is the entire purpose of the soulwinnersrus website.)
B. The second course is taught by Greg Laurie of Harvest Church in California. He taught a six session online course in 2017 entitled “Tell Someone”. Objectives for this course are the following:
  1. Learn the importance of sharing your faith, and to do it with confidence and tact. (Note: This would go along with the "BLAST" acronym principles Greg Laurie recently shared.)
  2. Be encouraged in your walk with Christ. (Note: This could be compared to the Dallas Theological Seminary objective of the enthusiasm that can come from sharing the Gospel.)
  3. Overcome obstacles you face in sharing the Gospel message. (Note: The main reason I started the Soulwinnersrus website in the first place was to help myself to overcome the obstacles I was feeling in sharing my faith.)
  4. Focus on the challenge how you view those who don’t know Christ. (Note: I've recently been trying to think of people as souls, either saved or unsaved. I hope this approach takes all prejudice out of my interactions with them.)
  5. Be inspired to live out the Great Commission. (Note: This objective is self-explanatory.)
  6. Become equipped to effectively go and tell someone about Jesus.
  7. Use your personal testimony.
  8. “Close the deal” with someone who wants to give their life to Christ.
The “Evangelism 102” and “Tell Someone” courses are fairly recent offerings in teaching evangelism. But there are also a couple of old evangelism books that I found helpful. They are "The Soul Winner" by Charles Spurgeon, the well-known 1800's London preacher. And I also personally like “Pentecostal Witnessing” written by Aubrey Maye in 1955.
In conclusion, studying topics, like evangelism will take some time, but I think is time well worth taking.

At the age of almost 68 I realize that most likely my college days are behind me. But I think all of us can move forward toward "the next level" in the excitement of being lifelong learners, especially when it’s learning something as important as soulwinning.

See you next time,
Arlen



Saturday, August 7, 2021

CLIMBING THE ROMAN ROAD

 


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

Dear Readers:

Last week we discussed how to ‘build a bridge’ to reach out to other people, first to try to understand them, then to present, in a meaningful way, the wonderful love of Jesus. We used Greg Laurie’s BLAST acronym and questions I developed into a reference tract to be used by myself, and if desired, by other Christians.


The goal is to begin getting our feet wet in engaging non-Christians to talk about their belief systems, and to begin introducing them to Jesus in a systematic way.

Today, I’m going a bit further to introduce a step I referenced at the end of my last post, and that is using ‘The Roman Road’ approach to reach lost people. I’m not sure when ‘The Roman Road’ to salvation was first developed and used, but I feel it’s an effective, relatively straightforward, and uncomplicated way to introduce people to the gospel.

I developed a Roman Road tract after I got permission from The Tract League to use their Roman Road image any way that I like because they were going out of business. That was a blessing to me.

I then developed the ‘Climbing the Roman Road’ tract, and have been using it, and giving it out to unsaved people for several years now, although in reality I have witnessed to relatively few people, and also have given out the tract to relatively few people. But I want to change that.

I’m not doing this post to try to promote my tracts. They are fairly unprofessionally made. Instead, I’m promoting the effectiveness of using ‘The Roman Road’ SCRIPTURES, to reach lost souls for Jesus.

The full title of the tract I developed is ‘Climbing the Roman Road, The Most Important Climb You’ll Ever Make!’ Below is the front of the tract. I’m not, however, going to get into all the details of the first page. I instead want to focus on The Roman Road image and the Book of Romans Bible scriptures associated with the image.



There are seven Bible scriptures tied to The Roman Road image.
  1. The first scripture verse is a fundamental truth that’s vital for a person to understand that everyone has sin in their life. It’s found in Romans 3:23. It states, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” The picture on the image representing this verse is a broken heart caused by sin. See the picture in the image.
  2. The second scripture verse is a very stark reality. It’s found in the first part of Romans 6:23. It says, “For the wages of sin is death.” This verse is a reminder that at the end of sin is eternal death, which means an eternity in hell. That should be a wakeup call to all people, especially unsaved ones. The picture on the image representing this verse about eternal death is a tombstone.
  3. The third scripture verse is one that gives us some hope. It’s the second part of Romans 6:23, and states, “But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” The picture on the image representing this verse is a wrapped gift package.
  4. The fourth scripture verse explains what Jesus did to give us hope. It’s found in Romans 5:8 and says, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” This verse tells us that Christ provided a bridge to safely cross the chasm of hell toward an eternity in heaven. The picture on the image representing this verse is the well-known cross about ½ way up the mountain.
  5. The fifth scripture verse is the action required to be saved from the wages of sin. It’s found in Romans 10:13 and states, “For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” The picture on the image representing this verse is a man on his knees praying as he's calling on the name of the Lord.
  6. The sixth verse, Romans 10:9, further defines the outcome of that action. It reads, “That if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” The picture on the image representing this verse is a wonderful restored heart which is no longer broken.
  7. The seventh set of two scripture verses crescendo into a profound appeal that's found in Romans 12:1-2. They say, “I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Not all Roman Road tracts include these final verses. The picture on the image representing these two verses is a #1 symbol at the peak of the mountain with God's name there.
I think becoming familiar with and memorizing the Roman Road to salvation is a great tool to reach out to unsaved people with the gospel, and in conclusion, I think The Roman Road verses tie in very well with the BLAST tract, and I want to utilize them more and more in my quest as a soulwinner. How about you?

See you next time,

Arlen

Thursday, July 29, 2021

HAVING A 'BLAST'!



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

Dear Readers:

Last week we discussed what the ‘real job’ of a Christian is, and that is to win souls for Jesus. I referenced the fact that I was planning this week to get into some ‘nitty gritty’ details of soul winning. To try to do that I entitled my post today, “Having A 'BLAST'”.

“Having A 'BLAST'” is based on a sermon that Greg Laurie preached earlier this month. He used the acronym B-L-A-S-T in his “The Refreshing Power of Sharing Your Faith” sermon. The acronym stands for strategies to share your faith.

It’s the following:
  • Build A Bridge
  • Lovingly Enter Their World
  • Ask Questions
  • Share Your Testimony
  • Tell Them How To Come To Jesus
I made a tract for Christians to use as a reference guide. (Note: Below is the front of the tract.)



















I also developed some questions several years ago to ask unsaved people. Last week I incorporated them into the back of the ‘BLAST’ tract. (Note: Below is the back of the tract.


I strategically put the questions in order so hopefully we can remember them, and use them when encountering lost people. I also think the questions fulfill Greg Laurie’s ‘BLAST’ acronym.

The questions follow a pattern I developed for myself, but they can be changed up to make if more effective to fit your own style.

They’re the following:
1. “What do you put your hope or trust in?” (Here You're trying to build a bridge.)

2. “Have you tried any religions?” (Here you're trying to find out their experience of spiritual searching.)

3. “Have you ever explored Christianity?” (Here you're trying to find out what they think of Christianity, and whether it's been on their radar as a possible option.)

4. “Tell me about your experiences with Christianity and Christian people?” (Here you're trying to find out what are their deep-seated feelings about Christianity ... and Christians.)

5. “Do you believe in heaven or hell?” (Here you're trying to find out the heart of the matter whether the person has thought of what happens to them when they die.)

6. “If you had a choice when you die where would you choose? (Now you're trying to find out, lovingly, what their perception is of heaven and hell, and whether they've thought about them before.)

7. “Would you allow me to read a verse or two from John in the Bible?” (Here you're trying to identify what the Bible says about following Jesus.)
  • Verse 1. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, so that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 NKJV
  • Verse 2. “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 NKJV
8. “What do you think about the verses?” (Here you'll find out what impact the verses had on them, if any.)

9. Briefly share your own testimony. (Again you're trying to build a bridge to tell them what impact the decision to follow Jesus has made in your own life.)

10. Ask the person whether he or she would want to make a decision today to follow Christ. (After these BLAST questions hopefully you'll have a sense of whether or not to move forward, and whether the person is ready to commit their lives to Jesus.)

11. If person agrees use Roman Road tract. If person declines be gracious, offer to pray for them in the coming weeks, and offer the Roman Road tract.

Remember, while asking the questions listen intently with care and concern. Remember the well-known Teddy Roosevelt quote, “People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

I pray this post and tract helps you. It’s not a tract to give to unsaved people, but to be used by the soulwinner as a reference guide.

Please let me know if you want me to send you a copy. I can email it to you or snail-mail it.

Next week I want to discuss the Roman Road tract I developed a couple years ago that I’ve used frequently to discuss with, and give directly to, unsaved people.

I pray you end up, like me . . . “Having A BLAST” sharing your faith with other people.

See you next time,
Arlen

Monday, July 26, 2021

MY REAL JOB!



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

Dear Readers:

The last two weeks we discussed what isn’t required, and what absolutely is required to win souls for Jesus. We said that a dynamic personality IS NOT REQUIRED, but that a deep love for God and other people ABSOLUTELY IS REQUIRED to win souls.

I want to take one more week to focus on another inspiration that I’ve had about soulwinning. After that I want to get into some nitty gritty details.

My inspiration is the following: Soulwinning is my ‘real job’. You might tell me, “Arlen, I already know that!” I know you probably know it, and I also knew it . . . in my head, but not in my heart.

This post isn’t to minimize the importance of the jobs which we work daily to earn money to support ourselves and our families. It is, however, to identify what is a Christian’s very most important job.

I’ve been retired for about 2½ years now. I’m amazed almost every Sunday night that I don’t have to worry about getting up on Monday morning to face the grind of another work week. It’s a true blessing. But where do I go from here?

I think I’ve come up with the inspiration about where to go from here after about five months of posting on my new Soulwinnersr.us website. I should have known it all along. The Bible makes it clear.

We all know the verse in Ephesians 4:11 where Paul said, “He (Jesus) gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, equipping the saints for the work of ministry. . .” There are also all the spiritual gifts identified in 1 Corinthians 12. I’ll leave that for another day.

But the key phrase for me in Ephesians 4:11 is the last one. I’m a saint being equipped ‘for the work of ministry’. So what is the work of ministry?

The late pastor and author Ray Stedman was a close associate of the well-known radio pastor J. Vernon McGee. Pastor Stedman stated that the work of ministry is the following: “The Church exists as God’s instrument to reach the world.”

Pastor Stedman went on to say, “The world needs His (Jesus Christ’s) ministry desperately, but it was never intended that worldlings should come to the church to find Christ. Rather, the church was intended to move out into the world.” (Note: ‘Worldlings’ is such a funny term.)

So ‘my real job’ is not to wait until ‘worldlings’ come to me, but for me to go to ‘worldlings’ to tell them about the wonderful love of Jesus.

My ‘real job’ as a soulwinner is not just for me as a retiree, or for other retirees. Working our ‘real jobs’ of winning souls for Jesus is for all Christians in all stages of life.

See you next time,
Arlen


Thursday, July 22, 2021

LOVE REQUIRED



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

Dear Readers:

The last time we discussed what isn’t required to win souls for Jesus. We talked about the great power of God’s Living Word being enough for soulwinners to use, and that a dynamic personality isn’t required to get the job done. But, today we’re going to discuss what absolutely is required!

Jesus made it clear what are the greatest commands. He said in Mark 12:29-31, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is, Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other command greater than these”.

Love is a much used word today. Singers sing songs about it. Poets write poems about it. Writers write books about it. People in the streets and in the media lament the fact there isn’t enough love in people to right the many wrongs in our society.

But what did Jesus really mean by telling us to love God, and then love other people? I think He was saying that one can’t exist without the other, and it’s futile to think that they can.

Sometimes when I see movies or TV shows I cry at happy endings. I did it just today when I watched “How Green Was My Valley”. There, I admitted it. I cry over movies and TV shows. I even do it with adventure movies that have happy endings.

I then come back to reality and almost slap myself up-side the head when I realize that the movie just displayed a storyline without a mention or thought of God being the true source of happiness and love. Writers, directors, and actors, however, are very good at tugging at our heartstrings. I don’t fault them for it, and I’ll very likely continue watching movies with happy endings, and I’ll probably cry at times.

But what’s the true love that Jesus was talking about? It’s Agape love, which C.S. Lewis termed “selfless, unconditional love.” It has no strings attached, and it’s offered freely.

1 Corinthians 13 is likely the most prominent scripture passage talking about Agape love. I won’t read the entire chapter as it would take too long. I’ll just pick two verses.

Paul wrote in verse 8, “Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end.” Verse 13 goes on to say, “Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love – but the greatest of these is love.” So out of everything according to John, love, or agape love if you will, is one of the very few things that will remain after the world comes to an end in its current form, and love is the greatest.

1 John chapters 3 and 4 talk repeatedly about loving other people. I think the most well-known verse is 1 John 4:7, where John wrote, “Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.”

So, two things are clear:
1. Loving God deeply, and loving others deeply are inextricably tied together. They can’t occur without the other. Anything else is just a guise or the false appearance of true love.

2. We love others because ‘love is from God and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God’

So, in conclusion, to be true soulwinners the first thing that’s required is for us to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. The second thing that’s required is for us to deeply love other people.

See you next time,
Arlen

Sunday, July 18, 2021

DYNAMIC PERSONALITY NOT REQUIRED



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

Dear Readers:

The last time we emphasized the fact that we don’t need to be Bible scholars to become soulwinners, but just share like a child the love of Jesus.

Today I’m going to discuss another barrier that I, or others might have toward soulwinning. I’ve always known that I don’t have an outgoing, dynamic personality, one where people are drawn to me naturally because of my charm and charisma.

I’ve never been the life of a party. I wondered growing up why my brother had many more friends than I did. I guessed it was because I was more reserved and shy. Also, I always worried about the consequences, possibly even legal ones, of being the life of a party and the center of attention. In retrospect my lack of a having a dynamic personality served me well. I was never arrested . . . although a couple times I could have been.

Back in the early 90’s I helped my church youth pastor and his wife lead a youth group. I was well aware that I was not as popular as some of the younger leaders, and for that matter some of the older ones. I had a strong sense of not being as ‘hip’ as the others.

One leader and his wife about my age were musicians. Before they were saved they had their own rock band in the secular world. They had two teens in the group. They also had a working music studio in their basement, and they were both dynamic and outgoing. The father even designed and built a six-eight foot long model Seaview submarine, based on the ‘Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea’ TV show. He had it right in the middle of the family dining room.

I was single, had some obsessive-compulsive traits, and felt insecure that I, again, could never dynamic enough that the youth members would like me, and think that I was ‘cool’.

I even went to the youth pastor and said that I didn’t think I was cut out to be a youth leader . . . that I felt I didn’t fit in. He took strong opposition to my view, and directly stated that my strong Christian faith was a definite asset to setting a good example for the youth. He said I didn’t have to be dynamic and outgoing to be an effective youth leader.

So, here’s my question. Does a lack of having an outgoing, dynamic personality affect soulwinning?

By the way, many people have dynamic personalities, but they are ineffective role models and leaders.

And, I’m in no way suggesting that a person should never have a dynamic personality. The amazing thing about us is that we’re all different and bring our own ‘wonderfully made’ self to the table of life as it says in Psalm 139.

I think there is a key, however, to unlocking our full potential to win souls for Jesus Christ. It’s to understand and to accept that the dynamic power for witnessing comes from Jesus, His Holy Spirit, and His Holy Word.

God’s Word has enough power and dynamism to go around, and when we depend on it, we don’t feel that we need to be dynamic within ourselves.

Again, as I said in a previous post, “this isn’t just using the power of positive thinking”. The dynamic power of God’s Word is a reality. The first chapter of John makes it clear that the “Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things were created through him.” John 1:14 says, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” It’s talking about Jesus!

The Greek word dunamis is used 120 times in the New Testament. It means power, strength, ability, and even explosiveness. The words dynamic and even dynamite are derived from dunamis. The word is used to identify the dynamic power that Christians have in following God’s word.

Also, Hebrews 4:12 states, “For the word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword”.

In conclusion, this means to be a winner of souls we don’t have to have a dynamic personality, although to have one isn’t forbidden. Everyone’s different and brings their own strengths to the table. It simply means, instead of depending on our own strengths, that we depend instead on the dynamic power and strength of God’s Living Word to win souls for Jesus.

See you next time,
Arlen

Thursday, July 15, 2021

JUST A LAYMAN BECOMING LIKE A CHILD



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

Dear Readers:

The last time we discussed a very prominent barrier for me, and likely others to reach lost souls for Jesus Christ. It’s clearly the absence of the knowledge of, or acceptance of the power of the Holy Spirit to help us.

There’s one other barrier that I want to discuss. It’s been a hindrance for me for many years to share the gospel with others. It’s the fact that I’m a simple layman, which by definition means that I’m not a clergyman, or a trained biblical professional.

I have, however, read the Bible through many times, mostly through annual daily readings. I’m going to be honest in sharing that I’m a fairly distractible person, and I lose my train of thought easily, and I don’t even come close to having a photographic memory. But by Bible reading repetition over the years I’ve become very familiar with most of the contents and the themes of the Bible. But a biblical or theological scholar I’m not, nor will I ever become one.

That’s partly why the fundamentals of soulwinning don’t come naturally for me in the sense of being able to easily quote the scriptures most closely associated with evangelism. And that’s largely the reason I started the Soulwinnersr.us website in the first place. I wanted to help myself, and people like me, to become soulwinners despite our handicaps.

Working for so many years with people with handicaps such as developmental disabilities, and for over thirty years with people with mental illness, I’m keenly aware of the problems many, many people have with understanding things, with performing tasks, and with interpersonal relationships. I wondered, and still wonder about their ability to connect with God, and to have an impact on others while sharing the love of Jesus.

I’ve come to a conclusion, and I think it’s a sound one. It stems from the book of Matthew. Jesus said in chapter 18:3, “Unless you turn and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven”.

Also, Jesus in chapter 19:13-14 addressed his disciples who rebuked parents who were bringing children to Jesus for prayer. Jesus sternly told his disciples to allow the children “because the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

Finally, Matthew 21:15-16 details the children spontaneously shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” The scribes and Pharisees were indignant over this, but Jesus justified their praise of Him.

One thing about children is that they’re too young to have formed opinions and strategies about things. They act on impulse. They say what’s on their mind. 

Children saw something in Jesus that appealed to them, and they let it be known how they felt. They weren’t thinking of possible consequences, and they definitely weren’t strategically planning their next steps to tell others people about Jesus. They told other people, and eventually the world about him in their own way. And their interactions with Jesus and others ended up being written about in the Bible.

That gives me hope with my own foibles, and gives me hope for other people with foibles, and even for people that have disabilities, that they also can know, and share the wonderful love of Jesus with other people.

See you next time,


Arlen


Friday, July 9, 2021

HOLY SPIRIT INSPIRED SOULWINNING



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

Dear Readers:

Lately I’ve been thinking, “What am I missing related to soulwinning, and why don’t more people show an interest in doing it (not necessarily with me, but generally)?
 
It came to me that my focus has been on the mechanical, motivational, and mental aspects of reaching out to others with the Gospel of Jesus.

When reading Acts, however, I believe there’s a whole different dimension that I’m missing. What’s that dimension?

The Book of Acts makes it clear. It’s the power of the Holy Spirit.

I know that some Christians struggle with Pentecostalism. They believe that the emphasis on speaking in tongues as evidence of being filled with the Holy Spirit is going too far.

On the other side many Pentecostal Christians feel very strongly that all Christians should embrace speaking in tongues to experience the fullness of the Holy Spirit.

Yesterday I did a little unscholarly research of the Book of Acts, and I came to the conclusion that both sides have some valid points.

In my research, unscholarly as it was, I found the following:

1. The filling or leading of the Holy Spirit was mentioned in seventeen of the twenty-eight chapters of Acts.

2. ‘Speaking in tongues’ was only mentioned in three of those seventeen chapters.

3. That means that tongues related to the filling of the Holy Spirit was mentioned in 10.7% of the chapters of Acts.

4. The Holy Spirit filling or leading without the mention of tongues was in 60.7% of the chapters of Acts.

Conclusion: The Holy Spirit filling or leading is mentioned almost 6 times more by itself than associated with tongues.

I think that’s likely why Paul, in 1 Corinthians 14 minimized the importance of tongues in relation to the Holy Spirit. He specifically said that there are more important matters for the Christian to focus on than speaking in tongues. But he also said, however, that we shouldn’t throw tongues totally out the window.

But let’s get back to the ‘filling’ or ‘leading’ part that the Holy Spirit plays in our lives as it relates to soulwinning. I think in my own life I’ve felt a nudging a number of times to go one way with a decision,

and I always said, “The Lord led me.” This statement’s true, but I think just as accurate is the statement, “The Holy Spirit led me.”

Think of the concept of ‘being filled with, or being led by the Holy Spirit’. Just take it in . . . the God of the universe is living inside of you . . . He’s living inside of me, and He’s intimately working through you and me! Aren’t those two very awesome things?

Rather than thinking too much about the mundane experiences of life, I want to embrace the wonder of the Holy Spirit filling my life and leading me.

This isn’t just ‘the power of positive thinking’. This is a reality that can’t be ignored. It can’t be ignored when going about our daily routines. And it certainly can’t be ignored when interacting with family, friends, and other people we encounter.

There you have it. We need to accept the fact that we are filled with, and empowered by the Holy Spirit to live our lives, And the Holy Spirit also empowers us to reach out to those we encounter with the life-changing love of Jesus.

See you next time,

Arlen


Sunday, July 4, 2021

SOULWINNERSRUS RECAP

 


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

Dear Readers:

I want to recap, or review some of my . . . or our progress with soulwinning. I think before we take our next steps, it would benefit us to look at where we’re at with our soulwinning adventure.

Post #1: Go.
I discussed Jesus’ command in Matthew 28:19 to his disciples to ‘go’ into all the world and make disciples, and the definitions of ‘go’, and the opposite of go, which is either to ‘stop’, or to ‘stay’. I discussed my own lack in this area, and that’s why I created the Soulwinnersr.us website in the first place.

Post #2: The Broad and Narrow Roads
I wanted in my second post to discuss the haunting nature of what it means for the majority of people to go on, what Jesus said in Matthew 7:13-14, is the ‘broad road’ to destruction, or to be blunt, toward an eternal torment in hell. I want to do my part to win souls to prevent people from going on that road, and also to instead encourage and inspire them to go on the ‘narrow road’ to ‘life’, which means toward Jesus, and ultimately heaven.

Post #3: A Soulwinning Team
I discussed in this post of the fact that all our lives we are active in joining teams to reach certain goals. Soulwinning is no exception. Just because we might feel like we’re too young or old, or not outgoing or smart enough, we should never think we cannot join an exciting team to win souls for Jesus!

Post #4: Soulwinning Experiment #1: Beggar to Beggar
In this post I wanted to demystify soulwinning. We can do this when we think of ourselves as beggars who found Jesus, ‘the bread of life’. Then it’s just a natural act to tell other beggars where they might also find this ‘bread’. I discussed starting small and talking to at least one person in the next week, a beggar if you will, about where to find bread.

Post #5: Soulwinning Experiment #1 Results
We discussed our successes and challenges of talking to at least one beggar.

Post #6: Soulwinning Experiment #2: Surveillance Mission
In this post we discussed treating the meeting of people in our week as surveillance encounters, like a ‘detective’ or a ‘spy’, to give the act of soulwinning some spice. Soulwinning doesn’t have to be a boring or tedious act, and the main purpose of these experiments is for us to begin to develop a culture of the exciting world of soulwinning!

Post #7: Soulwinning Experiment #3: Superhero Rescue Mission My goal in this experiment was to use our God given desire for adventure to infiltrate the evil planet, counteract the villain, and save souls from disaster.

Post #8: Soulwinning Experiment #4: Answering The ‘How Are You?’ Question
This experiment was to turn the frequently occurring question from our family members, friends, and people in the community, ‘How are you?’, and reflect our love of Jesus in it. People use the phrase without even thinking, and everyone usually replies, “I’m fine”, or “I’m doing great”, without ever really getting into the reason why they are ‘fine’ or ‘great’. Why not take it a step further and tell them that we’re fine or great because we’re ‘blessed by Jesus’?

Post #9: Witness ‘In Our Sleep’
The post again focuses on a team aspect where team members practice over and over ‘the fundamentals’ of a task so much, that they can literally do it without even thinking, or ‘in their sleep’. The same holds true with soulwinning. The goal is to do it so much that it becomes second nature to us.

Finally, I wanted to do this recap to discuss progress. It can help us to determine our next steps. In the last several weeks I’ve talked openly to family members, friends, people in a car service center, a computer technician, a plant nursery worker, and others about the wonderful love of Jesus. I still have a long way to go, but I feel I’m making progress. How about you? Let me know how you’re doing, and what you think are logical next steps.

See you next time,
Arlen

Friday, June 25, 2021

WITNESS 'IN OUR SLEEP'

 




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

Dear Readers:

Two weeks ago I mentioned building up our ‘mental muscles’ by practicing the fundamentals of soulwinning so that we could essentially witness the love of Jesus to others ‘in our sleep’.

The goal of any habit that we want to become a regular part of our lives is to practice it over, and over, and over again, until we can do it so well, and it comes to us so naturally, that we don’t even have to think about it.

Two things that always bothered me growing up were the following. 1. I never learned to roller skate. 2. I never learned to swim. When invited to roller skating and swimming parties I always felt embarrassed that I wasn’t able to do either.

Years ago while still living in Berlin, Ohio I went for about four months straight to a roller skating rink every week because I was determined to learn to roller skate.

I’d like to say that I became proficient at roller skating. I did manage to stay upright longer than ten seconds, but roller skating never became my forte.

In 1990 I moved to Ashland, Ohio for my new job. I didn’t know anyone there, so it was the perfect opportunity to try to learn to swim. I went to the YMCA and signed up for a membership, and immediately started taking swimming lessons. I felt self-conscious when I saw little six-year olds swimming better than me, but I was determined, and went at least three times a week to take lessons and practice. After all, what else did I have to do in a new town?

In the past I never thought it was possible for me to learn to swim. My swimming instructors, however, had hope for me, and it payed off. The biggest hurdle, and it was a huge hurdle, was learning to breathe in between strokes.

I literally stood in chest-high water and repeatedly put my head straight down under water, blew out my breath, and turned my head to the side to take in a breath. I felt sort of foolish doing it, but I did this over, and over, and over again.

Finally, after about four months of this routine, it started becoming more and more natural for me to breathe in between strokes. I started improving to the point of being able to swim laps. I gained a couple of swimming buddies in the process, and we laughed and joked as we swam along together. I shocked myself that I was able to do something I had previously thought impossible.

What about witnessing? Can we practice it over, and over, and over again so that it becomes so natural for us that we can literally do it in our sleep . . . or so that it becomes fun for us to witness to other people, and we can gain new friendships we once never thought possible?

Two examples I had of this in the last week. I met one man who was reading a book that I thought looked like a Bible. I asked him about it, and he said it was a combination Hebrew reading book with English translations.

This man said that he believed in the Old Testament, but the New Testament where it talked about Jesus was not as important . . . or it was merely an extension of the Old Testament. I told him of my love for Jesus, and he minimized the importance of this, and that it was more important to serve and learn about the God of the Old Testament. I wasn’t able to finish my conversation with him as he had to leave.

I met another lady while waiting at a car service area. She was a young black lady who I really came to like when she talked about her job, her mother, and various other topics with another lady and me. This young lady was full of life and had a smile that lit up a room. I was disappointed when she was called out to the service desk, and I didn’t have a direct opportunity to share the gospel with her.

But as I went out to pay for and get my vehicle, there she was standing outside smoking. I had my homemade Roman Road tract ready, and I pulled alongside her and handed it to her, shared about it briefly, and she gave me a big smile and said “thank you”.

So, I think there’s great joy in overcoming obstacles that we once thought impossible to overcome. And I fully believe that being able to ‘witness in our sleep’ is one of them.

See you next week,
Arlen

Thursday, June 17, 2021

SOULWINNING EXPERIMENT #4: ANSWERING THE “HOW ARE YOU?” QUESTION

 




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

Dear Readers:

I didn’t directly rescue someone from the fire in the last week, but I shared my love of Jesus with various people and I’m not disheartened at all. I plan to move forward in my soulwinning quest.

Recently I had two men I knew fairly well pass away. I lived with one man and his family back in the late 80’s for a couple years while attending college. The other man was my wife’s late husband’s Dad. One thing they both had in common was to openly share their love of Jesus with other people, including with family members, friends, people they met in the community, and others.

I’m taking their lead in my next soulwinning experiment. In it I’m planning to take a specific strategy when I meet people. It’s based on the one thing that most people ask other people. You guessed it . . . “HOW ARE YOU?” I joke with my family every time we’re in the Taco Bell drive-in line. I tell them “I’m 100% certain that the Taco Bell worker will ask over the intercom “How are you?” They’ve been doing it for years.

My plan in the coming week is to take the “How are you?” question to the next level, and really tell them how I am. What’s the point of exchanging pleasantries if we don’t even share the truth? I don’t mean sharing the details if we’re having a horrible, rotten, no good day. I mean doing the following:

I plan to say something like this: “I’m feeling blessed by Jesus”, or “I’m feeling blessed by Jesus, thanks for asking”, or “I’m feeling blessed by Jesus, how are you?” By doing this you’re sharing a meaningful expression of your heartfelt feelings about how you really are.

I believe this simple response can have the effect of starting the person to thinking about their own relationship with Jesus. I also think it might open up opportunities to dialogue in the future about Jesus.

For example, if we meet the same person repeatedly, they’ll know ahead of time how we’re going to respond to the ‘How are you?’ question. It might make them think over and over again about their own relationship with Jesus, and whether this strange person in front of them is sharing something of value for their own lives.

You might think this approach will scare the other person off, or you might feel very uncomfortable sharing in this way. But what do we have to lose? As I used to say to my people trying to get jobs who were reluctant to call, or communicate with an employer repeatedly about the prospect of getting a job. I used to joke, “Will they call the police to arrest you for annoying them?”

We do feel blessed by Jesus, don’t we? Why not share it with others when they ask us the “How are you?” question.

See you next week,

Arlen