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

Saturday, June 12, 2021

SUPERHERO RESCUE MISSION RESULTS

 



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

Dear Readers:

Well, how did we do with the ‘Superhero Rescue Mission’ experiment? I’ll be candid that my mission was what some might term ‘a bust’.

Does the failure of performing the mission make me, or you, a failure? I said a couple experiments ago that I was going to be upfront with success . . . or failure. The key is what did we learn from our experience?

I prayed daily for someone to rescue, but perhaps I prayed just in passing. If you’re like me you have a lot of people and activities vying for time and attention. That’s not a bad thing. God can use us even in the busiest of times. I fully believe that.

The heroes of the Bible also had a lot of people and activities vying for their time, but God still used them mightily. In Exodus 18 Moses was warned by his father-in-law to hand out some judging duties to other qualified men because the task was so large that Moses was becoming overwhelmed. God used Moses’ father-in-law to help Moses understand that it’s okay to not have all the answers all the time . . . and it’s okay to rethink whether we should try a different approach.

In Mark 5:25-34 Jesus was engaged in traveling to Jairus’s home to heal Jairus’s little daughter. While walking there a large crowd also walked close by him, and Jesus was so popular that the crowd pushed in on him. 

It reminded me of a couple weeks ago when Phil Mickelson became the oldest pro golfer ever to win a major golf tournament. Most golf tournaments up to that point were spectator-less due to Covid. But the fans were celebrating their newfound freedom, and they crowded in on Phil in mob jubilation. The other golfer in the twosome became perturbed at the melee, and he said that he even reinjured his knee trying to navigate through the fans pressing in on them.

In Jesus’ case, even though he was on a very important mission to heal a very sick little girl, he felt ‘power’ radiate out from him to someone in the crowd. His disciples were incredulous and basically told him that no way could he know who in the great mob touched him. But Jesus took the time out of his busy schedule to address a woman with a serious issue of bleeding.

So being busy doesn’t mean a death knell to performing the task of The Great Commission. It only means that perhaps we need to practice the fundamentals over and over again so that we can basically ‘do it in our sleep’ when the opportunity arises. We need to build our ‘mental muscles’ to make soulwinning come as naturally as the many other activities of our days.

So I intend to keep on practicing the fundamentals, building those ‘mental muscles, and praying to God and the Holy Spirit to bring people my way to witness to. How about you?

See you next week,
Arlen

Thursday, June 3, 2021

SOULWINNING EXPERIMENT #3: SUPERHERO RESCUE MISSION

 


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

Dear Readers:

Have you ever wondered what draws us, at least most men, to watch superhero action movies, or action movies in general? Or draw us in to watch combat movies such as ‘Sergeant York’?

What is it about these movies that suck us in?
1. There are good guys and bad guys, villains if you will.

2. The bad guys continually try to snuff out the good guys . . . so that they can do what?

a. Seize power by taking over and ruling other people, or in some cases the entire world.

b. Make enormous amounts of money.

What happens if the villains gain too much power?
1. Villains may sometimes make promises to the people of ‘a better tomorrow’ . . . but in the end the people are rudely awakened that the villain, or villains are in it for themselves, and they will make life miserable for anyone that stands in their way.

2. There is never enough for a villain. If you ever watch gangster movies, which I have, the mob bosses never have enough. They are always conniving to gain more power, more control, and more money . . . and they’ll resort to any tactics, even killing, to get it.

So what do the good guys do in such dire circumstances?

1. They might take it upon themselves to counteract the villain. They might collectively gather to develop strategies. The villain, on the other hand, tries to silence any dissent among the ranks . . . by intimidation, even to the point of threatening to kill family members.

2. Secondly, they might look for a hero, or heroes that have the wherewithal, stamina, and brainpower to outflank the villain. If any of you have watched the western “The Magnificent Seven” with Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen, you’ll know what I mean.

So where do you and I come into the picture in soulwinning? Can we gather collectively to counteract the villain, which in our case is Satan?

Or can we become a superhero to do as detailed in Jude 1:22-23: “Have mercy on those who waver, save others by snatching them from the fire...”

So can you and I really be a superhero to save a person at the last minute who is heading for the fire? The answer is, “Absolutely!”

Our Soulwinning Experiment mission, if you decide to accept it, is to look at others as heading toward a fire . . . which is very true if they haven’t accepted Jesus into their hearts . . . and to pray with all your might, to see if God would have you be a superhero in their lives.

See you next week,
Arlen

Thursday, May 20, 2021

SOULWINNING EXPERIMENT #2: SURVEILLANCE MISSION


 

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

Dear Readers:

I’m so glad you stopped by. Today we’re going explore the results of the last week of sharing the gospel with others. Then we’re going to embark on Soulwinning Experiment #2: Surveillance Mission.

Results in last seven days:
  • I shared the Roman Road gospel tract I made with the Marcos Pizza manager. He was friendly and accepting, but showed that he was very unaware what the tract was about. He leafed hurriedly through it, as he was busy . . . and I was reluctant to go through the details right there and then. I want to be braver in the future.
  • I shared the gospel verbally with two former Amish men at different times. They were accepting and listened, and one acknowledged, as he pointed to his heart, that he is aware that people have a vacuum in their hearts that can be only filled by God. I don’t think that young man attends church on a regular basis, or professes to be a strong believer, although I think he thinks of himself as a believer. I want to be more forthright in the future to ask people where they're at in their beliefs about Jesus.
Now to Soulwinning Experiment #2: Surveillance Mode.
  • Surveillance definition: "Close watch kept over someone (as by a detective or a spy)."
You might ask, “What does surveillance have to do with soulwinning?” I would respond, “A lot, because we determine what direction to take with our relationships with people by understanding where a person is coming from . . . what he or she thinks about things . . . and what motivates him or her . . . in essence, what makes them ‘tick’

Steps for our Surveillance Mission:
  1. Pray to the Holy Spirit to guide you to people to surveil, or observe, like a ‘detective’, or a ‘spy’. People rush by us in a hurry in social or neighborhood settings, like in a store, and if you’re like me, we seldom think about, “What makes that person tick?”
  2. Purposefully think to yourself “What are the circumstances around that person that may be troubling him or her?” or, “How does God want to reach down into the heart of that person . . . because we know that He does?”
  3. Ask God if He wants you to reach out to him or her at that moment, and then follow God’s nudging. Let’s try to be as brave as possible.
What's the worst that can happen to us if we share the gospel with someone?
  • As a mental health job developer I took the approach when engaging employers to convince them to hire my people, that the most they could do to me is to get mad at me and ask me to leave. I encouraged the same approach with people trying to find jobs. The employer couldn’t have us arrested for bothering them. 
  • The same holds true in soulwinning. People can shrug you off, or they can get mad at you . . . but they very likely aren’t going to have you arrested for harassment.
  • But on the other hand, they might be friendly and wonder what is it about you or me that make us care about them?
Again, let’s try to remember that right now we’re trying to develop a culture of soulwinning, to “sow seeds”, if you will,  as Jesus said in John 3:36-37: “The reaper is already receiving pay and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that the sower and reaper can rejoice together. For in this case the saying is true: ‘One sows and another reaps.’”

Let’s be content with sowing seeds for now, and we know that God will honor our effort. We’ll talk next week about how we did in our ‘surveillance mission’

See you next week,
Arlen

Thursday, May 13, 2021

RESULTS: SOULWINNING EXPERIMENT #1 (BEGGAR TO BEGGAR)

 


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

Dear Readers:

I’m so glad you stopped by. Today we’re going explore what happened with Soulwinning Experiment #1: Beggar to Beggar.

Let’s try to remember that the goal is not to immediately go gangbusters with winning souls for Jesus . . . unless if the Holy Spirit leads us to do so, which would be wonderful. The goal is for us to think of soulwinning as more of a commonplace occurrence . . . and to make soulwinning a cultural norm, as opposed to an odd event.

Sharing where to get bread with another beggar should be a fun and meaningful experience. It shouldn’t be a sober and a downer experience.

So let’s get to it. How did we do? I’ll share my day by day rundown:
  • Thursday, Day 1: No beggar found.
  • Friday, Day 2: I talked to the Donatos Pizza lady about my relationship with Jesus. She reported also being a born again Christian herself. She smiled and went back to work in the pizza shop.
  • Friday, Day 2 continued: I talked to my son on way home from the store about wonder of being saved, and the fact that I look forward to meeting loved ones in heaven, including his Daddy who died in 1995, and his Grandpa and Grandma who both died within the last 10 years.
  • Saturday, Day 3: No beggar found.
  • Sunday, Day 4: No beggar found.
  • Monday, Day 5: I talked to a university women tour group at Mission to Amish People about salvation by faith that MAP emphasizes. I talked repeatedly about the Gospel, although I gave no clear invitation.
  • Tuesday, Day 6: No beggar found.
  • Wednesday, Day 7: I wrote on Facebook a post entitled "Wrath of God?" I encouraged the readers to take action at the end.
Results: 3 out of 7 days I shared to some degree the gospel four different times. I did nothing earth shattering, eye-opening, or jaw-dropping. I really didn’t expect to do so. Again, my goal was just to make soulwinning a more normal activity in our lives . . . one that comes naturally to us, and hopefully one that’s a more joyful experience.

So there you have it. I’m pleased with how things went. How about you?

Next week I’m going to try another soulwinning experiment where we focus on looking at people we encounter in a different way.

In the meantime I intend to pray every day for God to send people, beggars if you will, my way . . . and your way, to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with.

See you next week,
Arlen

Thursday, May 6, 2021

SOULWINNING EXPERIMENT #1: BEGGAR TO BEGGAR


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

Dear Readers:

I’m so glad you stopped by. We’re going to try to demystify (“to remove the mystery from something; to explain or clarify”), to destigmatize (“to remove associations of shame or disgrace from”), and to overcome the fear of soulwinning.

When we think of telling someone about the love of Jesus Christ, do we become fearful of not knowing what to say . . . and how to say it? Do we fear failure? Do we think that other people will think we’re religious fanatics?

I’m in the same boat as the rest of you if you think these things. There’s no shame in admitting it. The first step to overcome fear is to admit it and face it.

I’m going to propose an experiment that I plan to try in the next week. You can join me if you like. I’ll report on the results next Wednesday. Following are the steps:

1. Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. No one who comes to me will ever be hungry . . .” Think about and internalize what Jesus said. Then the quote by evangelist D.T. Niles: “Evangelism is just one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread.” Thinking of ourselves as beggars in need of the ‘bread of life’, then in turn telling other beggars where to find this ‘bread’, will demystify, and even destigmatize the act of soulwinning.

2. Pray for God to give at least one person in the next week to share this ‘bread’ with. Let’s start slowly. At this point don’t even worry about saying the right words, or quoting the right scripture.

I plan to do the same and tell you next Wednesday how it went. If I don’t find anyone to share with I’ll be up front and discuss that as well, and discuss what I think the barrier was. Then I plan to just move forward with further soulwinning experiments.

I’ll be praying for you, and ask you to pray for me as we embark on this experiment.

See you next week,
Arlen

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

A SOULWINNING TEAM!


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

Dear Readers:

I’m so glad you stopped by. We’re going to explore fact that it can be exciting to join a soulwinning team.

“Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you; spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life.” This is a quote by Amy Poehler of Saturday Night Live. I’m not a big Saturday Night Live fan, but the quote is very appropriate for what it can be like for a team of soulwinners to win souls.

I’ve been retired now for about two years. I can tell you that I felt, and sometimes still feel lost without the goal of working with an on-the-job team of workers. Also, in the last year the Covid virus has separated us from friends and family . . . part of our teams if you will.

Becoming an older adult should not deprive us from being part of a team, nor should some other perceived barrier. Teamwork is not just for young players in high school or college sports. We ALL need to be part of a team that strategizes, and gives energy toward meeting a goal, or goals. We ALL have skills that can contribute to team successes. We ALL would benefit by giving each other high-fives when goals are met, as we see so often in sporting events.

Why aren’t we all part of soulwinning teams? I don’t understand the barrier. I don’t understand the barrier in my own life. Jesus made it clear his goal that his followers win souls and make disciples.

I think Satan has a hand in it. He is perfectly content and very happy if none of us becomes active to become a part of a team to win souls. I think he relishes the fact that we think that we can merely be a good, and even religious person without ever delving into the nitty gritty of what it takes to win souls to Jesus Christ.

I’m not talking about formal soulwinning programs and campaigns. I am talking instead about changing our mindset toward a soulwinning culture . . . one that places a great emphasis on prayer and actions toward reaching our loved ones, friends, and others for Christ.

There can be great power, joy, and excitement in being part of a team to win souls. I think there might even be some high-fives.

See you next time,
Arlen

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

THE ‘BROAD’ AND ‘NARROW’ ROADS


Dear Readers:

I’m so glad you stopped by. We’re going to explore what Jesus meant by the ‘broad’ and ‘narrow’ roads.
(Note: A video will be forthcoming to give you the chance to hear about the topic.)

In my last post I explored a little bit about the word ‘go’ that Jesus used in The Great Commission. I discussed the reason why I wanted to start a narrative, or a culture if you will, addressing the importance of winning souls to Jesus Christ. I called it ‘a dire need in my own life’ as the reason for starting the Soulwinnersr.us website in the first place.

But a dire need in my own life doesn’t even come close to the importance of addressing the dire need in the lives of others. You might say, “I don’t have a dire need to come to Christ. I’m just fine the way I am. I’m sure that I’m good enough to go to heaven.” But are you really just fine the way you are, and are you good enough to go to heaven?

Jesus’ statements in Matthew 7:13-14 about the ‘broad’ and ‘narrow’ roads have always troubled me greatly. I am drawn to stories about people . . . people that are famous, people that have almost unparalleled talent in various fields, whether it be sports, writing, art, acting, and many other fields. I wonder about these talented people most likely going down what Jesus calls the broad road to ‘destruction’ where so ‘many’ others go. The thought haunts me and I can’t go there often.

I am inclined instead to try to think more about the other road to ‘life’, even though Jesus said it is ‘narrow’, and that ‘few find it’. The question lies in the following: How bad is the destruction that Jesus talks about? On the other hand, how good is the life that Jesus talks about?

I’m not even going to explore all the places of the Bible that talk about these. You can explore them yourselves. After all you are the one that has to make the final decision about which road to go on.

See you next time,
Arlen

Monday, April 12, 2021

"GO!"


 

Dear Readers

I’m so glad you stopped by. We’re going to explore the topic ‘GO’, as it relates to the The Great Commission.
(Note: A video will be forthcoming to give you the chance to hear about the topic.)

Jesus explicitly told his disciples in Matthew 28:19, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” Jesus also commanded in Mark 16:15, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”

What does the word ‘go’ mean? Webster’s dictionary has several definitions of the word ‘go’ used in different contexts, but the context which Jesus used was in command form and is defined as the following: ‘to move on a course’ or ‘to follow a certain course or procedure’. What then is the opposite, or antonym, of ‘go’? Fairly obvious you might think. It is to ‘stay’ or ‘stop’.

Jesus did not command his disciples to stay or stop in one place and expect the people to come to them. He told the disciples to go where the people were. You might think I’m being a little picky here, but what about our churches, yours and mine? And what about you and me individually . . . do we go out of our church buildings, or our homes, to make disciples? When is the last time our church people went out of their building to make disciples? When is the last time you and I went out of our homes to make disciples? I’m going to be very transparent to include myself. ‘Very rarely’!

That is what my website Soulwinnersr.us is all about. I want to begin to change the narrative about what it means to ‘go and make disciples’. I see the dire need in my own life, so I want to address it. I want to, as Jesus said in Luke 14:28, “For which of you, wanting to build a tower, doesn’t first sit down and count the cost to see if he has enough to complete it.” I want to weigh the costs both ways. What happens if I don’t go out into the world and make disciples? Then what happens if I do go out into the world and make disciples? I can then do a comparison list and come to a logical conclusion whether to ‘stay’ or ‘go’.

See you next time,
Arlen

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

WHY BECOME A SOULWINNER?


 

Dear Readers:

I’m so glad you stopped by. We’re going to be exploring the topic Why Become a Soulwinner? I want to discuss reasons in the coming weeks.

Reason 1: Jesus was a soulwinner.

  • This is the most obvious answer there is. Jesus’ whole purpose was to win souls to an eternal kingdom.
  • Jesus said, “I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.” John 10:10.
    • Jesus made it clear, however, that the abundance he was talking about was not one of riches and favor. Jesus quelled this notion many times. After all, he said, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” Luke 9:58. Jesus also said that when we follow him we will experience persecution and hatred (Matthew 10:22).
    • The abundance Jesus was talking about was clearly abundance of the heart -- a heart filled with love, gratitude, purpose, and hope of eternal life. Paul wrote to Titus, “He poured out his Spirit on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior so that, having been justified by his grace, we may become heirs with the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:6.
  • Jesus pleaded with poor people and rich people, people from all ethnic and religious backgrounds, and people with various political ideologies. Jesus pleaded, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28. Notice the word all.
  • Jesus made it clear that a main purpose of God sending him to earth was “to seek and save the lost.” Luke 19:10.
There you have it. Jesus was and is the ultimate soulwinner. If this were the only reason why we should become a soulwinner, we should take it and run with it.

See you next time,

Arlen

Monday, March 29, 2021

SOULWINNERSR.US DEBUT


Dear Readers: 

I'm so glad you stopped by to look at an exciting adventure I'm embarking on. The final details will be forthcoming. I will be fine tuning as I go. 

The new 'adventure': I have turned “Arlen’s Living Water Springs” blog into Soulwinnersr.us website. All my old posts remain, but starting in 2021 I am changing the blog focus to reflect my passion . . . saving lost souls.

According to the Bible saving lost souls is the most important thing a person can do. Luke quoted Jesus in Chapter 19:10, “For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost.” Jesus later in Luke talked about lost sheep and the moving story of the lost prodigal son who “is found”.

Becoming famous, popular, or rich is not where the real action is. Jesus said there is a great celebration in heaven by the angels over one lost soul repenting and being won to God. (Luke 15:10) So if there is joy in heaven over one lost soul won to the Lord, what joy we can also have in playing a part in lost souls coming to Jesus! I desperately want to be part of that action.

I’m not sure where this path is leading me, and what direction of this blog will be. I may do videos, but I’m not sure. Please pray for me as I pray for you. And I invite you to join me on the adventure of a lifetime. 

See you soon,
Arlen