Avoid One and Done

I have discovered a proliferation of door to door sales people here in Washington as compared to rural Minnesota where I lived for 44 years. I’ve had people come by trying to sell me home security services, pest control and lawn services. I listen to their sales pitch but I tell them that I am not going to buy anything now but rather I want to do my own research. I want to get to know their company and what they are selling. I want to trust them before I make an investment. They usually don’t like this response as they want the sale now.

The same mentality is often seen among Christians. One presents the Gospel to someone and then wants to see the fruits of their efforts now. They want to make an instant “sale” and then move on; feeling good that their numbers are going up. This tactic, though, is rarely effective in the long term, especially for the one “buying the product”. One and done evangelism is often more damaging to the one being evangelized. It’s like selling someone a whatchamacallit without an owners manual.

Instead, we need to spend time with people and develop relationships with them.  We can’t have a “one and done” mentality. We need to invest in people, provide for any needs, be a guide and help them along the way as they grow in Christ. When you look at the early church in Acts, the apostles spent time in the towns in which they planted churches. They didn’t just preach and go. They weren’t one and done evangelists. They invested in people.

Door to door ministry can be effective, but only if a relationship eventually ensues. Leading people to Christ can be a time consuming thing but it is important work as we are called and commanded to “Go therefore and make disciples…”. Spend time with people and live out your faith. Show them Christ’s love through your words and deeds. Be a “little Jesus” to them. Walk with them and when the opportunity presents itself, tell them about Jesus. Basically, earn the right to be heard.

So all you door to door sales people, don’t expect me to buy what you’re selling until I get to know you. Make an investment in me and earn my trust. Not practical for you, I know, but for you, Christian, it is. It’s what Jesus and the apostles did. Follow him and walk AS Jesus did and don’t be a one and done evangelist.

The Pastor -|—

Sermon Teaser for John 9:24-41

Jesus says of himself that he is the Light of the World; that all who follow him will not walk in darkness. One would think that would be enough to clue people in that maybe Jesus is worth following especially considering the dark world in which we live. Liberalism is constantly telling us that we are evil and bigoted and therefore demand that we be tolerant or shut up. The forces of evil seem to be ramping up their fear tactics. Satan’s prowling is ever more present. Darkness is darker than ever. But Jesus came to reveal the Truth by opening people’s eyes, but if you refuse to acknowledge that Truth then you are truly blind. Unless you acknowledge that you are as dependent as sheep, and trust him with all your heart, you will never truly know the peace that can only come from Jesus. May we truly open our eyes.

The story of the man born blind is one plump full of Gospel truth for a messed up world. Jesus is the Truth, period. I look forward to unpacking this text more over the next few days.

The Pastor -|—

Come Far and Near

Wise men came from the East;
magicians
astrologers
worshipers of the stars,
seeking a Messiah;
a King.
They knew the prophesies
They heard the stories
but most of all
they saw a STAR;
a STAR created and sent by God.
Don’t try to scientifically explain it;
just give glory to God!

So without delay they left on their journey,
long,
difficult,
dangerous,
and for what; for who?
A BABY.
They sought out the king and the leaders of the land,
but knowledge of the birth
they had none.
Prophesies were told
and the location was known.
So Herod sent them on their way
for he, too, wanted to “worship” this child.

(Don’t believe him, he is lying)

Upon finding this child,
they fell to the floor in worship of the
KING.
They worship the KING through their gifts of
Gold
Frankincense
Myrrh
They worship the KING through their joy.

(Praise be to God!)

But these wise men must leave.
They must return to tell Herod
so he, too, can come and “worship” this
KING
But warning comes;
a warning comes via a dream

Don’t believe Herod. Don’t go back to him”

So they wise men return by a different Way.
They returned changed.
They returned glorifying and praising God.

Have YOU seen Jesus?
Have you seen the KING?
If so, why are you walking along YOUR way?
Confess your sins and be forgiven;
for Jesus is the WAY and the TRUTH and the LIFE.

Come far and near and see Jesus.

The Pastor -|—

Blessing Others

Oh Lord our God and Shepherd,
You feed us
and restore us
and guide us into all righteousness.
You give us hope in the midst of death
and lead us with Your mighty right hand.
You have chosen us
and have blessed us to overflowing.
You have given us a home through faith in Jesus Christ.
May we bless others with the blessings You have given us.
May we not hold back
as we joyfully bring glory to Your holy name
through our giving.
It’s in Jesus name that we pray,
Amen.

The Pastor -|—

The Feast

Father God,
You have prepared a banquet feast for us
through the cross
and you have invited us to the feast
through faith in Jesus.

May we run to the table as we give You thanks and praise.

And as we journey to the table
may we announce with boldness
the invitation given by You;
that all those around us may bring You praise and glory as well.
Through Jesus Christ
our risen Lord and Savior we pray,
Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Our Longing

One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple. [Psalm 27:4]

Watch the news
Peruse social media
Read the paper…

…and it doesn’t take long to get depressed or angry or worried or concerned about the direction of our nation and society. Culture seems to plummeting faster and faster into the abyss. Satan seems to be setting up his throne for a tyrannical reign.

And then there are those stories of the government reaching farther and farther into the religious liberty camp in order to destroy it. Can the government really legislate what the church teaches? It sure seems like they are trying. Being a Christian is getting more and more uncomfortable in this world.

But thankfully this world is not home.

For the Christian, your focus should not be on worldly comforts but rather on the longing that the psalmist talks about:
Dwelling in the house of the Lord
Gazing upon his beauty
Inquiring in his holy temple.
I reflect on these and suddenly I feel at ease. I feel excited and hopeful. I feel empowered and encouraged as I remember that even though this world seems to be going to hell in a hand basket, Jesus still reigns.

For…

…through faith in Jesus Christ the Christian can have the hope of dwelling in God’s house, gazing upon his beauty and inquiring in his temple. And when you reflect on this and ask God for the faith to receive this promise, then and only then, can you put everything in perspective. For you see, it’s not about putting our faith in our leaders to save us and provide for us but rather praising and worshiping God for already saving us and providing for us. And therefore it’s our job and joy to share this Good News with the world in order to give others hope, because it doesn’t take long to see that one can not put their hope in this world.

Don’t long for things and people of this world, but rather long for God.
Don’t worry and get depressed, but rather long for God.
Don’t get scared or concerned about what the world can do to you, but rather long for God.

Ask and seek
Dwell
Gaze
Inquire

And…

…praise God always and forever.

The Pastor -|—

Send Me

You have sent me out
to make disciples

of ALL nations.

You have sent me out
to lead people to You.

ALL people.

You have sent me out
to proclaim forgiveness

of ALL sins.

You have sent me out.

But I am judgmental
I am sinful
I am weak
I don’t know it all

Why, oh God, why,
have you sent me?
Certainly there are others more qualified.
Certainly there are others more faithful.
Certainly there are others who are smarter.
Certainly there has to be someone else.

But yet You have sent me.

Oh God,
lead me,
forgive me,
empower me,
gift me.

 For you sent me unqualified,
but,
only You can qualify me.
So in the name of Jesus
send me qualified in Your eyes,
so the eyes of others can see you.

Who shall You send?

Send me!

The Pastor -|—