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 -|—

Don’t be a Jerk

I saw a Facebook post recently that said:

“Sometimes the best evangelism is simply telling people you’re a Christian and then not being a complete jerk.”

There is some truth to that but it definitely does not go far enough in today’s world. There are way too many people who claim to be a Christian but do not follow Jesus (which doesn’t make sense to me). For some, “Christian” is just a title to be used when it suits them but when opposition comes the title is abandoned. Then there are people who claim the title “Christian” but under a new and “relevant” definition. It’s like a Twitter post I saw recently,

“Saying you’re a new kind of Christian with a new kind of Christianity is basically saying you’re an old kind of heretic.” [Burk Parsons]

To “simply” say you’re a Christian doesn’t tell me much now days, which is kind of sad. “Christian” used to mean something but now it is just a watered down title. So now what? Well, you can’t simply tell people you are a Christian and then not be a complete jerk. In today’s world, Jesus-following Christians need to confess with their mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in their heart that God raised him from the dead. That is salvation and that is the message that needs to be proclaimed.
Jesus is Lord.
Jesus is the Son of God.
Jesus died for you.
Jesus was raised for you.
Through faith, when you confess your sins, you are forgiven.

So don’t “simply” stop at Christian, but confess with your mouth what you believe in your heart…and THEN don’t be a complete jerk.

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 -|—

Seed Sowing in Satan’s Face

In reading the Parable of the Sower in Mark 4:1-20, I am quickly reminded that the call and the joy of the Christian is to sow the Word of God. The joy comes from the fact we are sinners but that God offers forgiveness of our sins by His grace through Jesus Christ. And through this forgiveness, we have the sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life.

This is the Gospel.
This is the Good News.
This is AMAZING news!

And yet, we often see evangelism as a chore or as something to do later if we have time or something reserved for a certain committee or (and this is my favorite) it is something reserved strictly for the pastor.

Maybe this inattention to evangelism comes from the fact that, more times than not, you get beaten up when you try to seed sow. Maybe someone strongly rejects your Gospel presentation. Maybe someone tells you to keep your faith to yourself. Maybe someone argues with you to the point of exhaustion. Maybe you have been shot down too many times to count and you’re just plain tired of getting hurt or embarrassed. Whatever the case, it serves as a reminder that Satan is hard at work. Whenever you are sharing your faith or trying to present the Gospel or stand up for what you believe, Satan is right there to make life difficult. And he should because the Gospel threatens Satan.

But we must keep seed sowing.
We must keep spreading the Gospel.
We must keep telling people that there is hope.
We must keep showing people Jesus.

For when we stop, Satan wins and thus he laughs.

My brothers and sisters in Christ, seed sowing is hard but look at the bright side. If seed sowing is difficult and it feels like you are being resisted every step of the way, then maybe you’re doing something right. In that case, keep on going in the strength of the Lord and mock Satan knowing that Jesus stands with you and that Satan can not possibly win.

And that is cause to laugh in Satan’s face and praise be to God always and forever!

The Pastor -|—

An Active Church

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. [Matthew 28:19-20, ESV]

Notice the four underlined words in the text above:
Go
Make
Baptizing
Teaching

They are all active. There is no where in the Bible (that I remember) where it says,
“Stay and wait”,
“Build it and they will come”,
“Create an attractive program and the nonbelievers will flock to you”.
No where does it say anything like that. Rather we are to,
Go and Make
Baptize and Teach
Serve and Love
Proclaim and Share

We are to be active and do something, not be passive and lazy. Yet that is what many churches do. Why? Because it is easier to just sit around and use our brains and wait for people to respond. The problem is that nonbelievers are not looking for Jesus. They are busy serving their own self-made gods. And if they are serving their own self-made gods, the only way to show them Jesus is by going to where they are and show them Jesus. But that takes work. That takes energy. That takes faith in God through Jesus Christ. It takes a passion for souls and a love for people. Sitting back and being passive is not loving. Love is active and therefore Jesus says “Go”, “make”, “baptize” and “teach”. Jesus calls us to be active because those who do not believe are active in not believing. Passivity can not compete with activity.

And so the Great Commission sends people out.

Imagine if those disciples stayed locked up in that upper room. Imagine if they set up camp in Jerusalem and counted on word of mouth to bring people to them. Imagine if Jesus did that. But the fact of the matter is this: Jesus was active. The post-resurrection disciples/apostles were active. Just read the book of Acts and see how Paul risked his life to bring the Gospel to people. The Church, by definition is an active and living being. I say that because the Church is not a building or programs. The Church is people with Jesus as the head. That is active.

So,

Go, Make, Baptize and Teach.

Go, Love, Serve and Proclaim.

Go, get off your butt and bring the Gospel to your neighbors, and all to the glory of God.

And one more thing: Jesus will be with you, always and forever 🙂

The Pastor -|—

Speak that we may Speak ~ A Prayer

Creator God,
in the beginning You spoke life into existence.
To remain silent, then,
would have meant our non-existence
and
it would have meant no one to glorify Your holy name.
And so we exist;
to worship You, to praise You, to glorify You.
And to do this we must speak and abhor silence.

Holy God,
stir in Your people a burning desire
to speak the Truth of Your love and grace through Jesus Christ.
May the fear the world proclaims
be silenced through our faith in the one who overcame the world,
Jesus.
May the flaming arrows of the evil one
lose all its potency through Your holy Word.
May the shield of faith
embolden us to speak the name of Jesus no matter the situation.

Send now Your Holy Spirit
to bring power to the words of Truth
that we will hear this morning,
for through them You create faith and thus life.
Send us forth, then, in Your power
to the glory of Your awesome name,
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
Amen.

The Pastor -|—