Archive for August 2015

Street Drinker Now Reading His Bible

August 14, 2015

lots of empty beer bottles I met an “old” street friend – only 43 – who has long had addiction problems due to alcohol abuse. He’s been in and out of rehab many times. He came  for food today and my heart really went out to him. He’s struggled and struggled to the extent that he’s been at rock bottom for some time. His body is totally wrecked. He told me today he’s died twice recently and been resuscitated. A lapsed cradle Catholic, he even went to Mass recently and confessed to the local priest. Unfortunately he still doesn’t have any peace. He acknowledged that Jesus is the only one who can help him. He says he is now down to 2 cans a day which, for him, is a massive reduction.  I told him I believed God has a purpose for his life and he agreed with that.

He has a Bible and is reading it every day. I told him to cry out to Jesus with his whole being as he reads it.  I offered to pray for  him and he gladly accepted. After that I felt prompted to pray in tongues for him and poured myself out in the spirit with a great deal of passion and urgency that surprised even me. He thanked me and went off with his food parcel

Another couple of guys came in, one leaning on a stick.  I thought: “I’ll check out the problem and offer to pray for his healing”.  man with walking stick

By then he was in conversation with another team member, so I asked his accompanying friend what the leg problem was. He said “it’s been amputated”. I knew I didn’t have Smith Wigglesworth’s level of faith for a brand new leg, so I dropped the healing thought immediately!

Surely All Religions Are The Same!

August 4, 2015

When sharing your faith, sooner or later some will say: “all religions are the same”. How do you respond?

One way to approach this scenario is to highlight the facts:

The founder of Buddhism is dead and still in his grave.     really,really,dead!

The founder of the Muslim faith is dead and still in his grave.    really,really,dead!

The founder of Confucianism is dead and still in his grave.     really,really,dead!

The founder of the Sikh faith is dead and still in his grave.     really,really,dead!

The founder of the Hindu faith is dead and still in his grave.     really,really,dead!

All followers of these religions will agree with the above facts.

However, according to the Bible and the experience of millions of Christians, Jesus Christ rose from the dead and is alive today.     definitely alive!

man at a crossroads wondering which way to go  Let’s assume you’re out on a hike. You come to a crossroads and you’re unsure which road to take. You notice there are two men by the side of the road. One is alive, the other is clearly dead. Which one would you ask for directions?

Jesus Christ is the living person at the crossroads who can tell you the right road to take.

In all other religions, man points and says: “This is the way to God!”. In the Bible Jesus Christ says:”I am the way to God!”

According to the Bible, Jesus claimed to be able to forgive sins, something only God can do.

Jesus also said: “I am the way, the truth and the life. No-one comes to the Father, except by me”

For more help on this topic, see this page on the New Christian UK website

 

How To Get Started In Sharing Your Faith As a Christian

August 3, 2015

man in horror saying oh no, not evangelism!

cartoon on sharing your faith

It ‘s the nightmare scenario of quite a few Christians. What if someone asks me about my faith??? How do I get the conversation started and what do I say??

If you’ve been born again by the Spirit of God, then you have a story to tell. There is no-one like you and there never will be again. You are a unique “God creation” and your personal story is both special and powerful.

The website New Christian UK has already created a helpful page on the web that will lead you through the steps in sharing your faith and the gospel message. This page is free to reproduce for non-profit use, so let’s look at the advice it gives:

What Is  Witnessing?
a). An overflow. b). One beggar telling another beggar where to find bread. c). “To witness is so to present Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit that men and women shall put their trust in God through Him, to accept Him as their saviour and serve Him as their King in the fellowship of the Church” (Archbishop William Temple).

Why Should We Do It?

a). It brings glory to God – John 15:8. b). We are commanded to do it – Matthew 4:19. c). People are lost without Jesus – I John 5: 11-12. d). The love of Christ constrains us – 2 Corinthians 5: 14. This love is expressed, not by the emotions, but by THE WILL. We should never wait for our emotions to make us feel like witnessing.

Why Might We Not Do It?

a). Embarrassment – if I talk about what I believe I will feel silly. b). Fear of rejection – I might be rubbished and rejected. c). Inadequacy – I’m afraid I won’t know the answers to people’s questions and I will lose out, let God down and wish I’d never started the conversation.

It’s OK – Our Inhibitions Are Biblical!

a). Even the Apostle Paul shares our experience of feeling foolish – I Corinthians 4:10. b). Jesus’ own neighbours take offence at him and reject him – Mark 6: 1-6. c). Jesus promised the disciples that if they trust God, the Holy Spirit will speak through them when they are tongue-tied.

We Need To Remember…..

It’s possible to have faith without having all the answers. If we can have faith while still having problem areas, so can other people! Most people’s faith is like a set of balance scales. Faith comes when the reasons for believing outweigh the problems. Like the blind man in John 9:25 we can say: ” I don’t know, but this I do know…..” You can always offer to come back to someone with an answer if you don’t know it off the cuff.

We Need To Pray For People And Opportunities     hand lifted up in prayer

God loves those He made more than you do and doesn’t want any to perish. Someone once said “Prayer is not conquering God’s reluctance but laying hold of God’s willingness.” We can therefore pray boldly and with assurance that God is with us in our witnessing. Having prayed, expect to see the opportunities that God will provide.

Make Sure There Is No Unconfessed Sin In Your Life

Repentance applies to Christians as much as to unbelievers. I need to take time before God to address those actions, attitudes and behaviour patterns in my own life that offend God. I cannot expect God to bless my witnessing or any other activities if I am knowingly disobedient to Him in some area of my life. Look at the promise in I John I:9.

white dove hovering  We Need To Go Out In The Power Of The Holy Spirit   

When you came to Christ you were sealed with His Spirit. To be effective witnesses, overcoming the hindrances of the flesh mentioned above, we need to go out in the power of the Holy Spirit. If we feel lacking in this area, we need to appropriate by faith the fulness of the Holy Spirit which is ours by right, by virtue of what Jesus’ accomplished through his death and resurrection. Jesus promised “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you shall be witnesses to me in Jerusalem; and in all Judea and in Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Look also at the parable of the Friend at Midnight in Luke 11: 5-13, in particular the promise in verse 13. Finally, I John 5: 14-15 says :”This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know he hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we ask of Him”. It is God’s will that we witness to Jesus, not in our strength alone, but drawing on the Lord’s resources to enable us.

WRITING YOUR TESTIMONY

Before You Start

Ask God to guide you in your preparation. Be honest in your statements and don’t exaggerate either the positive or the negative aspects of your story. Don’t criticise other people or denominations or make any other negative remarks in your story. God has lifted YOU up, so don’t bring anyone else down. Don’t use any religious jargon. Aim eventually to have two versions of your story; a two minute one and a ten minute one. You can than adapt to the circumstances, according to which version is appropriate for the occasion. Make sure both versions are concise and to the point! When you have written your story, practice reading it over in front of a sympathetic friend who can give you positive feedback.

First Part – My Life Before I Became A Christian

Some people have a sudden conversion experience. For others, it can happen over a period of time without a clear pinpointed date.Whichever way your conversion occurred, try and recall here what your life was like before. What attitudes did you display? What were your behaviour and feelings about life?

Second Part – How I Came To Realise I Needed Jesus

Include here what made you turn to Jesus. Did you have a need that Jesus met? Were you at the end of your tether and couldn’t go on? Was the process a long or a short one? Make it clear in your story that becoming a Christian was entering into a relationship with Christ, not just subscribing to some set of principles or way of living

Third Part – How I Became A Christian

Explain exactly what brought you to the point where you gave your life over to Jesus. What specific step did you take to become a Christian? Was it a sudden transformation or was it a long process?

Last Part – What Being A Christian Means Now

What difference has becoming a Christian made to your life? What are the highlights? Has there been a price to pay in relationships? Based on your experience to date, explain why you would encourage others to become a Christian too.

SHARING THE GOSPEL MESSAGE     note with important message

Is there a simple gospel message that you could get started with? Again the website New Christian UK has a useful page on this, as follows:

1. The Bible tells us all men and women are separated from God because of their sin  (Book of Romans Chapter 3 verse 23).  Therefore you are separated from Him.

2. There is a judgment to come when Jesus Christ will be the Judge of all, separating good and bad people. (Book of Acts Chapter 17 verse 31)

3. God wants to be friends with you so that you will no longer be separated from Him because of your sin.(Book of Romans Chapter 6 verse 23)

4. Jesus came from Heaven to solve this separation problem and to offer you forgiveness for your sins. (John’s Gospel Chapter 14 verse 6)

5. Although Jesus was innocent of all sin, God allowed Jesus to die on the cross for your sins, in your place, thereby solving the separation problem. Jesus became a scapegoat, taking the rap for you. (Book of Romans Chapter 5 verse 8)

6. After his death, Jesus rose from the dead and is now alive forever. His resurrection from the dead means you can put your trust in him as God’s answer to your separation problem.
(Colossians Chapter 1 verses 21-22)

7. Jesus is a friend of sinners. Therefore he is YOUR friend.
(Mark’s Gospel Chapter 2 verses 13-17)

8. Jesus is now offering you forgiveness for all your sins and a place in God’s kingdom, the Kingdom of Heaven.
(John’s Gospel Chapter 14 verse 6)

9. If you want to accept his offer, tell him so. He will not reject you.
(Book of Romans Chapter 10 verse 13)

For in-depth study of the gospel used in evangelism, check out the British website What Is The Gospel?

In another post I’ll look at some questions you might get asked as you share your faith.      questions questions graphic image