Most recently I was watching a newscast about a commentator who referred to Christians as schizophrenic. She was referring to a comment by a Christian who said that Jesus spoke to him. I'm not sure what this Christian meant, but Jesus speaks to me, too. Well, through His word, not audibly. When I read my Bible the Holy Spirit of God helps me to "hear" what He has to say to me specifically. Unless you are a born again believer, this doesn't happen. In any case a non-believer wouldn't get it anyway. By the audience reaction, her comments were resoundingly approved. What a shame. All of the problems faced by our country and world can be solved by one event, a newborn Christian. Unfortunately, most Christian leaders are not supporting an effort to reach others for Christ. They are more concerned with numbers of bodies attending church than the quality of the Christian experience. I don't want this to be a para-church ministry. I don't call it a ministry. It is not a non-profit organization even though there is no profit here. It's merely a means to declare the gospel in the simplest and easiest manner possible.
I have been reading my Bible since I was a teenager. There are so many verses that mean a great deal to me, but one passage in Ecclesiastes has been of particular help. I talked about Chapter 11 on the front page of this website and discussed how it pertains to witnessing, but it really also pertains to life's struggles. Chapter 11 shows us how our days should be pursued. I'm not going to go into the details here, but maybe you could go there and contemplate your daily living habits. adopting this chapter as a life course wouldn't be a bad way to go.
Not everyone has the opportunities and the boldness to hand out tracts in large numbers, but a tract per day could be a great goal. many of us men wear shirts with pockets. Placing a single tract in your pocket is important because opportunities to offer tracts are often sudden and unexpected. Searching for a tract may cause a loss of opportunity. I stopped by a Home Depot to pick up a new ballast for my light fixture in the garage. As I left the store I noticed a large tent filled with rugs. My wife, Carol has bee is always open to a new rug so I stopped to see what they had. A salesperson asked if I needed help and of course I said I was just looking. What a simple opportunity to hand him a tract, but I was wearing a t shirt, no pocket. Opportunity lost.
So, what can you do if the brief interaction takes place. Here's what you say to a store clerk."Thanks for offering to help, I'll be browsing and I'll be sure to ask if I need something. Here's a story about a young lady that I believe you will enjoy". Hand him/her a tract and go about your business. There's no need to go into any details or extend the conversation. Let the Holy Spirit do His work. You are to deliver the message and you have fulfilled that work. It's best to stay in your own lane and do your own job. God can handle it all without us, but He likes to let us get in on the fun.
One good reason is that the devil's crowd is witnessing. I recently received a note telling me that someone representing the Mormon church visited and told her that the book she was given (MORMON) was the gospel and the Bible is a support document. She is buying in. What a terrible shame. a tract is a simple way of getting the word out. We offer a box of tracts for the cost of shipping; $7.50. We don't charge for admin or the cost of printing the tracts. there are 200 tracts in a box. If you gave a tract to someone every day, which is not hard to do, you would have given 200 out in less than a year. what if you did that for twenty years, 4,000 tracts. Surely someone would be saved from the Mormons and the rest of the cults out of 4,000. More importantly, if this message touches you, maybe you are fulfilling some obedience to the Lord. In that case results are a bonus.
Pondering what keeps Christians from witnessing. The Lord Jesus came to the Temple to worship and found the money changers filling the holy site with their wares to sell. Exchanging commodities for the money to buy sacrifices was what the people had come to. Jesus was irate. He fashioned a whip to drive them out. Anger and violence followed. Does it seem out of character that our Lord would respond in such a radical way. Not so. He does not appreciate the defilement of God's Temple. He no less appreciates the defilement of the temple of the Holy Spirit, His Spirit. Our sin defiles His temple. He would drive it out if not for grace and long-suffering. But, sin also has other consequences. It keeps us out of fellowship, thereby keeping us from performing the duties we are otherwise compelled to execute. That, of course includes witnessing. I find myself too self absorbed when sin goes unconfessed. Paul had the same problem. He stated, "I am the chiefest of sinners". Did you notice the present tense of his statement. He didn't say he was a sinner. He said he is a sinner. Paul was very aware of his condition, but it's obvious that he was able to retain his fellowship by the confession of those sins. He kept "short accounts". It allowed his ministry to flourish, retaining effectiveness to the last, even unto this day.
Carol and I (Kim) are experiencing our seventh anniversary of Kristin's passing. Even though we are very aware of where she is, the pain of losing her and missing her still stays with us every day. She actually went Home on the 22nd, but she fell into a coma on the 18th, so it is tough on these four days. However, God is merciful. He has allowed us to create and distribute Kristin tracts throughout the world. We believe the number sent is over 250,000, but we don't have an exact figure. We get emails that attest to people getting saved. Amazing!
I can't imagine a better way for the Lord to use what happened to reach people in His name. We are truly blessed. Kristin was not a famous person, but she didn't need to be famous to have a good testimony before God. I 'm sure she's pleased with the outcome. I hope the Lord is keeping her updated on the tracts. That would be really cool.
I worked for a company that had me traveling to south Florida each Monday and returning on Thursday. Landing in Fort Lauderdale, renting a car and getting started by 8:00 each Monday was the routine. I tried to witness to folks when people were available, but i couldn't mix witnessing with business, so I tried to catch people when I could. while driving down one of the very busy streets one day, I noticed three young boys sitting in front of a convenience store, just leaning against the front wall. I turned the car around and pulled up in front of them. I had several Gideon testaments with me and I opened one to the back pages. That's where scriptures are located and a plan of salvation. I told them that I wanted to give them these little Bibles and they were eager to take them. As I opened one of them and began to read the scriptures, they didn't stop me and were very attentive. At the end I asked if the sample prayer expressed the desire of their hearts. I asked each one individually. They all said yes. Each prayed the prayer and appeared sincere. Their countenance changed right there. They were truant from school and I encouraged them to get back to school and try it with Jesus this time. They assured me they would.
As I drove away, I thought about what God had just done. I really don't like witnessing to just everyone unless I'm passing out tracts in large numbers. For one on one witnessing, I like to just wait on a set-up from the Holy Spirit. That's what happened here. I was compelled to turn the car around. Every time I have heeded the call to witness someone gets saved. I have resisted much more often than complied. What a shame. It's probable that people who would like to witness don't do it because nothing happens. I'm convinced that they need to wait but also heed the call to witness when it happens. God prepares hearts though many methods and will use you if you wish, but you must be willing and pay attention. You know what I'm talking about. Remember what God told His prophets and Jesus' disciples including the Apostle Paul. He protected them and He will do the same for you. It can be scary, but say those first few words and the fear will melt away.
Carol and I just went on a business trip to Hollywood, CA. What an experience. Carol loved the side trip we took to Thousand Oaks to visit Reagan's Presidential museum. Those few days were quite pleasant, but Hollywood was not at all impressive for me. I would rather put up with the mosquitoes in Florida than the people on Hollywood Boulevard. What a mess. Sodom comes to mind. When I left, I felt compelled to not look back for fear that God would turn me into a pillar of salt. For some reason, I didn't feel compelled to even give people tracts. It seemed wasteful. When leaving Hollywood, it wasn't so bad. People quite readily accept the Kristin tract. Someone recently asked how many have been printed so far in the seven years that we have been producing them. I actually stopped keeping a strict count of the numbers. I think around 300,000, but I'm sure the Lord knows the exact count.
I have had the pleasure and privilege of leading people to Christ for over 40 years and it never gets old. I remember a home I visited on a business matter. The gentleman was 72. I didn't ask his wife's age. When business concluded around 8:00 PM, I decided to witness to him. His wife was saved. She was very talky and kept interrupting. She was just extremely concerned for his soul. I quoted Revelation 3:20, knowing that is a fellowship verse, but i've often used it to witness effectively. He sat in his recliner and said nothing, but didn't object. He just sat there, not moving. I told him that Jesus was knocking and that uncomfortable feeling he was having was the conviction of the Holy Spirit of God. He just sat there. I quoted it again, and again. I must have quoted that scripture a half dozen times, asking him to give in. His wife interrupted again and I asked her to get me a cup of coffee. She left us alone. I quoted the verse again and he reached for my hand. I was sitting on the ottoman in front of him with my Bible, showing him the verse as I quoted it. He pulled me off the ottoman onto my knees as he joined me and just began to cry. He prayed a wonderful prayer without my help, asking God to save him through His Son's death, burial and resurrection. He asked that Jesus blood would cover his sins. He knew his stuff. After all, his wife mentioned that he had been going to church for over fifty years and the preachers had been witnessing to him also. This was his moment and I got to be there when it happened. After explaining how he should go forward in a profession of faith at his church, his wife bounded into the room dancing like a school girl praising the Lord and crying, "he never done that before. Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord" What a great time we had and I couldn't get in a word. He just opened up and kept me there. He wouldn't let me leave. It was after ten and he followed me down the driveway assuring me that he would call his preacher with the good news and he would follow up at church.
I'm glad I didn't assume he was saved. I'm glad God gave me the boldness to witness to this old fellow. I'm sure he's been in heaven for years now and has met Kristin.
There are no experiences that beat this. I'll give you some more stories equally as amazing. Remember that I am not a people person. I just believe that, even though I am nervous and shy about witnessing, God will do all of the work. I just show them scripture.
A phone call came in the other day that was interesting. The brother on the line was inquiring after a phone number. After the conclusion of that matter the discussion turned to street preaching. While I have preached on the street on a few occasions, I was never really comfortable with it. Lot's of reactions. Some were cordial. Some were combative, even physically threatening. Some Christians were supportive and some were critical. The numerous times that I just went handing out tracts, the experience was much different. When I have offered tracts, they either take them or reject them. All very politely. I've never had anyone upset with me for offering, as long as I didn't mention that they were going to Hell. Some may say that we need to tell them even if they don't want to hear it. I disagree. I have had the privilege of leading people to Christ and they all were prepared before I arrived on the scene. The Holy Spirit preceded my witness and the ground was fertile. Easy does it works quite well. Getting in the way of God's preparation doesn't seem to work for me. Having said that, I do believe that we won't see fruit unless we actually go out to the harvest. I can't harvest while sitting on the porch.
Have you ever had a kid or grandkid who just seemed to take everything you did for them for granted? I have noticed that our grand children have a great time before and after church in the auditorium running around seeing their friends. I can barely get their attention, much less a hug. It doesn't seem to be that way when they spend personal time with us away from the distractions of friends, games, or play. They will even talk to us on a personal level, about school, difficulty with peers, sports activities, and spiritual topics. So, the closer we are, the more we fellowship. I have also observed that when they have more distractions that are created by the world outside church, the more they focus on the distractions. Hmmmm. Sound familiar? Have you ever considered that maybe a lack of fellowship with the Lord is due to unconfessed and unrepentant
sin ? If you have considered witnessing to others or handing out tracts but have not been consistent, it's likely your fellowship suffers from the same inconsistency.
Isn't it time to get back to Him? Isn't He worth it? I have had to turn off the television, radio in the car (including talk shows), music (except some select Christian music) and just be quiet. The Lord doesn't fellowship with me when I am distracted by the world around me. He wants my attention. He's also giving out some grace with my work, family and ministry work in the nursing home. Good benefits of fellowship, but I am looking forward to my turn at the Judgement Seat of Christ. That's where my eternal rewards will be given.
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