With all the problems in the world, it’s good to know there are still Christians showing Jesus’ love with simple acts of kindness.
Steve Strang CEO of CHARISMA in his podcast today, interviews Convoy of Hope president and CEO Hal Donaldson. He shares how his organisation has stepped up during the pandemic to distribute more than 10 million meals to families who lost access to food and school lunch programs.
Steve states that he has known Hal since the early 1980’s, since Hal was a beginning journalist and Steve was working to get Charisma off the ground. Steve says, “It’s been great to see Hal develop as a leader over the years. The pivotal moment of his life came when he was given the opportunity to interview Mother Teresa in India, and she asked him what he was doing to help the poor. Her question shook him to the core, and he rose to the challenge it posed.”
Hal experienced poverty firsthand as a teen after his father was killed in a car accident and there was no insurance to take care of the family. He also knows how he was affected by the kindness of a woman in the church who bought him a nice pair of tennis shoes.
It’s an amazing story, and Hal explains it much better so listen to his testimony on today’s podcast , and ask yourself what you are doing to make a difference in someone else’s life. One immediate way is to partner with Convoy of Hope, which you can do at the Convoy of Hope website convoyofhope.org.
Testimonies of changed lives are powerful and hard to refute or put down. Isaac has a great story which includes testimony to the good work done by the Salvo’s. He gives us a better understanding of the aboriginal culture and how to witness to them.
John Piper has written an excellent book, Coronavirus and Christ. The following is a few excerpts from the book. The audio book is below.
The coronavirus is God’s thunderclap call for all of us to repent and realign our lives with the infinite worth of Christ. The coronavirus is not unique as a call to repentance. In fact, all natural disasters-whether floods, famines, locusts, tsunamis, or diseases-are God’s painful and merciful summons to repent. We see this from the way Jesus responds to disaster in Luke 13:1-5: “There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
God’s message for the world in this coronavirus outbreak. He is calling the world to repentance while there’s still time. Let’s be more specific. What does repentance mean? The word in the New Testament means a change of heart and mind. Not a superficial change of opinion, but a deep transformation so that we perceive and prize God and Jesus for who they really are. Jesus described the change like this: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. (Matt. 22:37) Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. (Matt. 10:37) In other words, the most fundamental change of heart and mind that repentance calls for is to treasure God with all that you are and to treasure Jesus more than all other relations.
What God is doing in the coronavirus is showing us- graphically, painfully-that nothing in this world gives the security and satisfaction that we find in the infinite greatness and worth of Jesus. This global pandemic takes away our freedom of movement, our business activity, and our face-to-face relations. It takes away our security and our comfort. And, in the end, it may take away our lives. The reason God exposes us to such losses is to rouse us to rely on Christ. Or to put it another way, the reason he makes calamity the occasion for offering Christ to the world is that the supreme, all-satisfying greatness of Christ shines more brightly when Christ sustains joy in suffering.
This is what it means to repent: to experience a change of heart and mind that treasures God in Christ more than life.
“Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you” (Psalm 63:3). This was Paul’s faith. It was true in life and death. In life, because Christ is the sweetness of every pleasure, and better than them all. And in death, because “in [God’s] presence there is fullness of joy; at [his] right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11).
These key passages of spiritual victory in Jesus now apply to every believer in Christ Jesus on the planet. They are for you and me to apply today. They are not just some historical Bible story. They are meant to be put to use by each of us in our everyday life, with our family, our neighbours, all who need prayer at this time.
“Then the seventy returned with JOY, saying, ‘ Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.’ And He said to them, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I give you authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over ALL the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” Luke 10: 17-19 “You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.” Psalm 91: 13
Jesus, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah has triumphed. You and I need to walk in that Truth and tell it to the world. Satan goes around like a roaring lion seeking whom he will devour with fear and despair. Empowered by the indwelling Holy Spirit we can be bold to state the Truth that that enemy of Christ Jesus was defeated by Him. Sincere believers who repent and come into His Kingdom then are given His Authority to bring light into the darkness, to bring hope to a world stunned and even frozen by this pandemic.
Generation Z, born from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s, now make up 25% of our population.
This is a generation that is dealing with severe depression. They’re immersed in media. They have a very high incidence of mental health issues. And they’ve actually been described as the loneliest generation. We’ve never been more connected but disconnected at the same time. It isn’t a coincidence that the suicide rate among this generation has risen dramatically.
Generation Z have been raised to believe evolution, a theory which has no way of explaining how this highly complex universe got started and functions under equally complex complementary laws. The Bible describes those teaching them this falsehood succinctly: ” The fool said in his heart, there is no God.” Proverbs 14:1. They will not countenance any solution that involves God and the supernatural. And yet, the intelligent design that is so obvious in the universe can only come from an intelligent designer who is outside of His creation.
The result: we have generation that believes we can make up our own rules – moral relativism and nihilism is the outcome. Life has no meaning, this is all there is, so if I don’t like it, I can end it without consequences.
When asked in a survey whether they thought lying was wrong, only 33% could agree that it was. This is a generation without moral guidelines and without hope, because of their incorrect evolutionary view of history. They need to understand that science supports a universe that was created by an intelligent designer (God). Go to http://www.creation.com for creation resources.
This awesome, supernatural God has provided us with an equally awesome book, the Bible, that not only provides us with the true history of this universe but also tells us events before they happen. Much of His book is prophecy so we even know the end of the story. How good is that, but even more important for a generation without hope, we know God loves us, enough to send His son to earth to provide the solution to the SIN problem. Man and Woman’s disobedience at the beginning separated us from God and resulted in death entering the world. God’s son, Jesus, lived a sinless life and died a sacrificial death on our behalf. By believing on His finished work on The Cross you can be sure of life after death, eternal life. Even more immediate, Jesus made it possible for our Heavenly Father to send the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit to indwell your spirit in order to be your counsellor, comforter and teacher. The Holy Spirit’s job is to help you develop your relationship with your Lord and Saviour Jesus and to produce the fruit of the Spirit in your life: love, joy, peace, patience, faithfulness, gentleness, goodness, kindness and self control. He also gives the gifts of the spirit to enable you to minster to others and share the Gospel with them.
God’s word tells us: “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without someone sharing the Gospel with them?” (Romans 10:14).
Christians, Jesus gave us all a command to take the Gospel into all the world. Let us take every opportunity to share the good news of Christ whilst we are able. However, we also need to tell unbelievers the consequences of not accepting God’s solution to their rebellion against Him.
God does judge nations and we are seeing from the example of Israel Folau in Australia, that if we speak out the truth about the catastrophes that God is bringing on nations, that you will be vilified and even persecuted. This will only intensify as the birth pangs of the “end times” increase. Jesus also tell us to be courageous in all circumstances
“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Instead, fear the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:28
“Whoever tries to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will preserve it.” Luke 17:33
Iraqi schoolgirl Myriam, whose message of forgiveness for ISIS ‘captured millions of hearts’ when it went viral, urges Christians to pray and bring hope to refugee children. SAT-7 documentary Sequel of Hope broadcasts her family’s message of hope after returning to their hometown of Qaraqosh.
The world has changed since the testimony of 9-year-old Myriam went viral in 2014. In an interview with SAT-7 Producer and Director Essam Nagy, she inspired audiences around the world when she forgave ISIS for displacing her from her home in Qaraqosh, Iraq, forcing her to leave everything she knew for a refugee camp in Kurdistan. Myriam said she found comfort and strength in watching SAT-7’s children’s TV shows in the camp – programs that helped her grow in her faith and extend forgiveness to ISIS.
We can learn so much from children who have faith in God even in extreme circumstances. Be inspired by the story of Myriam who forgave ISIS? Get the full story at https://www.sat7usa.org/sequel-of-hop…
You need to watch both of these videos, particularly the second video,”I Am Second”, the story of how Michael and his wife Ivey took on five foster children and how their faith in God has grown through God’s miraculous intervention in their lives. This will bring tears to your eyes and your faith will be inspired but also challenged.
Salvation through faith in Jesus is the ultimate ‘product’:
ETERNAL LIFE IN A NEW HEAVEN AND EARTH WHERE THERE IS NO PAIN AND SUFFERING
IT’S AVAILABLE TO EVERYONE
REJECTING JESUS (THE PRODUCT) CONSIGNS YOU TO AN ETERNITY IN HELL (SEPARATION FROM YOUR CREATOR AND HIS GOODNESS FOREVER)
“For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame…., for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans 11-13
We are all involved in selling on a day-to-day basis, often without even knowing it. A dictionary definition of selling is ‘to persuade someone of the merits of’, or, to ‘cause someone to become enthusiastic about’ something.
And there is scriptural support for the idea that we should be more ‘calculating’ (or strategic) in our witnessing. In 1 Corinthians 9: 20-23 we read how Paul was strategic:
“To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.”
Sales professionals simply take what is second nature to us all, refine it, and apply it to specific situations to maximise their chances of success.
What follows is not intended to be prescriptive of how we should witness to the lost. We are all different and, as such, we relate to people in different ways. Hopefully, many of you are already using a lot of the techniques I’m about to share, often without even realising it. But if you’re about to take the first step in your evangelising, or you are frustrated by your efforts to date, I hope this might help.
Laying the foundations
“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks us to give the reason for the hope that we have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behaviour in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.” 1 Peter 3:15–16
When you witness to an unbeliever, you will be asked questions. It’s important that you can either answer these questions or, at the very least, direct them to a place where they might find the answers. But it’s pointless having all the answers if you never actually take the step to talk to an unbeliever about Jesus.
Prepared to give an answer
The Gospel message provides an answer to the predicament of every person—we are all sinners in need of salvation. Once this ‘cornerstone’ is in place, we have a sure foundation from which to confidently answer objections to the message.
Being equipped with answers will help you to overcome objections and give you confidence to step out and share the Gospel. This is where Creation Ministries International resources are so valuable. Probably the best place to start is with the Creation Answers Book, which has easy to understand answers to over 60 most asked questions on creation, evolution and the Bible.
You should also familiarise yourself with creation.com, so that, if you don’t know the answer to a question, you can recommend a place they can go to find the answer (and the search terms the person might use for best results). It can also be helpful to have tracts to give away (e.g. creation.com witnessing cards).
To everyone who asks
Successful sales people will actively seek to generate selling opportunities. Moreover, the Great Commission is a command – “go and make disciples of all nations” Matthew 28:19.
Making a sales presentation will usually involve an invitation, either in the form of an appointment, or at least a request for information about a product. Evangelism is similar—yes, we should always be looking for opportunities to start a conversation about Jesus (the easiest way is simply to tell (or, remind) people you’re a Christian). But ‘everyone who asks’ implies an invitation to give the reason for the hope we have.
The invitation(s) might be obvious: e.g. “Why are you a Christian?” Or they might be subtle: e.g. a throw away comment about Jesus, Christianity, another religion, or a news item with an evolutionary bias, etc. You just have to be prepared to recognize them when they arise. And don’t beat yourself up if you miss an opportunity (we all miss opportunities). Put it down to experience and work out ways to be better prepared next time.
Gentleness and respect
Successful selling requires persuasion, not pressure, and this is even more the case with evangelism. In most cases, you will effectively be telling someone that their whole worldview is wrong. This can be very confronting! Gentle persuasion is less likely to cause offence and, in the event of a negative reaction, is more likely to leave the lines of communication open for future discussions.
Respect is equally important. First, we are all made in the image of God, with responsibility for our decisions. We must always respect a person’s right to choose their own destiny, no matter how wrong we believe that choice to be. Second, respect implies a relationship. You cannot respectfully tell a person their worldview is wrong if you don’t know what that worldview is.
Before sharing the Gospel with someone, it’s important you take time to get to know them (if time allows). The easiest way to do this is to ask questions and be a good listener. We humans like to talk about ourselves and asking questions invites people to do just that. In the process, you will have the opportunity to demonstrate a genuine interest in who they are and what they believe. They, in turn, will be more comfortable in speaking to you, and will be more likely to listen when you speak to them.
Ask open-ended questions that require more than a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. For instance, questions prefaced with ‘Who?’ ‘What?’ ‘Which?’ ‘Why?’ ‘When?’ ‘Where?’ and ‘How?’ Look for common interests and shared views and highlight these as they come up (as Paul would have done). If the conversation becomes more worldview-centric, ask clarifying questions and make a mental note of anything they may tell you that you can use to make the Gospel message more personal to them and more relevant to their life.
Whatever you do, don’t assume anything about the person you’re speaking to that you haven’t heard from them personally. When the time is right, it can be remarkably easy to steer the conversation to what you believe, simply by saying something like; “That’s very different to how I view the world.”
The reason for the hope that we have
Our ultimate aim should be that the people we witness to will place their confidence and faith in Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. This is the hope that we have for ourselves, and the hope we should have for others. It may not happen at the first meeting, the second meeting, or for many years. We might not even be present when the decision is finally made (if it is made at all) but this must be our goal from the very beginning.
To this end, the most important part of witnessing is the Gospel presentation and you need to get it right. Prepare, commit to memory, and practice your Gospel presentation. It should be biblically sound, containing all the major features and benefits of the Gospel message, starting with the ‘very good’ Creation of Genesis 1. It should be logical, easy to understand and concise.
It should explain the features of the Gospel, but should focus on the benefits, the reason(s) for the hope that we have. To use a sales analogy, no-one buys a refrigerator because it has a motor, insulated walls and shelves (the features). We buy a refrigerator because it keeps drinks cold and food fresh (the benefits).
Don’t cut corners. Just as you shouldn’t assume anything about another person’s worldview, don’t assume they have a clear understanding of the Gospel, even if they tell you they do. In this increasingly secular world, if an unbeliever has any understanding of the Gospel at all, it is likely to be a distorted version.
As you grow in confidence, you may be able to weave into your Gospel presentation some of what you have learnt about the person you’re witnessing to. A good sales presentation is designed to turn ‘wants’ into ‘needs’, the theory being that a person is much more likely to ‘buy’ if they are convinced they need something, rather than just wanting it. This same process can also be applied to evangelism. For example; most honest people, when confronted with questions of mortality, will admit they want to know what happens when they die. You can point out that, logically, they need to find the answer to this question before they die, because, once they’re dead, it’s too late to do anything about it.
Those who speak maliciously against your good behaviour in Christ
Competition is a fact of life. Sales people are always on the lookout for ways to convince potential clients that what they have to offer is superior to the opposition. Successful sales people do this by highlighting the positive features of their own product and subtly, rather than overtly, undermining the competition. However, if there is anything in a competitor’s sales presentation that is perceived to be inconsistent, or false, it will be (and should be) ruthlessly exploited.
How much more will this be the case with evangelism, where we must contend with an enemy who “masquerades as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14) but also “prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
Don’t make Satan’s job any easier. Everything about your Gospel presentation, and your answers to the questions you are asked, must be internally consistent (without contradiction). In doing so, you give yourself the best opportunity to convince people that the Christian worldview, alone, is externally consistent (true).
This is where those who attempt to fit evolution and millions of years into the Bible get it so wrong. By attempting to make Christianity conform to the world’s version of origins, they open the door to accusations of inconsistency and outright, deliberate deception. If the Bible can’t be trusted in the first chapters of Genesis, why would anyone trust what it says about Jesus?
Militant anti-theists will always rage against the Christian worldview simply because they have an anti-God agenda. We do ourselves, those to whom we witness, and the God we serve, a disservice by trying to appease them. Keep a ‘clear conscience’. Let Satan and his minions argue the benefits of their own worldview rather than allowing them to point out inconsistencies in yours!
Be prepared for success
When a decision is made to buy, a good salesperson will have a procedure in place to finalize the sale and an after-sales support program designed to ensure long term buyer satisfaction. In the same way, you need to plan what you will do when someone indicates that he/she is ready to commit to Christ.
First, and foremost, you should encourage them to acknowledge and confess their sin (1 John 1:9), turn to God in repentance (Acts 20:21), and believe in Jesus for remission of their sin and for salvation (Romans 10:9, John 3:16).
Then, help them to put in place the tools they’ll need to grow and defend their newfound faith. This should include: encouraging them to read the Bible and pray, helping them find a Bible believing church in their area, and suggesting they seek out Christian friends and join a Bible study group. You might also offer to stay in touch and disciple them.
Last, but not least, make sure they know where to go if they have questions. Introduce them to CMI materials; Creation Magazine (you might start by giving them one of your back issues), the Creation Answers Book, and the wealth of biblically based, God-honouring resources at creation.com. That way, they too will be prepared to give an answer.
Be prepared in the heavenly realms
One last piece of advice (this one’s definitely not learnt from the business world); before you do anything, cover yourself in prayer.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6
Pray for opportunities to share the Gospel and pray that you will recognise these opportunities when they present themselves. Pray for the boldness to speak God’s truth into the lives of friends, family, workmates, new acquaintances, etc. Pray that you will have clarity of thought and mind and that you will be able to answer the questions you might be asked. Pray for open hearts and open minds, that your efforts will bear fruit and that you will have success.
And pray, in particular, that you, and those you witness to, will be protected from the arrows of the enemy.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12
The above article has been taken from the CMI article – More effective evangelism Lessons from the business world – Laying the foundations by Mark James, published, 5 June 2018 http://www.creation.com
Former rock star gives his life to Christ and speaks about his experiences that lead him back to his Christian roots.
Almost four decades ago, Alice Cooper woke up in a terrible state. Vomiting blood and generally emaciated, he knew that something was seriously wrong.
“Everything that could go wrong was shutting down inside of me,” the musician explained to New York Daily News. “I was drinking with Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix and trying to keep up with Keith Moon and they all died at 27.”
Cooper quickly realised that if he failed to stop drinking, he would die. It was happening to other world-famous rock stars that surrounded him; Keith Moon and Jimi Hendrix to name just two. On the edge of despair and having been diagnosed as a “classic alcoholic,” Cooper turned to a steadfast and faithful helper: the Lord God.