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Posts Tagged ‘EVANGELISM’

GOING DEEPER SUNDAY 6TH MARCH 2016 AMThe Deeper Things-06

FAITH SHARING – THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS AT HAND – TELL YOUR STORY

This month being the month in which we enjoy Easter, we will be preparing ourselves for the greatest opportunity of the year in terms of reaching out to the people we love with the greatest message of all – the gospel.

I remember the very first time I told my story, we used to call it the testimony, about how Jesus came into my life. I was twenty years of age, I had become a Christian about three months earlier and I was attending with Chris at a youth group activity one Saturday night. We were at a farm north of Brisbane and in a barn filled with hay bales everyone was sitting on a pile of hay and we had some musical items and a few of these testimonies. I got up as nervous as anything and told my story about my life and how Jesus had become my Lord and saviour.

What’s your Story? What’s your testimony? When you get to your UC group this month I want you to share your story with your group. So what makes up a God story or a testimony? That’s what this message is all about.

Let’s read this short passage: Matt 3:1-2 ESV

In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 2 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

John the Baptist was the last of the Old Testament Prophets. He came preaching and preparing the way for Jesus to come. As he finished his course Jesus began His course. John the Baptist said “I must decrease and He must increase.”  Which, by the way, is how we yearn to live. At this dawn of a new era, the beginning of the New Testament, it was a time of fulfilment of all that God had planned since the beginning of time. A plan set in place before the foundations of the world and necessitated by the fall and calamity of Adam who chose to disobey God. It was the beginning of the revealing of the magnificent generous and abundant showing forth of the grace of God, His unmerited love and favour to all mankind.

John’s main message was the Kingdom is at hand! What is he saying? The kingdom, the rule or control of God is near, its close by, it is nigh. He meant it is near in time and near in proximity. His kingdom which means His ultimate benevolent rulership and control are about to invade our lives. This wasn’t a coup d’état against mankind to rule over Him against his will but it was an overthrow of satan’s power and his menacing kingdom to release the captives held prisoner since the days of the Garden of Eden. This was the emancipation proclamation for all mankind. This was the day of His power to set the captives free to give you and me the life liberty and freedom from the tyranny of sin and death –this is the Good News – this is the Gospel!

The “kingdom of Heaven is at hand” means the very best news for everyone who hears it. It means not that some unknown force is taking over your life, but it means you can be set free and prison doors are about to swing open. I told my story of how my life was going nowhere and was messed up by alcohol and wrong decisions, how I had no purpose; but then Jesus came into my life and He gave me life, hope and freedom; a message of His unending love came to my heart and I understood He died for me and gave His life so that my sins could be forgiven. Now I wanted to love Him and serve Him forever.

The “Kingdom is at hand” is evidenced in Jesus description of what that looks like later in Luke 4:18 ESV

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed.

My story is how Jesus came into my life and brought good news and set me free, showed me I was no longer captive, blind or oppressed. When this Kingdom comes it is often evidenced by physical healing, it is shown through deliverance from the prison of fear or bitterness or anger. It is clear through the lifting of oppression of many kinds.

Your God story or testimony will be a version of the verse John 10:10 ESV

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. In other words your story is sharing the good news that the thief, the devil, messed up your life through your choices to sin and brought all kinds of described problems but Jesus came and set you free by believing in His gospel and surrendering your life to him that resulted in this abundant life you now have.

Heaven is real folks. Hell is real too. That’s what this book is all about. The very clear message of the magnificence of heaven and the totally overwhelming torment of hell for eternity can be such a motivator for us, but what Jesus asked us to share is the good news. The good news is the Kingdom of heaven is at hand, proclaim good news to the poor, proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, and set at liberty those who are oppressed. This is the best news ever, tell your story of how life is different for you now. Tell how you got healed, tell how depression left you and how your bitter and withered heart was set free and renewed by the love of God. Tell the good news. We have the best news in the world, we have the most exciting life available. We have the joy of being set free from condemnation, set free from sin, and given abundant new life.

Let’s be really clear about this choice. Heaven is real, hell is real, and there is no other place people go when they die. There is no such thing as reincarnation.

Hebrews 9:27 (ESV) And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment. There is no such thing as purgatory. This was invented by the Catholic Church and is not mentioned in scripture. It is a denial of the finished work of Christ on the cross completely atoning for our sins. There is no such thing as “soul sleep” where the souls of those who have died are in some kind of suspended animation, “asleep” until the coming of the Lord. The scriptures again are clear as Paul states 2 Corinthians 5:8 (ESV) Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. Many Christians actually believe that people who die without Christ will be given some second chance after death. But no such second chance exists. Mark 16:16 (ESV) Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. A still much wider held belief is that good people will go to heaven so there’s no need to preach to most people because they are good enough to get into heaven as they are. Every Christian needs to know the Roman Road. Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. These two verses show that every single person has committed sin and the only result of that is judgement. So without Jesus – everyone is going to hell. So everyone needs to hear the gospel and everyone needs to repent and turn to Jesus.

What about other religions. Aren’t there many roads to heaven? NO. Listen to Jesus words, John 14:6 (ESV) Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. Also Acts 4:12 (ESV) And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.

Where we fail is we assume no one wants to hear the gospel. But what they don’t want is religion. What they don’t want is another yolk, another thing they have to do. People are looking for answers to their problems. The good news is Jesus is the answer.  Once you hear the good news the response is repent which simply means change your mind. You’ve been trying to work it all out for yourself all your life –how’s that working for you? Change your mind, let God in. Let Him take over, let His kingdom rule and reign in your life, breaking the power of sin and death and bringing to you abundant life and liberty. The Kingdom of God is at hand. Let me share my story with you – it’s a story of new life of liberty and joy in meeting Jesus. Tell everyone your story. Get good at it. Do it often, and make your testimony into short and long versions for elevator pitches and for long train rides.

Let’s prepare for Easter – you don’t need a special invitation you just need the address of the church and tell your story.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. How long is it since you shared your testimony with someone who isn’t a Christian yet?
  2. What are the main elements of your testimony?
  3. Can you share a short and along version of your testimony? – do a short one now.
  4. Do you know anyone who believes in purgatory or soul sleep, or good people go to heaven (without Jesus)?
  5. What’s the address of your church and the meeting times for Easter?

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SHARING FAITH #3PM04032011-share-your-faith  – March 15, 2015

One day I came home and across the road from where I live I saw smoke curling up from the roof of the house opposite our place. There were already a few neighbours on the street running around and calling 000 and thinking about what to do next. The house was obviously on fire and everyone wondered what to do next. One guy drove past the house just before I arrived home and saw the smoke and stopped. He banged on the door to see if anyone was home but no one answered. He could have walked away but he peered through the front window and saw a person moving around inside. So he banged harder on the door.

Eventually a young boy came out and this man was able to say “Get out, your house is on fire!” The boy’s grandmother was also in the back of the house. They both got out safely. The boy had been instructed by his parents, “Don’t answer the door if anyone comes.” It was stranger danger fear, but it almost cost two lives!

Did you know that every person you know who hasn’t trusted in Jesus Christ as their saviour is sitting in a smouldering house! They too are in great danger and they need someone to bang on the door with some important news.

Like this boy in the story – they have been given incomplete information. Like the grandmother and boy in this story – they were in danger but didn’t know it.

John 3:36 And he who believes in (has faith in, clings to, relies on) the Son has (now possesses) eternal life. But whoever disobeys (is unbelieving toward, refuses to trust in, disregards, is not subject to) the Son will never see (experience) life, but [instead] the wrath of God abides on him. [God’s displeasure remains on him; His indignation hangs over him continually.]

You may ask, “Why is it so critical to share my Christian faith with others? Isn’t faith only a matter of choice? Aren’t there many choices of what to believe?”

The verse above gives no alternative. One must believe in Jesus Christ or miss out on eternal life. Jesus really is the only way to heaven. Acts 4:12  And there is salvation in and through no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by and in which we must be saved.

If there was any other way to get to heaven without believing in Jesus, then Jesus did not need to come from heaven and die a horrendous death on the cross!

IT TAKES FAITH TO SHARE YOUR FAITH

Faith is the confident assurance that God’s word is true. It’s backed up by your own life changing experience of God’s love. Your story of how God revealed Himself to you is called your testimony. It is the real life current evidence that God is real to you! Paul gave great value to the evidence of the work of the Holy Spirit as a proof of God’s truth. 1 Cor 2:4 And my language and my message were not set forth in persuasive (enticing and plausible) words of wisdom, but they were in demonstration of the [Holy] Spirit and power [a proof by the Spirit and power of God, operating on me and stirring in the minds of my hearers the most holy emotions and thus persuading them],

Do you believe that Jesus really is the only way to eternal life? If so how does that impact how you treat people?

IT TAKES FAITH TO SHARE YOUR FAITH

When your faith is strong:

  • You know your Salvation is so real. You have incredible joy, and you know that you have passed from death to life and from living in darkness to light!
  • You know that hell is a real place and to be avoided at all cost. The bridge is out and people are driving towards it. What will you do?
  • You love people because everyone is precious to God, you see them as lost and outside God’s protection. Would you go the extra mile to help someone find Jesus?
  • You are passionate to do His will. He has specifically asked you to share the gospel with everyone you know. Matt 28:19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

HOW DO YOU STRENGTHEN YOUR FAITH SO THAT YOU CAN SHARE IT?

  1.  Ask the Holy Spirit to help you and fill you. You need supernatural help.
  2. Learn more about this amazing salvation we have. Read your bible as much as you can.
  3. Just start. – Tell your story to someone today.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. Can we expect to have assurance of our salvation?

2. What are we actually saved from?

3. If God’s love reached out to us to seek and save us then how would that impact how we act towards others?

4. What if someone doesn’t want to know about Jesus?

5.  What is the role of the Holy Spirit in your faith sharing?

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LOVE REACHES OUT #2PM Love Reaches Out 3 Screen

EVERY WORD A SEED

In 1996 Two members of this church and I travelled to China to preach the gospel. It was my second trip to China. That was a tough job as we didn’t speak Chinese. But we had thousands and thousands of gospel tracts. So as we went from city to city doing what was illegal in that country, we placed tracts in letterboxes, on car windshields, on top of walls, in bicycle carry baskets etc. until we got rid of about 5000 every night. Then one night we got caught, the police interrogated us and detained us under house arrest in our shabby motel for two days. Finally they deported us with stern warnings.

Still in spite of being caught we distributed multi thousands of gospel messages in the language of the readers. I wonder how many people read a tract and heard the gospel and found Jesus Christ? In China today, this is what is happening: The Nation has 1.3 billion people living there, The Christian population of this strongly communist nation is approximately 12% or 163 million. There are now more Christians in China than in the United States, and the growth rate is 5% per annum.

EVERY WORD IS A SEED

VIDEO TESTIMONY – JULIE MELLOR

When you leave a bible, a tract, a testimony, a conversation with someone who is not saved; it is a seed and that seed has power to grow.

EVERY WORD, EVERY ACT OF KINDNESS IS A SEED.

Mark 4:26-29

26 Jesus also said, “The Kingdom of God is like a farmer who scatters seed on the ground. 27 Night and day, while he’s asleep or awake, the seed sprouts and grows, but he does not understand how it happens. 28 The earth produces the crops on its own. First a leaf blade pushes through, then the heads of wheat are formed, and finally the grain ripens. 29 And as soon as the grain is ready, the farmer comes and harvests it with a sickle, for the harvest time has come.”

One night in Brisbane we were witnessing on the street and we approached an aboriginal man who unleashed a tirade of swear words at us. Just then two plain clothes police came along and arrested him for indecent language and took him away. We could have thought that that was strange and the event was over, nothing was accomplished. However one of our team, Brian, was of aboriginal decent and he happened to come across this man some weeks later and asked, “What was all that about?” The first man explained that his four year old son had just died and he felt anger and pain and blamed God. Brian explained what we were trying to say that Jesus is the answer to this kind of pain and this man received Christ as his Lord and saviour.  Sometimes your attempts to share your faith may seem fruitless, but every word is a seed and it may bear fruit later.

Drop seeds into conversations, if people react negatively don’t feel you have to argue the point. Spend time with hungry open people. If people are belligerent and offensive just keep the conversations brief and do acts of kindness.

My neighbour across the street was resistant to the gospel, I began sharing with him 12 years ago. He followed a religion practiced by Native American Indians. I would take him meals my wife had cooked. Sometimes I went over and mowed his lawn. He would get mad and say stop mowing my lawn and try and pay me back with a box of chocolates. So when I knew he was away I would mow his lawn anyway. If he never came to Christ I would still love and serve him – it would not matter if he thought I was just a sucker doing his work for him; to me it was a seed of love. However recently when he became very sick we visited him in hospital and shared the gospel with him. We prayed for his healing and he also prayed to receive Jesus as his saviour. His response was amazing!

EVERY WORD, EVERY ACT OF KINDNESS IS A SEED.

In my very first outreach I organised as a new Christian, I ran a coffee night at uni where I was studying. It was a Friday night and I had about half a dozen Christian friends from church come along and we served free coffee to students and shared our faith with them. At the end of the night I was a bit disappointed as no one seemed to get saved. Being a new Christian I was really into instant results!! Later as I was chatting to one of the friends from Church, Vincent Bonici, He said he had prayed with a guy called Rob and led him to Christ. Get an address? No! How can I find him to help him grow in God? I don’t know God will look after him I guess. I was a bit annoyed. All I knew was Rob was a mechanical Engineering student and he was Malaysian born. I waited outside the Mechanical Engineering building every lunchtime for weeks to try and catch someone who looked like Rob. Guess what? I found him! Later he came to church. Now he’s an INC pastor in Adelaide Hills. But the story doesn’t end there!

Rob led a friend to Christ who is Mark Hands, later Mark became part of our youth ministry in Brisbane (as did Rob) and later again Mark became the principal of one of the INC Christian schools and now has a Christian business and coaching ministry at the Gold Coast. Mark led Andrew to Christ who became a big part of our youth ministry in Brisbane also. These are just the ones we know about….. I wonder who has been saved and touched by God’s love through all these people who have experienced major life change because of the coffee night that I thought wasn’t very successful.

EVERY WORD, EVERY ACT OF KINDNESS IS A SEED.

What are you going to do this week to reach out to people who need Jesus?

Sometimes we have all given up trying to share about Jesus because we got a negative response or we just thought it’s all too hard. One time I when I was new Christian I drove past a man who I knew was a father of my school mate loading up a trailer with furniture at his office. I heard he was going bankrupt. It was midnight and I was tired and I sped off home. God prompted me to go back and tell him Jesus loved him, but I was too tired and it was late. The next day he committed suicide! It took me a long time and many tears to get over that one.

Listen to the Holy Spirit and try real hard to obey Him.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. Have you ever felt like giving up when it comes to sharing your faith?
  2. Have you ever thought your sharing about Jesus was a complete waste of time?
  3. After hearing some of these stories and learning about seeds from God’s word do you think any differently now?
  4. Will this change the way you approach sharing your faith?
  5. Did you ever think how many lost opportunities you have missed?

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Message 14 October 2012 PM

People sometimes complain about various things in church.

Someone didn’t greet me, someone spoke against me, someone hurt my feelings.

Sometimes we may even face a little persecution as people scratch our car, or let the tyres down or scream abuse at us just for being a Christian. But compare this with real challenges faced by God’s warriors the early days of the Salvation Army.

GENERAL WILLIAM BOOTH

In 1865 Booth was in the East End of London, preaching to crowds of people in the streets.

Booth soon realised he had found his destiny, and later in 1865 he and his wife Catherine opened ‘The Christian Revival Society’ in the East End of London, where they held meetings every evening and on Sundays, to share the repentance that salvation can bring through accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior to the poorest and most needy, including alcoholics, criminals and prostitutes. The Christian Revival Society was later renamed The Christian Mission.

TOUGH CONVERTS

At one stage it was hard to find a new convert who hadn’t come out of jail, been a prostitute or a thief or a beggar before turning to Christ. Booth’s converts rarely ever backslid. In the first 16 years of the Salvation Army 250,000 came to Christ in England alone. Their war-cry was “Blood and Fire”

Slowly The Christian Mission began to grow but the work was difficult and Booth would “stumble home night after night haggard with fatigue, often his clothes were torn and bloody bandages swathed his head where a stone had struck”, wrote his wife. Evening meetings were held in an old warehouse where urchins threw stones and fireworks through the window. Outposts were eventually established and in time attracted converts, yet the results were discouraging. The Christian Mission was just one of about 500 charitable and religious groups trying to help the poor and needy in London’s East End.[6]

Booth and his fellow brethren in Christ practised what they preached and performed self-sacrificing Christian and social work, such as opening “Food for the Million” shops (soup kitchens), not caring if they were scoffed at or derided for their work.

MY PARISH

Booth preached inside the pubs in the poverty stricken East End of London.

He was thrown out time and time again. One time after being thrown out of the pub with force and landing in the gutter he was pelted with rotten fruit and eggs.

He took off his hat and held to his chest and looking up to heaven he exclaimed, “Lord I have found my parish”

THE OPPOSITION WAS FIERCE

As troops marched down the street singing and playing their instruments, it was common for people to throw fruit vegetables and even dead cats at the joyful troopers.

In one season of the fiercest opposition Booth commanded his troops in one part of England to stop marching down the street as the rocks thrown by protesters caused great injury to the troopers. They marched all the same and joyfully bore the marks of their persecution.

When his daughter Evangeline was just 17 years old she went to Paris to preach the gospel with a few other young women. She would go into the pubs to preach but was thrown out over and over again. One night she tried again and they said to her if she did a jig on the bar they would let her preach, so jig she did and followed it up with a fiery sermon in French – her second language.

When Booth was starting the Salvation Army God gave him a vision.

Here is a reinactment of the vision God gave him….. http://youtu.be/xOf4Slt7S20

Soon Booth was sending Soldiers out all over the world. George Railton went to America in 1880.

Here is a part of their history on film… http://youtu.be/7coHc9SUcvY   1.40 mins   to  5.39 mins

One day in later life General William Booth was walking home, he was tired and old and on passing the bridge near his home he noticed a beggar sleeping under the bridge. Upon reaching home he chastised his oldest son Bramwell Booth who was about 40 for not seeing the beggar earlier and bringing him home for a meal.

Booth had a cry, this is what he lived and this is what he spoke…

I’ll fight

http://youtu.be/j9e0AFcsMyI    1.00 min

When lives like this one inspire us to live for Christ. Don’t be a complainer with tiny little troubles. Don’t think that life is just to be lived for our pleasure, the lost are calling out for help. Don’t be afraid to stand up for Christ, Australians are longing to see real Christians. We serve the same God that William Booth served. He changed the world with passion and service, it’s time for us to do the same.

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