Archive for the ‘Evangelism’ Category

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“PREPARING MY DEFENSE” – April 9

April 9, 2013

“I consider myself fortunate that it is before you, King Agrippa, I am going to make my defense today against all the accusations of the Jews, especially because you are familiar with all the customs and controversies of the Jews.  Therefore I beg you to listen to me patiently.”  Acts 26:2-3

Pro se is the legal term for advocating one’s own behalf before a court.  My experience with the legal system has been limited and mostly unpleasant.  I would not ever consider going pro se before a court if I had any other recourse.

Recently, I participated in a mediation process to resolve a dispute between my company and a former client.  The process went exceedingly well.  We agreed to accept less than what we thought that we were due but received more than we dared to hope for.  I think the resolution equally displeased both parties, which probably makes it a good compromise.  The best result was that we stayed out of the courtroom.

However, we were both represented by our legal advisors in the mediation.  My legal team was very instrumental in resolving the complaint and keeping it from getting larger and more expensive.  I am afraid if I had gone pro se that my ignorance of the legal system would have caused a more unsatisfactory result.

I have never faced a court when life has been on the line.  I would be terrified to be pro se when the potential sentence is death.   Yet, that was exactly what Paul had to do in front of the courts in Caesarea.  Paul stood before Porcuis Festus, the Roman Governor, King Agrippa and Bernice, military tribunes, and all the prominent men of the city to make a defense of his actions.

I wonder if Paul had longed for legal representation.  I don’t know if that was even an option or if he had decided to go pro se.  What I do know is that Paul presented a wonderful defense of the gospel:

He told of his life before he came to Christ (vs. 4-11);

He told of his conversion (vs. 12-16);

He spoke about the reality that all men are in darkness and under the power of Satan and must turn to the light and God (vs. 18);

He referred to the scriptures, the prophets and Moses, and how they taught that the Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he proclaimed light (vs. 23);

He spoke the truth in a rational manner (vs. 25);

He spoke with boldness (vs. 26);

He appealed to all those who heard him to change and become like him – a follower of Christ  (vs. 29);

In many ways, all followers of Christ are advocates.  We are all in a pro se defense of our beliefs in which the goal is not to convince others that we are right but to appeal to them to become like us.  We do not have the option to hire someone to make our own personal appeal.  We must advocate on our own behalf in the court of other people’s opinion because we want them to be like us – children of God.

How much time have you spent on the preparation of your defense?

I can attest to the fact that my company spent a lot of time and money in preparing our case in our recent dispute.  Money was all that swung in the balance in that case.   In the case of the gospel, the eternal lives of those who have not come to Christ are in the balance.

How much time and preparation is that worth?

I wrote a very similar post as this one awhile back, about the need to be prepared to present the good news of Jesus Christ.  GREAT INTENTIONS – March 5 .  Sherry, a fellow blogger at He Hath Said , made the following comment to that post:

I believe those Christians with blogs, no matter the subject, should have a page that introduces their unregenerated readers to Christ Jesus and the reason they need Him as their Lord and Savior. We must look for opportunities to share the Gospel in any godly way possible. But, let there be prayers by all for the raising up of laborers to bring in the harvest as well as the preparing of an unsaved soul by God’s Holy Spirit to receive the salvation upon hearing the Word of God presented.

I heartily agreed with Sherry and promptly did … nothing.

The Apostle Paul and Sherry have encouraged me to do something.  Therefore, I am going to take the next day or two to prepare my defense.  My next post, Lord willing, will be my own personal defense that will find a home on a new page of my website, as Sherry suggested.

Therefore, I beg that you will, at that time, read patiently the appeal of my heart.

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for giving me your Spirit.  Thank you for giving us your Spirit to bear witness with our spirit that we are children of God.  Lord, fill me to the brim with your Spirit.  Make me overflow with the goodness that comes only from You.  Help me set my mind on You and the things of your Spirit.  May I glorify and enjoy You in all that I do for all of my days. . . Amen.

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“GIFT OF UNDERSTANDING” – Mar. 28

March 28, 2013

“Only, may the Lord grant you discretion and understanding, that when he gives you charge over Israel you may keep the law of the Lord your God.”  1 Chronicles 22:12

We would say of a man who drives his car 70 mph through a 25 mph school zone, “Does he not understand the danger he is posing to everyone?”

Of a mother who prepares her family’s meals seasoned with arsenic, we would ask, “Does she not realize that will kill her family?”

The young man who takes his inheritance to Vegas for one bet on the roulette wheel would cause us to shake our heads and question, “Does he not understand how irresponsible that is?”

We would say of the middle-aged man who, on national television, assaults a beautiful young woman, “He has lost his mind.”

Of the employee who berates, insults, and curses her employer in the company newsletter, we would ask, “Did she not realize what they would have to do?”

The couple who moves all of their neighbor’s belongings into their backyard would cause us to wonder in disbelief, “Do they not understand that we can see that they stole these possessions?”

Discretion is the ability to make responsible decisions. 

Discretion is a fundamental ability necessary for a society to function under the rule of law.  The rule of law has the assumption that people will understand the law and the consequences of not adhering to the law and choose the appropriate response.  However, the news is full of people whose arrest, prosecution and conviction demonstrates that they lacked discretion and understanding in the activities that they pursued.   Many folks bear the burden of ill consequences due to their lack of understanding and discretion.  Discretion and understanding are essential skills to function appropriately in the world of the physical.

Likewise, we need discretion and understanding to function appropriately in the world of the spiritual.  God gave us His law not to hurt us or punish us.  He gave us His law because He loves us and cares for us.  His law is for our own good.  However, there are many people who live as if the only consequences are associated with the tangible.  They don’t understand that they need a savior.  They lack discretion in their decisions because they don’t recognize that the law of God is over them.

Understanding our position under God’s law is a gift granted by God. presenting

When we understand that we face condemnation because of a life of indiscretion and that leads us to repentance – it is a gift.  It is the first act of God drawing his children to Himself.  No one will ever seek a savior until they understand their deep need for one.  It is indiscretion to think that God will be appeased, as long as the good works of our lives, out-weighs the bad.  That is not a responsible decision.  That is a decision that does not understand the holiness and righteousness of God.  That is a person who does not understand the law and the consequences of not adhering to the law because they are clearly not following the appropriate response that comes from understanding.

When Christ hung on the cross, He prayed for the Father to forgive those who crucified him because they did not know what they were doing.  They did what they did because they lacked understanding and discretion.

That lack of understanding continues on a daily basis.

I have read many articles written by atheists.  They tend to be some of the most mean-spirited, rude, and insulting articles in the blogosphere.  They reject the idea that there is a law from God that applies to them.  They make condescending jokes about those who believe such foolishness.

They are demonstrating a lack of understanding.  They are people of indiscretion.  They do not know what they are doing because they have not been granted the understanding and discretion of God’s law.  When God opens someone’s eyes to the consequences of His law, it leads to repentance because it is the only logical choice.  It is the only responsible decision.

This is why we should have compassion for the lost.  They do not understand what they are doing.  We need to pray David’s prayer for them, “Lord, grant them discretion and understanding, that they may keep the law of God.”  The only why for that to happen is to repent and accept the One who kept that law perfectly, for there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for showing me the condemnation that my indiscretion had earned.  Thank you for opening my eyes to my need for a savior.  Thank you for drawing me and saving me.  Thank you for continuing to reveal to me what it means to follow you in grateful obedience.  Lord, I pray for my friends and family who do not understand the true condition of their souls.  Father, grant them the understanding that they desperately need Christ as their savior.  That they must be born again.  Please draw them to yourself – to repentance and everlasting salvation.  Lord, adopt them into the family through the power of your Spirit.  They are stiff-necked just as I was and still have a tendency to be.  Soften their hearts to receive the good news of your Son, Jesus Christ.  Amen

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“WORDS FOR ALL” – Mar. 22

March 22, 2013

“Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Acts 16:34

1993 reprint of Chafer's Systematic TheologyI love theology.  The study of theology is a wonderful tool to help us dive deeper into the depths of our Lord God.  It was not until I started scratching at the edges of theology that I realized the immense wisdom of God that has been given to us. (1 Cor. 2:7)   I love theology because that is the main tool by which the Spirit teaches me about the depths of God.

However, there is a difference between theologians and those who love theology.  I have found that those who claim the title of theologians tend to speak in a strange and confusing language.  There is a vast array of terms, titles, “isms”, and religious talk in the language of a theologian.  When a theologian speaks in their special language, the majority of the population has no idea of what they are talking about.

I find the language of theologians wearisome.  I often forget what the terms mean.  I get hung up on the words written in Hebrew or Greek, which it is assumed that I know.   The intellectual tone can often be intimidating.  I once subscribed to a theological quarterly journal.  After a period of time, I let my subscription lapse because the authors of the journal articles were clearly not writing for such a person as me.  They were writing for other theologians.  I have no problem with that.  An author has to know their audience and write accordingly.

The problem for theologians, those who love theology, and those who have been in the Church for decades is that we often forget our main audience.   We use this strange language that the vast majority of the population does not understand.  We talk about atonement, redemption, propitiation, pneumatology, born-again, justification, sanctification, eschatology, predestination, ecclesiology, salvation, righteousness, etc.  The majority of the people who we will interact with will not know what those words mean or will not know what we mean by those words.

The language of the religious can become wearisome to the lost.  Our intellectual tone can be intimidating.  We can make some people feel excluded because we are talking to an audience who they are not a part.  We all have a tendency to let the simplicity of Christ be masked by the deeper truths that the Spirit has taught us in the maturing of our faith.

What must any person do to be saved?  This is a question for the masses.  Every person walking the face of the earth has this same question.  I love that God has given us an answer that does not require a special academic background, knowledge of terminology, or intellectual ability.

“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.”

In that one sentence, God has given us salvation; distilled in simplicity so that all of humanity can understand it and at the same time containing a depth to which His followers can spend a lifetime plunging into its revealing glory of God’s secret and hidden wisdom (1 Cor. 2:7).

May we all stand humbled before our Lord; always ready with the clear understandable word of the Lord crafted for the audience our Father has given us.

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for making your salvation understandable to me and all of humanity.  Thank you for making it so profound the wisest of men will never comprehend.  Thank you for every trace of maturity that you have provided to my faith.  Father, keep my heart away from any pride that may develop due to any understanding I have been given of your wisdom.  May I never seek to know You more due to a desire to win a debate or to impress others.  May I always seek to know You from the heart of a son who loves his heavenly Father.  Help me to speak clearly and plainly.  Help me to proclaim your salvation in manner that those whom You have given me will understand and be saved for your glory.  Amen

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