Tag Archives: witnessing

Expressing God’s Love

One of the best books at helping me understand myself and others is “The Five Love Languages “ by Dr. Gary Chapman. We all need love, but there’s a difference in how each of us give it and receive it. What speaks love to me I may not be the same thing that speaks love to you. Some of us need to hear words of affirmation to know we are loved. Some of us need to get gifts to know someone is thinking about us. Some must have quality time with the other person to have their love tank filled, while others feel loved when someone does acts of service for them. Finally, some people need a physical touch like holding hands or an embrace to feel loved. Knowing these five things helps us in our interactions and in ministering to people.

Since I was in my earliest Sunday School class, I have heard the story of Jesus and the little children. The disciples didn’t want Jesus to be bothered by these little, snot nosed rug rats. Jesus noticed they were being held back and told them to let the children go to Him. I knew He blessed them, and I’ve seen drawings of them all around Him with Him patting them on the head, but there was something I had never noticed in that story until recently. Mark 10:16 says, “Then he embraced each child, and laying his hands on them, he lovingly blessed each one” (TPT). I had never noticed that He embraced each child.

When winning the lost, you and I can’t pick and choose who gets to see Jesus. We aren’t His gatekeepers. We must also embrace them. Each person you meet is broken and in need of love. Some need words of encouragement, some may need a meal or a cup of coffee. Others may need you to sit down and listen to their story while others may need you to mow their yard. Some may need you to simply embrace them because they feel unlovable. We must remember that God is love and people’s greatest need is to know that love. As the hands and feet of Jesus, we must express that love in a way that they will receive it. Outreach is simply reaching out with God’s love in a way that someone will feel it and receive it. Look for ways to express His love today.

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Becoming God’s Partner

When my wife and I go somewhere with a group, I become a social butterfly and she looks for a place to hide. If we need to keep a low profile, she’ll jokingly say, “Don’t get any Social Security numbers.” I like to know about people. I like hearing their story, and do my best to look for avenues for us to connect. Hen you connect with people, they begin to pull down their invisible wall one brick at a time. Once their wall is down, you can really get to know the person and find out what’s really going on inside them or what they’re going through. It’s then that I can give them solutions that they’ll listen to and implement. If I never connect, I never get that opportunity.

The apostle Paul, who wrote the most books in the New Testament was a learned, well traveled person. He too looked for ways to connect with people. Everywhere he went, people gravitated to him and he had the opportunity to share the message of Christ. He attracted large crowds and was not afraid to get up and speak. He understood the importance of relational equity. People won’t listen to the hard things you have to say unless you’ve built some equity into the relationship. He was able to build it with the early churches. Because of that, he could correct in love and point them to a better way of living. He was also able to use that to share the Gospel with many different nationalities and people groups.

In 1 Corinthians 9:22-23, Paul wrote, “I became “weak” to the weak to win the weak. I have adapted to the culture of every place I’ve gone so that I could more easily win people to Christ. I’ve done all this so that I would become God’s partner for the sake of the gospel” (TPT). Paul became all things to all people so that He could partner with God. I know the thought of meeting and talking to large groups of people terrifies many of you. However, God can partner with you using your personality and skill set if you’ll be open to it. You don’t have to be a social butterfly for God to do great things through you. Wherever you go, whomever you meet, look for opportunities to connect so that God can do something in someone’s life. God does some of His greatest work in people’s lives in one on one situations. In nearly every case, He looks to partner with someone like you.

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The Gatekeeper Mentality

If you’ve ever had to do cold calling for sales, you know that step one is to try to get past the gatekeeper. The person who answers the phone at a business has the job of making sure only good calls get through. They try to protect the boss from as many sales calls as possible in order to protect their time. The disciples fell into this type of thinking when it came to Jesus. When the little children wanted to see Him, they tried to prevent it. I’m sure there were thousands who wanted to get close to Him, so they adopted a gatekeeper mentality.

In Luke 18:35-43, Jesus was about to walk into Jericho. The disciples and a huge crowd were around Him. A blind man heard the commotion and called out to Jesus. The crowd tried to hush him, but he got louder. Finally Jesus heard him and asked him what he wanted. He said, “Lord, I want to see!” (NLT) Jesus healed him and then went into Jericho going throughout the town. As he passed down one street, there was another man who wanted to see, but he couldn’t because of the crowd. Zacchaeus climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus. When Jesus saw him, He offered to go to his house. The same crowd of Jesus’ followers was displeased and let Jesus know it. Zacchaeus wasn’t worthy of Jesus’ time or grace in their eyes.

Jesus responded in Luke 19:9-10, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.” It was a reminder to them and to us that we are not His gatekeepers. Our job isn’t to keep people from Him, but to lead them to Him. We must lose the mentality that sees people as unworthy or beyond His grace. We all have a need for it and He died so that none would perish. Just because someone sins differently than you, it doesn’t disqualify them from the forgiveness He offers. We need to lose the gatekeeper mentality and usher as many people as we can to Him.

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Proclaiming Good News

Think of a time when you had something amazing happen to you. How hard was it to keep it in? It probably felt like you were going to burst if you didn’t tell someone. Depending on the news, you may have had an order in which you wanted to tell people or you could have just told everyone you ran into. Good news has that effect on us. We want to proclaim it from the rooftops. We should feel the same way about the Good News of the Bible as well. The Great Commission applies to each one of us as individuals. We’re to proclaim the goodness of God wherever we go, telling everyone we meet. If God has made a difference in your life, don’t be afraid to let someone know. After all, it’s the greatest news there is.

Here are some Bible verses on proclaiming what God has done.

1. I will tell everyone about your righteousness. All day long I will proclaim your saving power, though I am not skilled with words.

Psalms 71:15 NLT

2. Proclaim the Word of God and stand upon it no matter what! Rise to the occasion and preach when it is convenient and when it is not. Preach in the full expression of the Holy Spirit —with wisdom and patience as you instruct and teach the people.

2 Timothy 4:2 TPT

3. But how can people call on him for help if they’ve not yet believed? And how can they believe in one they’ve not yet heard of? And how can they hear the message of life if there is no one there to proclaim it?

Romans 10:14 TPT

4. Give thanks to the Lord, proclaim his greatness; tell the nations what he has done.

1 Chronicles 16:8 GNT

5. Now that I am old and gray, do not abandon me, O God. Let me proclaim your power to this new generation, your mighty miracles to all who come after me.

Psalms 71:18 NLT

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Jesus’ Gate Keepers

If you’ve ever done cold calling, you know how tough it can be. Whenever you call a business to try to get an appointment to pitch your product, the person who answers the phone is the gate keeper. They stand between you and the decision maker. Their job is to make sure only relevant people get through to the decision maker so that their time isn’t wasted. Some gate keepers are easy to bypass. You just need you to be nice to them in order to get through. Some are more difficult than others. No matter which method you use to try to get through them, they won’t let you pass.

In Matthew 19, Jesus’ ministry was in full swing. People knew who He was wherever He went. Little old ladies would try to press through the crowd to touch His garment. The sick would line up for hours in hopes that He would heal them. Religious leaders would come to see Him to try to discredit Him. In verse 13, a group of parents tried to bring their kids to Him, but the disciples denied them. They were His gate keepers and wanted to make sure only relevant people got close to Him. Kids, blind guys outside cities and other outcasts were not on their list. However, in this situation, and the others, Jesus would say, “I want little children to come to me, so never interfere with them when they want to come, for heaven’s kingdom realm is composed of beloved ones like these!” (TPT)

In today’s world, somehow you and I have taken on the responsibility of being His gate keepers. We’ve decided in our minds who’s worthy of His grace and who isn’t. We can be willing to let some people know about Jesus, but we don’t want to show His love to others because of how we feel about them. However, we need to remember 2 Peter 3:9 that reminds us, “This means that, contrary to man’s perspective, the Lord is not late with his promise to return, as some measure lateness. But rather, his “delay” simply reveals his loving patience toward you, because he does not want any to perish but all to come to repentance.” God doesn’t want anyone to perish. That means you and I need to open the gates and let everyone through to Him. Even the people you don’t think deserve forgiveness.

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Explaining Your Faith

When I was a young kid, I remember learning to witness to someone using ABC. You were to tell someone, “All you need to do is Ask Jesus into your heart, Believe God raised Him from the dead and Confess your sins.” When I was in junior high, I learned the Romans Road. You’ll use verses in the book of Romans to walk someone through believing in Jesus (Romans 3:23, 6:23, 5:8, 10:13 and 10:9-10). In high school, we were given tracts and we’re taken to the local movie theater on Friday nights to hand them out. As an adult, we had an Evangelism Explosion class that taught us a method, and then we went door to door in the neighborhood around the church. While I love all these methods, the simplest form of witnessing was overlooked.

On the day of Pentecost in Acts 2, the Holy Spirit came down with power on a group of 120 people who had been praying for 10 days. There was a rushing, mighty wind that filled the room, fire appeared above their heads and people began praying in different languages. The ruckus created a crowd around their prayer meeting. People outside must have gotten loud because Peter stepped out and began to explain what was going on in them what happened to Jesus and then how to be saved from their sins. It was short and sweet and delivered with conviction. The Bible says that about 3,000 people heard his message and became Christians that day. I’ve never won 3,000 for Jesus, but I’ve found that the most effective at winning the lost is being able to explain who Jesus is and how He changed your life.

1 Peter 3:15 says, “And if anyone asks about the hope living within you, always be ready to explain your faith” (TPT). The thing that I had never really been taught was how to simply explain my faith. Those other methods taught me how to walk someone through accepting Jesus, but what we need is to learn how to give an answer for our faith and the reason for our hope in a chaotic world. There’s no formula for that. It’s simply explains your story of what Jesus did in your life and why you believe in Him. I want to encourage you today to spend some time thinking about that. Why do you believe in Jesus? What has He done in your life? How would you explain that to someone who asked you about it? Being able to explain those three answers will be your most effective witnessing tool.

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Sharing Our Faith

When I was a teenager in the late 80’s, our youth pastor showed us a movie called “Without Reservation”. It started with some high schoolers at a party, but then several of them left together. The ones who left had an accident and were killed. They woke up in the car with a large TV screen in front of them that revealed they had died, and then it began showing video of a line of people. Some were asked to go to the left if they didn’t have a reservation, and the ones who did were sent to the right. One kid in the car was a Christian and began explaining what was happening. One kid was in disbelief, another agreed with him because she had heard about it, but never accepted Jesus. A third looked at the Christian and asked, “If you knew about this, why didn’t you ever tell me?”

That movie made an impact on me as a teen, especially that question. Evangelism and sharing our faith is one of the hardest things to do for most Christians. We are afraid of rejection, afraid we don’t know what to say or afraid of what they’ll think of us. Sharing our faith isn’t easy, but in most cases, it isn’t going to cost you your life. We’ve grown comfortable with letting our fear dictate our actions as we prevent people from having the opportunity to accept Jesus. In essence, we’re keeping people out of Heaven by not asking them to make a decision. Can you imagine a friend or family member looking at you after you’ve passed away asking you why you never gave them the opportunity? “I was afraid of what you would think of me,” isn’t a great answer at that point.

Mark 10:13 says, “The parents kept bringing their little children to Jesus so that he would lay his hands on them and bless them. But the disciples kept rebuking and scolding the people for doing it” (TPT). The disciples were guilty of preventing people from coming to Jesus too. When Jesus saw that they were keeping these parents and children away from Him, He rebuked them. Each of us are keeping people from Jesus like the disciples did that day when we keep our faith private and don’t share it. We can’t afford to do that. I pray we all will receive boldness to push past our fear and be willing to share our faith to those around us. Paul’s prayer in Philemon 1:6 says, “I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective and powerful because of your accurate knowledge of every good thing which is ours in Christ” (AMP). Let’s be effective and powerful in the sharing of our faith rather than quietly keeping it to ourselves.

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Spreading Salt

One of the things I enjoy doing is cooking. Whether it’s on the stove, in the oven, on a grill or over a campfire, I love making food that tastes good. Life is too short to eat bland food. No matter what I’m cooking though, one seasoning is almost always present. I store it in the cabinet, but when I’m preparing a meal, I have to take the salt out and put it on the meat. I can’t just set it on the counter and expect the food to absorb it. For it to season the food, i must apply it to the unseasoned meat. That is the only way it will work. Coincidentally, that’s the only way our witness works as well. If we don’t come into contact with people who aren’t seasoned with Jesus, how else are they supposed to know Him?

In Matthew 9, Jesus was walking through Capernaum when He came upon a tax collector named Matthew. The Jews thought he was a traitor because he was taking taxes from the Jews and giving them to the Romans. Jesus walked up to him and said, “Come, follow me.” Later, Jesus went to have dinner at Matthew’s house and Matthew invited all of his tax collecting friends who were society’s outcasts. The religious people lost their minds and questioned how Jesus could dine with such people if He was holy. Jesus responded in verse 13, “Now you should go and study the meaning of the verse: I want you to show mercy, not just offer me a sacrifice. For I have come to invite the outcasts of society and sinners, not those who think they are already on the right path” (TPT).

Jesus didn’t come so Christians could insulate ourselves from the world. He came so that the whole world would be reconciled to Him. If you’re not engaging with people who don’t know Jesus, you’re doing it wrong. Jesus didn’t preach at this dinner either. He simply hung out with them and His flavors rubbed off on them so much so that at least Matthew gave up his way of living to follow Jesus. Jesus looked at people as people first and not by the label of their sin. It’s easy to be religious and look at how someone sins differently than we do. It’s Christ like to look beyond their sin and to see the person He died for. If we’re going to spread His salt throughout the earth to all nations, we’ve got to look at people through His eyes rather than our religious ones. Jesus made it a habit to hang out with society’s outcasts and sinners. When is the last time you or I did that?

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Doing God’s Will


Too often we think it’s hard to know God’s will. We say we want to find it for our lives, but I wonder if that’s just an excuse we use to keep us from doing something. We don’t like change. We like things that are comfortable for us. We rationalize that if God opened the heavens, gave us a clear sign, and spoke to us in an audible voice then we could do the things that are uncomfortable. We put parameters like that on how to know God’s will so that we can remain inert.

The truth is that we know what God’s will is if we’ve read any of the Bible. We know His will for how we should live, we know His will for how we should treat the least among us, and we know His will for what we should do with our knowledge of Him. What we don’t know is how to do it. So the real question isn’t, “What’s God’s will”, it’s, “How do I do God’s will?” That’s the real problem most of us have, but we just can’t admit it because if we know what His will is, we are responsible for doing it.

I do an exercise with managers at work to illustrate the difference in telling someone to do something and teaching them how to do it. I create a long tube out of easel paper, tell them to hold out their fingers, put it on top of them, and tell them to take it to the ground. The problem is they can’t do it. They know what I want them to do, but they can’t. I keep telling them my will, but they don’t know how to do it so they get frustrated. Many walk away from the exercise frustrated because they aren’t successful. They give up because something that seems so easy is do hard to do.

After letting them struggle for about 10 minutes, I finally teach them how to do it. They then are able to do it with some struggles. I think it’s similar to doing God’s will. It should be easy to love our neighbor, defend the orphan, or tell others about Jesus, but it isn’t. I think David struggled with doing God’s will too. That’s why I think he prayed this prayer in Psalm 143:10. He prayed, “Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing” (NLT).

I can relate with David. I know God’s will and I want to do it, but I struggle with doing it. Maybe you’re in that boat too. You want to do what He’s called you to, but you just don’t know how. Let David’s prayer be your prayer. Change your question from, “What’s your will” to “Can you teach you how to do it?” We still might struggle with doing it, but I’d rather fail at trying to accomplish His will than to fail God by doing nothing. Pray today to ask God how to do His will, then look for opportunities to do it. God will teach us and give us opportunities too.

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The Cycle Of Change

One of the things I firmly believe is that changed lives change lives. The greater work that God does in someone’s life, the greater the desire is to tell others. In Luke 7, Jesus was eating at the house of a religious leader. A woman in town, who had lived a sinful life, heard that Jesus was there. She grabbed an alabaster jar of oil and went to see Him. When she came into the house, she began to weep. She then bowed at His feet and wiped the tears off of them with her hair. She then poured the perfume on them as everyone in the house just watched.

The religious leader began to doubt who Jesus was. Luke 7:39 says, “When the Pharisee saw this, he said to himself, ‘If this man really were a prophet, he would know who this woman is who is touching him; he would know what kind of sinful life she lives!’” (GNB). Jesus spoke up and offered a situation to him. He told of two men who owed the same person money. One person owed 500 and the other 50. Neither had the ability to pay off their debt. The debtor forgave both debts. Then Jesus asked, “Which one, then, will love him more?”

Jesus’ point was that those who are forgiven of more sins, love Him more. Those who experience a greater change in their lives show more gratitude. They had a bigger debt that was canceled than those who were raised in church and never lived a life full of sin. Both types of lives are changed when they receive Jesus as their savior and both have an obligation from that point on to help lead others to the One who can change lives. He more change we experience at salvation, the more we are compelled by love to help others.

To demonstrate this, Jesus then showed a comparison between this woman’s actions and the religious leader’s actions. He told how the religious leader hasn’t provided water to wash Jesus’ feet, but this woman hasn’t stopped washing them with her tears. He also didn’t greet Jesus with a kiss, and this woman hasn’t stopped kissing Him. Then in Luke 7:47, Jesus said, “I tell you, then, the great love she has shown proves that her many sins have been forgiven. But whoever has been forgiven little shows only a little love.”

The greater the change God makes in your life, the more natural it is for you to want to change other’s lives. The great news is that if you’re a Christian, God has changed your life and you have the ability to now tell others what God has done for you. When you share your story of redemption with others, you open the door for their life to be changed. The more lives that are changed by God’s love, the more people we will have out there changing other people lives. The cycle of change starts with you and me.

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