Tag Archives: witnessing

Please Let Me Run!

run your race with purpose

You will never hear me say, “Please, let me run”. But that’s what  I read in the story of Absalom’s coup in Scripture. And I’ve heard my daughter-in-law, Jenny, say it in response to my wanting to give her a break away from the children. I suggested shopping. She suggested running. Maybe, I noticed the two […]

You Caught What? Where? Fishing?

You Caught What? Where?

 

Ashlyn and Brayden live in a crowded suburban neighborhood filled with dogs and cats; bikes and kids. Regular kids, some that love to fish. One little guy fashioned a fishing pole from a stick, borrowed fishing line and a small plastic worm with a hook. Brayden borrowed the pole and dropped the line in the storm drain at the end of his street. That’s right! The storm drain, but even more amazing was the fact that he actually caught a fish. 
 
 
Once Brayden got a fish on his line he wasn’t sure what to do with it. But Ashlyn wasn’t going to be out-done by a fish. She picked up the pole and started home with it, that’s right, with the fish dragging behind her. Sorry animal lovers, she was just three.  She didn’t know what to do, but she knew her daddy would. When Kimberly looked out the front door she saw a parade of kids heading toward her front garage door. There in the middle of the parade was Ashlyn and the fish dragging behind her. Kimberly was horrified, but Ashlyn was just taking her prize catch to her dad.
 
 
As with all my stories, you know I’m headed somewhere besides the obvious. I have two points to make.
 
  1. Their desire to fish took them to an unusual place.
  2. They didn’t know what to do with the fish when they got it.
child-holding-fish-on-a-pier
 
I understand a storm drain is an unusual place to catch a fish. In all my years, I’ve never fished there, but they did. Amazingly, although they  fished in an unusual place AND although they didn’t have fancy equipment, they still caught a fish. 
 
 
We need to get creative in our fishing locations- I mean spiritual fishing-where we fish for souls. Fishing locations are everywhere-shopping malls, hallelujah! PTA meetings, do they still call them that? Walking trails through a park, ball games, wherever you find people, that’s a good place to witness. You don’t need fancy words or methods, just a heart that loves God. You’ve got a story–what God has done for you. Your story needs to shared and they need to hear it. 
 
 
What’s next?
But the next part of this illustration is equally important. We don’t seem to know what to do with people once we catch them. Ashlyn knew enough to connect that fish with her daddy. How successful are you (and your church for that matter) at connecting people with your Heavenly Father?  I hope it’s less painful than Ashlyn’s dragging process! Don’t push or prod, but don’t miss an opportunity either. Do you know how to pray with someone to be born again? Learn how if you don’t.  A good fisherman knows how to pull in a fish and land it. A believer should be able to do the same–spiritually speaking of course. Still, don’t forget you are not responsible to pull in every fish–doing your best is all you can do.
 
 
But then what? Church and discipleship is a natural progress for a believer. If new believers are going to thrive, they need to get back into a spiritual environment that is conducive to growth. Invite them to church.
 
 
 
When people walk through the doors of your church what happens to that person?
  •  Are they ignored as if they were invisible?
  •  Is there a discipleship program? 
 
 
What should happen? Greeters are supposed to be friendly. Pastors are expected to be warm and gracious to visitors, but a church is NOT a friendly church if the people stay in their little clique and don’t reach out to new people. Make it your job to make the first move to welcome someone into your circle of influence. And even if the other people aren’t doing it, be friendly. You may create a new culture in your church–a culture of inclusion.u
 
Let me encourage you to do the following:
  • Be friendly. 
  • Introduce yourself. 
  • Ask their name. 
  • Repeat their name. 
  • Ask them disarming questions that show you are really interested.Questions like what is your profession? Do you live in this area? How many children do you have? Now don’t rattle questions off like a machine gun, but ask them warmly with genuinely interest.
  • Then write down their names in your  notes or iPhone.
 
 
Friendliness should start in the parking lot and continue into the sanctuary. So start your friendliness in the parking lot and don’t forget the bathroom. I hate it when there’s several women washing their hands in the bathroom and they just ignore me. Most of the time, even if I’m visiting there I’ll be the first to speak. Just remember to treat people like you would an honored guest in your home. That attitude will serve you well. 
 
 
Reach out to people you don’t recognize even if they aren’t a first time visitor. While I’ve been burned enough times that I don’t always ask a standard, “Are you new here?” question. I do try to introduce myself and ask their name. Again repeating the introductory questions that I would ask a visitor.
 
 
Pray for the people you meet when you get back to your seat and everyday the next week. If you do, two things will happen:
  1. You’ll remember their name.
  2. You’ll enrich their lives with your prayer.
 
Never forget the fish you catch aren’t for eating. (Boy, could I go off on that subject, but I won’t!) You put them in a happy pond, watch them mature. It all begins with warm, welcoming, loving people reaching out to someone they don’t know. Don’t wait for someone else to do it. It’s everyone’s responsibility, but since you are the only person you can control, let it start with you.

Olympic 2012 Flame Went Out

Olympic 2012 Flame Went Out

  The 2012 Olympics are history. The US Team once again ranked highest medal count with 104 medals- 46 of which were gold. Their successes fed our national pride. Our glimpses of the powerful swimmer, here Michael Phelps, the amazing and adorable Gabby Douglas and the incredible perservance of Manteo Mitchell, running his portion of the relay with […]

A Fancy Word for It- Share

A fancy word wraps a plain word and makes its meaning clearer and more powerful. There’s a fancy word for almost everything. Anger has the fancy word apoplectic. Unregenerate has obdurate. Unfinished has inchoate. A fancy word wraps a plain word and makes its meaning clearer and more powerful. I love words, but I don’t use too many fancy words. I’m working on becoming a better wordsmith, but don’t expect to see me use the word apoplectic or obdurate in my next blog. I don’t think you’ll ever read a word in my blog that will compel you to visit a dictionary. I’m just not that skillful with words. I love the masters like Charles Swindoll and Jack Hayford that skillfully sculpt a sentence into a masterpiece. I find myself reading slowly, licking my lips and savoring each luscious word. (Luscious is just about as big as it gets with me and I had to do a spell check to spell it right.)  Words paint a picture and convey an emotion. Words instruct and guide. 

 

But sometimes fancy words intimidates us.They stop us or discourage us. Did I loose you? Let me explain with where I was headed in the first place. Let’s take witnessing for example. Calm down, I feel you shaking all the way to my house.  I’m not asking you to run out and witness on the street corner. The word witnessing is intimidating! Unless you are like my good friend Pete Combs. He’s the superman of witnessing! I am constantly amazed at that man! 

 

 

But if you’re like me the thought of going witnessing is scary stuff! But if you asked me to share my favorite recipe with you, that wouldn’t scare me. Unless of course you read my recent blog post, No More Burned Popcorn, then we both know you’re not going to be asking me for a recipe for anything. OK, so let’s talk about something more realistic. Let’s say I found a fabulous bargain on costume jewelry and I knew you enjoyed bling as much as I do. Sorry men, keep reading, you’ll get the point too. I wouldn’t be scared or intimidated  to call you with the good news. Even if I knew you hated the store where I found the great bargain, I would have to tell you about my great news. 

 

     I would share the good news with you for two reasons:

          1. It’s good news.

          2. I know you would benefit from the good news.

 

 

And that is exactly why we need to  wit…no, I’m not going to use that scary word. That’s why we need to share, that’s the word I’m looking for, share, just like I would share the good news that I’m gonna have a new grand-baby or that I found a million dollars or you get the picture. We must share the good news of Jesus with our friends. His saving power is good news. His love is good news. His healing is good news. His grace is good news. Jesus is just plain good news, too good not to share.

 

 

On Wednesday night, my pastor shared an interesting story about Oliver Cromwell. He was born April 25, 1599 and died September 3, 1658. He was an English military and political leader and later Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England. Silver for coinage was in limited supply. After a month long search for silver was completed, Mr. Cromwell was given the report, “We have searched the Empire in vain seeking to find silver. To our dismay, we found none anywhere except in the cathedrals where the statues of the saints are made of choice silver.” Cromwell ordered, “Let’s melt down the saints and put them into circulation.”

 


Good advice for then and now! Lord, melt us, your saints called to good works, melt us with the fire of precious Holy Spirit. Melt us in the furnace of your love. Conform us into your image and put us into circulation in a world that is dying without Christ.

 

 

Here’s a link that I found that does an amazing, absolutely powerful job on …Sharing What You Know. http://enslowparkpresbyterianchurch.org/files/4955/_documents/119201141041PM-sermon011611.pdf

I hope it will bless you like it did me.

 

 

Think MISSIONAL. If you know someone that would enjoy this blog, please pass it on!

 

 

 

You Know About Darkness, If…His Light

You Know About Darkness, If

lamp 003

You know about darkness, if you’ve ever been on a camping trip in the middle of a thick patch of trees on a moonless night.

 

You know about darkness, if you’ve ever been deep in a cave and the guide turned off the lights.

 

You know about darkness, if you’ve ever been through a hurricane that left your part of town without power.

 

You know about darkness, if you’ve ever been in the middle of a large group of people at a ball game, a parade or the county fair–spiritual darkness. You see it on their faces. You recognize it in their celebrations. You hear it in their conversations.

 

If you’ve ever, even once seen the news, you’ve seen the results of individuals and families crushed and robbed by the effects of darkness. You’ve seen lives destroyed because people tried to cruise through life without a light. The darkness may be normal for some folks, but the resulting carnage and devastation is heart-breaking. Isaiah 60:2 “For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people…” That darkness, that gross darkness is stripping our children of their innocence and families of their fathers. It leaves people twisting and perverting love and sex and destroying our morals and culture in the process.

 

But I stopped too soon when I copied that verse, there’s more. The remainder of that verse says, “but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.” God has a cure. He sent the light-Jesus into the world and He sent you to be a jar of clay or a lamp for that light to shine through.

 

Verse 1 says “Arise , shine ;lamp 007

 

I am a simple person and I always try to be very simple in my approach, but I can’t tell you what it means for you to shine. I can only send you to Jesus. Will you go running to Him…yes, running. Don’t you think it’s dark enough to get passionate about illuminating the darkness? Ask Him to show you how to be a light. Commit to pursue Him with all your heart until you become a bright and shining light that reflects His glory!

 

 

In my pursuit of Him, this is how I pray:

Illuminate my darkness.

Let your light rest on me- my conversations, my actions, my home.

Help me to see and seize opportunity.

Give me the boldness to do what you tell me to do and say what you tell me to say.

 

 

Think MISSIONAL. If you know someone that would enjoy this blog, please pass it on!