Archive for April, 2009

Why are people leaving the church?

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7

A new Pew Survey has come out showing why people are leaving or switching religions. Personally I believe the answer can be found in the above scripture 2 Timothy 1:7.  I believe Paul is describing characteristics of God’s Spirit. He does not come out and say this is God’s Spirit, but His Spirit works in power, love and a sound mind.

Now, I am sure you are asking, “What does that have to do with people leaving the church?”  First, let me give you Jesus’ example of how He conducted “church” while He was here on Earth.

There are many examples but Matthew 4:23-24 gives us a great picture of how Jesus ran His “ministry/services”.

And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them.

Let’s look at what is going on, Jesus was empowered by the Holy Spirit and as 2 Timothy states, He operated in power, love and a sound mind.  Jesus taught (sound mind), He preached the gospel (love of God), and He healed them (power).

I believe what is missing in each individual church is different, but the overall root cause is a lack of balance of the three mentioned characteristics of the Holy Spirit. Some concentrate on the power, (Read Charismatics) while others concentrate on love (Methodists come to mind) and some, a sound mind (Calvinists are the first that hit my radar) All groups are partially correct but none are giving the complete picture.

Jesus was perfect, we are told to imitate Him in our daily life. Why, when we do not imitate what He did in His ministry, do we expect the same results Jesus had? I know this is an over-simplification but I believe people are looking at the symptoms instead of trying to find the cure.

I have written in the past on how many churches lack power, I truly believe if you get blind eyes to open, deaf ears to unstop and while you are at it, raise a few dead, you will have all the revival you can handle. The vast majority of the body of Christ is not even attempting to walk in the power Jesus demonstrated while He was here. I think that is sad, because many in the body of Christ are hurting and going to the world system instead of the Bible to find their answers.

Another factor for people leaving is, some of the people that are believing for miracles are just plain strange (acting) and hard to be around,(That is either lacking love, a sound mind or both)  while others spend the majority of their time using their mind to prove and argue someone into Heaven.

The church needs a balance of all three character traits of the Holy Spirit if it is to destroy the works of Satan. Balance power, with love and a sound mind and I believe you have a model that easily destroys the works of the devil and brings unity to the body.  The fame of the church grows and people come back to be healed, loved and set free.

My motivation for writing this was not to pick a fight, but to give my observation and opinion on what is going on in the body of Christ. I do not have it all figured out but I am part of this body and if part of the body is hurting we all suffer.

Unity is the key, we need to quit trying to destroy each other, but instead, understand there are going to be differences in the body (this is normal). Satan is the divider and currently, he is doing a better job of dividing the body than believers are doing restoring unity and fellowship to the body.

Here’s a thought; let’s decide to quit fighting each other and start destroying the works of the devil.  Just a thought

What is Personal Evangelism?

Because I have never claimed to be “the sharpest tool in the shed” I am not going to apologize for not defining Personal Evangelism before I started writing about it.

Since talking to other people and seeing other blogs on evangelism, I thought I needed to at least make a statement about the what and why on personal evangelism.

First, the what is personal evangelism? This is the art of personally telling people about Jesus. This is to be done day in and day out, every day you are living and breathing.  If you attempt to use words every time, you will have no friends or family that will ever come around you.

This is the model we use, the life of Jesus. We are not suggesting you become Jesus but we do suggest you study, meditate, and ponder the life of Christ. What He did, how He interacted with friends and enemies. What are some of the “techniques” He used to affect peoples lives? How can we be more like Him?

When a believer will look to Jesus’ life and not a “program” they find He spent time praying, hanging out, loving, teaching, working, ministering, healing, etc. You get the picture? Instead of concentrating on getting friends and loved ones saved, concentrate on being more like the friend Jesus would be to them. The “WWJD” phenomenon has kind of tarnished this a bit but it is still a valid question.

Why personal evangelism? People are more persuaded by what you do than what you say. Again, look to Jesus’ example, do you see Him going door to door trying to get people to follow Him? Or confronting “sinners” on the street telling them they were going to Hell? Maybe He did but I can’t find it. What I see is Him pouring Himself into His disciples day in and day out.  How many of His Disciples were “born again” while Jesus was with them?

After His death He breathed on them and said receive the Holy Spirit. (John 20:22) This, in my humble opinion, is when the disciples received Jesus as their Lord and Savior. So Jesus spent His whole life pouring into these men and women for this one event.

What makes us think we can be any different? I have heard the argument, “People are going to Hell, something is better than nothing”. I agree, but if you are waiting on the Pastors to evangelize your friends and family or “street evangelism” to get the job done, I believe you are going to have a horrible “Judgement Seat of Christ” experience and many of the people God expected you to tell about Jesus will be in Hell.

Was that too subtle?  People are dying and going to Hell because many believers are too busy to help. They are waiting for someone else to do it or worse, they are not even concerned at all about anyone but themselves.

Personal evangelism is all about dying to self and living as a reflection or ambassador of Christ.  Our company is based on the word of God but specifically  Revelation 12:11:

And the overcome the him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.

We are not trying to condemn any method, maybe just inspire someone to pray for a friend/family member that may not be saved and pour into them the love of Jesus.

Here is your challenge, commit to helping three (3) people around you find Christ, and if there is no other way to express it, use words.

In our last post we used the analogy of a football game to show how the church is similar to a football team. You have players and coaches, each have a specific assignment to fulfill. Some get in the game, some stand on the sideline and observe, encourage, train, etc.

This analogy works but it is not strong enough,  we are in a spiritual war. Barna Group just released a survey showing how “out-of-touch” many “Christians” are with Biblical truths.  One of the questions was, “Is Satan a real being or just a symbol of evil?”  Almost 60% of the people surveyed thought Satan was just a symbol of evil but probably not a real being.

Let me go on the record, “Satan is real, he is a liar, a thief, a murderer, a destroyer. He is evil in every imaginable way. His primary tool is deception and based on the above survey, he is very good at what he does.

What does this have to do with evangelism?  6 out of 10 people who profess to be Christians have an extremely weak opinion of their enemy. In war, you must know your enemy to defeat him.

God shows us Satan in the  Bible so we will know how he operates. Look at Ephesians 6:11;

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

Wiles- The use of tricks to deceive someone.

We are to put on the armor of God not because Satan is all powerful but because he is extremely cunning and deceptive. He has got 60% of “believers” thinking he is not real. Why would you ever battle an imaginary being? You would not, and the church as a whole is not entered into the fight for the souls of men.

Jesus did not come to die, He came to seek and saved that which is lost. Dying was a huge part of what Jesus had to do, but He also came to give us an example of how to fight our enemy. Jesus never carried on a conversation with a demon. He would shut them up and cast them out. In the desert, Jesus did not talk with Satan, He used the word of God to counter the Devil’s attacks. (See Matthew 4:1-11)

So what does all this mean? It tells me we are in a battle and the majority  of “Christians” are not engaged. I have a picture of them walking around in a war zone with tank tops and flip-flops on wondering why God would let bad things happen in the world. In a word they are “clueless”.

Your personal evangelism has little or nothing to do with what others believe but I wanted to let you know the battle for the hearts and minds of people is raging and it looks like Satan has a stronghold in the world.

In closing, I wanted to encourage you with the word of God;

In John 16:33 Jesus says, “be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” and Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians 5:7 For we walk by faith, not by sight.

We ultimately win the war but the battle is still raging, we must continue to do all we can to Deliver those who are drawn toward death, and hold back those stumbling to the slaughter. (Proverbs 24:11)

Again we can help you with your personal evangelism. We have a logo that helps draw people into a conversation about Jesus. It is as simple as Prayer, Wear and Share.

Personal evangelism is the absolute best way to reach unbelievers around you.  You have the most influence with the people who know you best. This can be good news or bad news. If your witness is weak, your testimony about Jesus will also be weak. On the other hand, if your testimony is strong, your ability to witness for Jesus to people around you will be strong.

Too many believers today think it is their Pastor’s or the church’s job to save the lost, but Jesus gave the Great Commission to everyone the same, regardless of occupation.

To best illustrate personal evangelism let me use a football analogy: Why football you may ask? Because there are 12 tribes of Israel, 1 tribe of priests, 11 tribes of warriors. (Besides I like football)

Football Game

There are people in the stands (the crowd) and people on the field (the players and coaches) together they make up the game.  

Let’s concentrate on the players and coaches. There are 11 players in the game at a time and 1 head coach. The offensive players on the field each play a unique position, some are allowed to touch the ball, some only block or protect those with the ball.

The coach’s job is not to get into the game, but to teach, train and direct those on the field. The coach is ultimately responsible for the players performance but notice, he is not in the game. One of his main responsibilities is to  assess each player’s gifts and talents and then place them in their unique position.

There is also another team on the field, the opponent, their job is to stop the offense from scoring or crossing the goal line. There is a battle on every play. The coach’s job is to watch what is happening on the field and come up with a way to score.

Now with this football picture in your mind let’s look at what is happening at church.  Many churches are trying to put their Pastor (coach) in the game while they sit in the pews (stands) and watch, scream, complain etc.  There is no way to score from the stands.  In fact, in order to score, you must be in the game.

If you have ever been to a football game one thing you first notice is all the players on the team dress alike.  This is called a uniform, and it is how the players, coaches and fans tell one team from the other.  What is the uniform of the church?  We are told to put on Christ, and here is the problem with personal evangelism, compartmentalization. 

Many believers think they are to act one way at church and another on their job, at home, etc. This is where the disconnect happens and why we believe One Drop of Blood can help the church overcome this problem.

When you put on our God given logo you are in the game, you immediately know it, your opponent knows it and the battle begins.  The last thing Satan wants is a bunch of people who were in the stands, putting on a uniform and getting in the battle for souls of men.

We have much more to share but time and space are running out. Until tomorrow, pray about where you are in this game and let us know what is working for you.

Have you ever prayed for someone who needed a miracle to live?

I did yesterday and he died today.  I would like to tell you it does not affect me but I would be lying.  The reason I think the church has, for the most part, quit expecting miracles is because it hurts to try and fail.

It would have been so much easier to say a prayer for God’s will and leave it up to Him.  When my friend died, I could either blame God or say,”It must not have been God’s will.” 

But by expecting a miracle, it changes things.  I will not be depressed, but I can’t help being disappointed.  Jeremy is having a great time with Jesus, so what’s the big deal?  I guess I was really praying more for the family and myself, than for him.

Jesus healed all manner of sickness and disease, He gave His disciples the power to do the same.  (Matthew 10)  Do you remember the Passion of the Christ?  I remember the beating, the stripes and know it was not in vain,  the Word says, ” by whose stripes you were healed.” 1 Peter 2:24  I want to be like Jesus, or at least like Peter’s shadow or Paul’s handkerchiefs in the book of Acts.

Not going to quit praying for people, I am going to refocus and concentrate on Jesus.  Spirit of Truth help me to be more like Jesus.