Tears…from one who has spilt his share

Tears

Just over a year ago my Aunt Sylvia Hill Jentes went home to be with Jesus.  I remember it being right around MLK Jr. Day, and so I wrote my Uncle Don a short email to let him know I was thinking and praying for him.

My Uncle has served as a Pastor, but for the last three decades has served as a Christian Hospital Chaplain. He daily walks through the brevity of life and the difficulty of our physical ailments and limitations. He brings the Biblical truth and the presence of Jesus as he listens and prays with hurting patients and their families.

Tonight I received this email from him in response to mine:

Thanks Mike for reminder.   Yes there are a lot of reminders of a year ago. God has given me the strength to keep going and keep ministering at hospital.
 
This is a poem which I got at Norman Wright workshop.  

“Tears”
Tears are often a gift of God.
Tears help to relieve the tension that has built up inside you.
Tears say how deeply you feel and how much you care.
Tears speak for you when you cannot find words.
You never have to be ashamed of honest tears.
God sees through your tears to the pain and sorrow of your heart.
Your tears are precious to Him.
And some day, when earthly is past, God will wipe away all tears from your eyes.
All suffering and pain and sorrow will forever be done away.

Don

The Truth, Adventure & Mystery of Evangelism by Ed Waken

For too long the truth, adventure, mystery and joy that comes with giving away the life of Jesus has been stolen from the ordinary believer.  We have been taught methods of sharing Jesus that feel more cold, distant and dutiful than life giving.  We have heard that just a few gifted ones will really be successful at evangelism.  This is yet another blow designed to sideline the ordinary person from engaging in the supernatural work of sharing the life of Jesus with those thirsty to taste the goodness of God.

Truth

The Truth
The great commission is often seen as Jesus’ marching orders to make disciples, which must include ongoing sharing of Jesus’ good news with those who have not yet heard.  The great commission and Jesus’ similar instructions to the twelve in Acts 1:8 were delivered directly to His twelve Apostles.  This has caused some to believe that not every follower of Jesus is responsible to engage in giving away the life of Christ; it simply is not their gift.  This is not the truth.  An often overlooked statement in the great commission instructs the Twelve to be teaching their disciples “to obey everything I have commanded you.”  The Twelve were to teach the ordinary believer to obey everything Jesus taught them including the making of disciples or being a witness to all the world.  Everyone is responsible to be intentionally sharing the life of Jesus with the world.

The truth is that the ordinary person is a competent minister of the good news (2 Cor. 3:6).  The truth is that success in evangelism should be measured by conversations about Jesus not conversions to Jesus.  Ordinary people are only responsible to tell about and demonstrate the love of Jesus.  Only Supernatural beings are responsible for the results, “I planted, Apollos watered but God was causing the growth.” (1 Cor. 3:6-7).  Everyone is an evangelizer and success is measured by obedience to share.

Adventure

The Adventure
The church needs to rediscover what has been stolen from her.  We need to give back the cold, distant and dutiful methodologies* of evangelism for the more adventurous, risky and romantic renditions that only Jesus can create and place in our souls.  The church needs some fresh adventures in understanding how Jesus is getting the message into the souls of people.  When we think about engaging people with the truth, we should capture the understanding that Jesus is a customizer of methods, not a cookie cutter.

Jesus will take a believer, with all their experiences and fears, and have them cross the paths of not-yet-believing people who are a perfect fit for the customized approach Jesus gives the believer.  This requires trust and obedience, but it is exactly what Jesus promised.  Jesus said He will give us the right words at the right time, every time (Luke 21:13-15).  This takes our faith and evangelism to a whole new level of adventure.

Mystery

The Mystery
I can count fifteen people who shared Jesus with me in some form or fashion before Ralph shared the same truth with me and my life was transformed.  Who was more important in my choosing to follow Jesus, the fifteen or Ralph?  Was Ralph more gifted or skilled or persuasive than the others?  Did Ralph ‘close the deal‘ because he has an anointing?  I believe that all sixteen who told me about Jesus were equally vital to my process of turning to Jesus.  All salvation experiences are mysterious.  Some are dramatic, some are mundane, others cannot be marked by an event.  Salvation is always a supernatural event where the God of the universe enters the life of a human being permanently.  When the rich young ruler heard what was required by Jesus to gain eternal life, he became very sad.  Jesus’ disciples asked him if a rich man can’t be saved “…then who can be saved?”.  Jesus answered, “The things that are impossible with people are possible with God.” (Luke 18:18-27).

Enjoy the freedom of not knowing what God is doing in another soul. Enjoy that it is a mystery.  Be assured, however, that God is doing something in the souls of those with whom you share His truth.  Trust in His perfect and powerful ability to draw people to repentance in the way they need.  Obediently follow His lead, even when it doesn’t make sense; because most mysteries don’t make sense.

The bottom line regarding evangelism is to enjoy it (weird huh?).  Jesus is an artist of the soul.  He created you specifically to engage the people He brings in your life with His truth.  Enjoy His adjusting the delivery of the message to fit the current need of the one listening to your words.

If we learn to enjoy sharing the life of Jesus with others as He leads us, we will most assuredly share that life more often and with more passion.  The Scriptures teach that the more we sow, the more we will reap.  The power behind people coming to Jesus is not in any delivery, method or medium.  The power behind people coming to Jesus is always in message (Rom. 1:16).  Give away the message often and with joy and enjoy watching God at work!

 

* God can, has and will continue to use a more formal, methodological approach to giving out the Gospel.  It is not wrong to do so, however, it has robbed the fun of spiritual reproduction from the ordinary believer.  The giving out of the Word will never return without effect on the one hearing the truth.

I would love to hear your thoughts. Let me know if this is helpful to you and your church.


©2012 Ed Waken

Originally posted on Ed’s Blog here
Ed tweets @EdWaken
Used with permission.


See also:
Conversations Not Conversions – Ed Waken
Who Is In Charge?: ReTooling Leadership 1
Jesus’ Example: ReTooling Leadership 2
The Leader’s Priority: ReTooling Leadership 3
Organic Evangelism Principles
The Deal on Disciple Making – Video

God’s Revealing Work – Revelation

Revelation
Topic: 
Revelation defined.       These are two kinds of revelation- Specific and General Revelation
Verses: Psalm 19:1-2; Romans 1:20, Hebrews 1:1-3
Article: http://ldolphin.org/reveln.html
Key Questions:
           How has God revealed himself to us?
           How do we know He has? 
           What means does He reveal himself to us today?
           Why would God communicate with us?
           What can you know about God and His expectations of man from General Revelation
Application:
Divine Truth:
            What are some old beliefs that I need to lay aside and new beliefs I need to adopt:
            What are some old behaviors I need to lay aside and new behaviors I need to adopt:
Text Box: One Thing I Will Do This Week:         Take Home:  1. Means by which God reveals Himself 2. A sense that God wants to be known by you
Nurturing Relationships:
    How does this truth affect relationships…
                        …with my spouse (if appropriate):
                        …with my child/parent:
                        …with my employer/employee:
                        …with my friends:
                        …with my brother/sister:
                        …with those in authority:
Apostolic Mission:    
     How does this truth help me in overcoming the enemy’s schemes?
     How does this truth help me in pursuing the mission I have in God’s kingdom?

3 Passages About God Revealing Himself

Look Closer

3 passages to look over about God revealing Himself:

Psalm 19
Romans 1:20
Hebrews 1:1-4

Article on God Revealing Himself

Look Closer

Here’s an article to consider on the subject of Revelation:

http://ldolphin.org/reveln.html

The Father is a “Seeker”

I had an amazing meditation time today thinking about this:

But the time is coming and is already here when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for anyone who will worship him that way. NLT John 4:23

I have read this a gazillion times, but the truth of that last sentence astounded me…the Father is looking for worshippers. WOW. He is the “seeker” of people who will bow their life down toward Him. He is the one on the Go, on the Lookout, the aggressor in nudging people toward worshipping Him.

What an amazing God we serve…one who created us and one who comes after us even when we have built walls between ourself and Him. May we worship–bow our life down towards Him–that way…the way He wants, the way he seeks!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...