Please Pray for God to Send Someone to Witness to My Best Friend!

I told her that I would not pray for that. Instead, I told her that I would pray for her, that the Holy Spirit would lead her to share her faith with her friend.

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About a year ago, a lady asked me to pray for God to send a person to witness to her best friend. I told her that I would not pray for that. Instead, I told her that I would pray for her, that the Holy Spirit would lead her to share her faith with her friend. The lady looked at me in astonishment! You see, she had never been challenged by anyone to share her own faith with another person.

The Bible teaches us that we are all called into priesthood. Look at 1 Peter 2:9-10, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”

Jesus commanded His disciples to take the gospel to Judea, Samaria, and the utmost parts of the world. Jesus was not just speaking to His disciples, but to all Christians throughout time. Look at Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

As a Christian, you are filled with the Holy Spirit, which gives you the power to be Christ’s witness. You have all the tools to share your faith. If you say that you are not confident to tell people the right things, let me just say that it is YOUR responsibility to learn how to do this. As a Follower of Jesus Christ, it is not an option, but a commandment that we spread the Good News of Jesus Christ not only to our friends but throughout the entire world.

The tools you have at your disposal is the Holy Spirit, who is the “Teacher, Jesus Christ” and you have the Word of God which is the Holy Bible. I challenge every Believer to get into God’s Word, study, and learn the essential Scriptures to share Jesus without fear and with confidence.

Here are the Scriptures I would like for you to learn and memorize:

Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

John 3:3, “Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

John 14:6, “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Romans 10:9-11, “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”

2 Corinthians 5:15, “and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.”

Revelation 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”

John 3:16-17, “For God so loved the world,[a] that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”

Once you have shared these Scriptures with a person, then ask them if they would like to ask Jesus into their heart? If they say they would, then you pray with them. You could pray a prayer like this: “Dear Father, I have sinned against you. I want forgiveness for all of my sins. I believe that Jesus died on the cross for me and rose again. Father, I give you my life to do with as you wish. I want Jesus to come into my life and into my heart. This I ask in Jesus name, Amen.”

If you pray this with a person that you are sharing the gospel with, if they also pray this prayer and really mean it in their heart, they will be saved. If they choose not to pray, but would like to think about it, don’t argue with them or feel pressure for “you to succeed.” It’s NOT about YOU! It’s about JESUS, the SAVIOR of the World. All you can do now is to pray for that person and allow the Holy Spirit to minister to that person’s heart. You have done your part by sharing the most important gift that you could ever share with anyone.

Remember, the person you want God to send to witness to your best friend might just be YOU! God has already called YOU to share your faith. You don’t need to ask your pastor, deacon, or elder to do your job anymore. You have the ability to do it.

I will pray that Jesus, through His Holy Spirit will lead you and guide you to share your faith without fear and without reservation. Be bold in your faith. Remember, someone once shared the Gospel of Christ with you!  What are you waiting for? Get off the pew and go forth and take the Gospel out the church doors and into the marketplace and community.

Copyright © April 7, 2019. The Lantern & Shield Times, a Division of Marketplace Evangelism Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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I Can Do All Things Through Christ: Overcoming Anxiety & Worry

I have known born-again Christians who were faced with medical issues. They were concerned and lost sleep over this medical condition. Although through Scriptural encouragement, many continued to worry and could not seem to stop worrying about their condition.

One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” I see this verse as a status on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, as well as other social media platforms. I wonder though when reading through many social media status posts and thoughts of people, do they truly place their trust and faith in Jesus Christ? Do they post this as their motto and when the bad times occur or the challenges of life, do they cave into the humanity of their mortal selves and start to worry and become depressed because their life has been somewhat altered?

I have known born-again Christians who were faced with medical issues. They were concerned and lost sleep over this medical condition. Although through Scriptural encouragement, many continued to worry and could not seem to stop worrying about their condition. Through my own medical conditions, I have learned to accept each condition and have embraced them as they have brought me so ever close to God and Jesus Christ. I have learned to lean on God and His Son in every adversity and emergency.

This morning, I went to a seminar series being recorded at the church that I attend. Dr. Tony Crisp was preaching his series called “Living Beyond Brokenness.” Although I would love to write about the entire series, I will be focusing on one takeaway from his series which inspired me to write this article. The Scripture he shared leads up to Philippians 4:13. If I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, then worry and drama is not of God and is an attack of the prince of this world, Satan.

Worry can lead to depression, which is many times a manifestation of a demonic attack. Worry is not something that we should dwell on, because it separates us from God and His promise. Let’s read Philippians 4:4-19:

“4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”

Look at verse 6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Being anxious about whatever you are worrying about is not what God wants us to do. Satan relishes in our confusion. Instead of worrying and being so concerned about our health or other circumstances, pray and turn them over to God. After all, that is what it means to say I can do all things through Christ as Philippians 4:13 suggests. Medical adversity may occur as well as life’s problems in Believer’s lives. The world is watching in how we handle these circumstances. By turning all over to Jesus and laying these adversities at Christ’s feet, “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus,” as mentioned in verse 7. Even in adversity, praise God for it. God will see how you handle life’s problems and He will give you strength to get through (cf. verses 8 and 9). Practice these things and they will become part of your life. If you want to truly be successful in walking with Christ, then you must stop worrying about things that you have no control over. Embrace it and continue to walk with Christ as He will see you through. Anxiety is incompatible with trusting in God.

Dr. Crisp suggests that if you are struggling with anxiety and depression, then read through Philippians 4:4-9 at least 100 times. You are not trying to memorize these Scriptures, but you are trying to internalize them so that the oppression will cease. My suggestion is to read these verses at least 10 times each day and pray at least four times each day. Pray in the morning before getting ready for work, at noon, in the afternoon, and at bedtime. Getting into a true prayer life with our Lord is the only way to have a true relationship with Jesus. Not only should you read these Scriptures but also start reading God’s Word. I read early in the morning because it helps me through the day. I also read some at night before bedtime.

For Christ to empower you so that you can do all things through Him and His strength, you must have a real relationship with Him. The only way to do that is to acknowledge that you are a sinner, lost without hope. Pray and ask Jesus into your heart. Ask Him to come into your life and forgive you of your sins. He will surely do that if you ask him. Dr. Crisp stated, “The moment you are saved, you are forgiven for whatever you have ever done in your life. God declares you to be righteous because it’s not that you alone are righteous but is based on the finished work of Jesus Christ that makes you righteous.”

If you do not know Jesus as your Savior, then please read through these Scriptures to understand what Jesus did for you.

The following are Scriptures from the Holy Bible which explain the way to Christ.

Romans 3:23, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death (hell) but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus.”

John 3: 3, “Jesus replied, ‘I assure you: Unless someone is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’”

John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Romans 10:9-11, “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. With the heart one believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth one confesses, resulting in salvation. Now the Scripture says, ‘No one who believes in Him will be put to shame.’”

2 Corinthians 5:15, “And He died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for the One who died for them and was raised.”

Revelation 3:20, “Listen! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and have dinner with him, and he with Me.”

John 3:16-17, “For God so loved the world that He gave His One and only Son, so that whoever believes in Him will not perish (go to hell), but have eternal life (Heaven). For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.”

If you want to ask Jesus into your life, then pray this prayer. Once prayed, then you will be saved and have the empowerment mentioned in Philippians 4:13.

“Heavenly Father, I have sinned against You. I want forgiveness for all my sins. I believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose again. Father, I give You my life to do with as You wish. I want Jesus to come into my life and into my heart. This I ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

I pray that you will receive Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and that you will live for Him the remainder of your life. It is through Jesus that I can face tomorrow and the uncertainties of life. As the song goes, “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow. Because He lives, all fear is gone. Because I know He holds the future. And life is worth the living just because He lives.”

References:

Dr. Tony Crisp, “Living Beyond Brokenness,” Grove Avenue Baptist Church, March 9, 2019.

Copyright © March 9, 2019. The Lantern & Shield Times, a Division of Marketplace Evangelism Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

My Friend Ray is With Jesus

Today, as I write this post, I am sad to hear that a very good friend and client by the name of Ray has died. At the same time, I rejoice in the knowledge that Ray was a born again Christian. The reason I know this is that about two months ago, Ray called me and told me that he was facing a heart valve replacement. He had congestive heart failure. He had mentioned that he was concerned about whether he would go to heaven or not? I knew Ray to be a member of a certain Baptist church, but he still was not certain that if he died, he would go to heaven.

I told him that I was glad he shared that with me and then I shared the gospel with him. I am sure he heard the gospel on many a Sunday, but this particular day, Ray was truly listening. After reading and explaining the gospel to Ray, I asked him if he wanted to pray with me and ask Jesus into his heart. He said he did and he prayed this prayer:

“Heavenly Father, I have sinned against You. I want forgiveness for all of my sins. I believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose again. Father, I give You my life to do with as You wish. I want Jesus to come into my life and into my heart. This I ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

He prayed this prayer and then he had relief and certainty that Jesus came into his heart and redeemed him from hell.

The following are Scriptures from the Holy Bible which explain the way to Christ.

Romans 3:23, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death (hell) but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus.”

John 3: 3, “Jesus replied, ‘I assure you: Unless someone is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’”

John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Romans 10:9-11, “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. With the heart one believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth one confesses, resulting in salvation. Now the Scripture says, ‘No one who believes in Him will be put to shame.’”

2 Corinthians 5:15, “And He died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for the One who died for them and was raised.”

Revelation 3:20, “Listen! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and have dinner with him, and he with Me.”

John 3:16-17, “For God so loved the world that He gave His One and only Son, so that whoever believes in Him will not perish (go to hell), but have eternal life (Heaven). For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.”

It is my hope that whoever may be reading this post will come to know the true and loving Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. If you do not know Him, why not pray that simple prayer as written above, just like Ray? I know that today, Ray is in Jesus’ loving arms and he will be forever residing with Jesus in Heaven. Don’t wait! Today is the day to make that commitment to Christ. I pray that Jesus will come into your heart and that you will live for him before it is too late!

Copyright © February 19, 2019. The Lantern & Shield Times, a Division of Marketplace Evangelism Ministries Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The Storms of Life: Are You Fighting Them Alone?

As of this past weekend, most of North Carolina and South Carolina have been dealing with Hurricane Florence, which struck the coast near Wilmington, NC as a Category 1 hurricane. As the eye moved on shore, in a couple of days, it was downgraded as a tropical storm. Today, it was downgraded again as a tropical depression. This storm was massive and has produced catastrophic flooding in North Carolina and has been attributed to at least 15 deaths. This storm came charging into North Carolina and has effectively been a wrecking ball in the lives of the residents of North and South Carolina with destruction of property and death.

Today, as my family and I attended Grove Avenue Baptist Church in Henrico Virginia, Dr. Brian Autry led the congregation in prayer, praying for the people of North and South Carolina. He then delivered a message of hope called, “There is Hope in the Storms of Life.” His text was taken from Mark 4:35-41. It reads,

35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” 36 And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. 38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41 And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” (English Standard Version)

Without rewriting Dr. Autry’s entire sermon, I want to focus on a few nuggets of truth taken away from this sermon which ministered to me and my family in a great way. While Jesus and His Disciples were on the ship, a great storm stirred the seas and the people were scared literally to death. They thought they were going to die, and went to get Jesus and wake Him up so that He could tell them what to do. And Jesus rebuked the storm and the wind. The wind and the rough seas calmed immediately and they were amazed.

Life occurrences are sometimes like major storms. They sometimes come and they disrupt our lives to the point that we are brought to our knees. Dr. Autry stated, “Some examples of these occurrences could be a death of a child, the death of a spouse, losing a job and unable to support your family, the death of a parent, and home destruction from a fire, hurricane, flood, or tornado.”[1] These are just a few things that can disrupt our lives and cause storms in which we do not know what to do? We are scared and our faith is weak because we do not know where to turn?

Within the last four years, I was diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer. To be honest, the diagnosis scared me. I started to think the worse. I did not want to die. I was afraid of the surgery. It was all an unknown for me. After the initial shock, I decided to go for a second opinion. That doctor agreed with the pathology report. So, it sunk in. I had to accept it! But something inside of me said “NO!” I started to reach out to men and women of God who had a very strong faith and believed in healing. The way that they prayed was powerful and they were known as very strong prayer warriors. I decided to go for a third opinion to an ENT Specialist in Norfolk Virginia at Eastern Virginia Medical College. I met with him and he advised me that if it were cancer, that he felt that I had a less than 5% chance of it being an aggressive cancer that would kill me. This offered me hope as well as I calmed down and settled in for the fight. I was scheduled for the surgery in June of that year. I had people praying for me, laying hands on me in prayer, Dr. Mark Becton from Grove Avenue Baptist Church laid hands on me and prayed for me, Dr. John Peyton of Reconciliation Church laid hands on me and prayed for me as well as his church congregation, people I didn’t even know prayed for me all over the world, my Choir Director and staff and worship team at Grove Avenue Baptist prayed for me, and my wife and daughter and family prayed for me. I was covered in prayer. Then, before they whisked me away for the operating room, a nurse at the hospital that I personally knew came in and laid hands on me and prayed for me right in front of the surgeon. Whatever happened, it was well with my soul. I kept singing that in my mind and in my heart. I had totally turned my circumstance over to Jesus Christ, to do with as He wished. My surgery was supposed to be around six and a half hours. After two and a half hours, I was brought back to recovery and the diagnosis was that they did not find any cancer. They did remove half the thyroid because of a very large nodule. The good news was no cancer at all. I must admit, that was a major storm in my life, but God saw me through it. I felt that this was a true miracle!

There have been other storms in my life where God protected me. I was a police officer in Rocky Mount, NC and a deranged drunk man attempted to kill me and my field training officer. The man shot up our police car and by the grace of God, we were not struck by his bullets. Although I had gun powder burns on my face from the suspects gun when my partner and I were fighting for the man’s gun, my partner and I were protected.

There are things that most likely will happen in your life that will bring you to your knees. Why does God allow these storms to happen? Dr. Autry gave three truths pertaining to these storms of life that affect our lives:

  1. The first truth is that you can be close to Jesus and still encounter storms. Storms are not always predictable. Storms can be sudden and severe. They can produce suffering, sorrow, and sin, which can bring about a dark side and destruction in our lives.
  2. Storms force us to cry out to Jesus. If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, you will encounter these storms that might bring you to your knees. As a Christian, we are to cry out to God and tell Him our problems and pray for mercy and grace. Unfortunately, there are many without Jesus as their Savior. A person without Christ and suffering through a crisis has no source of hope.
  3. Be aware of the Storm Surge of doubt. Pastor Rick Warren once wrote, ‘Doubt your doubts and believe your beliefs.’ Don’t stop believing because you are in a major storm in your life. When you pray, remember that the Holy Spirit knows what you should pray. Have faith in Jesus. Remember His promises. Rest in the presence of Jesus. Rely on the power of Jesus. You can only find joy, hope, and peace in Jesus.[2]

What storms of life are you enduring? Do you know the true Living God? Do you want to deal with it alone or would you like to know the love, grace, peace, joy, and mercy; only found in the saving grace of Jesus Christ? If you do not want to face it alone, then reach out to Jesus. He is waiting for you. He said in Revelation 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Jesus, would not die and go to hell, but have eternal life in heaven with Jesus. For God did not send Jesus into the world to condemn it, but to save it. Paraphrased from John 3:16-17. For all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory. (Romans 3:23). Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6). Jesus died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but live for the One (Jesus) who died for them. (2 Corinthians 5:15). Without a living God and Savior, when battling these storms, one feels defeated. But only with Jesus Christ, one battling these storms has hope and faith.

If you want to pray and ask Jesus into your life and heart, just stop right now and pray this prayer:

Dear Jesus, I am a sinner. I am not worthy of life. But Lord Jesus, I want you to come into my life and into my heart. Please forgive me of my sinfulness against you and my Heavenly Father. I ask you to come into my life and forgive me. In Jesus name, Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, then get involved in a Bible believing church. Without the encouragement of other Believers, you will have a hard time staying on track with Christ. It is my prayer that you stay steady in Christ. Read your Bible. If you don’t have a Bible, I would recommend you purchasing an English Standard Version. This is the translation that I read and study.

Please join me in praying for the victims and families of Hurricane Florence. I pray that God will touch hearts and people will be restored from this tragedy. In the coming days, there will be men and women from other states going to North and South Carolina to volunteer and help with recovery efforts. Organizations like the Southern Baptist Convention of Virginia has a disaster relief team that has been placed on stand-by. This is an organization that I am a part of. Please pray for the volunteers who will be deployed soon to assist in the clean-up as well as be there to feed people who are the victims of the storm. Please pray that the team will be able to minister, not only by Word, but by deed. To make a donation for hurricane relief through the Southern Baptist Convention of Virginia, please click on the following link: https://www.sbcv.org/hurricaneflorence/

References:

[1] Dr. Brian Autry, There is Hope in the Storms of Life, The Victory Hour, Broadcast on NBC12, September 16, 2018

[2] Autry, There is Hope in the Storms of Life, September 16, 2018.

Copyright © September 16, 2018. The Lantern & Shield Times, a Division of Marketplace Evangelism Ministries Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Have You Denied Jesus?

How many of you have been in a group and someone makes a comment about Christians? Why is it that the world hates a follower of Christ who takes a stand for what is right and just? Have you ever been somewhere and heard someone say the word GD? A true follower of Christ would be offended and yet so many professing Christians think that it is excusable because they do not want to be labeled as fanatics. They are very accepting of filthy talk or curse words using God’s name in vain.

I recently was in a group of professionals on Facebook. The moderator of the group posted a picture that many would deem to be soft pornography. He made a comment about her wanting to join the group. I saw it, was offended, and sent him a personal email to request that he remove it. I gave many reasons, but the most important reason was that it was inappropriate. He never responded so I posted that I was resigning from the group and took a stand. Pornography has no place in professional Facebook pages much less on someone’s site who professes to be a Christian. Since then, I saw many hateful comments pertaining to my stance including his own comments of people need to accept him for him being him. But the issue here is a sin issue.

I wonder how many of you reading this have denied that you were a Christian? How many have kept silent when friends, co-workers, or even your boss made hateful statements about Christians or about Jesus or God the Father? Is keeping silent denying that you know Jesus Christ as your savior?

Let’s look at what the Bible says about denying Christ. Luke 12:8-12, “And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God, but the one who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God. 10 And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. 11 And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say, 12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”

If we deny Christ, then He will deny us before the angels of God. Therefore, be bold in your faith. Do not cave to the pressures of the politically correct. But when you are professing Christ as your Savior, also show the love and humility of Christ. When people treat you wrongly, then show love back in return. The Bible says that it would be like heaping hot coals on their heads. It is something that they would not expect (cf. Romans 12:20).

Heaping hot coals reminds me of when I was twelve years old, a bully lived in my neighborhood by the name of Mike. I feared him and typically ran every time I saw him. I could sense that he was very evil and was the neighborhood bully. One afternoon, he caught me across the street visiting a neighbor. He came across the street and said that he wanted to fight me. I did not run, but stood my ground and told him that I was not going to fight. Then he drew his fist back and punched me right in the mouth. Then suddenly, I smiled at him with the blood running down out of my mouth and said that I forgave him and that I loved him. The neighbor could not believe what he heard and with that, Mike walked away. Yes, he punched me in the mouth, burst my lips, and bloodied my gums, but he did not have victory. Jesus took the victory that day. I forgave him and smiled and burst out laughing. He must have thought I was crazy, but I was grounded in the Lord. By my actions that day, I know that I heaped hot coals on Mike’s head, but I returned love to him, even when he did not deserve it.

Let’s look at one more verse. In verse ten, “And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. “ What does it mean to blaspheme the Holy Spirit? According to R.C. Sproul, “Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit attributes to Satan the work of the Holy Spirit through Christ in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Such deliberate rejection of the truth is a decisive rejection of the One who can bring a person to repentance and faith, such intentional and defiant sin makes forgiveness impossible.”[1]

Hopefully, you will see that Jesus wants you to truly follow Him and not only when it is convenient. Having a true relationship with Christ means that you are totally committed to Him. It means that when you wake up in the morning, you are thinking about God the Father and Jesus His Son. All throughout the day, you are talking with Christ through your mind and in your heart. It means that when you go to bed, the very last thing you think of is His love and how thankful you are to be called a child of God. Following Christ is a total commitment, to trust Him in all your daily dealings. Do not deny Christ in your actions each day to others. You may not deny him by mouth, but willful sin is a denial.

If you want to follow Jesus and accept him as your personal Savior, pray this prayer: “Dear Jesus, I am a sinner. I confess my sins to you. Please forgive me and come into my heart. I promise to live for you and serve you all the days of my life. I believe that you died for me and that you also rose again on the third day. Please come into my life and transform my heart. In Jesus Name, Amen.”

Notes:

[1] R.C. Sproul, General Editor, The Reformation Study Bible: Condensed Edition English Standard Version (Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust Publishing, 2017), 1551.

Joseph T. Lee, Copyright © May 21, 2018. The Lantern & Shield Times LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Make Disciples, Who Make Disciples, Who Make Disciples: Acts 1:8

In Acts 1:8, Jesus gave instructions to His disciples as well as all Christians. He said that we are to take the Gospel throughout Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the utmost parts of the world. So, according to Dr. Mark Becton of Grove Avenue Baptist Church, our commandment from Christ is to “make disciples, who will make disciples, who will make disciples.” If that is the case, then according to Pastor Becton, in the Richmond, VA area alone, there are 1.3 million people. Out of that 1.3 million people, 70% have no engagement with any evangelical church. Therefore, over the next 25 years, we need to birth 150 new churches to keep up with the population.

The Richmond, VA area is growing with a diverse population of immigrants from other nations. Many of these people are intermarrying within our own culture. The nations from overseas are now in our area. Considering that there are 70% of 1.3 million people who are not engaged in attending church and are probably lost without a Savior, we must birth many new churches to meet the needs of the population. This will take resources to accomplish this. Therefore, this opens a commitment of all born again Christians to stop warming the pews and get involved in the ministry of their Lord and Savior. There are few leaders and workers in the Church but many attenders. My recommendation is that the Church train these men and women to share their faith right where they are and where they live.

70% of 1.3 million is 910,000 souls who do not know Jesus as their personal savior in the Richmond, VA area. If this number is accurate, we need to do a better job as Christians in sharing our faith. We can no longer depend on just a few to do all the work. This is going to take all Christians to engage in conversation. The largest resource to use is not monetary, but for the Christian to open their hearts and open their mouths to speak and engage in conversations that can change lives.

Many times, in the past, I have referred to William Fay’s “Share Jesus Without Fear” as a tool to learn how to share your faith. This is an excellent tool that even the beginner or new Christian can learn and accomplish without any reservation. Sure, we will need monetary resources. All ministries need money as resources to function. But we are going to need human resources to go out into our neighborhoods, businesses, schools, and marketplaces; to live a life of Christ incarnate. We are to Share Jesus Without Fear when the Holy Spirit opens Divine Appointment opportunities. If you are a Christian, and you never, ever, opened your mouth to share your faith, then I would say that you are out of our Lord’s will. It is not an option but a commandment to make disciples who make disciples who make disciples.

This is why I started my ministry, Marketplace Evangelism, in order to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the area and the marketplace. I am a tent maker, meaning that I go to work every day. I listen out for Divine Appointment opportunities where people are searching for help and an answer. I never, ever, force my faith on anyone. But I strive to live my life in a way that is pleasing to God and I try to treat people with compassion and forgiveness. If members of congregations would do the same, they could make a huge impact with the leading of Christ and the Holy Spirit.

Churches need resources, but the most important resource needed are the followers of Jesus Christ to ante up and kick in! Kick in like men and women going to war against the evil one. Our battle will not be physical, but spiritual. But many Christians are complacent with attending church on Sundays and then leaving, never thinking about the mission during the week. Many will continue to leave all the heavy lifting work to a very few. But this is not what Christ has commanded of us! Therefore, it’s imperative that men and women learn to share the Gospel so that others will come to Christ.

References:

The Victory Hour. Television. Directed by Mark Jenkins. Performed by Mark Becton. 2017.

Fay, William, and Linda Evans Shepherd. Share Jesus Without Fear. Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group, 1999.

Joseph T. Lee, Copyright © January 13, 2018, The Lantern & Shield Times LLC.