Street Preachers

This young man is an evangelist – and he works in the former Soviet Union and joined us at our recent leaders training in the nation of Belarus. Several evenings he was asked to take up the offering to help cover expenses of the conference and he “preached” the offering powerfully. He is not shy to state things as they are and to let you know where things stand. I suspect he is just as blunt and straightforward when declaring the Gospel when out witnessing.

I have been witnessing on the streets and in parks for a number of years and it is exciting and an “experience” each and every time I have opportunity to do it. I have also been studying “street preaching” from some people who do it on a regular basis – Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron. They have some neat training on DVD for anyone who desires to learn how to draw a crowd and how to share the Gospel in a way that draws people in and encourages them to interact with you, the preacher.

As well, I have studied, over the years, others who preached in times past in public situations – be it revival meetings in farmers fields (George Whitfield) or large crusades in Central Park, New York (Billy Graham). I have even studied in depth the street preaching of John Wesley … who, at times, preached from the back of his horse, the top of tombstones in graveyards, street corners and open fields and hills.

I believe we are going to see an increase in street preaching (not just witnessing one-on-one on the city sidewalks). I believe we are entering a season when the believers will begin to take seriously the command to “go into all the world and preach the Gospel…” I believe we will see believers standing up and declaring publicly what it is they actually believe – in school rooms, board meetings, the political arena, university classes, at work and at play. It is time that believers spoke up and no longer let those in society walk all over our beliefs and our values.

Let me quote a former Archbishop of Canterbury, (England) who was the head of the worldwide Anglican Church, in a statement he recently made in England where he now serves in the House of Lords I believe…

“We Christians are very often so soft that we allow other people to walk over us and we are not as tough in what we want, in expressing our beliefs, because we do not want to upset other people. We have got to be more outspoken.”

I totally agree. We need to speak up and be very specific about what we value as Christians and what the basic beliefs are that are central to our faith. Afterall, every other faith is vocal about their beliefs – even militant at times. What they believe is acceptable and in ou Yet, when born again believers speak up we are seen as “oddballs” and as intolerant and narrowminded.

Nevermind – it is still important to speak up and ‘witness’ to others about Jesus who states “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Light.” Others are living in spiritual darkness and need to see Him who is “Light”. Others are living in deception and lies and need to see and hear about the “Truth”. And, we need to declare loud and clear – yet diplomatically – that Jesus is the only “Way” to the Father and to Heaven.

Time to stand tall and be strong and speak up about what we believe. We may not all be street preachers but we are all called and empowered to be witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus and the Gospel which is the power of God unto salvation.

Sharing the Gospel in a Natural Way – Training In Evangelism

The Bible states that we overcome the darkness by the word of our testimony (Revelation 12:11). And, we can be passionate about our testimony as it is our story about what Jesus has done and is doing in our lives. A testimony allows us to be God’s chosen instrument telling others of the night-and-day difference that Jesus has and is making in our lives. (1 Peter 2:9 The Message Version)

Read more

Ten Easy (Sort Of) Steps to Improve Your Weekend Worship Experience

As I travel from church to church and from nation to nation…

Different church services

Amazingly different worship experiences

Tremendously diversified ways to teach-preach

Fellowship that is unique in each local assembly

Read more

Is the Church of Jesus Christ Failing?

The Church of Jesus Christ is failing in it task of “seeking and saving the lost.” Most believers in North America and even some Eastern European countries where I minister do not know how to witness or how to present the Gospel in a way that will allow it to be understood and considered. Needless to say, they are not leading many into the Kingdom.

I was talking with someone today over a morning coffee and sharing how we need to be communicating the Gospel with others on a daily basis and this person was honest enough to admit that they, as a believer and church attendee, did not know what the Gospel really was. Obviously then, this person would not be able to share the Gospel with others.

There are many others like this person – they maybe know enough to be saved but not enough to either move forward in their relationship with the Lord (a whole other topic for a later time) and certainly don’t know enough to share the Good News (Gospel) with someone else and help them to recognize that they are separated from God by their sin and in need of a Saviour and that His Name is Jesus.

So I went over the basics of the Gospel which is the “power of God unto salvation.” The person sat quietly and listened to the details as I presented them in a simple and straightforward manner. They attend church weekly and read their Bible on a daily basis and yet did not know how to articulate the basic Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. A failure of the Church? A personal failure as they should be motivated to know and thus learn? A failure of the person who should have discipled them? Regardless – they are not able to lead anyone to the Lord even if they wanted to.

In the conversation another really foundational problem was mentioned – this person is not sure they have ever heard God speak. Of course, the Bible states that “His sheep hear (and know) His voice” (John 10) but this person expressed the fact that they had not heard God’s voice since they became a believer or, if they had, they had not recognized that it was actually God speaking to them. So, we talked about this briefly. He is not alone in this… as many times in the past week and a half I have heard seriously committed believers state the same problem. (To be posted shortly on the web site – 6 to 8 teachings on how to hear the voice of God).

There is a real need in the Church to teach (and learn) the basics of the Christian faith – the foundational things upon which a vital and dynamic personal relationship with the living God can be built. And also to teach on the gospel of salvation, evangelism, and hearing the voice of God to name just three.

The Church is failing to communicate clearly what it is we believe and what we are all about. Those who call themselves believers are confused and uninformed (and at times ignornant) and those who are looking for spiritual truth seldom look in our direction. The Church is failing. It is time to change what we are doing and begin to lay a new and proper foundation upon which the Lord can build His Church – an apostolic and prophetic foundation (Ephesians 2:20). Otherwise, it will simply continue to decay and crumble into runis…

Friend of Sinners

Am I being a real friend? Jesus’ opponents paid Him a backhanded compliment when they referred to Him as a “friend of sinners.” They meant it as an insult, but I long to have the same said of me.

There was something genuine and inviting about Jesus. He never shrank back from speaking Truth to those around Him, yet He did so in the context of genuine caring and real friendship. His love and acceptance of people was real, and they knew it. Jesus’ opponents knew it too, and they were incensed by the idea of Him doing more than merely telling people that they needed to get right with God.

Believers today are rarely incensed by friendship with unbelievers, but too often such friendship is seen as an optional extra at best, a waste of precious time at worst. Why spend time with people who aren’t yet ready to come to faith? But in today’s post-Christian culture, friendship is indispensible. In generations past, our culture was at least nominally Christian. Most people shared a predominantly Christian woridview, had church or Sunday school attendance as part of their growing up experience, respect for the Bible, a basic understanding of the Christian message and a generally positive view of the faith. People needed very little explanation of the Gospel, and most often needed only to be called on to make a decision. Our evangelism methods (altar calls, tracts, stadium evangelism) reflected this emphasis on decision, and didn’t lend themselves naturally to a process of discovery.

As our culture has shifted in recent decades, this is no longer the case. The lack of positive cultural pressure toward the faith and lack of knowledge of the Gospel means that for most, the journey to faith is a longer process than it once was. This means among other things, that a faithful witness must also be a faithful friend. We have a wonderful opportunity to journey alongside, giving our friends time to digest new ideas, and to “try on” the faith as they continue to consider the claims of Jesus.

But, our friendship must be genuine. We must love, accept and forgive regardless. We must want to be friends even if the person we are friends with never does decide to accept the claims of Jesus and become a Christian. We must love people because we are loved by God and know what it is to be forgiven and accepted and love them with the love that Jesus loves us with. This love is always unconditional – not neven conditional upon their accepting Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.

When people see genuine love they will know it – and respond to it. But, even if they don’t or even if it takes many, many years we must remain their friend and be there for them regardless. Jesus would be and He was certainly known as a “Friend of sinners.” Are you?

I Am Seriously Abnormal

Heard about a church in Charlotte, North Carolina – it’s mission is to reach those who “live and move and have false being” – those the church usually names “lost,” “unsaved,” “pre-Christian,” “seeker,” “unbeliever,” “unchurched,” “worldly,” “unconverted,” – or “pagan,” “heathen,” “infidel.” Except this church perfers to call those for whom the church exists the “normal” people. You see, there is a world and wisdom according to normal. Then there is a world and wisdom according to Jesus.

I like what Leonard Sweet states … “There is a world and wisdom according to normal. There is a world and wisdom according to Jesus. The world according to normal is the world that is. The wisdom of the world is “normal.” People who don’t know who Jesus is are the “normal people.” People for whom God is, to quote Edwin Muir, ‘three angry letters in a book’ are the normal people.” Jesus’ followers are the abnormal ones.”

He goes on to say, and I agree with Him, that the “Disciples of Jesus are deviation from the norm. They mess up the world as it is, drawing outside the lines, thinking outside the box, resisting off-the-shelf solutions. Christians simply can’t ‘do normal.’ Once you become a disciple of Jesus, normal isn’t good enough anymore. Christians are part of the wisdom of the world that is to come.”

As a believer I should not see the world as the world sees itself. I should have an off-kilter, offbeat view of the world. I simply see things from a Kingdom perspective. I am looking at things from living in the light (Kingdom of Christ) and looking back into the domain of darkness from which I came (the world). I am not “normal” and should not want to be “normal” as the world defines it. I want to be “abnormal” … not natural but supernatural.

Sweet goes on to say, “It is not enough to say that Jesus redefined what it means to be ‘normal.’ Everything Jesus taught goes again how ‘normal’ people see and function in the world. Turning the other cheek, going the second mile, giving the spare coat, washing underlings’ feet, heaping blessings on those who curse you, living without anger, laying down your life – all these things ‘normal’ people have a hard time understanding, much less thinking and living…. The truth is, Jesus stood ‘norma'” wisdom on its head.”

And, if we truly live this way and see the world in this manner – acting and speaking in accordance with the way we see things and view life … then we will, as the early disciples did, turn the world upside down (which happens to be from my vantage point – right-side up). Acts 17:6 states, ” These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also.” What a great way to have people refer to you – to be so radically different that they see you as a revolutionary who goes about turning the world on its head.

So here is the point: Are you radically different from the world – and thus seen as abnormal? Or, are you living in such a way that when people look at you they see you as normal – just like they are?

What to do With a Prophetic Word You Have Received

 Wrong Thing to Do:

  1. Reject All prophecy – Not Biblical advice – 1 Thessalonians 5:20 ‘Do not despise prophecy’                                                
  2. Accept All Prophecy – Not Biblical advice – 1 Thessalonians 5:21 ‘Prove (test) all things’ (Includes prophecy and other spiritual experiences)

Read more

Prophetic Protocol in a Local Church

God desires to speak to His people when they are gathered together. Prophetic words spoken in the church are a part of what God desires in His church. These words are for the Body and to encourage (comfort), edify, and exhort.

When the Holy Spirit is moving in our service, we will seek to “walk in the Spirit”  and flow with Him by rearranging anything that we have pre-planned for that particular time.

It is the Holy Spirit who said that “God is not a God of disorder but of peace” (1 Corinthians 14:33) and, “Everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way” (1 Corinthians 14:40). So, we want to cooperate with Him when He begins to move prophetically and not cause any sense of disorder or confusion. Read more

What Not to Do With Your Prophetic Word

There are certain things you do not want to do when you receive a prophetic word otherwise it will become a “self-fulfilled” prophecy being accomplished in the flesh and not in the power of the Holy Spirit.

We need to have a balanced approach to the prophetic word we have just received and thus respond properly. Otherwise, we have a carnal effort to orchestrate the fulfillment of your prophecies outside God’s will, God’s timing and without His approval and this will be harmful to you and to others often bringing confusion and devastation.

The reason we tend to do the wrong things after hearing a personal prophetic word… Read more

What In the World Are You Doing?

Someone asks the question: “Are you going to continue to do the work of God? Or are you going to do the work God called you to do?” (Tony Morgan) Good question and one that every believer – and every leader – needs to ask themselves … and answer honestly.

In the book of Acts, chapter 6, we see the early apostles being asked that question. They were doing the work of God but not doing it well apparently. There was a lot of complaining that needs were not being met and that people were being neglected. They were working hard but were not being effective. They were doing the work of God but were not doing what God called them to do… In this case the apostles in particular were involved in meeting the needs of the people directly and were neglecting the ministry God called them to – prayer and the ministry of the Word.

This is often the case today – we are moved by the expectations and needs of others instead of being motivated by what God has actually called us to accomplish for Him. There was even a little slogan I heard for many years when first born again: “Find a need and meet it” and it seems to be going the rounds once again. So Christians and especially Christian leaders tend to be motivated by “need” and not by the voice of God directing their movements and their ministry.

Now, I am not against meeting needs IF it is something the Lord has asked you to do – IF it is a need that the Lord has placed on your heart to meet. Great! Then you are doing it under the direction and empowerment of the Lord. But, if you are simply meeting the need because there is a need to meet – then this is contrary to scripture and not in line with the example that the Lord set for us to follow.

First the Scripture. The Bible states (one of 4 definitions of sin) that “whatever is not done by faith is sin” (Romans 14:23). So, if we are meeting a need in someone’s life because the Lord directed us to – this is good. But, if we do it because we are expected to, someone demands it, out of fear of rejection, or because we are being manipulated … then it is sin. We are to listen to our heavenly Father and say what we hear Him say and do what we see Him doing.

Secondly, the example that the Lord set for us… The Lord did not meet every need, raise every dead person or heal every sick person. One day He enters the Pool of Bethesda (John 5:4) and heals one man. Scholars tell us that around this pool on any given day could be as many as 70 people waiting to be first into the healing waters after the angel came and stirred them. He heals one. Jesus was not motivated by the needs of people but by what he heard His Father saying and saw His Father doing. He was motived by the will of God – the ministry that He had been sent to fullfill.

We are looking at the question I ran in to the other day … “Are you going to continue to do the work of God? Or are you going to do the work God called you to do?” (Tony Morgan)

For the apostles in the Book of Acts the solution was simple but probably not easy. They needed to sort through the many things they could be involved in – all good things and God-things – and then decide what it was God had called them to do. The same was true for Moses as he led the people of Israel out of Egypt. There was never any shortage of ministry that needed to be accomplished. However, Jethro, his father-in-law, comes along and asks the same question as Tony Morgan… and it totally changed the way that Moses accomplished his leadership role (Exodus 18:12-23)

So, here’s my distrurbing question of the day: What is it that you are doing that you should not be doing? What work for the Lord have you laid your hands to when you were not asked to? And, what is therefore being neglected because you have decided to meet needs that were not your needs to meet? What needs to change today in your ministry and your walk with the Lord?