Evangelism Intelligence

Last night, we started our 14th evangelistic series in 7 years. This is probably my 40th+ in my years of ministry. We’ve been able to see a number of really good things happen because of evangelism, not the least of which has been over 1,000 baptisms.

Some people think evangelism is dead and doesn’t work anymore. I don’t agree. This post is a simple answer why I think that. I call this reasoning Evangelism Intelligence.

People travel through life with a variety of circumstances, issues and experiences. But when it comes to making decisions for their life, they tend to follow this four-fold path to decision making.

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CHAOS –> STRUCTURE –> PRINCIPLES — LIFESTYLE

We tend to make decisions to move us from Chaos based on a structure that helps us see our way out of chaos. From there, we begin to live according to the structure and begin to understand life principles that we slowly move into to make decisions by. Then after years of principled living, we find we just naturally make those decisions because those principles have simply become part of us and we no longer think about them anymore.

People who have been in church for 7 years or longer tend to live by the principled approach. They no longer need the structure that provided them an entry point into church – evangelism. People who live in chaos, are generally the ones who come to our evangelistic meetings. They want to understand the Bible more. They want to know what truth is. They want to listen, learn and be led. They are looking for a basic understanding of truth – a structure – to get them out of some of the chaos they might live in. (This does not mean their lives are in chaos, but possibly their theology, their understanding of life, or simply looking for a more structured approach to seeing life)

Our evangelism provides structure. Our evangelism gives a way out of theology chaos, life chaos, marital chaos, and all kinds of life chaos. People who live in principles or even in lifestyle tend to look back on the structure and want everyone to be like them. But  we are all at different stages of life. People need structure. Then they can move into principles. (More on this later) People who live in the principles or the lifestyle don’t like our evangelism, nor the advertising for it. I say, “That’s fine, it’s not targeted at you. It’s targeted at people who need and want the structure it provides. Eventually those people will get there after a few years too. Have patience with them.”

A Nanny for the Family

People sometimes wonder why I’m such an advocate of filtered Internet access. We’ve used a product called SafeEyes from internetsafety.com for years. But when they sold out to McAfee, and their product support was shipped overseas, the company began making numerous missteps, in my opinion. I wanted something different, however, there didn’t seem to be anything comparable. But recently SafeEyes has simply slowed my computer and my connection speeds down to impossible to use, so we looked again.

Last night, we installed NetNanny from content watch.com. I am dumbfounded at the speed of my connection again! I forgot how much I depended on my laptop and how fun it was to use…. Really, it had gotten that bad that I hardLy used my laptop anymore.

So, if it was that bad, why not just get rid of the Internet filter? In my personal devotional time this morning, I read this:

And he said to the human race, “The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding.” (‭Job‬ ‭28‬:‭28‬ NET)

Wisdom doesn’t come from an open internet. Wisdom doesn’t come from the news. Wisdom doesn’t come from an always connected family. Wisdom comes from spending time with God. Shunning evil helps us do that. Keeping evil away from my house is important. Just like I wouldn’t let cable companies bring garbage into my house (if I had a cable connection), nor am I about to allow the Internet to bring me garbage through unintended web searches, through accidental typos, and neither from our selfish hearts.

And he said to the human race, “The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding.” (‭Job‬ ‭28‬:‭28‬ NET)

Good words for today….

Updated: 8/31/2015

A couple of months ago we started having troubles with Net Nanny. It quit filtering, uninstalled itself, and wouldn’t reload at times. We’ve now switched to Covenant Eyes filtering. We’ve been doing so for several months and like it a lot. 

I Discipline My Kids Because I Love Them

I really don’t get all the discussion about how if we disagree with someone, or point out a wrong, that we are judging them, or not being loving. I don’t get it. Sometimes the most loving thing I can do for my kids is to tell them no, to correct them, and to tell them to stop.

I thought God disciplines those he loves…. (“ For the Lord disciplines the one he loves and chastises every son he accepts. ” Hebrews‬ ‭12‬:‭6‬ NET). I thought correction was good for us. So, I’m confused by our generation being so opposed to correction. If we aren’t going to be corrected, or allow others to correct us, then we are each doing what we want to do. There is another verse that comes to mind that is a condemnation of that concept (“In those days Israel had no king. Each man did what he considered to be right.” ‭Judges‬ ‭21‬:‭25‬ NET)

So….recently I listened to a sermon from Pacific Union College Church that was stating the homosexual community needs to be loved, not condemned. I totally agree. I think everyone needs be supported, loved, and treated as a child of God. ABSOLUTELY. Let’s never forget that. Surely the church hasn’t always shined on that point.

However…sometimes…isn’t the most loving thing to do is to say “no”?

The great theologian, John Cougar Mellancamp (sp?) once said in a song, “I know there’s a balance, ‘cuz I see it when I swing by.” The church today is swinging by the balance point. They are swinging away from Legalism to Cheap Grace. Hmmmm.

Let’s stop the swing. Let’s live in balance. Whenever I need to discipline my kids, they usually end up with plenty of hugs and kisses. That’s what it should be like in the church. Don’t stop the discipline of living by God’s word, but let’s do it in a loving and supportive environment.

Leadership Vs. Bossy

girl second coming heavenI have a daughter who is probably a bit bossy. But I think and believe that God has endowed her with that “ability” in order that she learn to lead.

Leadership is different than being bossy. Bossy is when a person simply takes charge and begins commanding others after themselves whether they have been given the right to do so, earned the right to do so, or is respected in a way that allows them to be in charge. Leadership on the other hand is something that is earned and respected.

How do you teach leadership to a bossy child. I will tell you that it’s not by telling them, “Stop being so bossy!” Rather, leadership is taught by giving principles that s/he can do and teaching her/him how to take charge of the situations s/he finds themselves in.

Some of those principles I’ve been trying to teach are:

  • You can’t lead by yelling
  • You can’t hit people and expect them to keep following
  • Take charge of the things you’ve been given charge over
  • learn to be an encourager, not a complainer
  • Let go of the little things others do
  • Take a look at the big picture and point the direction there

So now the question is…. Did she learn how to be bossy from me? And am I rethinking my own leadership issues at church and at home?

Leading People to Truth

Leading people is often hard work. Some embrace truth readily and some embrace it slowly. Others don’t embrace it at all. It is still very much like the Parable of the soil that Jesus told in Matthew 13.

It’s really hard to watch people get excited about some truth yet when it comes to harder truth they begin to walk away.

No matter their response, I have to remember that my job as a leader/preacher is to do two things: (1) teach truth as the Bible unfolds. God’s job is to get people’s hearts ready to hear it. He’s working on everyone. I have to trust him to do what is right for the individual. I must be faithful to the text. However (2) I must also take a look at how I am presenting that truth. Am I speaking in a language these people understand? Does it make sense to them? Is it logical? Am I being faithful to my hearers as well as to the text?

In order to accomplish those two things above, I must first submit myself – heart, soul, and mind to God. Clearly I have to be connected to be able to preach with power.

Texas Mission

I’m sitting here in Texas because we are doing a Prophecy Seminar for a friend. People are coming night-by-night (6days a week!)

The cool thing is when I watch the lights go on for people as we talk about Jesus and help people fully understand His grace and His hope of the world. We’ve been able to show that grace through prophecy, the second coming, the sabbath and many topics.

I was able to show them that the topic if the sabbath shows that we keep it because God is creator (Exodus 20) and because God is our redeemer (Deuteronomy 5). The Sabbath may be one if the clearest pictures if grace we have. So far 8-10 people have accepted this new thought for them.

I love this but can’t wait to get home also. We are camping out and doing well but it’s not home and it’s not as routine at this point in time.