Sharing the God you know

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May I ask you a question? No, it is not “Are you sharing your faith?” Good question … but not my question. Are you in love with the God you know? 

Jesus taught us For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21). His point is that our cherished treasures subtly but surely motivate our heart. To the contemporary of Jesus, the heart was the seat of the will. So He is saying that what I treasure motivate, directs and moves me into action. On a personal level this is easy for me to understand. I love my being married to my wife, Lori. In December, I officiated in the wedding of my oldest son. In May, I performed the wedding of my daughter. Because I love being married, I enjoyed officiating at my son’s and daughter’s weddings. I treasure marriage so my heart is there also. But what if my marriage was a daily torture? I wouldn’t be the evangelist I am for Christian marriage, would I?

The same is true for sharing our faith. One man told Bill Hybels that he never shares his faith with anyone. When asked why, he shocked Bill by saying, “I would never want to inflict the burden of God on anyone” (Just Walk Across the Room, 27). Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as he thinks within himself, so he is” (NASB). It is safe to assume that God is not this man’s treasure. God has become a burden. What about you, friend? Is that the God you know? At least this man was honest and open. Are you?

Be open with the Lord and honest with him today. Do you share your faith now? If the answer within yourself it “no” stop fooling yourself. It is not because of changing cultural trends, “relevancy” the lack of evangelistic programs or your profound theology. The reason lies within where you keep your treasure.  Are you in love with the God you know? If the answer is “no” or “maybe” there is good news–breakfast with Jesus (John 21:12). He never fails to captivate with His love, grace, mercy and hope. When you personally experience the grace, mercy, compassion and hope of Christ in a real and personal way, it is natural to share with pre-Christians. Go now, your One True Treasure awaits!

By Scott Willingham

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3 Responses to “Sharing the God you know”

  1. David Troublefield Says:

    When the Great Commandment (e.g., Matthew 22:37-40) becomes a reality in the lives of believers, the Great Commission (e.g., Matthew 28:18-20) will be carried out more consistently by us–but, it appears, not until then.

    The “love” which the Lord Jesus spoke of in uttering the words now referred to as the Great Commandment is the same quality the apostle Paul later wrote is a product of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers yielded to Him for forming Christ’s image in us (Galatians 5:22-23). So, indeed, the Spirit is seeking to perpetuate continual evangelism efforts on the parts of believers by producing the character/quality of Christ in us. On our own, believers cannot love to the degree necessary to move us from our houses across our yards to our neighbors’ houses, or even across a room, to present the gospel on many days; we need the Holy Spirit doing that work in us in order to possess within ourselves the character required for more consistent follow-through.

    Not a “Great Commission Resurgence,” but a “Great Commandment Emergence,” then is required by believers and churches today.

    I’ll be interested to read beginning this week how Scott states the same.

    David Troublefield
    Wichita Falls, TX

    FROM INFO TO HAVE BEEN DISTRIBUTED BY BGCT EVANGELISM LEADERS EARLIER THIS YEAR DURING EVANGELISM CONFERENCES:

    “6. The dynamic for growth of God’s church is the Holy Spirit (cf. Ephesians 2:16-22). The Holy Spirit was biblical for a long time before He became Charismatic or Pentecostal or anything else which might be the reason Baptist Christians avoid Him. Without the Comforter’s ability to make lost folks horribly uncomfortable in their hearts about their sins and dark destinies, no church since the Cross ever would have existed. On Texas Baptists’ best ministry day, the credit for souls saved and lives changed still will go to the Holy Spirit. It will not be by strength, it will not be by might; it will be by His Spirit, says the Lord (Zechariah 4:6)—or churches and their cell groups in Texas just won’t be. Tell Christian cell groups which would become evangelistic, ‘Pardners, the Holy Spirit is your Partner.’”

  2. David Troublefield Says:

    LENGTHY, BUT RELATED–AND TOO OFTEN OVERLOOKED/UNDER-ADDRESSED BY TEXAS BAPTIST LEADERS:

    “. . .
    In the end, cell groups represent the larger body and exist, not for themselves alone, but to help ensure their congregation’s future as a useful harvest tool in God’s hand. So, implement cell groups which would be evangelistic with the following body-building list in mind.14

    “1. God’s will is for the growth of churches (cf. Matthew 16:18). To be one of a local Christian church’s cell groups, making plans to raise participants’ maturity level through Bible study or to aid in their recovery from dysfunctional behaviors, but developing no strategies to assist in the biblical growth of the body through on-going evangelistic outreach is not to understand accurately the concept of cell or body, or the purpose of cell groups. Teach every congregant what God means by the word church; train workers to maintain appropriate respect for the church body, and guide them to discover concrete ways for supporting the body by witnessing or assimilating efforts of the group.

    “2. Principles of biblical church growth apply to all congregations in all places, at all times (cf. 2 Corinthians 8:1-7). The conclusions of research conducted by Natural Church Development International suggest that, everywhere they’re found and without exception, churches growing possess certain characteristics to specific quality degrees or higher (“small groups which are holistic relevantly” is a characteristic of growing congregations worldwide).15 Many of the churches holding those attributes, and all of this planet’s largest Christian bodies, now are located outside of the prosperous United States—some even existing in the midst of conditions which would seem to prevent those churches’ continued increase. God grows the local church (1 Corinthians 3:6-7), and He can grow any church which will grow. Believe that church growth is possible and that God will do it through the cell groups which may serve, for newcomers to the faith, as front doors of the body which the groups represent. Learn and practice the principles which apply to evangelistic cell groups.

    “3. Biblical growth is symptomatic of a healthy church (cf. 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10). The pattern observed in God’s creation is that living organisms—including social organisms such as families and churches—naturally experience a process of growth when the systems of which they’re composed aren’t dysfunctional or diseased. If they’re designed for it and possess at least a minimum degree of health, the organisms also can reproduce. The growth and reproduction of healthy churches should be virtually automatic—when neither is so, there’s reason for serious concern. Check for the following symptoms of health and of disease, acting through the cell groups either to manage health or to cure disease: (1) baptisms: 6+ per 100 members points to health—but, 5 or fewer per 100 members means illness; (2) finances: 33% of participants giving 66% of the money points to health—but, 25% or less giving 75% or more means illness; (3) average member tenure in the church: 0-9 years points to health—but, 10+ years means illness; (4) small group membership: a net annual gain points to health—but, breaking-even or a net annual loss means illness.

    “4. Identifying and overcoming hindrances to the growth of churches is possible (cf. Revelation 2-3). It’s reported that Chicken Little thought the sky was falling and that he acted as if nothing could be done to stop it. Similarly, some declining churches in 2008—if they aren’t altogether ignoring their sad condition—also may have concluded they’re doomed. Though more than 2500 U.S. congregations go out of business annually, a turn-around is possible for most of them before their sanctuaries go into mothballs. It’s the effective leaders of all kinds of organizations who can diagnosis accurately and discuss honestly the needs of their groups—be one of those leaders. Often, small groups are the best things going in a strife-torn church. Where it’s so, celebrate it and keep inviting the neighborhood to experience the holistic ministries of those groups while working to resolve conflicts in the larger group.

    “5. Growth of churches requires adequate prayerful planning (cf. 1 Corinthians 2:1-5). The sustained growth of Christian congregations is a spiritual happening—and it’s an administrative thing. Spiritualistic believers (whose maturity level appears high but proves low upon examination) down-play requirements for management of church growth; technocrats focus on planning for growth to the exclusion of the Spirit. Scriptures tell the church, though, that its spiritual and numerical growth result from the activity of God in individual and corporate lives—that He acts through the witness of Christians to produce other Christians and the work of churches to establish more churches in the world. Cell groups can network with cell groups literally to pray down upon their towns and friends the revival or spiritual awakening productive of growth, and they should hold each other accountable always to be Great Co-missionaries.

    “6. The dynamic for growth of God’s church is the Holy Spirit (cf. Ephesians 2:16-22). The Holy Spirit was biblical for a long time before He became Charismatic or Pentecostal or anything else which might be the reason Baptist Christians avoid Him. Without the Comforter’s ability to make lost folks horribly uncomfortable in their hearts about their sins and dark destinies, no church since the Cross ever would have existed. On Texas Baptists’ best ministry day, the credit for souls saved and lives changed still will go to the Holy Spirit. It will not be by strength, it will not be by might; it will be by His Spirit, says the Lord (Zechariah 4:6)—or churches and their cell groups in Texas just won’t be. Tell Christian cell groups which would become evangelistic, ‘Pardners, the Holy Spirit is your Partner.’

    “7. Leadership is the key to church growth (cf. 1 Peter 5:1-4). The condition of Christendom in the U.S. cries today for effective leadership. Leaders see a preferred future and show the way; they plan remediation which will overcome deficits preventing progress; they organize work and workers; they share authority and responsibility; they create teams and guide them from adolescence to learning, to achieving exceptionally. Effective leaders, like Jesus, shed their own blood, sweat, and tears for the good of the whole. If lead, follow, and get out of the way are the options in 2008, Texas Baptists must choose to lead. Cultivate leadership qualities among cell groups’ members so that the millions of Lone Star State residents without Him can know the Leader of leaders, Jesus Christ the Lord.

    “8. When the biblical growth of a local church is sustained, it’s via that congregation’s evangelistic small groups maintaining a balance in relevantly living out the functions of the New Testament church in their communities (cf. Acts 2:41-47). It’s predictable.”

    SEE JON RANDLES FOR THE ENTIRE DOCUMENT. SEE PHIL MILLER’S STAFF FOR SMALL GROUP TRAINING SPECIFIC TO EACH POINT. FOR THE SAKE OF SOULS, START NOW.

    David Troublefield
    Wichita Falls, TX

  3. David Troublefield Says:

    ONE MORE:

    Love (of the agape sort): “to pursue always and unconditionally, despite all personal costs to myself, the total well-being of another simply for the prize that one has become to me.”

    Cf. John 3:16, Philippians 2; etc. God loves people this way; no other explanation for Jesus’ cruel death on a rugged cross and for depraved sinners exists.

    When, in pursuit of his total well-being, I share the gospel message–despite all costs to myself–with another person who needs it, I am loving that person. When I stay home for no good reason instead, I am loving me (pursuing my own well-being). When my practice is more of the former than the latter, it appears to be an indication that the Holy Spirit has been permitted to work in such a way that He has produced that much of the quality/characteristic of “love” exhibited by the Lord Jesus in me; I am no longer as self-centered as I have been, but am more others-centered as He is. From the inside, out, I have grown in Christ-likeness and my practice is showing it increasingly.

    More of this definitely is needed–by me and by all.

    David Troublefield
    Wichita Falls, TX

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