FULLY ALIVE!

Your life will be as bright as the noonday sun. Job 11:17


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Lost

I loved my dad.

As my grandmother used to say, “Better than Peter loved the Lord!

But he was, undoubtedly, one of the worse drivers in the world.  He is remembered for saying (and believing and practicing) things like, “The yellow light means hurry up ’cause the red light is coming,” and “The sign means STOP – if you see something coming.”  He would leave home late every morning then speed like a race car driver trying to get to work on time.  He’d pass cars, trucks, school buses…, you name it.  He’d pass in a no passing zone and pass two, three or four vehicles at a time.  He was notorious for driving on fumes and for leaving my mom’s car with an empty tank.  He never wanted to ask for instructions and frequently took a more “scenic route” to places – His term for being lost.  And even though he drove on fumes, when taking that scenic route he’d say, “You’re not lost if you still have gas.”

Call it what he wanted, he was often lost.

There are a lot of lost people in the world.  They don’t want to call it that either.

But if you do not know Jesus as your personal Savior, you are lost. (John 3:36, Mark 16:16 ESV)

When someone is lost, they need help.  They need direction.  They need someone who knows the way and who can and will share that way.

I’ve been lost.  I remember driving a group of colleagues to a conference.  We went to what was then a large city for us. These were pre-GPS and pre-cell phone days.  Attempting to travel from the hotel to a restaurant and back, we got lost.  We drove for hours, and the distance between the hotel and restaurant was less than 10 miles!  We tried to find someone to help us, but there wasn’t a cop in site, which was probably good since at one point they told me to back up (on the Interstate), and I did.  We had missed an exit!  What we did find were people who didn’t know how to give directions!

Some people don’t realize they’re lost.  Others, like my dad, deny it.  As Christians, we are called to the lost – to find them, to seek them out, to show them the way!  That’s our greatest charge and our greatest challenge, to be witnesses to the lost.  Matthew 28:19-20a (CEB) makes it clear:  “…go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything that I’ve commanded you…” 

When is the last time you showed someone the way to Christ?  When is the last time you were His witness?  Can’t remember?  That’s a problem.  Never?  That’s an even bigger problem?  Don’t think it’s your job?  Whoa, that’s like a whole other category – way beyond “problem!”  Read Matthew again; pick any translation you like.  They all read, “Go!”  None say, “Go, if you like” or “Go, when you feel up to it.”  You won’t find one that tells you to “Go, when you get the time or at your convenience.”  I didn’t check them all, but I looked at several – English Standard, New King James, Amplified, The Message, American Standard, Common English, New Life, New American Standard, Revised Standard Version Catholic and New Living.  They all read, “Go.”

Go.

This week.  Today.  Now.

Go.

Tomorrow.  The next day.  The day after that.

Go.

Not one time.  Not every now and then.  Not only at Easter or Christmas.

Go.

Consistently.  Courageously.  In the Name and under the authority and power of Christ.

Go.

Someone is lost, and they need YOU!

RESOURCES

Touch One Life in 2015:  http://billygraham.org/landingpages/touch-one-life/


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Who Have You Told Lately

LIfeWay Research (2012) indicates that “61 percent of evangelical Christians do not share their faith regularly” – even though they believe it is their responsibility to do so. Further, nearly half of those who responded to the LifeWay survey said they have not invited a non-Christian friend to church in the past six months.

Whoa!

That’s frightening, unsettling, distressing, disappointing, concerning, alarming… I’ve got a whole list of adjectives and adverbs that I could wrap around this one!  And when we butt this body of research up against a study by the North American Mission Board (NAMB) in collaboration with LifeWay (2009), we find that “67 percent of Americans say a personal invitation from a family member would be very or somewhat effective in getting them to visit a church. Another 63% say a personal invitation from a friend or neighbor would be effective.  This same study reports that nearly two-thirds (63 percent) are very or somewhat willing to receive information about a local congregation or faith community from a family member, and 56 percent are very or somewhat willing to receive such information from a friend or neighbor.”  A similar LifeWay study summarized in Discipleship Journal (2008) reported 75% would be wlling to listen to someone talk about his/her Christian beliefs and 78% would enjoy an honest conversations with a friend about spiritual beliefs even if they had other beliefs.

Enough of the numbers; let’s cut to the point best summarized by Ed Stetzer, vice president of LifeWay Research and Ministry Development, “[M]any of your unchurched friends are ready for an invitation to conversation.” THIS is clearly the point for the question raised in Romans 10:14 (NLT), “But how can they call on Him to save them unless they believe in Him? And how can they believe in Him if they have never heard about Him? And how can they hear about Him unless someone tells them?

Hello Someone!

Yes, you!

Who have YOU told lately?  With whom have YOU shared the good news of God’s Gospel?

Let me share another tidbit from the 2009 LifeWay data.  “Out of 13 approaches tested, personal invitations from family members or friends is the only method that a majority of Americans say would effectively draw them to church.”  Television, radio and newspaper all have an impact as do visits from congregational teams, but the most effective method is one-on-one personal communication with a family member or friend.  Church advertising and outreach methods clearly take a back seat to personal testimony and invitations.  And consider one final extract from LifeWay’s data, “At particular points in life, people are more open to considering matters of faith, the survey (2009) found. The Christmas season is the most common time for people to be open to spiritual matters. Nearly half (47 percent) are more open to considering matters of faith at Christmas. Americans are also open to matters of faith during the Easter season (38 percent).”

Hebrews 3:15 cautions us not to harden our hearts when we hear while James 1:22 admonishes us to be doers of the word.  And we know that Matthew 28:19 commands us to go, teach and make disciples.  I’m thinking perfect storm – THIS is the ideal time for you to hear this word just weeks before Easter, the season when many hearts are open and eager to hear God’s truth.  THIS is the ideal time for you to share!

THIS WEEK pray asking the Holy Spirit to lead you to the right opportunity and the right methodology to share your faith.  Unsure how to get started?  Explore the following resources.  Share your experiences as well as your encouragement for others using our blog’s comment feature!

RESOURCES

Share Your Faith Apphttp://shareyourfaithapp.com/

How to Share Your Faith (Billy Graham Evangelistic Association):  http://billygraham.org/grow-your-faith/how-to-share-your-faith/tools/

EvangeCUBE:  http://www.e3resources.org/downloads.php

Roman Road (Teen Mission International):  http://www.teenmissions.org/resources/roman-road-to-salvation/

FAITH Outlinehttp://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&frm=1&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CC0QFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.lifeway.com%2Fev%2Ffiles%2FevF_min_FAITH_VisitOutline.pdf&ei=4_AFVdywOoifNsXvg4gJ&usg=AFQjCNEgBlAI91LGBT5nxvukphTU6VdBdg&sig2=_vrcHO9_89NTcfsxCAfQtg