Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Bible Plan for 2012 - Slackers and Shirkers

Download the plan here. 

Over the years Bruner’s Chapel Baptist Church has annually promoted numerous kinds of Bible reading plans, often designed to assist us in reading through the Bible in a single year. These have ranged from Dr. Grant Horner’s plan, reading straight through the Bible, reading chronologically through the Bible, etc. Each method we've promoted has had its advantages and we would still commend their use.

At the same time, plans like those named above frequently cause discouragement as our New Year's Bible reading resolutions give way to the unexpected X-factors of life which seem to encroach with a vengeance after a few weeks or months. I don't know about you, but I can't seem to find a command in the Bible giving special importance to reading all 66 books of the Bible in a year's time. Furthermore, trying to speed through a book like Proverbs could be positively harmful since its poetry was designed to be read slowly and thoughtfully.

Therefore, let me suggest a new kind of reading plan for 2012: 'The Bible Reading Plan for Slackers and Shirkers' (Isn’t that a catchy title?). Advantages to this plan include:

1. Removing the pressure to 'keep up' with getting through the entire Bible in a year.
2. Providing variety throughout the week by alternating books.
3. Providing continuity by reading the same type of biblical genre each day of the week.

In a nutshell, here's how it works:

Sundays: Poetry
Mondays: Penteteuch (Genesis through Deuteronomy)
Tuesdays: Old Testament history
Wednesdays: Old Testament history
Thursdays: Old Testament prophets
Fridays: New Testament history
Saturdays: New Testament epistles (letters)

The advantage of this plan is that it provides guidance as we read each day but does not put us on an internal guilt trip if we miss a day - we just pick up with the next reading on the day it happens to be. Also, this plan allows us to see the many interconnections between sections of Scripture.

Many Bible reading plans are good, but I find this one unusually helpful, for it combines two biblical values which seem to diverge in most plans: discipline and grace. Beginning this Sunday we'll have copies of the plan in the Sunday School office. 

Or Download one here. 

May God bless us as we enter a new year!
-      Bro. David Crowe

Thursday, December 22, 2011

If Jesus Had Not Been Born

The Following Post comes from Desiring God Ministries:

If Jesus had not been born:

-          This would not be the year of our Lord 2011.
-          We would never hear a single Christmas carol or Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus.
-          We would have no such books as Tale of Two Cities, Dickens’s Christmas Carol, or even The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.
-          We have no movies such as Ben Hur, The Cross and the Switchblade, Chariots of Fire, Narnia, and scores of others.
-          We would never have heard such songs as “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God,” “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name,” “Fairest Lord Jesus,” “Joy to the World.”
-          It could be easily argued that the United States Founding documents would not be what they are.
-          The Wuaorani Indians of Ecuador would still kill white men instead of baptizing their children.
-          The Arawakan Indians of the Caribbean would still be cannibals.
-          Descendents of the Mayans in Chiapas, Mexico, would still sacrifice their children instead of teaching them to praise the true Creator.
-          Prophecies would remain unfulfilled, the serpent would not be crushed, we would not be delivered, and God would be a liar. Death would not be conquered.
-          The New Testament would never have been written.
-          There would be no mediator between God and man, for the man Christ Jesus would not have been born. We would remain dead in our trespasses and sins, the veil not yet rent.
But he was born! 

May the realization of the sweeping impact of his birth, life, death, and resurrection bring you a very Merry Christmas!

-          Bro. Dave

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Command from Heaven: Matthew 28:19. 20

(From Sumner Wemp)

We build big beautiful churches with cushioned pews, air-conditioned auditoriums, robed choirs, ‘and well-trained preachers and then advertise, “Come and hear,” when all the time God says, “Go and tell.” There is nothing wrong with all of these, if we are obeying the command, “Go ye therefore . . .“(v. 19). The Christian does not need to pray about whether to witness or not; the command has been given, it needs to be heard and heeded. “To refuse to witness of a saving gospel to a lost world day by day is nothing short of high treason, spiritual rebellion and in-excusable disobedience to God’s holy command” (Scarborough). God’s commands are not a smorgasbord to choose what one wants and leave the rest.

Who is to go? Who is to witness? “Ye!” “Don’t throw this verse to the missionaries like a bone to a dog and say, go to it. This means ""you"" as much as “My God shall supply all your need” (Phil. 4:19) means you. If every believer would claim this verse as much as he does Romans 8:28, the world could be evangelized in a few short years. Every baseball team could use the superb player who plays every position, never makes an error nor strikes out. The only trouble is, you can’t get him to come out of the grandstand and get in the game. Many want church growth without personal involvement.

Notice the command is to go to “all nations.” Of course this means every individual, for “the Lord . . . is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (II Pet. 3:9). He wants his gospel to reach “to the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Every believer should be concerned about getting the gospel to his neighbor, the service station attendant, the one next to him on the bus or train, the clerk in the store, the mailman.

Look what we are to teach new converts: “To observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (v. 20). The first thing commanded is “Go ye.” Too often it is made last! Teach doctrine but this as well. “He that hath my commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me” (John 14:21), “and his commandments are not grievous” (1 John 5:3)."  

May we all be obedient to the command from Heaven this Holiday Season!

-          Bro. Dave

12 Biblical reasons for Christmas

The following comes from Desiring God Ministries. 

Below are 12 Biblical reasons for Christmas:
1.    “For this I was born and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth” (John 18:37).
2.    “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8; cf. Hebrews 2:14–15).
3.    “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I came not to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:17).
4.    “The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10).
5.    “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).
6.    “God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons” (Galatians 4:5).
7.    “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes on him shall not perish but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:16).
8.    “God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him” (1 John 4:9).
9.    “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).
10. “Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against . . . that the thoughts of many may be revealed” (Luke 2:34ff).
11. “He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed” (Luke 4:18).
12. “Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarches, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy” (Romans 15:7–8; cf. John 12:27ff).
May we shine forth the light of Christ as we go through this Christmas season!
-          Bro. Dave

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Six Styles of Evangelism Survey

Click here to download the survey to help you see what style of evangelism best suits you. (Note - the "Con" at the end of the survey relates to the "Direct" style.

Here are the six evangelism styles again:

The Six Styles of Evangelism

(1) Direct Style

Biblical Example - Peter - Acts Chapter 2
Characteristics - Confident; Assertive; Direct
Weaknesses - Can lack tact and grace
Examples - Billy Graham; Charles Spurgeon; Chuck Colson; Bill Bright
Possible Jobs - Visitation Leader; Initiative Street Evangelism

(2) Intellectual Style
Biblical Example - Paul - Acts 17
Characteristics - Inquisitive; Analytical; Logical
Weakness - Can get caught up in questions and not get to the Gospel
Examples - William Lane Craig; C.S. Lewis; Josh McDowell; Ravi Zacharias
Possible Jobs - Event Counselor; Visitation Leader; New Member Discipler

(3) Testimonial Style
Biblical Example - Blind man - John 9
Characteristics - Clear Communicator; Storyteller; Good Listener
Weakness - Can occasionally focus on self instead of Christ
Examples - Corrie Ten Boom; Reggie White; Joni Erickson Tada
Possible Jobs - Share Testimony at events; Visitation Leader/Partner; New Member Discipler

(4) Interpersonal - Relational Style
Biblical Example - Matthew - Luke 5:29
Characteristics - Warm Personality; Conversational; Friendship-oriented
Weakness - Can make friends but fail to share the gospel
Examples - Becky Pippart
Possible Jobs - Greeters; Fellowship Director; Visiation Leader; New Member Discipler

(5) Invitational Style
Biblical Example - Woman at Well - John 4
Characteristics - Warm Personality; Relational; Persuasive
Weakness - Can trust in other things for the responsibility of sharing the Gospel
Example - Ruth Graham
Possible Jobs - Event Developer; Visitation Partner; PR Person

(6) Serving Style
Biblical Example – Dorcas (no joke - her actual name is Dorcas) - Acts 9
Characteristics - Others-centered; Humble; Patient
Weakness - Can do a lot of serving but not talk to people about Jesus
Example - Franklin Graham; Mother Theresa; Jimmy Carter
Possible Jobs - Helping run events; Visitation Partner; Behind the scenes anything

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Grace Motivated Joy

The following devotion comes from John Coursen’s daily devotional, “A Day’s Journey.”

…So that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. Acts 20:24

The word ‘joy’ means ‘exceedingly happy.’ The way to happiness is to testify of the grace of God. Many people grew up in an atmosphere or in a church which said, ‘It’s your responsibility to pray, to study, to serve.’ And they became burdened by a weight of responsibilities they could never fulfill.

Then, at some point in their walk, they understood that, on the basis of the finished work of Jesus Christ, they didn’t have to study; they didn’t have to pray; they didn’t have to worship.
You mean, Lord, my sin is forgiven?’ they said. ‘I’m robed in Your righteousness? I don’t have to work to try and attain Your favor or merit Your blessing?’
‘Yes,’ answered God. ‘It’s all grace.’

‘You mean You love me as much when I’m not doing so well as when I’m studying Leviticus and Deuteronomy?’
Wouldn’t You love me more if I was studying Leviticus and Deuteronomy?’

‘No, I can’t love you anymore than I love you right now.’

And what does that do? ‘Wow,’ we say, ‘I wonder what Leviticus says? Where is Deuteronomy, anyway?’ We find ourselves wanting to study. We find ourselves enjoying worship. We find ourselves freely talking to the Lord. Our Christian walk changes from responsibility to response, and that’s when it becomes a whole lot of fun.

If you want an explosion of joy in your heart today, be like Paul—‘testify the gospel of the grace of God.’ Go to the person you work with and say, ‘Every sin you committed last weekend is forgiven. Every sin you’re thinking about today is paid for. You’re free because, when Jesus died on the Cross, He died for every sin every man has ever done. There’s only one unpardonable sin, and that is refusing to receive His forgiveness.’

An interesting thing happens to a person who’s sharing his faith: he becomes a channel through which the joy and power of the Lord flows. For just as electricity will not enter an object unless there’s an outflow from that object, the power of the Lord will not enter a church or an individual in whom there is no conduit for evangelism. When people say, ‘The electricity is gone from our church corporately or from my life personally,’ invariably it’s because there’s no outflow.

Paul was one who was charged-up, red-hot, and turned-on because he was one who continually testified of the Gospel. He never stopped sharing his faith in Christ Jesus.

May God bless us with a grace motivated joy!

- Bro. Dave

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Lottie Moon's Call into Missions

This past Sunday we looked at John 4 with Jesus and the Woman of Samaria. One of the passages we read was very instrumental in the life of Lottie Moon as God used John 4:35 to call her into Foreign Missions. As we are nearing the Christmas season, and as we will be focusing on the Lottie Moon offering soon, I would like to take some time today to provide some background to her life. 

Multiplied millions of dollars have poured into overseas missions under the banner of Lottie Moon, the Southern Baptist whose name is used to promote our denomination’s annual missionary offering. But who was Lottie Moon and what did she do?

Lottie (short for Charlotte) was born in 1840 and grew up in an old Virginia family. Her father’s plantation house, Viewmont, overlooked the Blue Ridge Mountains. Her mother, a staunch Christian, read to her from the Bible, and as a girl Lottie developed a love for Scripture and for missionary biography. Since there was no church nearby, Mrs. Moon conducted services herself every Sunday for family, neighbors, and servants.

Lottie excelled in school and became one of the first Southern women to earn a Master’s Degree, all the while pondering what to do with her life. In the spring of 1873, Lottie, 33, heard a sermon on John 4:35. As the preacher spoke of fields “white unto harvest,” Lottie made up her mind then and there that she would become a missionary to China, and that fall she was on her way. When her ship was caught in a terrific storm and appeared to be sinking, she wrote: As I watched the mad waste of waters, howling as if eager to engulf us, I think I should scarcely have been surprised to see a Divine Form walking upon them, so sweetly I heard in my inmost soul the consoling words, “It is I, be not afraid.”

For forty years, Lottie Moon worked unafraid in North China, serving faithfully amid storms of war, disease, poverty and plague. When, in her early seventies, a terrible famine swept China, she gave her food and her last dollar for famine relief. She grew so frail and undernourished the doctor ordered her home. She died en route on Christmas Eve, 1912.

“I would that I had a thousand lives that I might give them to the women of China,” she said.
She gave her one life, and it has been multiplied a thousandfold.

May God bless the work of our missionaries, and may we all be on mission for God!

- Bro. Dave

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Becoming Fishers of Men

3 Results of Jesus' words: “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”(Matthew 4:19)

1. We’re To Be Followers of Christ. Jesus spoke much about our following Him. The word “follow” occurs 92 times in the Gospels (nkjv).
• “He who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me” (Matt. 10:38).
• He told the rich young ruler, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” (Matt. 19:21)
• He evangelized Levi the tax-collector with just two words: “Follow Me” (Luke 5:27).
• “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (John 8:12).
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27).
• His last words to Peter were similar to His first words: “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me” (John 21:22).
Following Christ means we make Him Lord of our daily lives, seek out His promises and claim them, seek out His commands and obey them, and offer ourselves as living sacrifices for Him (Rom. 12:1–2).

2. We’re To Be Fashioned By Christ. “... and I will make you.” The parallel account (Mark 1:17) says: “I will make you to become....” As we follow Christ, He makes us to become. He begins to carve us into His type of people. A school teacher who was bypassed for a promotion went to her administrator and complained, “I have twenty years of experience, and you promoted someone who had only been teaching five years.” The administrator replied, “No, you don’t have twenty years of experience. You have one year of experience twenty times. You’re still teaching the same things and in the same way you did your first year. You haven’t grown in your profession.” Christ wants us to grow, to develop, to become effective representatives of Himself.

3. We’re to be Fisherman for Christ. “...I will make you fishers of men.” Some years ago the New York Fire Department had a great parade. Included were buses loaded with people from all walks of life. The sign said: “All of these were saved by our Fire Department from burning buildings.” In Paul’s letters, he said that those he had won to Christ were his crown and joy, his trophies of grace.

How can we be better witnesses for Christ?
• Ask God to give you a burden for a handful of people who need to be saved, and begin praying for them.
• Live a consistent Christian life, letting others see the hope within you.
• Be ready when asked to give a reason for that hope (1 Peter 3:15).
Seize opportunities for inviting others to church. If you invite enough people, some will come.

May God grow us to become good "Fishers of Men."

- Bro. Dave

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Harvest Festival and Poland Mission Trip Report

I would like to thank Amy Riley and the Children’s Committee for their hard work for this past Sunday Night’s Children’s event. We had a great turnout with many children participating and a fun time had by all. Thanks also to everyone who made soup and joined in on the fellowship. My children came home with bags full of candy and heads full of great memories!

The trip to Poland was an incredible experience! The primary objective of our trip was to assist the Glogow Baptist Church in their Logos Language School outreach. Our team played an important role in the Logos Language Center by teaching English classes for K-12th Grade students. The involvement of Americans in the school generates incredible interest in the city of Glogow, whose parents all want their children to learn English so that they can have better opportunities. Everyone in Poland desires to spend time with native speakers of English (Americans or Brits) so that they can improve their speaking. The school sees a 60% involvement rate in its annual English Camps, where the Gospel is presented and many children and parents have been coming to faith in Christ.

I spent many days teaching classes of K-3rd grade students. I was able to see new students showing up to the school after some buzz had been generated from our team’s involvement with the school. All of us spent some time speaking to the area’s public schools, which served as an incredible commercial for the school. This afforded us many opportunities to talk about our faith in Jesus. Many of the students who attend the Logos Language center would mention so in the public schools and their excellent English skills would encourage others to attend.

I was amazed to learn how hard it is to see Polish people come to a saving faith in Jesus. The staff of the church shared with me that decisions take many years to see.  The Polish people believe that since they are a Catholic nation, even though the vast majority never attends church, that they are OK with God. I praise God that I was able to visit with brand new Polish believers and see their passion to reach their nation! All of our team was deeply touched by the hospitality and humor of the Polish believers. The church was eternally grateful for our involvement in their school, as they see American involvement as vital to the fruitfulness of their outreach.  

I want to thank everyone for your prayers and support of this trip. My desire as a pastor is that we would not just give to missions, but we would also be involved in going, and I am thankful for a church that does both!

May God bless us with a heart for fulfilling His Great Commission!
-         -  Bro. Dave

Notes on Revival

I have enjoyed the fellowship and preaching this week of Bro. Arnold Moon. His sermons have been both enjoyable and convicting! I am thankful for his willingness to come and to bring the messages during our revival and I look forward to the way God is going to continue to use this revival in the life of our church.

As I reflect on our revival, I am reminded of some words from preachers of old and how they longed for a revival:
“We need a work of the Holy Spirit of a supernatural kind, putting power into the preaching of the Word, inspiring all believers with heavenly energy, and solemnly affecting the hearts of the careless, so that they turn to God and live. We would not be drunk with the wine of carnal excitement, but we would be filled with the Spirit. We would behold the fire descending from heaven in answer to the effectual fervent prayers of righteous men. Can we not entreat the Lord our God to make bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the people in this day of declension and vanity?” (Spurgeon)

“A revival is a time of quickening or impartation of life. As God alone can give life, a revival is a time when when God visits His people and by the power of His Spirit imparts new life to them, and through them imparts life to sinners dead in trespasses and sins. We have religious excitements gotten up by the cunning methods and hypnotic influence of the mere professional evangelist; but these are not revivals and are not needed. They are the devil’s imitations of a revival. New life from God–that is a revival. A general revival is a time when this new life from God is not confined to scattered localities, but is general throughout Christendom and the earth.
…revivals also have a decided influence on the unsaved world.

First of all, they bring deep conviction of sin. Jesus said that when the Spirit was come He would convince the world of sin (John 16:7-8). Now we have seen that a revival is a coming of the Holy Spirit, and therefore there must be new conviction of sin, and there always is. If you see something men call a revival, and there is no conviction of sin, you may know at once that it is bogus. It is a sure mark.” (R.A. Torrey)

May God bless us with a revival!

-      Bro. Dave

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Need for Clean Vessels in Evangelism

The Need for Clean Vessels in Evangelism (another devotional on Evangelism from Sumner Wemp) -

God is not going to take the pure water of life to thirsty souls in a dirty pitcher. “If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work” (II Tim. 2:21). God is still in business “adding to the church daily.” Thirsty souls can be found everywhere waiting for “the water of life.” Many are seeing “rivers of living water” (John 7:37-39) flow through them with souls being won daily. God’s provision allows any man to be “meet for the master’s use,” but His very nature will not allow Him to use a dirty vessel.

“There are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honor and some to dishonor” (v. 20). Some Christians are used of God, some are not. A few win souls, most do not. This is an obvious fact in any church. Whose fault is it? Are some just not gifted enough, not ordained to be used? No, a thousand times no. “If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be . . . prepared unto every good work” (V. 21), and this surely includes winning souls, for all have been ordained to bring forth fruit (John 15:16).

This purging (separation) is to be from people and practices. Many believe “these” refers to the vessels “of wood and of earth .., to dishonor.” “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord” (II Cor. 6:17). God uses separated Christians, not isolated or withdrawn, but those in the world though not a part of it.

“Flee also youthful lusts” (v. 22) is Paul’s plea. Youthful desires for pleasure and the present keep Christians from being available to God. Soul winners must be weaned from a life of lust to the serious business of eternity.

“Your iniquities have separated between you and your God” (Isa. 59:2). “Your sins have withholden good things from you” (Jer. 5:25). Remember Samson “wist not [knew not] that the LORD was departed from him” (Judg. 16:20). Could this be the reason you are not a vessel unto honor? Will you purge yourself to be “meet for the master’s use”? Deliverance from sin is free, but deliverance from the world demands the cost of separation."

May God keep us from sin and use us for His kingdom!

-          Bro. Dave 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The need for Compassion

The need for Compassion (another devotional on Evangelism from Sumner Wemp) -

Too often Christians are freezing in intellectualism or frying in emotionalism and have no concern for others. The soul winner is marked by his compassion for the lost.

Jesus “saw the multitudes” (v. 36). He had to tell His disciples to “lift up your eyes, and look on the fields” (John 4:35). Somehow, though they know about the population explosion, most Christians never really see the multitudes! I was once a structural steel draftsman. Whenever I see blueprints or watch steel beams going up for a building, something is stirred inside me. Others see the same things and are totally unaffected. It’s in my blood, as we say. Soul winning must get in your blood so you are moved at the multitudes though others just pass by.

The Lord saw the multitudes. Remember “narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matt. 7:14). You can be sure the majority at a ball game, political gatherings and the like will be without Christ. Look beyond the surface of their laughter and wealth. See them as souls who will live forever in heaven or hell!

“They fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd” (v. 36). The word “fainted” means to be disturbed or bewildered. With all the psychotics and neurotics, the rebellious and revolutionaries, the degenerates and delinquents today, what could better describe them? No wonder Jesus speaks of the “distress of nations, with perplexity”; and “men’s hearts failing them for fear” in the last days (Matt. 21:25-26). People are scattered with no “shepherd” to lead them to Christ.

The reaction of Christ to all of this was to be “moved with compassion.” No candle on the altar will substitute for a flame in the heart. People are more moved at a dead dog in the street or a child lost in the woods than at souls going to hell. Christians want the non-Christian to believe with his heart and yet decry emotions shown for the lost. Paul’s “spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city [Athens] wholly given to idolatry” (Acts 17:16). If you show emotions at a ball game you’re a fan but if at Christ you’re a fanatic. The church needs “a band of men whose hearts the Lord has touched “with compassion."

May give us a compassion that burns to see souls saved!

-          Bro. Dave

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Obeying the Holy Spirit in Evangelism

Obeying the Holy Spirit in Evangelism (another devotional from Sumner Wemp):

“Obey the Spirit,” cried Evan Roberts during the Welsh Revival. To win souls, one must obey the Spirit. “The Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot” (v. 29). There is no place for timidity, just obedience. He will give the boldness and wisdom.

There was no hesitancy, “Philip ran thither to him” (v. 30). “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams” (I Sam. 15:22). The chariot made it obvious this was a man of importance, but Philip went. Jeremiah said, “I cannot speak for I am a child.” God replied, “Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. Be not afraid of their faces” (Jer. 1:6-8).

Philip found the Ethiopian reading “the prophet Isaiah and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?” (Acts 8:30). Here is a criterion to determine if one is born again, for “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God” (I Cor. 2:14). An alert soul winner will sense the probable need of salvation when someone says, “I read my Bible but I don’t get a thing out of it.”

The eunuch replied, “How can I, except some man should guide me?” (v. 31). This is God’s method. Man is God’s instrument, His mouthpiece! He uses men. The man “desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.” Many Christians are so defensive they can hardly believe people are interested. A healthy, happy attitude toward witnessing often sets the right atmosphere. People want the peace and purpose Christ offers but don’t know where to find it.

“Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same Scripture, and preached unto him Jesus” (v. 35). What a pungent verse. Philip used Scripture, familiar Scripture, and preached Christ! Remember Christ is the issue. There was no strain, no argument, just simply presenting Christ; the man believed and was saved (vv. 36-37). Two impressive things follow: the man’s desire to be baptized upon believing (v. 36) and Philip’s being caught away leaving to the Holy Spirit the follow-up (v. 39). What a thrill to find people prepared like this along the way; and we will if we, too, obey the Spirit."         

May we be obedient to the Holy Spirit’s leading in evangelism, that we may see fruit!

-        -  Bro. Dave

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Share Jesus Without Fear

On Wednesday Nights we have been going through the Share Jesus Without Fear Curriculum by William Faye. I have found this approach to be one of the most effective approaches to sharing my faith. There are five questions that we are all memorizing to use in evangelism.

Here are the five questions that can help you move a conversation toward spiritual concerns:
1) Do you have any kind of spiritual belief?
2) To you, who is Jesus?
3) Do you believe there are a heaven and a hell?
4) If you died right now, where would you go?
5) If what you believe were not true, would you want to know it?

If they say yes to question 5, the next step is to open the Bible and read the following verses aloud and ask after each verse, “What does this say to you?”
There are seven verses that are used in the Share Jesus Without Fear evangelism outline:

1) Romans 3:23 (The issue of Sin) - Romans 3:23 (ESV) “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”
2) Romans 6:23 (The penalty of sin) - Romans 6:23 (ESV) “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 
3) John 3:3 (How to enter a relationship with Christ) John 3:3 (ESV) Jesus answered him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God."
4) John 14:6 (The narrowness of the Gospel) John 14:6 (ESV) Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
5) Romans 10:9-11 (Anyone can be saved) Romans 10:9-11 (ESV) because, 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."
6) 2 Corinthians 5:15 (We must turn from/turn to) 2 Corinthians 5:15 (ESV) 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.
7) Revelation 3:20 (A choice to accept or reject) - Revelation 3:20 (ESV) 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.

I want to encourage you to memorize these questions and mark these passages in your Bible. Pray for God to use you to share Jesus without fear to your family, neighbors, coworkers, and friends.  Come join us on Wednesday nights to sharpen your knowledge of evangelism and let’s go and shine the light of the Gospel to a dark and thirsty world!

May God bless us with a passion for winning souls!

- Bro. Dave

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

New Series - Evangelism for Everyone!

This upcoming Sunday I will be launching another new series on Evangelism called “Evangelism for Everyone.” We will be looking at ways that everyone can be involved in evangelism. One man who has had a huge influence on my evangelism is C. Sumner Wemp. Sumner spoke at a retreat I went to in college and shared with me many timeless truths of Evangelism. The following comes from his timeless devotional, Fishing for Men:

The Joy of Witnessing:

“Just the joy it brings ought to make an ardent soul winner of every Christian. It is a joy, not a job; a delight, not a drudgery to win souls.

Think of the “joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth” (Luke 15:10) There is such a magnitude to witnessing that it brings joy into heaven itself. Whether this joy is of God the Father or the Lord Jesus Christ or the Christians who are already there or all the hosts of heaven, we do not know, but it certainly merits our best efforts to effect such tremendous results.

What joy there is for the one who receives Christ. There is joy in salvation! David cried out to God, “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation” (Ps. 51:12). Who can forget the joy that lights up a face when one comes “out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Pet. 2:9)? Remember the joy that flooded your heart when you received the Lord Jesus as your own personal Saviour? A Christian wants his friends and loved ones to have this same joy.

When “Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them” (Act 8:5) and many believed, God records “there was great joy in that city (v.8) There always is when people come to Christ. Whole nations have experienced a new joy such as was brought to Wales under the great Welsh revival. As a pastor, I have seen a church suddenly come alive with joy as we have had people receive Christ Sunday after Sunday in the services. This joy is certainly needed in many churches today.

There is joy in witnessing, not the least of which is the joy that comes to the Christian who wins another to Christ. The psalmist says the one who sows the precious seed in tears “shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him” (Ps. 126:6). Witnessing is sowing. Joy is reaped as souls are reaped for Christ.

The angel said to the shepherds at Christ’s birth, “I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people” (Luke 2:10). The gospel brings great joy to all involved. Are you spreading and receiving your share by witnessing?”

May God give us more joy as we experience His power in evangelism!

-          Bro. Dave

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

New Series: Finding Jesus in the Old Testament

This upcoming Sunday, I will be launching a series on Finding Jesus in the Old Testament. While the series will launch on Sunday morning, the series will run on Sunday evenings. I will spend 12 sermons looking at the many ways we can find Jesus in the Old Testament.
Growing up, I learned how to see Jesus in the prophecies of the Old Testament. It is exciting to see how all of the events and particulars of Jesus’ life are laid out in prophecies that have been written hundreds and even thousands of years before he appeared. It has become more exciting for me to learn how to also see Jesus in the Old Testament Laws, poems, narratives, genealogies, buildings (temple and tabernacle), people, festivals, and offerings.

With Jesus in so many places in the Old Testament, it is sad that many Christians today are struggling to read it. There are many reasons why Christians are intimidated about reading from the Old Testament. One reason is its length – making up more than 70 percent of our Bibles. Another reason is the cultural differences between the people of the Old Testament and the culture of our day, which forces us to learn about strange customs, literary forms and institutions.  One of the greatest reasons people do not read from the Old Testament is because our faith is focused on Jesus Christ, and we learn about Jesus most clearly in the pages of the New Testament.

This series will focus on how we can see Jesus more clearly in the Old Testament. If you come, you can expect to learn more about the following:

1)  You will grow in your love for Jesus as you learn more about him throughout the Old Testament.
2)  You will grow in your desire to read the Old Testament as you learn more about its background and message concerning Jesus.
3)   A proper understanding of the Old Testament will better help you make sense of the New Testament, helping you to better understand the meaning of the cross, the need for Jesus to die, what sin is and numerous other questions.
4)  You will see the various ways that New Testament authors found Jesus in the Old Testament.
Why not make the commitment to come and learn from God’s Word, how to find God the Son in the Old Testament!

May God the Father grow our love for God the Son, through God the Spirit!
-       - Bro. Dave 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Share Jesus Without Fear Series is Coming

I want to invite you to come to our prayer meeting on Wednesday, September 21, as we will be going through the new “Share Jesus Without Fear” curriculum. This approach to sharing our faith is powerful and relevant for reaching people in our world for Jesus. This will be the schedule for Share Jesus Without Fear: Session 1, September 21; Session 2, September 28; Session 3, October 19; Session 4 October 26.  As we prepare for this series, the following illustration from Pastor Ronnie Floyd is helpful:

Most of us spend some part of our mornings standing in front of a mirror. Whether it’s to fix your hair and apply makeup or shave and tie your necktie, we all take the time to look at ourselves in the mirror to prepare for the day.

We do all sorts of things to get ready for the physical day and in the same way we prepare for the spiritual day by spending time in the Bible. The mirror shows us our reflection, even the imperfections and bits of ourselves we may not want to see. Similarly, the Bible reveals who we really are with harsh precision. God’s word provides a reality check that shows us how fallen and helpless we are without Christ. It shows us the imperfections and things we need to change.

Recognizing our dependency on Jesus Christ is the first step toward a life centered around the Great Commission. Telling the world about Jesus and making disciples of all nations is a challenge beyond the scope of any fallen human being. That’s why the last sentence of the Great Commission is so important. Jesus said, ‘And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Mt 28:20).

Seeing our utter dependence on Christ and knowing He is always with us is the first step towards fulfilling the Great Commission. This is a reminder we need every day, just the same as we need a physical mirror every day.

Let’s push the analogy a little bit further. The type of day we are planning on having will determine how much time we spend in front of the mirror doesn’t it? If you have an important meeting you may spend a little extra time making sure you look as sharp as possible. If you have a date you may spend a few extra minutes making sure every hair is in its right place. The principle is this: the more important the day, the more time we spend preparing for it.
Every day when you go into the workplace or some other social setting there will be numerous opportunities to win someone to Christ. What could be more important than that?

May God make us all active workers in His harvest!
-          Bro. Dave

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Spurgeon on Reading the Bible and Praying

This past Sunday morning at church we looked at Steps to Revival and talked about returning to the works we did at first, when we first trusted in Christ. Getting back to the basics of our walk with Jesus is vital – we need a renewed vigor for reading His word and seeking His will in prayer.

Along those lines, the following comes from my favorite pastor, Charles Spurgeon, and his 1867 sermon “A Song at the Well-head” (HT to Justin Taylor):

“You are retired for your private devotions; you have opened the Bible, and you begin to read.
Now, do not be satisfied with merely reading through a chapter. Some people thoughtlessly read through two or three chapters—stupid people for doing such a thing!

It is always better to read a little and digest it, than it is to read much and then think you have done a good thing by merely reading the letter of the word.

For you might as well read the alphabet backwards and forwards, as read a chapter of Scripture, unless you meditate upon it, and seek to comprehend its meaning.

Merely to read words is nothing: the letter kills.

The business of the believer with his Bible open is to pray, “Lord, give me the meaning and spirit of your word, while it lies open before me; apply your word with power to my soul, threatening or promise, doctrine or precept, whatever it may be; lead me into the soul and marrow of your word.”

Also, it is not the form of prayer, but the spirit of prayer that shall truly benefit your souls.
That prayer has not benefited you, which is not the prayer of the soul.

You have need to say, “Lord, give me the spirit of prayer; now help me to feel my need deeply, to perceive your promises clearly, and to exercise faith upon them.”

In your private devotions, strive after vital godliness, real soul-work, the life-giving operation of the Spirit of God in your hearts.”

May God bless us with real soul-work as we spend time in prayer and His word!

- David Crowe