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