Archive for the ‘Discipleship’ Category

In my discussion with some church and denominational leaders, I am hearing the same question asked and discussed. “How Should the Church Respond Considering the Results of November 8th Presidential Election?”

Leading up to this year’s 2016 Presidential election, I developed the framework for a massive prayer rally in Atlanta. I had a team that helped in coordinating and planning to mobilize, promote, and lead prayer groups.  I personally prayed for God’s will to be done.

Many of my pastor friends and Christian brothers and sisters expressed they were burdened for a change of direction for our country. Across the United States, thousands prayed, fasted and cried out to God asking Him to intervene.

In my heart, I feel that God has heard our prayers, He heard our cries. He has given us at least four more years so the church can have the liberty to evangelize, to make Jesus known without additional limitations and barriers.

So how should the church respond in light of the results of the 2016 presidential election of Donald Trump.

  1. We need to strategize to evangelize.
  2. We need to pray to God that He guide us as we go and intentionally share the gospel of Jesus Christ.
  3. Begin prayerwalking the refugee communities asking God to open hearts and minds, and to tear down spiritual walls so Christians can share the gospel.
  4. Churches should begin teaching Arabic as a second language, buy Arabic language tracts and New Testaments and find out where the refuges are and go evangelize them.
  5. We need to continue to pray God direct us and give us favor with lost people.
  6. The church needs to plan to disciple the new believers.

I know that many Christians feel that within the refugee groups coming to the United States, are some who want to cause us harm. Some individuals have stated, while  discussing this topic, their feelings that “There terrorists want to come here and kill us.” One person commented, that “Ninety-Five percent of Muslims are good people. It is the five percent who want to kill us.”

We must be reminded that Saul of Tarsus was a terrorist. He was in the five percent who was actively looking to arrest and kill Christians (See Acts 7 and 22:20). He was hunting down Christians to kill them. But thanks to the Lord Jesus Christ, who encountered Saul when he was on the Damascus Road to arrest followers of Jesus Christ and eventually kill them. Look at what happened with Saul, who is known as the apostle Paul! He became the greatest Missionary Evangelist of the New Testament.

We do not know who God is going to save in our age, through the Churches evangelistic efforts from these Jesus haters. God might use you to win a refugee to Christ who possibly will become the next great missionary evangelist of our time. This is the time for the Church, followers of Jesus Christ to go an engage our culture with the gospel. Jesus is our only Hope.

The apostle Paul is credited with writing many the New Testament epistles, the Pauline letters. In the book of Romans, chapter 10:9:13 he wrote,

that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; 13 for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Further in the letter of Chapter ten, the apostle Paul challenged the church in Rome, with a message, which he personally received from Jesus Christ and that is to go and evangelize the lost. Jesus also challenges every Christian with this same command.

14 How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? 15 How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who [i]bring good news of good things!”

The apostle Paul makes a profound statement, in Romans 10:17, “17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.”

Fellow Christian, fellow follower of Christ, this our time, this is a window of opportunity to go a make Jesus known. This election is much more than the appointment of a supreme court justice. It is more about making the King of kings, and Lord of lords, known to the world. And the world in knocking at our front door.

Your next mission trip to reach a foreign people group could be next door, or down the street or across the road. Jesus said, “Go win converts/disciples and teach to obey all things I have taught you.” (literal translation) Matthew 28:18-20. Today is the day of salvation 2 Corinthians 6:2.

 

 

 

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I am teaching a survey of the Old Testament and as I read the Scriptures and do research I am seeing a pattern how God gives provision and how we should respond to His provision.

God promised Israel He would give them the land known as Canaan. In Genesis 12, God called Abram to go west to a land He would give to Abram and his descendants.

God instructs Moses to lead Israel out of captivity in Egypt to Canaan. Then after forty years of wandering in the wilderness because the Israelites rejected God’s provision. They did not want to take possession of the promised land. They believed the 10 of the 12 spies, who lied and misled the Israelites. Because they rejected God’s provision, those people would not see the promised land, but their children would one day.

Once again, Joshua and a new generation Israelites find themselves at the edge of the Promised Land. Before instructing Joshua, God promised Joshua that every place he set his foot, God would give it to Israel (Joshua 1:1-5).  The caveat is they would have to act, take steps and take possession. They had to go out in faith and take possession of land (Joshua 3).

In our present time, God has instructed us that He has established the government (Romans 13). The purpose of government to protect the innocent and convict the guilty. Our response to government is to support it. We support it by exercising our right as a temporary citizen of this world, and country by voting. I say temporary because, for a Christian, our eternal citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20; John 14:2).

So, what if you choose not to vote? Then you are going against God’s plan for government. And like the nation of Israel, who repeatedly went against God’s instructions, His word, leadership, and rejected His word. Rejecting God’s word is a sin, and it always leads to suffering and consequences. The Israelites faced the consequences of their decisions for a generation to come.

So, obey God’s word, get involved in your community by engaging through evangelism, prayer, and exercising your rights as a citizen vote.

Luke 12:13-15

13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” 14 Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” 15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”

The man in this passage wanted what he thought was rightfully his. From a legal perspective, he may have had a portion of his father’s estate coming to him. The man was anxious at heart, waiting to receive his desired portion of his father’s possessions.

When the man made an appeal to Jesus for him to instruct his brother, who was probably the administrator of their father’s estate to give him his portion Jesus responded with a caution. “Watch out!” In other words, “examine yourself that your greed has not consumed you!” Greed is like cancer that will eat away at your inner being.

This individual probably had a world view that life without “things” or “without an abundance of possessions” is not a quality of life. “Watch Out!” That your worldview is not crowded with thoughts of wanting what someone else has. The Bible refers to this a covetousness.

Jesus responded with “Life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” (V 15) Material things, possessions, will eventually deteriorate, wear out, break down. Or materials thing can be stolen or lost. Jesus taught where our focus and treasure should be in Matthew 6:19-21:

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

We can acquire many possessions and wealth. We can store up great wealth. But in the end, at death’s doorway, someone else will eventually get all your possessions. When you die it will not be how much you held in your hands. What will matter is “Who has you in His hands?” Your soul must be in God’s hands. Jesus taught,

20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ 21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”

If you have never given your heart and life to Jesus Christ by repenting of your sins. You can do it right now. Ask Jesus to forgive your sins. Confess He is Lord and Savior. Thank Jesus for dying for your sins and taking your eternal punishment in hell. Thank Him for making a way for you to get into heaven, by His resurrection.

If you want God to have your soul and life in His hands, pray a simple like this.

Dear God, I believe that Jesus is Your Son. That He died for my sin, was buried and rose again from the dead. God, I have sinned against You and I ask You to forgive me. Jesus, I ask you to be my Lord and Savior. Thank You for saving me. In Jesus Name.

If you prayed the prayer, and invited Jesus into your heart, Congratulations! I want you to grow in Christ Jesus.

Things to grow in Christ:

  1. You will want to begin reading your Bible every day.
  2. Begin with the Gospel of John. Read one chapter every day.
  3. Pray every day to God in Jesus Name.
  4. Read a daily devotion. To get a free daily devotion go to https://billygraham.org/devotions/
  5. Get the Living in Christ booklet – https://myhopewithbillygraham.org/product/living-in-christ-booklet/
  6. Watch how God has changed other people’s lives. Watch free videos at https://myhopewithbillygraham.org/programs/
  7. Find a Bible teaching preaching church. Go to http://www.sbc.net/churchsearch/

 

 

 

 

A study in the New Testament Greek of the Matthew 28:19-20, grammatical and linguistically and an exegetical exposition gives us a clear understanding of Jesus Great Missionary Mandate to the church to go evangelize the lost peoples of the world.

A Chronological and logical interpretation of Matthew 28:19-20 helps us to grasp the true message. A dear friend of mine, Dr. Thom Johnston, Professor of Evangelism at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary has spent numerous years studying in the various translations and languages the verses of Matthew 28:19-20.

Dr. Johnston gives us a profound understanding as written to earlier Greek manuscripts of the Gospel of Matthew passage. Plus, earlier translations of the Bible.

Here is a chronological and logical interpretation of Matthew 28:19-20
(1) Go!

(2) Win disciples to and for Christ! (3) Baptize those who are won! (4) Teach to obey (make disciples) those who are won and baptized!

(3) Baptize those who are won! (4) Teach to obey (make disciples) those who are won and baptized!

(4) Teach to obey (make disciples) those who are won and baptized!

Go! reveals a church that is not stagnant, not staying within the four walls of the church. We are to be a going church.

Win disciples to and for Christ! The church is to be actively evangelizing lost people that are around the church. As the church members are in its normal daily patterns of life, they are to be looking to speak to individuals God sends our way. We are to tell everyone we speak to about Jesus Christ.

Baptize those who are won! Jesus Christ gave us the example, He is our role model for how the church should begin the disciple making process. Baptism is an identification process. Jesus identified with us, sinners before He was crucified through baptism . We identify  with Jesus as our Savior, through baptism, because He was crucified.

Teach to obey those who are won and baptized! The church has an active role in making disciples. By church, this is inclusive of all spiritually mature believers. The church is to teach new believers, make disciples by teaching God’s word, Jesus teachings, teaching biblical principles of the Bible.

 

 

 

If you read God’s Word daily, He is teaching you all you need to live the Christian life, to be his witness, in Judea, Jerusalem, Samaria and to the ends of the earth. Here are some questions to ponder:  How long have you been a follower of Jesus Christ? Are you a witness for Jesus? How much many more Bible studies classes, or books on “how to live the Christian life do you need to read?

As you read the Bible, as you are daily studying the Bible, God’s Spirit is teaching you God’s word. Now you need to go and take God at His word.   Most Christians have learned enough, and probably know more of God’s teachings, principles, and have more copies of God’s word than the first century Church. When will God’s church start being the “Going Church” Jesus commanded us to be? (Matthew 28:19-20)

Saul of Tarsus, a rabbi, and a member of Israel’s Sanhedrin Council, when on Damascus Road, had an encounter with Jesus Christ and was saved. Paul asked, “What do You want me to do?” Jesus told Saul, later called apostle Paul, that he would take the gospel to the world. (Acts 9:6) Jesus responded, “Arise and go into the city and you will be told what to do.” (Acts 9:6)

Jesus has instructed, us the church to go and make disciples. I asked the church in a sermon on Sunday, “What is the mission of the Church?” I shared, Our mission is the Great Commission according to Jesus’ words, command, and mandate. Our mission is twofold. First, Jesus has instructed us to “Go.” This can be understood as intentional evangelism, as intentional proclamation, and intentionally making Jesus known to the world. Second, we are to teach, new believers Jesus teachings, Jesus is the Logos, God’s Word.

Evangelism is basically, part of the disciple-making process. Lost people do not know they are in a Bible study group when you are sharing biblical truths with them. We evangelize, God’s word penetrates to their very soul, and the Spirit works in their heart, bringing change, with the purpose of transformation by salvation and a new person inside and out.

The day after I was saved I went to work, never having taken a soul winning course and I began to share what God had done in my life. I had placed my faith in Jesus. A dear friend led me in a sinner’ prayer. I thanked Jesus for dying on the cross for me. I asked Jesus into my heart and acknowledged Jesus as Lord and Savior. No one told me to go and begin telling others how God had changed my life. I was so overjoyed that I could not contain the joy of it all.

So, let go, and let God use you. Let’s go and turn this world upside down in Jesus name. (Acts 17:6)

If your Church is interested in having Evangelism Training, Evangelistic preaching, Revival, Prayerwalking and follow-up with new believers, go to http://m28evangelism.com/.

Go order gospel tracts go to http://www.billygrahambookstore.org/CustomModule.asp?pageid=30

For another year in a row, we have seen fewer baptisms in our churches across North America. When there are so many new people coming to America. God is sending the world to our front and back door. The foreign mission field is so close that we interact many of our new neighbors on a daily basis.

We must begin to ask some hard questions if we are going to see an exponential change in the practices how we engage in evangelism or the lack thereof. (1) Why are we seeing fewer baptisms in some denominations? (2) Are some of our churches and denominations living in blatant disobedience to the Jesus Christ command to go and witness? (3) What changes in strategy, or strategies need to be added to see increased evangelism efforts? (4) What changes in leadership need to be made so a denomination and its churches will once again, begin and intentional evangelism emphasis.

(1) Why are we seeing fewer baptisms in some denominations?

According to the Immigration Institute in Washington D.C., on their website, http://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/frequently-requested-statistics-immigrants-and-immigration-united-states, facts show that the mission field in here and churches have the opportunity to minister and evangelize if we will just go and make disciples. As stated in a report,

“In 2014, 1.3 million foreign-born individuals moved to the United States, an 11 percent increase from 1.2 million in 2013. India was the leading country of origin for new immigrants, with 147,500 arriving in 2014, followed by China with 131,800, Mexico with 130,000, Canada with 41,200, and the Philippines with 40,500.”

Note: The Census Bureau defines recent immigrants here as foreign-born individuals who resided abroad one year prior, including lawful permanent residents, temporary nonimmigrants, and unauthorized immigrants.

We see that just from immigrants, there is an influx of newly arrived souls, most likely many of them are not followers of Jesus Christ! Just like in most major cities, there is a section of town that the government has located and is using as the Refugee and immigrant, a community for placing newly arrived souls. And hopefully, in some cases, there is a church or ministry that is reaching out to the people in their mission field. Truly The fields are white for harvest.

Having partnered with one such Church, and community in Metro Atlanta, GA where there are over 50 language groups in a square mile, there have been many attempts to reach these souls with the gospel. The church currently has about nine different congregations under its umbrella that are making Jesus known.

I recently heard Franklin Graham share a story how Samaritan’s Purse teams are some of the first Christians many of the refugee Muslims meet after, surviving the long trip on rafts, to the Greek Islands. He shared that many of the refugees are saying that that Islam has failed and does not work. They are asking for someone to tell about Jesus Christ.

(2) Are some of our churches and denominations living in blatant disobedience to the Jesus Christ command to go and witness?

If we were investigating a crime scene, what evidence or proof would we need to come to the conclusion, without reasonable doubt that a church is living in blatant disobedience to Christ command to go and evangelize lost people and make disciples?

I can think of one key factor, intentional evangelism. The church and denomination would have

  • a staff person/leader who gives leadership and is personally involved in evangelism, evangelism training
  • continually engaging lost people to share the gospel
  • making leaders from people groups and language groups, and to develop leaders in their specific group to expand the ministry through evangelism and disciple making
  • Offer session in developing an evangelistic strategy and its components to churches, pastors, and church leadership to have an effective outreach and evangelism ministry
  • Producing new strategies and emphasis for evangelism and prayer, and disciple making
  • Producing new gospel tracts and approaches bases on the biblical principles and prayer materials

(3) What changes in strategy, or what strategies need to be made or added to see increased evangelism efforts?

Through my doctoral project, I learned about surveying, evaluating, and study of strategy development and implementation for churches to determine if they were evangelistic. I learned about the value of evaluating the ministry, a pastor, and a church. Evaluation is good a place to begin. We must ask some hard questions about a strategy, methods, approaches, and its principles. We must make sure that strategy is biblical and at its core is an evangelistic DNA that will reproduce and spread.

The Bible such be our primary source for evangelism strategies, methods and approaches, and principles. We methods and approaches made not identical but in them, you should be able to identify key basis components for evangelism.

If the ministries of a church are not encouraging and equipping believers to go out and make Jesus known on a daily and weekly basis, then should we reevaluate our strategy? Evangelism is the lifeline of the church. We do not reproduce biologically to grow a church, but through spiritual new births. Though, at some point, hopefully, you will share with your offspring about the trusts of Jesus Christ. They will need to believe in and trust Him for salvation.

A good evangelism strategy should include components such as having a person who fans the flame of evangelism in the church, by promoting, conducting and leading out in evangelism.

(4) What changes in leadership need to be made so a denomination and its churches will once again, begin and intentional evangelism emphasis.

Through my doctoral project and through my personal ministry experience I learned about leadership and having the person in place to lead a specific ministry. I know of one church situation where an individual was hired for a staff position on the basis that he was an excellent manager in the business world.

But when the individual was put in charge of the evangelism ministry he grew the ministry from over 250 people down to 15 people in a matter of months. When the evangelism teams went out to make visits, he did not go with a team. He stayed back at the church. Obviously, evangelism was not his passion, but a tool for success.

As I mentioned earlier, I learned a great deal about evaluation that it is good a place to begin. One of my mentors and professors in seminary and Bible College, Dr. Don Aderhold share how every year, he would meet with his staff and directors to evaluate how effective their ministry had been in the past year. Three key questions he asked were, “Is your ministry team evangelistic?” “How many baptisms did your ministry see last year?” and “By what percentage did your ministry grow?”

One of my mentors and professors in seminary and Bible College, Dr. Don Aderhold share how every year, he would meet with his staff and directors to evaluate how effective their ministry had been in the past year. Three key questions he asked were, “Is your ministry team evangelistic?” “How many baptisms did your ministry see last year?” and “By what percentage did your ministry grow?”

Dr. A, as we all called him, said that if there were not any baptisms, nor added growth, then he would ask what changes need to be made to become more evangelistic and see potential growth. Then he added, “either they made changes to make sure that ministry was evangelistic, or the person was replaced with a more evangelistic personality.”

I have learned that effective organizations conduct an evaluation for the purpose of improvement. But you cannot force people to do something that they are not passionate about and are living out.

What changes need to be made:

  • Hire leadership that has an evangelistic heart and lives it
  • Hire other staff members or develop a team of volunteers, to help develop, promote, in the equipping of evangelism strategies and methods and principles that work
  • Leadership and team are continually seeking to develop a team of leaders to help carry out the evangelism emphasis, and with logistics for evangelism impact in the community
  • Other staff members are hired to help develop, promote, in the equipping of evangelism strategies and methods and principles that work
  • Develop various strategies and materials for churches to have an intentional and reproducing evangelism ministry and new church growth

On a regular basis, I pray for pastors’, churches, and believers to become more evangelistic. That they would make Jesus known to their community around them and to the world. The world will not know about the saving grace of Jesus unless we go and make disciples. Jesus plan is to for to “Go and makes disciples of all nations,” Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8. We the nations are here at our front and back door. The Distance is not far, but our commitment to Jesus must be deep. Go Make Jesus Known!

When I stop and consider what is happening to the American culture and around the world, I feel like I am watching a horror-SyFy movie. The main plot is a crazed tyrant or crazed cult leader, who tells the people in a small town or society that things are not what they seem to be.

They are told that the genetic and physical gender, in which they were born, is not who they are psychologically and physically. Humans are being told to dress as the opposite gender and to act like the opposite gender, as a contradiction to what they were created by God. Others are misled and talked into mutilating their bodies and led like sheep to a slaughter. We have seen adults, then teens and now plans by the sick minds, to alter the minds and mutilate the body and gender of young children to create a distorted humanity.

What we have is the greatest mockery of God’s creation by the devil, who hates God. He hates everything God has created. He hates God’s plans for humanity and he wants to go against every aspect of God’s plan. He wants to distort, mutilate, confuse humans in every way possible.

What has been described above, if it were not really happening, you would think and say, “The individual who would conjure up, plot, scheme and construct such a destructive plan has to be mentally sick, sadistic, a serial murderer, manipulative, a psychopath. No one in their right mind would tell another individual that their genetic and physical gender is incorrect and they must dress as the opposite gender and then consider mutilation to change their physical gender.

From my research, this is similar to what the Nazi’s did to the Jewish prisoners, in the concentration and death camps, in the name of scientific research. Cutting off and cutting out body parts and reassembly of body parts as an experiment on human lives.

Shouldn’t this be labeled as a modern day version “Frankensteinism!” Isn’t this what we would expect to happen in a horror film and plot? What we see happening in our culture and around the world, is nothing more than the Devil’s plan to deconstruct God’s plan for humanity, family, and marriage, of one genetic and physical man and one genetic and physical woman.

The Devil has been at work since the creation of Adam and Eve, working feverishly to deceive, distort and as yes mutilate God’s creation, first psychologically and then physically. The source of humanity’s problem is at the heart, which includes the mind and soul. If an individual’s mind is restored by God’s Spirit at the moment of salvation, the change of the physical outward appearance will follow. “17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

So as the Church considers all that is happening, the Church has a new ministry at its doorstep. The question is “How to minister to those who fell for the devil’s lies and now are coming to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ?” These individuals will realize that they were lied to and some have mutilated their bodies. The Church must develop plans to make disciples of these new individuals in Christ, who are born again and become a new person in Christ.

The apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 2:16, “For who has known the mind of THE LORD JEHOVAH that he may teach him? But we do have the mind of The Messiah. Aramaic Bible in Plain English

He quotes Isaiah 40:13 and then makes a statement concerning all believers: “We have the mind of Christ.” Having the mind of Christ means sharing the plan, purpose, and perspective of Christ, and it is something that all believers possess.

Having the mind of Christ means we understand God’s plan for humanity and in the world. God’s creation brings glory to Himself. He reveals Himself as a loving, caring, merciful and restoring God. Through Jesus Christ, His desire is to restore creation to its original magnificence and provide salvation for sinners.

Jesus mandate still stands, He has not changed His mind, we are commanded to Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit,20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20.