3 Reasons Why Evangelism is Hard

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Something has happened. There was a time when a vast majority of the people in our lives could be changed by Scripture. But in the 21st Century, it is very difficult to have any success among the masses with the gospel.
Think about it. Search your heart and ask yourself if you really believe you can influence a large number of people through your personal evangelistic efforts. See? You know exactly what I am talking about. You have not produced much in this area of your spiritual life recently.
There are several reasons why evangelism has become so difficult.
1. You are not allowed to tell anybody they are wrong anymore. Whip your kids and go to jail. Tell someone their lifestyle is sinful and lose your employment. Take a stand for God and be taken to court. Besides all of the legal implications of being a true Christian, the media has impressed upon the minds of our society that we are to clap for everyone in every situation and give everyone a participation trophy. Well, guess what? John came preaching repentance. So did Jesus (Matt. 3:2; 4:17). They told people they were wrong. Thousands came confessing their sins and were baptized.
2. There is too much confusion concerning the Bible. The Bible is no longer held in the same esteem it once was in our country. Even among those who claim Christianity, a respect for the absolute authority of the Bible is seldom found. Worship the way the church did in the First Century and you will be labeled a fundamentalist. Seek to be the church of the Bible and you will be called judgmental to those who want the church of consumerism. Everybody has been drinking from the punchbowl of postmodernism for so long that people literally believe that the Bible is open to individual interpretation. If this is the case, unity is impossible and there is no standard by which we must live.
3. People are too busy for God. It’s time for practice and your kids are expected to be there. Weekends in good weather are spent in recreation and God often has to wait for a convenient Sunday to receive worship. You might make it to one night of your own congregation’s gospel meeting or VBS – it’s the playoffs. I would ask when you last conducted a Bible study with someone, but that would be a moot point. Because the reality is that it has probably been a while since you even studied on your own. And you may have never even studied with anyone before and it seems too late to start that now. That’s the preacher’s job. And what about social media? When you have Facebook, and Instagram, and Twitter, and Snapchat, it’s hard to find time for God.
Maybe these words seem blunt, even harsh. But they are true words. Evangelism is not easy. But it is even harder when we won’t do it. If the church of tomorrow were up to you, would it have a fighting chance?
Study. Believe. Work. Care. The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few. And you will give account of your stewardship.
“Proclaim the message; persist in it whether convenient or not; rebuke, correct, and encourage with great patience and teaching.” – 2 Timothy 4:2
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Are You Just Applauding or Are You Involved?

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I didn’t really feel like being there, but three of my grandchildren were involved. Since grandparents do things that may not make sense to others, “Grammy” and I were both there. We only stayed for a short time, but, in that short time, I saw something interesting (besides my grandchildren).

There were about three thousand young people from seven states gathered to participate in a Bible Bowl. It was very interesting to me that this event took place in a venue in which a state university usually hosts basketball games. 

On this day, something much more important than basketball was taking place. Young people were assembled to hone their skills concerning God’s Word. I loved that the man in charge announced the winners before the event began. He made sure that all those who participated were winners. It didn’t matter where they “finished” that day.

However, there was one minor problem at the beginning. An announcement was made concerning the need for volunteers. It seems that the event lacked some of the personnel needed to make sure all the records were kept properly.

In a fairly short time, some people made their ways to the appropriate location. We still weren’t ready to start, though. 

Another announcement was made. One more volunteer was needed.

It seemed as though this took a little longer than the last time. Finally, a young lady made her way across the floor of the arena. The applause began as she started making her way to join the others and continued for her entire walk.

As I watched that from way up in the nosebleed section, I thought that what I was witnessing was a lot like life in general. There seem to be many people–even in the church–who will applaud others when they get involved, but who, at the same time, are unwilling themselves to get involved. 

At times, of course, these people do not applaud. They are more than willing to criticize if things do not go the way they should.

On September 10, 1910, president Theodore Roosevelt gave a speech in France. In that speech, he said the following words which I hope will serve as a challenge to all of us:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. 

As I watched the young lady walking across the floor and as I heard the applause, I thought of my life. Specifically, I wondered how the Lord views my life. 

Am I content to only “cheer on” those involved in His cause?

Am I one who, when work needs to be done, rolls up his sleeves and does all that can be done to serve the One who gave His life for me?

How about you? Are you sitting in the stands or walking across the floor?

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (James 1:22, ESV)


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[Quote] Frank Dunn on What Life is All About

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SOURCE: Know Your Bible by Frank J. Dunn, page vi.

On What to Wear in Worship

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For pretty much my whole life, I have heard people fuss about what to wear to Sunday worship. I trust that this one blog article will not settle things, but I do want us all to think through some of the more common “arguments,” and see if they are really helpful.

The “Wear Your Best” Argument

Regularly, I hear people say that we should wear our best to worship. Often, this is followed by some story of a grandparent or uncle who “only had one pair of overalls, but he would wash those things and wear them every Sunday, because they were the best he had.”

I think there is some validity to wearing our best, but may I throw a monkey wrench in the argument? How many people who hold to this idea do not really follow their own rule?

For example, I know a lot of ladies who say that we should wear our ” very best” every Sunday, but their wedding dress is in a closet or an attic. Isn’t that gorgeous gown their “best”? Isn’t it “better” than the dresses they choose each Sunday?

Further, if we are to wear our “very best,” wouldn’t that imply that we wear the same outfit each week, since it is impossible to have two or three or four “very best” outfits?

I know that’s not the heart behind this side of the argument, but if we are going to argue that we need to wear our “best,” that is what we are actually saying.

The “God Doesn’t Care about the Outside” Argument

On the other hand, there are people who dress very casually for worship, though they have nicer clothing, and then justify it by saying, “God sees my heart. He doesn’t care about the outside.”

Now, it is certainly true that God sees our heart. He knows it perfectly; in reality, He knows our heart better than we ourselves do. Scripture regularly teaches us to guard our heart and to make certain that what is on our “inside” is pure.

But does that mean that God has no concern whatsoever for what is on the outside? Of course not! What we do on the outside is a reflection of what is in our heart. (If it isn’t, we are being hypocritical.)

To intentionally dress casually for worship says something. It does speak, whether we want it to or not, about how we feel about worship. But is worship casual? Is it something that is just routine? Is coming before the Almighty Creator just another activity to be checked off our casual to-do list each week?

How About This Compromise?

So, if it isn’t wearing your best and if it isn’t casual, what is it?

First, let me say that there is no verse of Scripture that mandates what we are to wear each Lord’s Day. It may be appropriate to wear a coat and tie in America and it may be completely inappropriate in some other culture in the world where coats and ties are virtually unknown.

However, should we not seek to show respect when we come to worship? That one concept may solve the issue.

If I dress “to the nines,” is it because I am wanting to honor God, or because I want people to compliment me on my new outfit or jewelry? Remember, it was being overdressed and ostentatious that was condemned as immodest in 1 Timothy 2:8-10. Showing off our wealth or status is not respectful in a setting where the glory is to go only to God.

However, if I “dress down” for worship, is that respectful of my Creator? Is that not saying that I treat this all-important time of the week as just another routine or as not worthy of any sort of preparation?

Personally, I do believe we should dress well for worship, but we may not be able to wear our absolute best outfit week after week. Instead, we need to realize that we are coming into the presence of a holy God at His invitation. That deserves respect.

To some, that may mean wearing the only pair of jeans in your closet that are not stained from the waist to the cuffs. For others, it may mean a dress that’s a little out of fashion, but still is modest and clean. To others, it might mean a bowtie and suitcoat.

The point is: it comes down to an attitude of respect for the Lord. I want to dress in a way that shows that I am taking worship as a respectful time; not as a time to show off, and not as a time that is just mundane and ordinary. God is worthy of my respect, and that does display itself in how I choose to dress.

As I said, I’m certain this article won’t change everyone’s mind. You may totally disagree. In fact, you may think this was a waste of almost 900 words. But worship is the most important thing we do each week, and is always worth our time, to make sure we are treating that time in the same way our Lord does. To that end, I pray this post has been helpful.


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AUTHOR: Adam Faughn

How to Vote as a Christian in the Upcoming Presidential Election

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Yes, I just went there. There is a right way and a wrong way to do anything, including voting for President. There is the way a Christian is to do it, and there is the other way. So here we go…
1. Do NOT abstain from voting altogether. I know elections are tough for Christians because we can’t find a candidate who lines up with us on every subject. But if you think about it, Jesus wouldn’t line up with us perfectly because we are all so weak and in need of continual guidance ourselves. And since we are commanded to submit to the authority of the government (Romans 13:1), we should do our part in selecting who will govern. If you do not vote at all you really have no right to disagree with those who rule over you.
2. Pick the candidate that best represents the God of the Bible. There has never been a person who ran for any office that could stand in God’s place as far as righteousness is concerned. But there has always been one candidate that stood for morality to some degree more than the others. Issues about the economy or other peripheral matters are not as important as issues about morality. We are not taking material possessions with us. But we will stand before God on the Day of Judgment and have to answer for what we believed and practiced morally.
3. Do not compartmentalize your faith. You can’t be a Christian part-time. It is inconsistent to decide that we can put our faith aside in order to support a certain candidate or political party. Some people would vote for the devil himself if he happened to be running under the political ticket to which they have traditionally ascribed. How can we say we love God and His word if we are willing to give up what we believe when we go behind a curtain?
4. Pray. Pray earnestly and fervently. Pray for the country. Pray for every elected official. Pray that God will lead them and that they will lean on Him for answers. Pray that we will be a nation that follows the Lord and respects Him as the supreme authority in everything. “Be thou not unbelieving but believing.” The ship has not sunk. The war is not over. There are still opportunities to serve the Lord. In every generation, there have been those who have been faithful to the Lord. No matter what happens with the election it will still be our job to love God and be His people. We can do this and God will help us if we are willing to repent and seek His face.
With these thoughts, I wish each of you who read this the very best. I love you. The God of heaven loves you. May we all in love and unity do our very best to serve Him and bless others together.
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” – 2 Chronicles 7:14
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Praise for the Perennials

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According to many social media outlets, books, magazine articles, speeches, sermons, etc., it’s all about the millennials. How are we going to relate to them? How can they be won to Christ? How can they be integrated into the work of the local church? How may we use their talents to further the cause of Christ worldwide?

Contrary to what some might think as they read that paragraph, this is not being written by some old codger who has no use for anybody younger than he is. I must plead guilty to being “of an advanced age.” I will not plead guilty, though, to harboring resentment for younger people merely because they are younger.

After all, I remember when my generation’s wardrobe, music, and tastes were questioned and sometimes openly attacked by those who were older. What on earth could they have had against Nehru Jackets, love beads, mood rings, and the like? So what if we didn’t share their enthusiasm for Glenn Miller, the McGuire Sisters, and others? Did all of that make us bad people?

I may not understand all that the millennials are about, but I can honestly say that there are many good things to be said about them. Like my generation (when we were their age and now that we are our age) there will always be room for improvement.

At the same time, let me express my deep, deep love for another group that I fear may get overlooked way too often. This group is not made up of individuals of one particular generation. There are people of all ages in this group.

I love those perennials.

You know the ones I’m talking about, don’t you? They are the ones upon whom you can depend. They are reliable. They are steady. They are “always there” when they need to be.

I fear that, in an effort to serve or appease one particular group, these perennials are either forgotten or feel like they are forgotten. That is so sad to me because, in many cases, it is the perennials who have helped a particular congregation maintain its viability during the years. In some cases, it is their effort, their prayers, and their finances that are keeping the work going now.

How about a novel idea? Why don’t we all – boomers, busters, generation x, generation y, millennials, and whatever else I’ve left out – all relate to one another and truly develop hearts of servants.

In other words, why don’t we all purpose to be perennials?

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. (1 Cor. 15:58, ESV)


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Episode 64: Some Thoughts about “The Me-Time Myth” (with Leah Faughn) [Podcast]

(Player not displaying or working? Click here.)

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Many people–and, it seems, especially mothers–talk about “me time.” A couple of years ago, a blogger wrote a powerful article about how having true “me time” as a mother is a myth. She took a lot of heat for the article, but it sparked some good discussion.

On this week’s podcast, Adam and Leah talk about the article [which you can find here] and about how mothers need a little “me time,” but how the ideal of this concept is really a myth for mothers who truly want to impact their children.

LOFpodcast

Resource

The ‘Me Time’ Myth” [Your Mom Has a Blog]

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From the Perspective of the Church Greeter

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It’s on almost every congregation’s “privilege list” I’ve ever seen. Lots of people sign up to perform this weekly duty because (let’s be honest) it doesn’t take a lot of time out of our schedules during the week. It’s a relatively easy job which simply requires that you arrive at services before everyone else begins arriving. 

Now don’t get me wrong…it’s a very important task which needs to be taken seriously. Meeting people at the door with a smile on your face and a warm greeting is very valuable, especially to those who may be visiting for the first time. Handing those who enter a bulletin and directing them to a class can make a difference as to whether or not they will return to your services. 

I was talking this last week with someone who had served as a “greeter” (less than a thousand miles from me) and she gave me some things to think about. She discussed it from the perspective of the greeter. Here are some of the things she noticed (and a few I have noticed when performing this task):

  • It’s fairly easy to tell which people are happy to be coming to worship God. Now I know that is a judgment call, but from her perspective (and mine), facial expressions say a lot. Frowning faces and slouching shoulders don’t exactly say I’m happy to be here…especially when you are being greeted with a smile and an open door.
  • Those entering on walkers and crutches, or sitting in a wheel chair, seem to be some of the happiest people to be able to assemble to worship God.  I am always humbled by those who physically struggle to make it to the services of the Lord and yet do so with happy hearts.
  • It’s fairly easy to detect which young families with children have put a priority on the importance of coming together to worship God.  Everyone will be entering with a Bible in their hand if they are old enough to hold one. The children won’t look like they have been pulled from their beds at the last minute and forced to come for Bible class and worship. 
  • Serving as the greeter does not make you the head of the complaint department.  Some folks enter the doors with a complaint on their tongue (had to park too far away, it’s hot/cold outside, are we ever going to get that parking lot fixed, etc.). 

The greeter who talked with me caused me to think about my behavior when I come to worship God. She was there for a special purpose – to help me feel welcome as I enter into the fellowship of those who have come together for the very special purpose of offering worship to God.

We all need to spend some time thinking about one very important fact…God needs to be glorified when I am a greeter and when I am being greeted.


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Free Resource: Esther Review Sheets for Family Devotionals [Printable]

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Last Wednesday, we released review sheets to help teach the book of Ruth to your children. [Find out more here.] We also promised, though, that something else was coming this Wednesday.

So today, we are pleased to let you know that we have review sheets for another book of the Bible ready to release, and it is the wonderful book of Esther.

As with our sheets on Matthew and Ruth, these sheets each contain about 10 questions directly from the text, 3 or 4 discussion questions, and a memory verse. Also, as with the other sheets, these were created during little snippets of time, so we are certain you’ll find some typos. We apologize, but hey, we’re busy folks!

We hope these sheets help you teach this wonderful story of God’s providence! To access the sheets, click this link or the picture below.

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Also, to find all our free printable resources visit our store by following this link.


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AUTHOR: Adam Faughn

Falling in Love with Jesus Again

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I don’t know about you, but there is a part of me that wishes I could hear about Jesus for the very first time today. Do you remember the first time you heard about Jesus helping the woman caught in adultery? Do you remember the first time you read about him weeping over Lazarus? Do you remember the first time someone preached to you about him looking out at the multitudes and having compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd? Do you remember the first time you were told about the cross, “Father forgive them…”, and “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me?”
Something happened to me over a period of time the more I learned about Jesus. I was slowly changed from a person who thought about my own needs to a person who began to concentrate on loving others. I was day by day transformed from a person who felt sad and alone to a person who knew someone loved me perfectly and continually. I was progressively falling in love with Jesus every single time I learned more about him and what he had done for my soul.
Is it possible for us to fall out of love with Jesus? I think it is. If we stop appreciating anything–our spouse, our job, our blessings, no matter what it may be – before long we will not be as moved within ourselves by their presence. This is why Christians can actually attend worship for weeks, months, and even years and remain totally unmotivated, unproductive, and unashamed.
I want to fall in love with Jesus all over again. I want to cry about the cross. I want to be inspired by his faithful last march into Jerusalem. I want to be empowered by his miraculous works. I want to be encouraged by his constant care and concern. I want to be excited about his return. I want to be humbled by his mercy. I want to be amazed by his wisdom. I want to be enraptured by his heavenly glory. I want to fall in love with him like I did the first time I realized everything about him.
What will it take for us to fall in love with Jesus all over again? I suggest we erase the chalkboard and open up the gospels as if we have never read them before. I suggest we approach listening to the preacher as if we are searching for Jesus in every sermon. I suggest we humble ourselves and see our sinfulness and realize how desperate we are for a Savior. I suggest we understand how lonely we are in this world without perfect love and open ourselves to the idea once more that it does in fact exist and that he is it.
When I think about Jesus, I mean when I really think about him, I can’t help but be in love with him. He is all there is. He is the only way, truth, and life both now and forever. He is the love of God manifested toward us. Take the world. Take everything. But give me Jesus!
“In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1 John 4:10
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