Why I Hate “Evangelism”?


Why I Hate “Evangelism”?
If your church believes that revival is the most important thing that can happen may I prayerfully endorse the following?
Your church can no longer talk about revival, or even pray for revival without doing something about revival.
It is a fact that churches and pastors are busy and finding extra time to go out the marketplace is daunting.
How do you solve the problem?
Take one of your week day church meetings and change it into an evangelistic outing!
If your church has only one weekday meeting you can alternate it as an evangelistic outing twice a month and your scheduled meeting the other two days.
I have despised evangelist outings as I suspect most Christians do.
The reasons why they fail are the following.
Going out to the market place becomes a program rather than connecting with your neighbor.
There is an expectation that you have to talk to people.
What if you talked to no one? What if there is is no pressure to talk to anybody?
There is an expectancy of having to share the gospel in the outing. This expectation hijacks the process of getting to know your neighbor and changes the whole thing into a program.
What if there is no approach or method?
What if you talked about music and never mentioned Jesus?
Rock and roll is one of my best connecting points.
The thing of dividing into teams with the prospect of having to share the gospel or pray with somebody sends chills through me. I hate it. What is to be fun and normal becomes a project with quantified results. Forget the results!
Next, is the debriefing meeting at the end of the outing.
Thinking about debriefing at the end of the outing places a burden that I must achieve something to bring something back to the debriefing meeting. Be normal, for God’s sake. We don’t do live with debriefing meetings, do we?
The outing is geared to give you a feel for the marketplace, a love for your neighbor and an experience of what Jesus can do. It’s supposed to be fun!
What if the evangelistic gathering, had no expectation of what one must do?
What if the evangelistic outreach had no expectation of results?
What if no one shares the gospel and prays for no one?
What if people go without dividing into teams?
What if there are no debriefing meetings?
What if the group simply goes out to a Starbucks, buys coffee and hangs out.
What if it’s fun to get out of church?
What if your church began to grow because of this? What a concept!
What if this is the evangelism that Jesus likes?

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Twenty truths, half truths and lies about evangelism!


Wynwood

Awesome evangelism team with Wynwood Church, Miami, at the Wynwood Art Walk

Not all places are equal when it comes to evangelism. Nyack, New York is one of the more conducive places because of the relational slow moving aspect of the city. New York’s changes of seasons attracts many to the outdoors.
On the other hand. Miami, Florida is one of the most difficult. The generic uncultural structure of the city combined with its eternal summers, drives people into their air conditioned homes, autos and Starbucks.  But yet, God has a strategy for every place.
1.    My evangelistic passions arise in New York and wane in Miami. So will yours according to locations.
2.    Yet, the thread is that people are people wherever one lives. We share the same fears, joys, hopes and disappointments.
3.    People are looking for people, who truly care, who will listen to their story, get into their lives, and counsel them with wisdom and the spirit of father or motherhood.
4.    I find very little difference between the churched and unchurched.
5.    I find that I minister to people in the just about the same way in the church as I do outside.
6.    I find that Jesus Christ easily brings church into the market place, and that the church should never be confined to the walls of a building.
7.    I find that the holiness and sanctity of God is felt as strong with the dingiest people on the streets as it is in a glorious worship service.
8.    I feel more bored inside a church than I feel outside of it.
9.    I see God more enthusiastically moving outside of church than inside.
10.    People outside of church are as excited to receive a word of prophecy as those inside.
11.    The enemy of the church is not the world. It’s not an us versus them clash. There is not a deep dark witchcraft world that we must spend hours bounding and rebuking in the safety of the church walls. That’s a cop out. The greatest warfare is going into the marketplace to shine your light that darkness will not contain.
12.    The church for many has become a ghetto. Get out of your ghetto. There is a big world to explore.
13.    I see evangelistic opportunities called “visitors” that God brings to church on Sundays  and which most church goers will miss because of selfishness, fear, and passivity
14.    I was a severe stutterer for forty years bounded by panic and fear. If I can talk to people on the streets, so can you. Practice makes perfect.
15.    In Nyack, the best evangelism is called coffee evangelism. I grab a cup of coffee, sit and wait for God to move. What is God’s strategy where you live? He must have one!
16.    If you sincerely get into people’s lives to love and serve them, even the atheist will hear you.
17.    Someone suggested the best name for a Christian coffee house, “The Listening Ear.”  What a concept!
18.     God’s river is flowing through every city. The key is to find it and flow in it.
19.    In evangelism, the key is your will. We must adopt the Nike slogan, “just do it.”
20.     We pray for revival, but its here. God has heard our prayers. But without your co cooperation in His marketplace, your prayers will remain prayers prayed in the ghettos of your churches.

Spiritual Thoughts From New York


Don’t develop a tunnel vision with what God is doing in your church that you miss the bigger vision of what God is doing outside of her. The reality of Christ requires a balance and participation in both.

The truth of the matter at least according to Jose. Jesus is doing more with Christians outside the church walls than within. The Holy Spirit is moving more actively outside the church walls, than within. God’s favor, which comes through people, is greater outside the church walls, than within. The fullness of Christ’s reality for the Christian will never be actualized only in fellowship with other Christians.

We met a man who told us that his friend had died. Mary innocently told him that one day he would see him in heaven. His defensive answer was that he did not believe in all that stuff that he believed in scientific Darwinism. That was the end of the conversation for I have no grace to convince or chase him down. Neither did Jesus. As we bid him good bye I could tell that he was shaken up by the mention of heaven. I suspect as with all others who profess atheism that he had been burned by religion somewhere. My sadness for him lingered seeing the pain that he is in and the doors that he has shut.

“The best way that God will manifest Himself to you is when you approach your search with an earnest heart and a measure of humility. Many times when we approach the existence of God simply with an attitude of mental or argumentative debate, God won’t show up. Remember, I was like all agnostic and atheists at one time of my life, and when I became sincere in my search for Him, I had an encounter which drastically changed my life.
What encounter could I have had that radicalized my life for 37 years, took me out drugs without rehab or help, purified my heart from pornography addiction, changed my source of employment forever and all my beliefs about deity.
It is all too simplistic to say that I have been conned or psychopathically deluded all these years.”
My response to someone to day on my blog entry.

What is evangelism? There is a world of people stuck in pain, rejection and darkness awaiting for you to come and notice them, pay attention to and father them, and promote them in the love of Jesus. The harvest is far greater than what can be seen. There are millions upon millions like these awaiting for you.

The goal of freedom in Christ is to allow the Holy Spirit to become the undisputed and unhindered leader of your life. Nothing is as vital as this if we are to see life changing things impact people’s lives. Towards the end of the service at Silver Springs Vineyard Church of Nyack I suddenly got a vision of a powerfully moving river teeming with the waters of life. Since the river was flowing downstream by the force of gravity, nothing could stop it. God told me, this is the river of my Spirit that I wish to release today. Because gravity pulled it forwards, I had to do nothing but stretch out my hand and let it flow out of me. The first person we prayed for was a little lady in her 70’s. She was so massively touched that she leaned against the wall, out in the presence of God. I believe that for nearly two hours the river flowed to many and yet we did nothing but to stretch out our hands. Jesus is beautiful.

I am talking to one of my missionary friends in India who is using prophetic evangelism quite successfully. In my life, a good portion of the relationships that today I have come to enjoy came out of prophetic evangelism. Everybody wants a word from Almighty God, I don’t care who they are, unless they have absolutely hardened themselves to Him. It is terrible for anyone to say that spiritual gifts are not for today. They need to seek the face of God and repent. I don’t know how many of my present relationships would have been short circuited if I had believed that nonsense.

The difference between the one who calls himself a Christian and has a love for Christ but never attains to Christ’s fullness versus a true disciple of Christ who does, is hardness of heart.

Mt 1:18 Now the birth (genessis) of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the (out of the) Holy Ghost.
Our genesis comes out of the Holy Spirit. No connection to our natural birth.

EW Kenyon, one of my favorite Bible teachers along with Austin Sparks, says this about faith. There is a level of faith which allows me to enter in and begin to obtain what you have asked from God. The next level of faith allows me to become fully established into what I have obtained which is the definition of having my dreams come true. I must confess that I have learned to operate in the first but have never allowed myself to move into the faith which establishes and manifests my dreams. For the latter to work, I must develop the habit of walking on waters and risking it all. It cannot be the exception, it must become the habit. I am ready for my dreams to become true, what about you?

2 Cor 3:14 But their minds were blinded: Blinded is the Greek word, porosis, defined as callous. Our thoughts can become calloused. The most effective way to callousness is disobeying the voice of God speaking through the Holy Spirit. Be careful this does not happen to you.

If it’s the voice of the Lord, throw yourself into the waters of RISK, also spelled FAITH, big time. This is the only way achieve all that God has in His mind. It’s a question of how much you want to achieve, according to your mind, or Gods?

I don’t want to do anything that does not work. If God shows me that it’s not working, I want to chuck it immediately. If God says that it is, but it’s hitting a snag, I want to tweak it day by day, according to Him, to make it cutting edge. If it’s fully working, I want to leave it alone and flow with it. There is not a second to waste.

The truth of the matter at least according to Jose. Jesus is doing more with Christians outside the church walls than within. The Holy Spirit is moving more actively outside the church walls, than within. God’s favor, which comes through people, is greater outside the church walls, than within. The fullness of Christ’s reality for the Christian will never be actualized only in fellowship with other Christians.

Big Bertha’s Evangelistic Ministry


I did not drive Big Bertha for two months while in NY.

Not only was the gas tank empty but the tires had lost air from her being parked. I had started her twice since my arrival and the battery though weak, had spurt to life.

After filling the tires I turned off the engine to vacuum the interior. Lo and behold, the battery was dead.

I did not have a jumper cable and the five Miamians whom I asked did not either.

Fortunately there was a Tires Plus in walking distance.

The attendant was nice enough to loan me a fully charged jumper battery. Indeed, Berthas battery, already old, had died after two months of no use.

Since coming from NY God has given me a desire to be neighborly to folks and just reach out to them.

As I sat waiting for Bertha I spoke to an elderly couple who the husband had been a lawyer for 45 years but retired after seeing corruption among his fellow lawyers. It had disheartened him.

There was another couple who had left Venezuela because of the shenanigans of the current administration.

I was surprised when the man said that Venezuelans are not praying people. “If ten percent would cry out to God, He would deliver them from the current evil regime,” he retorted.

We agree that only divine intervention can save Venezuela.

As we chatted, another woman, a seventh day Adventist who was also waiting for her car, got into the conversation. We ended having a big 30 minute exchange about the Lord in the middle of the Tires Plus lobby in Miami!

After that, I went to get my haircut with the hair dresser who has been cutting my hair for two years.

As I sat I told her that I had been out of town for two months on a ministry trip. “Ministry trip”, she asked her eyes wide open.

I realized that in two years I had not discussed God with her. She told me that she has been a devout Christian since a young girl. We had the best conversation we had ever had. She then asked me for a business card of our church

She added at the end of the conversation that if I knew a genuine hardship case of someone who needs a haircut and cannot afford it, to let her know.

I guess this is part of her ministry.

Case and point, whether in NY or Miami, or anywhere else, people are just people.

The love which Jesus has for everybody always wins out.

All it takes is kindness, being friendly and neighborly and not be intimidated by walls of insecurity. Break through, reach out, and you will be surprised what God will do.

What the devil meant today to thwart some of God’s plans, He used that very thwarting to bring His love and glory.

 

No One Knew


Eph 3:20  Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,

We are our way from Nyack NY to Miami.

God has powerfully achieved Ephesians three and twenty.

But it was not always like this.

When the Lord called us to spend two months away from our home and children it was scary.

Knowing that He would have to supply for two separate set of bills was scary.

No one except my wife knew that with less than two weeks left before the trip, no money had come in.

No one knew that I was discouraged and scared and was tempted to cancel the whole thing.

No one knew that it was until I got on my knees, and prayed that money came.

No one knew the apprehension that I had about going to the streets of America and share the love of Christ, after what I heard was that religion is dead and that everyone is hostile towards God.

Don’t listen to the media! They don’t represent the majority of Americans.

I still owed my accountant money for the taxes that we had filed just before leaving.

No one knew how God miraculously covered our mortgage in Miami by someone whom we don’t know too well.

No one knew how large sums of money came in from people whom I have very little contact with.

No one knew how almost one thousand dollars came in this Sunday in NY so that we could come back to Miami.

No one knew that when we arrived in Nyack and knew that God told us to go out to the streets how I tried to make excuses not to do so.

No one knew that we had no idea where and how to start ministering the love of Christ outside the church walls.

That Friday, May 2nd, as we ventured the streets, and ended up in a Froyo shop, we met and reconnected with Gina Choi whom we knew on former trips and who became our spiritual PR person; a massive help to us on this trip.

Religion might be dead in America but not God.

We encountered an overwhelming hunger from so many people for the love and kindness of God. Everyone is hungry for relationships, to talk, to be listened to, to be shown an interest in, to get a prayer or a word from God.

For seven weeks ministry has not stopped as God brought us divine appointment after divine appointment.

We did not experience hostility or rejection. Those who were atheists, or into yoga or new age, were kind to us. So many ideas were shared.

Don’t listen to the media! They don’t represent the majority of Americans

With open arms we were welcomed by the body of Christ in Rockland County in NY.

We had opportunity to go to my wife’s 40th year high school reunion in CT, which was absolutely awesome.

My daughter Hannah visited us. It was so rich.

Our friends from Miami, Maria Passwaters and Joyce Jones came to visit and got caught in this flow of the revival spirit hitting Rockland County.

Why do write all this?

It’s not to tout my horn, lol!

I am just a mere man like you.

I struggled with the same sins, deal with the same unbelief and doubts that everyone does.

But I think that I’ve learned to push into the dreams that God has given me.

I vet learned to obey cost God at all costs.

I have learned that to only be a spectator to someone else’s vision is suicide.

I have learned that allowing fear to overtake me to where my destiny is jeopardized is the recipe for a life of chronic boredom. How terrible!

I’ve learned how to laugh at myself and to be a fool for Chris rather than to be someone else’s wise man.

So many miss out on what Mary and I experience simply because they choose not to obey.

So many miss out on the amazing things that God has for them because they choose not to jump into the waters of God’s adventures.

So many will live and die missing what God had for them.

For so many, Christianity is sadly a spiritual spectator sport of vicariously participating in it through the testimonies of the few who play.

God has called none to be a spectator and everyone to play.

Don’t let this be you. Test and see that God is good, but do test.

2014-05-11 21.20.57

 

What Does Twenty Minutes With Jesus Looks Like?


Yesterday, we took part in Thirsty Thursday.

This bi monthly event is headed up by a number of Christian college students from Nyack.

In this event the group play worship music at the Nyack Gazebo, prays together and then go in groups to the streets to share the love of Jesus.

After that it’s on to a pizza joint to warm up and get fellowship.

The night was especially cold, drizzly and foggy.

The temperature was in the 50’s and we froze our behinds off.

Nonetheless, during the warmth of the worship music spilling from the gazebo, occasional onlookers stopped and listen.

One took a song sheet and joined us.

Another guy who plays guitar joined us.

At the end, we had twenty minutes to walk the streets and share Jesus.

My group had Gina Choi and another girl by the name of Carlie.

Immediately, God’s Spirit pointed a young woman sitting on the bench while her child played close to the gazebo.

As we approached her I said, “Excuse me, I am pastor from Miami and God speaks to me, and I felt I had something for you. Would it be okay, if I share it with you?”

A bit surprised, taken aback, and hesitant, she said okay.

I said, “I see two musical notes together, does this mean anything to you?’”

I was surprised, when she pleasantly startled replied, “Well I have two children and they are both in dancing.”

From that word we prayed more for her and her kids.

Those five minutes were remarkably powerful. This girl was deeply impacted by what occurred, and it had all come from a simple word from the Holy Spirit.

From there as we crossed the street we spotted and man struggling to move on a walker. His limp was prominent and his steps were very slow.

There was a younger woman, fashionably dressed assisting him.

My friend Gina Choi felt led to pray for him.

Walking up to them, Gina boldly stepped up and if she could.

The fashionable woman, broke out into a big grin.

She was a Spirit filled Christian.

She said that she had been tempted not to go out because of the cold but something told her to. She was so grateful to us for praying for her friend. The man also wanted prayer. God gave us a number of knowledge words for his condition.

Once again, a five minute Holy Spirit encounter, caused a timeless impact in these lives.

The Holy Spirit then told me to stop and wait with the two girls on the sidewalk.

It was not long before a man whom I have ministered to on previous trips walked by me. I greeted and told him that I would be in town another 5 weeks.

Our twenty minutes were up and we returned back to the gazebo.

As we approached it, my friend Piero was finishing sharing Jesus with a man. I got a word for him.

I saw a pen with a flower stuck through the man’s left hand.

I felt that this weird picture meant that the guy was a writer but was not using his gift.

Indeed when I asked him, he was a writer of books and music, who according to his mother had been hiding his writing abilities in the sand.

Another five minute brilliant impact by Jesus.

What did you think of these twenty minutes with Jesus?

So much fun, and so easy.

The greatest news is that if I can do it, so can you.

Many blessings

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