Saturday, October 19, 2013

BOTTLE NECKS


Why Christians are not engaged in ministry?


1.    I do not have the time for gospel sharing.

@ What you really mean is that you do not have the desire to do it.  It is a problem of attitude rather than time. Jesus came to seek and save the lost. He further said, seek ye first the kingdom of God. So like our Master, seeking and saving the lost must remain our top priority. Do not be so busy doing so many good things that you miss out on the main thing. Luke 19:10; Matt 6:33
On the Day of Judgment there will be some interesting interaction when you tell your Creator and Saviour who shed his blood for your salvation that you did not have time for him. Most likely he will have no time for you. “Proclaim the gospel to every creature” is command and not an option. Mark 16:15


2.    I do not have the resources to go to evangelize.

@ The answer is that you are a missionary wherever God has put you, your neighbourhood or your worksite, and that is your primary nuclear church. It does not cost you anything to witness there. Just look around and you will be amazed at all the rich spiritual blessings that the Lord has already blessed you with. Eph. 1:3


3.    The community I live in is full of people who are hostile to Christianity.

@ Jesus lived in a very hostile community that finally killed him but still taught and practiced, “Love your enemy” and finally died saying “Forgive them”. Check out your attitude. Are you hostile or critical of their religion, culture, have a confrontational approach trying to win a debate rather than the soul, foolishly try to church the un-churched; all these are counter-productive and will turn off the lost people. Remember they are also created by God and need to be restored in his image and in his likeness. Respect their privacy and share the gospel wherever they are comfortable. Quit bothering them if there is negative response and try someone more receptive, “He who listens to you listens to me; he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me." Luke10: 16; Matt. 10:13,14


4.    I do not know how to share the gospel? Any way we pay the pastor and support the evangelists, it is their job, not mine.

@ You do not know how to share the gospel because you never tried. First try KISS (keep it simple stupid) and if it does not work then find out from someone who knows how to, just like you find out about so many other things from people who know. It is the job of every disciple to complete the task of the Great Commission of “making disciples of all nations who reproduce disciples of Jesus who reproduce healthy churches” on a daily basis. Every believer is called to be instant, in season and out of season, and defend his/her faith whenever and wherever challenged because the Judge is at the door, and every man’s, including your eternity is at hand!  True maturity in Christ is not being a member of a church in good standing (generous giver) but ability to convince, convict and convert those who contradict. Jesus only mentioned “church” twice in all of the gospels. He never gave any instructions about how it should function or be structured.  He invested almost all his ministry time on making disciples. Never forget that you are saved to save others. Acts 16:5; 2Tim. 4:2; 1Pet. 3:15; Titus 1:5


5.    I do not know enough about their religion and culture so I need to learn that first before I can share the gospel with them.

@ We know for sure that almost everyone is looking for salvation. A lawyer stood up and asked Jesus the eternal question, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 10:25, 26). “Hindus call it Moksha, Buddhists call it Nirvana and Muslims call it Nejat. Their entire religion and culture is structured to achieve that goal. Therefore Jesus rightly said the harvest is ready and has been ready for the last 2000 years, but for the dysfunctional church (John 4:35). The only difference is that in other religions man tries to get salvation through human effort whereas in Christianity God comes to save the sinner, “While we were yet sinners Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8; Eph. 2:8).
It is helpful if you know something about their culture or religion or language but it is not mandatory. You are commanded to witness what God has done in your life and tell them that the Gospel can do the same to them if they believe that Jesus was offered as Korban (sacrifice) for the forgiveness of their sins (1 Cor. 15:1-4) and they can receive moksha, nirvana and nejat, if they confess with their mouth that Jesus is their Lord (Rom. 10:9,10). Your role is to witness and the work of the Holy Spirit is to convict them. Keep practicing it until witnessing becomes your second nature. Acts 1:8


6.    I believe in friendship evangelism, first make friends and then evangelize.

@ Jesus, Peter and Paul did not waste their time making friends. Yes they might have started off with some relational opening remark like Jesus said to the Samaritan woman to give him water to drink, or Peter wrote to elders of the church that I am also a fellow elder or Paul said to Athenians, I have visited your temples and you are a very religious people to identify with them but all of them immediately went for the jugular - the salvation message. The Samaritan woman tried to side track Jesus by asking him, “Are you greater than our Father Jacob?” Jesus did not bite that one but stayed on course for salvation. Use social work, your job, business and media or whatever as a platform but do not present Jesus as a “do gooder” but as Saviour of sinners and therefore get to the salvation message quickly and do not get side tracked but doggedly pursue it to its conclusion.


7.    I believe in life-style evangelism. They will see my Christian lifestyle and come to know Jesus.

@ You are deceived. Some will admire your life-style but hardly any lost person will ever come and ask you to share the gospel with him/her. You have to be intentional about it and practice disciple making, until it becomes a hobby. “If you call on the name of the Lord you will be saved, but why will they call on whom they have not believed and how will they believe on him about whom they have not heard, and how will they hear unless a preacher is sent… how beautiful are the feet of those who go and preach the gospel of peace.” (Romans 10:13-17). What use is your scholarship if your feet are not available to get dirty? Shift from passive “life-style evangelism” to passionate “evangelistic life-style.” Evangelism is not being preachy or using churchy language but quietly asking them about assurance of salvation in their religion or worldview. You quickly get to know that they are not sure. So get connected with the lost people and share the salvation message until they make a decision one way or the other. All this is to be done spontaneously and naturally.


8.    Aggressive evangelism can lead to persecution so why stir up the hornet’s nest? Especially as I do not know how to begin?

@ True. When Peter and other disciples were persecuted, they prayed for more boldness, more power and more signs and miracles. Jesus said, when persecuted, rejoice and be exceedingly glad (jump for joy). Persecution has always led to rapid advance of Christianity and it is well known that the kingdom advances on the blood of the martyrs, “If you love your life more than Me, then you cannot be my disciple” Start with your own “Oikos”, the extended family and friends for a practice run before venturing out among the hostile wolves. Any evangelism is invading the demonic turf which can lead to backlash, so learn the rules of engagement. Acts 4:29, 30; Matt. 5:12; Luke 14:26, 27


9.    I am nobody, I am just a woman, I am not educated, and I do not have enough knowledge of the Bible.

@ All these are lame excuses. Religious leaders were impressed with the boldness of Peter and other disciples even though they were unlearned and ignorant men. The characterless Samaritan woman, Priscilla a tent maker, the demonic from Gadara, the lepers, the blind, the deaf and dumb, the tax collector, harlots and many others went and changed their communities after their encounter with Jesus. Today the first generation believers from other faiths, many of whom are poor and illiterate but rich in faith are turning their world upside down. Remember in Christ you are a new creation and an ambassador with ministry of reconciliation. 2Cor. 5:17-20


10. I am afraid my church may ostracize me for going out to preach rather than attend the church on Sunday. Worse things will happen if I don’t give tithe to the church and instead spend it on my apostolic ministry. They may not allow my daughter to be married in the church and how will I go to heaven if I am not buried in the Church’s cemetery?

@ Jesus said, let the dead bury their dead, you go preach the kingdom. You are accountable to Jesus, your Creator and Saviour so “do not be a man pleaser.” They are primarily interested in your finance and therefore keep you in bondage, a bottle neck that keeps you from being a blessing to the nations. Church is not the only but there are several options for getting married and buried but to go to heaven there is only one option, “Obey all that I have commanded you” and the command is clear and explicit “Go make disciples of all nations”. Most Christians will readily admit that they love the Lord but are phony because Jesus clearly says, “If you love me, you will obey my commands.” Luke 9:60; Gal. 1:10; Matt. 28:18-20; John 14:21-24


11. I am an ex-pat missionary and I am confused about my role.

@ Refrain from spreading a western version of Christianity that does not work in the west and paralyzes the move of God everywhere else, especially when there are local brothers and sisters who could share and who are actually seeing the multiplication of reproducing disciples of Jesus Christ.  

Identify your gifts: apostolic, prophetic, teaching, help, healing, networking, resource mobilization, research or whatever and use it for equipping the saints for the works of ministry (those with passion for the harvest) that fulfil the Great Commission. Do not waste resources on building church buildings but invest all you have in producing multiple generations of harvest producing disciples that birth healthy churches that spark disciple making movements. Your goal is to plant a “church planting movement” rather than plant a church. Having planted a “movement”, pass on the baton to the locals and move on to the next place until like Paul you can say “there are no more places left here for me to preach the gospel…” You are not to indulge in sheep stealing but to do all this where Christ has not been named yet. Eph. 4:11, 12; Col. 1:26-28; 2Tim. 2:2; Rom. 15:19,20,23

12. I do not know how to lead them into decision making, if they ask me what do I do next?

After a brief talk by Peter on the Pentecost, they came and asked him the same question. He commanded them to repent, get baptized, and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit for transformation of their families and others (lost people).
Jesus told Paul to take them out of darkness into marvellous light of the gospel, bring them to repentance and follow them until they have an inheritance (People and places) in the kingdom. Acts 2:37-41; 26:18; Ps. 2:8


13. I am already helping many pastors and evangelists who come ostensibly to pray for me but in reality to get some money from me.

@ Paul says while we have the opportunity, “Let us do good to all men, especially to those of the household of faith.” Filter out those who are working for Christians only and give generously to those who are sharing the gospel with the people of other faiths. This does not always mean giving money and create dependency but help them find a suitable job or help him/her get started with micro-businesses. James says, “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.” Remember all your accumulated earthly wealth will vanish one day, only what will remain are the souls saved as your inheritance, “Lift up your eyes to the heavens, look at the earth beneath; the heavens will vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment and its inhabitants die like flies. But my salvation will last forever, my righteousness will never fail.”  James 4:17; Isa 51: 6

14. I go to church regularly on Sundays and participate in all the programs. I am happy where I am.

@ This is the biggest bottle neck as there is no biblical warrant for an institutionalized program based Sunday church that keeps millions trapped in captivity and makes them non-performers. He commanded you to go and make disciples of all nations every day (Matt. 28:19; Heb. 3:13). Jesus is the true wine and there are at least four kinds of branches: The first one that bears no fruit (disciples) will be cut off and thrown into fire (John 15:6); The second branches have some fruit and will undergo painful pruning (get rid of religious baggage) so that it can bear more fruit (vs.2); The third one has abundant fruit which qualifies him to be a disciple (vs. 8) but even that is not good enough as The fourth branch that brings forth “lasting fruit”; fruit that reproduces more fruit. (John 15:16). Remember a man shall be known (judged) by his fruit (disciples made, baptized, equipped and sent to do the same) and by his Sunday religiosity. Matt. 7:20


15. I am not ordained so how can I baptize anyone or serve the Holy Communion?

@ Jesus says, “You have not chosen me but I have chosen you and “ordained” (appointed, dedicated, consecrated) you that you may go and bring forth “lasting fruit.” (John 15:16 KJV)” How can you bring lasting fruit if you cannot baptise them or serve them the Lord’s Supper. In the early church they baptised each other in rivers, ponds, pools and baths and broke bread from house to house without any clergy officiating. In the last days the Lord is pouring out His Spirit on all flesh and appointing them as Royal Priests to do all that is necessary to advance His Kingdom. Acts 2:17, 18; 1Peter 2:9


16. I am a woman and I am not allowed to speak in the church:

@ Why would you want to speak to non-performing dummies in the church? What stops you from speaking outside the church where the lost people are? Jesus came preaching the kingdom (gospel of salvation and reconciliation) among those who sat in darkness and in the shadows of death. You are the light of the world and the light is meant to shine where there is darkness.
Jesus talked seven times and the Samaritan woman talked back six times and the result was transformation, not only hers but the whole village. Paul never asked women to show up, pay up and shut up. He only asked “wives” not to teach their husbands in public. Paul told Titus to teach the Presbytides (i.e. women elders) to teach younger women (Titus 2:3-5). It was in the ugly rise of clergyism that at the Council of Laodicea (AD 344), the biblical office of Women Elders (Presbytides/Female Presidents) was officially abolished. This decree confirms that there was an office of women elders in the early church. (1Tim. 5:9-19; Titus 2:3-5)

To err is human; to save a soul is divine but to moo is bovine.




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