Eight Weeks of Effective Witness Day 16: College Awakenings and Evangelism

I love to read about, talk about, and pray for revival. I love college students and young adults as well. That’s why I love to talk about how God has used college students in movements of God. The greatest times of evangelistic harvest in the modern church came in times of spiritual movements, and most missionary movements came from them.

Here’s a video where I give a brief overview of how God has used college students in past spiritual movements. Make sure the young people you know are aware of how God uses people just like them. And pray for God to do so again.

Eight Weeks of Effective Witness Day 15: A Place to Land for Evangelism

“Give me a place to stand and I will move the earth.” Archimedes.

I want to offer you a landing place for your evangelism. Actually, my publisher B&H Academic created it, and I’m grateful. You can search the page yourself here, but I want to comment about it with some screen shots.

The page is a one-stop location full of resources related to evangelism flowing from my Sharing Jesus book. Here’s an overview of some of the features:

This is the main home page for the book at B&H Academic. You can also find it by simply searching www.sharingJesusbook.com. PLEASE NOTE: There is a place to share your story about how this resource has helped you in your witness. Or, you can just post a story about sharing Jesus. It will encourage others!

Here are some very kind comments from others about the book. My pal D.A. Horton is planting a church in LA. Rebecca Pippert is a hero to me–her book Out of the Saltshaker had a tremendous impact on me in seminary. And my friend Ed Stetzer heads the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton and is a guru of all things missional. I’m grateful for these kind words.

You can “try before you buy” the book here. Also, when you place an order, if you want to order in bulk you can get copies for only $5.00 each for orders of 20 or more! That. is. amazing. I know student pastors who are giving this to high school grads, pastors giving to their staff and key leaders, church planting leaders giving one to all their planters, and businessmen giving them to employees, and other examples.

I’m very excited about this page. My dear friend Brian Upshaw and the North Carolina Baptist State Convention along with help from the North American Mission Board recorded a series of eight videos where I teach through each chapter in about 20 minutes or so. These are FREE for you at the site. I already know pastors and others in different states who are using these to lead training through the book over an eight week study. I’m so grateful for this.

ALSO: there are two videos of role-playing. I role play leading a young man named Eli to Christ, and two of our young ladies also role play a conversation. Note: these are not polished, but are real-life convos, the kind I have regularly with young professionals and others. There’s also a video interview with my dear friend Jonathan Dodson of City Life Church in Austin.

I hope you will take advantage of these amazing resources available to you, and I hope you wil join the EIGHT WEEK CHALLENGE and tell us your stories.

I’m praying for an evangelism movement in our time. Perhaps this can help.

 

 

Eight Weeks of Effective Witness Day 14: Principle 2–Share the Gospel with Yourself (with a video)

The Story App

Today I want to look at the second principle in the Sharing Jesus book. It states:

In order to share Jesus confidently and consistently with others, first share him confidently and consistently with yourself.

So much of the evangelism training we’ve seen developed over the past generation was built on an assumption that believers being trained came to the training with a clear understanding of the gospel and a passion for Jesus. That’s an understandable assumption; I don’t think it’s accurate.

Here’s what I say to my students and what I said to the church where I ministered this past weekend: if you don’t have a deep passion for Jesus and a strong awareness of how amazing the gospel is, there is no technique I can give you that will cause you to witness. But, if you deeply love Jesus and are growing in your knowledge of the gospel, you will want to learn more.

When all we have is a how-to manual, we no longer have a movement. But a movement happens when we have a cause we will stake our life on, and that cause is the gospel.

So, to share Jesus CONFIDENTLY and CONSISTENTLY with OTHERS, we have to start with ourselves. Our confidence doesn’t come in our ability. When we focus on that we will ultimately be depressed because our ability is not the point. The gospel is the point. Jesus is the point. Our confidence is in him. That’s why I called the second chapter “God Is Not Mad at You.” When you start with yourself and your ability and practice, you will inevitably focus on your failures and weaknesses. Focus on Christ. Focus on his work on the cross, focus on the fact that he is resurrected from the dead.

In other words, the more we learn the wonder and the glory of the story of the gospel, the more we will talk about it to others. We naturally talk about the things we care about.

Read 1 Corinthians 15:1–4 and Luke 24:44-48. I quote both in the second chapter.  In I Corinthians, Paul shows us the gospel at its heart, or what I call the gospel in its essence: Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose again (vv. 3–4).

While our gospel is never less than this, it is more, or what I call the gospel as an epic story. The entire Bible unpacks the larger, glorious story of the gospel. Look at these passages again. In Luke’s passage, Jesus starts by explaining to the disciples everything in Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms. What’s he talking about? What we call the Old Testament. This was the Bible of the first century. Jesus demonstrates here how the gospel is central to the entire Bible, not just to the Gospel writers.

And what about Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians? Note how twice Paul says “according to the Scriptures.” Most of us also have some knowledge of the whole biblical message and how the work of Christ relates to all Scripture. But most of the people with whom we have gospel conversations—and this is crucial—do not have such knowledge. They need to understand the gospel from the second way, from the perspective of the whole Bible. They need to see the story of Jesus is as big as the Bible itself, the story of Jesus is bigger than our times and our individual lives, or even the spiritual aspect of our lives alone.

And we need to see that as well. Here’s a little video where I give a brief overview of the gospel story in its epic form:

 

Eight Weeks of Witnessing Day 13: How Big Is Your WHY?

I’m catching a plane today, which is not that unusual. Because I have an artificial hip — which is a bit unusual — I enjoy a brief encounter each trip with a certain group of people.

I’m referring to the TSA, or Transportation Security Administration.

If you travel by air, you know the dear people who have the joy of screening passengers at airports across the United States, and their peers in airports globally.

“Step to the side, sir. Male assist!” Have you ever heard that? If you have ever heard the familiar beeping of a metal detector you just set off in an airport (and you are a male), you have. I’ve flown all over the world and have set off more metal detectors than I can recall. I know the airport security drill.

The drill changes through the years. I remember when you could greet your loved ones at the gate. The details change over time, but what remains constant is this: If you set off the metal detector, you will have to be screened further. Maybe you forgot the change in your pocket or failed to take off your belt. If you have set it off, you know what happens next: The personal screener gets a little more than intrusive to make sure you are safe to travel. Today, most airports have magnetic resonance machines that allow me to avoid the “personal touch” of such thorough customer care.

I received my metal hip in 1998. But I started setting off metal detectors in 2001, in late September in fact, on the aforementioned trip to South Africa. Why did my hip suddenly begin to set off the metal detector? Three numbers: 9-1-1. The terrorist attack on the U.S. changed a lot of lives and at some level has touched the whole world. Why?

Several years before that September a man sitting in a tent in eastern Afghanistan had become pretty ticked off at the West, and at Americans in particular. Osama bin Laden had a Why big enough to cause him to want to harm the most powerful nation on the earth. He convinced a couple dozen men to come to the States to attend flight training schools in order to learn how to fly domestic air carriers. These men boarded flights on September 11, 2001, and armed with nothing more than box cutters and the ability to steer airliners, unleashed an attack unprecedented in American history, leaving almost three thousand dead.

Immediately after the attacks, the metal detectors were turned to a more sensitive frequency. For the first time in three years of having a metal hip, I set off a metal detector less than two weeks after 9/11, on my first trip to Africa.

Osama bin Laden started a movement of the worst kind. He sold a handful of men on a Why big enough to die for, leading them to conduct a most sinister act, one that has led to the recognition of a global movement of terrorism just when we thought the Cold War’s end would lead to a much more peaceful world.

While many have been involved, one man started the movement.

He was not a dictator.

Nor was he the leader of a massive, organized army.

But using an idea and modern communication tools such as social media, Osama bin Laden to some degree changed the whole world. Not for the better.

Good news: Almost two thousand years ago a band of believers, a gaggle of Galileans, a den of disciples numbering only 120, gathered in Jerusalem. They had no standing in the culture. But they had a mission so big only God could accomplish it through them. He took a man intent on leading a movement to persecute followers of Christ and turned him into one of the leaders of the early Christian movement. Saul of Tarsus became the apostle Paul because of the power of the gospel. Their Why was big enough to change the world.

What if you started living every day with the passion for Jesus hungry to advance the gospel in your community and around the world, no matter the cost? It would take a Why that big. And that’s what Jesus has called you and I to have, and to do.