Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Reaching Family


Matthew 4:19  Then He said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men."

One of the most alarming statistics dealing with the Christianity is that even though the Church continues to grow and spread throughout the earth in each generation yet relatively few individual Believers ever lead someone else to salvation during a one on one encounter. Most born again Christians live their faith, die and go to heaven without ever personally praying for even one individual to receive Christ as Lord and Savior. This is a sad truth and should not be played down.

When asked why they do not witness to the lost, even within their families, the most often responses are “I don’t know how to”, or “I don’t feel comfortable talking to my family about Jesus.” Again, this is a sad truth which should also not be overlooked.

The art of personal evangelism is a simple skill which can be easily learned.

It is apparent that the Church as a whole has not effectively prepared its members to follow Christ and become fishers of men. Rather we depend on someone else to do the work of evangelism silently hoping people get saved while all along missing the opportunities God places right in front of us. Some wrongly imagine soul winning to be the preacher’s job.

During the past 25 years our Church has taken a more aggressive approach to teaching and encouraging personal evangelism. We have trained thousands of Christians around the world, in every state and in near 20 countries to be an effective, non threatening witness for Christ.

The results of our combined efforts continue to catch multitudes, reeling them in one soul at a time.

The next two Wednesday evenings will be devoted to teaching you how to share your faith in an effective yet non-threatening way and thereby become a fisher of men for Jesus. This will be so easy and so memorable. If you will only listen you will remember exactly what to say, when to say it, how to share the truth and ultimately win souls to Christ.

Confidence comes from knowing what to do and success is achieved by working a well orchestrated plan. Our goal will be simple:
1.   Identify those who are ripe and ready to be harvested.
2.   Awaken the command of God in their heart.
3.   Close the deal.

Again, we have already taught this all over the world with amazing results. In one Church in Florida an 82 year old woman who worked in the Church nursery heard the presentation we made during our seminar in her Church. She went home and in less than 10 minutes led her husband to the Lord first try. She came back the next night to give testimony. She said she had been trying to witness to her husband for years without any success. When she asked him why he chose this time to be saved he replied, “You never made it plain like this before.”

This particular method of personal evangelism you are going to learn in these two Wednesday evenings is easy to remember and will work to win souls whether those coming to Christ are 15, 55 or 90 years old. A child can learn it and immediately begin being an effective witness for Jesus.

Several years ago a pre-teen who was a member of Church On The Rock North in Beaumont, TX, attended a seminar we held at his Church. The next week he had a chance encounter with the mayor of Beaumont, I won’t mention which mayor it was, and took the opportunity presented to be a witness. As a result the mayor bowed his head, opened his heart and sincerely prayed to ask Jesus to become his Lord and Savior. The Bible says God has ordained strength out of the mouths of children.

For close to a decade our Church operated a booth at the South Texas State Fair where we simply sold water for one dollar and took surveys from willing passersby. During the survey we used our simple method of evangelism to identify those who were ripe and ready for harvest, awaken the command of God in their hearts and close the deal by offering them an opportunity to pray. Each year we saw between 500 and 1000 people make first time decisions for Christ.

Some time back Brenda and I were attending a Pastor’s Mission conference in Mexico. Our last two days was spent in Cancun with a few new friends we had met at the conference. There were about 10 of us sitting around a table at a restaurant one evening and the subject of being a witness came up. When I told them we had put together an easy, nonthreatening, but effective way to share the gospel in any setting in only 2 minutes they were skeptical. The conversation moved on but after a few minutes a doctor from Little Rock Arkansas who was attending the conference and was sitting with his wife at the end of the table spoke up and said, “If you’re so confident, show me … witness to the next person who comes to the table. If they accept Christ, I’ll believe you.” I said, ok!

A waiter approached the table and in turn he got to me. Within 2 minutes I had shared according to the plan and he bowed his head and prayed to ask Jesus into his heart. When he walked away the doctor still didn’t seem impressed. However, in less than a minute the kitchen doors were slammed open and out from the kitchen that waiter came with a loud voice, tears streaming from his face, proclaiming first in Spanish and then to our whole table in English how that he was a changed man and how he knew he was saved and how his life and his family would never be the same!

For the rest of our meal we continued to see this waiter witness to others with a beaming light in his eyes and a joy-filled look on his face. We all noted that his complete countenance was changed and he was evidently a saved man.

Before we concluded our meal the doctor asked me if I would teach this method to him and his wife. I told them sure but that it would take about 10 minutes for them to learn it in such a way they would never forget it. He shook his head and said that he could not believe he had never been taught how to be an effective witness. I took about 10 minutes and taught the whole table how to recognize those who are ripe and ready, awaken the command of God in their life and close the deal.

The next morning some of us were scheduled to go scuba diving across from Cancun in Cozumel. When we got to the boat the doctor’s wife was reeling with excitement. She got out of the taxi telling us how her husband had already led two people to the Lord before leaving the hotel and now he was praying with the taxi driver who was tearfully asking Jesus to come into his heart at that very moment. It didn’t stop there, while we were on the dive boat this doctor led the captain to Christ and his wife was so moved that she tried her hand at witnessing and led the dive master to pray and be saved. Needless to say it was a very profitable trip for the Kingdom of God.

In the past years we have prepared training materials and mailed out teaching videos and sent teams to hold conferences and seminars literally throughout our communities, our state, our nation and around the world. People from all walks of life have been born again through the simple one on one witness of Believers who were taught to fish for the souls of men.

Once a trained youth group from our Church went to Schlitterbahn and while there took lipstick and wrote “Ask Me!” on their backs. When people asked, those youth followed the plan. In only a few hours that afternoon 38 people prayed to received Jesus as Lord and Savior.

I am telling you all these things to dispel the devil’s ideas in your head that you cannot be an effective witness. Perhaps you have heard the devil tell you that witnessing is for someone else and not for you. That’s a lie from the pit of hell. Maybe you have heard that witnessing hard or that you just don’t know enough Bible – that’s not true. It is not hard, it’s easy and you don’t have to know anything more about the Bible or Jesus than you do right now. All I am going to teach you is how to put it together in such a way you will never forget it and will always know exactly what to do.

You will easily learn and readily remember 3 disarming conversational questions, 3 truths about the Bible, a closing question and a simple prayer. Anyone can do this and achieve results in minutes. How? God has already done the hard work. He sent His only Son to make the way and then His Holy Spirit to prepare the hearts to hear. All we need do is identify the ripened fruit and it will fall off into our hands.

God will do His part but He needs us to do ours. God reaches to people through people.

In the book of Acts, chapter 10, a man named Cornelius who was a Roman soldier caught heaven’s attention. Cornelius was neither a Jew nor a Christian but rather a member of the occupying army of Rome. However, Cornelius had grown to respect the God of the Jews and the way they cared for their poor. As a result Cornelius was a man who also prayed and gave alms to the poor himself. Like I said, this drew heaven’s attention and no doubt God had been working on this Gentile’s heart, preparing him to receive a witness God was going to send his way. God is preparing people for your witness right now … even those difficult members of your family.

Acts 10
1 ¶  There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment,
2  a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always.
3  About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, "Cornelius!"
4  And when he observed him, he was afraid, and said, "What is it, lord?" So he said to him, "Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God.
5  "Now send men to Joppa, and send for Simon whose surname is Peter.
6  "He is lodging with Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea. He will tell you what you must do."

Notice that the angel from heaven was not sent to tell Cornelius and his family about Jesus. Rather, the angel merely pointed Cornelius to a man, a believer, a Christian who would provide the witness necessary for Cornelius and his family to be saved. You see, like we heard earlier: God reaches to people through people.

44 ¶  While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word.
45  And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also.
46  For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered,
47  "Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?"
48  And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.

Herein we see the miraculous ministry of the Holy Spirit doing what only He can do while working with the simple efforts of others who are willing to provide the witness God has given to men.

Cornelius and his family represent ripened fruit ready to be harvested for Christ.

John 14:6b (Jesus said) No man comes to the Father but by Me.

John 6:44a No man can come to Me unless the Spirit of My Father draws him.

God is drawing people in all walks of life from every situation and every nation. The Holy Spirit is preparing hearts and minds behind the scenes and many are completely unaware they are being set up to be caught for Christ. Jesus said:

Luke 10:2 The harvest is truly plentiful but the laborers are few. Pray that the Lord of the harvest would send forth laborers into the harvest.

There are two critical things I am going to ask you to do right now:

1.   Disregard any thoughts that come to you telling you that the people around you don’t want to get right with God and be saved.
a.   That’s a lie from the pit of hell and is the spirit of the anti-christ
b.   God is working on everyone – God needs your help
2.   Make plans to come next Wednesday night to learn this simple, proven method of personal evangelism.
a.   Invite others to come with you. Tell them they will learn a non-threatening way to witness to their family, friends and others.
b.   Don’t miss it … God needs your help!

Now, let’s bathe our families in prayer once again.