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The Practice of Evangelism (2) – The How To?

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We practice ‘Fishing the World’ by living out our Kingdom vocation (calling) via our daily occupation (work). This naturally leads to EVANGELISM: sharing the good news of Jesus, who saves us through his life, death and resurrection. I’ve repeatedly said, however, who you are, how you behave, communicates much louder than what you say about Jesus. Last week I taught on the What? and Why? of evangelism; now we look at the How?

The Wisdom of Every Believer Evangelism

To be a follower of Jesus is to be his witness (evangelist). Every believer is his messenger of joy sharing The Gospel, ‘fishing’ people into his Kingdom. While some are gifted as evangelists (Eph 4:11), every believer is called to do evangelism… right where we are, and further afield, to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). Therefore, we must “always be ready to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have… with gentleness and respect” (1 Pet 3:15, cf. Eph 6:15 & Is 52:7).

To ‘win’ people requires wisdom as Solomon says: “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and those who win souls are wise” (Prov 11:30). Those who are wise will lead many to righteousness, shining like bright stars in a darkening world (Dan 12:3). This applies to Jesus’ fishing image: to catch fish you need to be clever, knowing what fish you’re trying to catch, the season, the time and tide, and what bait to use! Because we ignore these factors we often don’t catch fish (people) – besides our lack of motivation and practice. Jesus used other images to teach the same regarding his disciples’ mission and witness in the world: “I’m sending you out like sheep among wolves, therefore be as shrewd as snakes and innocent as doves” (Matt 10:16) – be cunning and clever, yet pure and innocent! To be “the salt of the earth” is to make people thirsty for God’s goodness, while stinging their corrupt conscience; and to be “the light of the world” is to show people the way to God by your good deeds, while confronting and driving back their darkness (Matt 5:13-16). Continue reading The Practice of Evangelism (2) – The How To?

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Fishing the World – The Practice of Evangelism

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Our third value of ‘Fishing the World’ for God is practiced as we live out our Kingdom vocation (calling) through our daily occupation (work). This naturally leads to our second priority and practice: EVANGELISM. If we are good news in our workplace, then we will be able (even invited) to speak the good news of Jesus. This teaching answers the What? and Why? of evangelism, and will introduce the How? to do evangelism.

WHAT is Evangelism? What is The Gospel?

English ‘evangelism’ comes from the Greek evangelion, with the root angelos, messenger or herald… of good news. Used of Greco-Roman generals and emperors, ‘messengers of joy’ ran to the ends of the Empire telling of their victories in battle, and the good news of the Emperor’s birth, enthronement and reign. Thus, evangelion referred not only to a) the messenger (evangelist) and b) the act of proclaiming the message (evangelising), but also to c) the message itself, called the Evangel – ‘The Gospel’ – the good news.

Seventy Jewish scholars translated the Hebrew (Old) Testament into Greek in 150 BC, called The Septuagint – read by Jesus and his first followers. The translators used the verb evangelizomai (to evangelise, proclaim) in Is 52:7-10: “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace and salvation, who say to Israel, ‘Your God reigns!’” (also Is 40:9, 41:27, 61:1, Ps 96:2f)). Isaiah predicted, in 750 BC, that God’s end-time messengers will herald and proclaim the joyous good news of GOD’S REIGN: God will come in his Messiah-King to save the world by defeating evil in all its forms, and make all things new, and will rule and reign over the earth forever.

Continue reading Fishing the World – The Practice of Evangelism

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Fishing the World for God!

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We’ve come to our third core value – fishing the world – which helps us be and become God’s Beloved Child(ren). To fully appreciate the meaning of this third value we need to re-look at Jesus and his essential message and mission: The Kingdom of God.

Jesus and the Kingdom of God (read Mark 1:14-20)

Mark’s text summarizes Jesus’ ministry: Wherever he went he proclaimed and inaugurated “The Kingdom of God.” What did it mean? It was the dramatic end-time (“eschatalogical”) socio-political announcement of The End & New Beginning: The climax of Israel’s destiny and world history has come – both judgment and salvation – God is now becoming King in fulfillment of the prophets. It meant confrontation: The kingdom (rule and works) of evil is being judged and people are being saved into God’s Rule & Reign of Love. The promised future age of God’s Kingdom was breaking into this present evil age, changing everything!

How do we escape judgment and enter God’s Kingdom? “Repent and believe.” To repent is to turn from sin to God, changing your mindset. Believe means opening yourself to God’s great works of salvation, entrusting yourself to his Rule & Reign in Messiah Jesus. “Repent and believe” in practice meant “Come, and follow me.” Jesus embodied God’s Kingship, his presence and power. To follow him was to be delivered from Satan’s rule and enter and experience God’s Kingdom of Heaven here on earth… in Jesus of Nazareth. Continue reading Fishing the World for God!

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Brief Report on Pakistan Conference

Although Zander and I did not go to Lahore, Pakistan, the pastor who organized the conference, etc, sent a brief report:

“It was very nice experience to serve the Lord with fellowship of brother Odd Ivar. He is very humble and simple man of God. Here all the pastors and church leaders missed you very much. We are praying that may God make possible your visit next time. Thanks God all the meetings done well. In conference there 200 pastors and church leaders came to attend the conference. All the pastors and church leaders learnt new things about God’s kingdom as bro. Odd Ivar taught from your book Doing Healing. So it was very inspiring and blessing. In our Evangelistic meetings and Sunday service in every meeting there were about 700 people came to hear the Word of God and in these evangelistic meetings all together more than 2500 people heard the voice of God. Many received Jesus Christ in their lives as their Saviour Lord and sick are healed through the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Odd Ivar, an elder from a Vineyard church in Larvik, Norway, got his visa and spontaneously had to do all the teaching! He sent me a brief report: “The two evangelistic meetings were good I think, a lot of people wanted prayers. And in the last meeting many of them opened their eyes, lifted their head, and started to pray for the one next to them standing with the hand in the air. The pastor went around in the congregation and motivated the people he knew to start praying for the others. I remember especially an alcoholic bent down by the burdens in life, showing us the official permit letter to trade with alcohol. We prayed for him, and he tore the letter. Next day he came with his child and wife, all beaming with joy. The theme was to step into Kingdom reality instead of our own wiew on what is possible, and practical steps to help us open up for it. People seemed very receptive. The pastor will continue to teach about this, and practically how to pray for each other.”

Thanks for those of you who prayed so much for the conference.