How do you define evangelism? How do you define witnessing? These two “Christian” terms are sometimes scary to even mature followers of Jesus Christ. After all, not everyone has the personality that makes sharing what we believe about Jesus the easiest of things to do. Many times, in churches, we are led to feel guilty when we don’t evangelize and witness. Over the next several weeks we’re going to be looking at how we can all be involved in evangelism and witnessing, hopefully without the guilt.
Advisory Board meeting, July 13th at 6:30 PM
Special Business Meeting, August 2nd, following the morning worship service
Vacation Bible School starts Monday, August 3rd and runs through Friday, August 7th from 6:30 to 8:30 PM each night. We still need volunteers and some supplies: flat white, grey or blue sheets, camping backpacks, camp stove, lanterns, hiking poles, colorful scraps of material, long pieces of rope and wooden crates.
Ramadan: Ramadan, the Muslim holy month, began June 18th in the United States. Today’s prayer emphasis covers 282 Muslim people groups (an estimated 200 million people) in the region of Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines. Pray Christians and missionaries will have courage to share the gospel. Ask God to help Muslims who come to faith in Christ to endure persecution. Join Christians worldwide in praying for Muslims during this time.
Mission Family: Pray for John Murray (former missionary to France) and his family as they mourn their loss of his 96-year-old mother, Elizabeth Murray. She joined her Savior on July 2nd. Services were held July 6th in Madison, Tennessee. Additional services were held Thursday, July 9th, in Hampton, Virginia.
Bulgaria: Pray for Trif and Vanya Trifonov and their three children as they hold services, meet supporters, and raise funds for ministry in Bulgaria. Pray their ministry will strengthen the partnerships between these churches and the Bulgaria team. Continue to pray for Josh and Lydia Provow and their family as they adjust to the Bulgarian culture, language, and climate.
Panama: Lázaro and Ariadna Riesgo received approval for their visas to the United States on June 30th. Pray their paperwork will arrive quickly. Ask Him to be with this couple as they close out their ministry in Panama and prepare for their role as educational specialists to Hispanics.
Japan: Shannon Little arrived July 8th for stateside assignment. Ask God to help her adjust to time zone, culture, and climatic differences.
The Hanna Project: Pray for Matthew and Brooke and their children as they prepare to leave Spain for stateside assignment on July 14th. Pray for peace and grace as they tie-up loose ends, pack, and say goodbyes.
Missionary Kids: Pray for teenage MKs serving in various ways during the summer months. Alejandro Johnson (Spain) is serving with Truth and Peace. Carson O. (creative access) is interning in a church in Utah. Tori O. (creative access) is ministering in Kazakhstan. Ask God to bless their service to Him, keep them safe, and help them to grow in their faith through these experiences.
The Hanna Project: Pray for the team serving in Hokkaido, Japan, through July 13th. Team members (Dillon and Stephanie Alphin, NC; Karen Chauncey, GA; Stephen Daniels, NC; Jack Edson, TN; Cornell Edwards, NC; Nelda Highsmith, NC; Jennifer Lane, GA; David and Taylor Landers, GA; Charlie and Claudia Lieupo, GA; Sean and Lauren Mercer, GA; Benjamin and Ashley Shahl, GA; and Dala Wingo, IL) are assisting in the re-construction of a church/parsonage combination in eastern Hokkaido. Missionaries Nathan and Linda Snow, Doug and Miriam Bishop, and Rusty and Brenda Carney serve with Pastor Ishii and his family in this region.
Bible Reading Challenge: Haggai 1:1-15
Bible Memorization Challenge: Haggai 1:4 (ESV)…“Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins?
In yesterday’s message, I passed over a phrase that needs to be addressed in some way. So let me spend a few moments here, discussing what it means to defend the faith with gentleness and respect.
First, let’s talk about gentleness. Too often, as I’ve observed Christians interact with society, I’ve seen discussions devolve into arguments. We tend to debate, rather than speak to convince. We have our “talking points” down, but we fail to realize that the gospel isn’t a series of talking points. In the passage I preached from yesterday (1 Peter 3:14-16) I passed over the requirement that we present a defense when asked with gentleness and respect. What is gentleness? Gentleness is a lack of harshness. In our voice, and especially in the expression of our beliefs, we must avoid harshness. Certainly, we must tell the truth, but we ought to obey what the Apostle Paul said, and tell the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). Such expression will be free of judgmentalism, and will readily seek to identify with the person being spoken to.
What about respect? The actual word in the Greek is the word we get phobia from. It means fear. What do we have to fear in this context? We ought to have a certain amount of reverent fear for the very message we are carrying. After all, the gospel isn’t something we should take lightly, it is a matter of eternity. The message of salvation is a message that determines eternal consequences. When we do share the gospel we should be painfully aware of our own inadequacies as we seek the Holy Spirit’s power to overcome those inadequacies. The respect we show, in this case, is to the message we are sharing. That doesn’t mean we disrespect the person we are sharing with. We must respect the fact that they are approaching any presentation of the gospel with a certain amount of hesitation. Again, we should be seeking the Holy Spirit’s intervention in their life and thinking processes.
Over the next few weeks, we are going to be having a series of messages called Reach Out. We saw yesterday that we must be ready to share a reason for the hope of salvation that rests within a follower of Jesus Christ. We’ll be seeing some practical ways to reach out in the next few weeks, and we’ll work on getting ready!
I hope to see you in church soon!