Aaron Summers

Archive for the ‘Evangelism’ Category

What Bait Are You Using?

In Evangelism, Gospel Living on May 1, 2017 at 2:39 pm

I remember the Summer of 1982 because that’s when I first learned how to fish.  I had saved up money and purchased a Cardinal reel and an Ugly Stick rod.  We lived in Northern Kentucky at the time and I would go down to the river nearly every day and fish.  One day I went down to the river-fed creek and followed it back into the woods.  I thought I had seen a large fish and was on the hunt.  I began to cast and was not having much luck.  My dad had told me that fishing took a lot of patience…a LOT.  So I just kept casting and coming up empty.

About the time I was ready to give up a man showed up and asked what I was doing.  At first, I was nervous because I didn’t have a license but thought I didn’t have to at my age.  He wasn’t there to check my license.  Instead, he asked where I had learned to fish.  I knew, then, that I was doing something wrong.

YOU HAVE TO HAVE THE RIGHT BAIT.  He came up alongside me with his rods, reels, nets, and tackle box.  I thought I was in the presence of greatness!  He wanted to see what bait I had at the end of the line.  I showed him.  I was using my newest bait and it was beautiful….to me.  The problem was, he explained, was that what was beautiful to me wasn;t to that large mouth bass I was looking for.  In fact, if I wanted to catch crappie it would be great.  But, if I wanted to catch bass I had to use different bait.  He pulled a lure out and showed it to me.  He exchanged my lure for his on my line.  This was the right bait for the particular fish I wanted to catch.

YOU HAVE TO HAVE THE RIGHT TECHNIQUE.  He encouraged me to cast out again.  So I cast the best I could and began to reel in when he stopped me.  He showed me a smoother way to cast.  He also told me that I was reeling in too fast.  Even though fish swim fast, the bait needs to move at a natural speed. I was reeling in so fast that it was useless.  So I cast out again and began to reel in slower.

Then it happened.

There was a bite on the other end.  I pulled back hard and fast.  The man behind me began to laugh as the lure soared over my head and landed on a branch above my head.

YOU HAVE TO HAVE THE RIGHT TEMPO.  I was pulling too fast.  If the fish was just nibbling I scared him and me both.  If the fish was actually gulping the bait I likely ripped the hook through his mouth.  Again, not effective.  The man told me that I want to set the hook instead of yanking it back so hard.  I need to just pop my wrist a little and then wait.  During the reeling in process, I needed to take it slow.  It was a dance.  I would reel in and let out.  All the while, the fish was getting closer to me.

Jesus told Peter to follow Him and he would make him a fisher of men.  He is making us fishers of men too.  We must learn what I did years ago.  We need the right bait to catch a particular fish.  Bass, crappie, cat all like different things.  I needed to bait my hook with what would attract them.  How we present truth does depend on our audience.  The way I speak to a 6-year-old is different from a 16-year-old and is different still for a 46-year-old.  In the same way, our bait will be different based on to whom you speak. Casting and reeling take practice.  So does sharing the Gospel.

Casting and reeling take practice.  So does sharing the Gospel.  We have to work at the process to find the smooth approach.  We want the bait to slip, rather than splashes, in the water.  One is inviting and the other is not.

Be patient.  People will come and go.  Others will nibble.  Others will bite.  In every instance, be patient.

I went home that day with an 8-lb bass.  I have caught many fish since then, but none that big!  Keep fishing my friends.

 

The Cupcake Gospel

In Evangelism, Faith, Jesus on July 8, 2015 at 2:11 pm

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Once there were 4 beautiful girls Abigail, Emma, Cora, and Gabrielle who lived in a mid-sized kingdom.  They lived in 4 little houses at the end of 4 dead-end streets.  They had good families who were always struggling to make ends meet.  Abigail lived in a pink house but loved all things purple.  Emma lived in a purple house but loved all things green.  Cora lived in a green house but loved all things pink.  Gabrielle lived in a yellow house and loved all things yellow.  On this particular day they each were going to receive a very special gift.

Abigail almost stepped on hers as she was sweeping the dust out of the house through the front door.  She just happened to look down and notice the purple box just sitting on the stoop.  Not knowing what it could be, but knowing it must be for her because it was a purple box at a pink house, she quickly opened the box.  Inside was a gorgeous gift and a note…

Emma woke up frustrated.  She had a bad night and she and her mom were fighting.  She just didn’t think anything made sense and was very overt about how she felt.  EVERYONE in the house knew Emma was in a bad mood.  In fact, most think she was born that way!  She had been doing her chores and griped about them all morning.  She was stomping out of the house when she noticed a green box on the porch.  Knowing it was for her she tore open the box.  In it was a gift and a note…

Cora was returning from the market when she spotted hers.  She had visions of shops and shoes, and lip balm, and anything other trinket she could buy.  She ran up to the box and unwrapped it quickly.  Well, let’s just say she tore it to shreds getting into the box out of excitement!  She lifted the gift out of the box and saw a note…

Gabrielle got up from the flower bed and dusted herself off.  She got a little water from the bucket and washed her hands.  It was time to go inside for lunch.  As she rounded the corner to up the porch steps she saw the box.  A yellow box on a yellow porch of a yellow house might be thought of as invisible.  But this box was the brightest yellow she had ever seen!  She ran to the box and opened it up.  Inside was the most gorgeous gift she had ever seen with a note…

The note had this written on it:

Please accept this special-order, one-of-a-kind, cupcake from the King and Queen.  We think you’re awesome!  We wanted you to know how much we care for you.

Abigail knew exactly what she would do with this gift.  She cleaned off a shelf and dusted it.  Then she placed the cupcake right in the middle of all the trinkets and trophies.  She thought it was so beautiful.  How could she do anything else?  She wanted to admire it in the morning and evening.  She loved the King and loved this gift too.

After reading the note, Emma smashed the cupcake back in the box and threw it in the trash.  She didn’t want anything from the King.  She had heard her parents talking about the unfair decisions and what seemed like poor communications.  Her mom had been sick.  They sent messages to the king but there was no response.  She did not think the King really cared, though we all know he did.

Cora’s head was filled with thoughts of trading this exquisite looking cupcake for so many other things.  She wondered how many shoes she could get, or clothes she could get, or money…She immediately went back to the market.  She was told of a certain shop outside of the kingdom that specialized in such trades.  She planned on going the next day.

Gabrielle sat down and read the note.  Tears welled up in her eyes because she felt the love of the King and wanted to remember this very special day.  She painted a picture to remember this day and then sat down to eat the cupcake.  The cake was so moist and the icing just right with sweetness and fluffiness.  She ate the whole thing, which some would have thought was too much for a little girl.  She was completely satisfied.  No stomach aches after that amount of sweet.  No thirst.  She could still taste it and she was filled with joy and peace.

What each did not know what that there was a big war coming.  The king and queen wanted to protect everyone they could but each person had to decide for themselves.  These 4 little girls were each given a special cupcake.  If it was eaten they could be protected and would be able to remain with the King and Queen in safety.

When the war broke out, Abigail was separated from her gift and from the King.  She lived in misery forever.  Emma had been so mad that she did not eat hers either.  When the enemy broke through the wall near her home she was taken prisoner and never heard from again.  Cora found herself outside the gates making trades.  She had just finished getting several new pairs of shoes that would surely bring her a boy!  Before she made it back she was trapped and separated from the King.  Gabrielle, who had eaten the cupcake was protected by the King and found safety and shelter with them.  She lives in the joy and peace of the castle!

Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the lord laid on him the sins of us all.  – Isaiah 53:4-6

What will you do with this precious gift of the gospel of Jesus Christ? Will you set it on the shelf and decide later?  Will you throw it away? Will you trade it away for something else?  Or, will you choose to place faith in Jesus?

How Do I Talk About Jesus?

In Chrisian Life, Evangelism on June 11, 2015 at 9:13 am

Is it too simple?  Have we missed it in its simplicity? The Great Commission is clear.  We are to go and make disciples.  The method by which we do that is fuzzy.  Over the past 2 decades there have been a plethora of models for sharing the Gospel.  Yet, the statistics of my denomination have not adjusted much toward more involvement.  In this information crazed age, we are more educated on how to do it than we are actually engaging in evangelism.

For those who know but have not yet engaged, here are a few pointers to guide you.  EVERY person either goes to Heaven or Hell after death.  There are no exceptions.  EVERY person you know, or come into contact with, is heading toward one or the other.  The only way you going to discover which way is to talk to them.

Yes.  We have to say something.  Our lives are not going to draw people to Jesus without saying something.  Who among us lives so perfectly that people want to know Jesus by watching us.  It is more likely that by watching us people will be willing to listen to us talk about Jesus, as long as our lives are reflecting the presence of the Holy Spirit. 

How can we turn a conversation toward Jesus?

Pray. Ask the Spirit to move ahead of you in the lives of people around you.  Ask that you have discernment to know when to press and when to release.

Pay Attention.  People are more likely to be interested in spiritual matters around life events.  Moments such as births, deaths, birthdays, anniversaries, celebrations, and even sorrows can open up the doors for a conversation.

Listen Carefully.  There are several ways we listen, and most of the time it i not with our heart.  We listen for what interests us more than actually hearing what is being said.  We listen in order to react rather then respond.  If we listen to people with our heart and engage in the conversation is shows love,
Jesus love.  Care about them more than your own need to jump in and solve the problem.  Listen and hear and feel.

Ask Good Questions.  One helpful book is Randy Newman’s Questioning Evangelism.  In this book he gives ways of asking questions in difficult moments and conversations.  I encourage you to read this book.

Be Patient.  Moving people toward a faith decision does not happen immediately.  Sure, there are those moments when it is easy.  However, more often than not it takes time in skeptical and spiritually innocuous world for people to see the need and respond.

With these thoughts in mind, go and make disciples of all the world!

For the Love of God

In Evangelism on July 30, 2014 at 7:00 am

LoveGodLovePeopleDoSomething

LOVE GOD

Frederick Lehman wrote a song entitled “The Love of God” in 1917.  Borrowing from a Jewish poem and adding his own thoughts he wrote 3 verses and a chorus.  For years, choirs and congregations have sung this as a praise to God Himself.  I have included a portion of the song below:

 

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above,
Would drain the ocean dry.
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.

 

O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The saints’ and angels’ song.

 

The Love of God is rich and pure.  The love of God is measureless and strong.  Probably the most well-known verse in all of scripture and Christendom is John 3:16.  “For God so LOVED the world that He Gave His One and Only Son that whoever would believe in Him would not die but have eternal life.”  I have preached using this verse as a text several times.  Each time I come to it I am reminded of how much God loves me.

LOVE PEOPLE

 

During the night Jesus was approached by a teacher of the law called a Pharisee.  His coming at night is significant because it represented the secrecy he wanted while having this discussion.  Jesus did not condemn him but engaged him in conversation.  Nicodemus acknowledged his belief that Jesus had come from God because no one could do the miracles without God’s power.  He struggled with the claims Jesus had made about Himself and the need in our lives for faith and trust that establishes a relationship with God more than a religion about God.  Jesus does not dismiss him.  The love of God through Jesus is evident in that He engaged in a conversation and let the Spirit of God direct as was best.  Too often I believe that we too quickly assume a person’s stance without actually listening to them.  We must listen to what is being said, clarify what we heard and then ask good questions.  It was during the conversation with Nicodemus that our most beloved verse is given.  Nicodemus was asking questions.  He sought for answers.  Jesus models for us the act of listening, engaging, and answering the questions of those who come to us.  Jesus calmly answered the questions and led Nicodemus to see a spiritual need.

DO SOMETHING

 

How do we do this?  How do we help someone see a need and turn their life over to God?  What do we do?  Here are a few tips:

  1. Initiate a conversation about anything of common interest.
  2. Relate with the person and develop trust.
  3. Communicate the love of God through actions and words.
  4. Listen to them and ask good questions.
  5. Elevate to Jesus and ask about making a faith decision.

Wheels on the Gospel Go Round and Round

In Evangelism on January 16, 2014 at 9:51 am

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We finished up our pinewood derby cars last night.  The boys are so excited to race them next week but were concerned that the wheels were not on yet.  I told them that the wheels were the last thing attached after this long process.  I told them that when they came next Wednesday the cars would all have the wheels on and aligned, ready to race.

Wheels are so important! Can you imagine putting a car on the track with no wheels?  Of course not because it is a ridiculous notion.  The car, even on an incline would just sit there.  Without the wheels there would be no motion.  Without motion there would be no hope of finishing the race.  The car may look stunning, but if it does not move it is useless.

God has established that the Gospel would be spread by His followers.  God can do whatever He wants and He has chosen for you and me to be the wheels of this project.  For this reason, if we do not carry the Gospel it will just sit there.  You are the wheels that make the Gospel move.

Jesus had many people that believed though some would not admit it.  They were afraid.

Many people did believe in him, however, including some of the Jewish leaders.
But they wouldn’t admit it for fear that the Pharisees would expel them from the synagogue.
For they loved human praise more than the praise of God.

How do we put wheels on the Gospel?  Tim Keller shares several ways for us to wheels on the Gospel.  I recommend you read Gospel in Life.  Here are a few thoughts for us today.

The Gospel shapes our hearts.  As we move away from moral performance as the basis of our relationship with God and run toward grace, we find greater fulfillment in life.  When we recognize what it cost God, our gratitude moves us to obedience.

The Gospel shapes our towns. As we allow the Gospel to shape our hearts, we will affect change in our town.  Get involved.  Coach.  Run for school board.  Attend PTA meetings.  Go to council meetings.  Let your voice be heard and use a Gospel tone.

The Gospel shapes our lives.  So often, we celebrate the Gospel in church and calculate our reputation at work, school, or shopping.  Let what you learn and celebrate on Sunday spill out of you Monday through Saturday.

In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see,
so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

 

 

Black Friday

In Evangelism, Life and Culture on November 29, 2013 at 8:46 am

Today is the day when crazed people who have pitched their tents outside of their favorite store will receive the best deals.  Today is the day when those who can shove the hardest, sift the fastest, and move the swiftest will acquire all 22 family members gifts by lunch!  The Army, whose motto has been that they do more before breakfast than most people do all day, has nothing on Black Friday shoppers!

How did all of this start? (Full Article)

For millions of people Black Friday is the time to do some serious Christmas shopping –even before the last of the Thanksgiving leftovers are gone! Black Friday is the Friday after Thanksgiving, and it’s one of the major shopping days of the year in the United States falling anywhere between November 23 and 29. While it’s not recognized as an official US holiday, many employees have the day off except those working in retail.

The term “Black Friday” was coined in the 1960s to mark the kickoff to the Christmas shopping season. “Black” refers to stores moving from the “red” to the “black,” back when accounting records were kept by hand, and red ink indicated a loss, and black a profit. Ever since the start of the modern Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1924, the Friday after Thanksgiving has been known as the unofficial start to a bustling holiday shopping season.

In the 1960’s, police in Philadelphia griped about the congested streets, clogged with motorists and pedestrians, calling it “Black Friday.” In a non-retail sense, it also describes a financial crisis of 1869: a stock market catastrophe set off by gold spectators who tried and failed to corner the gold market, causing the market to collapse and stocks to plummet. (1)

As many of us shop this day in stores or online, let us remember another black Friday long, long ago.

Jesus had been up all night in court.  He was slapped, mocked, spat on, whipped, and abused.  Now He was hanging on a cross with two thieves. This action was being carried out by the Romans, but was initiated by God.  Our lives are in the red.  We are losing and have no way of gaining a profit on our own.  Instead of the business closing, our lives are on the line.  If we die with our spiritual account in the red we will eternally be absent from God in a place called Hell.  However, God, loving us like He does, provided a way for us to come back into the black and have our debt removed.  Jesus died.  he was buried.  He rose again on Sunday providing for our needs in a way we never could. (Start reading here.)

As you shop for those gifts, remember the greatest gift given.

As you help retailers find their way back to black, remember that God has provided a way for you also.  May Black Friday remind us of our spiritual need before God.

Are you “in the black” with God?

It’s Elementary My Dear Witness

In Evangelism on October 30, 2013 at 8:43 am

Sherlock Holmes

God wanted to make known among the Gentiles
the glorious wealth of this mystery,
which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Colossians 1:27

I love a good mystery and is why I enjoy several shows on TV these days.  The show Elementary takes on the Sherlock Holmes / Dr. Watson characters in a new way while still holding to many traditional concepts.  Each week a new mystery unfolds and the duo set out to uncover the truth using science and observation.  While the show does not use the famous line “It’s elementary my dear Watson”, the show has an atmosphere that unveils the same attitude.  What I enjoy about Holmes is that once he reveals his process it does seem quite simple, if one would just observe.

The same is true about the “mystery” of evangelism.

We have heard countless speakers and sermons on the Great Commission.  We get it.  I think.  We know we are supposed to win the world to Christ, but so often we do not.  Where is the hiccup?  Like so many who stand around Holmes, we aren’t really getting it.  Not that we couldn’t start.  We are paralyzed at the starting line.  The gun went off long ago, but we are still frozen.  What is the cause?

1.  Focus.  We become so energized about winning the world with the Gospel we forget about those closest to us.  While we are out raising money and traversing the world, our neighbors are without hope.  It is hard to believe that people in our own communities might not truly know the Gospel, but many do not.  People have an acquaintance with the story but not an association with the Savior.  We are to win the world.  We are to win our homes too.

2.  Observe.  I have sat through many seminars on sharing the Gospel.  We are information heavy today but inspiration light.  Sharing the Gospel is less about a script and more about your story and how it relates to the person standing in front of you.  Because we are hyped up on the latest script, we fail to observe.  Have you seen your neighbors lately?  Have you noticed your classmates?  Have you recognized their pain, sorrow, and hopelessness?  The struggles of life afford you the chance to love them in Christ.  Give them love.  Give them Jesus.

3.  Solve.  Sherlock solves the case.  He focused and made observations.  These observations brought about conclusions to the mystery afoot.  Sherlock, like Jane on the Mentalist, will bring everyone involved into the room and begin to share observations and deductions.  The solution is given.  The perpetrator is revealed, or surrenders, and the mystery solved.  The mystery the unbeliever has not solved is their need for God.  Many do not see their need.  Most do not see their sin as that egregious.  We, through focus and observation help them to see the solution is Jesus.

While we do not need to be as condescending and Holmes can be, we are to help people understanding their position.  Begin with a renewed focus on your family, neighbors, classmates, and co-workers.  If, through observation, you discover those who have already solved the  mystery then join with them in fellowship.  If, however, you find some still searching use daily and life events as a way for them to see God’s love and provision.

It’s elementary my dear witness!

From Vampires to Victory

In Evangelism on September 24, 2013 at 8:50 am

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The last few physicals I have had involved blood tests.  It seems that everything a doctor wants to know can now be discovered through blood tests.  There was a time, though I am not complaining today, that the doctor examined you.  I mean, he EXAMINED you!  Of course, my annual check-up still includes a cough moment and other unpleasant moments, however the time with the doctor has decreased significantly due to blood tests.  We go through the usual greetings and overview of diet, exercise, sleep habits, and stress loads.  Then I go to the vampires and give a pint, or more, of blood so that various tests can be performed.  In 2-4 weeks I receive paperwork from the doctor with the results and possible follow-up visits.

Everything they need to know is found by a blood test.

Our community often has blood drives.  My family has given gallons over the years!  Every time someone donates blood it goes to a blood bank until it is needed in some critical moment.  Usually this only takes a few minutes of your day.  You go to the location, or bus, and step inside.  They will have you lie down and get your arm strapped.  The needle is a larger gauge to help facilitate this process in a timely fashion.  After 5-10 minutes you will be given a cotton ball, bandage, and a cookie.  You can leave knowing that you have possibly saved a life.

Giving Blood can save a life.

While I was signing all the forms for my last surgery, I recall signing the transfusion document.  In the event of major blood loss, I was signing off that I would take the blood of someone else (transfusion) into my body as a replacement for mine that was lost.  As I sat there, I considered that someone took the time to give blood and now that blood could possibly save my life.  Someone went to a blood drive and gave blood.  Someone worked to process and store it.  Now, the doctor was prepared to pull from his storage of blood to provide for my needs.  I signed the document and considered the following:

Am I going to Heaven when I die? If Jesus came back right now, am I ready?  These questions can be answered by a simple blood test.  You see, each of us are in a predicament that we alone cannot fix.  Our spiritual blood is bad and we need a transfusion.  God has stored up all the blood necessary through the death of Jesus Christ, His Son.  When Jesus died, was buried, and rose to life on the third day the provision has been made for victory.  What we learn from the vampires in the lab we find in victory through Jesus Christ.  Have you been cleansed with the blood of Christ?  He sacrificed so that you could have life.  Will you refuse it?  Many do.  What will you do?

7 Reasons The 7 Dwarfs Would Make Good Church Planters

In Evangelism, Faith, Missions on September 2, 2013 at 7:29 am

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Church planting is sexy these days! The missions agency of my denomination is heavily promoting this process of making disciples.  No matter who you are it seems that everyone wants to plant a new church.  Some will make it a full-time vocation.  Others, like myself, try to encourage their church to be involved in such grand endeavors.  Having a 9-year-old daughter, I have watched, and read, Snow White many times.  I wonder what happened to the guys.  What if the dwarfs became church planters? Here are 7 reasons why I think they would do a good job:

1. Work Ethic – these men worked hard in the mine everyday with joy. They felt it only proper to work hard. Church planting takes an effort. Going into a place where there are high numbers of unchurched takes an effort to build trust and relationships. It doesn’t just happen and certainly not overnight.  Planters spend countless hours (See #7) starting, building, and keeping friendships.  The friends soon meet our Eternal Friend in Jesus Christ.

2. Singular Focus – they were miners and did not try to do multiple things.  While many church planters must have a supportive job, it is best when they realize that those jobs only serve to provide for the ministry. One way to provide for singular focus is to gather a few larger churches to pitch in together to provide for monetary needs while the start-up happens.  Pastors in established congregations seek to help others in fulfillment of the Great Commission.  One strong way is to help provide the monthly budget needs of a church planter and family.

3. Integrity – they were true to who they were. The names spell out their very personality: Dopey, Doc, Sneezy, Sleepy, Bashful, Happy, Grumpy. Happy was never Grumpy. Sleepy was never Dopey. Doc was never Bashful. Each one was just who they were supposed to be. Church planters that succeed are authentic people of Christ. They do not try to be who they are not even if the neighborhood to which God calls is different from themselves.  Integrity makes a larger impact than imitation.

4. Unity Driven – they were a tight group who not only worked hard but worked together. These guys worked together and hung-out too. They shared meals and did everything together. They kept one another in line and on task. Church planters are efficient because they have limited resources and a massive task. They are masters at getting the best out of everyone by utilizing everyone’s strengths and compensating for weaknesses.  They will hang out, recreate, eat, laugh, and do life together with the people God bring them.  They will be unified through Jesus.

5. Protective – they would do anything to protect one of their own and Snow White. These miners were tough guys until she came along! They would give their own lives for her. This protective nature was seen in their reaction to her demise and their response of eternal vigil until the prince came along. Church planters love the people to whom God calls them. Building relationships and sharing Christ are just the beginning. Church planters hearts break for the lostness in their towns and cities. They weep for the people and wish to see them filled with the joy of Christ. Once they have won a brother or sister in Christ they are family.  When Satan comes to take them back, church planters are fiercely protective of their new family members.

6. Musically Inclined – Church planters often have a variety of gifts. They know their trade and do everything with a song in their heart. Whether they have a guitar strapped to their back or not, these men and women sing to and for God everyday. Some double dip in the beginning and lead worship and then provide teaching. Church planters are usually multifaceted by God and use it wonderfully for His glory!

7. Eat Well – The miners acted like they had not eaten until Snow came along. But once she started feeding them they could not get enough of her cooking. They even learned a few things along the way. Every conference I attend I make sure I eat with the church planters! They know the best places to eat! Healthy appetites and well-defined palettes make for good lunch choices. While this point may seem lighthearted, planters understand that relationships cannot be built-in offices but out in the towns. Thus, church planters know where the best coffee is served because they have had many morning meet-and-greets with people. They know the best lunch and dinner spots because most of us talk better around a table of food than in a conference room.

I suppose these guys went back to their mines.  If the seven dwarfs would have become church planters I believe they would have succeeded. These 7 characteristics describe the best planters I know. How about you?

 

 

Popped

In Evangelism, Jesus on August 2, 2013 at 6:28 pm

popcorn large group low rez

I love going to the movies! One reason is the popcorn. One theater we go to allows you to apply your own butter. By the end of the bucket I am a sloppy, salty mess but love it. The fresh popped kernels are hot and fluffy. In fact, with the right mixture of butter and salt even stale ones can be made to taste good. However, if I ordered a bucket and got mostly kernels I would feel robbed!

Here is what popcorn teaches me.

 1. We all start as kernels. Every bucket of popcorn started out as kernels. Kernels are not what we want. We want the changed product. Kernels are what we throw away. Some people at them, but they are weird and destined for hours of dental care.

2. Kernels need a catalyst to bring out the best. Like I mentioned, popped corn is what I like to eat. In order to get to that point I have to add a catalyst. For kernels if is heat. How do you pop your corn?

  1. Stovetop
  2. Microwave
  3. Air Popper

Regardless of how you pop it, the catalyst is the same: heat. God has designed us all for His joy. He loves us as kernels but popcorn brings Him joy! Jesus Christ is the catalyst we need to pop. Without Christ we do not change. Just like heat is the only way a kernel pops, Christ is the only way we change to become a joy to the heart of God.

3. If you have examined a kernel and a popped piece you will conclude that once it pops it never goes back. The change that takes place is permanent. Traces of the kernel remain because I floss those out regularly!! However, that does mean I could apply enough pressure to get it to go back to its original state. Neither can you once you place faith in Jesus Christ. You are forever changed and now bring glory and joy to God.

4. You , like popcorn, have many uses. The obvious one is to be eaten. However, popcorn can also be used as garland, decoration, art, and even packing material. All of these uses bring joy to the heart. No matter how you are being used by God it is bringing Him joy.

5. Not every kernel gets popped. All kernels are placed in the presence of the catalyst but not all pop. Those kernels are thrown away. Unfortunately, the same is true in life. Not every person will place faith in Jesus and be popped. Those who do not remain as they were born. When God chooses to end time, it is like a worker taking an order for a bucket of popcorn. He scoops up and fills the bucket. The popcorn gets eaten and the kernels get trashed. In other words, if your popped you go with God. If you are not you don’t.

The question for us today is whether we have been popped or not. If you are popped, you have placed faith in only Jesus and turned your life over to Him. Boss.

Are you popped? Are you still a kernel?

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