Divine Appointments Happen Everyday

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  Matthew 28:18-20

When I worked at the bank, every day brought a divine appointment. What do I mean by divine appointment? Glad you asked. It is an opportunity to share the gospel with someone who has crossed your path. Might be a stranger or a coworker or a family member. Regardless, it is someone that you encounter where opportunity arises to share your faith.

For me, I helped people with their finances. That afforded me many counseling sessions as people looked to build homes or manage their money. Personal stuff always came up. Daily I was set up for a great opportunity to share Christ. Problem is… I rarely took it. I would hear people share their struggles or fears, creating a great launching pad for me to share the gospel. I would discuss with them concerns over their marriage and children. Fears about investments and retirement.  I always offered advice but never mentioned Jesus. A little bit of advice is one thing but Jesus takes it to a whole new level.

I always wanted to share Jesus. I had it in mind but I always talked myself out of it. They are not here to be preached at… this is a bank not a church… they will feel awkward… I will feel awkward! I rarely went through the  door God opened for me.

I would hint at things like church or the Bible or prayer. I saw this as seed planting but honestly it was just me being scared to speak the gospel. They were sharing with me their hurts and pains. I had the answer for that! I just needed to share it. Whether they received it or not was not my mission. I was to share Jesus with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15). I was not to be ashamed of the gospel because it was the only thing that had the power to save them (Romans 1:16).  

Then I had a client die. She had bought a motorcycle and I did the financing for her. She had told me she was struggling with some things and wanted to ride to spend more time away with her husband. I listened and offered some quick wisdom but no Jesus. On her first trip on her bike she lost control and hit s guard rail. She passed on the scene. To this day it haunts me that I didn’t seize the opportunity to share Christ with her. I pray she knew Him.

The issue is getting started. Where do we begin? Here are some good conversation starters to sharing the gospel with those you encounter during the week:

  • What is your view of God and His role in your life?
  • Have you ever thought that God wants to help you deal with that issue?
  • How specifically can I pray for you?
  • May I tell you how God helps me with my issues?

Once you have started the conversation you what to share with them the gospel. Sharing the gospel means leading them to an understanding of sin, Christ’s sacrifice, and their need for Him. The Bible needs to be shared here to lead them to Christ. Here is a suggested plan:

  • Romans 3:23– all of us sin. Sin means missing the mark. We don’t meet the standard God demands for us to be acceptable. His standard is perfection. None of us are perfect.
  • Romans 6:23– Sin has a consequence. It is eternal death. Because of our sin we fail to meet God’s standard and therefore we will be found unworthy. You are not right with God on your own merit.
  • Romans 5:8– While we were unworthy, Jesus did something for us that we couldn’t do for ourself. He took on our penalty and died in our place. Because of  his sacrifice, we can have forgiveness of sins (John 3:16).
  • Romans 10:9-10,13– How do you receive the benefits of all Jesus has done and get right with God? You have to believe. You respond with faith, believing that your sins are covered by Jesus. You submit your life to Him and your sins are no longer held over you.
  • Galatians 2:20; 2 Corinthians 5:17– You are now a new creation. You have been transformed by the gospel. You need to now live by faith and trust in Christ.

We are given divine appointments every day to share the faith. Don’t pass on them hoping someone else will share. God wants you to share your faith with them.

Dax

 

Children Need Godly Parents More Than Gifted Pastors

 

8Hear, my son, your father’s instruction,

and forsake not your mother’s teaching,

9for they are a graceful garland for your head

and pendants for your neck. Proverbs 1:8-9


The church must not replace the privilege of the Christian parent to be the primary voice of the gospel to their children. If this happens, as it so often does, it teaches the child to compartmentalize their faith, to be Chrisian at  church but something different at home or at school or in the ballgame. While this would never be a Christian parents desire, the message rings loud and clear to their child.

This is not to discount the importance of the pastor to students of all ages. He is vital to the kingdom and is set apart by God to make the gospel known to our kids. But never is it God’s intention that he would become the spiritual, surrogate parent for the children of the church. Instead of our children hearing the gospel only in church, pastors should be merely reinforcing a message already preached at home.

Here are a few things to consider in raising our children in the truth of the gospel:

1) Our children need to hear us pray.

Many of us pray with our children before a meal. This might be the only time our children here us prayer, a quick word asking God to bless the food. Often we have our kids pray at this time. We love to hear them pray. If this is the case they may never hear us pray. They must go to church to hear an adult pray. How much do our children need to hear us speak to the Father? How will they see God as someone worth knowing outside of the church walls if that is the only time they hear anyone talk to Him?

2) Let the word come alive in your home.

The Bible can’t be a book that is only opened in the church. Take it in the home. Let your kids see the word is important enough to be opened at home. Read it with them. Let them read it to you. Be creative. We used the Action Bible with our kids. They really like it and learn the stories of the Bible. If your children only hear their pastor open the word and delight in it, then it becomes a book for the church and not for their life. Teach them that the word is life. It is what guides us. It is worthy of our time and attention in the home.

3) Don’t let anything else take precedent over following God in your family

Compromise is the word of our day. Push the moral boundaries; do what feels good; holy living is for the radical. Parents put sports, school, and other activities above church. And let’s be honest here, above God. Christianity is good for our kids when it’s convenient. Is that what we want to teach them? No wonder so many are walking away from the church and God when they leave the home as a young adult. There is nothing of substance to hold on to. Parents we are preaching a message to our kids everyday. Question is what is that message? What are we telling them should be priority?

4) Take time to ask your kids what they are learning in church.

Reinforcing what their pastor is teaching them will go a long away in their Christian development. Ask them questions about the lesson. Offer insight. Encourage them. We challenge our children to answer questions in their classes. To ask the teachers questions.  We help them engage by talking of these things at home. We don’t want them to just punch a clock for their Sunday obligation. We want Sunday to be a part of their ongoing fellowship with God. It always starts at home.

5) Don’t teach your kids that living for themselves is their greatest calling.

Pastors will preach the gospel. They will teach children to deny themselves, live for others in the name of Christ. They will teach them to be like Jesus. That serving is real success. Parents please don’t teach another gospel to your kids. Don’t make it all about good grades, talent, and popularity. Don’t teach them a way contrary to what Jesus would have them know. If you do then you tell your children that church may be ok to attend but the message is not worth listening too. If you teach a false gospel of success and money and fame, then don’t be surprised when your kids follow it to their own demise.

A godly mother and father are more to a child than any gifted minister, with all resources and knowledge can ever bring. It is not too late to begin to teach your children that the most important thing in their lives is knowing Jesus. Don’t let them find Him in spite of you.

What Do I Say To An Atheist?


The fool has said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that does good. Psalm 14:1

Have you ever noticed that atheists get highly offended by a God they claim doesn’t exist? What’s up with that? Conscience is the answer.
We were all born with a conscience, the ability to discern right from wrong. From early on we know certain things are wrong without anyone having to tell us. Studies have been done where small children are observed hitting other children. After they hit their body temperature rises, heartbeat increases, and pupils slightly dilate. They feel panic that often is arrivistes to being caught in a wrongdoing. Most begin to look around to see if they are in trouble. You don’t have to teach them that hurting someone is bad. Their conscience tells them this. You merely reinforce what they already know to be true.

What does that have to do with an atheist? Well if we are born with a conscience, defined as a law written upon hearts, then we have to ask who put it there? There cannot be a law without a law giver. C.S Lewis makes this argument for the existence of God in his book, Mere Christianity. My point is that atheists have a conscience that lets them know something greater than themselves is out there but they refuse to acknowledge it. They bow instead before science and reason. So why are atheists so offended by a God they don’t think exists? Because in their soul they know He does. His fingerprints are all over His creation (Romans 1). His law is written upon their hearts (Romans 2:15). So how do we share the gospel with an atheist?

My suggestion to Christians who are sharing the gospel with someone who is an atheist is to consider these things:

1) Dont apologize for faith . When I share the gospel and someone says the Bible is a fairy tale or God is a figment of my imagination, I don’t throw something at their head or fall on the floor and throw a tantrum. I simply tell them I believe the word and that God exists by faith. If they demand proof, I don’t panic or try and accommodate.  I tell them that faith is the only way. I don’t have to try and convince them or prove it to them. If it were that easy we wouldn’t need faith. I simply just tell the truth and if they reject it then they do. I can’t talk them into salvation. I can only share the truth.

2) God doesn’t need you to defend Him. Sometimes when I witness to an atheist they get harsh against God. What kind of God would let people die they might say. When this happens I explain that this world is sinful and that evil things happen. If they go on to attack God, I do not defend Him. He doesn’t need me too. I just simply stay calm and confident in the Lord. If we get defensive for God then we might be showing our own doubt in Him. If we get anxious and argumentative we are saying that their words hit a chord with us. Maybe we don’t trust God as much as we think we do? But when we are calm and confident and we don’t let their words move us, then we communicate that we are sure of God and don’t need to try and get them to think better of Him. They don’t need to think better of God; they need to fall at His feet and worship Him.

3) There are really no such thing as atheists. Atheists say they do not put their faith in a higher power but that is simply not true. Their high power might not be God; instead it might be science, reason, math or astronomy or maybe money, power or fame. Whatever it might be they worship something. They are not an atheist in the truest sense. Doesn’t exist.

4) Always share with gentleness and respect. 1 Peter 3:15 tells us to be prepared at all times to give a reason for the hope that is in us. When we share we are to do it with two approaches: gentleness and respect. No matter how angry or mean the atheist gets, we should be gentle, compassionate, patient, and kind to them. They are lost and in desperate need to hear the truth we have to share. We don’t need our attitude, or temper, or pride to get in the way of that.

5) Your only authority is the word of God. You can’t reason an atheist into heaven. You can’t prove God’s existence with mathematical certainty. What you know to be true about God comes from His word. That is your authority. If they reject the word then they will reject the gospel. You can’t seperate the two.

I hope you will look for opportunities to share your faith. Apply the above and trust God to use your faithfulness.

Dax

Israel Needs You Church

 

FOR_ISRAEL.jpg

Israel Needs You Church

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! “May they be secure who love you!     Psalm 122:6                                                     

God chose them to be His people. Jesus was born among them. The nation of Israel was at the forefront of God’s plan. Yet, they were embattled and persecuted by every Supreme Power throughout history. Today there is an ever growing call from within the church to support the nation of Israel. To defend their sovereignty against those who oppose them. To be there for Israel in their time of need.

I couldn’t agree more! They need the church to rally behind them. Israel is important to God and part of His plan of redemption. Problem is, what in the world is support for Israel look like? Do we send them soldiers or saints? Do we offer treasures of this world or treasure eternal? Saying we support them is not enough. We need to know what that support looks like in accordance to the will of God.

A few facts to consider in making a strategy of support:

  • 2 percent of Israel claims to be Christian. Consider there are 8.5 million people currently in Israel. 2 Percent is 170,000 out of 8,500,000.
  • Now consider, 80 percent of those who are Christian in Israel are Arabs! That is 136,000 of the 170,000.
  • That means only around 34,000 of the 8,5000,000 people who are true Israelites claim Christianity.
  • Only 20 percent of those 34,000 are Evangelical. So 6,800 of 8,500,000 are Evangelical Christian Israelites! This .08 percent of the population.
  • For perspective, we run 2,000 people at our church at Heartland Worship Center. That would be 2 people out of 2,000 that are Evangelical Christian! McCracken County is around 65,000 people. That would mean 52 are Christian! There are around 322,000,000 people in the United States. This would mean 257,600 would be Christian. This would be like the city of Lexington being the only Christians in the whole Unites States!

So consider this scenario. The church rallies behind politicians who support Israel. The church prays for Israel’s relations with those who hate Israel and want to terrorize it. We fly the Israel flag at our church and educate our people on the importance of Israel as the seed of God’s future city. We do all of this and things get better and Israel prospers and over 8,000,000 of them eventually die and go to Hell without Jesus.

Is our goal to support Israel by defending its sovereignty as a nation or evangelize its people so they won’t be condemend? As the church, who yearns to spread the gospel and make the name of Jesus famous, what we need to pray for and use our resources for is the spreading of the gospel to Israel, a nation without Christ. That is the greatest support we could ever offer Israel.

Pastors And Politicians And Why You Should Be Careful To Trust Either

PASTORS AND POLITICIANS AND WHY YOU SHOULD BE CAREFUL TO PUT YOUR TRUST  IN EITHER

Let me start by saying I am a full time pastor. My integrity is one of the most important things I possess. Once it is lost it is almost impossible to recover it. I often forget how skeptical people our of pastors. I assume they’re give me the benefit of the doubt because of my position. Not the case outside the church and downtime a within.

Many see pastors as no better than corrupt politicians, out for their own agenda and fame. Insincere orators who really don’t care about their audience but try hard to convince them otherwise plague the church today. It’s a real turn off. It’s not only happening in high profile churches but in churches of all sizes. Pastors are not trustworthy just because they have Reverend in front of their name.

A Pastor’s integrity is constantly challenged by the mainstream pastors you see on TV. While there are some strong bible preaching from men whose lives live up to their calling, hey are a rare commodity. Men like Adrian Rogers, Ravi Zacherias, John Piper, and David Platt. But not just well known names like the ones mentioned. There are pastors all across our nation who will never be spotlighted bit are faithful servants and handle the word faithfully. These men protect their integrity at all costs. They know their credibility is crucial for being effective in spreading the gospel.

Unfortunately there are plenty of highly visible ministers who seem to be out for only themselves. Who are involved in financial mismanagement, scandal, manipulations, and false teachings. These men give pastors a bad rep. Their polarizing figures. People either hate them or love them. The problem with this is pastors shouldn’t be polarizing because they shouldn’t be that noticeable. It’s not about them. It’s about the message of grace and the cross. When it becomes about them the message gets lost.

Here are a few litmus tests you should consider before you follow a preacher/pastor:

1) He is passionate about the word over his own agenda.

2) He cares more about his listeners than he does his own fame.

3) He makes the name of Jesus famous and not his own voice.

4) He strives to live what he preaches in all areas of life.

5) He readily admits he is not perfect and has struggles and failures like all men.

6) He speaks with a sincerity that bleeds through his words because he believes whole heartedly in the power of the word.

7) His family sees him as a strong Christian at home and not just on stage.

If your pastor(s) exhibit the above then encourage them today. Let them know you notice and pray for them. We desperately need pastors sold out to Jesus and not to themselves.

ONLY ONE WAY TO GOD

These symbols represent various religious world views. Many of them teach that there are different paths to God. They teach that there way is right but other religions like Christianity is right too. While I understand the desire to see all oaths lead to God this is not biblical. I don’t wish condemnation on anyone but spiritual reality is their is a sin curse on man and there is not pardon from it expect through the blood of Christ.

Christians, we must understand that Jesus is the only way to God. He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man comes to the Father except by me.” John 14:6. To allow another way is to deny the veracity of the gospel.

This realization should not give us a sense that we are better than others. In fact it should motivate us to share this good news (Gospel) with others because it is the only way to God. How bad is it if we hide the one true message of hope from a world so desperately in need of it?