Monday, November 10, 2008

SPLASH!

SPLASH is the title of the new book by Ken and Paula Hemphill. More than a book, it is a lifestyle of evangelism that fits so perfectly with my own philosophy of sharing Jesus. The acronym SPLASH stands for Show People Love And Share Him.

I have always believed that the best way to effectively share the story of salvation is to build a relationship that allows for the free discussion of eternal matters. For the next two days, Dr. Hemphill will be sharing the nuts and bolts of SPLASH with the pastors and lay leaders of the Tri-County Association of Missouri Southern Baptists.

New evangelism strategies can be expensive for churches to purchase all of the necessary training materials. The Hemphills have made this an affordable tool by putting all of the training materials online...for free. You only have to purchase the books. Even though my work schedule won't allow me to attend these training sessions (they actually expect me to show up like 5 days per week now) I'm looking forward to reading the book that Dr. Hemphill practically gave me.

I was buying some of his books and devotionals yesterday (I've decided to drop by and pick up a couple more today) and was totaling up what I had when he came over to help me. All of his books were discounted by 20-25%. I had my total at $39 plus the $7 SPLASH book. But he said just to make it $40 for the whole thing. He said that he knew that I would be telling pastors and churches about the material as I travel to churches and wanted me to have it. Nice, huh?

Looking back over my posts for the past few months, it's easy to see that I'm not your stereo typical Southern Baptist Evangelist. I'm not positive that's a good thing, it's just the way it is. What is positive is that I really believe that God created us; that He loves us; and that He has redeemed us (bought us back) from our sin. I really believe that there is no way for us to earn salvation and so we have to trust that God has paid for our souls by the death, burial and resurrection of His Son, Jesus. I believe that to be as true for you as it is for me.

A while back, I had a short conversation with an atheist. He wasn't really an atheist, more of an agnostic. He believed that there could be a supreme being--a designer of the universe, but really wanted some proof. In our conversation, it came out that he also believed that we have souls that live beyond our physical bodies--he believed in ghosts. He really wasn't comfortable talking about the possibility of places like heaven or hell but admitted that those places may indeed exist. My question/challenge for him was this: If you believe that there might be a supreme being (and you do) and you believe that we have souls that live beyond our physical lives (again, you do) and you think that there might be places like heaven and hell; then don't you think that it would be worth your time to investigate what it takes to get into one and stay out of the other?

What about you? What do you believe happens to you when you die? Is that it? You take the big dirt nap and life is over. You live on only in the brief memories of those that knew you and then...nothing? Does the soul cease to exist, the mind grow quiet when the lights go out? Against the background of eternity, the Bible says that life is like a vapor...here for a moment, then gone. Have you made any plans for whatever is beyond living?

I know that there are readers from beliefs that vary from atheism to Christianity to "I believe in a god," and many in between (or outside of these). For the past few weeks, we've been open about our political beliefs. How about an open forum for our religious beliefs?

Any takers?
Be nice.

John

8 comments:

Mike said...

"Nice, huh?"

Not picking on him or you but, I think this guy knows a good marketing method when he sees one. And it's working. (I thought you were going to tell us about YOUR book)

Also, I don't know if you've noticed or not but a lot of bloggers aren't blogging very much right now. I think the election burned them out. They need to recharge.

Anonymous said...

My, my, my Mr. Hill. You have come such a long way from your Catholic upbringing. A Southern Baptist evangalist!

What would all the nuns and priests think that taught you and me?

My big question for you is what do you think about the gift of tongues? Is it a gift that people have today? How about that question for an open forum regarding our beliefs? I look forward to your response.

Pat S.

John said...

Mike, Yeah I know that it's a good marketing strategy for Dr. Hemphill. What makes it nice is that I was all set to pay for it.

Pat,
The only thing that I can say about speaking in tongues is that I don't understand the gift. I'm not willing to discount it simply because I don't understand it--there are lots of things about my God that I don't understand. I do believe that the gift is often misused according to the Bible, but even that is based on a limited understanding of the power and working of the Holy Spirit.

Amanda said...

I tend to believe a little more in Heaven and not so much in Hell. The thing I always wonder about is that if this God is such a forgiving god (and this is what I always hear), how then will we get to hell? If he is so magnificent, wouldn't the "sinners" instantly repent when they meet him? Or don't they even get a chance to meet him at least once?

Anonymous said...

John - You are too open for a Southern Baptist!!! :)

You're not judgemental!

That's what I like about you! I think you're the real deal. I do enjoy reading your blog. But be careful, one of these days I'll catch you off guard!


Pat S.

John said...

Amanda,
One of the problems that we have with hell and a loving God is that we always tend to blame God for sending us there. That is not the case. WE have a choice. While it is not as obvious as "Do you choose to go to heaven or go to hell?" it is still a pretty simple question. "Do you choose to worship and obey your Creator or do you choose to live a life in rebellion against Him?"

I would like to think that sinners would instantly repent when they see Him, but I believe that the attitudes of arrogance, selfishness and rebellion would still be the attitudes of our heart--whether in this life or afterward. If we have lived our life rejecting God, we will continue to reject Him in death.

God has made heaven available to each of us. The Bible tells us that the penalty for sinning against God is death. This is the second death referred to in Revelation chapter 20. Jesus paid that price for us and tells us that "No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6)

The Bible teaches that you can know that you have a secure home in heaven.

That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame." For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." Romans 10:9-13

You can receive this gift of grace; this gift of Salvation by a simple confession of your faith in Jesus. You could pray a simple prayer like this:

God, I know that I have sinned and offended you. I know that Jesus died to pay for my sin and that He was raised from the dead. Today, I want to turn away from my sin and live for you. Please come into my life right now, Lord Jesus. Help me to live an obedient life and to follow you. Amen

If anybody reading this has accepted this teaching from the Bible as true and prayed to trust Jesus, please let me know. You can post a comment here or reply by e-mail.

Claudia said...

I am happy to know about a new evangelism resource and will pass this info along to others who care like I do!

Amanda said...

I like that little prayer!