Friday, February 05, 2016

Friday Night Thoughts on Evangelism/Religion

It's Friday night and life has stepped in to keep me from posting over the past two days. It's nice to be busy with stuff to do, but I also miss my quiet time and solitary life.

Yesterday and today was the Missouri Baptist State Evangelism Conference. Fortunately for me, it was in Springfield. This makes it close enough that I don't have to travel and I have no associated expenses. It is always nice to see other evangelists and pastors that I have served with in the past. I do enjoy the interaction and sharing of thoughts, but ... as I have said before, I am an introvert so getting back to my alone time is quite a blessing.

Having said that, I am a little concerned with the fact that I am doing so little to share Jesus with the few people that I encounter. I need to be purposeful about interacting with more people and purposeful about sharing my faith. I have even been less diligent to use this forum to tell others about how much God truly loves them and that He sent His son Jesus to die for them.

I know that in life, I am a poor ambassador for Jesus.
It is sometimes difficult to represent Him well when I am no better than anyone else. We often place such a burden on others to be more perfect if they claim to be a follower of Jesus. Sometimes we place that burden on ourselves. The truth is I am no better than anyone else. I am poorly qualified to discuss theology with anybody. As an evangelist, all I know is to preach Christ and Christ crucified. I've never quite figured out this calling and often wonder about what I'm doing or why I feel compelled to continue in a ministry that seldom seems to have any impact.

I do know that people are in need of Jesus.
I know that many people are desperate for hope and for meaning in their lives.
I know that we (followers of Jesus) have all been charged with the task of telling His story to those that haven't heard it and to making the truth clear to those that seek understanding.

Conferences like this one can be disturbing as they serve to remind me of my calling and often point out that I have been negligent in my service to my God.
I'm pretty certain that I don't fit the Southern Baptist image of what an evangelist should be.
I'm also pretty certain that I don't really care about that. I get very frustrated that we (Baptists) seem to get so distracted from our mission of making disciples for Jesus. We seem to think that it is our calling to fix the laws of our nation, elect officials, judge the morality of non-believers, and do just about any self-proclaimed, self-righteous deed so that we can forego the one task that we have been assigned -- to make disciples.

In these past days I have heard some very good messages.
I have also heard some disturbing comments.
In recent days I have also heard some very solid believers lament that they wish they could just do away with religion!
Oh, how I know that feeling!

Several years ago, an atheist friend was about to ask me a question and began by saying, "You're a religious person..."
I interrupted him and said,"I am not!"
He looked at me for a moment and said, "No, you're not. But you know what I mean..."

I don't remember what his question was, but I'm glad that he felt comfortable asking me. And I'm glad that he understood that I don't want to be identified as a religious person.
To be clear -- I do want to be identified as a person that seeks to follow Jesus and that is often found telling others about Him.
But I know too many religious people that I don't want to be around nor do I want to be associated with them in any way.

The real problem comes when I try to figure out how or why Jesus would want to be associated with me!
I can't figure out why Jesus would choose any of us, least of all -- me!
And yet, He does.
So we serve -- humbly, perhaps reluctantly, but we serve.

When Jesus said that no one comes to the Father except by Him ... I believe He was telling us the truth.
When Paul wrote that if you will confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved ... I believe he was telling us the truth.

I don't believe that I use Christianity as a crutch to make it through life.
I truly believe that God created me, that He loves me and that He provided a way for this sinful man to enter into His glorious presence by offering His own Son to take my punishment. Jesus died so that I might live ... and then God raised Him from the dead that He might live again!

Yeah, it's almost as fantastic a story as those that say there is no God ... but I believe that there is more than enough evidence to convince a prudent person that it is real; that it is true.

I don't expect that these words here will convince a non-believer of their need for Jesus, but if it does, or if you have questions, please contact me. You can ask your questions via comment or email. If you want your questions kept confidential, just say so. Comments are all moderated by me. I can answer without posting your identity, you can comment anonymously or you can provide me an email address to respond.

God loves you.
Jesus died for you.

John <><

No comments: