Three Ways to Disciple Those Dealing With Drama

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Last Wednesday while pulling lesson plans out of a notebook I asked my English student how her week had been. This is a normal way of starting class because it allows her to practice small talk, and since the answer is always good I wasn’t really paying attention while asking it.

Instead of the normal response though she looked down at the table and shaking her head said “so many problems.”

Suddenly the lesson plan didn’t seem all that important.

My student proceeded to explain some problems she was having with a rebellious teenage daughter which included among other things

  • Skipping school with forged notes and parental excuse forms
  • Telling the school her mother’s phone number had changed (it hadn’t) and then getting a friend to send messages using that number excusing her from class
  • Creating a second Facebook account for herself that her parents didn’t know about
  • Failing classes because they were too “boring”

To be honest I was pretty overwhelmed and didn’t really know how to help (single young men with no children don’t have much rebellious teen experience). Yet the pain in this mothers eyes challenged me to do something about the situation.

As Christians in a broken culture we have the opportunity to interact with people struggling with the drama (crisis situations) of life. And though we may not have all the answers, God calls us to enter into that suffering with them for the sake of the Gospel.

There are a number of ways to minister in the midst of drama, but here are the ways God led me to help my English Student.

  1. Offer Sympathy-The one thing a suffering person needs more than anything else is someone who will simply listen
  2. Offer Personal Assistance-It didn’t matter that this rebellious child would respect me even less than her parents, asking “how can I help?” still had tremendous healing powers
  3. Offer Insight-Share lessons that the Lord has taught you along the way that can help them in their time of great need

Of course in this situation it’s also necessary to pray for the student, preferably right there after getting permission.

People around the world are overwhelmed by the drama of their lives and desperately looking for someone to help. Sadly many are too busy (or burdened by our own drama) to stop and help, so there is a greater need than ever for Believers who would bind up the wounds of those who are hurting instead of crossing to the other side of the road.

How to Share the Gospel With Twenty Biblical Events

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Yesterday as part of a blog post on Telling the Gospel as a Story I referred to an evangelistic tool which I have found very useful in sharing Christ with individuals who don’t have a foundation of Biblical Truth.

This curriculum is called The Story of Hope, and published by Good Soil an evangelism and discipleship program of ABWE (Association of Baptists for World Evangelism). What makes this material unique is it’s centered on sharing the Gospel using forty major events of Scripture (twenty in Old and New Testament).

My favorite resource they offer is a set of cards that on the front has a picture of that specific event, and on the back gives information about how it fits into the Gospel Story.

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These same events (and pictures) are also offered in other formats such as a condensed version of the material that shares twenty events, Power Point Slides, or discipleship material for new Believers.

There is a huge need for material like The Story of Hope since in many cases we have to start with page one of the Bible when sharing Christ. Unfortunately we live in a culture were foundational truths are overlooked such as:

  1. God exists, and created everything include man
  2. Mankind lived in perfection and was given the choice between obeying God and rejecting Him
  3. All sin, suffering, and death came as a result of man refusing to obey God
  4. Along with that curse God promised to send a deliverer who would Redeem mankind from their sin
  5. The rest of Scripture is a cycle of man sinning against God, the Lord judging their sin, and then providing a way that would redeem them from that punishment (a picture of Christ)

When you link the Old Testament (particularly the promise of a Redeemer) to Christ’s incarnation and death, it becomes clear the Gospel was part of God’s plan from the very beginning.

There is always going to be a need for new material that can help Believers share the Gospel in a confident way, thankfully ABWE offers tools that help us do that without overlooking foundational truths.

The Gospel as a Story Part One

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One huge challenge to sharing the Gospel in todays culture is people lack a foundation of Biblical Truth. So instead of starting with the Book of Romans (their need of Christ) its necessary to start with page one of the Bible (there is a God).

One of the best ways to do this is telling the Gospel as a story because it allows us to focus on the major themes of Scripture which are

The Holiness of God (marked in Gold)
The Sinfulness of Man (marked in Blue)
And the coming Redeemer Jesus Christ (marked in red)

As a framework I use The Story of Hope evangelism material published by ABWE which uses major events in Scripture to explain the Gospel.

I particularly love the full color cards that they offer covering each event that can easily be used to share Christ, or small booklets that are easier to carry.

In part one of this series I will go from creation, to Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice Isaac. I pray it can encourage us all to tell the story of the Gospel beginning in Genesis 1:1.

1. God who existed in the beginning created the Heavens and the Earth

2. God Created Adam and Eve, and after putting them in the Garden of Eden, they are commanded not to eat the fruit from one tree.

3. An Angel of God rebelled against Him and tried to take His place. God responded by throwing him out of Heaven, and since that time Satan has tempted us to rebel.

4. Adam and Eve choose to eat the fruit and take the place of God instead of obeying Him

5. Because Adam and Eve sinned against God they felt shame and separation from Him for the first time

6. God promised a man would come and redeem all of us from our sins by crushing the head of Satan

7. Until the promised Redeemer arrived, Adam and Eve temporarily covered their sins with the blood of animal sacrifices.

8. They are forced to leave the Garden of Eden because of their sin. Since that time our sins have created a wall of separation between us and God

9. Instead of obeying God mankind became worse and worse so He warned them of a coming flood that would kill everyone

10. God called Noah to build an ark that would protect people from the flood, this is a picture of the coming Redeemer

11. God called a man named Abraham to leave his family and travel to a place were the Lord would make him a great nation.

12. God later asked Abraham to sacrifice his firstborn son Isaac, Abraham was about to do this when God provided a Ram to be sacrificed in his place

Come back on Saturday to read The Gospel as A Story Part Two.

How Volunteering Makes Us Heroes

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yes, stuffing envelopes is considered Ministry too.

About twenty minutes away  is a learning center for children with Autism where I volunteer at the front desk on Wednesdays.

The job consists of answering phones, opening the front door, and greeting visitors, but that doesn’t keep them from celebrating every time I come in and referring to me as their “hero.”

This actually has very little to do with how awesome I am, but is all about my approach to the volunteer ministry.

Now I am aware that not many people have time to give towards volunteering (it’s an exhausting ministry) but I also believe it’s one of the greatest ways we can reach the lost in our community.  If the Lord does allow you to get involved there is one very important thing to remember.

It must be done with excellence

There are many different tips on how to volunteer with excellence, but here are a few of my favorites

1. Be Cheerful-you would be AMAZED how powerful saying “good morning” with a smile on your face can be
2. Be Professional-Take the volunteering position seriously, as if it was a real job
3. Be Awesome-Doing the smallest job in a well organized and detailed manner will have them celebrating when you arrive

Allow me to illustrate these using an experience from last Wednesday with one of the teachers named Lizzie.

9:00-Lizzie asks me to measure and cut thirty strips of velcro (not very exciting)
9:20-After finding the strips cut and stacked in piles of ten, Lizzie spends the next fifteen minutes acting as if I climbed Mt Everest
11:00-Lizzie asks me to cut out pictures, glue them on a piece of paper, cut the pictures out again after being laminated, and stick Velcro on the back
11:15-Another one of the teachers Cindy hands me one more page of pictures that needs to go through the process
11:30-Lizzie comes out and after calling me her hero hands over three more pages of pictures of laminate.

The thing is I wasn’t doing superhuman work (it doesn’t take a genius to laminate and cut), what amazes the teachers is how much is put into a job I’m never going to be paid for.

There are many reasons for us to volunteer locally, but one of the most important is it allows people to see Christ in us.

Even if we are just laminating

Genesis 1:1-2 Our World is Broken

iStock_000004636989XSmallGen. 1:1   In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

One of the first foundational beliefs for Christians (after the fact that God exists) is that without the presence of God in our lives we have no hope. It doesn’t take long for Scripture to point this out since after declaring God’s existence (1:1) the earth is described as being without form, void, and covered in darkness.

Allow me to explain those words from their original Hebrew Language…

Without form comes from the word tohuw, to´-hoo; which means to lie waste; a desolation (of surface)*, i.e. desert; figuratively, a worthless thing (taken from Hebrews Strongs Dictionary.)

Void comes from the word bohuw, bo´-hoo; Which means an undistinguishable ruin:—emptiness, void (taken from Hebrews Strong Dictionary.)

Darkness here gives the idea of confusion since at this point there was no light in the entire world.

So the world is described as a desolate (Tohu), empty (Bohu), place of confusion (Darkness on the Face of the deep)

Not a very encouraging picture is it?

These words in Genesis 1:2 teach us a very important lesson…Apart from Christ the world is broken

There are things those who don’t believe in God will disagree with (The fact that God exists, his creation of Heaven and Earth, or God’s being there before anything else). However they can’t argue with the fact that our world (and way of living) is broken since it can be clearly seen.

  • In the news programs that we watch every night
  • In the growth of poverty, crime, and war
  • In celebrities or famous musicians who struggle with drug addiction
  • In the fact that our world is getting progressively worse instead of better

Even the individual who has no interest in God whatsoever in a moment of honesty would admit the normal way of living leads to feelings of discouraging emptiness (Bohu) or longing for something deeper (Tohu).

And it’s that realization that opens the door wide for us to share how God sent His Son, to make a broken world whole again.

Have ideas about how we see the brockeness of life apart from Christ? Leave it in the comments section below.

The Moment Unsaved Friends are Excited to See You

wpid-img_0309-2014-02-1-11-02.jpgA few weeks ago I wrote a post about the need for Christians to have a social life with the unsaved because in todays culture relationships need to be developed before we can make a true impact in the lives of others. I do understand its hard finding free time (and the energy) to interact with people, but can promise if your faithful in connecting with those in your community, huge doors will be opened for the Gospel

Last August I joined a running group and at their kick off meeting felt really out of place since pretty much everyone in the room already knew one another except me.  Last Thursday I came back for the meeting in our next training program and experienced a much different result.

The first person I saw after sitting down at the end of a row was a friend named Andrew (not his real name) who I ran with in all of our sessions on the other side of the room, at about the same time Emily (another training partner/not her real name) noticed me and loudly said “Oh my God we were just talking about you!”  (Editors note-I don’t agree with this language but have included it in the post because it was an honest expression of surprise).  It only took a few moments to work my way over there so they could give me a hard time about running on my own (not with them as a group) and talk about how training wasn’t the same without me.

Saturday morning after our first training session (I was running six miles in 30 degree weather at 7:00 were where you?) I got to spend more time with Andrew, Emily, and some more of my old training partners. While we were cooling down one of them turned to me and said, “Hey we are going to get some breakfast do you want to come?”

Now everyone in that group knows I am a Baptist Minister, and as far as I can tell they have no interest in the Lord, but that didn’t stop them from inviting me to breakfast. This is because we have gone through a lot of miles together and I’ve earned their trust.

The thing is you can learn a lot about a person by watching them in adversity (while mine was physical it still counts trust me) because it reveals the kind of character you have. And when people are able to see a Godly testimony on bad or ugly days as well as the good it creates a huge influence in their life.

Everyone in the world whether they will admit it or not is looking for somebody real or genuine. Someone who when things get tough instead of quitting or giving up keeps pushing forward while doing the right thing. And once the find someone like that they will want to spend as much time with possible with that individual (because there is something different about them) miss them when they aren’t there, and get incredibly excited when they see them again.

May God give us the kind of relationships with the unsaved that makes them excited to see us.