The following is an article from CruPress Green, the digital home of all the ministry resources of Cru’s U.S. Campus Ministry.
THE HOPE THAT IS WITHIN US
For many people, and probably your disciple, evangelism does not come naturally. We sense the social awkwardness of talking about spiritual things. That’s why it’s important to demonstrate, from Scripture, why we should engage in sharing our faith. This will bring about a conviction to do evangelism in the absence of feeling like it. What follows are four biblical reasons for doing evangelism and how you might share these biblical motivations with a small group or someone you disciple.
The reason for doing evangelism is the very same reason for our existence. Why do we exist? In order to bring glory to God. What is glory? Perhaps the best way to think of glory is our word “fame.” We live to declare the wonders of God, or to make Him famous. When we love others with God’s love, or give Him thanks in all things, we are singing His praises– making Him famous. When we choose not to sin, we declare to the world that God is more satisfying than sin. We are declaring His greatness. You might ask your disciple how doing evangelism brings God glory or makes Him famous.
PEOPLE ARE LOST
2 Cor. 4:4 states that, “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
This is the tragic, but accurate, depiction of the state of people apart from Christ. Satan is holding them hostage, keeping them in prison, and blinding them to the Gospel. As Paul states in Ephesians, they are “without hope and without God in the world.” You might ask your disciple in what ways they have witnessed this blindness, or how does Satan keep people blinded?
For you or your disciple to grow in his understanding of evangelism, it is important that he or she believes the Scripture in its description of people as lost and separated from the love of God.
Here it would be easy to get into a discussion about what happens to those who haven’t heard the Gospel. Such cases must be left to God’s brilliance and sovereignty. He’s not scratching His head about such issues. The truth is that the Scriptures don’t describe a Plan B; only Plan A, which is for Christians to go tell those who are lost about Christ.
You might suggest to your disciple that a good place to start is to make a list of friends and family who are lost, and to begin praying for them: that they would come to know Christ.
2 Corinthains 5:18-20 touches on the evangelistic motivation of stewardship. God has entrusted us with the responsibility of being His ambassadors:
All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.
This is an idea worthy of some exploration. You might ask your disciple what it means to be an ambassador. Or, “What difference would it make if he or she went out each day seeing themselves as God’s ambassador? Have they seen God use them in this way?” Or, “Why do you think God chooses to make His appeal through us?” You want to ask some questions to help this truth, and responsibility, penetrate their hearts.
INCREASING OUR JOY
The apostle John in the beginning of his first epistle states, “We write this to make our joy complete.” To better understand this, let me ask you a question: Is it possible to sit down and eat your favorite meal with a group of friends and not make some grunt (mmm!) or explicative of approval? Of course not! Why? We instinctively want to complete our joy.
When we truly delight in. something, the way in which we complete our joy is to tell others, or say (mmm!). This is the physics of joy and it must complete its circuit in order to be fully enjoyed.
Why do we share Christ with others? It completes our joy. If we are enjoying our walk with Christ, our Christian experience is still incomplete until we can share it with another.
Perhaps the greatest thing we can do to excel our own walk and joy in the Lord is to be engaged in sharing this joy with others.
The following was written by staff member Robyn Stauffer Skur for cru.org.
Joel Connealy didn’t realize his first job interview could be so life-threatening.
He showed up at the Jewish Community Center ready to learn how to officiate baseball games. But no sooner had the 15-year-old stepped onto the ball field when shots rang out. Gunfire took the life of another high school freshman and his grandfather, as well as a third bystander later.
And like an umpire struck by a wild pitch, Joel now views life warily.
With a steady stream of bombings, shootings and natural disasters in our national experience, the murders in suburban Kansas City don’t seem that unusual.
These tragedies can cause us to feel unsafe, unsure about the world. And it’s more than a feeling. The worldis unsafe.
Unfortunately, we buy into a sanitized view of life – particularly in the U.S. As folk singer Melvina Reynolds wrote in 1963, we tend to live in “little boxes on the hillside, little boxes made of ticky tacky…that all look just the same.”
It’s more than a feeling. The world is unsafe.
We think that we’re insulated from trouble in our little boxes. But we’re not. We often don’t take to heart 1 Peter 4:12: “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you."
I know I felt that way – surprised. My husband and I had just made the bold move to southwestern France in 2001 to help pioneer a Cru ministry when the 9/11 attacks hit. In a neighborhood full of North African immigrants, we had already felt self-conscious, donning our tennis shoes and pushing a double jog stroller that screamed Americans!
To add to the uneasiness, 10 days after the events in New York City, a local fertilizer plant exploded leaving a 10- by 50-meter crater and 29 dead, with hundreds injured. One was a 15-year-old boy. Foul play was suspected, never confirmed.
I was standing in our living room when the ka-boom came, and two seconds later the glass from 4 French doors exploded inward. My toddler seated on an Ikea rug pushing wooden trains evaded injury only by God’s grace. My three-year-old son, 2 days into life at a French preschool, escaped flying glass as his class played outdoors at the time.
Innocence lost. Our remaining 9 months in Toulouse, I felt a constant low-burner fear. I jumped at sudden noises. I imagined men with guns shooting me through my kitchen window or taking aim at our small courtyard from their high rise subsidized apartments. Not very rational fears, but lodged in my subconscious just the same.
Back in the heartland, Joel and his dad had returned from a missions trip to Guatemala just 3 weeks before the shootings. And yet, they only had to travel 4 miles to the JCC to have innocence stripped away.
How can we all be more prepared for tragedy while not being immobilized by it? Sometimes it just involves a shift in our mental position. Tragedy helps us to:
Cru staff member Alan Lyle takes his fears to the Lord in prayer. Right after his 8-year-old daughter gets on the bus every day, he huddles with other parents to pray for her safety. He asks the Lord to “send angels to guard the school doors from evil men.” And if God chooses not to? “The God that calls the stars out by name, that gives us air to breathe and sings over me personally each night,” says Alan in his Tennessee drawl, “is in control of all events in this broken world. And it will not be restored until our Lord’s return.”
Breast cancer survivor and Cru staff member Vivian Mabuni has wrestled with God. “My plans are to die old,” says the California mom of 3. “But God has asked me: ‘Even if you were to go before that, can you trustMe with your kids?’ I want to live out a life that’s Plan A. But only a small percentage of us get to live out our Plan A in all areas. I’m trying to trust that God’s ways really are better.”
And God’s better ways sometimes include suffering.
As goes the oft-quoted interaction about Aslan in Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. “Then he isn’t safe?” asked Lucy. “Safe?” said Mr Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
We follow a good King out into chaos. Back in France, the rambunctiousness of our boys wouldn’t allow us to huddle indoors the days after the explosion. We had to venture out. God had shielded us from harm, and He continued walking beside our wide stroller on those narrow sidewalks littered with broken glass.
Shootings, explosions and natural disasters will keep happening. The Bible says so. But God meets us in our fears and promises to usher believers on to a tear-free eternity.
Consider Joel’s take-away from the JCC shootings: “Everywhere is dangerous, and so we need to tell others about Jesus.” His dad wrote me the day after: “What a world! Jesus is our only hope.”
We, with the apostle John, can say, “Come, Lord Jesus.” But until He does, we need to keep clinging to and proclaiming a God that is good in a world that is just not safe.
This is an article recently written by Cru's US Campus ministry's executive director, Mark Gauthier. Some of you may remember Mark from Encounter 2012!
Easter is my favorite day of the whole year!
Yes I know, Easter was back in April and here we are in May, well on our way to Pentecost. But one of the things I’m learning is that how you understand this one day, Resurrection Day, shapes how you live the other 364.
Here’s what I mean. After Pentecost happened and all those people heard and believed because of Peter’s sermon, what was it like when they gathered in the synagogue? I imagine someone would stand up and say, “I believe Jesus rose from the dead” and that would launch a whole conversation about what it meant for their individual lives.
Today we have the whole Bible to talk about. All the earliest believers had was their witness to the resurrection of Christ. They gathered there, standing on faith, telling the story, remembering the events of that day and the days that followed.
I have to fight to let this truth sink in: Jesus rose again. He’s alive! He lives on to heal, to save, to release captives, and to open eyes. When we get bogged down in our daily lives, it is all too easy to become numb to this reality. But if we minimize or lose sight of the resurrection, we miss out on so much!
Sometimes I wonder if we don’t share our faith because we don’t think we have anything to share. When we first know Jesus, we are still amazed at the reality that Christ was raised from the dead for us. We can’t help but share what we just learned and experienced. But what happens if we aren’t bringing this truth into focus? Our passion wanes and our faith and motivation become weak.
That’s why Paul reminds the early churches over and over to do life together, but also to remind one another who gives us life together. We are to help each other dial in to the fact that it’s all about Jesus. And that He’s really here.
"I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve.” (really, all of 1 Corinthians 15 )
“…be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 5:18-20)
Easter is incredible because it is the defining event for us as His followers. Jesus is alive, and He is with us in the person of the Holy Spirit! We are never alone. He is with us to comfort, guide, and transform us. And as Romans 8:31-32 asks us: “if God did not spare even his own son but gave him up for us all, how will God not also give us all things in Christ Jesus?”
God gave Jesus for us, Jesus rose from the dead, He is alive, and therefore in Him we find our sufficiency for everything.
He is risen! How will you live that reality today?
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