Monday, November 12, 2012

Evangelism reflections for October 2012

The following evangelism reflections were shared in October to the members and friends of the Portland-Heywood Lutheran Church in the bulletin

28th October 2012

Evangelism … about talking about Jesus in your everyday life
When we talk about evangelising, we are talking about inviting people to join with other Christians into a relationship with Jesus. In other words we are inviting people to know Jesus through us. And the best and most proven way for this to happen is by talking about Jesus in our everyday life.
A good way to start talking about Jesus in your everyday life is think of your Christian friends as an opportunity to practice! If you find it hard to talk about Jesus with Christians, then how do you expect to talk about him with unbelievers? As you get more in the habit of talking about Jesus in the everyday with Christians, this will help you talk about him with unbelievers. The links between everyday life and Jesus will become easier to spot. Let your unbelieving friends overhear you talking about the gospel with one another. Now this is not about stage-managed conversations--people will see through that straight away. What is important is that we expose people to a community genuinely centred on Jesus. It is important that as people mix with you, they hear the gospel being spoken around them. So how might this sound? As you have conversation about ordinary things happening in your life with others, look at ways you can relate God to these ordinary life situations. This may include sharing what blessings and help you have received from God in your day. Perhaps there is something in your ordinary life that reminds you of the promises and blessings of God that you can share with others. Maybe you can share how God is bringing hope to a difficult situation.
Remember God is involved in everything we do, and by sharing how God is present with others, there is a greater chance for people to see and hear how God is present, and respond to His love.

21st October 2012

Evangelism—is where love comes to life
When people fall in love, it’s as if they come remarkably to life. Their eyes sparkle with special lights, their breath comes more urgently and they seem somehow to be straining forward to meet life. Love breathes life into the everyday ordinariness of our existence.
Actually, love changes people. The experience of being loved, at any stage of life, brings with it a kind of newness that brings out the best in us. We become more open to the gifts of life and the needs of others, and we live in a new way, a renewed way. Love brings life.
Of course, we can hardly think about love or life without thinking of God. God is love (1 John 4). Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14). In the very beginning God brought life to the world, reshaping the primeval chaos into a habitable planet (Genesis 1). God breathed his own life into our human bodies and brought us to life (Genesis 2).
God even entered human life at a depth which no-one could have anticipated, becoming a human being and filling our humanity with his own life. This flesh-taking (incarnation) was not an interesting experiment but God’s own project to rescue us from death and futility, and to renovate the whole world. In spite of our worst efforts, even when we killed him, God succeeded in bringing love back to life (John 1).
To continue his work on earth, God created the church, whose task it now is to celebrate love and life, and to be the vehicle for God’s continued work of bringing love to life in the world. The church lives on the gifts of God – God’s forgiveness, God’s love, God’s own life. In its worship the church experiences the love of God in words and actions of forgiveness and of empowerment. Infused with the real presence of Jesus Christ, love comes decisively to life every time the people of God gather.
Life in the church is really a preparation and empowerment for a life of love in the world. As we hear the good news of Jesus Christ, as we receive his body and blood, we become new people, with new potential for good, with new energy for a life of love wherever God gives us the opportunity. Our families and our communities, our workplaces and our cultural settings might well experience through us something of God’s love as it comes to life again in us. That’s the plan.
The life of a Christian is a life of faith active in love (Galatians 5), empowered by the love of Christ himself (1 Corinthians 13). Indeed, we have no other obligation, except to participate in this world transforming gift of God’s love (Romans 13).
Where does love come to life in your congregation? Can a visitor feel it, taste it? Is there a deep and genuine experience of God’s tangible love in the life of your congregation? Something to make God smile? Could our congregations be places where love comes to life?
by Rev Graham Harms, for Director for Ministry and Mission, LCA Queensland District

14th October

Evangelism—involves telling and listening to stories
Stories are powerful tools in sharing what is good.
Using stories is effective in evangelising
Evangelism involves 3 main stories:
Your personal story…..
Each of us have a story, a story that reveals the good things that have happened, the challenges we have faced, the disappointments, how other people have helped us and how God has helped and influenced us…
In telling our story….we should be prepared to tell it through what we say and what we do. Our actions often reveal something about us and our story….
So think about your story….what are the important things you want people to know about your life...what might God what people to know through your story?
Other people’s story
Another significant story is other people’s story. Building relationships with people is essential for evangelising. And to build relationships with people, involves listening to their story. Jesus regularly listened to other people’s stories, and this was important as it shaped and influenced how we introduced God’s story to them…..
Think about who in your life you can spend some time with...listening to their stories….
God’s story
The aim of evangelism is to not just to share God’s story with others, but to invite them to be part of God’s big story. As you listen to other people’s stories you will discover there are points where their story connects to God’s story and how the gospel is relevant. For instance:
• When someone needs love…. He is where God’s story may connect John 15:13; John 3:16
• When someone is dealing with shame is where God’s story may connect….John 8:1-11
• When someone is struggling with is where God’ story may connect….John 1:29

7th October 

Evangelism involves having conversations
A key aspect of evangelism involves have conversations with others. And getting conversations going, involves asking questions and listening for responses….Here are some questions that may help you start and continue conversations with people. Use one or a number of these in your conversations.
1. People invest time and energy into developing their career, their bodies and relationships, but often neglect the spiritual dimension of their lives. How do you actively pursue spiritual growth?
2. Do you think much about spiritual things? (This usually leads to conversation about what “spiritual” means–i.e. religion vs. relationship.)
3. How has this experience affected the way you look at God?
4. We’ve never had a chance to talk about your religious background. Where would you say you are in your spiritual pilgrimage?
5. What is your concept of God? Do you view Him positively or negatively?
6. How does faith and spiritual values play a role in your (work) (day) (marriage) (perspective on life)?
7. Is church something that has had an influence in your life? Are you at a point now that you want church to be a bigger part of your life? What prompted this? Would you want to hear our basic beliefs so you’ll know if that fits in with what you’re looking for?
8. How do you think someone becomes a Christian?
9. If you were to die tonight are you sure you’d go to heaven? Has anyone ever explained how you can know for sure?
10. If you could ask God 3 questions, what would they be?

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