Thursday, April 15, 2010

Way to go Mo!

I just wanted to share something today that encourages me in obedience and faithfulness. This is my son. His nickname is Mo. In August 2009, he started with a goal to read the Bible all the way through. Today, April 15th, 2010 he completed reading the Bible all the way through for the first time!

We've taken off on vacations early in the morning and he had a flashlight in the back of the car reading his Bible. Or he'd be under his covers with the flashlight reading. After 3 weeks of consistent reading, he told us he really enjoyed it. He gets up early in the morning and reads. He read a few chapters in the morning and a few in the evening. He averaged reading 10 chapters daily. He broke it up by reading 5 in the morning and 5 in the evening. Sometimes, he'd read it in the middle of the day. He didn't get legalistic about it if he missed a day or didn't read 10 chapters. He just picked up the next day and read.

Congratulations son! We are very pleased with you!

How's your Bible reading going? Do you read it daily? once per week? whenever you feel like it?

I used to have difficulty reading the Bible especially if I started with Genesis and decided to go through to Revelation. I used to start out with a bang and then got bogged down in Numbers because well...it's all about numbers. Then I would fuzz out, trail off and not pick it up because I would get discouraged.

There are several Bible reading programs out there that are free and easy to use. There are even apps for the iPhone that make this an easy task. If you've never considered a Chronological Bible, try one of those. The books are arranged according to when they occurred and it really gives a fresh perspective on the history of mankind when read chronologically.

If you aren't actively engaged in reading your Bible except for the few passages your pastor may read on Sunday during the service, why is that? Do you watch TV? How many hours per week do you spend with your eyes glazed over staring at the non-edifying programming? Trust me, there is plenty of time to diligently study the Word of God. I am a wife and manage our home as well as homeschool 4 kids (3 middle schoolers and one elementary schooler), take care of all the bookkeeping (9 accounts), monthly taxes and quarterly taxes for our business, teach 7th-8th grade students in BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) and am involved in civic groups where I live, I blog, and read other books as well (I average around 100 books per year). I still find time to read my Bible. I gained 20 hours of my life back per week by cutting out television watching!

When I was a child, the TV was on all day and evening. It produced nothing good in me. Instead, it took me years to break the bondage I had to that stupid box. We don't have satellite or cable and I no longer watch any television show at all. I haven't for almost 6 years. We do watch an occasional movie together as a family but there are days the television doesn't even come on.

I say this for two reasons: 1) to encourage you to evaluate your time spent and 2) to encourage you to be diligent.

The system my family and I are using is Professor Horner's Bible reading system. You can access it here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/12349985/Professor-Grant-Horners-Bible-Reading-System. I would suggest laminating the bookmarks because they are going to get curled really fast if not. Also, you will need a pencil to circle the chapter you stopped at so you know where to pick up the next day.

I will tell you that I started out using this system with my study Bible. After realizing the impracticality of toting this voluminous tome with me if I wanted to go to an evangelistic outlet, I purchased a Bible just for the reading that would be easily transportable. Thus, I started over again. You're not trying to get an award or make sure God doesn't kick you out of heaven (as if that could happen), it's just a discipline that every Christian walking towards maturity should aim for. The point of Professor Horner's reading system is to read your Bible so frequently that you become familiar with what side of the page certain passages are on because you've read it frequently. I'm glad that I got a smaller Bible with the nuts and bolts. There is no commentary and it is thin and easy to transport. So, I strongly support is recommendation to "pick a Bible and stick with that one."

Lastly, if you still believe that you can't do it break it down by reading 5 chapters per day- just do something! My son spoke no English 4 years ago and came from a country that is not friendly to the Gospel. He'd never heard of God, the Bible, Jesus, none of the patriarchs, nor did he know that Zacchaeus was a wee little man. The Word of God transformed him! Allow it to transform you as well!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

What motivates you to share the Gospel?

If you say that you're a Christian yet you never or rarely share the Gospel, can you really say that you're an authentic, follower of Christ? Before the hackles raise on the back of your neck, hear me out. I used to get offended when someone would suggest that I wasn't being obedient at best and not a Christian at worst if I rarely or NEVER shared the Gospel. As far as I was concerned, it wasn't my job because I didn't have the spiritual gift of evangelism. I'd taken a written test administered by my church to discern my spiritual gift and it said I didn't have that one! Whew!

Besides, that is where my offering money went every Sunday- to support missionaries. I was going to let them do their job. Later, I attended a church where the preacher said point blank, "You bring them here and we'll do the rest." In other words, it wasn't my job to share the Gospel because I might mess it up and it was best left to the professionals (a.k.a. the pastor.)

Have I stepped on any toes yet? Let me take it a step further. I believe with every fiber of my being that if you are not regularly sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with others you do not fully understand the Gospel. Matthew 28:16-20 is the passage known as the "Great Commission" where Jesus sends his disciples forth to spread the news of the Gospel. This is also directed at any believer in Christ. This is our mission.

There are only two conclusions to draw if you do not regularly share the Gospel with others. Either you understand the great price that was paid for you that you were unable to pay because you had violated the standard set out to guarantee your admittance to heaven and eternal fellowship and worship with God which compels you to share this news or you don't understand it. Period.

It is unconscionable to state that you are a believer and you are fully aware that anyone who dies apart from repentance and faith in Christ will spend eternity in hell and not be moved by genuine care and concern for others and yet still refrain from sharing the Gospel.

The assertion that people, "can see by my life" is a very weak position as well. There are MANY happy pagans in the world- people who are happy with their life the way it is and thus see no need for a Savior. We are commanded to be ready to give an answer for what we believe and why we believe it. I have never had anyone come up to me and say, "I want what you have."

This clip is very provocative as it gets to the heart of what motivates this young man to share the Gospel. Watch and examine your heart and ask, "What is my motive for sharing the Gospel?" and if you don't share the Gospel by opening your mouth to tell others, why aren't you?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Ichthus is coming!

One of the best evangelistic opportunities East of the Mississippi is coming in June 2010! I had some of the best evangelism encounters I'd ever had at this Festival last June. Everyone is saved at Ichthus. (wink, wink.)

If you've never shared the Gospel this will be one of the easiest and most difficult places to share the Gospel that you've ever encountered. Let me explain. Many are Gospel hardened. They've heard it all so many times before that they think they understand when in actuality they have no clue. Others are just there for the bands that will play and are there to listen to predominately a "feel good" message from those who have a mic. The easy part is due to the fact that it's labeled "Christian," most atheists or people that you're afraid you'll encounter aren't going to be there. It makes it a lot easier to begin a conversation about Jesus at a venue marketed as Christian.

If you live anywhere near Wilmore, Kentucky (15 minutes South of Nicholasville) consider going and sharing the Gospel. I had some of the most sincere but profoundly ignorant people suddenly go silent as they realized that they had NEVER heard the Gospel before. One young man believed that because he was part of his youth group that he was saved. Seriously.

I'm sure there are people that are true converts, but from handing out 600 tracts and having one-on-one conversations with 30 people in 4 hours I discovered that after I asked, "So, if I had a knife in my back and 2 minutes to live and wanted to go to heaven, what would you tell me? What must I do to be saved?" Many just stared and then you heard crickets begin to chirp in the background. Even after gentle prompting they still couldn't articulate the Gospel message on even a basic level. I ran into only ONE young man who not only could articulate the basics, but claimed to have read his Bible regularly and seemed to understand. I was so saddened. There were approximately 10,000 people there that week-end.

The ones I did share the Gospel with were sincerely appreciative. Not one person got angry or offended. Yes, the Gospel is an offense to our status quo way of living, but when presented Biblically, it is the best news ever and is received with joy when God has prepared the heart to receive.

Here's an idea if you're looking to get your feet wet sharing the Gospel. Look for Christian music festivals, outdoor concerts, amusement parks hosting Christian musicians this summer. Remember, they probably aren't going to be hostile to the Gospel because it's a Christian venue. Buy a ticket and plan on attending. Pray that your heart will be right, prepare to walk in obedience and share the Gospel biblically with those you encounter, grab your tracts and go!

Here are some tips that were helpful for me when sharing in a venue that is labeled "Christian." You might ask them, "If I had 2 minutes to live what would you tell me I must do to be saved?" If they say, "Accept Jesus and believe." Prod further and see if they have actually done that. It's a good springboard to explain repentance and walking in obedience. If they say they are pretty good, take them through the "Good Person Test." Encourage them to read all of 1 John to see if they are producing fruit. Explain that being an active member in the youth group won't save them.

Another question that was really successful was, "When was the last time you read your Bible?" Everyone of them except one young man either couldn't remember, or it had been weeks, and one person didn't even know where their Bible was!

One thing I noticed when taking young people (uh, let me define young as anyone under 23)through the Good Person Test was many of them answered, "No," when asked if they had stolen anything (breaking the 8th commandment). Yet, if you asked them, "Have you ever downloaded music or a movie from the Internet illegally?" their heads dropped and they said, "Yes." Many people, even young ones want to justify their actions by believing since they didn't commit a bank heist then they haven't stolen.

The two most popular tracts were the "Curved Illusion" tract and the "Celebrity Teen Million Dollar Bill" tract. Take plenty of them because they ask for more! Goto my links on the right side of the page under "tracts" to purchase some of your own.

To see hi lights from last year's experience:
http://chipperfisher.blogspot.com/2009/07/ichthus-festival-pt-1.html

Click on "July 2009" to view the five part series on my experience at Ichthus 2009 which better demonstrates just a very small sampling of what you may encounter.

I encourage you to take time during vacations this summer to make a deliberate effort to share the Gospel.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Sharing the Gospel at the Mall

I have personally walked the streets of L.A. with these two sisters. If you only knew their hearts and could hear their stories you'd be encouraged and know they are the "real deal." Are you looking for places to share the Gospel and uncertain where to go or do you want to try some place new? Try going to your local mall and handing out Gospel tracts in the mall. Listen to Stuart as he explains some of the Supreme Court decisions in your favor which allow you to engage in conversation and share the Gospel. Where necessary, go through the proper channels if a mechanism is in place to allow such activity but, don't shy away from sharing the Gospel. Your goal isn't to "save" people- only God can do that. We are called to obediently share the hope we have within, He will do the rest.