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Good News-ing

• Greg Boyd, Stephanie Danielson

Evangelism is important. However, there’s a lot of baggage that comes with the term and how we are to evangelize to others. In this sermon, Greg Boyd and Stephanie Danielson share with us how to spread the gospel by living a life that compels others towards Jesus.

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Last week, we saw that prayer is important because things really do hang in the balance, especially when it comes to spreading the gospel. Today, we’re continuing in Colossians with Paul as he talks about people spreading the gospel. As Christians, we are a people who share the good news of Jesus. And while there can be a lot of red flags about evangelism, we believe that evangelism starts with the way we act before what we say.

In evangelism it is important to be Jesus before trying to evangelize. This means that our lives should reflect the beauty and grace of Jesus’ message long before we try to bring someone to Christ. And when we finally do speak with others about Jesus, we should do it in a non-confrontational way. In Acts Paul shows us that finding how God is already working in the group is a lot better than pointing out the things that group of people does wrong.

Prayer should always be the starting point when going out to spread the good news of Jesus. It’s only after we’ve sought God out in prayer and asked the Spirit to give us guidance that we can move forward into actually evangelizing to people. It’s important to pray about the way we act and seek more of God in our lives as a way to grow before we evangelize. The most effective way to announce that the Kingdom of God is near is not through words but actions.

We are all called to share the gospel when an opportunity arises. Sometimes people get stuck in thinking that evangelism is a gift some people have and some people don’t, and they use that as an excuse to say they don’t need to evangelize. While it is true that some people have a gift for it, that doesn’t mean the rest of us get a pass on evangelism. We are all called to be prepared to spread the gospel when an opportunity is given to us.

There is no correct formula for spreading the gospel. There is no right or wrong, a mandatory prayer, or appropriate pamphlet. This is why Paul said our actions come before words. Living a life that intentionally demonstrates the Kingdom will compel those around us. There is nothing that intrigues more people, raises more questions, or softens a heart than outrageous love and grace.

Our words in evangelism are important and should be seasoned with salt and grace. This means that we should listen as much or more than we speak. It also means that we should be patient, compassionate, kind, understanding and non-judgmental when we listen to others. Finally, our words in evangelism should be set up by us making intentional space in our lives to interact with those who are non-believers. We should constantly be looking for ways in our lives to cross paths with those who need to hear about Jesus.

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Topics: Evangelism, Kingdom of God, Prayer


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Focus Scripture:

  • Colossians 4:3-5

    3 At the same time pray for us as well that God will open to us a door for the word, that we may declare the mystery of Christ, for which I am in prison, 4 so that I may reveal it clearly, as I should.

    5 Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the time.

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28 thoughts on “Good News-ing

    markmw says: Monday May 12, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    I was hesitant about listening to this; usually Matt 8:4 and other verses like it are tossed aside and avoided. Don’t want to say what I see in that verse, because that might raise controversy here, but it is rather plain what Jesus is telling the person in this verse what he should not do.

    Yet God speaks through this penetrating message even against my expectations. Once again I want to listen twice to a message I discounted at first.

    I will say this however; Jesus waited until he was thirty to begin his ministry. Was he qualified to ministry before then? Yes, by our standards, and no by God’s standards.

    I say the following to help some along:

    Those who evangelize because of pressure from the outside will pressure others to change their lives in ways that do not glorify the grace of God. It is impossible to feel pressured to evangelize and not spread a gospel of pressure. If you are pressuring yourself you are judging yourself incorrectly, and not by the standard of grace, and you will judge others incorrectly. The heart will speak what it is full of eventually.

    If you are not moved by grace and love to evangelize, you will not spread grace and love. You will be a hypocrite if you tell others they can be saved by grace, while you continually try to earn points with God by evangelizing. It can not glorify God in the long run. You can not earn points with God; yet he wants to earn points with you, in the spirit.

    Yet if you can evangelize because of love, because of peace, and from joy, and from spirit then you are blessed. If you can evangelize from purity then your words purify the world. This message will point you in the direction of how to do this, how not to corral the unbelievers, how to glorify God in your words rather than glorifying evangelism.

    In sum, glorify the God of grace, not the god of what you have to do for Him. You have been set free for freedom!
    Evangelize only in freedom, never in bondage.

    This message has shown me I need to pray to be blessed in however the gospel is shared in me, even if it is done without words. So I am leaving the world of pressure and entering the world of living and speaking through grace.

    Reply
    David W says: Tuesday May 13, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    I thought we (Christians) seasoned our words with salt so they would taste better…to us…after WE eat them.

    that’s a joke (sort of)

    …pass the salt

    Reply
    vince says: Tuesday May 13, 2014 at 9:54 pm

    I fellowship in a small group that attends a very large church in my town. We listen to Woodland Hills sermons as a springboard for discussion often, and we are very thankful for you!

    This message is a familiar one for us. We have heard it often. As a matter of fact, I don’t think many of the younger generation have ever heard a message that attempts to “guilt” or “fear” them into sharing their faith. Most larger churches are great at serving the community with self sacrificial love. Houses are built, gifts are given, hungry are fed, sick and prisoners are visited. There never seems to be a shortage of volunteers, and there are many awesome opportunities to do wonderful things for people out of love (and maybe also out of guilt and fear also? ). There is a potential disconnect here. It is not the case, no matter how convincing you try to make an argument otherwise, that believers have a problem with being overbearing in their gospel sharing. It is the case, however, that believers can struggle greatly with opening their mouths to talk about Jesus at all. They don’t know where to begin. Paul exhorts the believers again and again to share the gospel. I don’t think he ever escorts them to “tone it down” or to stop talking. Over and over his instruction is to preach the gospel “in season and out of season”. Even when it wasn’t done in the right way, he still rejoiced!

    Today’s believers may be confused about the “means” and the “ends”. In other words, we cam feed the poor, and we MUST, but that is not an “end”. That is a means to let them know, as Jesus did, that eating from Him means we will never hunger again. The “means” to advance the Kingdom of God is to lay down our lives for each other. The “end” is to percolating Jesus as Lord without shame, with love, from a pure heart. Can we grow the Kingdom by feeding, clothing, and sheltering people without proclaiming the gospel? It’s not always easy, and sometimes I force it a little. It’s not because I want to earn points. I can’t. It’s because people are lost, and I care. Jesus saves, not my words. That said, there has to be some words. Do you guys see in your church that you have more who are struggling with too much sharing of the gospel, or is it, as it is here where we are, too few words and the light hiding under the bushel. Be honest. This message was preaching to the choir. Most of us would ratherjust keep serving and wait for someone else to talk, than actually open our lips and say Jesus. Greg mentioned his experience on the airplane. Did he have time to truly get to know the person and demonstrate self sacrificial love before he shared the good news? Certainly not in the conventional sense. He was open to the Spirit, and Jesus was lifted up.

    This message did touch on the fact that the Spirit will lead us to conversations about Jesus. The premise that too many of us are overdoing our gospel sharing is incorrect. Personally, I think it might bea good problem if that was the case. What a disaster! Believers, who are sold out in self sacrificial giving to each other and the community openly sharing their faith with everyone. I think Paul would rejoice!

    Reply
    Jill says: Wednesday May 14, 2014 at 8:23 am

    Vince,I’m so glad I read your comment. I was frustrated after the message (not really the message itself but evangelizing period) and was just going to let it go and move on. But the WH home page was sitting there so I thought I would look. I like what you wrote;

    The “means” to advance the Kingdom of God is to lay down our lives for each other. The “end” is to percolating Jesus as Lord without shame, with love, from a pure heart. Can we grow the Kingdom by feeding, clothing, and sheltering people without proclaiming the gospel? It’s not always easy, and sometimes I force it a little. It’s not because I want to earn points. I can’t. It’s because people are lost, and I care. Jesus saves, not my words. That said, there has to be some words.

    This is where I am at. I get that there is a really wrong way to evangelize, but are we supposed to not share the name of Jesus because people might be offended? Another comment mentioned Matt. 8:4, but look at Matt. 10 and so many other passages to spread the good news. My saving grace in my evangelizing efforts has been Matt. 10:14. I swear I don’t get preachy, but sometimes there is such a resistance in just mentioning the name of Jesus and then I just shut up. I get so confused because my heart wants to share the love of Jesus yet sometimes I won’t unless I know the person is open to this, and then I get mad at my self because I’m not sharing what I believe to be the most beautiful, real, loving thing there is. And, as for judgmental Christians, I think that’s where we need to evangelize the most! Myself and two other friends tried Bible study for the first time this past year, all different studies and what a disaster. Mine was the least judgmental of the three, but how sad is this. The three of us are going to try and do our own study next year and call ourselves the Bible study dropouts.

    I agree with what the message had to say, but don’t think we should be passive. I’m having a hard time finding a good balance so I pray about it a lot. It would be nice for Greg to do more on this.

    Reply
    markmw says: Wednesday May 14, 2014 at 7:36 pm

    If Jill and Vince are responding to what I wrote, I love your comments and, again, to put it in other words, I don’t know if I have heard a better message on this subject by any preacher. It was full of wisdom, and, even when I don’t agree on a point Greg makes here or there I often learn something profound. And Greg himself understands that too much pressure is harmful…he talked about how his church in high school poured on the pressure, and he did not respond well.

    If you see the bible as commanding each of us to evangelize, then I am not in the position to disagree with you. If it is your point of view I am happy with that and I hope that you are able to share words from the spirit.

    It is just that I see some passages differently. If what I wrote edifies somebody, to make them feel as if God is not pressuring them, that it is okay to pray to God to be an effective witness rather than rushing it…if that helps them, to know that God loves them unconditionally whether they are evangelizing or not, so that one day they may share from love and be completely happy with sharing voluntarily rather than by command, then good.

    Some people are just wired better knowing that they are doing something freely…Jesus himself knew he could call down angels if he wanted to be saved from the cross…God allowed him the option of opting out. But the love Jesus had for us was too strong, he was too much into the will of God to say no. Jesus was propelled by love more than by command, but that is my opinion.

    But I don’t write that to argue my point. If you feel a responsibility to share the gospel, and you are okay with that as a call, then that is fantastic. If you feel this is a command for all, then who am I to argue with my brothers and sisters about this? Who am I to argue even with Greg about this, when frankly, at this point in my life he is my mentor, and more so than anyone else?

    Jill, you write that “I get mad at myself because I’m not sharing…”. No, no, no, don’t do that to yourself Jill. Greg’s messages on this are meant to help you along, to make it more natural for you, to make it a part of your being. You swim in the waters of grace, but it can take time to learn how to swim, how to be the witness your beautiful heart wants to be. Don’t discourage yourself! You are in training, as am I.

    Please don’t think I am putting some down because they, in my opinion, are pressuring others too much. They are doing as best they can with what they know. If you haven’t run into any believers who are too pressure packed, then great! What I wrote will not help some.

    Hope we can agree to agree, Jesus is all that matters. The rest is fine print. But that is just my opinion!

    Don’t take anything I wrote as a discouragement to witness…that is not the point. The point is, when the motives are purest, so then will the message be. Let love rule! Bless you all, and bless the Boyd in you, in Christ.

    Reply
    markmw says: Wednesday May 14, 2014 at 8:03 pm

    Oops, now maybe I see a problem in what I wrote…I don’t think Greg was putting too much pressure on us to witness, by saying it is a command. No, Greg was not in any way overbearing about this, rather the tone of his message was frankly the best it could be.

    But I put pressure on myself by believing it is a command, and I can’t say the words right when I believe I have to witness. But when I can share from the Spirit, from pure motives, the words come out better.

    Reply
    Dave Pritchard says: Thursday May 15, 2014 at 7:24 am

    I absolutely loved this message in that it was full of practical and common sense approaches to effective witnessing and evangelism. As I’m sure most of you are aware of, there’s a bunch of videos online demonstrating how “NOT” to go about doing this – especially street preaching with a MEGASPHONE and BIG SIGNS. Ha! Some of these are really helpful to view however in that you can see where conversations begin to go wrong and or take random left turns into bitter arguments. Others, are hilarious and you often wonder what on earth the participants were thinking. Living in London one comes across a lot street evangelism. Some is done very tactfully from a spirit of love and kindness, while some other approaches, leave you simply stupefied at the level of negativity and hate they’re projecting outward.

    One guy likes to hang out in front of one the busiest tube stations here, usually up on his crate or plinth thing, blasting away on his megaphone – “YOU!!! YOU THERE, SINNER!”, usually pointing to specific person in the crowd. So, if you try and sneak around to the left or to the right of him in order to dodge detection with your head down, he usually then selects you out! Ha! There’s no avoiding it or even trying to reason with him to “tone it down a bit” and possibly chill-out his method. On one occasion, I heard someone shout back at him aggressively – “You’re not Jonah and this isn’t Nineveh, so shut the &%# up!”

    These confrontational street antics reinforce negative stereotypes of Christians and do a tremendous disservice to the faith in general. Nevertheless, I’ve met a few who have come to faith through these kinds encounters and have actually taken up the baton themselves! It’s important to take a stand if you feel the Holy Spirit leading you to do so – but it should be taken with unpretentiousness and humility.

    Reply
    Peter says: Thursday May 15, 2014 at 8:15 am

    For some technical reason I have not been able to watch the full message. However, from the extended summary, the posts and what I was able to hear, I think I have the gist of the message.
    The comment I am about to provide, in a sense takes this matter to a new level…but in saying that I have also come to understand that the Christian life is not achieving “levels” (real or metaphorical), that would be perfectly acceptable in the world of fallen Babylon where you are what you “do”…as Greg I think has said and/or others; we are human “beings” not human “doings”. So instead of “levels” perhaps phase or maturity of Christian life is a better description to remove any sense of competitiveness or dis-heartedness from not getting where you think you should be.
    However, getting back to the comment I would like to contribute, while it is not my comment directly, the following writer sums up things (in my opinion) far better than I could ever hope to and has a resonance with the matter at hand,
    ———————————————————————-
    “Christ has identified himself with the human family, especially the poor and the forgotten. In loving them we love him in them. And they, in turn, encounter him in us in the love we give them. And in this the bonds of charity are formed, building up one Christ (as in unity of love) unto the eternal glory of the Father.
    In Merton (Thomas Merton) we find these basic characteristics of the merger of the vertical and the horizontal dimensions of religious experience and response. For example, he writes:

    ‘But indeed we exist solely for this, to be the place He has chosen for His presence, His manifestation in the world, His epiphany…….The love of our fellow man is given us as the way of realizing this……It is the love of my lover, my brother, or my child that sees God in me, makes God credible to myself in me. And it is my love for my lover, my child, my brother that enables me to show God to him or her in himself or herself. Love is the epiphany of God in our poverty.’

    Merton assumed that authentic religious experience constantly challenges us to live up to the concrete daily demands of love as incarnated in our brothers and sisters in need. The foundation of this love is Christ who fills our humanity with God’s own life. Just as Christ loves us with the same love with which he loves the Father, so too are we to love others with the same love with which we love God. It is the Spirit within that enables us to see that, “It is not a matter of either God or man, but of finding God by loving man, and discovering the true meaning of man in our love for God.” Love for God and love for others are not two loves, but rather two manifestations of one love. These two manifestations are bound so closely to each other that one is impossible without the other. As strongly as Merton stresses the reality and importance for the love for God in contemplative prayer, he no less stresses the fundamental fact of the spiritual life that:

    A man cannot enter into the deepest center of himself and pass through that center into God, unless he is able to pass entirely out of himself and empty himself and give himself to other people in the purity of a selfless love.”
    ———————————————————–

    While there are a number of aspects that can be drawn from these writings, one underlying fact is that we are the living testimony of Jesus and His love being God’s intervention in this world. Wherever we go, whoever we meet, we become the witness of Christ’s love, whether that be of words or deeds that beckons the lost to return to their true Father. Of course, the paradox is that the more we are involved with this work the more we see the face of God in our brothers and sisters. In fact, one commentator further notes “the eye wherein I see God is the same eye wherein God sees me.”

    Reply
    Vince says: Thursday May 15, 2014 at 11:44 am

    That sounds really beautiful Peter. I wonder if you are saying that we don’t have to actually talk about Jesus to others at all? I know you said “whether in word or deed”, but it seems like you are really talking about deeds and not words.

    It seems to me that a lot of believers are trying to replace verbal communication with acts of love. The problem is that the acts of love are only a part of living like Jesus. Jesus TALKED about Himself in very direct terms. He talked to people He knew and people he didn’t know. His message didn’t always draw everyone who would hear it. Sometimes people were drawn in by it, and sometimes they ran from it. That only happens when we present Jesus in love to everyone we love (which is everyone)! Our church does a lot of really nice things for people. We build houses, we feed and cloth the poor, we visit sick and even the incarcerated. This is awesome! I love to participate, and LIVE in those times! That said, if there was never a mention of Jesus, then I might just as well be part of a really good secular group that does the same thing (and there are many of them). Our self sacrificial love is only a part of what will show people Jesus. The other part is our witness, with our words, just like our Lord and Master, Jesus! The King of Kings and Lord of Lords! He teaches clearly that there will be times when our message will be rejected. I don’t think that means people will reject our willingness to help and serve them. It means they will reject our message of Jesus as the way, truth and life. The early Christians were killed because they would not “tone down” their well known belief that Jesus is Lord. They met the carnal needs of their community, and they proclaimed the truth to the sin-sick people (like me) as well. They offended people with their words sometimes. Do I? Not so much. I pray that I will be more bold to demonstrate self sacrificial love by my deeds, AND my words. It would be easier if I never had to say anything, but if I’m to give up what I want to do (or don’t want to do), then I MUST proclaim the love of Jesus!

    Reply
    Kathy D. says: Thursday May 15, 2014 at 7:50 pm

    Stephanie, I really enjoyed seeing you as part of this sermon, and enjoyed what you had to say, it really hit home! You have an infectious positive way of relating to others, you really listen to them and love on them; you are a blessing, thanks! 🙂

    Reply
    Peter West says: Friday May 16, 2014 at 5:35 am

    “Paul says, pray that I can … preach clearly…”

    I just wandered by, and heard this from the beginning of Greg’s sermon (?).

    I believe, mainly on the basis of Corinthians I and II, that Paul suffered with a speech defect; maybe a stammer, which was exacerbated in public speaking. Imagine it! But imagine also that perhaps the arguments in his letters would have been less compelling had he been able to rely on the gorse of his rhetoric in person.

    Reply
    Peter West says: Friday May 16, 2014 at 5:36 am

    …on the force of his rhetoric…

    Reply
    Peter says: Friday May 16, 2014 at 8:01 am

    Thanks for your comments Vince.

    While I understand where you are coming from, the simple answer is that we give ourselves, by whatever means is appropriate to the occasion, whether that be words or deeds or both.
    While we could debate that words without deeds are dead, or let the deeds speak for themselves, I believe there is a new understanding here (at least for me) that is touched on in the quotation I gave. However, firstly fallen man loves reducing things to a method so he can pride his ego with achievements….in brief; if I do “A” then “B” happens and I have achieved my goal….another mark on the inside cover of my Bible. As Dave outlines in his post above there are a number of “well tried” evangelistic methods. That is not to say some may produce the desired results on occasions, however, God is the most creative force in our universe and is fully aware in all wisdom of all knowledge of our lives and those about us and who we relate to. We see this evidenced in Jesus in the gospels (as you indicate) interrelating with people but does not have in mind that he has to recite the “three spiritual laws” (yes, I know I am being facetious)…..but every encounter is essentially different and makes an impact on those he meets….some by words and some by deeds and others involving both.

    When God sees us, he doesn’t in a sense see “John Brown” or “Mary Smith”…..He wants to see Himself (His Image) reflected in us. As Jesus said (being the second Adam), if you have seen me you have seen the Father. Jesus also says elsewhere that He is the Kingdom of Heaven that has come amongst those to whom He was speaking. Post the crucifixion and resurrection, just as Jesus was the physical presence of Kingdom action in this world, so are we are the physical presence of the Kingdom citizens on earth with our actions being the expression of God’s will and the witnesses of salvation to fallen Babylon.

    Being a podrishioner to WHC, I do not see on a day-to-day basis the impact their work has on the lives of those they assist; but like your Church, assume WHC’s love is unconditional and welcoming to those convicted to enter the Kingdom.

    Reply
    markmw says: Friday May 16, 2014 at 10:42 am

    Perhaps like Peter and others, I should also emphasize the positive aspects of evangelizing. Here goes.

    You are the light of the world. In you there is the lamp which is able to speak. It speaks of a kingdom in you which has been overcome with truth.

    God reigns in the earth through the bride. The bride rejoices because they all are now learning how to reign.

    You feel no pressure to speak; rather you are compelled. It is an inward drive to sow the seeds of glory. You draw hearts to God. You are a matchmaker between God and his people.

    You are being led in the best way for you to share this eternity. You may feel sometimes that you are not doing it in a correct way, but this is not true. You are learning the way, and that way is the truth and the light. God himself tutors you. Yes, you will see him tutor you, wait on it. You are a good student. He applauds your way of listening to him. You listen well.

    You have been given tickets to the greatest show on earth and in heaven. So now you merely hand these tickets out. You are led by an almighty wind. The wind takes the tickets from your hand and disperses them freely.

    It is not you who does the work. It is the wind. The wind takes the seeds of the once yellow dandelion and distributes the seeds as the wind sees fit. It is no struggle for you, the wind teaches you how to do the work which you do not do. You only let the wind do the work. You bend to the water, you let the water wash your words.

    You see a soul who is mired in some fault from which he does not know how to escape. He desires the escape. You bring him a newer understanding of the power which is freely given by God to help him overcome his fault. You don’t rush him, and make him feel as though he must overcome his fault in haste. You let him know that although God sometimes takes time in us to deliver us from evil, the timing is always right for God.

    God is patient. God is good. Always.

    You rarely rebuke others because you know that in order to do so accurately, you must have insight from God on how to speak the words with grace. You glorify the grace of God. You lift it up. You do not rush into a rebuke. You remember Jesus’ words to Judas, “do you betray me with a kiss?”. Such a gentle way to approach the matter. “Judas, don’t you understand? It is still a betrayal even if given with a kiss.”

    Jesus treated his friends with graciousness. Yes Peter was given a harder word, “get thee behind me”, but Peter was somehow not so sensitive to this word that he shrunk from Jesus as a result of it. This word from Jesus attracted Peter to Jesus even more, in the long run. If you rebuke there is somehow a peace in your words. It feels peaceful. But even better, you only speak these kinds of words to people who you know trust you to say only what is best for them. You do not seek strife. You do not seek disagreement.

    You prefer to encourage others into the grace of God rather than rebuking them into it. You rely on the power of love to attract this person into God’s ways. People are magnetized into the idea of serving God out of love. They want to give to God freely, as the spirit shows them the correct way to be a little kingdom for him.

    Jesus knew the heart of the Pharisees and so he was able to speak the precise words which they needed to hear. They were hard words but they were necessary. You don’t always know what your listener needs to hear and so you prefer words of grace. You rely on grace. They are beautiful words. They lift people up to the Father and into His expansive lap, through faith. You make the lap seem bigger for them. You make the heart of the father seem bigger. You let them realize there is a place in His heart just for them. Every person has a room in God’s heart, made just for them.

    They enter the doorway of His heart. It is by faith in the love of God; they realize by faith that God loves them like a tender shoot who needs to be cared for. God waters their heart until his seeds take a deep root. No wind will uproot their faith. They cling to God’s robes.
    The robes are like the pillars of a strong building. They are not shaken. They are safe hiding behind His robes.

    You are speaking words of the Word, but only by the Spirit. You join the wind.

    Reply
    vince says: Saturday May 17, 2014 at 8:11 am

    Thanks for the clarification, Mark. I can totally relate to “being compelled” by the love of Christ to be a “minister of reconciliation”, and it is clear that your experiences sharing the gospel have been very easy, that you do not have any struggles when you speak of Jesus, and that you don’t have any resistance from yourself or others when you witness. My experience has been far different, both in my own struggles to allow God to speak through me when the Spirit tells me it’s time, and how some respond to the gospel (it’s not always positive). Don’t get me wrong, it’s not up to me whether someone will receive or reject a real relationship with Jesus, but I’ve experienced both of those initial reactions to seeds being sown. Not when I’m feeding someone, or giving them money, or visiting them. With little exception, there is a wonderful positive reaction to those things. It’s when the Spirit says “open your mouth” when there are more mixed reactions.

    Greg talks about his senior year as a time he regrets, but I wonder if it was as destructive as he as thinks. Did anyone begin a relationship with Jesus as a result? Years later, did he run into an old friend who thanked him because he was saved and remembered Greg and his crazy senior year when he would not stop talking about Jesus? Which brings up a question: if we aren’t responsible for saving people, are we responsible for people who don’t decide to follow Jesus, if we witness the wrong way, or don’t witness when we should?

    Reply
    markmw says: Saturday May 17, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    Vince, thanks for your comment.

    The relationship between what I wrote just above and how I witness are not exactly congruent. I have more experience with witnessing the “wrong” way (see my first comment at top) than I do with witnessing the “right” way. In other words, everything I wrote in my first comment about the wrong motives for witnessing…I have experienced them first hand in myself, these are motives which I have excelled at. I know some people must struggle with these types of motives because I have seen them in myself. I can’t be alone.

    So, even though my more positive comment directly above concerning witnessing makes witnessing sound easy, I don’t think it necessarily is always so in reality. I think the positive comments directly above are more of an encouragement after some failure at witnessing. If there is something I wrote which helps your attitude after what you might see as a failure (which is actually just a learning experience) then good.

    What makes witnessing more easy is listening to Greg’s (and Stephanie’s) message such as the one above and just finding your niche in witnessing. There is a style of doing it that is appropriate for you. God has a way of approaching it that resonates with you. You don’t need to fit in another person’s style of witnessing.

    In other words, if you encounter some problem in witnessing, is there something I wrote which will encourage you? Is there something I wrote which will keep your spirits lifted up concerning witnessing? It will not necessarily be an easy ride just because you read some encouraging comments.

    My positive comments are I think more along the lines of what Jesus said, “not a hair of your head will perish”, Luke 21:18. My somewhat receding hairline does not match this promise. But what Jesus was saying, is that he was exaggerating the safety zone you are in as a believer, in order to lift our minds from worry. A more practical application of what Jesus said was more like, “if you get a bald spot, does it really matter?” Why worry about such details in the light of eternal life.

    If you get resistance from someone, either find a way to agree with them, like Greg suggests, or perhaps let that conversation go. There are always other people to talk to.

    Anyway I feel stupid going on and on about my comments, as if this site was about me. God bless.

    Reply
    Dave Pritchard says: Saturday May 17, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    Pod – Fellows,

    I am not advocating anything either the “Interviewer” or the “Interviewee” says in this specific clip, but I found the dialog particularly interesting in that it encapsulates the limitations of certain approaches to witnessing. If you’re interested in sharing your faith with others, I don’t think you can watch this and not come away with a strong opinion (?)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kwnyKMH2a7A

    Reply
    Vince says: Saturday May 17, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    Thanks again for your insight into this. I think what I will take out of all of this is, whether it feels good or not, I will obey my Lord in all things, because He is my King. He will handle all the details, and leave me with great joy and peace as I follow Him and obey His commands! Enjoyed all the encouragement from you guys!

    Reply
    vince says: Sunday May 18, 2014 at 12:00 am

    Unfortunate that the need fora real relationship with Jesus doesn’t come across in the presentation. Seems more like an attempt to use logic and reason to win a point.

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6md638smQd8

    this is a really awesome video of a well known atheist ‘ reaction to being approached, and his opinion of Christians who don’t share their faith.

    Reply
    Dave Pritchard says: Sunday May 18, 2014 at 3:16 am

    Vince,

    I didn’t realize that Penn Jillette was such an exponent for the “New Athestist” crowd. I‘ve been aware that he’s been around for years with Joseph Teller doing his “act” but I assumed his performances and rhetoric didn’t go far beyond the self-mutilations/comedic. There’s a lot of very cleverly constructed moxy and sarcastic angst directed against the Christian faith in his work, which ties directly into his whole iconoclastic and illusionary persona. I would guess that nearly everything this guy does on stage, as well as online, is consistently duplicit and mendacious – he’s an “illusuionist”; that’s what he does for a living! One would hope that his encounter with the “Big Guy” as described, was genuine, but I have my doubts. Ha!

    Someone who possesses such a razor sharp and well-developed knowledge based sense of humor, is particularly hard to reach with the Good News. In fact, in his case, I don’t think any level of mastery crafted exegetical elucidation would convince him of anything – it would probably just reinforce his presuppositions and general distain. Perhaps an “incarnational approach” would not however. When one is confronted by those who are totally sold out for the Lord – living in the most intense poverty and squalor on a daily basis, year after year, sharing the Love of Jesus and ministering to those in need, you cannot help but be convicted by their example. That’s not to say, that those of us [including myself who support those abroad] aren’t as equally invested in that work but it would take someone close to his heart, who has given everything to follow our Savior, who really has their hands dirty, to make an effective impact on his life. It certainly has always convicted me seeing and hearing those testimonies from abroad and make me realize how thin and veneer like my own efforts have been. It all swings back to John 6:44 –

    “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.” (NIV)

    Cheers, Dave

    Reply
    vince says: Sunday May 18, 2014 at 8:56 am

    You might want to watch the video before you comment on it. He doesn’t express distain toward the person who approaches him, but rather genuine admiration! As far as how hard it would be to reach this person or that person: I’m not sure we are supposed to be the judge of that. It’s not up to us. You are saying that unless you have it all right you won’t be able to be an effective witness? I hope not because that’s way off. If God calls you to squalor and poverty stricken places, then go and proclaim the name of Jesus. Where ever you are right now, live with Jesus at the center. He demonstrated His love for us. It’s not about us, the gospel is about Him! Paul chose not to use clever words, but simply preached Christ crucified. I hope you watch that video.

    Reply
    vince says: Sunday May 18, 2014 at 8:59 am

    You really should watch the clip before you comment on it.

    Reply
    Dave Pritchard says: Sunday May 18, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    Vince –

    “You might want to watch the video before you comment on it.”

    I did watch it and enjoyed it, thank you! I also watched several other clips afterwards such as –

    Bible, real facts? 1/3 – YouTube
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxXtiIMLIRI

    Like I said – “I hope that his encounter with the “Big Guy” as described, was genuine”

    Knowing his background as a very accomplished entertainer, can you blame me for being a little bit skeptical? If it was genuine, then GREAT, Fantastic and more power to him and the “Big Guy” who gave him the scriptures!!!! Praise God!! Love those Gideons!!!!

    “You are saying that unless you have it all right you won’t be able to be an effective witness?”

    Absolutely not! It’s God who prompts us to share and it’s God who prompts those to receive – either way it’s God’s call. He, the Holy Spirit leads us into all truth – John 16:13

    “If God calls you to squalor and poverty stricken places, then go and proclaim the name of Jesus”

    I’m not mocking self-sacrificial love in anyway here bro! What are you talking about? I’m just saying that a guy with that level of metal acumen and philosophical wit would perhaps be less likely to be persuaded, let’s say by someone with a microphone and stack of “Chick tracts”, as opposed to someone who has spent more time abroad building the Kingdom – but maybe that’s not the case (?) God can use anyone and nearly anything to gather together people unto himself.

    “It’s not about us, the gospel is about Him!”

    Really? No, really…….Now, how was I communicating anything but this idea? Of course it’s about HIM! In fact, I sang that in church this morning! – “The Heart Of Worship” by Matt Redman –

    The Heart of Worship (worship video w/ lyrics) – YouTube

    ► 4:14
    ► 4:14
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7OR3W-as38

    “Paul chose not to use clever words, but simply preached Christ crucified.”

    Thank Goodness he did and Praise God, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to understand him!

    Love You Bro!!!!

    Reply
    Dave Pritchard says: Sunday May 18, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    “You might want to watch the video before you comment on it.”

    I did watch it and enjoyed it, thank you! I also watched several other clips afterwards such as –
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxXtiIMLIRI

    Like I said – “I hope that his encounter with the “Big Guy” as described, was genuine” Knowing his background as a very accomplished entertainer can you blame we for being a little skeptical? If it is genuine then, Fantastic and more power to him an the “Big Guy” who gave him the scriptures!!!!

    “You are saying that unless you have it all right you won’t be able to be an effective witness?”

    Absolutely not! It’s God who prompts us to share and it’s God who prompts those to receive – either way it’s God’s call. He, the Holy Spirit leads us into all truth – John 16:13

    “If God calls you to squalor and poverty stricken places, then go and proclaim the name of Jesus”

    I’m not mocking self-sacrificial love in anyway! What are you talking about? I’m just saying that a guy with that level of metal acumen and philosophical wit would perhaps be less likely to be persuaded, let’s say by someone with a microphone and stack of “Chick tracts” – but maybe that’s not the case (?) God can use anyone and nearly anything to gather together people unto himself.

    “It’s not about us, the gospel is about Him!”

    Really? Now, how was I communicating anything but this idea? Of course it’s about HIM! If fact I sang that in church this morning! – “The Heart Of Worship” by Matt Redman –

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7OR3W-as38

    “Paul chose not to use clever words, but simply preached Christ crucified.”

    Thank Goodness and Praise God, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to understand him!

    Love you Bro!!!!

    Reply
    Dave Pritchard says: Monday May 19, 2014 at 12:03 am

    “You might want to watch the video before you comment on it.”

    I did watch it and enjoyed it, thank you! I also watched several other clips afterwards such as their –

    “Bible, real facts? 1/3”

    Like I said – “I hope that his encounter with the “Big Guy” as described, was genuine” Knowing his background as a very accomplished entertainer can you blame we for being a little skeptical? If it is genuine then, Fantastic and more power to him an the “Big Guy” who gave him the scriptures!!!!

    “You are saying that unless you have it all right you won’t be able to be an effective witness?”

    Absolutely not! It’s God who prompts us to share and it’s God who prompts those to receive – either way it’s God’s call. He, the Holy Spirit leads us into all truth – John 16:13

    “If God calls you to squalor and poverty stricken places, then go and proclaim the name of Jesus”

    I’m not mocking self-sacrificial love in anyway! What are you talking about? I’m just saying that a guy with that level of metal acumen and philosophical wit would perhaps be less likely to be persuaded, let’s say by someone with a microphone and stack of “Chick tracts” – but maybe that’s not the case (?) God can use anyone and nearly anything to gather together people unto himself.

    “It’s not about us, the gospel is about Him!”

    Really? Now, how was I communicating anything but this idea? Of course it’s about HIM! If fact I sang that in church this morning! – “The Heart Of Worship” – Matt Redman version.

    “Paul chose not to use clever words, but simply preached Christ crucified.”

    Thank Goodness and Praise God, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to understand him!

    Love you Bro!!!!

    Reply
    vince says: Monday May 19, 2014 at 4:08 am

    And I love you, too! The main thing I got out of Penn ‘ clip was his opinion of Christians who won’t open their mouths. He said: “If you believe this is true, how much do you have to hate someone to not tell them about it?”. He’s not slamming Christians, he’s slamming Christians who won’t share their faith when they know what’s at stake! The ultimate hypocrisy is to talk about the self sacrificial love if God, and then neglect to share that love in EVERY way with others.

    We can talk about how different a covenantal relationship is different from a contractual relationship, and that shows that we get it. So, when we talk about witnessing, what we need to do is be able to tell others about our relationship with Jesus, not about 4 spiritual laws and how saying we believe in them is the for insurance we need so we can continue living the same way. BUT, let’s not throw h the baby out with the bath water! Let’s live out our love relationship with Jesus by serving the brethren and others, and by verbally sharing the growing relationship we have with Jesus with the brethren and others! I honestly believe this is where I could use some instruction. How do I tell others about my best Friend, my Lord, my King, my Mate, Jesus?

    I want to love like Jesus loves. He talked about Himself to everyone! He served everyone! How do I do both? Our church has many wonderful service ministries, but no training in the ways of sharing our faith verbally. I’m thankful that the Holy Spirit is here to teach me. I’m just curious why the church is so willing to teach emphatically on so many spiritual truths and commands, yet is so “squirrely” when it comes to the clear commands sharing our faith? I clearly understand the wrong way, and that’s so much of what this past week’s teaching was about (by the way, a lot of applause each time Greg points out the wrong approach…curious…). How about some in depth teaching on the right way to talk to others about Him, and some real exhortation to figure it out since it is a command of Jesus, just like caring for the poor and marginalized!

    “The fields are white for the harvest”. Doesn’t that mean we should have opportunities everywhere to tell others about our relationship with Jesus?

    “Go and make disciples”. Doesn’t that mean we should not only be able to share our faith very well, but that we should also be able to train others to share their faith?

    Praise God! I’m ready to serve others today, and I’m open to “use my words” as the Spirit leads! Time to go talk with Jesus! Have a great day!

    Reply

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