Thursday, June 6, 2013

How is SWAT and Canvassing going?

This past Saturday was the second Outreach Saturday that we have had this summer.  We grew a bit in attendance and have a good amount of folks coming out.  I'm encouraged by the spirit of boldness for Christ that I see in each person.

The Canvassing Team has been working on the 1500 plus homes of Salem Woods distributing gospel literature and the Gospel DVD.  They were able to hit over 300 homes on Saturday!

SWAT (Soul Winning Advance Team) has been going to "people locations".  The first week we went to the New Castle Farmer's Market, but were told we could not come back there.

I wanted to tell you about SWAT's adventure on Saturday.  We went to Main street Newark and were wondering if we would find many people since U of D just held their graduation.  However, what we did not know is that it was "Newark Day" and Main street is shut off for vendors for the day.  When we arrived in the morning, the crowd steadily grew to several hundred people I suppose.

The great thing is that we were able to talk to a very steady stream of people on the streets about Christ and we simply blended in with all the activity around us.  Our different teams spoke to person after person using the introduction of the Truth Survey.  That Survey is four questions about "Truth" in this generation - things like "how do you know what is good and evil?" "are you responsible for your actions?" etc.  It is a great way to get into the question "can I show you what the Bible says about Truth?"  We then have been using the Bridge Tract which is a very easy method (with pictures) to give the gospel.  It has clear and thorough verses that explain the plight of sin and the answer of the Savior.

In past years, we have gone door to door in housing areas.  The problem with that is that most people seem to be gone on a given Saturday, and the rest are home to have a lazy morning or to work hard on their homes.  The people we engage on the street or at the Market are already out and prepared to see other people.  They seem to have more of a willingness to talk.  The Lord has been very gracious and encouraging to us.

It is shaping up to be a very good season of Outreach.  Already, many people have heard the gospel!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Caring for the functional needs of traveling missionaries

3Jn 1:5-8  Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers;  (6)  Which have borne witness of thy charity before the church: whom if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, thou shalt do well:  (7)  Because that for his name's sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles.  (8)  We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellowhelpers to the truth.

I was reading this passage this morning and thinking about how important it is to care for our missionaries who are traveling through our church.  You will notice that this is what is being talked about here.  The leader -  pastor? "Gaius" is being commended of his love toward brethren that were going forward with the gospel. Evidently, they were showing great care for these missionaries.

V.8 says that when we care for their needs in such a hospitable way, we are becoming fellowhelpers of the truth.  Raising missions support right now is very tough.  American churches are feeling the grip of the economy and have become in some ways unhospitable in their attitude toward those trying to reach the field. It is common for a missionary to be treated poorly or coldly when they call churches.  It is common to never have an opportunity to talk to a pastor, but to be shut down by the secretary.

I have felt the frustration as a pastor about missionaries.  My parents are missionaries now, and they tell me what it is like.  I also realize the feeling of having no funds to support new missionaries and having to be careful with funds even to be hospitable to those passing through.

All of us need to see the bigger picture of the heart of our Lord that commends all hospitality to those called to give his gospel.  Even if it is small, we need to do the small things that we can.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Have you considered John the Baptist?

My sweet wife was reading in Mark this week and talked to me about the life of John the Baptist.  She was pondering his purpose in life.  She asked if I've considered that his entire life was dedicated for the use of the Lord Jesus.  Now, think about this for a minute in light of the purpose of your life.  Consider John:

1.  Glorified Jesus in the womb
2.  Prepared the way of Christ by preaching as soon as he was old enough
3.  Lived extremely minimally on locust and honey in the wilderness for his task
4.  Publicly declared Jesus as Christ before masses for the first time
5.  Was imprisoned for his righteous stand and outspoken holiness
6.  Was beheaded

Think about this man's life.  It was spent all for God and more specifically Christ.  We value ourselves and the will of God for us so much that we miss that we are made "for" Him.  We don't realize that it is a good thing to be sacrificed in a way that causes us "less" for Christ's sake.  Are you and I willing to lay down ourselves like John the Baptist for the only purpose of preparing the way for the Lord?

This is what my sweet wife shared with me.