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Scripture to Ponder

Ponder upon these verses.  I am working on transcribing a sermon that teaches about this passage.

Why did Paul say to the Jews I became as a Jew?  Was he not “Mr. Jew” already?

1 Corinthians 9:19-22 (KJV)
19 For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.
20 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law;
21 To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.
22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

1 Corinthians 9:19-22 (ESV)
19 For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them.
20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law.
21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law.
22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.

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Conrad Mbewe – The Great Commission

The ninth session of True Church Conference 2010 was led by Conrad Mbewe, speaking on the Great Commission from Matthew 28:18-20. The highest reason for evangelism is because it is for the glory of God. Other reasons are: because of our love for sinners, because it is the work of a disciple to be a fisher of men, because of the power of the gospel in the lives of people. And in the Great Commission we find another reason: obedience to a command of our great Head Jesus Christ.

There is significance to the timing of the words of the Great Commission. They are His words just before His ascension. They carry the same weight as the weight of a father’s words to his children when he is on his death bed. We need to come back to this passage frequently and ask the question “Am I obeying this command?”

There is a word that appears four times in these three verses – “all”. Surely there is a revelation of the heart of the meaning of this passage in this word “all”.

The ends of these verses are the Lord Jesus Christ. They begin with Jesus, they end with Jesus. In the middle is our responsibility.

1. All authority – given to Jesus Christ. He demonstrated authority while he was here on earth in his humanity. But it would appear that a different measure of authority was given to Jesus after His crucifixion and resurrection. He was ascending to His mediatorial kingship. We should have comfort and confidence in obeying the command of the Great Commission because Jesus has all authority.

2. All nations – make disciples. This appeared to be an impossible command. How could a group of twelve ordinary Jews perform this extraordinary task? How could a Jew be expected to go to the Gentile nations? The book of Acts shows their hesitancy. God used tribulation to scatter those He used to fulfill this command. God used a vision to change Peter.

a. see Genesis 12:2-3 and Revelation 5:9-10

b. Should our goal be to have a good church, with a good pastor, and good music, in a good building? No, our goal is world conquest. Our goal is to push back the domain of darkness across the expanse of the globe.

3. Teaching them to obey all things – that Jesus has commanded. This indicates that there are those who are in rebellion against the authority of Jesus. Our job is to make these people into loyal subjects of the King. Not just know all things, but to obey all things. This is more than a cultural mandate. This is a mandate to convert the nations.

a. We are all called to obey, and all called to call others to this same obedience.

4. With you always – to the end of the age. We return here to the ideas of comfort and confidence. The efficient cause of our labor does not depend on us, it depends upon He that is with us. We need spiritual eyes to see that He is with us, and if we see that, then we would see the vigor of our obedience increase.

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For The Sake Of The Lord’s Name

Why share the gospel? For the sake of the unbelieving? Or For Christ’s Sake?

Philippians 2:8-11
8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,
10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
ESV

For Christ’s sake because unbelievers are profaning the Lord’s name.

Isaiah 48:11 For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another. ESV

Ezekiel 20:9 But I acted for the sake of my name, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations among whom they lived, … ESV

Ezekiel 20:14 But I acted for the sake of my name, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations,… ESV

Ezekiel 20:22 But I withheld my hand and acted for the sake of my name, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations, ESV

Ezekiel 36:22-23
22 … It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came.
23 And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them. And the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Lord God, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes
. ESV

Romans 1:5-6
5 through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations,
6 including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ,
ESV

The NIV gives an easier understood reading of Romans 1:5.

Romans 1:5 Through him and for his name’s sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith. NIV

3 John 5-8
5 Beloved, it is a faithful thing you do in all your efforts for these brothers, strangers as they are,
6 who testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God.
7 For they have gone out for the sake of the name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles.
8 Therefore we ought to support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth.
ESV

If we are sharing the gospel just for the sake of the unbeliever then we run the risk of defaming and profaning the Lord’s name. We are doing the right thing with the wrong motive.

If we are witnessing and sharing the gospel to others for the sake of the Lord’s name then it behooves us to be sure to be witnessing in a manner that does not profane His name and that it is in obedience to the Lord.

Colossians 3:16-17
16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him
. ESV


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Friendships – Bad Company Ruining Good Morals or Iron Sharpening Iron?

We need to be careful of how we relate to the world and unbelievers. Although we are called to share the gospel, we are still warned repeatedly about how we are to use caution when we interact with the world. If we are not careful, unbelieving worldly people will lead us astray.

Even those that claim to believe in Jesus Christ can lead us astray if they are living like the world and listening to the world’s message.

Psalms 1:1-2
1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night
. ESV

1 Corinthians 15:33 Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” ESV

Proverbs 4:14-15
14 Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of the evil.
15 Avoid it; do not go on it; turn away from it and pass on.
ESV

Job 21:16,18 The counsel of the wicked is far from me. … That they are like straw before the wind, and like chaff that the storm carries away? ESV

Proverbs 1:10 My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent. ESV

Psalms 26:4-5
4 I do not sit with men of falsehood, nor do I consort with hypocrites.
5 I hate the assembly of evildoers, and I will not sit with the wicked
. ESV

Psalms 119:47-48
47 for I find my delight in your commandments, which I love.
48 I will lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love, and I will meditate on your statutes.
ESV

Proverbs 18:24 A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. ESV

John 17:14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. ESV

James 1:27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. ESV

This Iron sharpens Iron post was talking about how our Christian friends are to encourage us in our walk with the Lord.

“In the Word of God: If either of us are taking on a worldly view or just taking on the “acceptable” view on a topic and not using the Scripture as a guide, it’s not really iron sharpening iron. We’re just having a heated discussion.”

Proverbs 27:17 Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. ESV
Proverbs 27:6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy. ESV

Hebrews 3:13-14
13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
14 For we share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end
. ESV

1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. ESV

Colossians 3:16-17
16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him
. ESV

We can’t have serious discussions of this type with a nonbeliever because we are not using the same guide, God’s Word. Even if a nonbeliever quotes Scripture, you can be sure they will often quote it out of context or without looking at all of Scripture, such as ignoring other verses.

We are to share the gospel and make disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Mark 16:15-16
15 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.
16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
ESV

Matthew 28:19-20
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
ESV

But while we are going about sharing the gospel we must be sure to not become stained by the world.

James 1:27 Religion that is pure and undefiled
before God, the Father, is this:
to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and
to keep oneself unstained from the world. ESV

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God’s Timing is Perfect In All Things

Some days you get reminded that God’s timing is perfect. Not that it isn’t always perfect but that we as selfish, sinful creatures forget that God holds everything in His Hands. There is not one thing that occurs without the Lord being in total supervision.

Last night I got an comment from a relative that was complaining about my post Happiness Despite Happenings . Seems I was not Christ-like that day in her opinion. Needless to say that comment was not something I would choose to end a long day of church, violin recitals and church. We had been gone from 9:30 AM until 8:30 PM that day. When I arrived home, I found that comment.

So what would you do in that case?

Needless to say immediate sleep was out of the question:

Well, here is what I did.

1) I attempted to remember everything that happened that day to see what I did wrong.

Much I’m sure, but if I was unChrist-like it was most likely with the children in trying to get things done in a timely manner. Patience is hard with a time crunch. 🙁 But as I wrote that day went amazingly well and the Lord helped me to be much more patient and calm than I can ever be on my own.

2) I reread that email so many times to see what exactly the complaint was. Most of the comment, over 90%, concerned others and not me. Thus the not posting of it.

Apparently a comment in the post was interpreted to be about this individual.

Some of the funny things must remain private in order to not offend those affected.”

For the life of me I could not remember all that happened that I thought was so funny then. A journal would have helped but I don’t have one. 🙁 I even bribed the kids with money to help me remember. But we do remember a few of them:

~ It was winter and our neighbors had mowed their acres of pasture just previously. Unless you live in the country this might not make sense but that causes rodent homes to be disrupted. Not good. So we soon detected a rodent in the house. Now see I handled snakes, elephants, monkey, etc. when I worked at the zoo but I hate rodents! My plan of attack is full all out war. So we set traps. Lots of them! So the morning that company came we found TWO dead field mice! But I had to make the boys clean up all the traps. I wasn’t going to have a trap sitting in the kitchen floor with company.

~ I buzzed the boys. Clipper sets come with multiple combs for the selected length of the hair. Well in my rush Birthday Boy got buzzed with the wrong comb. Turns out in his birthday pictures he has no hair – he got just shy of a surgical clip. Thankfully, he didn’t mind.

~ The kids reminded me that in the process of cleaning the bathrooms one young child cause the toilet to over flow.

I can’t remember the others but they involved the children. There was nothing funny about this individual. Something especially involved my oldest “Mr. IT” because he hosts my website. He would pull the plug if I posted incriminating evidence about him! :0

3) Then the end of the comment was typical. Stating that I am a sinful hypocrite and not a good example. No argument here. I am afraid I am all of the above and more. That is why I need the Lord every single day. If I was totally sanctified I wouldn’t be here though. But the Lord is sanctifying me more and more every single day. Even with comments. 🙂

The biggest complaint is my attempting to share the gospel with this individual.

I have begged and pleaded with this individual to reexamine her life according to Scriptures. To see if she is in the faith. Because you see just having made a profession of faith and being baptized does not mean you are a Christian. See the post Ten “Christians” God Will Not Allow Into Heaven. I am guilty of telling this relative and others that the evidence exhibited does not indicate that Jesus is Lord of their life and that they should examine themselves according to Scripture.

But I have also been guilty of thinking that I could answer her every question. That I could logically reason her into the faith. But without the Spirit she will never understand.

1 Corinthians 2:14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. ESV

That if I just could know enough of the Bible or quote enough Bible verses that she would see the problem. I have prayed for wisdom for me and I have prayed for her and her family.

I have spent hours emailing back and forth trying to convince her that the whole Bible is trust worthy.

2 Timothy 3:16-17

16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. ESV

I have begged, argued and pleaded with her and with God about her.

1 Samuel 12:23 Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you, and I will instruct you in the good and the right way. ESV

But I am found guilty of sin again!

How?

By thinking that if I say the right words or share just the right verses that I just might win her to Christ. That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t share verses or talk with her about her need for Christ. But I will not be the deciding factor. I know that, but when you love someone and see them hurting we often run ahead of God thinking if we just do this or that then they will see the truth.

God will bring someone to faith if He so chooses, in His own timing and with His own methods. He may decide to use something I said or not. He can use my good Christ-like behavior and He can use my sin. He can use a donkey if He so chooses.

I received a reply email from a friend who was dealing with the recent loss of a friend. She felt her previous attempts to share the gospel had maybe driven the friend away from Christ instead of towards Christ. This is what I wrote her last week:

… something that it took me years to understand.

Your actions are not a reason for someone to accept or reject the gospel. That sounds so strange at first, but I hope I can explain it clearly.

See God chooses who will be saved. God will call whom will be saved.

John 15:16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. KJV

Not only that, but we believers were chosen from the foundation of the world. God chose those who would believe from the beginning.

Ephesians 1:3-6

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. KJV

What does this have to with what you said? You are not responsible for her salvation! Only God is. No one is saved by Jesus and some other person, only Jesus saves those who will be saved. It isn’t a Jesus and man team effort. Salvation is only from the Lord. I’m sure you understand this but haven’t probably thought about it in this way.

God chose the Jews even though there was nothing worthy or to be desired in them. (I spent 20 minutes looking for that verse! Still didn’t find it.) God will choose whom He will call to salvation.

Now that doesn’t mean we don’t have a responsibility. We are responsible to obey the Lord by sharing the gospel and we are also to live lives that we cause others to ask about our hope. Nevertheless, the Lord isn’t going to punish another with eternal damnation because WE failed to share the gospel correctly.

Do you see the difference?

This frees us from the fear of being the reason someone did not come to Christ. It also frees us to share the gospel with more people because we do not have to worry about doing everything perfectly or else they will reject the gospel.

I hope this helps. You do not need to apologize for failing to bring your friend to faith that is God’s responsibility. However, if sin in anyway affected your sharing, either a lack of it sharing or sinful emotions, etc. than your responsibility is to God for the sin in your life.

If God so chooses he can send a “talking Donkey” to share the gospel. And if God so chooses he will make a person blind to bring them to salvation. (Apostle Paul)”

When I reread that the Lord reminded me that:

1) He is in Charge.

2) He will save those He calls, not me.

3) I am not responsible for others lack of faith, just my obedience.

4) God’s plans will not be thwarted by my actions, righteous or sinful.


Jonah 2:9 Salvation is of the Lord. KJV
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True Church Conference 2009 – Paul Washer – Evangelism


Paul Washer – Evangelism

Luke 24:36-46
36 As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!”
37 But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit.
38 And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?
39 See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”
40 And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet.
41 And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?”
42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish,
43 and he took it and ate before them.
44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”
45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,
46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead,
ESV

1. Totally convinced about the resurrection –

v36 Jesus himself
v37-v38 they were convinced
v39 Christ must give the interpretation

a) Real resurrection
b) same body that had died

2. Convinced of own peace with God

3. Convinced of the Grace of God

Experimental Relationship
Experience with Christ
Beware of giving a testimony of another’s testimony
Don’t just read about prayer – PRAY
Empowering and filling of the Holy Spirit – even if you call me charismatic!

4. Through grasp of Scriptures

Proclaim Christ as the only expected person.
The gist of prophecy is the suffering and resurrection of Christ.

5. Three Infinitives – v46-v47

Christ is to suffer
Christ is to rise
We are to proclaim

6. Burdened for the World and the INDIVIDUAL!

Are you in love with missions or with souls?

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Ten Reasons Why Nursing Homes Are Great Places to Minister – Steve Burchett

While recently reflecting upon Jesus’ compassion toward those who were “distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd” (Matt. 9:36), I determined to find similarly downcast people in my neighborhood so that I might serve them and tell them about Christ. I now find myself regularly in a nursing home, and the ministry opportunities abound.

Perhaps you might consider ministering in a nursing home. Maybe there are others in your church who would enjoy such an outreach. I’ve compiled ten reasons why nursing homes are great places to minister. Perhaps this will inspire you to give this important ministry a try:

1. Nursing homes provide an avenue to obey God, Who tells us to serve the downcast and rejected.

Not every resident in a nursing home is sad. Many are very happy. Some are only there for a brief time of rehabilitation, and then they will go home. Others will probably die soon, but they have loving families who visit often and comfort them greatly.

However, walk around any nursing home and you will see people who appear hopeless, and you will have a much better understanding of the ladies James calls “widows in their distress” (James 1:27). I’m reminded of the woman who weighs perhaps 75 pounds, and every time I see her she is quietly saying, “Would somebody help me? Would somebody please help me?” She says it over and over again, even though the nurses (most of whom are heroes of our society!) work diligently to take care of her needs. God, through James, tells us to “visit” ladies like her (James 1:27), and the author of Hebrews writes, “And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased” (13:16). You may have other ways to obey these verses, but if not, I’m sure that in your neighborhood there is a nursing home with men and women who would rejoice to have you come for a visit this week.

2. Nursing homes offer numerous opportunities for evangelism.

Even if you are not a pastor, most (if not all) nursing homes will allow almost anybody to spend time visiting with the residents. Just check in at the front desk, tell them the church you represent, say that you would like to be an encouragement to any of the residents they think might enjoy a visit, and ask whom they would like you to see. Most nursing homes I have visited are understaffed, so the employees are grateful for any help they can get, even if they put you with “Mrs. Pester” just so she’ll stop pressing her call button every 30 seconds.

If you decide to go, you might want to arrive with a few prepared questions for the residents. For example, after the obligatory small talk, you might ask, “Do you have a church?” If so, find out what the church teaches. You could say, “What does your church teach about Jesus?” Another approach is to inquire, “Could I read to you one of my favorite passages in the Bible?” Then you could explain why you like the passage so much. Reading verses and passages that make the gospel plain is helpful (like Isaiah 53 or John 10), and you’ll want to hear their insights as well in order to know what they believe and what you may need to address. “What do you love the most about Jesus” may be a good question to ask the person who professes to know Christ.

Along with one-on-one visits, your church might contact the activities coordinator of the nursing home (if they have one) to see when you could come and provide a Bible study or even a gathering with singing and preaching. One caution: Before you commit to anything long-term, tell the coordinator that you would like to visit a couple of times and evaluate if you should keep coming.

3. Nursing home residents will increase your trust in a sovereign God.

I once was called in to a nursing home by a family who found my church’s listing in the phone book. A family member was dying, and they wanted a local pastor to come and minister to their loved one. I didn’t know what to expect, but when I arrived, I was whisked away to the section of the nursing home where most people never enter—the place where the most volatile and/or most physically challenged are housed. After a nurse walked me through two sets of double doors, the foul odor took my breath away, and then I was taken into a room of a man near death. He was hooked up to an extremely loud breathing machine, and his eyes were shut. His chest would fill with air, causing his back to arch, and then he would exhale, causing the bedsprings to rattle. What was I going to do? Should I just pray with the man, and then depart? No, I remembered Jesus’ words in John 10:27, “My sheep hear My voice.” I didn’t know if this man had ever heard the Good Shepherd’s voice, but I did realize at that moment that if he hadn’t, and if he was one of the Lord’s sheep, God would somehow intervene and help that man to hear and believe in Christ in those final hours. So I preached the gospel (quite loudly!).

Conversation is possible with a large number of those staying in a nursing home, but some are simply not able to communicate. This is frustrating at times, but it often reminds me that God is sovereign and I must trust Him. When we are all gathered together on the new earth, we might hear many accounts of individuals who came to Christ through the faithful witness of someone who didn’t let closed eyes or a breathing machine keep them from proclaiming the gospel.

4. Nursing homes make available a place of real and life-impacting ministry for young men contemplating or heading into the ministry.

Most churches do not provide frequent teaching opportunities for young men considering the pastorate. This is where a nursing home could be very strategic. The residents of nursing homeslong for somebody to spend time with them, and they really don’t care about the quality of the conversation or teaching.

Do you see what this opens up for young men who desire to preach? They could go to a local nursing home, arrange for a Bible study, and preach away. The ministry would be real and life-impacting, and the training would be extremely valuable.

I often meet seminary students who are members at churches where they get to teach only rarely, if at all, yet they express to me their burning desire to preach. I now respond with this: “Have you considered preaching in a local nursing home?”

5. Nursing homes present a way to teach children to love their neighbor.

The Lord’s law includes this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31). Nursing homes are full of our neighbors, and the presence of children brings smiles to their faces. In this setting, children can introduce themselves to the residents, bring them crafts they’ve made, or show off their favorite toys. If you have a gathering with singing and preaching, the kids can participate by passing out song sheets (with very large font, by the way) and by sitting next to the residents. Some of my church’s kids will soon take lotion to nursing home residents, and offer a hand massage.

What about when children do not want to participate? Such a scenario provides an easy opportunity to explain to them that they are lawbreakers who deeply need a Savior.

6. Nursing homes remind us that sickness and death are coming.

Everybody in a nursing home used to be your age. Most at one time were as healthy, or in better shape, than you are. But now they are sick, and they are tired, and some may not make it through another week. Here’s my point: You may go to a nursing home to preach to the residents, but every time you visit they will preach to you about the brevity of life and the reality of death.

We need such reminders. We will be helped by seeing people who cannot assemble with the church anymore because they might cause us not to take for granted our gatherings with God’s people. We will be reminded of the importance of filling our minds and hearts with Scripture now while our minds are younger and more able to retain information. We will be inspired to live our lives to the fullest for the Lord while we can still walk and talk and see and feel.

7. Nursing homes put you in the presence of older saints who are persevering in the Lord.

A faithful older believer is an inspiring sight. I am quick to introduce my children to these authentic, time-tested saints, and I personally seek out conversations with these believers because they are a tremendous blessing to me.

Recently, I was not motivated to head out to the nursing home. I was tired. I was barely prepared to teach my church that evening. I wanted to stay home. When we got to the nursing home, everything changed when a sweet lady struggling with diabetes greeted us with a hug and a smile. She was quite happy to see us, she sat in the front during the singing and preaching, she was a terrific listener during the teaching time, she articulated her love for Christ to the residents around her, and she was quick to express her thanks to me for teaching the Bible carefully and without compromise. On the way home, I prayed, “Father, thank you for teaching me today. Give me grace to persevere to the end like Mrs. Minor.”

8. Nursing homes put you in the presence of people who have hardened their hearts, rejected Christ, and may never again have a coherent thought.

Christ-hating people are everywhere, including nursing homes. Sadly, some have lost the ability to think, even though they are still breathing. Every time I’m with a person who is no longer able to communicate, I realize that he or she may be a Christian, but I also know that I often sit in the presence of people who will soon be in hell. This is a sobering reality.

Even if you never have a regular ministry within a nursing home, at some point in your life you will probably visit someone there. When you do, listen to the messages these unbelievers preach. Hear them proclaiming with their malnourished souls, “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts” (Heb. 3:15). Listen as they declare with their wasted lives, “For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries” (Heb. 10:26-27). For these people, sadly, the opportunity to trust and obey is lost. Time spent in a nursing home, with hell-bound people like this, will help us to “pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it” (Heb. 2:1).

9. Nursing homes open doors to new relationships with those related to or associated with the residents.

Often, the residents will have family or friends with them who will appreciate knowing that somebody else cares for their loved ones. Greeting the residents by name in the presence of their guests communicates an especially kind heart and makes the Christ we proclaim attractive. Some will eventually move back home, but remain close enough that further ministry is possible. Others will die in the nursing home. Imagine the love it would express to these families if several people from your church attended the funerals. And consider all of the evangelism that could potentially take place among unbelieving families! Also, a family might need somebody to lead the funeral, and a pastor or a young man from your church training for the ministry might be asked to oversee the service. When we show people that we truly care, and when we ask the Lord for new friendships and witnessing opportunities, both the people and God respond favorably.

Nurses, staff, and sometimes doctors are also present in nursing homes. Most often when I visit, I’m greeted by a nurse. Like most people, they appreciate kind words and they are grateful when a person shows genuine interest in their lives. They might even participate in a Bible study you or your church leads. Recently, two nurses joined us for part of our singing and Bible study. The residents appreciated it, and the nurses heard the gospel in the process.

10. Nursing homes provide a ministry environment where what really matters takes priority.

In our churches, we sometimes get obsessed with the latest technology or style of dress. Those things basically won’t matter in a nursing home. Yes, a small, portable microphone system would probably do the residents good, but think about this: What percentage of the residents do you really think will be able to see something projected up on a wall or screen? And how “cool” do you really have to dress when those in attendance are sitting before you in their bath robes with crumbs from breakfast still clinging to the fabric?

What then takes center stage? Things which really matter, like Scripture. And love. And prayer. And Jesus.
________________________________

I hope these ten reasons inspire you to at least consider ministering in a nursing home. Let me know if you do (or already have), and what you might add to the list above. I’m looking forward to learning from you. Please send me an e-mail with your thoughts, stories, and/or questions ([email protected]).


Copyright © 2008 Steve Burchett
Christian Communicators Worldwide, Inc.
Permission granted for not-for-sale reproduction in unedited form
including author’s name, title, complete content, copyright and weblink.
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www.CCWtoday.org
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Say the “Believer’s Prayer” Win a Car???

Do you think this is an appropriate method for sharing the gospel?

3-minute testimony leads 1,600 to Christ

Since January, Hill and others have been directing people to www.threeminutestory.com where they can watch his three-minute testimony and then register to win a new car or truck in a Dec. 12 drawing. The winner will choose between a Dodge Ram, a Jeep Wrangler or a Chrysler 300.

At the end of October, nearly 28,000 visits to the website had been logged and more than 6,300 people had registered to win the vehicle, Hill told Baptist Press.

Maybe I am more cynical than some people, but I can see someone thinking that if they say they made a “profession of faith” and said the “believer’s prayer” it will increase their chances for a new car. There are plenty who enter Magazine contests who feel subscribing to a magazine will increase their odds of winning.

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Judgment Houses

Here is one thought about why Judgment houses do not work. Maybe it will get you thinking about the question “Do Halloween “judgment houses” win many people to Christ?”

‘Judgment house’ evangelism

Do Halloween “judgment houses” win many people to Christ? I’d like to offer seven reasons why I think they don’t.

1) “Judgment houses” aren’t scary enough. To speak of hell, Jesus used the image of a garbage dump overrun with worms, a place where babies were once sacrificed to demons (Mark 9:43-48). Teenagers in plastic devil masks and Styrofoam pitchforks usually don’t convey what it means to “fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31).


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