Sunday, December 26, 2010

Discipleship and Evangelism

As a believer in Jesus Christ I am called to be His disciple, His student, His follower, even His willing slave. If a lost person were to watch and evaluate my life daily, they should see a life that reflects the behavior and attitudes of Jesus as revealed in the Bible, not a particular Christian church, denomination, style, tradition, trend or even minister. I should be cautious not allow the community, world, church or other Christians to become the standard for which I live my life and do ministry. I should be careful not to try and create my own kind of style or brand of what I believe a Christian is, I should allow Jesus and God's Word to establish that for me. I will stand before the Lord Jesus Christ alone and no one else on Judgment Day and give an account for what I did and why I did it. And so as a believer in Jesus I must make it my aim, like Paul, to have a blameless life, family and ministry. That will honor and glorify God, even if it doesn't get the praises of man. 1 John 1:6 says, "He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked." It is an exciting adventure to follow Christ no matter what the opposition.
I had a long conversation with a man the other day who said he was a Christian and asked me if I was a Christian. I asked him what a "Christian" was before I would say "yes." He went on to describe what he thought a Christian was and it was nothing that Jesus or the Bible taught. I said I was a believer in the Jesus Christ of the Bible and that I do not follow after "Christianity" but follow after Christ. I said, the Bible defines a "Christian" as a disciple of Jesus Christ. (Acts 11:26) He concluded our conversation by saying to me, "You claim that you do not follow after Christianity but you follow Jesus, and yet I choose to follow Christianity even though I do not follow Jesus." Can you believe that! I had explained what Jesus and the Bible taught about salvation and God and faith and what it means to be a Christian and when it was all over he was still determined to be "Christian" by religious affiliation, but rejected a relationship with the Christ of Christianity. My friends we live in a time where Christianity can no longer define what a Christian is. We live in a day where much of Christianity exists without Christ. And if the Holy Spirit were removed from the Church how sad that much of Christianity would go on as normal. Let us be disciples. Let them see disciples.
God loves people. If God is living His life through me by the power of the Holy Spirit it will be evidenced by a genuine, passionate, pursuing love of people. All people! Any person. Jesus Christ does not sit dormant in the hearts of His people and passively wait for rebels and sinners to ask about how to get eternal life, be forgiven or go to heaven. He chases them down with His intentional love through the lives of His followers. If Jesus Christ left the glories of heaven to come and die for my sin, then I should be willing to leave my comfort zones to pursue people for Him. Of course we are to be led by the Holy Spirit, use discernment, be humble and ask God to open doors, but I cannot hide behind those things as an excuse not to share at all. God has given each of us a sphere of influence among the lost where we should be praying daily and specifically for those we work with, that God would open doors, and open hearts to seek Him and use us to share the truth. We should be willing to fast (not just skip meals) for a lost soul that is destined for hell. We should purchase gifts, perform acts of service, bake food, give money, coffee, Bibles, tracts, letters, phone calls, whatever it takes to win a person to Christ. In 1 Corinthians 9:22 Paul said he "became all things to all men that by all means he might save some," and I think I'm making a sacrifice when I become some things to some men with some means in hopes of winning some. In 2 Corinthians Chapter 1 Paul said that his afflictions and his comforts were for the salvation of others! Do we see the purpose of our afflictions as being able to bring others to salvation? Do we see the comfort of God extended to us as being able bring others to salvation? Paul saw everything in his life as useful to God for the salvation of others, not just his own personal spiritual benefit.The real work of evangelism by the Holy Spirit in the soul of a saint is a willingness to do whatever it takes to win a person to Christ. The amount of prayer, fasting, sharing and sacrifice a person is willing to make to see someone come to faith in Christ is just another extension of God's love for the world. For God so loved the world that His Son was willing to die for sins, and His saints are willing to die to themselves. God did not save me so that I could be forgiven and live for myself. 2 Corinthians 5:15 says, "And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again." I've got to trust and love God enough that I put away my fear of man, fear of rejection and fear of losing a cool Christian reputation that I'm willing to share the Gospel with someone I work with or meet at the store or a neighbor or family member. In Romans 1:16 Paul said, "I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes..." If we are ashamed of what we believe and afraid to share it, we look foolish for even believing it and we discredit the Gospel by not sharing it. Love for God and love for people must swallow up our fear of man. Paul was encouraging young Timothy to overcome his "fear of man issues" and share the Gospel message in 2 Timothy 1:7 when he said, "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love, and of a sound mind." I am naturally a very fearful and insecure person. When I was a little boy, the first few times my dad took me fishing I was afraid of the fish. The hook, the worm, the fish pulling and flopping around was a pretty overwhelming experience to me as a little insecure boy. But over time, as I grew up and matured, that fear was replaced with the fact that the fish really can't hurt me, and fishing became more of a joy to me. I want to suggest that a mature, Spirit-filled, Spirit-led follower of Christ is not someone who is completely without fear, but rather someone who's desire to obey God and His Great Commission and their understanding of Truth is greater than their fear of men, and as a result they reach out to the lost, experience God's grace and find sharing the Gospel a joy, not a burden. Jesus, in Mark 1:17 said to His disciples, "Follow Me and I will make you become fishers of men." So, if I have not become a "fisher of men" then I am not a "follower of Him." Let us cast the hook, buy the bait, build the rod, whatever it takes. Let us be willing, like Paul, to become all things to all men that by all means we might, with the help of God, save some.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone! We hope you had a great time with family this year. And to those of you that know Christ we hope you were able to break free from all the hustle and bustle of the Holidays and really pause and thank Jesus for His wonderful death on the cross for our sins and His wonderful life and resurrection! Praise God we celebrate a risen Savior and not some dead prophet or religious figure. Praise God that we can know and experience Him personally, and individually through His grace and by faith in Him. Thank God Jesus is not a religion but a Person we can love and be loved by. May this next year be full of passion and love for God and people. Happy New Year!
We had almost a foot of snow today. James named the snowman "John."
All bundled up.
James has a snow buddy with Holly!
Christmas Day we drove down to Fayetteville, North Carolina to visit with some great friends and awesome believers, the Taylors.
A couple days before Christmas we were blessed to spend some time with Angela's family.

Merry Christmas and Happy New year!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Holly has Arrived

Well, one of our best friends ever arrived yesterday! Holly has been a close friend of ours for over 10 years now and she just moved out here to Raleigh, North Carolina because she too felt the call of God to come and serve Jesus Christ here. She has been praying about this for a while and God over this past year confirmed that He was the One leading her and guiding her to move out here. We're so blessed that she is going to be staying with us as she gets established in the community. She is a gift from God to our family (especially James!) and we know that God has a great plan for her here in North Carolina. She has already been a shining light of the love of Jesus to so many in Las Vegas for so many years, we are excited to see God use her here in Raleigh. Please pray with us that God's Kingdom would come and God's will would be done in and through her life.

You can check out her blog @

James' 2 birthday pictures

We just recently got some new pictures of James from his 2nd Birthday party and thought we'd post them for friends and family. He is truly one of God's greatest gifts to our lives.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

December Snow!

We had snow today! It was beautiful.

James enjoys his choo choo!