Evangelism and Prayer

 

What is the first thing you thing of when you hear that word… EVANGELISM? Well, I won’t speak for you, but I think of an overweight man in downtown Charlotte wearing cowboy boots and telling us all that “you all goin’ to hell”, or I think of a very strange man, boldly handing out tracts, or I think of Billy Graham telling the story of the prodigal son. Evangelism is one of those priceless Christian concepts that I want to see redeemed not only in the understanding of the concept, but to even redeem the meaning of the word evangelism, showing it’s beauty and joy.

Growing up in the South is the most polluted religious areas in the entire world, I believe for those who want to study Ecclesiology there is not a better place to see some of the best and worst “church” models. There are really old Episcopal churches where practicing homosexuals minister in the church, there are legalistic mega churches that carry guns and judge everyone according to there own merit, then there are those who have good doctrine but would not know the holy ghost if he was rattling chains in the attic. I don’t mean to be harsh, but this kind of environment has boiled out all the spiritual curiosity of the melting pot of Charlotte North Carolina.

Evangelism as most devoted Christians have come to understand it has become an act that happens in the will and in the time that the Christian acts. It has become likened unto the sale of a used car… “Just sign the dotted line”. “Oh you don’t want to pay $12,000, just give me $11,500 and you have a deal…” The act of legalism, praying for things against God’s will, and selling evangelism like a get out of Hell free card, is WITCHCRAFT. Only the Father’s love through the blood of Jesus by the Holy Spirit can start someone on a path towards everlasting life with God.

So let’s take the Etch-A-Sketch and shake it a couple times…. Matthew 24 says that those who “endure to the end will be saved.” So salvation is not an act to be had like a notch in the belt, but one to be attained and sought after.

Have you ever wondered why those guys preaching on the street corner freaked you out? Well it is probably because the Christian witness is a holistic transformation of a person to be like Christ and as Isaiah (42) prophesied “He will cause His voice to be heard in the street”. Christ was a gentle, loving, giving, forgiving, self-sacrificing individual. He loved the nobodies deeply, He did not go to the Pharisees to minister they came to Him, he healed the invalid. He humbled Himself as Andrew Murray said, “Even in the midst of the throne, He is the meek and lowly Lamb of God”… Humility is what brought Him from heaven and Jesus is what brought humility to the earth.

Evangelism is what flows from the life of the praying Christian. It the witness that preaches Christ and sometimes it uses words. Evangelism points to the joy and stability of a life dedicated to Christ. I’m not saying that there is not a place and time where people turn to Christ from their wickedness and follow Christ in the will of the Father. I’m saying that the will of the Father and the yoke of Jesus Christ is freedom… freedom from quantitative analysis of souls saved… freedom from stepping in to weird situations of Judgment and bitterness that makes you feel awkward and others feel condemned.

Evangelism is the salt in the mouth of the unknowingly thirsty so they can choose to drink. Evangelism is not an act of the believer it’s an act of God though the believer who is submitted to God.  

Do you want to be a preacher? Get to know God, pray always. Want to lead worship?  Get to know God, pray always. Want to become and Evangelist? Get to know God, pray always. Want to serve on the leadership team?  Get to know God, pray always. Want to be a Missionary? Get to know God, pray always.     

Like a deep sea diver with an air hose reaching to the surface, Prayer is the life line to the Christian. The question is are you breathing easily enough to enjoy your time here or are half way panicked. The people of Israel spent most of the time grumbling under the direction of Moses. But do you know what God wanted them to do? Pray.

 

 

 

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5 Comments Add yours

  1. Shelley says:

    What a beautiful definition of evangelism! I have been part of groups that were asked to shove tracts in people’s faces as they went through their day. In the most random places (ask Theresa about some of her NYC experiences). I wondered at the time…how is this a loving action? I love the notion that when we are submitted to God, our very presence becomes His witness. When we are praying, His love will spill out onto others. He will open doors to relationships that will lead people to Himself. Thank you.

  2. jasongoodnight says:

    Shelley,
    It’s very encouraging to hear that something struck a cord… sometimes I feel like I just rant all kinds of random thought and hope that someone makes a connection.

    Last night Rob Cochrane and I were talking about the way in which the Lord is not a responder to our actions; He does not show up because I read a theological book, He doesnt show up because I pray, or because I read my Bible. He shows up when I need Him to be there and allow Him to minister to me. Kind of like the dialog with Peter, when Christ had to wash Peter’s feet. To be a part of Christ, Peter had to let Christ do the work and in conclusion get the glory for His actions not Peters. This is the thing with evangelism, we have to let God be God and quit trying to “play” Him, acting as if we possess salvation and have it to give. If we recieved it as a gift then others MUST recieve it as a gift. Our Christian ackwardness is the biggest evangelism killer anyone could obtain, because Jesus is a lover and as cool and collected as anyone can imagine. He was God in the flesh and he walking in authority equally yoked with humility can you imagine how cool he must of been on earth.

    The Christian culture could use a dose of incarnational living combined with a deep walk with God, that would change the face of the globe.

    Thanks Shelley! Your Awesome!

  3. Walter says:

    I try not to place too much pressure on myself when it comes to Evangelism. I’ve come to the point in my life where I am at peace…being honest and open about who I am as a child of God, and letting the Holy Spirit set up the appointments for witnessing in the natural flow of the day.

  4. Walter says:

    Concerning your comments to Shelley:

    I think I know what you mean by God “showing up”. For me, it’s when there is an answer to prayer in a way that I can recognize.

    I struggle with the Presence of God. Centering Prayer helps me in this — contemplation, an “emptying” so God may be revealed. You’ve referred to this as silent meditation. It has been such a blessing when I’ve been able to stick to the practice. It helps me to sense that God is truly always there, whether I “feel” His Presence or not.

    Still learning…and I guess that is a good thing.

  5. jasongoodnight says:

    Walter,
    I’m excited that your here and I welcome your comments.

    To read some further thoughts of my own concerning some of the perspectives I have on prayer I wrote a blog on April 19th, 2008 called Meditations on Prayer that speaks right into what you were saying about evangelism. I don’t claim to be an expert…. I am far from that but I beleive that by opening up and articulating some of these mysteries we can all grow in the right direction.

    In regard to the Presence of God I can’t help but to encourage the reading of Brother Lawrence’s Practicing the Presence of God. It is a Christain classic that articulates beautifully the incarnational Gospel of Jesus Christ that I have found my “center” in.

    Walt it seems like this discusion could be a good one… If you would like I would love to extend this conversation to e-mail.

    http://www.jasong@renovatuscommunity.com

    Blessings,
    JD Goodnight

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