Awake?

Paul had unceasing anguish and great sorrow within his heart for his lost Jewish brothers.  He was deeply broken for them to the point that he was even willing to be cut off from Christ so that they could take his place in being right with God. (Romans 9:1-5)  He wrote to the Roman Christians and shared that it was his heart’s desire and prayer to God for the lost that they would be saved. (Romans 10:1) Even from shackles as he wrote to the Philippians, he said with tears that many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. (Philippians 3:18-19)

Paul was deeply broken at the fate of the ungodly.  His brokenness drove him to his knees and it drove him to the streets with the message of the cross.

If we are sobered by God’s Word and the reality of Hell, we will be broken for the people around us who are Hell-bound. 

It’s a matter of getting focused.

 When we are drunk with distractions, we will stagger around doing our own thing, stumbling here and stumbling there.  But when God by His Word and by His Spirit sobers us from our drunkeness, we will walk soberly and straightly down the narrow path warning the lost along the way becuase we are stricken with the fact that jugement is coming on the lost.

Pual once declared as he faced potential death, “I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given to me – the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.”  Acts 20:24

Paul said this incredible statement while facing death – A lot of us can’t even say this facing a life virtually free of persecution.

What has happened?  

We have gotten distracted with things that don’t matter for eternity and have lost our sense of urgency.

Souls are eternal, iphones are not.

We need to put away the games and start proclaiming the Truth.

We will rest for eternity in the presence of our precious Savior, but while we are on this earth, we labor for the Lord knowing that we are on a mission for Him and that our labor is not in vain.

 

 

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Not So Random

Ponder this –

God created the heavens and the earth and every human being you know. He is all-powerful and all-knowing; He is everywhere at one time and He sees all things and knows all things. He is more powerful than the enemy and He dwells in unapproachable light. God is mighty.
When we go through our day and come across people randomly on the sidewalk, in a store, at a coffee shop; do you realize that this same God is the One who orchestrates these encounters?
God directs our steps.
While Paul was in Athens,  he often went to the market place and reasoned with whoever happened to be there. (Acts 17:17) He knew they weren’t on his path by accident so he opened his mouth and shared the gospel with them. He reasoned with them. He warned them.
When you go to the modern-day market place, do you testify about the Lord with whoever you happen to run into?
God placed those shoppers next to you for a reason. Cheryl is your cashier by no accident. Dylan greets you at the door on purpose. Jimmy is smoking outside for a reason.
What you might not realize is that Cherryl recently lost her husband and is devastated and confused. Dylan is trying desperately to make ends meet to support his family and is angry at God. Jimmy has brain cancer and has only 6 months to live and is fearful of what’s going to happen to him.
All three of these people are Hell-bound. And all three of them, God loves and slaughtered His Son for.
What’s stopping you from breaking out of your comfort zone and sharing with them the Good News while they still have time?
God saves souls, but He calls us to share His message of salvation with the lost.
We cannot remain silent while the world perishes – especially when we’ve been given such clear orders from the Captain of our Salvation to speak.
Warn the lost of God’s righteous jugement on sin and share with them the Good News of His great love for us.
Colossians 4:2-6

Called and Commissioned

I am a follower and an ambassador of Jesus Christ, bearing the message of His Gospel which is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes. 

Until four years ago, I was never one to walk up to strangers and talk about Jesus Christ. I was fearful and prideful and I thought too much of what people thought of me rather than what God commands of me. I feared man instead of God.

I knew people who died without Jesus Christ would go to Hell and the thought of that horrified me, but I was still not willing to talk with strangers about the Lord.  I was selfish and I allowed the enemy to rob me of my glorious task of testifying to the Gospel of God’s grace and all the great blessings that flow from it.

God convicted me of my neglection of the Great Commission and taught me how to share my faith biblically through His Word, through the Team Hope Street Evangelism ministry we have at our church, through evangelist Mark Cahill and a number of others. I began to have compassion on the lost and a new boldness to step out of my comfort zone and share with them how they can be saved through Jesus Christ.

I was and still am very nervous when sharing with people so I took tremendous comfort in reading of how Paul came to the Corinthians – with fear and much trembling and without wise or persuasive words, but simply with the power of the Holy Spirit – Hallelujah! If Paul faced fear, I was in good company!

Just after I started sharing my faith regularly, I moved to Philadelphia for the summer. I was involved in a solid local church and was able to learn how ministry is done in the city. I was so blessed by my time with these wonderful people. It was wonderful. But the greatest thing God did in me while I lived there was to break my heart for the lost and give me a greater passion to share His glorious Gospel as I spent time alone with Him downtown.

I had a desire from day one in Philly to go downtown and talk with people. I didnt know anything about the city but God was gracious and allowed me to learn how to get around by the subway and bus system. I began to love the city, but especially the precious people. Amazingly, with the exception of 4 days that summer, I was able to go downtown every single day and I had the most amazing witnessing encounters. God also blessed me to work at an upscale hotel downtown as a valet driver where I was able to leave tracts in celebrities cars!  This was the begginning of what God was birthing in my heart.

The more I went out on the streets and engaged people in conversation about the Lord, the more I treasured the Gospel! As I continually shared with the lost, I became consumed by the message of the cross all the more.

 Paul prayed, “I pray that you may become more active in sharing your faith so that you may have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.” Philemon 6

I want to share one story with you that I pray will encourage you to step out by faith for God’s glory.

One particular day in Philly I was supposed to go to a brother’s home for a bbq in the afternoon, but when I woke up that morning I felt the Lord impress on my heart to not go.  I instead went downtown and witnessed there for a while and then went into a hotel lobby where I often went to read the Word. As I was reading my Bible, the Lord  led me to preach the Gospel in New York City. I cannot explain what that was like, but there was no doubt in my mind that it was the Lord. I was taken back. It was already around 5 in the afternoon and I knew that if I were to go to NYC, I would need to stay the night and I knew I could not afford that.  Immediately God reminded me of what He told Joshua, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

45 minutes later I was on a chineese bus filled with chineese people en-route to New York City! Hallelujah!  When we arrived 2 and a half hours later I was dropped off somewhere in lower Manhattan. I walked to the waterside overlooking New Jersey and spent some time in prayer. It was a beautiful evening.

The first couple I talked with that evening were named Torio and Tamara. They were both young and very friendly which was good for me because I was nervous. I walked them through the 10 Commandments to show them their sin and their need for the Savior and then shared with them the Good News. They were very attentive and appreciated our conversation.

After talking with them for a while I caught a subway to Times Square and began witnessing to all sorts of people from all over the world. The enitre world flocks to Times Square! God was abundantly gracious and poured out His Spirit on me. I felt the presence of the Lord as I witnessed to people and God kept me awake and energized!

Around 3am I struck up a conversation with a man in an alleyway. He wanted absolutely nothing to do with me and told me to leave him alone. So I began to walk away, but as I walked away, he called for me to come back over. I didnt know what to expect!  He asked curiously, “What question were you going to ask me?” Taken back, I began to witness to him. 30 minutes later this is exactly what he said, “Josh, you have no idea how much this conversation means to me. Your trip to New York City was not in vain!” And I kid you not, as he was saying these very words, I heard someone call out from behind me, “Josh?!!”  I turned around and it was Torio from the couple I had spoken with earlier!  This is 8 hours later, more than 60 blocks up town in a city of hundreds of thousands of people!! Oh my goodness, God is good!

It turned out that Torio happened to be playing in a band in a club nearby. We got to continue our conersation where we had left off back in lower Manhattan. He was blown away that God had once again crossed our paths. So was I.
Just a few hours later, I walked past the ABC studios where they film Good Morning America. I could see they were setting up for the show which would begin in an hour so I went over and watched them get ready. A line formed to get in the building and be a part of the live audience. All of these people had reserved tickets months in advance to be a part of the show and were so excited to be on tv. After a while of waiting, a woman who worked for ABC came out and collected tickets and gave instructions to the audience members. She noticed that I did not have a ticket as she walked past me and asked if I had reserved one. I told her I was just there to watch from outside.  To my surpirse, she told me, “You know what? You’re the only one without a ticket, we’ll go ahead and let you be a part of the show too!” I was amazed! We were all able to be on tv several times throughout the show. Kevin Costener was the guest that morning, so the ladies behind me were very excited.

At the end of the show they give you the opportunity to meet and take pictures with the stars. I dont really care about that kind of stuff because these are people who just happen to be more in the spotlight than others, but they are Hell-bound and need to hear the Gospel. So I waited until every member of the audience had gone up and met the anchors. When everyone had left, I walked up to Diane Sawyer and gave her a tract booklet and got to share the Gospel with her and the weather man! It was unbelieveable!

24 hours prior to this encounter in ABC studios, I was awakening to the Lord telling me to not to go to the BBQ.  He sent me to New York City and did amazing things for His glory. 

In the three years to follow, I went back to that tremendous city 3 or 4 more times to share the Gospel.  It is very dear to my heart.

I share that story to make this point very clear –

“But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: ‘Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.'” 1 Corinthians 1:27-31

God chose you and I to represent Him on this earth; to go into all the world and preach the Good News to all creation.  You and I!  Amazing, huh?

Do you feel a sense of awkwardness talking to strangers? Does great fear come over you at the thought of being rejected?  Do you feel uneasy thinking about if someone asks you a question you don’t know the answer to?  Welcome to the club of people that God uses: Humble and utterly dependent on the Lord. 

Without Him we can do nothing.

You may feel awkward, fearful and uneasy at the thought of talking with a lost person, but think for a moment how they will feel in Hell for eternity if they dont cry out to God for salvation.

God saves souls, but He commissions us to preach His message of salvation.

The hope in doing this blog is that you may be encouraged by reading the stories and the Scriptures to share your faith with the lost around you. 

Lord willing this blog will be updated a few times a week with new stories of God’s grace in evangelism.  Please also take the time to visit the links at the top of the page as well.

Feel free to share with friends and family.

The Lord bless you!