By Tim Brister
I’ve been browsing through Randy Newman’s book, Bringing the Gospel Home: Witnessing to Your Family Members, Your Close Friends, and Others You Know Well. This is an incredibly important topic as I have come to find it harder to share the gospel with family members as it is with an unknown person in my community. I imagine this is true for most if not all Christians.
In the conclusion of his introductory chapter, Newman provides four steps for sharing the gospel with your family. I thought they were very thoughtful and practical. Check them out.
1. If you don’t already have one, develop a system for prayer for your family. Perhaps you can set aside a section in a prayer journal.
2. Begin your prayers for your family with thanksgiving. This may be more difficult for some people than others. Regardless of your family’s well-being, thank God for the family you have and all the accompanying benefits you can identify.
3. You may need to include prayers of confession as well–confession of your lack of love for your family, your idolatry of control in trying to change them, your reliance on your ability to convict them of their sin instead of trusting the Holy Spirit to do that, your coldheartedness, haughtiness, and self-righteousness, etc. Ask the Holy Spirit to shine his light of truth on your darkness of sin.
4. If you haven’t already done so, “come out of the closet” as a Christian to your family. Pray for gentle words and a gracious demeanor mixed with bold confidence. . . . Aim for your announcement to be informational rather than evangelistic. You can trust God to open evangelistic doors later.
#3 nailed me.
One thing I might add, especially if you have a large family: look for opportunities in the course of the day when it is not so hectic where you might be able to enjoy a sustained conversation with a family member who is not a Christian. In a large group setting, conversations tend to stay on a superficial level, but if you can get alone with one or two family members for 10-15 minutes or longer, you will have a greater opportunity of magnetizing the conversation to the gospel and how Jesus has changed, and is changing your life.
By Brad Campbell –
Thanksgiving week gave most of us plenty of time to reflect on the people, places, and experiences for which we are most thankful. Perhaps your house or the one in which you gathered was bustling with noise and activity.
The little house you see here was built by my youngest when she was 7, and it withstood all the holiday excitement and celebrations. But sooner or later, that cookie house crumbled, and all of its parts, as cute as they had been, were tossed into the trash.
I pray that as you enter this year’s holiday season, especially Christmas, you will take time to examine you own house. That could include your physical house, as you check for safety concerns while hooking up rows and rows of lights. It could include your family, as you check in with everyone, perhaps calling or writing those you won’t get to see in person this year. But it could also include your own spiritual house — your heart.
As you prepare for Christmas, are you really preparing? Is your heart focused on the true reason for the season? Do you really have the peace that passes all understanding? If not, then what better time to focus on the love of Jesus Christ than by focusing on the celebration of His birth.
May your CHRISTmas season and your house be as full of joy as is your heart.
Just a thought.
By Ryan Kelly –
Not only does the Bible clearly tell us that Satan and his demons are all around us, but most of us have experienced this reality first-hand.
“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour”. 1 Peter 5:8
But, even though there is evil all around us, if you put your faith in Jesus and draw close to Him, this evil cannot possess or compel you to do anything. Rather, it has no choice but to leave when exposed to the light of Jesus.
“And demons also came out of many, crying, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Christ.” Luke 4:41
It is paramount that we stay close to Jesus and allow Him to protect us from all evil. His blood saved our soul from death, and His light will prevent the evil in the world from harming you. Use the Armor of God as your defense, and the Bible as your one source of offense. With this, no evil can ever stand against you.
By Brad Campbell –
Sit in the upper deck of the stadium for your favorite game, and wow, what a view! Take an airplane ride across the country, and wow, what a view! Venture up the mountainside roads in many of our national and state parks, and wow, what a view! Or, just ride the oval-shaped elevator cars to the top of the Arch in downtown St. Louis, Missouri, and wow, what a view you see here in my picture.
I would like to remind us each this week that the “view” from the Christian life is spectacular. When we have a problem, we look to God, and wow, what a view! When we struggle with daily schedules and responsibilities, we look for help from above, and wow, what a view! When we look heavenward and cry out for help and healing for someone who is desperately ill and hurting, wow, what a view we have!
You see, we Christians have a view that the rest of the world has not yet experienced. And wow, is it spectacular! But the greatest part is this — We haven’t even seen the greatest view yet! Just wait until we take our own trip heavenward. I look forward to that view.
We need to share the view with our world this week!
Just a thought.
By Brad Campbell –
In this picture, you see the sign above the door of the Thai Embassy, located in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. The country of Thailand, along with so many other countries, own and operate embassies inside the United States. An embassy gives a “safe-place” or neutral location for residents of that particular country to go for help in many areas if necessary. Of course, the United States houses many such places in other foreign countries around the world as well.
Here we are in this world as foreigners, merely travelers passing through. The world is full of terrible sin, unsafe, and difficult at best. Yet, here we are. Not even our churches are a safe place for worshipers to gather any more. Nothing is sacred. Sin is rampant.
Yet, for the Christian, there is a safe place in the arms of Jesus if only we will allow Him to lead according to His will, to place us in the parts of our towns, neighborhoods, and even our churches where we will be the light in such a dark place.
Regardless of how dim it may look today, there is a much brighter day coming for the child of God! When? Only God knows. Why the difficulties until then? Sin. Period. May God continue to guide, guard, and protect as we go about His work from day to day, understanding that any day may very well be our last chance to make a difference. Don’t miss your chance!
Just a thought — (and prayers for Southerland, Texas, and so many other hurting areas.)
By Ryan Kelly –
If you’re like me, you used to write-off Halloween as a day of evil that Christians should have nothing to do with. And, I did this for a number of years. But I heard a very wise man say a while back that God did not create 364 days each year, but 365. Every day was created with the purpose of glorifying God, and no Christian should “write off” a day just because some people declare it for evil. This changed my outlook not only on Halloween, but on every day and every moment.
As Christians, we should declare Halloween a holy day for God. We should not participate in the evil things of Halloween, even if it is meant for fun. But rather, it should be an opportunity to bring glory to God and outreach to our neighbors and friends.
For example, we should not have skulls, tombstones, witches, or ghosts hanging around of front porches. We should not try to scare people or be ‘spooky.’ But, we can pass out candy with Bible verses on them. We can trick or treat in fun costumes like superheros or princesses and visit with friends as we are out, saying positive and encouraging things in the name of Jesus. We can carve a pumpkin with a cross in it, or post a Bible verse reference on the door. These things allow us to have fun, but do so in a righteous way.
Do you have something planned that you are unsure if it is Christ-honoring? Just pray about it, and allow God to influence your heart as to whether something is holy or unholy. Then, it is up to you to decide whether to follow.
So have fun today, but do so in a way that brings glory to God in every moment.
By Dr. Michael Youssef
Just like the disciples, most of us would like to know the exact day and time of Christ’s return. Jesus, however, said that no one, not even He, knew this information. He did, however, tell us how we should live up until His return. We are to abide in Him and trust Him for the future. We are not to worry or become fretful. God is sovereign, and, even when it seems as though our world is coming apart, He is still in control.
We can look at the signs of our age and know His return is drawing near:
The political unrest in the Middle East continues to be front-page news. Each day we hear and read of growing strife in the region.
The economic future of the modern world is tied up in the Middle East. The unrest there will not end until Jesus returns and until God has established His throne.
There is an alarming increase of interest in Satanism around the world. Many believers turn a deaf ear to this subject and no longer pray against the enemy’s power on earth.
The entertainment industry is including more and more occult language and anti-God situations in movies and television programs. Our minds are being bombarded with material that is in direct opposition to God’s Truth and principles.
Are you ready for Christ’s return? Most of us would answer yes! But have you taken time to tell someone else about God’s saving grace? Jesus told His disciples to take what they had learned from Him and teach it to the entire world. God is preparing a place for us, but He also is continuing to draw men and women to Himself. Your life is a testimony to His eternal love and forgiveness. Let your prayer be to share His love with as many as possible before His return.
Prayer: Lord, give me an eternal perspective so that my life on earth will bring You much glory. Help me make use of every opportunity to share the Good News of Christ. May Your will be done! I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
“Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb” (Revelation 7:10).
By Ryan Kelly –
So often we load our prayer lists with physical needs for people. There is no shortage of pain and suffering in this world…it’s the result of a fallen world. And certainly, it’s a great thing to pray for your physical needs and those of others.
But, we often overlook spiritual needs, which is far more important. This world will soon pass away and these bodies will return to dust. Our physician needs, although very important to us in these times, are meaningless after this life ends. What will not end is our spiritual need – the need for new life in Jesus and following Him in spiritual growth and righteousness.
“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” 1 Peter 2:24
Be sure and place focus on the spiritual needs before the physical. Because although the physical are important now, the spiritual will be important forever!
By Brad Campbell –
It is only 55 degrees this morning in West Central Alabama, and it feels amazing. Fall is definitely in the air. The leaves are beginning to change color and fall from the trees. The year is soon coming to a close. So, imagine how surprised we have been to see this rose blooming at our house!
This particular rose is the only bloom on all of our otherwise bare bushes, but it stands tall and proud and blooms alone. What a very simple message for each one of us.
The world is obviously falling down around us. It certainly seems as if times are coming to a close. And yet what a wonderful difference we can make if we will bloom anyway!
Be the rose, the one bright spot, in the week ahead. Stand alone if need be. But bloom anyway. Make a difference!
Just a (very simple) thought.
By Ryan Kelly –
A few years ago, God would give me a simple but powerful message about life – “don’t look down.”
What did he mean by this? It’s my belief that He was doing a great work in my life and beginning to give me a measure of wealth, power and success. The reason for the caution on not looking down was to keep my eyes on Him and not on the things of this world…because those things were never about me and solely about Him.
It reminds me of the Mark 6 when the disciples were on a boat in the Sea of Galillee when a storm approached. In the midst of the storm, Peter saw Jesus walking on the rippling water and heard Jesus call to Him. Peter stepped out of the boat and momentarily walked on the water with Jesus, until he was distracted by the waves and lightning and then looked down to realize how far he could fall. Then, he fell.
We must keep our eyes on Jesus always. When we do, life circumstances will not shift us away from God’s will for each of us. When we focus only on Jesus, we will do great things in His name.
Keep the faith – a faith that, if the Lord wills, can move mountains!