The church must UNITE in the focus of mission and the Gospel. This is an incredible priority of Jesus Himself (the Head of the Church) in His prayer found in John 17. I can’t get this prayer out of my mind – so I’m praying it with Him. And I’m praying more boldly and more loudly for this than ever before. And you should be, as well.
Why? Well, look around you. I don’t know where you live and worship, but as a church – none of us are the same as we were 10 years ago. We’re not the same leaders, we’re not the same church, we’re not in the same community. Truthfully, we’re not even in the same country. Everything has changed around us. Our culture is more divided, more racist, more hostile and more hate-filled than at any other time in recent memory.
And the church? For the most part, we’re still fooling around. If we’re just as broken and fragmented as the world, do we really think anyone cares what our message is? Or that we can make a difference? So Jesus prays, “…that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that you sent Me, and loved them…” John 17:22-23
Stop. Read those words again! Read that prayer one more time. HE wants US to be as united as GOD is. As a friend of mine once said, “Is there any disagreement among the Godhead?” Jesus prays for us to be one in that same way.
Rick Renner says that, “…unity comes when people are united in action and in passion for a common cause. Their shared goal is so strong that it removes hostilities, puts away disagreements, and gives previously divided people a reason to take their place alongside each other. When this occurs, different gifts, talents, and anointings become connected together, and the result is an amazing river of divine power that achieves the supernatural and accomplishes the impossible.” I agree.
Pentecost is proof of this. So much diversity, so much lack of focus and confusion – all brought together by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the Gospel. Those two things were happening at Pentecost. The Spirit and the Gospel.
How does this happen today? 1) God’s people learn to walk in the fullness of the Holy Spirit. 2) We learn to focus on the Gospel. That’s it. Those two huge divine priorities will take over the rest of our little agendas, but it will require a deep level of prayer, discipline and sacrifice.
I love the fact that I am called to pastor a church that is increasingly and incredibly diverse! I love looking around us and seeing people of every background, race, language (some 40 nationalities represented every week) at First Euless. It’s powerful to see how we put teams together for ministry, for the Gospel, for prayer – and they are as diverse as our community is. God is up to something huge.
But it counts for nothing if we’re not filled with the Spirit and focused on the Gospel.
And if we are filled and focused? That is the church united that Jesus is praying for. That is the church the world needs.
I’ve ENJOYED working in 2014 to help our church learn to share their faith personally and practically. I LOVE that more than 500 people have come to gain a new confidence and boldness in this area, and I’m praying for about 1000 more to come through “Can We Talk?” in 2015 in our church alone.
But what’s the “end game” of “Can We Talk?” It’s this – that you share the Gospel in your everyday life. That you become a Gospel-centered person who thinks about the amazing message they’ve first experienced and then been equipped to share. It’s that you become a witness in the hands of the Holy Spirit, moved about by Sovereignty to step into a conversation that is so seldom had – a conversation about Christ.
Witnessing is not just saying a good word about the Lord. It’s not just bringing Jesus’ Name up in conversation, although that can be be both difficult and powerful. It is not just saying, “well, I believe this stuff.”
Witnessing is sharing a clear and complete picture of the Gospel – that Jesus died on the cross, rose again – and why He did that.
So, you’re trained. Now what? What do you do with it? Three things:
1) Intercede like never before. Pray for your family, your friends and co-workers, and those “random” people who come through life daily.
2) Invest in them. Have a conversation with them about…well, them! Spend a little time getting to know them, or getting updated on their lives.
3) Invite them to a spiritual conversation. “Can we talk about spiritual things?” That’s a great question, and few turn me down when I ask it. And when they allow me, I make sure I never turn down the open door. I’m ready – and so are you. Do it! Invite them to your home. Invite them to church. Invite them into your LIFE – all all time remembering you’re trained to be an effective witness for Christ.
When we do this – we are literally (literally!) obeying the first steps of the Great Commission. And when we do, the power of the Holy Spirit is upon us!
Have you looked around you lately? This nation is falling apart. Literally. We’re experiencing massive upheaval in our culture. The plates are shifting. Morals are under deliberate and steadfast attack and the enemy of the grace of Jesus Christ is emboldened.
And, for the most part, churches stand idly by and watch. Christians sit back in their chairs and think of something else to dwell on.
Our forefathers in the faith would cringe at our inaction.
Three things must happen immediately:
1. We must pray for revival and spiritual awakening. We must corporately and personally cry out to God for victory. He alone can change things.
2. We must unashamedly and intentionally share the Gospel with our communities – on the porches and doorsteps of our cities. We must do this by equipping people to share it – mobilizing the largest under-utilized missionary force in the world. The Gospel alone can change lives.
3. We must stop making Christianity about our comfort, our desires, our traditions. It’s like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. The church alone is given the mission – let’s stop diluting it
Get under the umbrella of prayer for spiritual awakening and sharing the Gospel. Do these two things well. It is these two things that were present when Paul reached all of Asia Minor in two years. (Acts 19:10) It’ll be these things we do that change our world.
I was in two rooms one night this past week. I went from one to the other. Both were amazing. Both were powerful. Both went hand-in-hand.
The “big room” I was in had many dozens of trainers and trainees heading out to share the Gospel with whomever God opened the door to. Each had areas of our community they were focusing on and each teams had prepared to go – depending on the Lord to give them grace and opportunity. We call this sending initiative, “Can We Talk?”
The “little room” I went to when we released those teams was set up with 20 chairs, all facing the same direction, and a TV screen. In this room, were the people who’d gathered to pray for those going out into the community. They were able to read real time “tweets” and texts of those who were in the neighborhood sharing Christ.
It was incredible. And powerful. And it went hand in hand. As one team got out of their car to visit, they asked (by tweeting) for prayer for the family whose porch they were about to walk onto – and the prayer team (who saw this information live on the TV screen) lifted the entire visit up at that moment and for that incredible reason. And we watched God work. I loved hearing people pray. Loved that each team knew prayer support was immediate and strong. Loved that the Lord was surely pleased that this group didn’t neglect a weighty and blessed part of it all.
I don’t know everything about prayer. In fact, I don’t know much about prayer. But I know this: God calls us to pray – and especially that we would pray for all men “to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” That doesn’t happen unless we GO. And it doesn’t happen unless we PRAY.
Want to join us? You can see our prayer “tweets” from anywhere when we visit, but it’ll be more amazing if you can do it with us in the “little room.”
See the prayer feed or get more information here: firsteuless.com/prayerpartners
A good word for church leaders of all kinds! Ed Stetzer, in his blog article, entitled, “Evangelism Is A Core Leadership Quality,” writes of this missing priority in so many lives of leaders. If we would lead, it must be in the direction of the Gospel. The entire article is found here:
Read the gist of it below:
“If we’re going to talk about the need for an evangelistic engagement and an evangelistic people, we have to be those who engage in evangelism. We have to be those who are sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ.
You can’t lead where you won’t go.
If you want giving people, be a giving leader. If you want a praying people, be a praying pastor. If you want an evangelistic congregation, be a pastor who is evangelistic. Don’t complain about your congregation, if you are not going to be passionate about sharing the truth with others in your own life. In regard to evangelism, you just can’t lead what you would live. You can’t lead them where you won’t go yourself.
We can spend our time trying to get people to believe a certain way, but what happens when another way is presented with more fervor? Instead, we should be passionate about proclaiming the Way, Jesus. He was evangelistic, and He is our example.
As leaders, we are an example to those around us. We should proclaim the truth with the goal that people will believe in and follow Christ. People need to not just hear our perspective on evangelism; they need to see our passion for it.
Evangelism needs to be a core leadership quality—modeled by pastors and leaders, but engaged in by all God’s people.”
“The greatest form of praise is the sound of consecrated feet seeking out the lost and helpless.”–Billy Graham
This is an incredible truth. Our praise to God intensifies when we bring others to Him! I love the phrase, “raving fans.” When we are raving fans of the Gospel, what does it compel us to do? We want others to know what WE know about Christ. And to do that well, we must be equipped to do it.
Tony Merida had a great tweet today: “A theology that doesn’t reflect a heartfelt compassion for unbelievers & a deep desire for their salvation is unbiblical. (Rom 9:1-3; 10:1)”
What’s your theology? Do you believe God is concerned about those who’ve never heard the Gospel before, and do you believe God wants us to tell them? That’s my heartfelt and deepest conviction.
All that – for this. Our church will be a church that takes the Gospel to those who haven’t heard…we call this focus,“Can We Talk?”
In 9 days we begin – but we need God’s army to rise up and say, “I believe that. I’ll be part of that team! Here am I; send me!”
I cannot wait to see what God has in store for our church and our community in these coming days – and a big part of it all is our witness. Are you ready to go? Whether you want to register as a trainer – or as one being trained – I encourage you to get online today and let us know.
The details are all there. Join us, and let us know you will!
Most of us love to talk about “life-change.” We want our lives to change for the better and we honestly want others to experience the best life has to offer.
Many of us also realize that involves the Gospel. There is no fundamental change in human nature and life without it! The “behold, all things become new!” cannot happen without the “Behold, the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world!”
But the Gospel doesn’t really exist for those who’ve never heard it! And if we don’t tell them, no one will. That much we know.
So, how can you change someone’s life in two hours?
By sharing the Gospel with them.
For two hours on Sunday evening, August 10, from 6 pm to 8 pm, First Euless “Can We Talk?” leaders will lead teams into the community to share this good news with people who may have never heard the Gospel before. We call this “Night of Bringing Hope,” because Christ IS hope.
I want YOU to join us. Several weeks ago, our teams shared Christ with 48 people and 10 people accepted Christ – and were changed forever. I don’t know what God is going to do this week, but I wouldn’t miss it if I were you. We even have leaders from other churches joining us as we go – they’ve heard what God is doing with “Can We Talk?” and want to see it for themselves.
You’ll get a chance to walk by faith and pray like never before.
You may have an opportunity to hear the Gospel presented and a person respond to it.
You can know that you’re doing your part to change someone’s life in two hours.
I don’t know what else is happening over a two hour period that can bring more hope, more change, or more joy on heaven and earth than this!
My mind is in India today. Over the last 12 years, I’ve been many times. Last January, while preaching in India, I had a different experience. I felt a compelling call to focus on our Unreached and Unengaged People Group for the next few years and I felt a need to call other pastors to go with me.
We have the chance to impact millions – and there are hundreds (even thousands) of Indian pastors who are working together with us to do this. These are some of the most dedicated pastors on the planet, by the way. Our next trip to that particular region takes place in mid-January of 2015, and I need a few good pastors to take this on with me. You may want to take a businessman from your church with you.
God has graciously provided key leaders in our cities we stay in. He has also provided spacious, modern guest houses that are our “home away from home.” We have transportation, people on the ground and villages where work is being done. What we need is more U.S. pastors to join us.
a) Want to change the world. This is too big for sight-seers.
b) Lead a church that wants to make a difference and is willing to join your lead.
c) Be able to come see India for yourself – and be willing for God to speak with you and He did with me.
You’ll preach, meet pastors, tour villages and pray the biggest prayers you’ve prayed in your life. You’ll meet amazingly courageous pastors who willingly suffer hardship for the sake of the Gospel.
I want to see the Gospel take root with a thousand pastors in India who are willing to go to new villages every year with the message. I want to see the Lord raise up businessmen and visionaries to go with us to “dream” about how to impact millions there – from here! I want to know that there are hundreds of thousands who will meet Jesus because of the willingness of people HERE to go THERE. I want to see a few American churches impacted by their investment.
You need to read the article about India – find it here. Ask God to give you direction. Then contact me. Let’s go to India.
This is “Can We Talk?” This is what it’s really all about. “Can We Talk?” is not a program where we enlist more and more people to go out together to share the Gospel one night a week. “Can We Talk?” is about equipping people to share the Gospel in their everyday lives.
Morgan Wilson is “Can We Talk?”
Morgan told me her amazing story tonight. This past semester, she was in a philosophy classroom in an area college, enduring a tough semester with a professor who seemed to want to disprove the reality of Christ and Christianity. It’s never easy for someone to hear another question or ridicule your faith. For a college student to face an entire semester of that sort of conversation is intimidating and discouraging. Professors are older, well-read, and they’ve played this game before. They know they’ll rarely be challenged.
But Morgan was going through a semester of “Can We Talk?” at the same time. She was learning to share her faith in a simple, yet direct way with people in the community. She was memorizing a few verses and some key illustrations, and she was growing in her confidence.
What happens next is like a scene out the movie, “God’s Not Dead.” In one particular philosophy class period, after weeks of listening to discouraging comments about Christianity and Christ, Morgan was given an opportunity to share what she believed.
And she did. Right then, right there. Clearly and simply. In front of a doubting professor and a classroom full of college students. That’s an equipped young woman! Not only did she have students asking her to share more after class, she also gained the respect of her professor who complimented her on knowing what she believed. God alone knows what will fully happen with the seeds Morgan courageously planted.
The reason there’s hope for this next generation is because of people like Morgan Wilson, who are willing to share the hope of Christ with those around her. Morgan Wilson is what “Can We Talk?” is all about!
“Many churches try to be attractional – some do it well, most don’t – but the Gospel is not attractional – it’s conversational. Always has been.”
That’s what I tweeted. Here’s why: I’ve noticed that as a church, we could have a huge marketing budget, the pristine location or the “cool” factor going to reach lots of people – but sometimes have very low outreach into neighborhoods and communities to target the people who are actually unsaved. Lots of transfer growth. Little sowing in the fields with seeds of the Gospel. Statistics in American churches will back me up here. We’re barely baptizing our own children in America.
You know what’s wrong with this, right? You know if you have tons of people in your church, you have a huge responsibility to the Lord to help send them to their neighborhoods, schools and communities equipped to share the Gospel. Some are – and I commend them. But if they are not – if they are satisfied with transfer growth – that’s bad stewardship and even disobedience. It doesn’t look anything like the Great Commission or the insistence from Jesus that we go to the fields.
And then there are those churches who try to be LIKE those attractional models, but really can’t compete. They aren’t sowing many seeds either, just moving about busily trying to be like the big guys.
So, what should we be doing? We should be doing what most churches don’t do. We should have leaders who equip their people to share the Gospel in a way that initiates Gospel-centered conversations in their home, their schools and their neighborhoods. ..Simple, authentic conversations where a person can be led to trust Christ.
If you’re a pastor, let me ask you, “What’s your plan? What are you doing to help this happen?” If you don’t have a plan, use ours, but get a plan!
Thoughts from John Meador and insights from God's Word.