Monday, July 30, 2012

The Heart-ache of Evangelism

In Mark 10, Jesus is speaking to the hard-hearted and self-righteous "rich young ruler". Jesus provoked this man to cast off his idol of material wealth and share God's compassionate heart for people but the man could not. Still the text says that Jesus loved the man. The man walked away, rejecting Jesus, the Messiah and Son of God, as Lord. I can imagine Jesus' heart ached for this man who was created to worship God but was radically corrupted by his own sinfulness.

So it is when we are faithful to Biblical evangelism. We will experience heartache for those whom the the Lord has put in our lives to invest in for the sake of the gospel. Biblical evangelism requires us to go out among people, live faithfully according to God's Word, verbally share the good news of Jesus Christ, and invest time and friendship into people so that we can teach them what it is to obey all that the Lord Jesus has commanded. I'm thankful for the many opportunities the Lord has provided me to be faithful to the Great Commission (and I'm ashamed at the many over the years I've been "too busy" to notice) but I also find my heart aching for these people. They have names and faces. I know their stories and they know mine. They aren't just door I once knocked on and have forgotten. They are my friends and I'm burdened for them to respond to the gospel by repentance and faith.

The reality is, if we are faithful to sow seed and build these kinds of gospel-aimed friendships we will experience the kind of heart ache that Jesus surely experienced during His earthly ministry and especially on the cross. Many whom we share with will not respond in faith and some who do may do so long after we've lost contact. We simply have to trust the work of the Word and the Holy Spirit. Be faithful and trust God's sovereignty and compassion. In the meantime if you are doing your job you will be sorrowful for many but by God's grace you will also be joyful as the Lord does His work.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

My Vegetarian Prayer-venture

For fifty days I am a vegetarian. (NOT a vegan… bring on the butter!) Let me be clear, I am not anti-meat. In fact I love meat (maybe too much). I’m also not on a diet. Truthfully I have never been a big adherent to diets as my waistline will attest. I believe all foods are given to us by God for our good and enjoyment. We should eat and enjoy with moderation to the glory of our Heavenly Provider. I do respect those who for personal tastes have chosen to abstain from certain foods though I have no respect for those who do so for legalistic or pagan reasons.

So why am I abandoning burgers, bacon, and barbecue for 50 days? Over the last two months the Lord has done two incredible things in my life that have now provoked this meat-fast. First, He has put many wonderful people in my life that are not yet believers in Jesus Christ. Some of these are from other countries and some come from religious backgrounds that adhere to vegetarianism. I want to better these friendships to open doors for the gospel. Second, God has convicted me on my need to pray more (He’s also given me fantastic evidences of the work of prayer). So for 50 days (starting last Friday, July 13) I will have a thrice-daily reminder to pray for my friends. My hope is that the Lord will give me opportunity to make the gospel clear and will bring my friends to know the Savior I love so dearly. If all I have to give up is a little meat for a few weeks that is small potatoes (which are still on the menu).