Why Evangelism Often Fails And How To Change That

OK-Namaste-1 When I use the word, evangelism, I am defining it in broader terms than you probably expect.  Instead of narrowing the definition to the spreading of Christian doctrine, I’m including the energy behind promotion of anything you or I consider truth.  Besides the classical Christian idea, it would allow for ideas of healthy nutrition, proper child rearing, to political agendas.

Spoiler Alert:  We are visual people and you might assume that the picture in this article means that I’m going to be proposing that a lack of prayer is the cause for failure and more prayer is the solution.  “Praying Hands,” right?  Nope.

Everyone believes that their emphasis in any of their proposed areas are right, or “the most right.”  You and I may actually be right or “the most right” on any specific topic of importance.  But may I first suggest that a by-product of what the Bible calls “the flesh” is abundant in life.  It crisscrosses topics and cultures.  The flesh bows at the throne of “Being Right.”

It’s not anybody’s ambition to “be wrong.”  There’s no virtue in that.  Truth is truth and right is right.  And, I have been right too many times when I’ve actually been wrong because of the attitude behind my arguments.

Although we wouldn’t like to admit it (because a good debate can certainly feel good and on rare occasions actually influence changes in a few people’s thoughts, it more often creates a “winner/loser” divide.  It enforces an “us/them” mentality.  One that may not have even been intended.

With me, it’s not because my positions of truth have been wrong (in my imagination, anyway).  And, I certainly didn’t want to cause yet another “me/them” divide.  But, something inside of me would raise it’s ugly head with a self-deceiving righteous mask.

I just had to prove that I was right.  It rankled me (my flesh) to be opposed.  And let me tell you, once the “I’m on the right side” battle starts, there remains very little room for each party (or observing parties) to even be understood.  People begin interpreting each others words based on their own biases.  Major Fail!

So, now to the image (above) of what was thought by many to be “Praying Hands.”   It’s actually the image of a practice called Namiste.  You’ll often see it in oriental cultures.  In fact Namiste is a part of Hindu influenced practices.  (Now, if you are a Follower of Christ, your antennae just shot up.)

Chill.  I’m not suggesting that anyone adopt a Hinduism belief system.  I do not agree with Hindu spiritual propositions.  However, Namiste, in it’s most basic definition means, “I bow to you”  Hinduism has extended the idea to “we bow to the god in each other.”  That is not what I am proposing…(read on)

However, at it’s essence, there is a humility and respect for the individual that is being promoted and I firmly believe that is Christ-like and much of the solution to extensive failure and relational injury in evangelism (both Christian and other life truths.)

If the person you’re talking to actually feels like you respect them and that you sincerely want to hear the heart of why they believe what they do, then they will be far more open to hearing your position.  Sowing and reaping.

Do you want to win arguments/debates or do you want to win souls?  Because you see, even when you are “winning your point” you’re touching the sensitivities of a human soul.

Whether your “evangelism” involves Christianity, life and emotional/physical values, or politics, the larger picture will only be successfully won a “soul bite” at a time.  Trampling with truth will never result in genuine wins.  As I said in a Facebook status update at Easter, “Resurrection life follows the most right person’s choice to die to the demand of being right.”

And that’s my thought for today.  AND I’M RIGHT D*%M IT! :)   Okay, that’s……umm…well if I have to explain the tongue in cheek, I’ve probably already lost, eh?

I’d love for you to chime in.  Reply or comment!  




What Is “Believing Into” Jesus?

princeofpeace13I’ve asked the question, “What is believing into Jesus.”  A followup question might be, “And, why is that important?”

I believe the God Kind of Cultural Revival depends on it.

At whatever age we were, we began learning things “about” Jesus, and God, and sometimes the Holy Spirit.”  To believe “about” someone or something is the important first step.

For some folks, much later and for others pretty quickly there became a distinction between believing “about” and believing “in/on” Jesus.   I don’t want to split hairs because I realize that there are people that combined “about” and “in/on” more instinctively.  I think I did that.  But, as I began to ponder on the differences, my faith in Jesus was enriched.

A person can believe “about” someone or something and have no real personal connection at all.  About makes no personal demands.  However, believing in/on Jesus becomes personally applied truth.

However, I discovered there’s another way to believe.  This way has begun the real “revival journey” with the Lord (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).  It is the forever penetrating revelation of “Believing Into Jesus.”

As I’ve already indicated, “about” is, by nature, more impersonal.  Believing in or on Jesus means that we now believe that Jesus is true to His word and will make His promises personal for me and my life.  I can count “on” Him as my personal Lord and Savior.

Believing “into Jesus” is something like the phrase from the movie Avatar, “into you I see.”  Believing into Jesus takes me to a place in my relationship with Him that I begin seeing through His eyes, hearing through His ears, feeling and knowing with His heart. 

As this begins to happen (by my desire combined with the  revelation of the Holy Spirit) the world begins to take on a different appearance.  It begins to have a different sound.  We begin to have a different kind of heart stirring. 

Believing “into Jesus” causes our hearts to begin shifting  priorities.  We begin to discover that the issues we thought were of utmost importance are in a different order than they had been.

Believing “into Jesus” ushers into us the deepest realms of revival that ultimately transforms a culture.   



Hobby Lobby – Other Morality Alternatives

Hobby LobbyLet the first words from my keyboard say, “I am not anti Hobby Lobby.  It’s a fantastic craft store.  My wife and I have often shopped there and will continue to do so.  The product line is great.

I am pro any business that is a positive addition to it’s community.  I especially appreciate those of like-faith and principle to mine.  Come-on.  That’s human nature.

Another business in the Quad Cities (that is also national) that has won my admiration is “Pizza Ranch.”  They are positively invested in the community, and have a great “witness” in the faith of their founders.  Their God honoring vision is professionally framed in large letters right by the cash register, and their employees reflect a great attitude of service…besides the fact…can we say, “Yummy!”

And one more business I’d like to mention Is Whitey’s Ice Cream with several “scumpdileicious” flavors of ice cream, great service, and heavy community involvement and Christ-honoring witness.

These mentioned are large enough to be effected by the same Government mandates that Hobby Lobby has taken to court.  I don’t know anything about their individual positions other than what I’ve seen regarding Hobby Lobby.  The outcome will certainly effect them and any other business with their own personal faith moral standards.

Without having a profound depth of understanding of the individual moral caveats of the issue, I know that the “fly in the ointment” that is being utilized in the case is the issue of a company being mandated to pay for insurance that covers women for potentially abortive contraceptives. I am pro-life in belief and abortion is immoral to me.  Let’s please make that clear.

I do think that intrusive big-government is a bigger issue at stake here.  I believe our current government has begun coloring outside the lines of the intent of our founding fathers.  And, I believe they are using some pretty fat crayons.

I realize that, maybe, the only way companies like Hobby Lobby can be heard in a court of law is to attach itself to a moral issue.  Especially if it’s radio-active in our political culture. They aren’t ever going to be heard on something as general as, “government is too big.”  They can attack a specific fruit, though.  And in our present political climate receive a hearing.

However, (personally) I wish the case didn’t revolve around the highest civil  court in the land making a decision on subjective morality.  To me it’s not subjective morality, but I’m afraid their decision will set precedent on other interpretations of morality I’m not sure anyone would actually want decided cart blanch. 

Creative Alternative Thinking

I don’t question the genuineness behind Hobby Lobby owners deciding to sue.  I don’t question their sincere concern for their individual employees and the principle of freedom to conduct profitable business as they see fit.  And…

I also know this is a business for economic profit and not a church or faith based helps organization.

But…I wonder if another alternative (probably unheard of in business) would be to invest in giving women, who voluntarily choose, alternative decision making abilities besides abusive contraceptives.  It is not a stretch of imagination on my part for a company to adopt creative forms of “good news” opportunities that can be chosen by the employees.

It may not be considered viable business practice, but I do know of companies that have hired intercessors on payroll whose sole job description is to be constantly praying for the business and it’s employees.

Although this may seem pretty defeatist on my part, I’m not sure the horse is not already out of the gate on so many issues now in our society.  I’m not sure that the Lord is that concerned about us getting the horses back in the coral as He is that we, as ambassadors of His Kingdom learn new creative ways to bring His Kingdom to earth.

Consider me naive…and maybe I am.

Perhaps we’ve become too used to fighting the devil in his arena with his inferior weapons.

Maybe there’s a better way than bringing a knife to a gunfight.  While the enemy is fighting with knives, I’m going to fight with the biggest baddest gun I can get.

Just saying….

What do you feel?  Please feel free to comment:


The Holy Spirit Twiddles His Thumbs

Twiddle ThumbsYesterday, during our worship service, I had an inner image settle on my heart.  I “felt it” more than I saw it as a clear picture.

It was of the Holy Spirit twiddling His thumbs.

The next thing that flashed in my minds was, “Okay, that’s pretty strange!”

I said to myself, “What’s that all about?  It certainly doesn’t seem very scriptural.  The Holy Spirit wouldn’t be twiddling His thumbs”

Obviously it wasn’t a doctrinal statement about a characteristic of the Holy Spirit.  Instead He was using symbolic imagery to communicate a practical truth. 

Through this strange image, He was saying, “I’ve been given to the Father’s sons and daughters so that they may experience the promise Jesus made of an abundant life.  But, I’m not being given anything to do.”

We’ve fooled ourselves into thinking that God expects us to live the Christian life out of our natural abilities.  The fact is that our part is not to initiate, but to respond.  Jesus said that He watched and listened to the input of the Holy Spirit for His marching orders.  We have the same calling with the same backing as Jesus had when He walked this earth.

We believe in “the doctrine” of the reality and presence of the Holy Spirit.  But, we don’t often have a “working knowledge” of how to respond to Him.  On one hand it’s rather mysterious in how “we and He” work it all together.  Yet, on the other hand, it’s pretty straight forward.

I’ve come to the practical understanding that the Holy Spirit is my best friend here on earth.  Most of my prayers now days are directly to Him.  I’ve come to understand that He is my eyes and ears to connect to the invisible world of Spirit.  The eyes of my spirit and His are fused into one.  That truly is a mystery.  I can’t explain how.  But they are.  The same is spiritually true about the ears of my spirit and His ears to hear Spirit world sounds.

My natural eyes are connected to my brain, as are my natural ears.  The eyes and ears that are of a great deal more importance are the Spirit/spirit connection.

Here’s one example that I’ll end this post with.  It was during worship that I received this spiritually generated impression.  So, let’s talk about the “worship connection.”

We think we are supposed to summon all of our natural abilities and do the best we can to offer worship unto the Lord.  There’s a part of that that has truth to it.  However, what we employ naturally is to be a response to what we “see/sense” is happening in our “gut.”  Then we cooperate with that.  We do that.  We respond to that.

It starts with a prayer something like this, “Holy Spirit, please show me my part in heavenly spirit led worship today.  I’m letting you take the lead.  I will respond to what you show me.”  

This is where any number of things my happen…occur…become felt by you.  However it won’t happen in your brain.  It’ll happen in the center of your being…in your gut.  Respond to that.  You’ll have the best worship experiences when you approach it with the Holy Spirit leading the way.   This description is basically a pattern that can be applied to most anything in your day.

Is the Holy Spirit twiddling His thumbs with you?  Are you giving Him anything to do?  Or are you living more or less a “mere man” life?





Between a Rock and a Hard Place?

Rock and Hard PlaceBetween a rock and a hard place.  Yep.  Been there.  Done that.  Better said, “Sometimes still doing that.”  Any you know what?  I’ve gotten the t-shirt.  Not just any old “T” mind you.  I have one of the special designer models.

Now, those pressure points always work out for my good.  Although there have been times I thought I would die of old age first :)

So, what am I learning that is propelling my journey in an upward spiritual momentum? 

1.  Tight places are common to life.  Accept it.  Deal with it.  And keep moving forward rather than getting stuck in the “I’m a victim” quick sand.

2.  Tight places accompany a God-sized vision.  Dreaming a dream that’s actually going to amount to anything – and acting on that dream – is seldom (if ever) going to be a walk in the park.  So, keeping your eyes on Jesus and the goal He set before you is vital when the “kitchen heats up.”

3.  Tight places taunt you with discouragement.  Shake it off.  Lift your eyes.  Otherwise, the nasty critters that discouragement opens the door to make things worse.  There is no temptation that isn’t common to man.  Step over it and take the next most practical step.  You can’t control the other people that are affecting your story.  Keep your eyes fixed only on controlling your own thoughts and actions.  God is always BIGGER.

4.  Tight places are sometimes the result of our own lack of applying ourselves to wisdom.  There is definitely a time for action on our part, but my weakness has tended to being too quick on the draw.  I get a bright, glorious God idea, and forget that God, Himself laid the foundations of the earth (His own vision).  Proverbs 3:19   The process of wisdom comes, itself, from God.  But, there is always a process.

5.  Tight places are the laboratory of growth.  I have never been through a pressure point without it producing positive growth in my relationship with God and those around me.  Well…that is…the tight places where I’ve allowed the Holy Spirit to be my guide.  The “exits” produced by my own cunning?  No so much.

6.  Tight places have the potential of keeping us focused on our purpose.  As we walk through our earthly journey, we often need reminded that God has given us an assignment.  And that assignment is to bear good fruit.  When we get our eyes off of our assignment and onto our displeasure with the struggle and attempting to find the first exit (that God doesn’t make)…then the space between the rock and the hard place becomes a torture chamber for our souls.

Are you in a tight place today?  Does it seem like there’s no way of escape?  Does God seem to have abandoned you to tough it out?  

Is it possible that you are in a similar situation that the Apostle Paul encountered when he prayed three times for escape and God said…Nope.   Remember…

Paul wrote his great thorn message after he had discovered the answer.  His story is a living testimony that God’s counsel hit the nail right on the head.  He discovered the glory of Christ’s power within him to produce eternal fruit in all circumstances.  He didn’t need the circumstances (thorns) removed to overcome them.

“Lord, I want to do what’s important to you, today.  I want to bear the fruit you intend instead of insisting on an escape route.  I want to learn to be content, in You, in whatever circumstance I’m in until the day Your hand delivers me….to another place of fruit bearing.








What Is Important Today?

important-stampSomebody said, “Good is the worst enemy of best.”  That being said, we have the potential every day of missing out on “best things” by being completely occupied with doing many good things.

When I went to bed last night, I had formed an idea of what today’s most important tasks, for me, would be.  When I got up, I had an email waiting from a friend asking me for a favor It wasn’t on my pre-planned list.

However, I recognized it as a clearly “best thing.”  The favor was to do something for somebody.  Something that was going to take a good chunk of time out of my pre-planned day.   However…

I immediately recognized in my heart that this was one of those things that the Lord considered important to Him.  

I’ve been praying this prayer lately, “Lord, today, I want to do what is important to you.”  And it didn’t take any sense of super spirituality to know that this was one of those “important to the Lord” things, and therefore was important to me.

I’ve finished that favor (and was happy to do so), and by now the day is coming in for a landing.  I had originally planned to write a blog post early this morning.  It’s now late in the afternoon…but that is totally okay.  The reason:  Because, today, my heart is satisfied that I accomplished the one thing most important for Him to do through me today.  And that’s what matters.

I invite you to examine (with the Holy Spirit invited to look over your shoulder) how many good things you attempt to accomplish each day.  As you look at that list, determine how many of them are actually…really…truly important to God.

I’m sure that there are tasks that you consider important that definitely are; But can the Lord  interrupt your plan without you getting your nickers in a twist?  Especially if it involves relating to another person in an encouraging way that the Lord considers important.  In a way where you have an opportunity to love them well.  Even if you consider it a “little insignificant act or word.”  It may not be insignificant to them.

How about doing some revamping of your life.  Touch somebody today.  Even if you have to go out of your way to do it.  I guarantee that if you’ve been saying the “whatever is important to You, Lord” prayer, your good important things will begin to be interrupted by best important things.

Thanks for listening.  If you’ve got a comment or personal story of your own discovery, please share with us all.



How You Believe May Be Your Problem

Fist on tableWe all believe things.  It comes as natural as breathing.  We were created by God with that “DNA.” 

I gave a message several years back entitled, “Faith Is Easy.”  The key thought was similar…but different…to today’s post.  The message was that the believing part is the easy part.  The problem arises with the “what” part.

The first cousin to the “what” part of believing is the “how” we believe what we believe.  In my experience, most people fall into one of two categories…or a little of both.

  1. “I believe it this way and you believe it the wrong way”
  2. “You believe  it that way, but the way I believe is better?”

The deadly problem with both of those scenarios is that each thought or statement is too often born from a sense of superiority.  The result:  Deafened ears to the beat of each others hearts.  And…God made us to need each others heartbeats to find abundance for ourselves (and each other.)

“But…but…but…I’m not going to be pushed around by every wind of doctrine!”

Me neither.  I believe a firm foundation of healthy God centered beliefs is very important.  But, this is what I’ve learned…and am still learning:

“The gentle breeze of a peaceable attitude is far more effective in communicating truth than the scorching winds of a blowhard.”

I’ve also discovered…and am still discovering that some of the “biblical positions” I defensively held were not necessarily inaccurate.  But, they were waaaaay incomplete.

Paul tells the Ephesian church that Jesus came with a wrecking ball.   (You’ll find that in your favorite Ellis Amplified Translation).   He came to destroy the wall between Jew (the right people) and the Gentile Pagans (the wrong people.)

Too many years have been spent in Christianity (the people that supposedly know the heart of God) reconstructing what the cross demolished.  And the thing that has made that a doubly deadly pursuit is that it feeds the haughty spirit that drives the whole endeavor.

Being tossed back and forth without a stability in one’s foundations is not healthy.  Do those things that will continually nurture your love for God…AND…for your neighbor. 

Because guess what?

The Bible is a sword to defeat your true enemy…the devil.  It was never intended to be a weapon to wield against flesh and blood. 

Here’s one closing thought:

I know some self-proclaimed atheists who act more like Jesus demonstrated in the Scriptures than those who claim to be His “right ones.”  Do I believe Atheism is a good choice, or even the right one.  Nope.  Not at all.  But, do I believe in respecting a self-proclaimed atheist and earn the right to express the virtues and values of Christ-life to him or her.  Yep.  Absolutely.

Be careful lest you find Jesus on the other side of the line you’ve drawn between you and someone else.  It may not be truth that is dividing your relationships with others.  How you blieve may be your problem.

Please feel free to add to the conversation below:



When Making Choices

Two EvilsWe are constantly confronted with making choices.  It’s the stuff that life is made of.

A common phrase is, “I’m choosing the lesser of two evils.”

Bad choice.  Evil can only produce more evil regardless of “greater” or “lesser.”

Instead, there’s always a “third alternative.”  You may feel driven to make a choice, but the Holy Spirit never drives us.  He’s our Guide.In a “westernized” world, we live in a culture of hurry.

A “lesser evil” driven by the felt need to hurry is a product of fear.  Fear will never guide anyone to God’s wisdom of choices.

The response to being driven to decide “right now” is to STOP.  Take a deep breath.  Settle your heart.  Ask God for His wisdom…His “third alternative.”  And don’t make a decision until a peaceable intuition lights gently on your heart.

Charles Spurgeon said, “Of two evils, choose neither.”  That was some of the greatest wisdom he ever uttered.

The song goes, “Slow down, you’re moving to fast…”

Philippians 4:7, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Does this apply to you, today?




The Best Way To Discover God’s Will

local-phone-serviceHow to find God’s will is a very sought after subject.  Another topic that mirrors it is how to find or discover one’s purpose in life.

I’ve discovered a couple of things that add clarity to those subjects.   In this article I hope to effectively communicate those realities so that they will become like fresh bread for your own pursuits in life.

Discovery #1:  The idea of “God’s Will” is different in the Scriptures than we often think of it today.

When we read the words. God’s willwe typically think it is a revealing of God’s sovereignly determined path, or His command to be obeyed.  It, therefore, is our job to find it or be out of God’s will and consequently be walking in disobedience.

There is an aspect of the truth about His determined purposes in Christ that will happen.  However, the original meanings of the English word for “will” were:


That would make the Lord’s Prayer read like this, “Your Kingdom come, Your pleasure be done on earth…”

Being God, He could dictate His desires, right?   Right.  He could.  But, that’s not His pleasure in working with His Sons and Daughters.   There are a multitude of ways God’s pleasure for us can be fulfilled.

We are His family, created in His image.  We’ve been given choices with a multitude of ways to please Him.  It’s about living life with our Heavenly Father.  It’s about discovering a vast variety of ways to do that.

God’s Will Isn’t Lost.

I read a testimonial about a dedicated woman of God that I highly respect.  As she was praying about a teaching she was about to give, she asked the Lord, “What do you want me to teach about?”  She sensed Him saying, “What do you want to teach about?”  She responded, “I’ve been thinking about (a subject).  She sensed the Lord respond, “Good subject.  I’m looking forward to hearing what you have to say.”  She then said, “Would You guide me?”  His reply was, “Sure, if you’d like.  I’d be happy to.”

Discovery #2:  God’s will is best heard.

In the picture of the girl in this article, she is using the universal sign for “Call me.”  The message behind it is, “Let’s talk.”

The very definition of the Greek words for “church” means “out called.”  Our purpose as “the called” is our vocation.   The word vocation is rooted in the word voice.

A great deal of information can be relayed by written words, but clarity of those words depends on person to person contact.  Written words alone can mean so many different things, depending on how the reader interprets the words.

There have been countless friendships broken or damaged through social media sites like Facebook.  Don’t misunderstand (which proves my point).  I’m not saying Facebook has no value.  I’m saying that real world relationships are dependent on face to face interaction.

In my humble opinion, that’s why there are so many divisions in the church world.  Everyone is reading the same text, and dividing over what it actually means.

Let me ask a question.  Which relationship will prosper most between a husband and wife.  One where all the two do is write letters to each other for communication, or where the two sit and converse with each other?

Conversing brings about clarity of understanding.  And, it’s the same with our relationship with the Lord.

I know a man that loved a woman.  His desire was to do anything for her that she desired.  But, he also said something very insightful.  He said, “I can’t read a crystal ball.  You are going to have to tell me what you want.”  Because this was about a love relationship, he didn’t mean that he wanted her to just leave him notes with her instructions on them.   Talk.  Conversation implied.

The best way to discover God’s will, purpose, and desire for your life is to hear Him talk to you about it.  It will all come out in your conversations with Him about life that happens all around you every day.

God’s Saying, “Call Me…Let’s Talk”

Remember:  The Church are “Called.”  They hear voices! :)

Just a suggestion.  Start the conversation with a hug.   It’s easy.  Just imagine how you give your husband, wife, child, or friend a real hug and then imagine that.






Courage Is For Weaklings

Courage-to-challenge-the-climb-of-the-cliff_1680x1050Courage.  Bravery.  Hutzpah.  Grit. “Brass ones.”

These words describe the feelings one has on the path to experiencing life on God’s terms.

They move together and at the same time or your desired destination will never be reached.  Nope.  Never.

Unless you are experiencing everything you believe God wants for your life already, you probably haven’t crossed “the chicken line.”  (The edge of where you feel safe and secure).

The Secret Hidden In Plain Sight:

Courage is doing something you are insecure about or afraid to attempt at the same time you feel like you’re going to puke.  Sometimes the fear begins to subside quickly once you begin, sometimes not. 

Whether your feelings begin to feel more calm right away or more slowly, the “salvation” comes with the momentum of movement.

Starting (while you’re afraid) is the hard part.  If you start with committed intention and intensity, the resulting momentum will carry you over the finish line.

If you are “stuck” where you’re at, it may be the result of thinking that you have to feel confident and not afraid before you take the first step.

Commit to something before you have all the answers.  Commit to the first step before you have confidence that you can do it.  Commit to something without a built in escape hatch.  If it’s the right thing.  If it’s the loving thing.  If it’s something God has been drawing your attention to (and you’ve been waiting for someone else to do it) commit it to God’s care and JUMP, LEAP, THROW YOURSELF INTO IT. 

The Holy Spirit is your promised “help” (John 16).  The word for help is much richer in quality than we usually realize.  It means:  “To come along side, support, and rescue.”  You see, He knows your weakness better than you do.  But…yuh gotta make yer move.  That part He will not do for you.

Nine times out of ten, you will be feeling some kind of fear until sometime after you’ve take the first step.  Otherwise, you don’t need courage.

What’s your testimony?  Please comment.  It just may help someone else.  Just maybe you need courage to comment.  :)  Btw…did you know there’s no testimony without a test?