A Forgotten Key of Evangelism: Gentleness

When you think of “evangelism” or an “Evangelist”, the word “gentle” usually is not the first word to come to mind. Words like “confrontational, loud, abrasive” may come to mind, depending on what your experience has been.

And yet the Bible says this:  

1 Peter 3:15Always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.

Look at the definition of the original greek words that are translated here as “gentleness” and “respect”:

Gentleness = Praytes = Mildness of disposition, gentleness of spirit, meekness.

Respect = Phobos = Respect, Fear and Reverence.

When telling people about the hope we have in Christ, Peter says we should do so with “gentleness of spirit, meekness” and with “respect and reverence” for the person we are talking to!

Paul instructs Timothy along these same lines:

2 Timothy 2:24-25And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth.

Of course we speak truth, but we speak the truth IN LOVE, we “correct our opponents WITH GENTLENESS”, not anger.

Remember, one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit listed Galatians chapter 6 is GENTLENESS. So, rudeness, offensiveness and abrasiveness are actually not fruits of the Spirit.

The gospel is inherently offensive to those who are perishing, but oh how often we add to that offense unnecessarily!

As we’ve been working in Spain to reach people with the gospel of Christ, the Holy Spirit has continually brought me back to this idea of gentleness and meekness. One morning the Lord gave me a picture of a Spaniard dressed in the armor of a Conquistador. He looked like a valiant soldier. And yet, underneath the armor he was emaciated, sickly and near death. The Lord then showed me how foolish it would be to rail against the armor in trying to help this person. Instead of fighting him, I should work to bring healing and restoration by going between the cracks of the armor.

Too often I think we foolishly “beat against people’s armor” instead of using the weapon of gentleness and respect to share the love of Christ.

A soft answer truly can turn away wrath (Proverbs 15:1). You can say the right thing but in the wrong way and completely turn someone off to the Lord.

Just a few months ago while in downtown Los Angeles there was a group of people with signs and bullhorns protesting something. They sounded loud and angry as they shouted in the bullhorns something that was nearly impossible to hear. When we finally got close to them, the signs said “Jesus Loves You!” and the person shouting was literally SHOUTING “GOD LOVES YOU!!!” in an angry voice. Can I tell you, the response from those I saw around them was not positive!

Proverbs 11:30 tells us that “he who wins souls is WISE.”

It takes wisdom to win souls. If you turn that statement around we can also learn that often it’s our ignorance and foolishness that  cause us to NOT win souls! I believe one of the biggest areas where we have failed as the church is in this area of gentleness and respect in how we deal with those who don’t believe.

So, let’s be WISE as serpents and GENTLE or INNOCENT as doves (Matthew 10:16) in how we treat people. Just maybe we could see more fruit in evangelism when we exhibit more of the fruit of the Spirit in reaching those who are lost without Christ.

The Miraculous Catch

Luke 5:4-6 NIVWhen he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” 5 Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” 6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 

Luke 5:10b NIVJesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.”

God has called us to “fish for people”, just like He called Simon-Peter. But understand that Peter was the “expert” in fishing, not Jesus. Peter was the fisherman, the one thoroughly acquainted with the waters of the Sea of Galilee; Jesus was the son of a carpenter who hailed from the mountainous town of Nazareth. And the fishing advice that Jesus gave Peter was pretty preposterous for the veteran angler.

This is where I believe the whole point of this story lies. Peter had to choose to trust the words of Jesus in spite of his own experience, background, wisdom and rationale. I’m sure the inner fisherman inside of Simon was screaming in objection to this foolish venture. So he had to trust the voice of Jesus more than his own wisdom.

This is what led to the miraculous catch! Not a thorough study of fish behavioral patterns. Not the wisdom of the day. Not the best bait recommendations. It was listening to and obeying the voice of Jesus, whose command flew in the face of conventional wisdom. And this type of obedience is what led to an abundant, miraculous, uncontainable catch.

Jesus taught this lesson and then connected it to “fishing for people”. We want to see many people come to Christ. We want to see a miraculous harvest. We want to see nets bursting. But this comes not by studying the world and examining societal trends more closely. There’s nothing wrong with those things in and of themselves, they just don’t lead to a miraculous harvest of souls. 

To see a miraculous harvest of souls, we have to listen to the King. We have to get really good at hearing His voice, and then be faith-filled enough to obey what He says, even when it seems ridiculous to us. We need to invite Jesus into our “boat” of ministry and let Him take over.

I believe there is a miraculous catch coming to Secular Europe. I believe we’re going to see hundreds of thousands of once jaded, atheistic young people fall in love with Jesus. How will it happen? When Simon’s stop relying on themselves and start listening to the words of Jesus. When we as leaders spend more time listening to the still small voice of the Spirit than we do studying the trends of culture. And when we get crazy enough to obey that which God speaks to us that defies conventional wisdom and the status quo. I’m believing for a miraculous catch in Spain… so it’s time to listen closely to the words of Jesus!

The idol of Ministry

It’s so subtle. It’s such an easy, almost unconscious switch that happens. Jesus changes your life and calls you to ministry. You are in love with Jesus and all that He is and so grateful for what He’s done. And then you go into “ministry”. And you learn about leadership. And you have to sharpen your skills. And you memorize the verses. And you become a professional. And out of a good desire to see others experience Jesus, somewhere along the journey you substitute passion for Jesus for passion for ministry success. It’s so subtle and sneaky, but now you’re not living for Jesus, but your living for people to say “Wow! You have such an anointing!!” Ministry success becomes the real god you serve and Jesus is who you use to get there. You pray to get anointing so you can be successful. You think of great sermon illustrations that will wow listeners so you can get even more listeners. You read the Bible to get messages, to see new angles that you can preach on to wow people. On the surface, it actually looks like you are doing exactly what you’re supposed to do! And yet the reality is that you have completely strayed from a pure and simple devotion to Christ. You’ve stopped desiring to just “be with Jesus”. Your heart is dry, your soul is dying, but you couldn’t possibly slow down because “God called you to this.” Actually, no He didn’t. He called you to intimacy with Jesus. He called you to follow Christ. The rest is garbage. It’s time to throw down the idol of ministry success. Flee the trap of the enemy! You’ve been deceived and you’ve fallen in love with another: the praise of men. Repent! Do the things you did at first! Run back to Jesus. Fall in love with Him again! Stop being “balanced” and become passionate about Jesus Christ again.

Letting Go

This week marks a big first step for us in our journey to Spain. While we are still just approaching the mid-point of fundraising, we knew it was time to sell our home in Denver, Colorado where we have lived for the past 4+ years. To be honest, this home was our dream home. We have grown to love our neighbors and we feel so comfortable in our community. But, to step into something new, you have to let go of what’s known and comfortable. So, with tonight being our last night in the house we’ve called home for 4 years, the feeling of stepping into the unknown is pretty strong!

God told Abram to leave everything he knew, all that was comfortable:

 “Now the Lord said to Abram, "Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you.”

‭‭Genesis‬ ‭12:1‬

What’s amazing is that Abram didn’t even know where he was going! What trust! What stress! But here’s the promise:

‬‬“And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.”

‭‭Genesis‬ ‭12:2‬ ‭ESV‬ 

When you step out in obedience to God’s call, you have to let go, but you can be assured that He will fill you with so much more! By Abram’s obedience to leave his home nation, he became “a great nation”. He gained so much more than what he left behind. 

We believe there are people who will be born into the Kingdom by steps of obedience! It’s worth it all! 

Spain Vision Night

tapas-per-tutti-e-chi.jpg

Join us for an evening of fun, food and fellowship!

On Friday, February 16th at 6pm we will be hosting our second Spain Vision Night at Victory Church in Westminster, Colorado. Come taste various kinds of Spanish tapas and hear about what God has called us to do in the city of Valencia.  Everyone is welcome, just let us know if you can make it by checking in at our Facebook Event Page HERE.

¿Qué Tienes?

 “Cuando la gente lo supo, lo siguió; y él los recibió, les hablaba del reino de Dios y sanaba a los que necesitaban ser curados.” (Lucas 9:11)

 

  • Los 12 regresan de predicar el reino y Dánae enfermedades... y ahora viene mas gente.
  • Cristo les habla DEL REINO DE DIOS... y los sana.
  • Pero aquí algo extraordinario sucede, aún más que una sanidad o una liberación... esto requiere de un milagro.
  • Había tanta gente si comida, en un lugar aislado.

 

“Él les dijo: —Dadles vosotros de comer. Dijeron ellos: —No tenemos más que cinco panes y dos peces, a no ser que vayamos nosotros a comprar alimentos para toda esta multitud.” (Lucas 9:13)

 

  • Los discípulos apenas habían regresado de predicar el reino, Dánae enfermedades y expulsar demonios, pero no tenían fe para esta situación.
  • De hecho, lo que dicen es lo que creen y vean: NO TIENEN MÁS QUE...
  • Cristo ya les había DADO poder y autoridad... pero frente a este situación su incredulidad los sacó de onda y ya regresaron al reino de la carne, no la de Dios.

 

¿¡Cuantas veces hacemos lo mismo!? Tenemos fe para ciertas cosas, pero cuando llega una situación, una necesidad un poco diferente, un poco más grande de acuerdo a nuestra estimación, ya el reino no es suficiente, ya Cristo no puede, y ya pensamos que no tenemos nada.

 

Los discípulos, frente a una situación difícil, se les olvidó lo que ya tenían. Cristo les estaba dando la oportunidad de hacer el milagro ellos mismos, porque si tenían el poder y la autoridad para poder hacerlo. Pero optaron para fijarse en sus limitaciones, en la carne, en vez de ver en el Espíritu.

Exceling at Listening

Luke‬ ‭8:8, 15, 18, 21‬ ‭NLT:

“Still other seed fell on fertile soil. This seed grew and produced a crop that was a hundred times as much as had been planted!” When he had said this, he called out, “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”

 

And the seeds that fell on the good soil represent honest, good-hearted people who hear God’s word, cling to it, and patiently produce a huge harvest.

 

“So pay attention to how you hear. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what they think they understand will be taken away from them.”

 

Jesus replied, “My mother and my brothers are all those who hear God’s word and obey it.

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There is power in listening.

- The real key to speaking with power is listening well.

- The greatest preachers of history didn't speak well, they listened well.

- We need to get good at listening to the Spirit and then we'll have no problem preaching in the power of the Spirit.