Monday, June 15, 2009

The Gift of Evangelism...

I never thought I had it. In fact, I was pretty sure I didn't. God never seemed to use me to bring people across the line of faith. It is actually somewhat comical to me that people seem to give their lives to Jesus after they leave our services, not during it in response to something I say. I finally figured out that evangelism isn't just "closing the deal" so-to-speak, but it is any conversation or action that brings people a step closer to Jesus. I do have the gift of evangelism. God uses me to create space and opportunity for people to move closer and closer to a decision to follow Christ. It is rare for me to be a part of someone actually crossing the line, but I am grateful to play the part that I play.

My wife Angela, on the other hand, should be nicknamed "The Closer." Since we moved here to Boise, she has been able to walk with many as they get closer to that point and then be there to lead them in prayer as they turn their lives over to Jesus. She was able to pray with another one of our neighbors this past Thursday (listen to The Pursuit Podcast "Wake Up the World - Part 1" to hear the story. Keep a tissue close by!). The way God uses Angela is nothing short of amazing. But God doesn't always use her in the same way either. It is as if God is reminding each of us that it is all Him.

We were awakened by a phone call at midnight last night. Another girl that Angela has been pursuing and for whom we have all been faithfully praying crossed the line of faith last night! It was truly the perfect end to a perfect day. God used Angela's recent friendship and my message on Sunday to ready her and then prompted another staff member at The Pursuit to invite her out to talk after service where she prayed to receive Jesus as her Forgiver and Leader. There was another party in heaven for someone for whom we have been praying!

I don't care which part I play, whether it is a first, middle or final link in the chain that brings someone to Jesus. I just know I want to play a part. Any part. I just want God to use me.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

And It Did Not Rain...

I just got home from Merrill Park today after enjoying five hours of dry weather on a day that it was supposed to rain. God has been known to make it rain (or not rain) both in Scripture and in my life as a result of prayer. With our renewed emphasis on prayer of late, we really believed that God would prevent the rain as a result of our prayers.

As the week went on and the forecast continued to call for rain, we continued to pray. I refused to accept a "backup plan" insisting that God would allow us to have our Outreach BBQ. There were too many of us inviting unchurched people personally and I simply couldn't imagine how God would get the glory in letting it be cancelled. I even told one person I invited that we were praying that it would not rain. God's reputation with those that didn't know Him was on the line.

Last night at our God First Friday service, it poured. As we stood around afterwards we continued to pray. We said we would make a judgement call in the morning, but that if it was raining we should probably cancel. I woke up anticipating it being dry in faith, but looked out the window to see a steady rain. I looked on facebook and saw all of the "come rain or shine" invites and talked to the staff and we decided to go for it, even in the rain. I actually told my wife jokingly, "I guess prayer doesn't work."

On a day with a 60% chance of showers, it was dry for our entire event! It stopped as they finished setting up and was perfect weather for the entire time. It rained all around us, but Eagle stayed dry. I can't believe I actually doubted God, not that He had the power, but that He would answer the specific request. I figured that He let it go to the last minute just to see if we were willing to get a little wet to try to reach this valley, then He shut off the rain for us. Glory to God! Let's continue to pray and continue to reach out. By the way, just after everything was unloaded back into our building, it started to pour! As if we needed God to show us it wasn't a coincidence. We already knew it was all Him.