Dirty Word

By Don Gentry

Evangelism is simply a word. But as you just read it, you may have had some very negative thoughts pop into your mind. If you had any negative thoughts pop into your mind than try to stick with me. I have no intention of changing your mind. I just want to encourage you that evangelism doesn’t have to be a dirty word.

Jesus says this about Himself in the book of Luke.

“The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.” 
Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” Luke 4:18-21 (NKJV)

This is Jesus saying he was sent to preach the gospel and that He is the gospel! That phrase preach the gospel in Greek looks like this – euangelizō. Do you see any similarities?? This is where we get out word evangelize. It literally means to announce/declare the good news. What is the good news? He says He came to preach to the poor. Let me first suggest to you that He is not talking about a financial poverty but a spiritual poverty. Those who are spiritually poor (all humanity) get to hear about how Christ brings healing to the brokenhearted, liberty to those who are captive to sin, sight for those who are spiritually blind, and freedom to those who are oppressed spiritually.

Here is how evangelism works and why it is not a dirty word. When you have been healed, set free, given sight, and experienced freedom that is really good news. Jesus declares that He is the only way to really experience those things. The way that others are going to hear about it is that He, Jesus, God, has charged His church (those who have say they have received what He brings) to TELL others about the good news. Who would want to keep all these good things a secret?????

Evangelism shouldn’t be dirty, scary, or intimidating. Evangelism is literally learning how to tell others the good things that Jesus has done in your life. If you don’t feel you have anything to tell then let me strongly suggest to you that you have never received Jesus. When we receive what Jesus has promised, I guarantee you have a story to tell. Maybe you don’t know how to tell it yet, maybe you have seen others do it poorly and you don’t want to be lumped in “with them,” but if you have genuinely received Christ and you believe in what He says, you have a story to tell.

I look forward to you learning more about how your story and the story of God intersects and how we the church can better declare that story to those around us!

Hope to see you all on Sunday!

Message Follow Up | The E-Word: Part 3 – Take the Step

By Zack DeBerry

I don’t know about you, but I have enjoyed the E word series. I’ve always had a desire to reach out to people who are far from God, but I have always felt like I was not equipped to do it or I would let my fears keeps from taking the next step.

What I have discovered over the course of this series is that Evangelism is less about a rigid guideline and set of rules to be followed and more about how I live my life in this world. It’s less about what we do and more about who we are as we begin to engage people who are far from God in conversation and friendship.

There are some habits that we can begin to employ when we take the step to develop friendships with people who are far from God for the purpose of humbly pointing them to absolute hope. I discovered this list a couple of years ago and I feel it is a great way to begin to reach out to people and begin to take easy steps to develop friendships and discover stories in their lives. It’s an easy to remember acrostic, B.E.L.L.S. Here is what it stands for:

B – Bless

What this means is that we should be willing to bless someone around us when we find out they have some kind of need. This is a great way to begin to develop a friendship and an easy way to find out what is going on in their story.

Challenge: Bless someone who is far from God this week.

E – Eat

This an easy one to do and really it’s something you probably do on a daily basis anyway. Take someone to lunch that you know that is far from God. And Pay for it. You can always get to know someone and hear their story over food.

Challenge: Take someone who is far from God out to Eat.

L – Listen

This is a hard one sometimes because it requires us to take time in prayer and listen to the Spirit of God as He directs us. I truly believe that when we ask in prayer and seek out opportunities to share our faith that God will provide opportunities. We must constantly be Listening so that we can hear God’s voice as He leads us and directs us to people who are far from Him.

Challenge: Spend time each day in Prayer to ask God for opportunities to point people to hope.

L – Learn

What I mean by this is that we have the privilege of sharing the love and hope that Jesus gives and we should take the time to learn more about Him and how to share our story. Everyone has a story, but some people just don’t think it’s worth sharing. I want to tell you that every story where God is involved is a story worth telling. When we get opportunities to share our story with people who are far from God we have to be ready.

Challenge: Take some time this week to write out your story. Who you were before you discovered the Hope of Jesus Christ, How you found that Hope, and How that Hope has changed your life.

S – Sent

The last thing is to really understand that we are sent by God into our neighborhoods, work environments, and families. God longs to use His followers to continue to tell everyone of His fame and freedom in this world. We must realize that it’s not just up to “professional pastors”, but it is the job of every follower of Jesus Christ to go and tell everyone of the hope that we have found.

Challenge: Identify and make a list of ways that you can begin to live a Sent life in your neighborhood, workplace, and family.

I hope that at the end of this series you have an understanding of what Evangelism is, how we can overcome the fears that exist, and begin to take some steps to truly engage with people who are far from God for the purpose of seeing the absolute Hope of Jesus Christ change their stories.

God gave us the privilege of being His messengers of love and hope where He has placed us so let’s take a step this week and see people as He does and share the hope that we have found.

Weekend Preview | The E-Word: Part 3 – Take the Step

By Chris Denning

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I’ve really been enjoying this series on evangelism, The E-Word.  I have already said how I’ve not been a big fan of evangelism in the past, but I feel like the perspective of evangelism we’ve been using as our lens for this conversation has been very helpful and encouraging.

One thing Matt said last week has really stuck with me, especially when it comes to evangelism:

ALMOST sharing your faith and NEVER sharing your faith are the SAME thing.

Ouch.  But like a good ouch, the kinda ouch you need every once in a while to remember what’s important.

Good intentions alone have never helped anyone.  Thinking that donating to a tsunami relief is a good thing to do has never provided tangible help for people hurting on the ground. Continue reading

3 Ways to Easily Share Your Faith Everyday

By Don Gentry

Evangelism is a scary thing to most Christians.  When they start to think about telling others about Jesus they get a big lump in their throat, palms start sweating, they get tongue-tied, and sometimes your heart will even start racing. I want to give a few simple ways to share your faith that will seem much more natural and far less nerve-wracking.

1. Pray

Stick with me.  Pray each day that God will open a door for you to share His hope.  This is the first step.  Remember this is a “God” thing not a “you” thing.

It’s not the one who plants or the one who waters who is at the center of this process but God, who makes things grow.

1 Corinthians 3:7 (MSG)

He told them: “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.

Luke 10:2 (HCSB)

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Message Follow Up | The E-Word: Part 2 – Erasing Excuses

By Matt Dawson

Let me just come out and say it:

One of the largest reasons we struggle to share our faith is selfishness!

Plain and Simple.  Not only do we NOT SHARE because “it’s all about us and our fear” but even when we do share – we sometimes share for the wrong reasons.  We don’t know it’s the wrong reason, but when we approach evangelism from any angle that is selfish or manipulative, we dishonor God and fail to do what He’s asked us to do IN THE MANNER He asked us to do it in.

This is a passage we’ve looked at over the past 2 weeks. I want you to see 2 words that I think make a HUGE IMPACT in how we approach sharing our faith.
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5 Guidelines for Evangelizing Without Being Weird

By Chris Denning

I’d say there’s a pretty universal fear when it comes to sharing your faith with others: being seen as weird.

“If I share my faith with them, it’ll change how they see me.”

“If I tell them my story, it’ll get weird between us.”

“If I talk to them about Jesus, it’ll only make them think I’m strange.”

I get it, I’ve been in high school.  However, if we believe Jesus to be who He says He is, then we CANNOT afford to give this mindset any space in our brains.  We have got to change the way we think about evangelizing.

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Message Follow Up | The E-Word: Part 1 – What Evangelism Is/Isn’t

By Don Gentry

Evangelism gets such a bad rap in the Church.  I think part of the reason why the western church has so much baggage is that we forget the “why” of evangelism.  Let’s take a look at why Jesus told us that he wants us to evangelize the world.

Have you ever read Matthew 24?  If you haven’t, I would strongly encourage you to do so.  In this passage, Jesus makes some prophecies about a coming day.  Jesus prophesies about the future destruction of the world.  He prophesies about a day when people are going to believe that there are multiple pathways to get to God.  Jesus made it abundantly clear that He is the only way to be saved from this impending doom.

If Jesus is who he says He is, then He gave His church a command to go and tell others about who He is.
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Weekend Preview | The E-Word: Part 1 – What Is/Isn’t Evangelism?

By Chris Denning

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I don’t know about you, but growing up in the Church, evangelism just made me feel icky.  Maybe it was some of what Zack mentioned in his post on Wednesday, but I never felt comfortable with it.

Honestly, it didn’t have anything to do with my faith.  I was always confident in what I believe and why I did, it was just the sharing my faith part that felt uncomfortable.  Maybe it was because I didn’t have a very good understanding of what evangelism actually was.

In our new series, The E-Word, we’re going to be demystifying evangelism and taking a look at what it looks like to live a life where evangelism is simply a natural expression.  I know this hasn’t always been the case for me, but I think I’ve come a long way since I’ve started to understand what evangelism isn’t and what evangelism is.
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3 Reasons I Hate Evangelism

By Zack DeBerry

There is a word that we don’t say much in the church.  Maybe because we don’t understand it or maybe we are just afraid of it.  As we start a new series called the “E” Word I wanted to get something off my chest.

I want to come clean with everyone and let you know that I hate Evangelism.  I know that may come as a shock, but stick with me as I give you 3 reasons why I hate it.

3 Reasons I Hate Evangelism

1. It Can Be Impersonal

I hate the idea of Evangelism because many times it can be impersonal.  When I was taught to share the gospel with anyone and everyone I always had a terrible feeling that it would never really work out.  I think that many people struggle with this same idea.

When we think about sharing our faith with someone I think many people have the idea of the guy on the corner with a bullhorn and a sign that says “Repent” in red letters with flames.  When I think about Evangelism like this it makes me hate it.

I think the better way to look at it would be to look at the people that you are connected to and consider to be friends and start there.  You will have a better chance of sharing your faith story with someone who actually knows you and can see the difference it makes in your life.

2. It Can Seem Self-Righteous

Another reason I hate Evangelism is because it can come across as self-righteous or judgmental.  Let’s be honest: when we attempt to share our faith we struggle with the idea of what the other person will think about us.  That’s just human nature.

Many times people approach Evangelism from the standpoint of “let me tell you what you need to make your life better.”  Nothing turns me off more than when people basically say “you’re doing it wrong.”  I think many people have a bad taste in their mouth when it comes to Evangelism because they feel judged.

I think the better way is to be honest about our struggles and shortcomings before we ever try to help others see the hope that is offered through a relationship with Jesus.  When we start with the understanding that we are all broken and in need of help it puts us on equal ground with everyone and may lead to more fruitful conversations of faith.

3. I Don’t Always Have the Answers

The last reason I hate Evangelism is that many times I am afraid that I might not be able to answer a question that someone may ask me.  I have always been a “learner” and try to be in the know as much as possible, but I have a fear that I will not have a critical answer at the right time.

When we get the opportunity to share our faith, there are bound to be moments when someone will have a question.  What if we can’t answer that question?  Will that turn them off from following Jesus?  This is a common problem when it comes to sharing your faith.

What I have learned and what is important to remember is that I will never have all the answers.  The best thing I can do is to be comfortable enough in MY faith to admit that I don’t know it all, but I am constantly seeking answers through the bible and prayer in my relationship with Jesus.  Sometimes people aren’t looking for the right answer, just and honest one.

So there it is, 3 reasons I hate Evangelism.

However, I think if I take the time to invest in the relationships God gives me, become authentic with those people about my struggles, and just admit that we are in process as followers of Jesus, then maybe I can learn to at least become open to the possibility of sharing my faith.

As we unpack what it looks like to humbly point everyone to absolute hope with our life and our stories I hope the “E” Word will be something that we can become more comfortable with in our life.

3 Ways NOT to Share Your Faith Online

By Zack DeBerry

We are a couple of weeks away from Easter and it is a great time to begin thinking about who you want to invite to come with you to Journey.  This is a great way to share your faith with friends & family.

In that same vein, as more and more people use Social Media, sharing your faith online has never been easier.  There are loads of great ways for you to share your faith on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.  However, there are always a lot of ways NOT to do it. 

I thought I would have a little fun today and give you 3 ways NOT to share your faith through social media.  Check it out. . .

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