Every single day of my life, I am humbled by 3 things:  The grace of Christ that I could never merit, the blessing of my wife and children in whom I see the smile of God, and the privilege I have been given to shepherd Morningview Baptist Church.  I truly love our church.  I love you because you are sources of wisdom and encouragement to me.  I love you because each of you sparkle with a facet of my Savior.  I love you because, though we are all different, we are unified in our love for God’s glory, God’s Word, and God’s work in this world.  You are my spiritual family, and a gift to me from our Father above.

This past Sunday was a great blessing.  God’s Word to us all was strong and rich and convicting.  The fields are indeed ripe unto harvest, and we must beseech the Lord to send workers into His harvest.  As we pray, we must also labor.  We will be laboring this weekend as we gather to participate in our Community Missions Service Day (Praise God — all but a few of the teams are full!), but we also need to pray for opportunities beyond the ministries of our church.  Each of us are to be Salt and Light in our own personal circles of influence.

Knowing that, I wanted to encourage you all with some specific instructions about how to pursue and engage in witnessing opportunities.  First and foremost, PRAY daily for specific opportunities to share the gospel.  I promise you God will put people in your path when you do so.  Pray for opportunities with family members, friends, co-workers, classmates, and those you encounter when you are out shopping or eating or attending sporting events.  Furthermore, pray for specific persons that you know are lost.  Do me a favor – take a post-it note and write down the names of 5 to 10 people that you know are lost.  Then stick that note on your bathroom mirror and pray for each of them by name as you get ready each morning.  Put a duplicate of that note on your dashboard and pray for them as you drive to and from work.  Remember, prayer fuels evangelism.

Second, be prepared to share the gospel when God opens the door.  Evangelism is more than just talking about God’s blessings or inviting people to church.  Those are good starting points, but evangelism, at its core, is proclaiming Jesus Christ as the only way of salvation.  Thus, take time to re-acquaint yourself with the essential points of the gospel.  Pick up one of our GRACE tracts to help.  You could also practice sharing your Christian testimony as one way to help you open doors to share Scripture about Jesus Christ.  Preparation is the most important component of being able to share the gospel, so know the Scriptures — God’s Word is what is powerful to persuade men.

Third, get out there and do it.  Be intentional about engaging people in conversation wherever you go.  Be intentional about taking part in outreach and evangelism opportunities that we offer as a church.  If you are nervous at first, make it a point to go with someone who is well-seasoned in the practice of evangelism.  Watching them and engaging people with them will help allay your fears and it will help you learn how to initiate spiritual conversations.  One of my favorite ways to turn the conversation to spiritual matters is to ask questions.  After getting acquainted with a person, I like to ask “Do you have a church home?” or “How can I pray for you today?”  These questions frequently allow me to begin sharing about faith in Christ.

inally, be mindful of your goal in evangelism.  Your goal is to share the biblical gospel.  Success in evangelism is achieved by sharing what Scripture says about God’s person and law, man’s sin, Christ’s sacrifice, and the requirement to repent and believe.  Whether or not a person is converted is God’s responsibility.  If they listen to you, you are blessed.  If they reject or ridicule you, you are blessed (Matt 5:11-12).  So do not fear men.  And by the way, studies on evangelism have shown that 4 out of every 5 lost persons are more than willing to politely hear what we have to tell them about Christ.  So tell them!  In evangelism, we only fail when we fall silent in the moment of divine opportunity!  I love you all dearly.