Daily Devotional for Wednesday February 13, 2008
Raw evangelism! The most important job of the church and for Christians is to lead the lost to faith in Jesus Christ. There is NOTHING more important! Yet, it is clearly not the top priority for most churches, and clearly not the top priority for most followers of Christ. In the year 2008, Christians have lost the vision for raw evangelism. Raw evangelism is witnessing your faith to someone who is lost. Raw evangelism is an outreach to people who are don't know the Lord. Some great examples of raw evangelism are those faithful street preachers, or those who knock on doors to tell people about Jesus, or those who hand out tracts. Raw evangelism is boldly, aggressively, without shame or compromise bringing the Gospel to this lost and dying world.
Raw evangelism is what Liveprayer is all about. That is why for nearly 9 years now, we have been on the Internet reaching out to the lost and hurting in cyber space. That is why for 5 years, the Liveprayer TV program was only on secular stations and networks. That is why over the years we have gone into the heart of Ybor City, the nightclub district of Tampa, to the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center with a program geared to non-Believers, and why this is our second year at the Florida State Fair. Somewhere along the line the church got this idea evangelism is bringing in an "evangelist" to the church to preach to their congregation who are mostly saved. The great "evangelistic crusades" are planned out years in advance and made up of all the area churches, making it little more than a community church service. TV, radio, publishing ministries are marketed to and geared specifically to reach those who are already Christians.
We do a great job preaching to ourselves, and a horrible job of preaching to the people who need the message of Christ the most! That is why Liveprayer made the incredible commitment of time, effort, and resources to become a Gold Level Sponsor of this year's Florida State Fair. We put up a 5,000 sf tent called the Liveprayer Gospel Tent right on the Midway, where over the 12 days of the Fair, 500,000+ people will come walking by. We are offering Southern Gospel music every day at 2pm, and some of the best Black Gospel and Christian Rap acts every night at 5pm and 8pm. At each performance, those who fill the 250 seats in the tent are told how they can know Jesus as their Savior and given the opportunity to receive prayer for their needs.
Let me give you some of my personal reflections after the first 6 days, with 6 days left. Directly across from the LPGT is the Budweiser Beer Garden. We are in the perfect location. During the day, most who attend are a bit older, but as it becomes night, the crowd is dominated by teens and young adults. Day and night, it is a constant sea of humanity. Certainly some Believers, but for the most part, people who don't go to church, don't know the Lord, don't live according to the Truth of the Bible, masses of people who will die one day and have no clue that without Jesus they will spend eternity in hell. The other day as I was wading through the crowd on the way to the tent, I thought of the words of Jesus in Matthew 9 where He said, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few."
These people come to the Fair for the food, the rides, the games, to see the sights, they certainly aren't planning to hear about Jesus. We are invading their lives and taking Christ to them in the music and the words I share. Many are clearly intoxicated and high. Many are going through some real challenges in their lives. Like most everyone, they are simply looking for answers, some peace, and most of all HOPE! We know the only real answer is the Lord, the only true peace comes from the Prince of Peace Himself, and the only hope there is, is found in JESUS! We have what they are looking for and need. THAT IS WHY WE ARE THERE!
Much of raw evangelism is about planting seeds. We will hand out over 20,000 Liveprayer flyers that tell people how they can get prayer for their needs and has the Plan of Salvation on it. After last year's Fair, for months and months, people who got our flyer emailed us for prayer and many accepted the Lord and asked for the follow-up information we send out. This year, in addition to the flyers, a dear brother organized a group to come help our effort by handing out 5,000 books authored by my new friend Ray Pritchard of Keep Believing Ministries out of Chicago. I personally made a huge commitment of time to be at the tent apx 8 hours each day. So many people who have watched the TV program have stopped by to say hello which opened the door for me to pray for them and encourage them. PLANTING SEEDS!
Listen, sharing our faith is not an option, it is a COMMANDMENT.! It is not a suggestion, it is an ORDER! In Ezekiel 33 God talks about the watchman and how if the watchman warns the people and they choose not to heed the warning and perish, the watchman's hands are clean. However, if the watchman fails to warn the people and they perish, their blood is on the hands of the watchman and God will hold the watchman accountable. My friend, if you know Jesus as your Savior, YOU are the watchman!!! God didn't put those neighbors around you, the people you work with or go to school with, those you recreate with, or the ones who cross your path each day by accident!
God allowed them to come into your life for a Divine purpose. You may be the only Bible they ever read, the only connection to God they will ever have. How can you sit back, knowing that without Jesus they will die and spend eternity in hell, and not tell them what Jesus has done in your life and that He loves them and they can have a personal relationship with Him too. Listen, if they reject what you say, that is between them and God. But you at least have to tell them and make sure they understand the FACT that they will die one day and at that moment they will stand before God and either spend eternity in Heaven or Hell, depending on what they decide to do with Jesus. IT IS YOUR JOB TO TELL THEM!
I am amazed at how the false religions like Islam, cults like the Mormons, JWs, and Scientologists, those in the New Age movement, are so bold and aggressive in reaching out to people with their lies, and those who know Christ seem to have little for the lost. I am amazed at how those who live in rebellion to God talk about their rebellion with great passion and encourage others to join them, yet those who know the Lord are so shy, almost embarrassed to talk about the fact they are a Christian. If those who follow the lies of satan and serve the enemy of our soul can be so bold in trying to get others to also follow their lies, why can't Christians who have the only Truth and follow the one and only man who can save your soul be even more bold in trying to get others to invite Jesus into their life?
I love you and care aobut you so much. I pray today that this word will challenge you, motivate you, and encourage you to get out of your comfort zone and get serious about sharing your faith with others. Remember, it is not an option for the child of God, it is a COMMANDMENT! You don't have to be a theologian or be able to answer all the Bible questions. Your greatest witness is what Christ has done in your life. Nobody can dispute that. After you share with them what the Lord has done in your life, make sure they understand 2 indisputable facts. First, we all sin. Second, we will all die. At that point, there is only 2 choices. You either accept Christ and His free gift of everlasting life or you reject His love.
The key is that at least the person you are talking with has heard the Truth and can no longer say nobody told them, and you have planted seeds that you may never know the result of until etenrity. In every person's salvation experience, there have been many faithful people along the way planting seeds. Moms and dads, grandmothers and grandfathers, other family members who prayed. The witness of a street preacher. Someone who handed them a tract. Hearing gospel music at a Fair. Getting a Daily Devotional forwarded to them on something they are struggling with. When a person gets saved, there were many people along the way who were faithful and obedient and contributed to their salvation.
My friend, the fields are ripe for a harvest. The better percentage of two full generations have never even been to church. Sadly, the wolves, the false religions, and cults of the world are busy leading these lost souls to hell with their lies. It is time for those who know the Lord to get busy and be about our Father's business and get serious about raw evangelism, going "out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled!"