Perfect Love Casts Out Fear of Evangelism

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I’m terrified of evangelism. And I’m bad at it… Not to mention I’m really, really introverted.

However, (as you’ve likely heard many times before) God calls us as Christians to evangelize.

My guess is you’ve heard this verse before, when Jesus commands the disciples to spread the gospel and make disciples of all people:

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” – Matthew 28:19-20

In a post I made a few weeks ago, I urged you all to fight against the fear of evangelism and reach people with the good news of Jesus Christ, because so many are condemned to death without hope of a Savior.

Now I want to take a step back and say, yes, evangelism is scary. In fact, it’s the scariest thing I’ve ever done…

But I have done it.

Not because of anything about me—no way! I don’t want you to leave this post thinking I have some special gift, because I truly do not. Everything within me repels the idea of going up to a stranger and sharing about the love of God. My flesh squirms in utter discomfort. Won’t it be awkward? I think. What if they already know about it? What if they reject me?

Everything about me prevents me from sharing the truth that sets captives free and heals the hearts of the wounded. My own self is a barrier between me and another soul.

But as Christians, we aren’t called to live for Christ. We are called to let Christ live in us.

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” – Galatians 5:20

I can’t emphasize enough how much this post is not about me. How much my evangelism is not about me. How much reaching the hearts of this broken world is not about me.

And I can’t thank God enough for what He has done through me! Allowing Christ to live in me is the most breathtaking adventure I’ve ever been on. Letting Him take control continually blows my mind. His beauty and power are enormously greater than anything I could ever accomplish.

I’m continually amazed at what He does when I simply submit myself to Him and say, “Okay, Your will be done, not mine. Let Your love shine through me, and not my fear. Let them see the fragrance of Christ within me, and not the trembling fear within me.”

And the beautiful thing about God is, that He has no fear in Him. He is not fear. He is love. He is precious, atoning, unfailing, merciful, sacrificial love. When we trust in Him fully, His perfect love for us casts out fear of evangelism.

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” – 1 John 4:18

Still, that doesn’t mean we have to wait to be the perfect person to evangelize. We don’t have to try to make our motivations right before spreading the word about the God who saves. Sometimes we just have to take that step of faith into the unknown in order to experience peace and strength.

Believe me, evangelism brings so much joy. While it is the scariest thing I have ever done, it is also the most joyous thing I have ever done. I’m not kidding about this—I rejoice in the hope I have for so many people to experience a lasting relationship with Jesus! I rejoice in the God who is giving these people a chance or more chances because of His power working through me.

After most of my encounters with people in handing out gospel tracts, I’m flooded with overwhelming confidence in the God who truly cares for His people. Even if I receive a rude response, I am only more assured that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, and that their resistance is not against me but against Him. Each time I allow God to reach out to a soul through my act of faith, the Lord becomes so sweet to me, and I fall more in love with Him than ever.

Evangelism is what has strengthened me most in my faith out of anything I’ve ever done—and this is no exaggeration! The power of evangelism in our lives and the lives we touch radiates the name of Jesus Christ and bears eternal significance.

I sing for joy—joy, it’s something I don’t think I fully understood until I started evangelizing! Instead of looking at the thousands of people I pass by without hope, I have a stronger reason to pray for them and a deeper love for them and a greater hope that God would reach their hearts.

It’s that amazing.

I’ve learned so much about God through each step of faith. He is truly greater than anything this earth can supply. Forsaking all to shine His light instead of my own is beyond worth it, because God is far worthier and far more satisfying than even the good things I cherish around me.

“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” – Acts 20:21

God is so good to us, and He knows how scary it can be to take that first step of faith. I have some verses in my phone that have encouraged me when I’m feeling afraid about evangelizing.

“He must increase, but I must decrease” – John 3:30

“Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent, for I am with you” – Acts 18:9-10

“If God is for us, who can be against us?” – Romans 8:31

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” – Romans 12:21

So please, please, don’t let fear stop you from sharing the wonderful news that God’s Son came down into our mess to completely purify us from all our sinful deeds.

Together, we can be terrified of evangelism, we can be bad at it, and we can even be really, really introverted (though if you’re extraverted that’s a bonus! 😉). That’s okay, as long as you surrender it at the feet of Jesus and choose to trust in Him no matter what. Because together, we can and will fight against this fear, because that’s the kind of mighty God we serve.

Savor the magnitude of what God has done in your life, for He has saved you out of the pit of death by the precious blood of Jesus Christ. Let your joy and hope overflow to those around you. Let your life be grounded in prayer, full of the Spirit, and abiding in His word.

With all your heart, let your life be a living sacrifice to God as you give of yourself to others without any care of awkwardness or discomfort, and with full care for the souls of those you may see in heaven one day.

Here is a song that tells about God’s perfect love casting out our fears and failures. People are often surprised when I tell them what God has been doing in my life, but as Christians, anything is possible, for any of us. It’s not about who we are, it’s about who He is. Be encouraged today, and let Christ’s love shine brightly through you to this broken world!

What do you think about evangelism? Is it scary to you, or does it come more naturally to you? What kind of settings have you considered or are you evangelizing in (to strangers, friends, family, etc.)?

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The Gospel, The Light: 6 Things God Has Done For Humanity

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(Photo by Samantha Lynch on Unsplash)

I blind myself to the truth, do you? Am I the only one who runs from the Light, preferring the safety of darkness? 

When the Light pierces through the darkness, it hurts. It hurts when I see I’ve been trying to fill the void inside me with my passions, dreams, ego, or self-pity. It hurts to see that me, you, and the whole human race sin every day without realizing it.

Or maybe we do realize our weakness, but we’re too afraid to do anything about it.

Woe to those who go to great depths
to hide their plans from the Lord,
who do their work in darkness and think,
“Who sees us? Who will know?” – Isaiah 29:15

Without this Light, I feel so empty. I’m in constant pain, letting insecurity rule and darkness overshadow any good that’s left in me.

I’m blind to my own weakness.

Why are we like this? It’s my fault. It’s yours. It’s Adam and Eve’s fault for eating that fruit in the garden. Their sin began a chain reaction that spread to every generation of humans who have lived since.

Doubts come: Come on, I’m good enough. God wouldn’t send a nice person like me to hell. I’ve done enough good things to outweigh the bad.

But God doesn’t weigh the good versus the bad; no, He measures us up to a stick, and we have to reach the top to enter heaven—He requires us to be 100 % perfect.

And we’re not.

And God is truly sad about that: “[God] wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:4)

So, how did God provide a way for us to escape hell and to enter His heavenly presence, now and forever?

1. He sent a perfect man.

God sent His Son, Jesus, to live on this earth perfectly following God’s laws, like no human ever had before. He was the one person in history’s existence who actually deserved heaven.

Only God is 100% perfect all the time. And that’s exactly who Jesus was, and still is to this very day.

“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” – Hebrews 1:3

Jesus is the one perfect Light, the one true fulfiller of our souls. He spoke out against lies and injustice; He uplifted the outsiders in society. He was filled with deep compassion for people, healing the sick and preaching about the Kingdom of God, a place where hearts are free, a place their souls had been longing to hear about.

2. He sacrificed this man, His Only Son, for us.

What’s terribly ironic, is that the One person who deserved heaven went to hell in place of everyone else who deserved hell. Jesus was nailed to a cross to purify us from our sins, dying in our place so we wouldn’t have to eternally bleed.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.” – John 3:16-21

3. He, in the form of a man, came back to life.

But it doesn’t end at the cross. Three days later, Jesus Christ rose from the tomb, alive and well, and witnessed by hundreds of astonished people. He went up to heaven where He now sits at the right hand of the throne of God.

4. He saves us not by any goodness in ourselves, but by His amazing grace.

This is the most crucial point I have, even though it’s number four (number 4 is a good number, right? ;)) So pay attention here.

The thing is, Jesus did NOT die so we would follow rules, He died so we would place our faith in Him and come to know Him. It is only by faith in Christ that we are saved.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” – Ephesians 2:8-9

Christianity is NOT a religion. It is a beautiful, everlasting, soul-fulfilling relationship with Jesus Christ.

5. He shines His Light into our everyday lives.

Today, in the 21st century, Jesus offers this hope as we battle against anxiety, depression, temptations, grief, and feelings of emptiness: He is the Light.

Let those words sink in for a minute.

After Jesus left this earth, His Holy Spirit came to convict this world of sin.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 1:9

Wow! What an amazing truth that is. Throughout our Christian lives, we must bring our dark deeds into God’s glorious light, so that He may completely and totally outshine this darkness within us. His forgiveness is real, and He is waiting for you to simply cry out to Him with a repentant heart.

Once we believe in Jesus’ power to overcome death and sin on the cross, the Holy Spirit illuminates through our pitch black souls and guides us into more and more victories over our sin and failures, and more and more into the love and peace of walking in His ways.

“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” – John 14:16

6. He fills us with joy—now and forever.

With God’s Light inside of me, I’ve found the absolute freedom of His grace. I am no longer empty. I am truly, definitely, totally forgiven, as far as the east is from the west. When I place my surrendered trust in Jesus, my heart bursts with this Light.

As Christians, we face hardship. But through it all, our joy is made complete through Christ.

You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” – Psalm 16:11

I am free.

I am not floundering in darkness, but I am running out into the open arms of my Father, whose eyes ignite with unspeakable joy when He sees me. Without Jesus, I don’t know where I’d be. I don’t know how I’d bear the fires of this raw, miserable life.

But with Him, the sword of truth has attacked my old self. Now I am new like a polished ring, waiting like a Bride for her Groom, until the day He returns.

Please, when He comes back, don’t let it be your first time to bow.

“[Jesus], being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.” – Philippians 2:6-11

(All Scripture taken from NIV.)

 

CW4: The Magpie and the Squirrel

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(Photo by Chris Lawton on Unsplash)

Another assignment in my Creative Writing class– to write a fable similar to Aesop’s fables!

Once there was a Magpie who collected shiny objects for his nest in an oak tree.

Whenever a traveler spent the night in a nearby clearing, the Magpie would swoop down and collect the treasures found in his sack. The Owl who lived in the same oak tree as the Magpie would watch the Magpie do this each time.

One day, the Owl said to the Magpie, “Every time a traveler comes this way, you steal the treasures found in his sack. Why do you do this evil thing, Magpie?”

The Magpie grew very angry and declared, “What right do you have to spy on me, Owl? My business is my own; it is no concern of yours!”

With that, the Magpie proceeded to move his nest along with his shiny treasures to another oak tree nearby.

It turned out, that in this new oak tree, a Squirrel resided in a hollow. The Squirrel was known to be very kind and honest to all.

On a moonlit night that a traveler rested in the clearing, the Magpie thought to himself, “If I can get Squirrel to help me steal from this traveler, I can get more treasure than ever before!”

So he thought up a plan to deceive the innocent Squirrel into helping him rob the traveler.

The Magpie asked the Squirrel, “Do you want to help me collect shiny objects? There is a stream in the clearing that has gold and silver flowing through it, but no one but me knows about it, because you can only see it by the light of the moon!”

Unaware that the Magpie meant to steal these shiny objects from a traveler, the Squirrel agreed. And so, the two proceeded to the clearing.

The Magpie passed the shiny objects to the squirrel, who scurried to deliver them to their oak tree and then ran back to receive more treasures from the Magpie. The Squirrel had poor eyesight, so he never saw the sleeping traveler or the sack that the Magpie was stealing from.

Meanwhile, the Owl watched from afar, and when the Squirrel returned with treasure for the third time, the Owl met him at the Magpie’s oak tree. “What are you doing, Squirrel? Why are you helping Magpie, when he is a fool, stealing from an innocent traveler?”

The Squirrel shrank back at the Owl’s words. “Stealing? I didn’t know we were stealing. The Magpie told me we were collecting them from a stream that had gold and silver flowing through it!”

“There is no such thing, Squirrel!” the Owl declared. “You may not have seen it with your poor eyesight, but I advise you to stop doing this evil deed at once, friend!”

The Squirrel agreed. “Thank you, Owl. I wouldn’t have seen what I was doing if you hadn’t told me so. I’ll forever be indebted to you for showing me the evil I was taking part in.”

“Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you;
rebuke the wise and they will love you.” – Proverbs 9:8

Guest Author Amy: What Makes a Hero

Introducing my good friend Amy! She’s going to tell us about what makes a person a true hero:

I was playing a game with my family recently. A judge would ask a question, and people would write down answers. The judge would choose the best answer, and the person who wrote it down would get a point. When I was the judge, I asked a question I’ve been thinking about recently.

What is the most important quality for a hero or heroine to have?

Some of answers that my family came up with were “Powers”, “The Brian.”(she says she meant brain…), and an answer that pretty much came down to “The Quality of being like You.” I chose, “The Quality of being like You”.

The question got me thinking. What is the most important quality for a hero or heroine to have? Sure there are important features, smarts, skills, courage, and inner/outer strength, but you can take all of these things away, and still have a hero. This hero might fail miserably in their quest, but they are still, at their core, a hero.

Finally I came up with the thing that makes a hero a hero. They need to be good. Not good as in skilled, or able to complete the task well, but good in their hearts.

A hero needs to be a good person.

Now, you may disagree with me, but I think that a hero that is not good is no longer a hero. A “bad” hero does not exist. At that point, they are just the lesser of two evils, which may be what is needed in your story, or realistic, but they are not a hero.

As a Christian, I know that God defines what is good. If God is good, and defines what is good, then you can only be a truly “good” person by loving what God loves, and rejecting what God rejects. Obviously, no one is perfect but Jesus, but rejecting sin and evil and chasing after God, is what can make a person “good.” (I say “good”, because only God is good, Mark 10:18b says, “No one is good except God alone.”)

Even things that our culture does not consider wrong, things like lying, adultery, pride, or impatience should be at least acknowledged as sin by our heroes. Of course, not hero should be perfect, and maybe these sins are an area for our hero to grow, but too often these days, even in Christian books, heroes and heroines lie without feeling guilty about it. Good people, people after God’s heart, may push away sin for a while, but always end up confronting it, and being transformed to be more like God.

No one reads book without being unaffected by it, and as authors we should try to write books that affect people for the better. Our heroes and heroines should be people that our readers admire. The culture slowly can convince us that sins like impatience, and pride are fine, even good characteristics to have, because their heroes have them, but we know better. Lies heard a hundred time over are still lies, but they seem more convincing. If books we read say over and over again that lying is okay, that pride is a good quality, and if heroes, by their actions, say that some sins are okay to do, then that lie seems a lot more convincing. As Christian authors, our heroes should reject sin, and spurn evil, and encourage readers do the same.

Heroes today are many things; smart, brave, talented. But these things are not essential to be a hero. The single most important quality for a hero to have is goodness. A hero without goodness is just the lesser of two evils, but what makes a true hero is that at their core, they desire to overcome evil with good.