Writing Competition: Why Evangelism Matters To Me

competition

(Carson Weitnauer) #1

Hi friends,

One of our active contributors, @SeanO, proposed that we run a writing competition in RZIM Connect. I loved the idea, as did others who discussed it with us, so we’re going to try it out! Here’s how it will work:

Guidelines:

Incorporate Scripture, personal experience, and any other relevant sources (books, poetry, art, etc.) to share why evangelism matters to you. Please verify that each submission is less than 600 words (about one page in most text editors).

The winning article will be the one that provides the most meaningful, authentic, and insightful story about the life-changing significance of evangelism.

Prizes:

  • First place winner: A FREE RZIM Academy course and a unique badge in RZIM Connect
  • Fan favorite (the entry that receives the most ‘likes’ by the community): A 50% discount to an RZIM Academy course
  • Contest promoter: A 50% discount to an RZIM Academy course
  • 2nd and 3rd place: A badge recognizing the achievement in RZIM Connect

To share a post from RZIM Connect, just click on the link at the bottom of this post. If your sharing of the post leads to the most awareness of the writing competition, then you will win the ‘contest promoter’ award.

We have an all star panel to assess the entries - @SeanO, @Jennifer_Judson, @omnarchy and @LaTricia_January along with yours truly.

How to Participate:

  • Write and submit an entry to the contest! Just reply to this post with your entry when you’re ready. Entries are due by midnight, Eastern time, on April 23rd and we’ll announce the winners on April 27th.
  • Vote for your favorite entries!
  • Invite your family, friends, and church to participate!

Introduction: Joshua Johnson
(Carson Weitnauer) #2

(Ashish Money) #3

Evangelism for me is to know the heart of Jesus, When my father was dying to an illness, the thing that was bothering me most was his unrepentant life, and if he would leave this earth without receiving the forgiveness of sins, than his soul would be lost forever, therefore my prayer for his salvation intensified during the last days of his life. And one day while I was praying for him the Holy Spirit told me, “Just because he is your dad you are concerned so much about his salvation and you desire to see him being saved, just think that there are so many people around you who do not know the Saviour and if they do not know about Jesus they would be lost for ever, and if they are lost for ever knowing that you were in the capacity to share the message of gospel with them. How would the father feel losing them? have you been a good and a faithful servant who was entrusted with the message of gospel?” When I heard this I understood How much more does our Lord desire to see each one of his precious creation being saved and having fellowship with him for eternity. I understood if I being mere human being I desire so much for my dad, how much more the Heavenly Father who created each and every one of us would desire that his children come to him through Jesus Christ his son who died for our sins. So if I don’t evangelize I am not only comprehend the love of God, but also I become insensitive to the work of Jesus on the cross. I become unresponsive to the Grace of the Father and the Love of our Lord Jesus Christ. For me Evangelism is knowing the heart of God and his work on the Cross. The love that is so great and deep. Jesus said to the to the Jews who believed in him “You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free.” Was I really set free from sin, if I am than what is stopping us from evangelizing to the culture that is morally fallen, to the people that need hope, to the people who long for a saviour, to the weak and the brokenhearted.


(Noel Evangelista Revilleza) #4

Evangelism is not Ministry

The other night we had our leadership group meeting. We were having fun sharing stories with one another. We were discussing our personal revelations from the podcast we listened to.

Do you know the let’s-not-talk-about-evangelism-now-because-I’m-not-okay feeling? Yes, that was what we were all feeling that night. Not one of us is okay.

Some of us are pressured in school. Some of us have sick loved ones. Others were just tired. It’s really hard to talk about ministry (e.g. How many disciples do you have? Did you share the gospel this week? Are you involved in a church ministry?, etc.).

But God knows how we felt and He reminded us of a picture that really changed our perspective that night. It’s a picture of a family.

A Father who instructs
God is our Father. He shows His care for us by loving and giving us instructions. I remember when I was young, every Saturday morning my brother and I were tasked to put the trash outside and wipe the windows clean. We also did carpentry and gardening to clear space in our front yard. Cleaning makes our house look presentable to relatives and visitors.

That’s ministry. God instructs us to help the church by doing our part through service. We do this so that members and visitors will find our church community pleasant and presentable. Just like carpentry and gardening, we advance God’s kingdom through outreach and counseling.

We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. 2 Corinthians 6:3

A Sick brother
I remember my teacher in Grade 5 told me that my primary role as Kuya is to protect my younger siblings. I have to make sure that they were not bullied, that they stay healthy and do well in school. They have to feel that they can count on me, that I will fight for them until the end.

If my brother in Christ is going through tough times, I will make time to attend to him. If he’s not okay, I will not expect him to do ministry. It’s like when you have a sick brother and you still expect him to do house chores. That will put more stress on him and worse, it can kill him. Brothers who are not feeling well need to rest and as a Kuya, ako muna ang gagawa ng ministry para sa kanya. Once he gets better, he has the energy to do ministry again with me.

A Home
In the podcast we were studying, Pastor Rice Broocks said, “In and out of season, we should share the gospel.” At first I asked, Why would I do that? Can’t you see I’M NOT OKAY! Pede bang ako na muna Lord? Ayusin ko muna puso ko bago sila? And in the middle of that thought, God reminded me of what evangelism is all about.

Think about yourself inside your house. Your house is messy and needs fixing. Suddenly you heard voices outside your house and when you look outside, toddlers were playing around, eating grass, climbing on trees and some are inching towards the highway where trucks and buses are. Your Father told you that these kids are your BROTHERS and SISTERS who have never experienced home, have no idea of what they’re doing and are in need of a Savior. Would you focus on cleaning your house first or would you rather run outside and save these kids from the highway?

That, ladies and gentlemen, is EVANGELISM. For me to do it even if I think I’m not ready, whether I’m okay or not, even if I’m sick, I will give all my energy and effort to save my brothers and sisters from the pit of death and to let them know that our Father loves them so much.

To treat non-believers as future family is the key to share the gospel even if our hearts are not ready.

Welcome home brodah!

But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. 2 Timothy 4:5


(Stephen Perkins) #6

Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall
we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
(John 6:68).

The great and renown preacher Charles Spurgeon was once asked the question, how he would defend the Bible (Gospel message) against his critique? He responded, “open the door and let the lion out; he will take care of himself!” That lion may devour us if we do not present the the right words at the right time!

I absolutely believe it necessary to “question the questioner” as Ravi Zacharias professes in order to peel back layers of ingrained thought processes. This, to understand the right approach to rightly evangelize, knowing full well it is only God the Holy Spirit that can change a heart!
It follows for me, logic and apologetics is a critically important aspect of evangelizing.
Others like Francis Schaeffer (Faith and Mission), who called for “pre-evangelism,” reuniting faith and reason, rational principles and spiritual truth-claims.”
In pre-evangelism, we are simply unpeeling the notions, thoughts and ingrained ideologies, of
questioners before integral truths of God and
His revelations can rightly be received for good
instruction and discourse to be effective.

So, if I am the questioner, before I can call upon Christ as savior I have to grasp what sin is and my need for a savior, and, to understand I am a sinner! I have to believe that God exists! I have to understand that I am under Gods judgement.

Stephen Perkins


(Phillip Walter Coetzee) #7

I have written this piece called Christ in Babylon to emphasise the brokenness of the world in contrast to the light of Christ and the power of restoration by faith in Him.
Here it is:

Darkness looms over the courners of courts left to godless heresies and justice without equity. Countless gods are worshipped; one worships his reflection, another his past, another worships illusion, another as many as the grass.
A soceity without light, trying to change darkness to light by justifying their beliefs on their subjective experience of carnality and prideful satisfaction, elating the ego, inflating stupor. Amidst all the darkness of jealousy-ridden witchcraft and meaninglessness gripping the hearts and minds of those left without the understanding of Devine Image, given over to the flesh, hoping to satisfy within this lifetime all the urges; yet without conclusion impulse after impulse is received.

Heartache grasps soceity in the midst of seeking Solid definition, just hoping to be freed, hoping indeed.

Yet there walks One among them, Whom they know not. He came unto His own, but His own received Him not. Forever caring with arms wide open, rejected of men, despised yet without actual offence. Questioned and hated, without really being known. So also He sends out His children, how few they are, to touch the leper, stoned from afar. Carry My Light, My Children, carry My Light, He faithfully commands; into a world left in darkness, running after lifeless gods.

We are to be despised and rejected of men, as You were, Master. We are to be loving in the face of Satan himself working through our enemies, as You were loving on the cross towards us who know not what we do.
The Name of all Names, salvation to those in darkness. A great Light forever enthroned in majesty on High, Redeemer and Righteous Judge
Jesus Christ, Your Name be lifted high.
Amen


(Daniel) #8

Failure to be what God has created us to be is what we call sin. We have redefined what it means to be human and the projection of what we have become is displayed in the world, there’s no doubt that our condition is much more than damaged, nature has been subject to brokenness, the ground we live in is cursed, we have completely lost control and we live in an age where different ideologies, philosophies and relativism are thriving and are on the rise, the bible says that the ways of man are futile, leading to destruction, the human heart is truly desperately wicked. We are all from this sinful world and are part of it, each and everyone one of us are sinners, each one of us have failed to meet the standard of what it means to be created in the image of God, we have all abused our free will, yet the love of God towards mankind has not ceased we are all created for a purpose, we are called to a much more meaningful life, and God himself has come down in the form of flesh to take the guilt of our sin on the cross, so that we may be raised to life, so that this broken world may have hope of a renewed life, it is so prominent how God is touching the lives of millions across the globe, so many lives being transformed, changed and renewed this is the answer to the prayer we pray, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. We can sense how the kingdom of God is breaking through into this evil world, we can see the amazing love of God pouring upon us, how wonderful it is for a person who has completely lost his identity being restored by our loving God himself. He has given us the privilege of being his children, this depth of love this great news, this hope is for each and everyone living, I’m always fascinated by this verse from Psalms ‘what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you visit him? For you have made him a little lower than the angels, and you have crowned him with glory and honour.’ This is the glimpse of the love of God towards his creation even after we rebelled against him.
This peace of being re united with our creator surpasses all understanding and the depth of joy cannot be comprehended even in the midst of living in this world. Peace does not come before salvation and salvation does not come without truth, this peace of being saved from death can only come by the proclamation of the ultimate truth of the gospel.


(Melvin Greene) #9

I see evangelism, not as something that we have to go out and do, but as a way of life. What I mean by that is that we should be living our lives in a way that compels people to ask, “What is it that makes you different?” I’m reminded of the well-known quote attributed to St. Francis of Assisi: “Preach the gospel at all times. When necessary, use words.”

For me the inspiration for that comes from Jesus as a part of of His Sermon on the Mount. In Matt. 5:13-16 Jesus says, “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” ESV

It’s interesting that Jesus chose those words. Two very distinct, different and important elements. I want to focus on salt. What’s salt used for? Well, for starters, it’s used to flavor and preserve food and it can melt ice. But salt also produces something. Before I became a Christian, I used to frequent bars and pubs. The bartender always had small bowls of pretzels and peanuts available. The patrons could eat as much as they wanted without charge. Was the bartender just being nice? No. He was being a good businessman. He knew that we would eat the salty snacks and become thirsty, which led to more drinks being sold.

The same principle applies to evangelism, (minus the adult beverages, of course). Jesus wants us to live our lives in such a way that people will be thirsty for what we have. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.” Matt. 5:6 ESV

There’s much more to say, but space is limited. Evangelism to me, is to live my life in a way that brings honor and glory to Jesus Christ so that others would want to know Jesus, too.


(Sherene Ellen Rajaratnam) #10

Why Evangelism Matters To Me …

Being born in an Indian Christian family I was expected to read the bible and pray as a child. During my teenage years the rebel in me questioned, why I should believe in Jesus? Was being born in a Christian family a good enough reason to believe Jesus as the only true God? My logical mind argued that I would believe Allah was God if I was born in a Muslim family, the numerous God’s if born in a Hindu family. Why was I expected to believe Jesus was the only God? The fear of being vocal with my rebellion, made me challenge the true God in the quietness of my heart, to defend himself/herself in a way a teenager could accept.

The God of the Bible who sees our heart answered my question in no dramatic style, but with the simple question as to why my history book had the dates ‘BC’. With my regular study and meditation of the Bible it dawned on me that the God, who divided history, is the same God who divided the testaments. The Bible became real, logical and practical guide from just being a religious book.

It was at this time I came across people who did not want to embrace Christianity because of the so called expected ‘Christian lifestyle’ which they felt was restrictive. To them evangelism seemed to be promoting a particular lifestyle. They did not understand the change in lifestyle was because of the change of heart. This kept many away from Christianity. The legalistic and judgmental attitude of Christians also keeps people away from accepting Christ.

Today I consciously choose to make people who ever they are comfortable in my company. It is about showing the love and joy I have received from Christ, praying that they would also be able to experience it someday. Whatever their background people were comfortable in Jesus’s presence. Only those who wished to put Jesus down found themselves in an awkward position. It was because of their own questions and actions, rather than Jesus trying to expose them. We evangelize by making meaningful contact and connection rather than preaching a particular message.

For me evangelism is to practice what I believe, be open about my struggles, and be available to those who need help as they seek to know the truth. Our response to everyday challenges, sickness, and death of a loved one are excellent tools to share what Christ means to us. When Jesus becomes the reason for our joy and peace in spite of the circumstances around us and the challenges we face, we sure will find opportunities to evangelize. This attitude serves as a good motivator for us to live lives that can speak the gospel.

Mathew 5;14-16 says

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.15 neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

The analogy I would like to use is that as we embrace Jesus, the light of this world, our light is merged with the source of light. People who see us would actually see the light in us which is Jesus. The light in us cannot be hidden.

Evangelism is when we are pointers to Jesus.


(Jessica Helena Sutedjo) #11

“Why we are called for evangelism? Why not leave that job into pastor/priest? Certainly, everyone is called for different reason, and evangelism is definitely not my calling. “

Growing up in Asian Christian family, this thought stuck in my mind before I really accepted Christ as Savior. I meant, it’s absolutely stupid to tell people something about religion. Everyone seems to avoid this topic. If we could do good, we will be fine. After all, your behaviors in community, not what you believe, that matters. That’s what I believe at the first place. However, God doesn’t want to end that way. He wants something more.

Moving into university life, the question about meaning of life suddenly arising. Why we need to believe in Christianity, it’s almost suffocating. All those ‘moral’ obligation and responsibility made me wonder: it might be great if God doesn’t exist. After all, many good people are suffering. Why bother on believing something that might not exist (and giving you, many pressure). Is Christianity worth to believe, even it cost your own life? (hell yes, He even died for us)

However, God works in mysterious way. This thought led me to know Christ personally, and through the work of apologetics. Therefore, growing up in Christian family don’t automatically made you a true Christian. Hence, the evangelism isn’t limited to just for non-believers. It might people who close to you! Evangelism can’t be limited just on how we talk or preach

So, the right question to ask perhaps, what is your purpose behind our evangelism? Is it just for sharing Gospel as God has instructed us to do? Or is it something else?

The letter from Paul for Thessalonians, bring us a good reminder on why we do evangelism: (Taken from: 1 Thessalonians 2:6-13). It might not directly be said about evangelism but remind us the ultimate principles:

  • God love us, and even give His own Son to be sacrificed for our sin. We deserve grace that we supposed not to receive. As His children, we imitate our parent example, right?
  • We are called, both to preach and to be living example. That’s the heart of the evangelism. We are not really doing evangelism if we ignore one of them.
  • Our reason of evangelism isn’t to seek glory for ourselves. It’s our desire to made God’s glory known
  • The foundation of the evangelism is love. Like a father’s love to their children, we ought to love other people with gentleness and respect. Not for their own satisfaction (no good parents spoiled their children too much), but to lead them living their life, worthy of God
  • And remember, the role of cultivating the heart is the Holy Spirit, we simply do what God has called us to do

Let us grow together, to be shaped toward Christ! These are the reasons, why evangelism matters. We simply want to live, imitating Christ as He love us first and give us the living example

“God has one Son, and He was a missionary – David Livingstone”


(Kathrine Fernandez) #12

The Feet of Christ

Eighteen-year old me was once given tracts to share after a college fellowship. Never trained and never thought to be the one sharing a point-prepared Gospel, I shoved it on a random co-commuter that night, if only to say I did my part.

Fast-forward to a 20 year-old freshman medical student with newfound energy for a new start dedicating my career to God. Hospital blitz, we fondly call it, was an initiation of sorts I didn’t expect – sharing, in a language I’m not used to speaking in, to patients admitted in wards, with the 4 Spiritual Laws that Campus Crusade for Christ has so effectively used in raising generations of Christians in both salvation and evangelism. A failure on my first, and even my second try, things began changing as I realised I did enjoy praying, sharing, and conversing about the Good News especially in the setting of those sick and in need.

On September of 2017, a “veteran” user of the 4SL tool also carrying a license to practice medicine was asked to teach a Pediatric consultant decades older in age using the same method, something that college kid earlier would never have dreamed of. And that same person is also awaiting the day to someday be sent out to missions in far off mountains and beaches, while for the time being, getting ready to start training in Emergency Medicine.

Who knew? But God did, all along. Seeds of the Gospel planted by many and finally, slowly, still steadily, bringing forth fruit today.

Evangelism has always been about carrying the Gospel message to other people. The impact of this is not in any power of the one sharing, but in the Holy Spirit at the moment that person is to hear. We evangelise as obedience to Christ in the so-called Great Commission verses in Matthew.

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Why it was so important to be trained and to grow over years to reach a point where someone in their 20s could also train and help others grow in faith, is why evangelism matters. We are the feet that the body of Christ has to obey the command to “Go,” to be the messenger “angels” with good news as the Greek word for evangelist embodies, and to be representatives of Christ today as we grow to be more Christlike. In every aspect of evangelism someone – maybe more than one – receives much more than they bargained for in the overflowing grace of God.

Success in witnessing is simply taking the initiative to share Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit and leaving the results to God. (Bill Bright)

As redeemed sinners we have no power to transform other sinners, yet moments happen that in sowing seeds of the same stories (or new, given the blessing of introducing the name of Jesus to someone) the heart of one would choose to surrender more wholly to God.

Dirty soles on rugged terrains or stilettos on a ballroom floor of concrete jungle – neither are distinctions for those who choose to witness successfully as the feet of Christ. The grand machinery of God’s omnipotence will always be more than the word evangelism could ever contain, and why it matters to me.


(Lannette Hughes) #13

As a young girl, I would lay on my grandmother’s lap and watch as her skilled hands would caress the thread doing her needlepoint. This is where I learned the most valued lessons of life.

One day I asked, “Why do you work so hard on something that looks like a mess, grandmother.” One must understand that all I could see was the back of the cloth while my head rested on her lap. Her response was one that linger with me still today.

“What do you see my child?”

“A tangled mess of thread that maybe looks like a person” I giggled.

“What you see is what you think the picture will be. Just like everyone else. Actually, it’s the picture of your life.” She pulls me upright in her lap and shows the me the top. “That mess you been watching is me pulling all the threads together to create a beautiful work of art. This how God sees your life a beautiful work of art. But what you see is a horrible mess of thread that has no rhyme or reason. Every stich is laid out all I must do is put the right thread, in the right spot, at the right time. Sometimes the thread gets tangled and frayed and I will work out the tangle or must cut the thread. That does not mean the thread has lost anything just needs to be redone and just like with a new strand, I will continue. At some time, you will be that thread to God, you may fail at times, but his work is not done. He will work through it and use you again. Looking from the top, God’s view, the tangle, the fray, the weak strand will never be seen just the masterful work of art, without a flaw. Its not for us to know what the picture will be just to know we are and important piece to God’s needlepoint. “

Throughout my life this small talk has helped me understand no matter what a mess I feel my life is or how I see my life or myself God sees something amazing. As a nurse, I see people at the worse moments in life. I want more than anything to be able to give them hope and understanding their work is not completed. God still has a plan for them to be part of the grand master piece.


(Jean-Luc Petit) #16

“The Great Giveaway” is the title of a series of sermons from the Christmas season of 2017 by pastor Peter McIntosh of Bethel Pentecostal Church in Ottawa, Canada.

The idea of calling the Bible a book of cliches derived from an interview in the video “Patterns of Evidence: Exodus” directed by Tim Mahoney, and initially released in 2014.


(Richard Edwin Baird) #17

Why Evangelism is important to me

Well of course evangelism is important to me! ” In honesty however, I needed to re-join my initial reaction with “ really? How important is it? What evidence is there to show for it?

“Why Evangelism is important to me” soon became for me not so much a question where I can supply off-the-cuff answers, as much as it became a probe into my heart.

I know it is meant to be important to me; after all, it is incredibly important to God! It is God who is the cause and reason for evangelism, since it is God “who so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son (John 3:16)” and who issued the command to share the good news (Matt 28:19&20). In my life I engage in ministry because I want people to know God, and I seek to study because I want to enhance my capacity in ‘being prepared to make a defence to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you (1 Peter 3:15b).’ I am not a natural evangelist in terms of gifting, but that does not excuse me from sharing the gospel. The truth is that as a child of God I am already a witness, but the question is what type of witness am I?

Fortunately, purely by God’s grace, I am not a total write-off. I genuinely do want people to encounter God and receive His forgiveness. Why? Because I received it myself. At the heart of the issue, the reason evangelism is important to me is because I am grateful.

I do not have a radical conversion testimony, but my conversion was nonetheless radical. As a young child I was incredibly privileged to have my dad lead me to the Lord. Over the years I have become more and more aware of the darkness that lurks in my heart, like the proverbial monsters under the bed. I only need to sit with the mirror of Scripture and I am quickly reminded of my need for a Saviour.

And then I marvel afresh at how it is that Christ, while I was still an enemy of His, would bother to leave His glory, take on flesh and blood, for the sole purpose of experiencing the pain of Calvary, so that I can be forgiven and even call Him my brother! It has always astounded me that I was part of that ‘joy set before Him’ for which He endured the cross (Hebrews 12:2).

I often wondered why God didn’t get angels to evangelise. They would have done a phenomenal job. But angels do not understand the experience of redemption (1 Peter 1:12). In an image I came across recently (I cannot remember where though), my salvation experience is like being a worm snatched from a fire. God has rescued me! I am, in another favourite image which I heard used by a person sharing his testimony, a trophy of God’s grace.

And so I want to be able to persuade people, through the Holy Spirit, of their need for salvation. I do not want to be a stumbling block, but rather a stepping stone, in the journey of people coming to Christ. I want to be an instrument that God uses to reveal Himself.

Why? Because “ Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so .”

And I am so grateful He does.


(Edina Antalffy) #18

What pushed the great men of God to evangelize throughout centuries? Paul in one verse says: “The love of Christ constraineth us”, while in another: “Woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel.” I could always relate to the first one – or at least I liked to think so – while the second one kind of left me wondering about what did Paul mean when he talked about "woe” – is it something administered by God.
How many times do we think that God directly has something to do with the consequences of our decisions, like some kind of punishments? I’d like to take a closer look, if His ‘judgement’ is perhaps just an illustration of a road, which we ourselves created.
Personally, why evangelism matters to me? Most certainly, wanting to share the life changing experience of finding God’s love gave a far greater push, than anything else, yet, it was still not that easy to step out and openly talk about my faith. The above mentioned “woe is unto me …” – if it’s kind of a threatening concept – never made it any easier either. At the same time, there are many non-Christians who believe in making the world a better place, so I was wondering, what better thing can I offer as a Christian?
Giving a little twist to Ravi’s thoughts: – if LOVE is not objective, whose love can we offer to believe in and whose love do we think we should win others to? (because I assume, any world changer would agree, that a “better place” must have more love.) There is no other than just yours and mine. Whose love should we look to for an unshakable, solid standard? Yours or mine? If we happened to make up our mind on this, whose love would ensure peace, that we would not fight over the decision of who submits to whom? Yours or mine?
Let’s say, perhaps you ‘understood love’ perfectly and I didn’t. I would most likely fight you for my rights when I did not understand your intentions, and thought you wanted to hurt me! How long, do you think, could I be tolerant, if I thought you were not right?
Of course, if only I ‘understood love’ and the ‘truth’ of not fighting differences in others, if I was all tolerant and accepting of everyone, how could I handle that position? Could I escape self-righteousness – patiently waiting for others to “see the light” – or the discouragement, because of all the ‘misunderstandings’ towards me? How could I win you to my side? Wouldn’t you think I am forcing an unwanted opinion on you?
If only our own love is what exists and there is no objective Love, what can resolve this tension? People loose hope in each other, in themselves, to the point that they don’t even believe in love anymore. Relationships fail, and life becomes a pretense to cover all the mess. All that is left to see is misery and woe.
Therefore, “woe is unto me, if I preach not the Gospel”, the love of Christ, but only my own. But I thank God, who helps me never to forget where to fix my heart and fills it with His perfect love and joy forever!

_“Son, son, it must be one way or the other. Either the day must come when joy prevails and all the makers of misery are no longer able to infect it: or else for ever and ever the makers of misery can destroy in others the happiness they reject for themselves.” _
C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce


(scott symington) #19

Title: The Watchman Who Watched His Friend Die

We were playing tennis, as we did many days during summer vacation. My best friend since elementary school, Steve, and I kept playing even when the storm clouds blew in. Within just minutes, the darkness and quietness became alarming, and as we both started to head off the court to start our quick, wet, run home, hail began and quickly grew to sizes that pummeled us both to the ground. As I lifted my head to see where Steve was - everything faded to black and I was floating upwards - alone.

I thought, I know what this is! I am going to meet God now, but the anticipated joy of that meeting was overcome by the worst feeling of dread I ever experienced. I realized I wouldn’t be with my best friend again, because during the countless summer days, sleep-over nights, movies, games and endless moments of experiencing life together, there was never that “right” moment to share the most precious treasure in life (Matthew 13:45-46) with my friend.

When I awoke from the dream, the relief was the greatest I have ever experienced. However, unless I acted, the nightmare would expand beyond Steve to include many friends, loved ones, and others God put in my sphere of sowing, and would become reality.

Observing both effective evangelism, and more commonly and prominently, egregious evangelism, preparation for the former involved studying the applicable approaches to knowledge and the respective fields of view (i.e., science, theology, history, philosophy, etc.). I was struck by our situation of having these different fields of view act cooperatively, like the cameras of a night watchman, to provide a comprehensive view of the “house” of the Universe. I was also struck that my analogy of a watchman, who sees something terrible or wonderful, and has the responsibility to act if he cares for those he watches out for, wasn’t a new idea, God had it in print around 2600 years earlier. Ezekiel 3: 17-19:

I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for[a] their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will have saved yourself.

What God further expects from a watchman is given in chapter 33, how can a Christian, who “sees” the oncoming truck of reality bearing down on someone not standing on a safe path, not act? Or on the positive side, it’s like having the ability to go back in time and encourage anyone who will listen, to buy Apple stock before the meteoric payoff.

Bottom-line: as one with a relationship with God, you know something with the potential to have the greatest quantity and deepest quality of impact on our neighbors, who we are told to love as ourselves. Evangelism is not an option.

Many people around us are hooked, liked high-schoolers on iPhones, to the views that their emotions, and science, and culture provides in life, and turn off the theology camera. This creates a blind spot, and it will be from that un-illuminated area of the house where disastrous consequences gain entrance, and make my nightmare become the actual future of negligent watchman.


(Carson Weitnauer) #23

Hi friends, the contest is closed! Please read through the amazing entries provided by the RZIM Connect community and vote for your favorites.

The person with the most votes will win a 50% discount to an RZIM Academy course!


(Carson Weitnauer) #27

Hi everyone,

We’ve read through the entries - what an exciting contest!

I am thrilled to see how many invested time to prayerfully reflect upon the importance of evangelism. My sincere thanks to @Ashishraj, @Noel_Evangelista_Revilleza, @sperkins, @Phillip, @daniel1591994, @Melvin_Greene, @sherene, @jessicahs, @kath, @Lannette, @petitjl, @shepherdledlife, @pearl, and @ssymington for their terrific participation! Please join me in celebrating their hard work.

Now, onto the results…

CONGRATULATIONS to @sherene for being our first prize winner! The evaluation team was tied between her entry and @melvin_greene’s contribution. I myself felt they were both excellent reflections on the prompt.

Sherene, your post wins our competition for being heartfelt, personal, and insightful. You tell the story of your own ‘conversion’ from nearly walking away from God to being a witness for God. But you also express in a detailed, genuine way how you share the gospel. Some of my favorite quotes include:

  • “The God of the Bible who sees our heart answered my question…”
  • “Today I consciously choose to make people who ever they are comfortable in my company. It is about showing the love and joy I have received from Christ, praying that they would also be able to experience it someday.”
  • “For me evangelism is to practice what I believe, be open about my struggles, and be available to those who need help as they seek to know the truth. Our response to everyday challenges, sickness, and death of a loved one are excellent tools to share what Christ means to us.”
  • “Evangelism is when we are pointers to Jesus.”

Next, congratulations to @Ashishraj for winning the ‘fan favorite’ award!

There are a few things I love about this entry. First, Ashish begins with a powerful quote: “Evangelism for me is to know the heart of Jesus.” To illustrate this principle, he shares a personal story of how the Holy Spirit revealed that Ashish’s love for his father, and his desire for his dad to know Christ, pointed to the far greater love that our Heavenly Father has for each of us to experience salvation and relationship with God. This concise, heartfelt story beautifully expressed the theme of his entry.

Melvin, your post wins second place! Congratulations! I love how you put it in your conclusion, "Evangelism to me, is to live my life in a way that brings honor and glory to Jesus Christ so that others would want to know Jesus, too.” May your post inspire all of us to live “salty lives” that whet people’s appetite for Jesus!

@Jessicahs, you have won third place! What I appreciate about your entry is the honesty of sharing what many have felt: that evangelism is not my calling. Yet, you also show how the Scriptures have given you a passion to share the good news. I particularly liked these two sections:

  • "We are called, both to preach and to be living example. That’s the heart of the evangelism. We are not really doing evangelism if we ignore one of them”
  • “The foundation of the evangelism is love. Like a father’s love to their children, we ought to love other people with gentleness and respect. Not for their own satisfaction (no good parents spoiled their children too much), but to lead them living their life, worthy of God.”

The contest promoter award goes to @omnarchy. Congratulations! Omar, thank you for your hard work in telling many of your friends and community members about this awesome contest! You inspired fifty-four people to consider participating in this contest - amazing!

Sherene, Ashish, and Omar, we will be in touch soon with how you can claim your prize from the RZIM Academy. To everyone who participated but didn’t win, I would encourage you to enroll in an RZIM Academy class as well! It is an excellent way to grow as an evangelist!

Finally, I would like to thank @SeanO, @Jennifer_Judson, @omnarchy, and @LaTricia_January for their invaluable assistance in helping to promote the contest and select the winners. I take responsibility for the final selection, but I significantly relied on their judgment in the process.


May 2018 Writing Competition: Saving Truth!
(Omar Rushlive Lozada Arellano) #29

We appreciate everyone who had joined the contest. Pouring your heart out in writing a message really takes effort. I’m personally thankful for the contest, aside from people who would get a chance to win, I’m thankful because I see everyone’s entries would serve as a compilation about why evangelism matters. Your written work may help a fellow believer who is reading to take evangelism seriously. It’s my personal prayer that God’s people would take seriously the great commission.

I would like to personally congratulate and give compliments to the winners, except yours truly, for obvious reasons:

First Place: @sherene Sherene, I appreciate you in sharing about reasons why people did not want to embrace Christianity. For me, this would help us think of roadblocks that others may encounter regarding the faith, which will help us think better on how we would approach them, so that we would be able to represent Christ in a way that would be pleasing to Him.

Second Place: @Melvin_Greene Melvin, I personally loved your analogy about salt. It made me think analogically that as the people who eat more salt becomes more thirsty, so also our lives should be lived in such a way that it would provoke curiosity or questions about why we are a certain way. It’s not an easy endeavor, but the Holy Spirit is with us in our journey. It reminded me also of the verse in 1 Peter 3:15, “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,.”

Third Place: @jessicahs Jessica, I’m glad to read that the desire for evangelism should not be for our own glory, but to make God’s glory known. Indeed making the world see His glory would help people see that it’s not their idols that would save them, but only the one true God.

Fan Favorite Award: @Ashishraj Ashish, I’m personally moved by your analogy. If a finite sinner could personally desire the salvation of his parent out of love, how much more the infinite good God? God’s love is truly beyond comprehension. We all deserve His wrath because of our sin, and He would be righteous in saving no one. But He gave us Christ, so that anyone who believes will be saved.

Congratulations!

I would like to recognize and thank my co-panels in this contest as well: @CarsonWeitnauer, @SeanO, @Jennifer_Judson, and @LaTricia_January.

To God alone be the glory! :slight_smile:


(LaTricia January) #30

Congratulations to the winners and thank you to everyone who participated. These types of activities really do help us to dig in and exam what it is we believe and why. Not to mention, they help us to get real on whether or not we’re holding up to doctrine or not.

Thank you again!