Ricochet Evangelism

lone_Ranger_and_Tonto

When we are sharing the Gospel or defending the reason for our hope, we may not be sharing it with the person we are sharing it with. I mean, of course, we are – but that’s not all.

It may be bouncing off them and hitting someone else. Lee Strobel calls this Ricochet Evangelism.

“I have learned that sometimes my real audience is not the person I’m talking to, but the people who are listening in, eavesdropping on the conversation. You may not even know that anyone else was listening. Years later, you discover that the Holy Spirit had a different audience in mind for your efforts.” (Gregory Koukl, Tactics 2009, pg. 164-165)

It makes me think of those old Westerns like The Lone Ranger. He and Tonto are hiding behind a rock during a shootout. Bullets are ricocheting all over the place. Often times it is a bystander that is hit.

I say this because sometimes it can be discouraging when there seems to be no harvest or that the soil is forever rocky. Be encouraged that there may be ears listening of which you are not even aware.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” – Gal. 6:9

Don’t lose heart. Continue sharing the Good News of Christ. You never know for whom that particular message is really intended.

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Why Was I Created?

why was i created

Why was I created? Why were you?

It’s because God wanted to lavish you with His love. He didn’t need us, He wanted us. God gives, we receive (John 3:16). He literally pours His love into our hearts through His Spirit (Rom. 5:5).

The reason Britt & I wanted children is because we wanted to love them and cherish them. We wanted to share our lives with them. We wanted them so we could bless them.

God created you for the exact same purpose and nothing can separate you from His love (Rom. 8:35-39). Our response to that immeasurable gift is to be grateful and to glorify God (Psa. 145).

God gives, have you received?

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I should read the Old Testament more, but I don’t.

Jesus in the OT

I should read the Old Testament more, but I don’t. I get lost in all the names & places. Then I just give up. I hear this all the time. Maybe this will help.

How are you approaching the OT?

Like a desert; lots of sand & rocks but little life? Stretches of dryness with the occasional oasis? Well yeah, that would be pretty boring.

Like a gymnasium; people & examples of how you should be? Exercises you need to train yourself in? Well yeah, that would be pretty daunting.

So, you can see how these are dead-end approaches.

Try this instead.

On the road to Emmaus (Luke 24: 13-35), Jesus showed us His approach to the OT:

“And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning Himself” (verse 27).

And again Jesus said, “You pore over the Scriptures because you presume that by them you possess eternal life. These are the very words that testify about Me.” – John 5:39

“Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the One Moses wrote about in the Law, the One the prophets foretold–Jesus of Nazareth” – John 1:45

The question to ask when reading the OT is: How does this concern, testify about, or reveal Jesus? What can I learn about Jesus in this text? Where is Jesus in this account?

Let me give you an easy example: Noah and the Ark. Using the gymnasium approach only scratches the surface. God asked Noah to do something incredible for which he was ridiculed, but he was obedient and therefore triumphant. Likewise, we should be equally obedient and thereby will be triumphant. Right? Well, that approach totally misses Jesus. The Ark is a type & shadow pointing to perfect fulfillment in Jesus. You can unpack this one easily for yourself, but you get the idea. To not seek Jesus in this account is to miss the whole point!

This way the OT comes alive in a way you never knew it could! The OT conceals what the NT reveals in Christ. You cannot fully appreciate the fulfillment that Jesus offers, if you don’t know how, where, & why it was promised in the first place. The two testaments are sides of the same coin and that coin is the revelation of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

So open the OT because it opens Jesus!

 

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Jesus Preached Peace

Eph 2 17

This is a wonderful little verse about Jesus that doesn’t get much attention, but it’s just perfect:

“And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near.” – Eph. 2:17

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Grow Up!

Eph 4 14-15

that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ” – Eph. 4: 14-15

Two things here:

  1. Grow up.
  2. Speak the truth in love.

Point 1: Children are naïve because they don’t know any better. They can be fooled so easily. Pulling a rabbit from a hat is total wonder to them. That is cute for a child, but for a Christian to be this naïve is disaster. Paul prays that we are not fooled so easily. Now this is not an age thing; all youngsters are not necessarily immature and all oldsters are not necessarily mature. Anyone just warming a pew for 30 years can be every bit a baby Christian as a completely new convert.

Believers of both groups, grow up! Living things grow! If you have a plant that is not growing, what is it? Dead! And that growth is maturity into Our Lord Jesus Christ who is , of course, the head.

Point 2: We are to speak. That is, we are not to be silent. Its so easy to just back off, “be nice,” and not say the thing that needs to be said for fear of offending someone. This is not a problem Jesus had (check Matthew 23 for a royal riot act).

That is where love comes in. When we speak; it is with truth in love. Only words containing both have real impact. Just all truth is mean. Just all love is meaningless. Truth in love is just what the Doctor ordered.

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Gal. 2:16

Gal 2 16

If I tell my children something once, that should be enough… but, of course, it’s usually not. If I tell my children something three times right in a row: its probably pretty important.

In one verse, Paul repeats himself THREE times:

“knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no human being shall be justified.” – Gal. 2:16

  1. We are not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ.
  2. We are justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law.
  3. By the works of the law no human being shall be justified.

If you are leaning on works, rituals, or traditions instead of faith in Jesus, you will not be justified (right with God).

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Ask More, Tell Less

James 1 19

Ask more, tell less. This was some profound advice I was given by a great friend, Pastor Cyril.

“So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath,” – James 1:19 (also see: Prov. 10:19, 17:27, 29:20 and others)

Let us open our ears & our hearts more than our mouths! How can we learn anything about anyone if we are always talking? The biggest part of my job is just listening, remaining quiet, and letting the other person just speak. Simple, but so difficult, isn’t it? What better way is there to show that you care?

Here’s your homework for the weekend: Zip it.

Ask more, tell less.

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