>Slammingly convicting:

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“Instead of our being free to love and to plead, to warn and to rebuke, we are hung up with our own inner problems. We are inhibited. We are ourselves guilt-ridden. (“What will she think of me if I say that?”) We are not prepared to lay cards on tables or to call spades spades. . . . We beat around the bush, not because we’re tactful but because we’re cowards.”

— John White, Eros Defiled: The Christian and Sexual Sin

>The Crash and Our Rescue Mission

>
This from Fox News regarding the helicopter/plane collision in New York yesterday:

“A helicopter pilot refueling on the ground at the heliport for Liberty Tours, which operated the doomed sightseeing craft, saw the plane approaching the helicopter and tried to radio an alert to the pilots, police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said. The warning wasn’t heard or didn’t happen in time.

“He radioed the accident helicopter and told him, “One Lima Hotel, you have a fixed-wing behind you.” There was no response.”

As apprentices of Jesus we see people headed for ultimate disaster. Do we warn them in a timely manner? It is not our “job” to make them listen (only God can do that); it is, fundamentally, not our “job” to “lead” them to Christ…our task is to point them to Jesus through actions and words.

>Moving Forward, Looking Backward

>Fred Smith was quite a guy. You can subscribe to “Breakfast with Fred” at . Here is a great article he titled “Moving Forward, Looking Backward.”

Reminds me of a great tweet from Mark Batterson (also a favorite!) which said, “Living at the intersection of gratitude for what God has done, and anticipation for what God is going to do.”

Here is Fred’s article:

Aging is good in many ways. For example, I am able to see the hand of God more clearly in my circumstances. But, this doesn’t mean I have extra-sensory-perception, nor do I read tea leaves. In fact, just the opposite is true. For years, I wondered why I could not see God’s plan going forward as distinctly as I could looking back. (As you get older, you have a great body of experience to look back upon….) Then it hit me, I must go forward in faith, and then He allows me to look back in knowledge. Faith is validated backwards.

Remember what C.S. Lewis supposedly said when queried about his first response to heaven? “Oh, now I understand,” is his reported reply. The Apostle Paul confirms this when he talks about seeing through a glass darkly, but then face to face. We grew up in a most polluted part of North Nashville. The coal soot made everything black……we thought Paul must have lived in our neighborhood when we read of his dark glasses!

When I look back, I am struck by conversations, coincidences, and contacts that seemingly were insignificant at the time. A casual word of encouragement, a pointed question, or a connection with another were just ordinary happenings. In retrospect, they were often the most meaningful for me or someone else.

I believe God wants us to dedicate our lives, not just volunteer them. The dedicated person gives up control, saying “I’m available to you. You do with me what you want to do.” The volunteer, on the other hand, bargains. “I’d like to have a significant business platform. I will take the small testimony spots on the program until I get the “Headliner for Jesus” position.” Or, “I think I could serve you best as the pastor of a really large church. I will pay my dues, serve the small congregation until something more important opens up, and then really set the world on fire!” That is availability on our own terms.

When we leave it in God’s hands, we never know what will happen. As one who very much dislikes surprises, it was hard for me to let go. But I am enjoying the serendipity of the Spirit more these days.

Ed Hayden was a Dallas oil man. He discovered the power of God’s plan. He experienced the joy of seeing God work through him as he dedicated much time and energy to Bill Glass and the prison ministry.

At his funeral, a poorly dressed man slowly moved toward the casket. He spoke in broken English. I stood by as he leaned over Ed and kissed his forehead. I later learned this man came to know Jesus because Ed stopped to talk with him in his cell. This man, now released, has dedicated his life to the gospel.

I bet Ed didn’t go home that day telling his wife he had changed a man’s life. Maybe he didn’t even get to look backwards, but God had work for Ed to do that day. Ed went in faith.

The question came to me, “Who will kiss your forehead in gratitude because you pointed them to Christ and a spiritual experience?”

Think about: 1) Whose life impacted my spiritual walk? 2) How hard is it for me to live by faith? 3) What strikes me about God when I look back?

Words of Wisdom: “I must go forward by faith, and look backward in knowledge.”

>"Success" in Witnessing is NOT "Decisions for Jesus"

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For too many, “successful” evangelism/witnessing/rescuing occurs when someone makes the decision to follow Jesus…and another notch gets cut into our “get-’em-saved” six-shooter…

But the following reminds us that “salvation is of the Lord,” and that “no one comes to the Son except the Father draws him”:

“What is success in evangelism? Is it when the person you witness to comes to Christ?

“Certainly that’s what we want to happen. But if this is success, are we failures whenever we share the gospel and people refuse to believe?

“Was Jesus an “evangelistic failure” when people like the rich young ruler turned away from Him and His message? Obviously not. Then neither are we when we present Christ and His message and they turn away in unbelief.

“We need to learn that sharing the gospel is successful evangelism. We ought to have an obsession for souls, and tearfully plead with God to see more people converted, but conversions are fruit that God alone can give.

“In this regard we are like the postal service. Success is measured by the careful and accurate delivery of the message, not by the response of the recipient. Whenever we share the gospel (which includes the summons to repent and believe), we have
succeeded. In the truest sense, all biblical evangelism is successful evangelism, regardless of the results.”

Donald Whitney

>Not quite deathbed…but close

>I urge you to give a half hour to listen to this incredible young man…who knew he was dying…share his (and Jesus’) heart. I look forward to meeting Clayton!

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=3860002&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=&fullscreen=1

Clayton McDonald | Highlife | Nov. 5, 2008 from Atascadero Bible Church on Vimeo.

>Are You Irritating Anyone?

>
Vance Havner makes an observation that bothers some:

“Salt seasons, purifies, preserves. But somebody ought to remind us that salt also irritates. Real living Christianity rubs this world the wrong way.”

The more I live for Christ (by His power, Spirit, and learning to “live dead”) the less I should expect the mayor to give me the keys to the city.

>"If Necessary, Use Words" observation

>Good stuff from Justin Taylor: “Gospel” means “good news.” If so, then *the saying “Preach the gospel at all times; use words if necessary” makes about as much sense as telling a reporter he should broadcast the news but that words are optional.”

My response to people who say “I’m just gonna let my light shine, and people will know I’m a Christian.” No, they will think you’re a Mormon because the LDS have a better public relations program than “we” do.

>What is Success in Evangelism?

>Wise Words for Careful Thought

“What is success in evangelism? Is it when the person
you witness to comes to Christ? Certainly that’s what
we want to happen.

“But if this is success, are we failures whenever we share the gospel and people refuse to believe?

“Was Jesus an “evangelistic failure” when people like the rich young ruler turned away from Him and His message?

“Obviously not.

“Then neither are we when we present Christ and His message and they turn away in unbelief. We need to learn that sharing the gospel is successful evangelism.

“We ought to have an obsession for souls, and tearfully plead with God to see
more people converted, but conversions are fruit that God alone can give.

“In this regard we are like the postal service. Success is measured by the careful and accurate delivery of the message, not by the response of the recipient. Whenever we share the gospel (which includes the summons to repent and believe), we have
succeeded.

“In the truest sense, all biblical evangelism is successful evangelism, regardless of the results.”

Donald Whitney

>Wisdom from Veggie Tales Creator

>
Phil Vischer, who created Veggie Tales, makes this observation:

I am growing increasingly convinced that if every one of these kids burning with passion to write a hit Christian song or make that hit Christian movie or start that hit Christian ministry to change the world would instead focus their passion on walking with God on a daily basis, the world would change… Because the world learns about God not by watching Christian movies, but by watching Christians.