Thursday, September 27, 2018


A few thoughts about Jesus, America, politics, and temptation

God was active and working in this world before there was a United States.

I am a citizen of the kingdom of heaven.  It was here way before America.  And will be here way after.

America is not God's country.  Never has been a Christian nation.  Never will.

Presidents are not the pastor-in-chief.

Politics are not conducive to Christianity.  Side note:  Church politics will kill a church.

Their is no political party that follows Jesus.  No party aligns all of their programs with the gospel.

God is in charge.

You do not have to vote Republican to be a member of God's kingdom.

You do not have to vote Democratic to follow Jesus.

Being a good American may have nothing to do with being a faithful Christian.

And being a faithful Christian may have nothing to do with being a good American.

Politics will destroy your spirituality if you are not careful.

Christians cannot be hateful. 

God weeps when our politics divide his people.

Do not worry.

Spend your time and energy convincing people to follow Jesus. 

Do not give in to the temptation of Satan to put your politics above your faith.  Stop being afraid. 

What does Satan think about what you say and do politically?

What does God think?

Glorify God.  In everything you say and do.

I want my friends, neighbors, and my family to know what I think about Jesus.

Our kingdom is NOT of this world.  Do not betray your allegiance. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2018


How do you get church visitors and what do you do with them

So I spent last week telling Jesus stories every night in a school auditorium in Chelsea, Michigan.  Ten churches just west of Ann Arbor worked together in a Hope for Life campaign.  They were pleased with the crowds but especially excited about the number of visitors.And I have been thinking about what I could learn from their interactions with visitors.  Who were they?  Where did they come from, and what are they doing with them.

I do acknowledge it may have been easier to invite people to an event held at a school auditorium.  The event was intentionally not very "churchy."  You had a visiting speaker advertised as a professional story teller about Jesus.And I know it may have been easier for Chelsea Christians to invite people because the event was in their town.  But still.  I have been thinking about this group of believers in Michigan. 

The Chelsea church of Christ is a congregation of about 25 members who brought six or so visitors to the event.  As best I understand, here is who they were.

A spouse.

A co-worker.

A neighbor.

A friend.

A walk-in.

A friend.

Lots of places to find people to invite to church or to special events that can point people to Jesus.

Some came to hear about Jesus.  Some came because of the respect they had for the person inviting them.  Some were curious.  Some were seeking.  They ranged in age from late teens to late 70's.

They were given free Bibles so they could read for themselves the stories I talked about each night.  Lots of people met them and got to know them.  They were invited to visit with them at upcoming worship services.  They were asked if they had questions.  They were invited to have more conversations about Jesus. 

Here is what I think I learned -- or at least was reminded that I know. 

There are a lot of people I know.  Some of them are looking for answers about life or Jesus.
There are special things going on in my life and in my fellowship that I can talk about.
Some of them will visit with me if I ask.
Give them a Bible.  Ask if they have questions.  Answer them. 
Get to know them.  Listen.  Have coffee.  Grab a meal.  I buy. 
Say something about Jesus.  Ask to share more stories.

So what will happen to all the visitors from Chelsea?

I don't know.  But hearts were opened to Jesus.  Seed was planted.  Christians there are committed to  water that seed. 

And God will give the increase.  He said He would.

So thanks to my Michigan friends for reminding me to invite people to visit.

It really does work.

Thursday, September 13, 2018


How I Get Involved in Telling the Jesus Story

After one of my recent blog posts, several asked how I find people to talk to about Jesus.  So I have been thinking about it and here are a few thoughts.

I ask everybody.  That's what my wife Marsha says.  And that is not much of an exaggeration.  I ask church visitors, I ask neighbors, I ask friends. 

"If you ever have any questions, I would love to ...

"I'd love to buy you a cup of coffee and tell you why Jesus...

"Can I pray for you?  I'd love to share how we/friends of mine got thru a similar situation...

"We act this way/did this/said that because we are Jesus followers.  I'd love to tell you why...

I suspect it is sometimes to pushy.  Sometimes comes out awkward.  Probably scares some people off.

I certainly get there are people much smoother and better at this than I am.

But I have resolved not to wait until the time is perfect.  I cannot tell you how many times I have shared Jesus with people that have known Christians as neighbors and friends but never had any of them say anything to them.

Even visitors at church who never understood what the next steps were.

Now in fairness, I am beg believer in hearing their stories also.  I often find out what they think about Jesus, or church, or life. 

And at first we almost always share some version of our testimony:  what Jesus has done, why we do what we do, why I do the job I do.

And I don't ask to study the Bible.  I talk in terms of sharing, telling stories, that kind of language.  Even if a lot of my stories are right from the Bible.

Church visitors.  People we serve.  People we help.  People we get to know. 

We listen.  We ask.  Sometimes they are ready.  Sometimes they come back to us later and are ready.  Sometimes someone else asks and they are ready then.  And some never want to hear.

But at least I gave it a shot.

I'll write more later about where and how I find these people.  And I'll talk more about the idea of being the "designated closer".  Or as my friend Bobby Lawson puts it.  Be a Peter and tell about Jesus.  If you can't be Peter, be Cornelius and bring people to hear about Jesus from the evangelists you know.

But for now.  I would suggest you just start asking. 

So pray for those you can share Jesus with.  Seek the opportunity to ask. 

You will be overwhelmed at what God will do.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018


And just like that I am 67. Now what...

Today is my birthday.  67.  Seems hard to imagine.  I feel like -- and act like -- I am 47.  But I look in the mirror and look 87.  So 67 is just about right for me. 

Our government tells me I can retire.  Most of my friends my age have retired.  Lots of people asking me what now...

So here are a few thoughts on turning 67

Who cares?  I am not much of a "retirement" kind of guy.  Not even sure what I would do.  I imagine I would do just like I do now.  Well, except without pay.

As long as my mind, strength, and energy hold up I will just going around the country (and sometimes the world) talking about Jesus.  And helping others learn how to share their faith.

I'll keep talking to people in our personal corner of the world that are not believers.

Marsha and I will keep helping people struggling in their marriage.  Or with their addictions. 

but I will say this from the perspective of 67 years.

Jesus is the most important.  More important than work or church.  Only thing that really matters.  If I keep him, everything else will be OK. 

Family is next.  I love Marsha more every day and every year.  And not just because of the chocolate pie she will make today.  So proud of my kids.  Grandkids are growing up.  Accomplishing lots academically and athletically.  Most happy they love Jesus.  My Mom is still hanging out with us at 87.  Still active and still sharp. Maybe I'll be like her and go strong till I am 87.

I know what I will do for as long as God gives me life.

And that is the key.  Where I will work, go to church, live... well, those are not the most important things any more.

So the older I get, the less clear some things are.  And the less that matters. 

God will take care of me and mine..  Always has.  Always will.  I have been blessed way beyond anything I could have ever hoped for or even imagined.  So I am pretty much OK if today is the last day in this life.  Pretty much OK if I have 20 more years.

So today I will do what I do every day.  Follow Jesus and invite others to do the same. 

Thanks God.  I am in awe of what you have done.  Still excited to see what you will do.  So I'll just keep on keeping on as long as you want.     

Thursday, September 06, 2018


Why am I such an evangelism freak?

So why do I get so cranked up about evangelism?  I do get asked that occasionally.  Sometimes by people that think I am too focused on reaching lost people.  Or at least too intense about it.  Sort of a one trick pony.  As if that is all I care about.

So every once in a while it is good for me to remember why I am the way that I am.

I live in a broken world full of broken people.  There are a lot of evil people in our world.  Mean, hateful people.  People who will do anything for money.  People who will destroy anyone to get what they want.  Addictions and broken relationships everywhere.  Fear abounds.  Very little joy, peace, or hope.  And I know why.  Sin.  Sin breaks our relationship with God and nothing will ever work right until that relationship is restored.  And by the way, I am not speaking generically.  I have friends and people I love that are broken.

I know the answer.  It is Jesus.  He is the only way to restore our relationship with God.  He is the way, the truth, and the life.  The answer is not found in any political system or country.  The answer is not to try and be so nice that everyone around me will be nice also.  The answer is not food and housing.  Or better jobs.  Those only address symptoms of the real problem.  Sin is only fixed by Jesus.

So God sent Jesus to die for the sins of this world.  Because He loves us.  I know that.  I believe that.  I have given my life to Jesus.  I am forgiven and restored.  I am a follower of Jesus.

And he told me to go make more followers.  I get to partner with God in reconciling the people in my world back to God.  By bringing them to Jesus.

Most Christians will not.  Jesus himself said the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 

Most churches will not.  The vast majority of their time and money is focused on themselves.

If your church is not sold out to reach the lost, you can be.  And others will join you.  You may change the whole culture of your church.

If you cannot figure out how to be a natural evangelist, support those who are.  Pray for them and the lost people.  Pray for lost individuals.  Support the evangelists among you.  And I mean financially.  Fund the coffee and meals they buy when engaging non-believers.  Invite the lost to a meal or to special events.  Connect them to the evangelists.  To use an old sales saying:  feed prospects to your closer.  Most evangelists I know are happy to talk about Jesus.  You can be the connection point.

So do something.  Please.  Our world needs Jesus. 

You know people that will spend eternity separated from God.  You cannot make them follow Jesus.  You can be sure they have the opportunity.

I am going to make other followers for as long as God gives me life.

Please join me. 

You will change lives forever.

Wednesday, September 05, 2018


Church Growth May Not Be the Same as Kingdom Growth

I spend much of my time in conversation with church leaders and members about church growth.  Lots of churches out there that are shrinking and dying.  They are very aware that if something does not change, they are going to be gone in a few years.  Other congregations are treading water and they know it.  Not really growing. 

So they ask my opinion about how to grow.  And almost every one of them does not like my answer.  Too simplistic.  Maybe it is.  But they are asking me so they should probably expect a simplistic answer.  After all, I am no church growth expert.

And my answer is hard.  It requires a real attitude shift in most churches.

But here it is. 

Make disciples.  Add new births (spiritually).  Sell out for evangelism.  Change lives.  Serve in the name of Jesus.  Share your faith.  Grow.

But what I often hear leads me to believe many of these churches do not really want Kingdom growth.  They want church growth.  Or at least "stay even" numbers.

Because they say things like this:  Of course we need to be evangelistic, but what about

... our young people.  How do we keep them from leaving.
...our young families are not involved.
...should we look at changing our worship style
...should we use women in our public assemblies

Sometimes it is like seeing cracks in the foundation of the house and listening to a discussion about if someone ought to try a different color of paint on the outside.

Be a gospel church.  Be a good news church.  Your message ought always to be that sin leads to a broken relationship with God.  Jesus is the answer.  Follow him.  Preach it.  Communion it.  Sing it.  Pray it.  Live it.

Changed lives because your church loves God with all you have.

Radical service in your community and taking care of each other because you love your neighbor as yourself.

New births because you tell the story of Jesus.  Everywhere.  And all the time.  Every member.

That will grow the Kingdom and your church.  If that does not engage your young people and young families then so be it.  But I am convinced most of our younger adults are hungry for a church that makes a difference.  That asks them to partner with God in growing our Kingdom.  Asking them to serve, not be served. 

A church focused on those outside, not focused on those inside.

Real churches for real people serving a real God.

So if your family is shrinking ... make more babies.

It is what Jesus told us to do.  All over the world.

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