Tag Archives: sharing faith

TAKE IT OUTSIDE

Take It Outside

Read Acts 18:5–11

Frustration plagued Pastor Chuck. He preached evangelistic messages every Sunday, gave altar calls during the service, yet seldom saw new people come to the Lord. In fact, the baptismal tank had not been used in six months. People were not being saved in the church. The “good news” was not reaching the lost. Fortunately, the solution is simple.

Then Paul left the synagogue and went next door to the house of Titius Justus, a worshiper of God. Crispus, the synagogue ruler, and his entire household believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard him believed and were baptized (Acts 18:7, 8).

Paul shared the message of salvation at the Jewish house of worship, but he often had better results outside the synagogue walls. Because of Paul’s outreach efforts, many people in Corinth found Christ and were baptized into the faith.

We can expect similar results. Since most of the harvest grows outside the church building, it’s best to look there first. Who knows—maybe the next candidate for baptism lives next door.

Prayer Suggestion: Ask God to help you witness to your neighbors.

—Charles Earl Harrel

“Pray that God would work actively in your local schools.”

God’s Word for Today © 2010 Gospel Publishing House. Used by permission.

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Both Good and Bad

many people invited

Both Good and Bad

Read Matthew 22:1–22

“Then [the king] said to his servants . . . ‘Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests (Matthew 22:8, 9, 10).

Inviting our friends and neighbors to church is a great idea. They might appreciate the Sunday sermon and enjoy the potluck after the service. Pastors welcome these efforts, but the command from Jesus goes deeper than just giving out invitations or persuading people to try our church. We need to invite them to eternal life.

We must reach out to nonbelievers, extending the invitation to nonfriends, even to the outcasts of this world. We should gather the unrighteous as well as the righteous. Both the good and the bad are invited to God’s kingdom. Both need His free gift of salvation.

It’s all too easy to let a busy schedule distract us from the all-inclusive call of the harvest. Don’t allow that to happen.

Thought for Today: God wants heaven filled, but He needs our help getting the invitations out.

Quicklook: Matthew 22:8–14

—Charles Earl Harrel

God’s Word for Today © 2007 Gospel Publishing House. Used by permission.

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It Works

It WorksConies        

It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe (1 Corinthians 1:21, Kings James Version).

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 1:20–25
Song: “Rescue the Perishing”

The minister sensed my interest in becoming a minister myself. So he asked me to share a short, 15-minute message for the vesper hour. Vespers were held an hour before the regular evening service and were normally attended by only a handful of people. Since I had never preached before, my mentor showed much wisdom in scheduling this inexperienced teenager for the early service.

For my text I chose Proverbs 30:26, a verse about conies being “a feeble folk.” Having no idea what conies were, I substituted squirrels. It was a monumental mistake. Half way into my message, a man raised his hand and blurted out that conies were rabbit-looking woodchucks that lived in high rocky crags, not pine trees.

I could feel my preaching career coming to an abrupt end. Flustered, I stumbled through the rest of my message and ended with a lengthy prayer—giving people ample time to leave the sanctuary. Instead, they lined up to thank me. And I discovered an interesting thing about the foolishness of preaching that day—it works.

Lord, help me to prepare well when I have to speak. But do make up the difference between my foolishness and Your wisdom. In Jesus’ name, amen.

“It Works” by Charles Earl Harrel. First published in Devotions® © 2010 Standard Publishing. Reprinted with permission from the publisher.

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Forerunners Still Needed

Forerunners Still Needed

He will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord (Luke 1:17).

Scripture: Luke 1:14–17
Song: “I’ll Go Where You Want Me to Go”

PressJohann Gutenberg designed a printing press with replaceable wooden or metal letters. His press furthered the gospel message by printing Gutenberg Bibles, the first books published in volume. In 1803, Lewis and Clark led an expedition across a newly acquired land, Lewis-Clarkmost of it unexplored; their efforts paved the way for a great westward expansion in America. The Wright Brothers and their Wright Flyer became the first heavier-than-air machine to achieve controlled flight with a pilot aboard; their design opened wide the doors to modern aviation.

All these people, and countless others like them, were forerunners. They blazed new trails or repaired old ones, setting the stage for those who followed them. And thus was John the Baptist. His messages turned the hearts of many people back to God and prepared them for the arrival of Jesus the very Son of God.

God still uses forerunners today. They preach a common message: Get ready, Jesus is coming back.         

God and Father of My Lord Jesus Christ, I may not have the notoriety as others, but I can still reach out to my neighbors and befriend them. Help me do it with all graciousness for Your glory. In Jesus’ name, amen.

“Forerunners Still Needed” by Charles Earl Harrel. First published in Devotions® © 2007 Standard Publishing. Reprinted with permission from the publisher.

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Just Tell It

Golden fish hookJUST TELL IT

Come and listen, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me (Psalm 66:16).

Scripture: Psalm 66:16–20
Song: “I Love to Tell the Story”

The gold-plated fish hook on the man’s shirt collar grabbed my attention. It reminded me of my dad; he often pinned his favorite fishing fly or lure on his hat. After I’d snuck several glances, the man walked over and introduced himself. Our conversation soon turned to fishing.

I discovered this gold hook was John’s favorite one; he had caught more fish with it than any other. He told me that he once hooked a 200-pounder with it.

John always kept his favorite hook handy in case he saw a fish. In fact, he said, he had one on the line now (and he started to tug on his collar as if a fish were nibbling). That’s when I realized John had been fishing for me. With his hook set, John told me the story of his own experience of being caught—by the greatest fisherman of all.

Our witness matters. People may dismiss our doctrine, or disagree with our beliefs, but they cannot deny what God has done in our lives. If we’ll just tell them how God has graciously reached into our hearts, we can let Him take care of the rest.

Father, I know we all have different stories. Some have experienced Your healing, others a wonderful answer to prayer. But all of us have known Your unconditional favor through Christ’s work of atonement. Help me to tell of Your great goodness in my life. In Jesus’ name. amen.

“Just Tell It” by Charles Earl Harrel. First published in Devotions® © 2007 Standard Publishing. Reprinted with permission from the publisher.

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One of Them?

reaching out-2                                       One of Them?

By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another (John 13:35, New International Version).

Scripture: John 13:31-35
Song: “Lord, Lay Some Soul upon My Heart”

It was after midnight when I slipped out the side door of my apartment. I could hear someone crying. As assistant manager of the Lassam Terrace, it was my duty to check out disturbances on the premises. I soon discovered the reason for all the noise: a man stumbling across the street. He stopped for a moment and leaned against the mailboxes, using them for support. He looked sick and lost, another patron from the tavern up the road.

The man never asked for a handout. He only wanted to get home and needed directions to the nearest tram station. But that was miles away, and he’d never reach it on foot—not with the temperatures near freezing.

As I drove Mike home, we talked. He was shocked that I wanted to help him. Most people just gave him a few bucks and told him to move along. So he asked me, “Are you one of them—you know—them Christians?” I nodded. “I knew it,” he said. “You people are different.”

That made me think. People who attend my church know I am a follower of Jesus. But I wish my neighbors knew it too. When we love others, we demonstrate to the world that we are—you know—one of them.

Lord, today let me show, with acts of love, who owns my heart. Please guide me in this endeavor. In Christ’s name I pray. Amen.

“One of Them?” by Charles Earl Harrel. First published in Devotions® © 2006 Standard Publishing. Reprinted with permission from the publisher.

Purchase current issue of Devotions or 365 Devotions