Category: LCC Vision: Evangelizing

Thank You Lord For The Local Church

We come to the end of yet another ministry year here at LCC and we as Staff and Elders couldn’t be more delighted at all that God has done in your lives and the life of our church family! The only fitting response it praise to the Father, Son, and Spirit for the fruit He produces in His children. We have seen marvelous growth through suffering, sorrow, joy and change. Thank you Lord for the local church called Leroy Chapel. We see you at work and we take no credit, simply ask for your glory to be on display more and more in the coming days!

This year in our Elder Blog we focused on the Vision Statement of Leroy Chapel – “To prayerfully advance Christ’s kingdom through: evangelizing, teaching, leadership development, and building the community of Gods people for the glory of God.” Our desire has been to help “work out” that vision with additional teaching each week that gets us all thinking about our role in the mission and vision of the church. We hope we served you well. If you have time, read back through some of the entries you may have missed. They are all tagged by the categories of  “LCC Vision”. But most of all, pray for God to do above and beyond what we could ask or imagine at your local church this summer and in the upcoming ministry year. We make plans, but God directs our steps, and we wouldn’t want it any other way!

  • Mark Spansel
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Evangelizing Where You Live, Work and Play

Several years ago, I had the opportunity to prepare a sermon on the Story of God as seen in the Book of Acts. The study truly impacted me. For this blog, I point to a verse from Chapter 17 which is striking as I consider its implications.

The setting is the City of Thessalonica. Paul and his entourage enter this pagan city to preach the Gospel. Although they were successful in persuading some Jews, many devout Greeks, and leading women of the community to Christ, the unbelieving Jews were very hostile to Paul and the Gospel. Not only did they drive Paul from town, they chased them to Berea to do the same. These unbelieving Jews argued from an interesting perspective; it should aid our understanding of personal evangelism. What did they say? They said, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also …” (Acts 17:6b). Now, that is an amazing statement. In a brief time, 20-25 years after Christ’s ascension, the apostles were seen by contemporaries as those who had transformed the world.

As believers, who have been entrusted with the Gospel, we know that since the fall of Adam and Eve, the world has been turned upside down. For those who do not believe, their story declares up as down and down as up; right is wrong and wrong is right. What these Gospel proclaimers were doing in Thessalonica was turning the World right side up.

Our century is not that different from the First Century. How do we respond to the false yet seemingly pervasive dialogue we hear among co-workers, neighbors and unbelieving family members of our day? Start by being a Gospel learner. Know the Gospel; rehearse it to yourself. As best as you are able, know it inside and out. Next, recognize that God uses people like you and me to rescue those who are dead in their sins. God uses the good news of the Gospel to change hearts and lives. Remember, the stakes are high and eternity hangs in the balance.

Gospel conversations are never easy. Be patient and kind to your hearers. Lovingly answer their questions. There may be confrontations and some discussions may even end with rejection. For those in whom the Spirit of God is working their salvation will come.

  • Selby Brannon

 

A Powerful Tool For Evangelism

Here comes a new year full of exciting opportunities, cool adventures, and surprising joys … and a new year full of disappointment, unmet expectations, and unexpected suffering. I wish I could pick which year it will be. The reality is that I imagine it will be a strange mix of both the good and the bad. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a optimist by nature, but have become a realist by experience. Here’s the truth of it all – the good is a gracious gift from your Heavenly Father and the bad is never beyond the grace of God to sustain and sanctify you. So embrace it all. Cherish it all!

Cherish means to “hold something dear.” What is dear about the tough stuff you’ll face this year? (1) God never wastes anything you face (2) God is near to you (3) There is a great opportunity for you to grow more through the pain than the pleasant (4) You just may have a stronger witness by how you walk through suffering than you’d ever have when life is easy.

Think about how little people pay attention to ease and how keenly they consider pain. Or how we describe easy days as “uneventful” while hard days we labor to describe in detail. You may not fancy yourself an evangelist or even like talking to people about Jesus, but your strongest witness this year may just be how you walk the difficult path of unexpected suffering. Will you do it with steadfastness? Will you do it with contentedness? Will you do it looking upward to your King? Will you cherish it? I’m not saying you have to like it, but will you “hold it dear” knowing that it just may be a gracious gift God is giving you for your growth AND for your witness to a lost world.

Pray for evangelistic doors to be open for you in 2017, and then hold dear whenever and however He opens them. You just may be an evangelist after all!

  • Mark Spansel

Evangelism: Cherishing Christ’s Work in Us

The emphasis for this blog comes from the Elder’s evangelistic vision “to see the Gospel lead every person on mission for the multiplication of disciples.” A facet of this great jewel is to consider cherishing Christ’s work in us as the impetus for reaching others with The Gospel Call.  Another way of saying this is: “I want to tell others about Jesus because of what He has done for me.”

Revently, my wife and I were in a Thai restaurant in Cleveland. As we were seated, our table steward welcomed us and took a drink order. I felt adventuresome so I asked him to help me select something different to eat. I cautioned him with my list of dietary can and can’ts. To help him realize I was serious, I jokingly said, “I have to weigh myself in the morning.” He responded, “No problem, I will help you.”

He started by asking about Chinese food that I liked and with which I felt somewhat safe. To help my selection process, he brought out three different sauces and patiently waited for my selection. My wife’s order was simple. My selection required extra service from a man who genuinely wanted to please me. I made a decision; the kitchen wheels began to roll.

As we waited, he strolled among his tables; then, returned to engaged us in conversation. As we talked he shared from his heart. He was a Pilipino who became a naturalized citizen in 2003. His knowledge of the US election process is greater than most people I know.  We even learned about his greater citizenship, one with eternal ramifications.

You see as a youth our waiter became a Christian in the Philippines because of the testimony of an American Missionary. The young boy fell in love with the missionary and the Good News the missionary professed– the boy wanted to follow the missionary. In time, the Pilipino came to the US; and, in the present, worships God in an American Church in Akron. Fast-forward to our encounter, the Pilipino stands at our table prepared to share the gospel. His courage astounded me – a real, tangible object lesson. He knew the grace that had been given him and delights in sharing the gospel truth with complete strangers, if they will listen. When we identified ourselves with Christ, he did not miss a beat, the tone of the conversation immediately moved from salvation to heart talk – matching character to testimony. Our Pilipino brother is a disciple-maker, too.

To be candid, I had been in this restaurant before and he previously served me. Until this our dialogue rallied around the calories and saltiness of Thai food, not the gospel. On this occasion, things were different. The Holy Spirit moved in and we had gospel conversation in community. Under the wrong circumstances his job could have been at risk. Yet, due to the work of the Holy Spirit and the common yoke of Christ, all fears were put aside and brethren meet, in uncommon circumstances. Again, why? Because the grace given is so significant that it launches us to share our portion of His Story with others, even total strangers. There is something to be learned here, don’t you agree?

Oh, by the way, my weight was down this morning from the previous day.

  • Selby Brannon

We Are Not Peddlers

I always enjoy the Core Classes.  I think I get to teach the most fun portion, the mission class.  Certainly evangelism is part of what we talk about, but it’s not an evangelism class…or is it?  If I’m really being objective there is nothing all that profound about what we have to share.  We believe that the important thing about us as a church is what we think about the gospel, theology and mission.  As boring as that sounds, I challenge you to take a closer look and see if our focus on these three don’t wreck your simple church-attending world a bit.

Humor me as I go a little further down this road.  Take this blog assignment for example.  I was asked to talk a bit about evangelism.  I don’t get to highlight the latest and greatest evangelism track or gimmick.  Nope, I sit here and think about what to write about evangelism and cannot see anything good to say about evangelism without thinking about real people and the circumstances of their lives.  I think about the true content of the gospel of grace.  I think about a Biblical theological framework.  Like I said, my simple life is wrecked.  I don’t get to do track bombing mission trips in the city and feel good on my drive to the suburbs.  I no longer get to think about evangelism as a quick, duty filled program box to check. No!  My life is now doomed to seeing evangelism and a life on mission within a fuller context of theology and Biblical history.

So I’m being silly to make a point.  What I love about this is that evangelism now has a greater context than a program.  Evangelism is something I get to do in the context of real life.  And I don’t set aside what I think about God and His message of reconciliation to do it.   On the contrary, the greatest resource of a heart for evangelism is an ever deepening understanding of my neediness, a deep abiding love for the gospel, and a growing appreciation for Biblical theology.  I believe that at LCC we are heading towards what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 2:17, “For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.” 

  • Jeff Pierce