Half-way evangelism

I recently played host to some family member tourists from Canada. As part of the usual trail of places we took them too, it included some historic churches, cathedrals and abbeys. Often people treat these religious sites as merely sites of historic and architectural interest, no different from a National Trust Property or museum. So, I always value it when the community that represents the building has hourly prayers and asks people to pause to remember it is a Christian place of worship, or when they put up panels explaining the essence of who Jesus is and what Christianity is about.

If you had to write such a panel or explain this to a friend what would you say? Perhaps you might try writing something down yourself, looking up a couple Bible verses to include, it would be a helpful exercise to prepare you for evangelism.

Sadly, some of these panels or leaflets, while beginning with good intentions, end up being a form of half-way evangelism. Consider the following example I came across. There is lots a Christian could say “amen” to, but also much that remains to be said and a few questionable statements. Have a scan to see what you think:


Your thoughts?

Allow me to share mine…

1st Paragraph: Amen and amen!

2nd Paragraph: This begins well but in the list of extraordinary things the main reason he came (to defeat sin and death) is not mentioned? The last sentence is also somewhat fuzzy, not necessarily wrong just a bit fuzzy. Perhaps something better would have been to say, “He lived the perfect life we cannot live to show us what it means to live uprightly before God and others” or something to that effect.

3rd Paragraph:

  • 1st sentence: yes
  • 2nd sentence: add…”and for who He claimed to be”
  • 3rd sentence: somewhat vague and universalist (meaning because He died we are all okay without personal faith in Him). How about, “But through His life and death He knew he would atone for the sins of all who would believe in Him, reconciling them to God.” (1 Jn 2:2, 2 Cor 5:18)
  • 4th and 5th sentences: hurray, back on track. Amen!
  • Last sentence: fine

4th Paragraph:

  • 1st sentence: “…are Christians” should read “claim to be Christians” for many who identify as Christian are only nominally so (Mt 7:21). Perhaps they were trying to point to the giant wake Jesus left behind Him as a tool to encourage others to think about following Him?
  • 2nd sentence: Wait a minute! How about, “Through Jesus death and life changing and life giving gift of the Holy Spirit believers are given life to the full, starting now and for eternity.” (John 10:10)
  • 3rd sentence: great

We certainly do not want to be automatically confrontational when we encounter such leaflets (remembering 1 Pet 3:15b), however, we do need to be zealous for truth (Jude 3) and as we are we will be sharpened in our knowledge of Jesus and His Gospel, help others to be so, and together more able to effectively spot error and proclaim with purity the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Lord’s Sweetest Blessings,

Pastor Chris

A Letter from a Friend

Some of you may remember that we prayed for a brother in Christ in Canada recently who was very ill. The Lord saw him through that illness and he wanted to express his thanks to us for our prayer support and offer some lessons and encouragements from his experience:
Hello to my brothers and sisters in Christ!
My name is Shawn Robinson.  I’m a good friend of your pastor and he was telling me just the other day that many of you were praying for me over the last little while.  I wanted to write to you and thank you as well as share with you a little of what God has taught me over this time.
Back in January, right at the end of the month, we had the privilege of invited a large group of Muslims to our church on a Sunday evening for a dinner and we were able to share the gospel with them clearly in Arabic.  It was a great privilege for us as we had more people out to that evening than we would typically have to a Sunday morning service!  Unfortunately, I had just started developing some pain in my left eye and two days later was diagnosed with Shingles in the eye and up the scalp.  It was hard to minister to those visiting and heading the gospel due to the pain and discomfort, but as Paul wrote, “Power is perfected in weakness.”  The morning after being diagnosed with Shingles, I passed out just after breakfast, stopped breathing and had a seizure, all in front of my wife and two young sons.
By the weekend, I was diagnosed with encephalitis which can cause death or serious brain damage.  It is amazing to me how the Lord cares for us through all of this.  I can see the hand of our great God in protecting me through the seizure—without which the encephalitis may not have been caught.
Prior to all this, ministry had been going wonderful with incredible opportunities for the gospel.  I was being very disciplined in my time and focus.  My health was good and I was feeling great!  But within days of “feeling great” I was in isolation in a hospital bed.  One of the beautiful things the Lord taught me through this is that my health and my life are entirely out of my control.  I do not choose how my days will progress or even if I will live to see tomorrow, this is in the hands of God.  There is great peace in knowing that a loving, good God is in control of our health and strength.  His goodness and greatness means we can trust Him with our lives!
As I lay in the hospital, one of the struggles I faced was the thought of possibly passing away and leaving my wife and two sons without a husband and father.  This was a painful thought for me as I imagined my children and their grief and my wife struggling forward.  As I brought this before the Lord, He taught me that not only can I trust Him with my own life, but I can trust Him with my family.  If He chose to take me from them or to leave me with serious brain damage and unable to love and care for my family as I wish to, I can trust the Lord with them.  He knows what is needed and He knows my family.  God is good and can be trusted in all areas of life!
Thank you all for your prayers.  It means more than I can express.  I know we have not met, but I also know we are planning on spending a lot of time together in eternity so if the Lord does not cause our paths to cross now, we can maybe catch up then!
God bless you all and thank you again for your love and concern for me, my family and my church.
Shawn Robinson
Truth Community Church
Thamesford, ON

A Letter from a 10 Year Old

A young friend of mine recently had to write a “persuasive letter” at his Christian school. This is a boy with whom when he was six I went on an hour long walk to discuss Satan! I share this to encourage us as to how the Lord is at work in some youth, and to challenge us to examine whether our Christian maturity is in step with our years of experience. Do we have this boy’s heart, knowledge and persuasiveness?

Dear Isaac,

Shouldn’t you think about becoming a Christian? It would be a good idea.

First of all, if you don’t you’ll go to Hell. Hell is eternal punishment. Wouldn’t you rather go to Heaven, a perfect and wonderful place?

Secondly, God sent Jesus to save those who believe in him. John 3:17 says, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” Why else would Jesus come?

Lastly, in Heaven you will get a new and perfect body. Your earthly body will not last. 1 Peter 1:24–25 says, “For all flesh is as grass and its glory as the flower of the grass. The grass withers and the flower falls, but the word of God remains forever.” All humans will pass but God lives forever.

Don’t you want to be a Christian? Doesn’t it sound great? I am one and I want you to be one too.


William 🙂


The Lord’s Sweetest Blessings,

Pastor Chris

Gratefulness for the Gospel

Paul opens his letter to the Colossians with a thanksgiving prayer for two things: the Gospel and the believers in Colossae. Often even true Christians can lose their passion or gratefulness for the Gospel, and yet this ought to be the mainstay that undergirds our Christian sense of joy, mission and piety. Can we honestly say with Paul that we continually praise the Lord for His Gospel of grace and His saving work in our life? We should. Paul reminds us of the dire circumstances from which we were saved from and the gratefulness this should produce. In vv. 13-14 he writes, “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the Kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Sweet redemption! Do you remember your first love? The knowledge of what Christ did for us and how much we continually need Him should bring us to our knees with thanksgiving, great joy and humility, “giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints of light” (Col 1:12 ESV). One helpful exercise to cultivate such thankfulness and praise for the Gospel is to remember how we were brought to faith in Christ. We often call this our testimony.[1]

So get out a pen and paper, or sit down at your computer, and begin to write out your testimony (we’ll limit this to our conversion experience for in the broadest sense this can apply to ALL that the Lord has done in our life). This will serve to bring God’s incredible grace to mind not only to increase our thanks but also to help refine your knowledge of His work in your life so you can more readily share the Gospel with others.

I share my own condensed testimony with you here, not to boast, but as an example, recognizing our stories will all be as unique as we are but also with a strong commonality as we are all saved by the same Lord:

“I was born and raised in a nominal Christian family. Though my parents were nominal, or cultural Christians, that did not stop me from being influenced in a positive way towards the Gospel. Many folks consider it a privilege to be led to Christ through some type of “Damascus road experience” after having blatantly pursued an outward life of sin, and can pinpoint their conversion to a precise day, hour and second. Certainly such conversions are powerful witnesses and testimonies to God’s grace and work in the world, however, this was not my experience. For me the transition appeared as much more progressive.

In the parable about of the vineyard workers (Matt 20) these ‘Damascus road conversions’ could be considered those hired at 5 o’clock. Responding to God’s providential care at a young age I was a worker called at the 9th hour. Though the attitude of the early workers is portrayed negatively, in practicality it is a blessing to be called early and it is a privilege to know Christ from a young age and have longer to get to know Him. I count it as God’s wonderful grace that I was positioned in a place where I could respond to the Gospel early in life and have the opportunity to share in His work and experience His blessings. In fact, I can never remember not knowing the Lord’s presence in my life and count that all grace (Ps 22:10b). Through the Lord’s love He surrounded me with believers, a Biblical church and solid mentors whom the Holy Spirit used to lead me into a lifesaving relationship with Jesus. In 1995 I publically professed my faith in Christ for the forgiveness of my sins and was baptized. During my childhood I was kept from certain outward forms of sin which other youth succumbed to. While not perfect, the Lord kept me close to Him and built me up in the most holy faith and gave me a desire to delight in and follow Him, something which I have done ever since. As I have matured in my faith I have grown in my awareness of my own sin and the sin of this world and the need for a Saviour. This, and the knowledge of grace, continues to produce the fruit of humility as I declare, ‘I am a great sinner, but Christ is a great Saviour,’ who working through me, can do immeasurably more than I could ever hope or accomplish, for His glory. Amen.”

May our testimonies increase our grateful praise and humility!

The Lord’s Sweetest Blessings,

Pastor Chris

[1] Upon reflection, if you discover there is no proof that you have ever responded to Christ, hence why v.12 makes little sense to you, would you respond to the Gospel today?