“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”
I don’t know if there’s anything I love more than sharing the gospel with non-believers. Something burns within me for them to know Jesus. I’ve heard it said by a lot of people, “well you know some people are just going to reject Jesus.” I understand that, but we should give them the option. I find that most people who say that, don’t want to share their faith. Unknowingly they have let shame or fear creep into their hearts and it stops them from reaching out. I think to myself, life is so short, we can’t just sit back and wait for Jesus to come. He wants a return on his investment!!
So what is his investment? It’s us. He paid for us to be free, saved, healed and delivered. He has invested his very life into us. He wants more from his investment. Remember the parable of the minas? Two used their one mina and gained more. The master was very pleased with those servants. “Then came the first, saying, ‘Master, your mina has earned ten minas.’ And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.’” Luke 19:16-17
Out of love for their master, they produced fruit. (See John 15:5) one servant did not gain any more minas. ““Then another came, saying, ‘Master, here is your mina, which I have kept put away in a handkerchief. For I feared you, because you are an austere man. You collect what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’ And he said to him, ‘Out of your own mouth I will judge you, you wicked servant. You knew that I was an austere man, collecting what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow. Why then did you not put my money in the bank, that at my coming I might have collected it with interest?’”
I know this is not the most comfortable thing to think about, but God has not called us to be comfortable. I don’t know how many times I have felt uncomfortable asking random strangers if I could pray for them. But I’ll tell you what, I am far more uncomfortable with the idea of being called a “wicked servant”. You know why he was called wicked? He was lazy! How can we have eternal life, and the Spirit of God living inside of us and keep him back? He is yearning to touch people. He wants so dearly to reach out and change people’s lives. There’s better things to do then shake our heads. WE HAVE THE ANSWER. His name is Jesus. There’s a Relient K song called “Down in flames” which I think perfectly illustrates this point.
We see the problem and the risk
But nothing’s solved, we just say
Tsk, tsk, tsk and shame, shame, shame
Finally fell asleep on the plane
To wake to see we’re going down in flames
I’m not satisfied being a diagnostic program. I don’t understand how we can say things like “it’s so dark out there” when WE are the LIGHT! “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16
You don’t just have light, you ARE light! “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:” Ephesians 5:8
Your testimony is so powerful. My pastor, Bruce Latshaw, was talking about the topic of Evangelists and Evangelism today. He said “not everyone is an Evangelist, but everyone can share their faith. It’s as simple as saying, ‘I used to be like this, look what God did in my life.'”
The bail bonds woman
Around September of 2016 we brought a newly saved, ex-drug addict into our house. He had a real encounter with God and was beginning to be transformed. He got a job and was beginning his new life. He was so full of joy. Overwhelmed that there were people who really loved him. All of his family was gone. Father, Mother, Grandmother. Seriously, everyone either died or lost contact with him. We became his new family. We treated him as one of our own and he called my parents “mom and dad”. Well just a few weeks into his new life, he was arrested for drug possession. He did not have any drugs at the time, but his old life was chasing him. (Much like the Egyptians chased Israel.) I received a call from a correction facility, and was surprised to hear him on the other end. God was moving to release him. His boss, (who was Jewish) even put in money to release him! He gave me instructions on where to go and he told me there was a bail bonds place just up the street from where I work.
So, on my break one day, I run up to the bail bonds. I was wearing my “yay God!” T shirt. I walked in and talked to an elderly man sitting down at his desk. I noticed the cane right away. I told him the situation with my ex-drug addict friend and he tried his best to help me. There was also a woman at the other desk. They both informed me of the papers that I needed to release him. I did not have them. Well, I know I didn’t have much time and I wasn’t about to let this opportunity go to waste.
I asked the man “hey why do you use a cane? Do you have trouble walking?” He said “yes, it’s my legs.” So I said “can I pray for you? Jesus will heal you.” He said “yes please do.” And as I’m walking over to where he’s sitting, the woman says “oh can you pray for me too!” I said “yeah of course!” So I prayed for the man’s legs and ask him to check. He says “naw I don’t need to. I know I’m healed. I can feel it!” I said “haha ok, amen!” I walk over to the woman and ask her what’s wrong. She says “I was paralyzed from my waste down, I can walk now but it’s not the same.” I put my hands on her legs and commanded them to work. I asked her to check and she got up and wobbled around the room. I prayed again, same thing. I wanted to pray again, but she asked me, “how are you able to do this?” I began to share my testimony with her. I told her how I used to be luke-warm and addicted to pornography. I told her about my encounter with God and how he spoke to me to start healing the sick. The phrase that grabbed her was “when I gave my life to Jesus.” She looked at me and said “what do you mean, gave your life to Jesus?”
I shared the gospel with her, and explained what it means to deny yourself and pick up your cross. The Holy Spirit locked her in to what I was saying. She was riveted. She was crying at this point, and said to me, “I have been living for myself for so long.” I said to her “Jesus loves you so much, and he wants to give you a new life.” I heard the Holy Spirit say to me “NOW. Now is the time.” I don’t pray with a lot of people for salvation, I feel like we’re just getting them to confess words without a true genuine repentance. But this woman was ready. I said to her, “do you want to surrender everything to Jesus?” She said “yes I do.” So I put my hand on her shoulder and prayed with her, she surrendered her heart, and I asked the Holy Spirit to fill her. She was weeping. She felt the presence of God fill her, and she gave me the biggest hug. I looked in her eyes, and the lights were on! She had received new life. She said “thank you so much, you’re amazing!” I told her, “you’re amazing! And Jesus is amazing.”
I looked at the time, and I had to get back to work. I was a little late. I said “bless you!” And ran back to work.
I unfortunately haven’t had the opportunity to check back up on her, but if Holy Spirit says now, it’s now. He’s a big boy, he can take care of her.
Demonstration of power
Your testimony is so valuable, and the words of the gospel are the power of salvation, but there is one more ingredient needed to sharing the gospel. “And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:1-5
One of the things that actually lead me to full surrender with Jesus was hearing stories of healing. I remember in the movie “The end of Churchianity” a guy named Luc said, “you can reason yourself out of an intellectual debate, but you can’t reason yourself out of your knee getting healed.” I remember thinking “THAT’S IT!” And also “WHY DIDN’T ANYONE TELL ME ABOUT THIS!?” When I was growing up, the Bible was always “back then God did things” and “some day God will do things” but it was never “he’s ready to move right now.” Once the supernatural intervention of God’s power was revealed to me, the Bible came to life. I could ACTUALLY believe the stories in it. We tell kids when they grow up to believe the Bible stories, and then we tell them that God doesn’t heal, or speak, or deliver, tongues ceased, and the gifts are gone.
So we have a whole generation raised in America to believe that God is dead. Without realizing it, that’s what we’ve been teaching. What’s worse is, we teach them that they are sinners (and I mean after they received Jesus) and they believe sin is normal in a Christian’s life. So we have sin conscious people who believe God is silent and powerless. Wether we realize it or not, that’s what we’re doing.
I determined that I would live in the fullness of God’s love and power, even if people hated me for it. I can’t stand the excuses we make up. I’m not mad at people, I just don’t understand why we limit God. Now I don’t think I’m doing it perfectly, show me someone who is. What I do believe is that I surrendered my life to Jesus, and I don’t have the right to call the shots. He said “these signs will follow those who believe.” Well darn it, I believe, and I want them to follow me. As Bill Johnson says “Healing is not the whole gospel, neither is the gospel whole without it.”
Every successful seed of the gospel that I have been able to work with the Holy Spirit to plant has come after a demonstration of power. July 4th of 2017, a group of us “power evangelists” from the Barn Vineyard church set up a booth in Newark to pray for whoever would come forward. A young man came up who read our sign and said (in a funny kind of way) “I’m sick, hurting, struggling and I need help, what do I do?” I said “we’re going to pray for you.” He said “oh… uhh well..” he started to back off, so I said “we don’t want anything from you, we’re here to help. What are you sick with?” He said “I have a heart condition.” I said “here dude, I’ll pray for you. Can I put my hand on your chest?” He said “go ahead.” So I did and commanded his heart to be healed in the name of Jesus. He said “your hand is really warm.” And I said “No, that’s the power of God, my hand isn’t that warm.” I held out my hand and he touched it. He had a look of shock on his face because it wasn’t as warm as he felt on his chest. He said “what did you do to your hand?” I said “nothing, Jesus lives in me and he loves you man. He just healed you.” He had no idea what to do. He ran off. Five minutes or so later he returned and asked me “if God is real, then why are there poor people?” I let the Holy Spirit give me the words, and it was exactly what he needed to hear. I shared the gospel with him and he walked off again.
He later came back and asked what church we were from, and if he could take a bible with him. Dana Crist got his information and got him connected with us.
Do you see how easy this is? Most of the time it’s just a simple prayer for healing, prophetic word or word of encouragement, and then I’ll walk away. You know what that says to people? Love with no strings attached.
We were made in the image of God, and God is love. Let’s be who we were made to be, and love with no strings attached.