Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. ~2 Timothy 2:15

About Me

I am a young man who is following God's call into pastoral ministry. I have been so blessed with the privileges which the Lord has granted me. I am blessed to serve the Mt. Joy congregation in Mt. Pleasant, PA. I am constantly humbled and amazed at what the Lord is doing in my life.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Why Evangelize?

A friend of mine showed me this video from youtube and it cracked me up. If you need a good laugh today, make sure to watch it. I especially love the commentator with the glasses.

While this video provided me with a good laugh, I believe that it made a strong point about the fact that many Christians in the American church are very lax about sharing the gospel of Christ. As a former pastor of mine put it: so many of us Christians are so excited that we have our place at the table that we just sit there content and do not bother to go out and invite others also. This got me thinking about what should motivate us to go out and evangelize more (in addition to the "Evangelism Linebacker" who may be lurking around to "blow you up!").

Here are six things I have thought of that should motivate us to share our faith:


Jesus' final words to His disciples were: "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:19-20). One thing that should motivate us to go out and share the good news is the fact that Christ commanded us to do so. Jesus also states "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments" (John 14:15). If we are serious about our love for the Lord and our desire to live His commandments, we will want to uphold and live out this important commandment to honor Christ and bring God glory.


The joy of having a relationship with Jesus Christ is so great that we should have no problem sharing that joy with others. It should make such a difference in our lives that we would not be able to not share. After all, why would we not want to share about how Christ, while we were still yet sinners and enemies of God due to these sins, took our sins upon Himself, the innocent being viewed as guilty, and suffered God's wrath on the cross, the separation from God which we were due to experience for all eternity? All so that we would be considered righteous instead of the guilty sinners which we are. Not only that but after having defeated sin, rising three days later to defeat death and give us assurance that all those who place their trust in Him will be raised to eternal life with God. This is wonderful news that should be easier to share than who won American Idol last night or the latest gossip in the neighborhood. Peter and John are wonderful examples of those who could not keep their joy to themselves. Upon being commanded by the Sanhedrin to no longer teach or preach in the name of Jesus, they respond, "we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard" (Acts 4:20). They could not keep quiet about Jesus! Being placed in jail a few times did not damper their zeal to share their joy. The same joy that propelled them to talk so much about Jesus should also lead us to evangelize more.


Take a moment and think about your family members and closest friends who do not know the Lord. Do you realize that without repentance and giving their life to Christ that they will go to Hell as punishment for their sins? You will not have the pleasure of seeing them in eternity if they do not accept Christ. Our love for our unsaved family and friends should propel us to pray for God to open up their hearts to receive the gospel and give us opportunities to tell them about Christ. Paul had a great love for his fellow Jews and longed for their salvation. "Brethren, my heart's desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation" (Romans 10:1). In fact, it was this desire and concern for the Jews that led him to increase his ministry to the Gentiles, knowing that God had opened salvation to them in order to spur the Jews to jealousy. "But I am speaking to you who are Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle of Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, if somehow I might move to jealousy my fellow countrymen and save some of them" (Romans 11:13-14). You never know. God may have chosen to use you to deliver the gospel message to someone in your family for Him to bring to faith.


A big motivation for evangelism should be the simple fact that evangelism is a privilege. We do not deserve to share in any part of God's work. God does not need us to tell others about Him but He chooses to use us. In many ways, God would probably get things accomplished faster if He did not choose to use us. One of the biggest blessings we have as a believer is the ability to serve God in different ways. Out of gratitude to be granted to be the ones whose feet "bring good news of good things" (Romans 10:15), we should go out and gladly do the privilege of our job to evangelize.


One part of the "Great Commission" we usually forget about is Jesus' last statement: "and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:20). We are not evangelizing on our own but Christ goes with us. If you are nervous about sharing your faith in Christ, don't fear but trust God and seek Him for the words in which you are to say. This is what the apostles did. At the start of the persecution of the early church, they gathered together and prayed that God would "grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence" (Acts 4:29). The Lord answered their prayer as vs. 31 points out and the rest of the narrative in Acts demonstrates. God granted them the boldness to go all over "Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the remotest part of the earth" (Acts 1:8). God gave them the confidence that they needed to proclaim the word unto death (Stephen) and through more imprisonments (Peter).


It is important to understand that we are only responsible for delivering the message of the gospel and not for its reception or rejection. Scripture is clear that God is the One who works in a sinner's heart to "draw" them to Christ (John 6:44). He is the One who shines the "Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ" in people's hearts (2 Corinthians 4:6) and makes those dead in their trespasses alive in Christ (Ephesians 2:4-5). Paul preached the message in Philippi but the Lord was the one who opened Lydia's heart "to respond to the things spoken by Paul" (Acts 16:14). We are to be those messengers to bring the good news (Romans 10:13-15) to all of those we come in contact with, realizing that the Holy Spirit is the One who uses the message to "pierce" people's hearts (Acts 2:37), draw them to Christ (John 6:44), and bring them to repentance (Romans 2:4; 2 Timothy 2:25).
How is this an important motivation? Recognizing this truth lets us know that we do not have to be perfect in our presentation of the message or that we have to persuade one to come to Christ. God can use the simplest presentations of the gospel to impact one's heart and change their life. We don't need to worry about persuading one because God is the One who opens their hearts to hear the message and changes their hearts, bringing about their conversion. Realizing the fact that it is not based on our ability, we can focus more on getting the truth of the message right, knowing that the gospel is "the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes" (Romans 1:16). God uses the gospel which we are to preach to penetrate the hard hearts of unbelievers. While we will not be held accountable for the results of our evangelizing, I do believe that God will hold us accountable for those opportunities He gave us to share His good news that we did not take. We just need to be faithful to God by following His leading for the opportunities He provides and to faithfully communicate the message.

I pray that you will examine your own life to see how well you are doing in sharing your faith in Christ with others. If you realize that you have been lax in this area, take some time to see which of these motivations might be missing in your life. May God motivate all of us to go out and have the privilege to live out His "Great Commission."

In Christ,
Soli Deo Gloria!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Question for the Weary Worrier: Why?

No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth. For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.
But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!
Do not worry then, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear for clothing?' For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

~Matthew 6:24-34

Disclaimer: The author of this brief commentary can be, and has been, described as a "weary worrier" or a "worrywart." This is a self-description which has been confirmed by others in his circle of friends and family.

One sin that most Christians (including myself) commit everyday is worrying. Jesus clearly commands us not to worry: do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on . Taken in context, Jesus is dealing with where one places their trust. The issue is one of security. He gives this command right after stating that You cannot serve God and wealth . We are much like the Pharisees and attempt to find our security in wealth and not God. How many times do we feel that we need a raise or a higher paying job in order to make it through life? We falsely believe that money is the answer to our problems. This has become even more apparent in our society with the current economic trouble we are in. However, a look at Hollywood should quickly dispel these views as obviously money seems to cause more problems for many than solving them.

Jesus' point is that we do not need to place our security in money. Look at His examples. The "birds of the air" do not work to store their food in barns. Instead God cares for them and provides food for them. I love Jesus' point in vs. 27 And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? Worry does not profit at all. If anything, it may take away days of your life instead of changing anything. Also, the "lilies of the field" do not "toil" or "spin" and yet God has clothed them with more splendor than Solomon himself. Surely birds and flowers do not worry about having enough money to eat or clothe themselves. In fact, this should encourage us not to worry because if God takes care of birds and flowers, why would He not take care of those whom He has chosen to be His children. After all, God is not going to give one of His children a brick when He asks for bread (Matthew 7:9-11) and He knows what we need (vs. 32) and will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19). Luke's record of Jesus' sermon includes a statement that warms my heart: Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom (12:32). If God has gladly decided to give us salvation through His Son when we were His enemies and dead in our sins, then why would He not take care of providing for our everyday necessities of food and clothing? We sadly can be described just as the disciples as being "of little faith" and just like the pagan Gentiles who are concerned about such things.

Instead of worrying, Jesus commands us to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness (vs. 33). As always, Jesus redirects us from an earthly focus to a heavenly one. He did this earlier when He urged His followers to store up for yourselves treasures in heaven in contrast to treasures on earth (vs. 19-20). Our job is to seek God and trust that He will take care of the rest. The all these things refers to "eating" and "clothing" as well as other material things. Therefore, instead of worrying about tomorrow (this is not saying to not be prepared for the future but only to not be anxious about it) rest in the only place which one can be secure: God. He will care for tomorrow as well as the troubles of today. Praise God that we have a loving God who cares for us and will provide for us!

Snickers asks "why wait?" but Jesus asks "why worry?"

In Christ,
Soli Deo Gloria

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Difference in Living for the Glory of God

Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
~I Corinthians 10:31

The past couple of days I have been thinking and spending some time mediating on this verse. I wonder how much any of us really take it seriously. I am firmly convicted that the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. In the context of this verse, Paul has just dealt with the issue of the Gentile meat which was offered to idols and those Gentile converts who could not get past this idea when they were offered meat in the market. While everything clearly is from God (I Corinthians 10:25-26), Paul does speak of being careful not to lead one into stumbling who may not be able to get past the fact that this meat would have been offered to pagan gods, which are not gods at all, of course (vs. 28-29). Instead Paul points out that the real issue is one of one's attitude and not what they eat. The attitude that one should have should be to do everything for the glory of God. It does not matter so much what you eat or where you got it from, just whether you are eating for God's glory. If you are concerned about living for God's glory, you will make sure not to offend anyone and would be seeking to profit others and not yourself (vs. 32-33).

The question is, what is our attitude? Jesus pointed out that it is not what we eat that defiles us but what we say since the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile a man (Matthew 15:18). I took some time to think about my attitude this week to see if I lived out this verse of having an attitude of glorifying God in everything which I did. Unfortunately I found myself lacking in many areas. Think back the past week and recall how much of your lunch or dinner conversations were glorifying to God. Would He be pleased at what you looked at on the computer or what you watched on the TV? What about the words in which you said while sitting in rush hour traffic or at that stoplight that would not seem to ever change? So many times we let pride creep in and we fall into the trap of glorifying ourselves and not God. We could even be doing something we say is for God but instead be desiring to draw attention to ourselves. We need to live out Galatians 2:20 and crucify ourselves with Christ and live for Him and not ourselves.

Think about the difference living for God's glory in everything you do would make in your life. How different would things be if you imagined Jesus physically sitting at the dinner table with your friends or family? Would you still be able to tell that crude joke or gossip about a neighbor? What about if Jesus was sitting next to you in the midst of traffic? Could you still yell the harsh words out the window? Would you be able to watch the terrible TV show with Jesus right beside you? Well Jesus is not physically with us, but His Holy Spirit does indwell us and we are told not to grieve the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30). If our focus was on doing things for God's glory, we would be more mindful of others and seeking to benefit them as vs. 33 points out. We would be living a life more pleasing to God because we are seeking to please Him and not ourselves. I want to encourage you to live out this statement. Before you do anything or even while you are doing something, ask yourself the question about whether or not it brings glory to God. If it does not, that should be an indication that you should not be doing it. Let us make Christ the center of everything and go out and live for His glory!!!

Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. ~Colossians 3:17

In Christ,
Soli Deo Gloria!