DELIBERATELY PURSUING GOD
IT IS TIME TO DEMONSTRATE
What is an effective ministry? Is it a nice clean church facility with people who are dressed nice and go out of their way to be friendly? Is it a minister that is a very good speaker, charismatic, confident, precise, and intellectual? Is it a worship band that is so talented that if you close your eyes you think you are listening to Christian radio? Well, all of these things could certainly be a part of a successful church but it can also slip into a routine of being technically perfect and artificially “plastic.” Now there are companies that target and congregations with books on, “how to grow a mega church” with seeker programs and videos about how to bring in more resources. I’m sure we all have room to improve but we also must not forget that Jesus is in charge of construction and more concerned with quality than quantity. Man wants to polish the outside so that he can look good but God builds His Kingdom from the inside out. Why are many of today’s leaders not interested in seeking God? It is very simple – because they do want to obey His voice. Selah. Sadly many of today’s modern churches have become no more than elegant and impressive “funeral homes” because they have ignored the vital ingredient that brings it to life – God Himself. When a church transforms from compassionate to corporate we might as well lock the doors and gather under a shade tree because God wants sincerity and a genuine sensitivity found only in those who desire to serve and “know” Him personally.
If you claim to be a witness and a living testimony for Christ it means you are a representative that defends His words and His cause. In the Christian faith, the walk must prove the talk or thoughts and opinions of hypocrisy will be concluded toward the one stating his case. In this light the character and actions of the one who declares a persuasion has the responsibility to live according to their convictions or face the consequence of being a detriment to the cause. Many would object the comparing of evangelism to “selling” a product or services but in all things we must examine the basic fundamentals and skills needed to be as effective as possible. Of course the Holy Spirit brings the power and dynamics to the connection but it is up to the individual to present themselves as a focused and sensitive instrument that is in the practical and spiritual position to be divinely used. Whether we like it or not when we willingly step into the arena to stand for the cause of Christ we are immediately scrutinized and challenged just like if we were going door to door with a vacuum cleaner or a set of encyclopedias – and we need to know our product.
We realize that all Christians serve as ministers of the gospel and are being carefully observed, but especially if we instruct others how to live. It becomes very noticeable (to those straining their eyes and ears) if we are not living the Christian life exactly how we are teaching and encouraging others. (We do not want to appear as a nutritionist that eats Twinkies all day.) If we are pleading with people to pray with more intensity and worship more intimately and are not following our own words of wisdom then we have become nothing more than a worn-out advertisement. A religious “salesperson” goes through the motions of explaining the message – but the spiritual salesperson not only endorses the product but actually incorporates it into their personal life. Which are you?
Allow me to reveal some proven selling points and rules that are meant to promote success in the business world. They may be referring to the natural, material environment but actually have solid principals to be considered with prayer and wisdom for the spiritual realm. Evangelism would have to be the heart of the great commission as Jesus instructed His followers in Mathew 28:19, to “go and make disciples of all nations”. This has never been an option as part of our spiritual responsibility but rather a direct command to all who proclaim to be born again. In second Timothy 4:1-2, we see Paul teaching that evangelism would be one of the great challenges to the church but necessary to communicate God’s truth clearly in order to build hope and faith in God’s word. Second Corinthians 5:18-20, “And all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and has given to us the ministry of reconciliation. That is to say, God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Him, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and has committed unto us the word of reconciliation.” The great commission not only calls us to go into the entire world and preach the gospel but also to walk in sensitivity as The Lord leads us in divine appointments to touch the lives of the lost and hurting as we follow His Spirit every moment.
Every spiritual “salesperson”, for better or worse, has a distinct selling or ministry style. The most successful sales people (witnesses) are the ones who are aware of their gifts and the anointing of their calling. They know exactly what they’re doing because they listen to God’s voice and obey Him. They prepare their presentation and use the strong points of their personality as a tool for the Lord to use. “Study to show yourselves approved unto God, a workman that does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing (accurately handling and skillfully teaching) the word of truth.” (II Timothy 2:15)
A strong, seasoned witness learns that trials are a part of the Christian life. Like an effective salesperson they have determination and are not a quitter. They can take any shot, any negative comment, any form of rejection and somehow use it to their advantage. The true follower of Christ does not shrink with intimidation, run in fear or surrender in defeat when they are scorned and have learned how to encourage themselves with God’s word. They know who they are and who God is and as they recognize the spiritual realities they immediately take the conflict to prayer. They realize that being a witness is a daily lifestyle and as the world observes their reaction to persecution (it may take a while for the scoffers to be convinced) their hearts are vulnerable to the convicting power of the Holy Spirit.
Witnesses understand they are a sacrifice for the cause and have learned that as knowledge is the most valuable asset in the business world for success – it is also crucial in the spiritual world. The business world believes that if you know your subject inside and out that you have an advantage on everyone else in the room. Likewise if we know God and His word along with the help of the Spirit’s anointing we will be equipped to discern and respond in the flow of God’s perfect will – “in season and out” of every situation and circumstance..
One more principal in the world of selling is there are two ways to convince people that your idea is valuable. You can tell them about it, or you can show them. Telling them is associated with a “sales pitch” which puts people on guard. Showing them is what everyone is looking for because it is the proof that backs a claim. When the salesperson does a lot of talking about a product or service but fails to prove the claim, it is such a heart-breaking disappointment to the ones who believe. Glory! The time has come when the church is growing weary of the traveling carnivals and side shows from those who blow in and blow out. God is knitting people together as “ministry teams” to do the work of His Kingdom. God’s church people are hurting and wounded and want to see a genuine faith and a pure life from someone that really cares. The people want to be touched and for someone to apply the right medicine for their sickness. They want pastors that can remember their names and their problems and that will take the time to pray for them. Disciples want leaders that really know them and know how they feel and can sense what God is doing in their lives. They want a pastor who will lie on the floor and seek God’s face until He hears what God has said for the church. True followers of Christ need leaders who will fast and pray instead of watch television all night because they are being led to do the same thing. They long for pastors that are not so involved with their own life that they do not have time to think or care about the flock. The last day church will not look anything like the churches we think of, as the most powerful ministries of the day will not be on television or have world headquarters. The true churches will be smaller gatherings of serious believers that have come away from the empty religious organizations and have found the true meaning of community. They will house the homeless and with food pantries they will feed the hungry in the Name of Jesus. They will teach the Kingdom gospel and share ALL their resources because they have laid down their own life for the life of Christ. They do not care about houses, careers, money or materialism because they are seeing, walking and living in the spiritual realm where God lives. They will trust each other, work together and worship together with a spirit of sacrifice – just like the original church.
Sadly we realize most of the world has heard some of the gospel but is waiting to “SEE” the truth demonstrated in those who claim their devotion to Christ. The dividing line is being drawn and the sides are being taken to either continue with a religious routine or commit our life to stop and follow Him. Jesus was not only a 24/7 sower of the seed but also proved his convictions and claims – and then displayed the ultimate demonstration of love when he laid down His life for His cause. His last will and testament became a blood covenant that was sealed and can never be changed. For all who will trust and embrace His Kingdom message, they can rest assured that His promises are a commitment to sovereign, absolute truth and His resurrection proves that His words will not return void!