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Theological, Doctrinal, and Spiritual Musing - and whatever other else is on my mind when I notice that I haven't posted in a while.
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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
- Marc Heinrich

His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
- Rose Cole

[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
- C-Train

This post contains nothing that is of any use to me. What were you thinking? Anyway, it's probably the best I've read all day.
- David Kjos

Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
- Jonathan Moorhead

There are some people who are smart, deep, or funny. There are not very many people that are all 3. Daniel is one of those people. His opinion, insight and humor have kept me coming back to his blog since I first visited earlier this year.
- Carla Rolfe
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Saturday, December 24, 2005
Celebrate the Savior!
The standardized (but highly inaccurate) caucasian baby JesusI would like to share one thought with everyone this Christmas season regarding the caliber of your Christian witness this year.

Has the Lord used you to bring anyone to Himself this year? Has it been like a river of living water flowing out of your innermost being and into others? Has it been more like a trickle from an old hand pump, even though you have been pumping hard all year... Or maybe you haven't even been pumping this year?

"Have you no wish for others to be saved? Then you are not saved yourself. Be sure of that" - Charles Haddon Spurgeon (Volume 34, Sermon #2019)

Spurgeon was a great soul winner, so when we read this quote (out of the context in which it was made - as it is often quoted -) it seems to say, "If you are not out there winning souls, you are not saved." Spurgeon wasn't trying to make -that- point, but others have used this quote to that end.

Spurgeon was actually defending the practice of teaching men to look to their own salvation before they looked to the salvation of others. Some were criticizing him for this, suggesting that teaching a man to look after his own salvation before he goes out and witnesses to another was teaching in fact teaching men to be spiritually selfish. Spurgeon's reaction to that charge was to demonstrate that the moment a person is genuinely saved, that same person is consequently saved from this sort of spiritual selfishness. This is where the quote came in - Spurgeon made the point that when one is genuinely saved, one is typically saved not only from God's wrath but also (practically speaking) from this very same "hardness of heart" and "carelessness about others" that was being described. This quote, in context is therefore speaking of that softness of heart, and genuine care for others that precedes from a heart in which God has poured out his Spirit.

I would like to expand on that thought a bit.

In some churches evangelism is a carnal work - that is, it is something that the congregation is pressured to do. I am not talking about exhortations, now, but door to door sales - that sort of evangelism where the gospel becomes the product, that the congregation is enlisted to sell to their community. In this scenario, a handful of self-avowed (and no doubt well meaning) "faithful" witnesses are the "cowboys" that prod and motivate the "herd" into doing evangelism "western" style. And not unlike cold call sales - the mentality is a numbers game - if you give the gospel to a hundred, you are likely going to get five nibbles, and maybe one bite. Such that the whole "great commission" becomes a carnal masquerade - human effort, dressed up and labeled divine.

Some would argue that even carnal effort is better than no effort, since such efforts can have (albeit limited) results - indicating, as is argued, a blessing from God upon the effort. But that is misunderstanding - God has blessed the gospel, and even if the devil went door to door preaching the gospel to anyone who would listen - some people would be saved, because God blesses the gospel. For some that justifies any sort of pragmatic approach - even fudging scripture a little to make it fit (I became all things to all men... etc.)

But we ought to be honest - I mean brutally honest. That is where true growth begins. If we don't feel like "witnessing" - either what we are being asked to do is not the "witness" the bible speaks of, or there is something wrong with us.

In Acts 1:8 we read, "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." (emphasis added of course). This isn't a command, "GO and BE my witnesses!" - it is simply a statement that describes what is going to happen - "when the Holy Spirit comes, you will be witnesses" Not unlike what Christ had to say to Peter, not "I COMMAND you to BECOME a fisher of men", but "I will MAKE you a fisher of men"

Remember what Christ said in Luke 10:2, "The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest." Note the emphasis I added? Do men send themselves? No. God sends them. Jesus didn't command the disciples here to go into the harvest - He commanded them to pray that God would send people into the harvest.

Likewise, recall the famous words of Isaiah's following his equally famous vision in Isaiah 6:8 - Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: " Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?" Then I said, "Here am I! Send me."

I want to pull these thoughts together so that what I am saying is clear. Not every believer has a deep hunger for souls - you probably don't. That isn't to say that you're not ready and willing to share you faith should someone ask you, nor is that to say that you're ashamed of your faith. It is simply that your hunger for the lost is not of earth shaking caliber.

I believe the first thing a real soul winner ever does is to get honest with God about their own lack of love. The next thing they do is they ask God to give them a love for the lost. We often hear preachers put the emphasis on *ME* in, Here am I send me - but the emphasis ought to be on send - Here am I, --SEND-- me. In that prayer is the acknowledgment of David - "...uphold me by Your generous Spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners shall be converted to You." When we ask God to send us, we are praying for divine empowerment, for genuine enablement - not merely for boldness to do something that we find distasteful - we are praying that God would work a wonderful desire in us so that we are eager to enter into the harvest.

Do you see the difference? Not going into the harvest in our own strength, but being sent by God into the harvest - enabled and empowered. If the thought of witnessing is a hard and heavy burden - you are not entering into it under the yoke of Christ - because his yoke is light and his burden easy. If the yoke you are under is heavy and hard, it isn't Christ's burden, but something man has put on you.

This coming year, pray that the Lord would send workers into the harvest - pray that he would send you. And trust that when he does, he will make you love it - when serving God becomes an odious chore - you are doing it in the flesh. The only reason people serve God in the flesh is because they think that is how it is done. It isn't. God has to be served in the Spirit, and if any of us lacks, we must ask, and God gives.

Get honest with God about your witness this year - if you are afraid of men - confess it and seek grace for repentance - then ask God to SEND you into the harvest. If you are unloving; if you don't want to witness because you are lazy; whatever is keeping you from bringing God's lambs into the fold - confess it and repent as God grants you grace, but all the while beg the Lord to SEND YOU into His harvest.

Have a blessed holy day.
posted by Daniel @ 8:44 AM  
  • At 1:19 PM, December 24, 2005, Blogger Jim said…

    Great post Daniel, a rich encouragement to let the Lord lead us daily.

    One of my biggest excuses for not actively witnessing has been that I feel unprepared to lead a person to Christ. In other words, I didn't know how to adequately present the message of salvation to a lost person.

    But I began to realize this was simply just that, an excuse. Now it's true we need to prepare, but there is no better motivator for preparation than actually stepping out in faith and being willing to share about Christ.

    I have been a Christian for quite a while now, and could probably count on two hands the number of times people have brought up the subject of salvation with me. If we simply wait around for people to ask the questions, we may wait for eternity.

    We are commanded to preach the gospel, and yet as you rightly put it, we must be SENT. To me, this implies a God given burden and desire to reach the lost.

    May the Lord enlarge our heart with a compassion for the lost.

  • At 7:56 PM, December 26, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Dan were you listening to my conversation with the Lord Last night?

  • At 11:08 PM, December 26, 2005, Blogger pilgrim said…

    Great encouragement and exhortation, and all believers need both.
    It never ceases to amaze me, although it no longer shocks me, the ways Spurgeon is so often twisted out of context.

  • At 11:38 PM, December 26, 2005, Blogger Jonathan Moorhead said…

    Thank you for that reminder Daniel.

  • At 6:04 AM, December 27, 2005, Blogger Kim said…

    Daniel, I really appreciate your writing. You have the ability to say powerful things with a lot of grace. I appreciate that very much.

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