Who am I and where am I going?

“I am the way, the truth and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by Me.” (John 14:6).

Belief in Jesus Christ as the only way to eternity, the triune God as the embodiment of truth and repentance of my sins before my heavenly Father is my confession of faith it places me in the Family of God.

Repentance of my sins?

This requires me to see myself as separated from God because of who I am and what my life has been up to the point of repentance.  It requires me to comprehend/diagnose my spirit man. not just emotionally, but within the deep recesses of my soul that I am:

  1. Sinful – my only cure is Jesus
  2. Guilty of breaking all of God’s laws and should receive the punishment which is – eternal separation from God – death – to be dead to Him eternally.
  3. In need of redemption: to be freed from the will and desire to live as I choose. Jesus is that redeemer. Christ died for me on the cross. He is my redeemer, in other words, He died so I would not have to.  After accepting Jesus Christ as my Savior, my Redeemer, my God something happens to me.
  4. Now I have been washed in the blood of Jesus Christ. He calls me free.

“You will know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32).

But free from what?

  1. Free from the condemnation of the law of God that called me guilty, judged, and imprisoned by sin.
  2. Free from the imprisonment that sin placed on my life.
  3. Free from being separated from God eternally.
  4. Free from eternal death.
  5. Freedom from fear – I can trust God to be my protector at all times and in all circumstances. Nothing will ever happen to me that He does not know about and cannot fix!
  6. Free to love my neighbors.
  7. Free from societal morays that constrict how I see my “neighbor.”
  8. Free from the political boundaries of this world that try to confine me to love only people from my locale or culture.  Why? Because in Christ every living human being is my brother, sister, or at the Bible says, “neighbor.”  The freedom to love as God loves is the most outrageous experience that I experienced.
  9. Free from the clutches of hate. This world is permeated by hate and that comes only from the devil.
  10. Free from worry – because God is my provider.

Alright, so what if I am free? This type of freedom frees your mind, your heart, and your soul to love in a way that is not humanly possible without being a child of God who is filled with the Holy Spirit. No social activist, no politician, or political party, or act of congress can legislate this type of freedom. It comes only from being a part of the Family of God.

Where am I going – not that I am so free and so loved?

First of all, I am asking my Heavenly Father to send me out to share this freedom news with my neighbors. To tell them how they can be free from sin too.  Secondly, I know that when I close my eyes I will be living with the eternal Family of God where God dwells. I will bot be separated from Him eternally. I will not be going to hades/hell.  Call it what you may, living eternally in a place where there is no peace is not what I want for me, my children, my friends, or my neighbors.

“Who hath saved [me] and called [me] with a holy calling, not according to [my] works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given [me] in Christ Jesus before the world began.” (2 Timothy 1:9).

Imagine that. He knew me before I was even thought of by my parents.  But more importantly, He had a plan of redemption for me before sin entered this world. He loved me so that He sent His one and only Son to die for my sins. So, do you want to know where you are going? Do you want to be free?  Watch this video and contact us right here on this page.

Contact Us

FORUM 2 EVAN 525 Spring 2015 @ Liberty University

In McRaney, Chapter 2, the author states, “dealing with lost people will cause us to get our hands dirty and sweaty just like tending to yard work. Part of evangelism is to clear up misconceptions and misperceptions people have about the gospel. Dealing with people and evangelism is often messy.”

Consider your own conversion experience. Explain how it demonstrated “the dirty work of evangelism”? What does the discipline of servanthood evangelism teach you about the “necessity of/dirty work of” evangelism? Make sure that you address how your emerging biblical theology of evangelism and practical experience of faith can assist people in addressing their misconceptions/misperceptions regarding the gospel.

My conversion story demonstrated “Dealing with lost people will cause us to get our hands dirty and sweaty just like tending to yard work” because I was a mixed up teenager who did some despicable things to escape from her parents after being lied to by her father and step-mother. [1]  I was twelve years old when the truth about my parentage was revealed. Nothing is worse for a child than to know that; (1) she was born out of wedlock and, 2)she had been abandoned by her birth mother on the front door steps of her grandmother’s front porch when she only two weeks old.  The psychological and emotional damage of this revelation led to me develop a distrust for my father and step-mother that never waned.  Father figures were not to be trusted.  That was my final dictum. Why did it demonstrate “the dirty word of evangelism?”  A trust broken at such a young age shattered this individual’s trust for all adults.  I was determined that no adult would be able to reach me.

That was no adult except my grandmother.  I ran away to the family home in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire (UK). My grandmother was dying of cancer.  My life was a mess.  I was a mess, and my grandmother was dying.  My hopes of a normal life were dashed to pieces.  My grandmother was my evangelist.  She was not at all concerned about her eternal rest. She knew where she was going.  On her death bed, she was a “servant evangelist” to her granddaughter, she sowed the seeds, watered them like a master gardener and dug around the dirt of my life.[2] She waded into the murky and messy water of my life and utilized the discipline of servant evangelism to clear up the mess that I called my life.

She epitomized the supreme power of evangelism; discussed the work of the Holy Spirit; clarified my misconceptions God as my Father and a father of love.[3]  My grandmother’s example of servant evangelism taught me that servitude is a noble thing.  Reaching out to someone and sharing the gospel with them is all that is required of me.  Her act of servant evangelism was a “single encounter” that utilized the “interpersonal approach”.[4]  She had no way of knowing if her conversation would lead me to accept Christ as my personal Savior, but she had the conversation anyway.

Evangelism brings with it many misconceptions. The biggest misperception is the role of believers as it pertains to evangelism.  Although the Bible states that God does the calling, he uses believers to tell the story in a personal, relational, and intentional manner.  Believers are not responsible for “saving” people.[5] Understanding that this scripture is as alive today as it was when it was first penned, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow” (1 Corinthians 3:6 New International Version) will eliminate many of the misconceptions/misperceptions regarding the gospel.  I am a gardener so I relate to this scripture.  Planting seeds requires work, and it is messy work.  However, when they germinate and bloom into sunflowers, zinnias, hollyhocks etc., there is nothing more beautiful thant a bed of flowers.  Gardening is my theological reminder of the work of evangelism.  God created people to have a personal relationship with him. God’s word will never return to him void.  We must believe that when sharing the gospel with others.  McRaney declared, “We mistakenly think that we save people. God alone does this. Additionally, the Scriptures teach us that when people do not respond, they are rejecting the Holy Spirit, not us (1 Thess. 4:8).”[6] When a person rejects the gospel believers take it personally.

When one approaches an individual, with the intent of sharing the gospel, they must remove themselves from the equation and rely on the Holy Spirit to speak through them. There is no win or lose scenario.  Understanding that one’s faith in The Lord to give us the right words for the specific person with whom we are sharing the gospel is crucial to the process of personal evangelism.   It is as simple as sharing a meal with a person who is starving.  The worse thing they can do is throw it in your face.  The best thing they can do is eat it and nourish their bodies.  The gospel nourishes their soul.

Notes

 


[1] William McRaney, The Art of Personal Evangelism: Sharing Jesus in a Changing Culture (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 2003), 34-35, Kindle Edition.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.,  48-49.

[4] Ibid., 54.

[5] Ibid., 60.

[6] Ibid.

Bibliography

 

McRaney, William. The Art of Personal Evangelism: Sharing Jesus in a Changing Culture. Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 2003.

Link

Servant Evangelism Activity 1: AS :Oh No My Computer Has a Virus EVAN 525 By Joyce , Gerald, January 29, 2015

Meeting a Physical Need

“A” is the daughter of a relative, who is dying of pancreatic cancer.  “A” is not saved. She has a violent temper that flares when things do not go her way. “A” bought her mother a computer over a year ago. For what purpose I am not clear?  ‘P” does not use it at all.  However, there were people here in the house who watched over “P” who used the computer to play games; access the internet etc., When “P’ computer was returned we were very thankful. It was essential that we had one. Now all of her vital signs were recorded in the home.  When the nursed comes to visit, she reviews that information and determines the course of action for her continued care. When it was opened, it was determined that the computer had a virus on it.

Oh No, My Computer Has a Virus: What do I do now?

“A” exploded with anger.  She did not understand why the computer had a virus.  Who was using it? What did they download on it?  I volunteered to take it to Best Buy to the Geek Squad.  I was taking my Discipleship class and did not have the time to deal with it.  I was too overwhelmed.  I took the computer to The “Geek Squad” they confirmed that it had numerous malware on it, and it was going to cost over $300.00 to fix it.  I called “A” to notify her of the results. She was beyond angry.  “I can buy a new one for less than that online somewhere!” was her exclamation.  She continued with a diatribe about why people should not be in the house with her mother.  She didn’t trust anyone with anything, and now they had a ***** virus on the computer. I wondered how I could be Jesus to her in this situation.  How can I show His love and win her trust? We still needed it now for “P’s” vital signs.  A family member and I prayed over the situation.  It was three weeks later and it was not fixed.  “A” did not replace it.

Computer Repair Leads to Trust

It was the first week of my EVAN 525 class. I was overwhelmed, but I needed to serve “A” and her mother.  I opened up the laptop in safe mode and prayed that I could fix it. Slowly, but surely God gave me the ability and strength to remove all malware. I explained to “A” that I would not go to sleep until this was done.  I was sure that the Lord would give me the strength and energy needed to help her resolve this problem.[1]  There was an all-night battle with the embedded malware and my burning fingers (I have fibromyalgia – that is a side effect).  I told “P” what I was doing. I explained to her that not only would she be able to record her vitals on the computer, she would also be able to Bible study using the online Bible.  She needed to hear the word of God.  Her eyes are too weak for a lot of reading.  “T” did not understand why I was doing it.  He said, “She “A” has money. Let her buy a new one!” I told him I wanted to be Jesus to her.  She needed to know that people can and do serve others in Jesus name without expecting payment.

By 2 a.m. the next morning all viruses were removed.  However, the laptop needed malware and virus protection.  I ordered another license from McAfee. I called “A”and told her the computer was fine now. “T” asked, “So what you just did – how did that serve “A”?  I explained to him that it cost her nothing. It was a free service to her, but I did it in Jesus name.  When her response was positive, and her trust level was heightened, I knew that the Holy Spirit could bridge the hostility between her and “Christians”[2]  I cannot witness to a person who does not trust me.  “A” was appreciative and expressed that she didn’t think I would do it for nothing because everyone wants something from her mother.  I told her I did it in Jesus name.  I continue to serve her in Jesus name and hope that I will have an opportunity to share the Gospel with her verbally, not just by the example of me staying here and taking care of her mother for nothing.  This servant evangelism experience helped three individuals; “P”, because she needed the computer for medical and spiritual reasons; “T”, because he now understands that ignoring people who are rude and belligerent does not further the gospel, and “A”, because now she can see the love of the Lord through Christians and has learned to trust them.

[1] 12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them.13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am.14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet ( John 13:12-14 NIV).  This was my goal with Antoinette – to simply and humbly serve her in Jesus name.

[2] If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone (Romans 12:18 NIV). This was my goal with Antoinette.  She has not spoken a civil word to her own brother in years.  She is now at odds with her uncle who has known her since she was a young child.

Servant Evangelism Activity 1: Charlotte Henderson

I Am hurt and I Cannot Drive Myself by Joyce Gerald, January 29, 2015

Meeting a Physical Need

Charlotte Henderson is an eighty-five-year-old mother and grandmother who has physical challenges in her back and legs.  I met Charlotte at the pool where I go five days per week for water therapy for my own physical challenges.  We immediately became friends because I would sing worship songs as I carried out the exercise routines.  I found out from her that her grandson and daughter were both music ministers and choir directors in their local congregations.  I did not see Charlotte for three weeks.  I became most concerned about her.  I asked Susan, another senior citizen who attend water therapy, where Charlotte was.  She told me that Charlotte blacked out and had an accident.  She had twisted her ankle.  I asked Susan for Charlotte’s phone number.  I wanted to see if I could be of any assistance to her.

I Am Hurt and I Cannot Drive Myself

Charlotte explained her condition to me and I asked her if I could pick her up and take her to therapy with me.  She insisted that is would be too much trouble. I asked her for her address and she gave it to me.  It was easy enough to pick her up while my cousin was here from London.  I could leave his sister’s house on time and we could get to the pool early enough to complete thirty minutes of personal training and thirty minutes of group training. However, after he left it became close to impossible.  The person who comes to watch my cousin while I go to therapy comes late every single day.

Charlotte and I began many discussions in the car on the way to the pool each morning.  Charlotte told me all about her life from childhood to the loss of her husband.  We discussed how much God loved her and provided for her even before her husband went home to Jesus.  She stated that she never thought about it that way before.   Charlotte had no way of getting to the supermarket, or the pharmacy to pick up her medication.  I volunteered to take her wherever she needed to go.

Car Rides Lead to Enriching Spiritual Understanding

One day she announced that she likes to read through the Bible every year and she wanted to finish it before the year was over.  I asked her what chapter she was reading.  It was the book of Revelation.  She was so confused.  She did not understand how the scriptures in the book of Daniel and many other books revealed what would happen in the end times.  We roamed through the Bible as we drove back and forth to the pool each day.  As she discussed the scriptures I did my best to offer clarification. She needed clarification on the seven trumpets and what they signified.  She was certain that there would be no people alive on earth that would be the least bit interest in Jesus Christ after the rapture occurs. We discussed this scripture and what it meant,(Revelation 20:4-6). Then we discussed who could possibly have an opportunity to have the mark of the beast on their foreheads because this event would have occurred during the Tribulation.  We also talked about the beheading of the souls because of their testimony about Jesus and because of The Word of God.  The thousand reign of Christ on earth was a lengthy discussion.  It took a few days.  Apparently, this is not discussed in her Baptist church at all.  She was most thankful for the clarification.

When Charlotte read the book of 2 Chronicles she was astounded at the degree to which Solomon fell.  That discussion helped her to realize that although Christ had not come to earth during the reign of Solomon they still had access to the Holy Spirit.  However, Solomon’s weakness was women and the many pagan wives he married.  It took a bit of explanation before she realized that without the renewing of one’s mind anyone of us could fall prey to the same extent that Solomon fell prey to the desires of his pagan wives.  Charlotte and I still have conversations about her bible readings.  Her understanding of scripture has been enhanced by this servant evangelism experience and her walk with the Lord and how he uses people has also improved. Charlotte is still unable to drive herself to therapy or her doctors’ appointments.  I continue to drive her wherever she needs to go and the car-ride bible studies also continue each day.

Link

Recovery Testimony EVAN 525 Contemporary Evangelism by Joyce Gerald, January 25, 2015

 Contents

“My life seemed normal until…”. 1

“I discovered hope and help in Jesus when…”. 1

“I am glad I have a personal relationship with Jesus today because…”. 3

 

 “My life seemed normal until…”

My life seemed normal until my grandmother died.  She was my protector as well as my mentor.  When she died my aunt, Mancy left the United Kingdom and went to the United States to spend time with her friend. She was there for an entire year.  Within a week of her departure, my ****** began to rape me whenever he worked days instead of nights.  This event was the most emotionally damaging experience of my life.  I trusted my uncle, who was a deacon in the church, and looked up to him.  He was a pillar of the small town of Aylesbury where we resided.  The activity did not cease until after my aunt returned home.

We slept in the same room, so he did not have a choice.  I was only fourteen and a half when this first started. I blamed myself because I did not fight him off-I could not he was huge and I was tiny. I could not tell anyone because I did not want to return to my father and step-mother who had lied to me – keep in  mind I am my father’s only child.  No one would have believed me anyway. I graduated from school at age sixteen and left the area as soon as I saved enough money from work ,as an accountant, for my train fare and a room of my own in London.

“I discovered hope and help in Jesus when…”

I discovered hope and help in Jesus when I started to read literature about his saving grace and his boundless love.  The literature led me to intense bible study.  I read about the life of the patriarchs of old.  David, Joseph, and Job became my favorite patriarchs.  Each of them experienced life events that would have unnerved a faithless person; however, their faith in The Lord was immovable. Paul was my New Testament apostle of choice.  As I studied the lives of these individuals, their faith, and love for their God my guilt started to ebb away.  This happened because the Holy Spirit was wrapping me in the Love of Jesus as I devoured his holy word.  He looked at my shame and took it away.  He replaced it with joy that was immense.  He replaced my guilt with a love for Him that I did not think that I could possibly have.  His word has been my source of inspiration, correction [especially of my thought processes], and joy.

“I am glad I have a personal relationship with Jesus today because…”

I am glad I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ because He saved me from a fate that was worse than death.  More importantly, He forgave me of all of my sins.  I know that every human being who has ever lived has sinned.  But His death on the cross took my punishment for my sins and now I can live a new life with Him as the director of that life.  His forgiveness of my personal sins enabled me to forgive my abuser and His wife who knew I was being abused. His love erased the memory of the worse event in my life.

Although it took most of my adult life before I was able to verbalize the abuse, when I did I could tell others that there is nothing that Jesus cannot erase from your memory banks.  There is no emotional turmoil that Jesus cannot handle. He has become my psychologist, my life coach, my mentor, my teacher, my healer, and my completer.  Why is He my completer?  He is my completer because my life was empty and tortured before I met Him. He gave me the ability to love others simply because they are human beings without expecting anything in return or without any conditions.

I did not get this on my own.  I got it from his unconditional love for me.  It is easy to love Him because He loves me so much.  I can talk to Him about anything at all and know that He will answer my questions.  When I am stressed, He calms my spirit.  When I am concerned, He speaks to me through his word and tells me that I am not alone. In spite of my human failings, Jesus still loves me.  He shows his love for me by reminding me that I am forgiven and that the event in my life does not need to bring me sorrow and pain if I have to share it with others. I know that no matter what life brings my way Jesus will always be there for me.

“May I share how something like this can happen to you?”

Just contact me here

Link

EVAN 525 Liberty University Forum 1 Spring 2015

Part 1: In McRaney chapter 1, the author states that God created us to live in “relationship” and “community” with Him and with each other. Briefly, discuss the importance of both terms and how they affect the way we involve ourselves through personal evangelism in a contemporary world. How does this impact the way you live out your faith outside of the church with people at work, your neighbors, friends, etc.?

Relationship

According to McRaney, God created people to live forever, and this demonstrates his desire for an everlasting relationship with mankind.[1]  This statement empowers the believer to go forward with the act of personal evangelism knowing that sharing the gospel with an unbeliever fulfills this deep desire of The Heavenly Father.  The contemporary culture is searching for something that is lasting, real, and deeply personal.  A relationship with God meets that need.  Personal evangelism focuses on relationship building and reconciles man to God also opens the door to membership in the community of God. [2]

Community

The author states, “The Bible refers to [believers] as a community of faith.”[3]  The construct of “community” began with the Triune God, and he wants to extend that oneness to mankind.[4]  Personal evangelism that results in an acceptance of Jesus Christ as one’s Savior grants that person entrance into this community.[5]  It impacts the believer’s walk because each believer represents that community.  The outside world must see a representation of a place, concept, or a community of unconditional love that they yearn to be a part of when they look at the lifestyle of believers. This leads this writer to want her life to reflect the concept presented inEphesians 4:32 New International Version (NIV).

Notes Part 1

[1] William McRaney, The Art of Personal Evangelism: Sharing Jesus in a Changing Culture (Nashville, TN: B&H Academic, 2003), 15, Kindle.

[2] McRaney, The Art of, 16.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid., 17.

[5] Ibid.

Part 2  In addition, after thoroughly reading the assigned chapters of Evangelism Is, as well as watching the “Learning to Listen” videos, incorporate several insights from the material into your thread in reference to how this might immediately impact your approach to evangelism. Are you an effective listener? Do you tend to walk by evangelism/ministry opportunities because you are consumed by less important issues related to daily life? Are you busy and distracted by non-essentials? If so, what steps do you need to take in your life to become an effective evangelist?

Part 2

 

Having read the assigned reading the writer was reminder that believers are to, “make disciples, preach, and witness”.[1]  The author has focused on preaching and discipling; however, the scope has been limited to an online venue.  Personally witnessing to people in the offline venue has not been an

active or ongoing pursuit.  The author’s online ministry is indeed preaching and teaching many nations, but personal evangelism in her current community

is remiss.  Partial obedience is not an option for any believer.  Therefore, stepping outside of one’s comfort zone is pivotal to absolute obedience to The Lord. .  Dave Earley and David Wheeler declared “evangelism is more than passing on information . . .  [moreover, it] is not a spiritual gift”.[2]  This clarified the confusing construct that the writer has heard presented in sermons over the years.  The learning to listen video series pinpointed the fact that the writer is not always actively, and intentionally listening to people as they speak in the manner that Jesus listened to the Samaritan woman.[3] The five levels of listening were truly poignant and eye opening. [4] Reflecting back what the person is saying for clarification is a Rogerian methodology that the author learned in college; however, it has not been applied to discipleship or evangelism.[5] Finally, the importance of intentional and active listening reflects how the Lord listens to us; it is the author’s deepest desire to practice listening as Jesus practiced it.[6]

Notes Part 2

 

[1] Dave Earley & David Wheeler, Evangelism Is–: How to Share Jesus with Passion and Confidence (Nashville, TN: B&H Academic, 2010), 18, Kindle.

[2] Dave Earley & David Wheeler, Evangelism Is–: How to Share Jesus with Passion and Confidence (Nashville, TN: B&H Academic, 2010), 283 and Location 63, Kindle.

[3] David Wheeler, “Learning to Listen Video Series: How Jesus Practiced Active Listening” (video of lecture, EVAN 525-B12LUO, week1, Liberty University, spring 2015), accessed January 12, 2015. Lynchburg, VA, January 13, 2015).

[4] Ibid.

[5]  David Wheeler, “Learning to Listen Video Series: Hints for Active Listening (video of lecture, EVAN 525-B12LUO, week1, Liberty University, spring 2015), accessed January 12, 2015.

[6] Ibid.

Bibliography

 

Earley, Dave and David Wheeler. Evangelism Is–: How to Share Jesus with Passion and Confidence. Nashville, TN: B&H Academic, 2010, Kindle.

McRaney, William. The Art of Personal Evangelism: Sharing Jesus in a Changing Culture. Nashville, TN: B & H Academic, 2003.

 

Link

Evan 525 Spring 2015 Forum 2

In McRaney, Chapter 2, the author states, “dealing with lost people will cause us to get our hands dirty and sweaty just like tending to yard work. Part of evangelism is to clear up misconceptions and misperceptions people have about the gospel. Dealing with people and evangelism is often messy.”  Consider your own conversion experience. Explain how it demonstrated “the dirty work of evangelism”? What does the discipline of servanthood evangelism teach you about the “necessity of/dirty work of” evangelism? Make sure that you address how your emerging biblical theology of evangelism and practical experience of faith can assist people in addressing their misconceptions/misperceptions regarding the gospel.

My conversion story demonstrated “Dealing with lost people will cause us to get our hands dirty and sweaty just like tending to yard work” because I was a mixed up teenager who did some despicable things to escape from her parents after being lied to by her father and step-mother. [1]  I was twelve years old when the truth about my parentage was revealed. Nothing is worse for a child than to know that; (1) She was born out of wedlock. (2). She had been abandoned by her birth mother on the front door steps of her grandmother’s front porch when she only two weeks old.  The psychological and emotional damage of this revelation led to me develop a distrust for my father and step-mother that never waned.  Father figures were not to be trusted.  That was my final dictum. Why did it demonstrate “the dirty word of evangelism”?  A trust broken at such a young age shattered this individual’s trust for all adults.  I was determined that no adult would be able to reach me.

That was no adult except my grandmother.  I ran away to the family home in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire (UK). My grandmother was dying of cancer.  My life was a mess.  I was a mess, and my grandmother was dying.  My hopes of a normal life were dashed to pieces.  My grandmother was my evangelist.  She was not at all concerned about her eternal rest. She knew where she was going.  On her death bed, she was a “servant evangelist” to her granddaughter; she sowed the seeds, watered them like a master gardener and dug around the dirt of my life.[2]She waded into the murky and messy water of my life and utilized the discipline of servant evangelism to clear up the mess that I called my life.

She epitomized the supreme power of evangelism; discussed the work of the Holy Spirit; clarified my misconceptions of God as my Father and a Father of Love.[3]  My grandmother’s example of servant evangelism taught me that servitude is a noble thing.  Reaching out to someone and sharing the gospel with them is all that is required of me.  Her act of servant evangelism was a “single encounter” that utilized the “interpersonal approach”.[4]  She had no way of knowing if her conversation would lead me to accept Christ as my personal Savior, but she had the conversation anyway.

Evangelism brings with it many misperceptions. The biggest misperception is the role of believers as it pertains to evangelism.  Although the Bible stated that God does the calling, He uses believers to tell the story in a personal, relational, and intentional manner.  Believers are not responsible for “saving” people.[5] Understanding that this scripture is as alive today as it was when it was first penned, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow” (1 Corinthians 3:6 New International Version) will eliminate many of the misconceptions/misperceptions regarding the gospel.  I am a gardener so I relate to this scripture.  Planting seeds require work, and it is messy work.  However, when they germinate and bloom into sunflowers, zinnias, hollyhocks etc., there is nothing more beautiful that a bed of flowers.  Gardening is my theological reminder of the work of evangelism.  God created mankind to have a personal relationship with him. God’s word will never return to Him void.  We must believe that when sharing the gospel with others.  McRaney declared, “We mistakenly think that we save people. God alone does this. Additionally, the Scriptures teach us that when people do not respond, they are rejecting the Holy Spirit, not us (1 Thess. 4:8).”[6] When a person rejects the gospel believers take it personally.

When one approaches an individual with the intent of sharing they must remove themselves from the equation and rely on the Holy Spirit to speak through them. There is no win or lose scenario.  Understanding that one’s faith in The Lord to give us the right words for that specific person with whom we are sharing the gospel is crucial to the process of personal evangelism.   It is as simple as sharing a meal with a person who is starving.  The worse thing they can do is throw it in your face [it gets messy then].  The best thing they can do is eat it and nourish their bodies.  The gospel nourishes their soul.

Notes


[1] William McRaney, The Art of Personal Evangelism: Sharing Jesus in a Changing Culture (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 2003), 34-35, Kindle Edition.

[2] Ibid.,

[3] Ibid., 48-49.

[4] Ibid., 54.

[5] Ibid., 60.

[6] Ibid.

Bibliography

McRaney, William. The Art of Personal Evangelism: Sharing Jesus in a Changing Culture. Nashville, : Broadman & Holman, 2003.

 

Link

FORUM 3 EVAN 525

1. In reaction to the article on “Incarnational Apologetics,” how does this approach impact the way evangelism is taught and acted out in daily life? How do you balance “incarnational” and “informational” approaches to evangelism? Is there a connection? In addition, based on McRaney Chapter 8, how would the distinction between “Informational” and Incarnational” approaches to evangelism relate to the barriers you have in witnessing? For instance, do your struggle relating to people on an “incarnational” level; or are you afraid on an “informational” level that people might ask a question that you cannot answer? What barriers need to be removed in your life in order for you to balance these approaches? Respond in 225 words. Be VERY thorough, thought provoking, and honest with your classmates!

Relationship

According to McRaney, God created people to live forever, and this demonstrates his desire for an everlasting relationship with mankind.[1]  This statement empowers the believer to go forward with the act of personal evangelism knowing that sharing the gospel with an unbeliever fulfills this deep desire of The Heavenly Father.  The contemporary culture is searching for something that is lasting, real, and deeply personal.  A relationship with God meets that need.  Personal evangelism focuses on relationship building and reconciles man to God it also opens the door to membership into the community of God. [2]

Community

The author stated, “The Bible refers to [believers] as a community of faith.”[3]  The construct of “community” began with the Triune God, and He wanted to extend that oneness to humanity.[4]  Personal evangelism that results in an acceptance of Jesus Christ as one’s Savior grants that person entrance into this community.[5]  It impacts the believer’s walk because each believer represents that community.  The outside world must see a representation of a place, concept, or a community of unconditional love that they yearn to be a part of when they look at the lifestyle of believers. This leads this writer to want her life to reflect the concept presented in Ephesians 4:32 New International Version (NIV).

Notes Part 1

[1] William McRaney, The Art of Personal Evangelism: Sharing Jesus in a Changing Culture (Nashville, TN: B&H Academic, 2003), 15, Kindle.

[2] McRaney, The Art of, 16.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid., 17.

[5] Ibid.

2. After watching the Lindsey video, in reference to her approach to life and faith, if she were a neighbor of yours how would you go about reaching her with the Gospel? When answering, consider what we have learned and discussed in class to this point, as well as the implications of the 2 videos presented by Earley in reference to the life of the witness and praying for the unsaved. Be very thorough and thought provoking in 225 words.

Having read the assigned reading Joyce was reminded that believers have a commission from The Lord, “make disciples, preach, and witness”.[1]  Joyce has focused on preaching and discipling; however, the scope has been limited to an online venue.  Personally witnessing to people in the offline venue has not been an ongoing pursuit.  The author’s online ministry is indeed preaching and teaching many nations, but personal evangelism in her current community is remiss [Living in GA in a town she does not know and among total strangers].  Partial obedience is not an option for any believer.  Therefore, stepping outside of one’s comfort zone is pivotal to absolute obedience to The Lord.  Earley and Wheeler declared “evangelism is more than passing on information . . .  [moreover, it] is not a spiritual gift”.[2]  This statement clarified the confusing construct that the Joyce has heard presented in sermons over the years.  The learning to listen video series pinpointed the fact that the writer is not always actively, and intentionally listening to people as they speak in the manner that Jesus listened to the Samaritan woman.[3] The five levels of listening were truly poignant and eye-opening. [4] Reflecting back what the person is saying for clarification is a Rogerian methodology that the author learned in college; however, it has not been applied to discipleship or evangelism.[5] Finally, the importance of intentional and active listening reflects how the Lord listens to us; it is the Joyce’s deepest desire to practice listening as Jesus practiced it.[6] This will be similar to applying strategies learned to be an educator of special needs students to the act of evangelism.

Notes Part 2

[1] Dave Earley & David Wheeler, Evangelism Is–: How to Share Jesus with Passion and Confidence (Nashville, TN: B&H Academic, 2010), 18, Kindle.

[2] Dave Earley & David Wheeler, Evangelism Is–: How to Share Jesus with Passion and Confidence (Nashville, TN: B&H Academic, 2010), 283 and Loc. 63, Kindle.

[3] David Wheeler, “Learning to Listen Video Series: How Jesus Practiced Active Listening” (video of lecture, EVAN 525-B12LUO, week1, Liberty University, spring 2015), accessed January 12, 2015. Lynchburg, VA, January 13, 2015).

[4] Ibid.

[5]  David Wheeler, “Learning to Listen Video Series: Hints for Active Listening (video of lecture, EVAN 525-B12LUO, week1, Liberty University, spring 2015), accessed January 12, 2015.

[6] Ibid.

Bibliography

 Earley, Dave and David Wheeler. Evangelism Is–: How to Share Jesus with Passion and Confidence. Nashville: B&H Academic, 2010, Kindle.

McRaney, William. The Art of Personal Evangelism: Sharing Jesus in a Changing Culture. Nashville: B & H Academic, 2003.

Wheeler, David. “Learning to Listen Video Series: Hints for Active Listening”. (Video of lecture, EVAN 525-B12LUO, week1, Liberty University, spring 2015). Accessed January 12, 2015.

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The Importance and Role of Small Groups

Submitted to Dr. Allen England,

in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the completion of

DSM – D13  Discipleship Ministries @ Liberty University

by

Joyce Gerald

December 7, 2014

 

Introduction

The author will present a discussion on, (1) the writer’s philosophy of small groups in a ministry organization.  (2) The importance of the relational group in authentic disciple making and how missional groups help The Body of Christ moves out into the community. (3) Finally the author’s personal status in the community of believers and missional pursuits.  Small group ministries empower the process of growing and “multiplying” disciples and the family of God as it reaches inward and outward to the community.[1]

Philosophy of Small Groups in a Ministry Organization

The writers’ view of small groups in a ministry mirrors the original small group construct demonstrated by The Lord.  Jesus began the first small group when He called the disciples in Matthew 4:18-22 New International Version (NIV). [2]   First he trained the disciples (Mathew 5, 6, and 7) then He sent them out to “. . .  the lost sheep of Israel. As you go, proclaim this message: The kingdom of heaven has come near.”  An effective small group follows the theological construct demonstrated by this example.  The early church followed the example that was handed down by the Lord. Murray described the process in this manner, “We will give ourselves continually to prayer and the ministry of the Word . . . And the Word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied exceedingly Acts 6: 4, 7. Christ’s power to save, and save entirely, depends on His unceasing intercession. The apostles’ withdrawing themselves from others work to give themselves continually to prayer was followed by the number of the disciples multiplying exceedingly.”[3] The early church grew because the leaders applied the power of Christ through the Holy Spirit.  The small house churches were the inception of small group ministries (Acts 2, Acts 5, Acts 16, Acts 22, and I Corinthians 16). [4] Bonhoeffer expounded on this principle by stating, “But the incarnate Son of God needs not only ears or even hearts; he needs actual, living human beings who follow him. That is why He called His disciples into following Him bodily. His Communion with them was something everyone could see.”[5]  Bonhoeffer solidified the writer’s philosophical construct of what a small group ministry entails and also its purpose. Small group ministries encourage, train, spiritually nourishes believers and prepares them for the work of reaching outside the walls of the church to begin the multiplication process (I Corinthians 4:1). [6]  A small group ministry is the ideal place to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with non-believers because it is a safe and endearing environment.  Through small groups, the body of Christ has embraced the “one

A small group ministry is an ideal place to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with non-believers because it is a safe and endearing environment.  Through small groups, the body of Christ has embraced the “one anothers” and are a living testament to them. [7] Within this cocoon, the non-believer comes to know Christ and receives him as a personal Savior. Then the growth process begins for them as they experience Him as Lord of their life, and begin their training to become “multipliers”. [8] (John 1:12, Colossians 2:6-7, Galatians 2:20, and Philippians 3:8-10). The term ministry denotes service to others and comes from the Greek word diakoneo.[9]  Accordingly, relationships are borne out of “diakoneo” as disciples learn and grow together under the leadership of a visionary pastor.

The Importance of the Relational Group in Authentic Disciple Making

For the disciple-making process to be authentic, members of the relational groups must have a clear understanding of its purpose and importance.   Mogler explained the vital role of relational groups in authentic discipleship,

The purpose of a church-based small group would be to stimulate the development or spiritual maturity and love to God and men through edification and discipleship, to connect people relationally, to provide support, encouragement and fellowship to glorify God and make disciples of all nations.”10]

Not only do relational groups connect people and provide the support they need the groups also “multiply new leaders and create new groups”.[11]Without this crucial role of the relational group, the church will cease to move forward. Rod Dempsey also expounded on the importance and role of relational groups.  Dempsey reiterated the sentiments of Mogler by stating that relational groups grow in quantity and quality through the guidance and teaching of the lead pastor.[12]  These groups all communicate regularly and efficiently and develop coaches while praying without ceasing as God expanded the vision of the church through the groups.[13]  However the role of the team does not end within the group or “cell”. [14]

The declarative statement of  The Lord to the disciples was apparent as He explained how they were to operate as a body, “I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. [Cell relationships should be solidified and demonstrative of the Incarnate Christ because . . . .] then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (John 17:23).  Therefore, missional groups [cell/small groups] must move out into the community to be living examples of “lifestyle evangelism”.[15] According to Joel Comiskey, “Frequently a non-Christian is hesitant to immediately enter the doors of a church. It is much easier to first participate in a cell group in the warmth of a home.”[16]  Comiskey continued by detailing the sense of urgency that occurs when pro-active evangelism is deployed into the community as a whole,

Although non-Christians will be attracted by the lifestyle of cell group members, the cell group outreach must also be intentionally planned. The Scriptures teach that the world is lost and on the edge of a Christless eternity (Jn. 3:36; 2 Th. 1:7-9; 1:16; Jude 23). [Christ commanded the disciples to] “Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find” (Mt. 22:9). Paul felt compelled to preach the gospel (1 Co. 9:16) Another inner compulsion to persuade people was the fact that every person would stand before the judgment seat of Christ (2 Co. 5:11). It was this same urgency that stirred Paul to [write] Romans 10:14.  Some have labeled this type of concern “urgent evangelization”. . . .[17]

Missional groups help church to move out into the community through “lifestyle-evangelism” and “urgent and proactive evangelism”.[18] These constructs are the result of active pastor led, trained disciples, coached and mentored to carry out The Great Commission.[19]

Personal Status in the Community of Believers and Missional Pursuits

Due to the writers physical limitations live missional pursuits is not always physically feasible.  However, the writer uses every opportunity to evangelize and disciple people online “a few at a time” through the use of social media, blogs, devotionals, prayer and relationship building.[20]  Discipleship training is an ongoing process for the Egg Angels Ministry team.  Community outreach among individuals in several states, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom is fostered through the ministry members as they grow relationships with people who are in need of encouragement, prayer, and friendship.  Christ is shared on a one on one basis with everyone member of Team Egg Angels.  To date, the devotional and teaching blog has reached individuals in 135 countries.  The papers and discussion boards, written by the author, from this class, are being shared on the blog as a means of training people in the discipleship process. With reference to the community of believers, the writer is an active member of the Sunday school teaching ministry that is preparing the team to reach out to others outside the walls of the church.

Conclusion

The author presented a discussion on, (1) her personal philosophy of small groups in a ministry organization as supported by research and the model laid out by The Lord, (2) the importance of the relational groups in authentic disciple making, and how missional groups help The Body of Christ to move out into the community. Finally, the author’s personal status in the community of believers and her missional pursuits were shared with the reader.  Small groups, and the final end result of missionary outreach to the community complete the command of the Lord to reach all nations in his name thus, growing the local church while saving the lost for the Kingdom of God. This is the great commission and any church or Christian can follow this example through the development of small groups and relational missions.

 

Notes

[1] Jim Putman, Bobby Harrington, and Robert Emerson Coleman, DiscipleShift: Five Steps That Help Your Church to Make Disciples Who Make Disciples (Grand Rapids: MI: Zondervan, 2013), 24.

[2] Unless otherwise noted, all biblical passages referenced are in the New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2009).

[3] Andrew Murray, The Essential Works of Andrew Murray (Ulrichsville, OH: Barbour Pub., 2008), Locations 5015-5019.

[4] Joel Comiskey, The Evangelistic Emphasis of Discipleship” in  Cell-Based Ministry as a Positive Factor for Church Growth in Latin America, PhD diss., Fuller Theological Seminary, 1997 (Moreno Valley, CA: Joel Comiskey Group, 2008), Section:, accessed December 1, 2014, http://www.joelcomiskeygroup.com/articles/dissertation/index.html.

[5] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, Volume 4, (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003),

208.

[6] Putman, Harrington, Coleman, DiscipleShift: Five, 24.

[7] Dave Earley and Rod Dempsey, Disciple Making Is…: How to Live the Great Commission with Passion

and Confidence (Nashville, TN: B & H Publishing Group, 2013), Location 3552-3572, Kindle.

[8] Putman, Harrington, Coleman, DiscipleShift: Five, 24.

[9] “What Is Christian Ministry?” GotQuestions.org, 2014, accessed December 01, 2014, http://www.gotquestions.org/what-is-ministry.html.

[10] Christian Mogler, Small Group Ministry (München: Grin, 2009), 2.

[11] Dave Earley and Rod Dempsey, Disciple Making Is…: How to Live the Great Commission with Passion and Confidence (Nashville, TN: B & H Publishing Group, 2013), Location 3689, Kindle.

[12] Rod Dempsey, “The Importance and Role of Small Groups” (video of lecture, DSMN 500-D13LUO, week 7, Liberty University, fall 2014), accessed November 30, 2014.

[13] Rod Dempsey, “The Importance and Role of Small Groups”.

[14] Joel Comiskey, “Lifestyle Evangelism” in Cell-Based Ministry as a Positive Factor for Church Growth in Latin America, PhD diss., Fuller Theological Seminary, 1997 (Moreno Valley, CA: Joel Comiskey Group, 2008), pg. #, accessed December 1, 2014,

[15] Ibid.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Ibid., “ Pro-Active Evangelism”

[18] Joel Comiskey, ““Lifestyle Evangelism” in Cell-Based Ministry as a Positive Factor for Church Growth in Latin America.

[19] Ibid.

[20] Greg Ogden, “Making Disciples Jesus Way: A Few at a Time,” Greg Ogden, 2007, The Environment of Transformation: The Three Necessary Ingredients, accessed December 01, 2014, http://gregogden.com/.

Bibliography

Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003.

Comiskey, Joel. Cell-Based Ministry as a Positive Factor for Church Growth in Latin America. PhD diss., Fuller Theological Seminary, 1997. Moreno Valley, CA: Joel Comiskey Group, 2008. Accessed December 1, 2014. http://www.joelcomiskeygroup.com/articles/dissertation/index.html.

Earley, Dave, and Rod Dempsey. Disciple Making Is…: How to Live the Great Commission with Passion and Confidence. Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group, 2013.

Mogler, Christian. Small Group Ministry. München: Grin, 2009.

Murray, Andrew. The Essential Works of Andrew Murray. Ulrichsville, OH: Barbour Pub., 2008.

Ogden, Greg. “Making Disciples Jesus Way: A Few at a Time.” Greg Ogden. 2007. Accessed December 01, 2014. http://gregogden.com/.

Putman, Jim, Bobby Harrington, and Robert Emerson Coleman. DiscipleShift: Five Steps That Help Your Church to Make Disciples Who Make Disciples. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2013.

“What Is Christian Ministry?” GotQuestions.org. 2014. Accessed December 01, 2014. http://www.gotquestions.org/what-is-ministry.html.

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Do we have a Moses, Ezra or Nehemiah in America or is that our job?

Moses mapped out under God’s revelation, and directives – way before Samuel, David and or even Solomon the cultus of the Priesthood, and the roles of each person in priestly or kingly leadership was set. He even mapped out what the intended tabernacle should look like and the roles of prophets. He also mapped out the rulership based on a the “kingly” rule. No God was not telling Samuel that he didn’t want the nation to have a king.

AN OUTLINE OF DEUTERONOMY

  1. The Covenant Setting (1:1-5)
  2. The Historical Review (1:6-4:40)
    1. The Past Dealings of Yahweh with Israel (1:6-3:29)
    2. The Exhortation of Moses (4:1-40)
  3. The Preparation for the Covenant Text (4:41-49)
    1. The Narrative Concerning Cities of Refuge (4:41-43)
    2. The setting and introduction (4:44-49)
  4. The Principles of the Covenant (5:1-11:32)
    1. The Opening Exhortation (5:1-5)
    2. The Ten Commandments (5:6-21)
    3. The Narrative Relating the Sinai Revelation and Israel’s Response (5:22-33)
    4. The Nature of the Principles (chap. 6)
    5. The Content of the Principles (chaps. 7-11)
      1.  261Dispossession of Nonvassals (7:1-26)
      2. Yahweh as the Source of Blessing (8:1-20)
      3. Blessing as a Product of Grace (9:1-10:11)
      4. Love of Yahweh and Love of Men (10:12-22)
      5. Obedience and Disobedience and Their Rewards (11:1-32)
  5. The Specific Stipulations of the Covenant (12:1-26:15)
    1. The Exclusiveness of Yahweh and Worship of Him (12:1-16:17)
      1. The central sanctuary (12:1-14)
      2. The sanctity of blood (12:15-28)
      3. The abomination of pagan gods (12:29-32)
      4. The evil of false prophets (13:1-18)
      5. The distinction between clean and unclean animals (14:1-21)
      6. Tribute to the sovereign (14:22-16:17)
    2. Kingdom Officials (16:18-18:22)
      1. Judges and officials (16:18-17:13)
      2. Kings (17:14-20)
      3. Priests and Levites (18:1-8)
      4. Prophets (18:9-22)
    3. Civil Law (19:1-22:4)
    4. Laws of Purity (22:5-23:18)
    5. Laws of Interpersonal Relationships (23:19-25:19)
    6. Laws of Covenant Celebration and Confirmation (26:1-15)
  6. Exhortation and Narrative Interlude (26:16-19)
  7. The Curses and Blessings (chaps. 27-28)
    1. The Gathering at Shechem (27:1-10)
    2. The Curses that Follow Disobedience of Specific Stipulations (27:11-26)
    3. The Blessings that Follow Obedience (28:1-14)
    4. The Curses that Follow Disobedience of General Stipulations (28:15-68)
  8. The Epilogic Historical Review (chaps. 29-30)
  9. Deposit of the Text and Provision for Its Future Implementation (31:1-29)
  10. The Song of Moses (31:30-32:43)
  11. Narrative Interlude (32:44-52)
  12. The Blessing of Moses (chap. 33)
  13. Narrative Epilogue (34:1-12)
(Merrill, Rooker, and Grisanti, p 279-280).
He had already planned that out, and He had already determined that it would be David. He had already determined that Christ would be his direct descendant.
No, the people were not spiritually ready for that yet.

“The account opens where Chronicles ends—with a Hebrew version of the edict of the Persian king Cyrus authorizing the Jews of the exile to return to their homeland “(Ezra 1:1-4; cf. 2 Chr 36:22-23; Merrill, Rooker, and Grisanti, 344).

When Ezra was called by God to go back to the exiles to reinstitute the cultus of the priesthood and reinstitute the temple worship he could not even begin there.

The narrator then recounted the preparations for return including the amassing of precious metals Ezra (1:5-11). 

Next follows a list of the returnees (chap. 2), the total number of which was 42,360 (2:64). 

To this list should be compared a nearly identical one in Neh 7:5-73. 

On their return, the leaders of the community assembled with the populace to rebuild the great temple altar and to offer on it the festival sacrifices, all, so far, without the benefit of a temple (Ezra 3:1-7). Burdened by this deficiency, Zerubbabel, the governor, and Jeshua, the priest, undertook the temple construction in the second year of the return (c. 536 BC; 3:8-13), an undertaking whose very commencement gave rise to intense local opposition (4:1-4).  (Merrill, Rooker, and Grisanti, ibid).

The remnant had become so polluted in every way through interfaith marriages that led to spiritual adultery and idolatry – which was totally contrary to what was laid out in Deuteronomy – well let’s just say the Pentateuch, that He had to begin with the personal cleansing of the people.

Having arrived in Jerusalem with a large entourage, Ezra confronted some problems that had engulfed the Jewish state since its reestablishment 80 years earlier. 

   Chief among these was the intermarriage of Jews with Gentiles, a matter which, after much prayer and confession (9:1-10:4), he addressed head-on by mandating divorce across the board (10:5-44).

He ordered all of the men who had married women who were pagans to divorce their wives. Now we in or the modern world would think about the psychological damage that would have done, the unfairness of it all.

NEHEMIAH COMMISSION: Meanwhile Nehemiah had heard reports of these and other calamities from his vantage point in Susa and, having gotten permission from King Artaxerxes for a leave of absence to go to Jerusalem (Neh 1:1-2:8), undertook to do so (2:9-11). 

Once there he assessed the ruinous condition of the city (2:12-16) and determined to do something about it (2:17-20). The work of rebuilding the walls, though carried out with the most well-thought-out strategy (chap. 3), was impeded in every way possible by locals who were determined to subvert it (chap. 4). Meanwhile, Nehemiah had to contend with internal problems such as the exaction of usury by one Jew against another (5:1-13), a practice much at odds with Nehemiah’s own self-sacrifice even though he was governor (5:14-19). Having dealt with this, he had to continue to resist the blandishments and threats of his enemies (6:1-14)  until, at last, the walls were finished (6:15-19; Merrill, Rooker, and Grisanti, 344-345).

 

Israel was supposed to be God exemplary nation. It was meant to be the country that all countries looked to as an example of how to live a Holy Life – there is a point to this.
God promised the patriarchs of old that there would always be a remnant left in Israel, but for multiple generations, His chosen people had chosen Baal over Him. The book is very intense but loses its validity if it is not read at the same time as Nehemiah, and if one does not know the history of the nation of Israel…that is why the Bible has to be read according to the MT order and not our current order of the Bible. Anyway.
Ezra went back home with the Pentateuch to set up “shop” so to speak, but transformation had to take place first. The people of Israel had lived 70 years in exile, and spent numerous dynasties is absolute disobedience to God’s law.
Juxtapose Ezra & Nehemiah with 1 & 2 Kings and 1 & 2 Chronicles and you will begin to get a picture of the base depravity of that nation.
Then read what Jeremiah had to do when he was sent to the nation to tell them to accept simply the just punishment that God was going to rain down on them. It is really easier to listen to these books of the Bible; it sinks in more.
Th priesthood was in shambles. Holiness did not exist in the temple. God’s presence was not there because the people who were responsible for “maintaining” a holy environment and created “an unholy mess”. Now let’s jump back to our present day.
America is where it is because of the state of our churches. Let’s just take the blue pill and deal with it.
Go back into our own history and see how well we have adhered to Matthew 5,6, and 7. I am not even going to go into the NT after Acts. In what way have, we treated the strangers in our gates with love and respect as dictated by the love of God?
“Let’s clean up the church house and leave the Whitehouse to God because He and only He can fix that.”
We have a biblical responsibility to that building and the people who are in DC.
Let’s us maintain that biblical responsibility.
We have local responsibilities to our neighbors – who are our neighbors? Every living human being whom we are in contact with, not just the people who we go to church with and our family members.
Our nation is a mess because we – the church is a mess.
What would happen in this country if we were all on mission for Christ??

“Since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead” (Romans 1:20 NIV). “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork” (Psalms 19:1 NIV).

Among the books of all religions the Old Testament (OT) canon “Bible” is original in its construct and theology. It purported that there is only one God who is the sovereign creator of all that is, was and is to come, and He breathed His book the Bible through His chosen vessels (Genesis 1:1; 2 Tim 3:16-17). The historicity of that belief, juxtaposed against the backdrop of modern scholars’ need to disprove the historicity of the Bible, thus, negating the validity of the theology of the Bible is a widespread problem and lends itself to meet a scholarly need to disprove all things theological.  Lee McDonald posited that Josephus argued for the historicity of the OT; the historicity of the OT was preserved throughout the history of Israel by the prophets (p. 110).  Therefore, giving credence to the truthfulness of the Bible and validating its content.

To claim that any part of the Bible is false purported that it is all false.  There is no middle ground. God is not a man that He should lie (Numbers 23: 19).  Archeological discoveries of Ancient Near Eastern (ANE) literature supported the historicity of the Bible and validated its contents (Eugene Merrill, Mark Rooker, and Michael Grisanti, p. 63).  Merril, Rooker, and Grisanti identified the parallels between the historical culture of the times referenced in the Bible but did not present the social structures as equal to the historicity of the Bible as dictated by God to the writers of old (p. 69).  The scholars cautioned readers that “The idea . . . that the OT is merely a human book that converted ANE mythology into another version, the concoction of Israelite poets and theologians” is a false premise (ibid).

God revealed Himself to His people through His then living servants, and He reveals Himself to us through the Bible.  Just read this Psalm of David.

1 – The heavens declare the glory of God; they skies proclaim the work of His hands.

2 – Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.

3 – There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.

4 – Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens, He has pitched a tent for the sun

5 – which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course.

6 – It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is hidden from its heat.

7 – The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.

8 – The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.

9 – The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the Lord are sure and altogether righteous.

10 – They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb.

11 – By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is a great reward.

12 – Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults.

13 – Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression.

14 – May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer (Psalm 19 NIV).

That simple psalm speaks to the sovereignty of God and His availability to all of humankind. Through His word and His creation.  There is a prevalent worldview that believes that denying the existence of God and claiming that the Bible is just a myth negates their responsibility to engage in a covenantal relationship with Him.

Merril, Rooker, and Grisanti also posited that this worldview will lead readers to surmise that the Bible is merely a book of myths or legends,  “concocted” to meet the theological need of a group of people (p. 71). On the other hand, Oswalt pointed out that one can contend that a “legend” is a false story about the past while still asserting that a “history” is a truthful rendition of the past; however when making that assertion one must posit the question “false or true according to what standard?” (p. 16). Consequently, one cannot propose that the historicity of the Bible is false without saying at the same time that the theology of the Bible is false. In concluding, it is necessary to reiterate that,

All Scripture is God-breathed [given by divine inspiration] and is profitable for instruction, for conviction [of sin], for correction [of error and restoration to obedience], for training in righteousness [learning to live in conformity to God’s will, both publicly and privately—behaving honorably with personal integrity and moral courage]; so that the man of God may be complete and proficient, outfitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17 Amplified Bible AMP).

As people of faith, we contend that our faith is adequate to support our arguments against historical errors. However, history has proven that researchers cannot argue that their findings are the final word on a particular topic.  For instance, Oswalt began his discourse on the historical perspective of the “Bible and Myth” by presenting Wright, Stahlin, and Weiser’s view on the topic (Oswalt, 29). Not even a page later Oswalt iterated that opinions have now changed by citing the work of Oden, Smith, and Rogerson (p. 30). Furthermore, Oswalt contended that reliable data did not support the change in opinions, but iterated that the opinions were mere “assumptions of [the] scholars” (ibid). Of course,Oswalt was discussing the construct of the Bible being a myth; however, the premise of Oswalt‘s reasoning can be generalized to other research presented concerning the historicity of the Bible.

In addition, Merrill, Rooker, and Grisanti proffered that archeology has provided credible evidence that the historicity of the Bible is accurate; further, the scholars contended that to present an argument that the Bible is mythical and or legendary would be unduly biased (46). MerrilRooker, and Grisanti posited that archeological finds of The Merneptah Stele, The Tel Dan inscription, Dead Sea Scrolls, and the Tel Amarna letters supported the historicity of the Bible ( MerrilRooker, and Grisanti 47-48).  From a research standpoint, a believer can stand on the promise that empirical research proved the historicity of the Bible.  However, it still takes faith to believe that there is a God who is sovereign over all things and that te Bible records His words in a book penned by Him through human instruments.

Bibliography

McDonald, Lee Martin, and Lee Martin McDonald. The Biblical Canon: Its Origin, Transmission, and Authority. Peabody, Hendrickson Publishers, 2007.

Merrill, Eugene H., Mark F. Rooker, and Michael A. Grisanti. The World and the Word: An Introduction to the Old Testament. Nashville, B&H Academic, 2011. https://play.google.com/books/reader?id=9iq5AwAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&output=reader&hl=en&pg=GBS.PR4.

Oswalt, John N. The Bible among the Myths: Unique Revelation or Just Ancient Literature? Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2009. https://play.google.com/books/reader?printsec=frontcover&output=reader&id=9zgRdJy1X80C&pg=GBS.PA6.w.0.0.0.5.

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