Thursday, December 7, 2017

"I believe, but I'm not following"

Update: I'm going to alternate standard blog posts with stories about sharing the Gospel.  Background: This is another share experience I had with the Human Service Center group visiting the Christian Center:

Jakobe listened to me explain the Good News using the Three Circles. Then I asked: "Where would you say you're at today?"

She told me that she believes in the Gospel, but wasn't currently following God's design for her life.

(I've found this response to be one of the most common in the Peoria area. People understand spiritual things, even specifically Christian beliefs, but are not living their lives according to it.)

The good news about this Good News story is that Jakobe has since joined the Discovery Bible Study I've been leading on Thursdays with this group. I'm praying she learns to follow Jesus!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Training and practice starting spiritual conversations

I'm looking for a few people who would want to join me and initiate spiritual conversations with camper families at the Camp of Champions USA Winter Camp program. We'll do some training on how to do it, and then we'll put it into practice!

There are three time commitments: a 1 hour training and then 2 visits to our the Winter Camp program. Reply or comment if you want more information!

 --- Each blog post = One Gospel Share --- Update:
I'm going to alternate posting a blog and posting about sharing the Gospel.

Monday, December 4, 2017

3 Question Gospel Conversation Guide


This is a video training of a conversation guide that has been super-helpful to me as I seek to initiate Gospel Conversations.  View on Youtube here: https://youtu.be/U4CquGvvo-g


--- Each blog post = One Gospel Share

This is one of several times I've shared the Good News with a group of people that are at the Christian Center bowling alley. They come with the Human Service Center every Tuesday and Thursday. It's been amazing to see God turn a regular visit with them into Discovery Bible Studies (and hopefully more!).

On this specific day I was sharing with Nick. I was explaining that after Jesus died on the cross he rose again and he immediately cut me off: "No he didn't."  He either hadn't heard or couldn't fathom that someone could come back to life. I still see Nick weekly so pray for him to understand the Good News and then turn and believe in Jesus.

Monday, November 20, 2017

The Other Half

It's been awhile so let's reset this:

  • There are over 350,000 people in the Tri-County area of central Illinois.
  • At least 250,000 of them do not know Jesus as their personal savior.

Here's something else you need to know:

  • According to one research study, 47% (read: half) of people in America will visit a church if invited by a friend or family member. 
  • Simple math tells us that 53% (again, read: half) would not go to church even if invited by a friend or family member.

If we apply those numbers here, that's 125,000 people that are not interested in going to a traditional church. I think if we counted it, way more than 50% of our evangelism efforts involve trying to get people to our buildings. Those efforts are fine in their own way. I'm simply asking...

How are we going to reach the other half?


Each blog post = One Gospel Share  (I prayed and fretted all summer for this one!)

Throughout this last summer at Camp of Champions USA I felt a stronger and stronger conviction that I should seek to directly share the Good News with the parents and families of the kids that attend. Sadly, it took until August before I had the boldness, combined with the time needed, to move a conversation to that point. The grandma that I shared with (she was the campers' guardian) really appreciated it. She said that she was a Christian and believed in Jesus dying for her sins, but just "didn't go to church."  (That's probably a blog post for another time.)

Sunday, October 8, 2017

What's it gonna take?

What is it going to take to reach 250,000 people who need Jesus?

The good news about sharing the Good News is there are over 100,000 of us in the Peoria area that could share the message of Jesus.  If each of us just tells 3 people about Jesus, we'd saturate the area with the Good News.

That's all it will take.

Who are you sharing with today?

It's not always easy or comfortable, but with a little training and practice, it is more than possible.

--- Each blog post = One Gospel Share ---

One afternoon I shared the 3 Circles with Dwayne and Kathleen.  The coolest moment actually happened over a month later when I crossed paths with Dwayne:
"Hey Peter!" he said as I was about to leave.
"Will you pray for me?"

Start with the Gospel and it is amazing how quickly people realize you're a spiritual person.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

The Brutal Facts

The brutal facts are simple to state. There are 250,000 lost people in the tri-county Peoria area.

Two hundred fifty thousand.

Wow.

A few surprising numbers within that big number:
  • 19,000 Muslims live in Peoria
  • Over 150,000 people (nearly half of the population!) have zero faith, religious adherence, etc.
  • Nationally, 60% of people that say they are Christian would also say they do NOT have a belief in Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.
Brutal huh?

I think we need to pray more, share Jesus more, and make better disciples.

250,000 people. Odds are you'll be with one of them today. What's your plan then?

(Here's a spreadsheet I put together to compile these numbers.)

---
Each blog post = One Gospel Share

Coming outside after work one day there were a couple of kids playing basketball at the hoop in the parking lot. Starting a conversation wasn't too hard as the NBA finals had just passed. I've found the "How can I pray for you?" question to be a difficult one for kids to answer, but I eventually got to share the Gospel with the two boys. They didn't necessarily give a response either way.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Training Opportunity: Calling all Pekin High School Students

Pekin High School Late Starts: Get equipped to make disciples who make disciples AND learn to equip others yourself. Learn simple, biblical and effective tools for vision casting, evangelism and discipleship.  We'll be meeting every Pekin Late Start day, 8-9:15AM. The first one is Wednesday September 6th and we'll be meeting at Grace United Methodist Church (601 N 4th St). Hope to see you there!

---
Each blog post = One Gospel Share

Just Cross the Street
Mid summer I was brave enough to cross my street and strike up a conversation with three guys hanging out.  They didn't even realize I was there neighbor.  (And I try to be such a good witness while I'm doing yard work!! ;)

But really, I ended up having a long conversation, mainly with one guy named Richard. I asked how I could pray for him, which led us to a spiritual conversation about his beliefs. I was able to share the Gospel with him. He was familiar with it because of his family background, but not a Christian or ready to become one. I've been praying for a future opportunity to ask him about a discovery Bible study.  Or maybe I just need to cross the street again.

Friday, September 1, 2017

What does #NoPlaceLeft mean?

In Romans 15:23 Pauls says that he has "finished my work in these regions."  Really? No more work? Everyone is a follower of Jesus?

Probably not. A few verses earlier he lets us know that his goal is "preach the Good News where the name of Christ has never been heard." He had shared the Gospel and left local believers to reach their region in depth. (Check out Acts 6:7 & 19:10 for two times this happened.)

I don't think Paul would stick around here to share the Gospel. He would challenge the believers here to reach this area in depth and then move on. He wouldn't have work to do in these regions...

But we do.  There are enough followers of Jesus to reach this entire area in a few years. If you didn't look at Acts 6:7 & 19:10 yet, now's a good time.

Sharing the gospel and multiplying disciples and churches until there's #NoPlaceLeft.

---
Each blog post = One Gospel Share
I'll post stories about those experiences here.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

411 Training on Making Disciples

So here's my story...

I'm not exaggerating when I say that I've shared the Good News more in the last 5 months than I had in the previous 5 years.

I would hide behind thoughts like: "I'm in a ministry and church that share the Gospel." or "I need to wait for the right moment." (It never came) or "They'll hear it at this program/service." or "I don't know them well enough yet."

Those are all true to a certain extent, but none of them change the fact that Jesus tells his followers to Make Disciples everywhere they go.

In the last 5 months I've shared the Good News with dozens of people and initiated spiritual conversations with more.  What changed?

Simple this: Training and practice build confidence.

It started with a simple tool I found as I was putting together Camp's junior high program.  I learned it well enough to train it, and even more importantly, I implemented it in my own life. 

It's called the 411: 4 Questions on 1 piece of paper in 1 hour.
1) Why should we make disciples? (It's our identity.)
2) Who should we seek to disciple? (It starts with those around us.)
3) What do we say? (It starts with the Gospel.)
4) When do we do it? (We set some goals.)

You can Google "411 Making Disciples" and find the training for yourself.  It will be better if you do it with a group.  Let's try for better.

Let me know if you're interested.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Ripe for harvest

In John 4 there's a story of Jesus meeting a stranger. He crosses paths with a woman he's never met before. Culturally, he should have kept his distance. Instead he initiates a discussion, and the second thing out of his mouth turned their conversation to spiritual things.

At the end of their five minute talk, she is so convinced that Jesus is the Savior that she goes and tells the entire town about Jesus.

Jesus leaves two days later. Remaining behind is an entire group of people that now believe Jesus is the Savior.

What if that wasn't just a story of what Jesus did? What if it was a guide for what followers of Jesus should do today?

Over the last couple of months I've been trained to engage and disciple people that are far from God. I've seen it work, even among total strangers. I'm convinced Jesus left an example for us to follow.

Would you like that training? It's a 3 meeting commitment, about an hour and a half each time.

Let me know.
You know the saying, ‘Four months between planting and harvest.’ But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest. - John 4:35

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Dusting off the blog...

I'm working on a re-launch of my blog.  That may happen in the next 2 weeks, 2 months (or 2 years!)

(Spoiler alert: It's not a blog about nothing anymore.)

Now's your chance to unsubscribe! :)