Thursday, June 13, 2019

Day 5 Report: 40 Days in the Harvest

The lack of understanding of the Good News of Jesus was very evident today. It is crazy how confused the simple message of the Gospel has become, and even more so because it's wrapped up in cultural Christian concepts. (We had a great/crazy conversation involving Joel Osteen that I'll save for telling in person.)

The sad part about it is that the Gospel is not changing lives because it has been confused and therefore not accepted.  Another sad thing that was evident was religion has burned people. (Again... Christian religion apart from a relationship with Jesus.)

I had a great teammate with me: Jacob Stafford of One Way Ministries. One bonus is he remembered to take a picture as we were debriefing the day! We're going to visit LaSalle again soon to follow up the Yellow Lights we encountered.

Tracking Day 5
Teammates: 1
Places: LaSalle
Engaged: 22
Prayed For: 6
Gospel Shares: 7
Yellow Light - Scheduled Follow Up: 3
Green Light (New Believer): 0
Christian: 1
Scheduled Training:

Entry: Hello to the Gospel in 3 Questions

"Hello, this is the Good News of Jesus Christ."

Okay, so it may not be quite that fast, but here are 3 questions to move any conversation to the Gospel.

If you can't view the audio player, click here.

Show Notes:
If you have a question to ask or a story to share, go here and Jump In!

Monday, June 10, 2019

Day 4 Report: 40 Days in the Harvest

Tracking Day 4
Teammates: 2
Places: Peoria & Green Valley
Engaged: 20
Prayed For: 3
Gospel Shares: 4
Yellow Light - Scheduled Follow Up: 1
Green Light (New Believer): 0
Christian: 3
Scheduled Training: 1 maybe

A couple of stories:
I was praying at a coffee shop before I was going to head out in downtown Peoria in the morning. A barista who had seen me doing a Discovery Bible Study with a coworker the previous week interrupted me to ask what I had been meeting his coworker about. I learned that he had already been praying for his coworker and has had some spiritual conversations with him.  It was a great encouragement to meet another believer.

I was reminded not to pre-judge who will respond to the Gospel. There was a guy wearing an 'I have issues' t-shirt that I almost avoided. But I felt led to offer to pray for him. It turned into a 15 minute conversation where I was able to share the Gospel and a follow up story about Jesus. He was even interested in meeting again!

One thought:
My afternoon was in Green Valley. I was surprised by how it went, especially compared to Day 3.  We offered to pray for a dozen people and only got one off-handed prayer request. (And even then they moved on from us before we were able to pray.) We know God wants people in this small town to hear and receive the Gospel, but the receptivity to spiritual conversations was surprisingly low. I'll be returning their a couple of more times during these 40 Days, so I'm going to start regularly praying for that community to be open to the Gospel.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Day 3 Report: 40 Days in the Harvest

Wow! Remember what I said last time about how it's better to share the Gospel with teammates?! Today we had 4 total teammates and the amount of conversations proves it! 

Tracking Day 3
Teammates: 4
Places: Peoria (From inner city to upscale and back again.)
Engaged: 25+
Prayed For: 18+
Gospel Shares: 14+
Yellow Light - Scheduled Follow Up: 2
Green Light (New Believer): 0
Christian: 0
Scheduled Training: 0
(The + is because we had some bigger groups we engaged in the afternoon so not 100% sure on totals.)

Some cool stories: 
I ran into someone I had prayed for previously and their prayer request (for their grandkids) had been answered.
A friend joined me as a teammate and I offered to pray for people in an upscale area of town. I didn't think we had a ton of luck (4 engaged, 2 prayers) but my friend said "This was helpful." He appreciated seeing simple questions starting spiritual conversations.
In the afternoon the number of people we engaged, prayed for, and shared the Gospel with was nearly identical. Usually there is a funnel with less people hearing the Gospel than you engage, but people on the south end of Peoria were very open to conversation and hearing the Gospel. For one group of kids it was the first time they had heard Jesus had died for them.

Some free thoughts: 
We have some messed up versions of Christianity out there. Church is something you go to, Jesus life and death is something you give assent to, but it doesn't change you or mean anything different.  Of the 14+ people that heard the Gospel today, many of them would describe themselves as Christian, but I'm not confident that many of them have a personal faith in Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.
The offer of a Bible study in a cultural Christian context often is met with "I already go to church." I'm working through better follow up questions. One I know I need to try is: "Can we come back and share a story of Jesus with you?"

Reply or contact me to join in a future harvest day! See the schedule here.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Day 2 Report: 40 Days in the Harvest

I started this day with 4 Discovery Bible Studies on the calendar. One of them was a growing believer and the rest were spiritually interested.  The second two no-showed but the first two went great.
I had at least 6 prayer partners specifically praying for the day, and it was evident in those Bible studies. Both of them surprised me by wanting to read more scripture! The first (not currently following Jesus) said: "Do you want to read another chapter?"  And the second (a growing believer) said "Do you want to read it again?"

Two other thoughts:
1) It's way easier with a teammate. I didn't have one in the afternoon and it makes it much more difficult! (Jesus knew what he was doing when he sent out his disciples 2x2.)
2) It does not take very long to get into some messy stuff. I won't share the specifics on the internet, but seeing brokenness face to face is pretty heavy. (This reminds me of my podcast episode with Dale Losch, statistics aren't as powerful as hearing personal stories.)

Reply or contact me to join in a future harvest day! See the schedule here.

Tracking Day 2
Teammates: 1
Places: Inner City Peoria, Pekin
Engaged: 10 (one of them being a scheduled follow up Discovery Bible Study)
Prayed For: 5
Gospel Shares: 5
Yellow Light - Scheduled Follow Up: 2
Green Light (New Believer): 0
Christian: 3
Scheduled Training: 0

Start with your Oikos with Joleene Burts

Reaching the world with the Gospel starts with our own neighborhood. Hear how God used a simple tool called an Oikos Map and a funny game called Bunco to lead people to faith in Jesus.

If you can't see the audio player, visit here:

Show Notes:
If you have a question to ask or a story to share, go here and Jump In!

Monday, June 3, 2019

Day 1 Report: 40 Days in the Harvest

In the morning, the most spiritually receptive person was weeding outside a church building. We were interrupted before we could fully understand her personal beliefs, but it was really intriguing that she was more open to talking than anyone else. 

Coming out of this day we have 4 opportunities for follow up. Three of the four were pre-existing relationships. People are interested in meeting, even specifically for a Bible study or for training to share their faith (Both of those happened today)!  The believer I met was a long-time acquaintance. After I prayed I asked a simple: Would you be interested in training to better share your faith? After it was a Yes I simply said "When? and Where?".

I'm still pondering how to respond to people that claim they are close to God but do not seem to have a personal and real relationship with Jesus. I'm learning to continue to press towards Gospel clarity, both in explaining it to someone, but also in their response to it.

Reply or contact me to join in a future harvest day! See the schedule here.

Tracking Day 1
Teammates: 1
Places: All Around Pekin
Engaged: 14
Prayed For: 6
Gospel Shares: 3
Yellow Light - Scheduled Follow Up: 3
Green Light (New Believer): 0
Christian: 3
Scheduled Training: 1