Category Archives: Family News

Lifestyle Evangelism

“While I share your faith in the LORD, I wonder whether this act of evangelism is truly the Christian way. I personally interpret the Bible’s message of evangelism to mean living one’s faith every day as an example, hoping that others will follow this example and begin to explore the message of GOD. HE is truly great, and hopefully others will be inspired to follow HIM by their own will, rather than by being preached to or guilted into belief. Every one should learn to love HIM on their own; to be able to find their own way to HIM, because of HIS message of love and forgiveness, not because of a fear of Hell. God Bless,” Blog comment

I thought this comment was too important to simply respond to and that instead it should be a new blog post. If you want to read my post to which this comment refers, here is the link.

Just how clear is the Bible in defining what evangelism really is? How much is left to personal interpretation? Is “lifestyle” evangelism what Jesus commands us to do, or are we to be direct in our appeal for the lost to be saved?

I know of no better way to clarify then to go to Jesus’ own words in Mark 16:15, “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Jesus used two key words, “go” and “preach.” Go is very clear, and the Greek word for “preach” means to herald or proclaim. Jesus did not say, “Live and let others observe your lifestyle.” He said to go and proclaim the gospel. There would be no need to look at additional verses, but because this is so important, let’s look further.

Jesus often used practical, real-life examples to illustrate spiritual truths. In Matthew 4:19, He said to Simon Peter and his brother Andrew, “And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” A fisherman’s job is a proactive vocation. If he waited for the fish to jump into his boat because it looked more desirable than the water, the fisherman would starve. Because fish are natural in the water, they will do everything they can to stay in the water. That is why it takes effort on the part of the fisherman to catch fish.

Catching a fish actually involves death for the fish. That is what must happen to real followers of Jesus. That is why He said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). Real followers of Jesus must die to self, and that is not something that happens easily.

That is why the only way to bring a person to Christ is for him to realize he is headed for hell. That is why the Ten Commandments were given – so man can see that he has broken God’s law and is destined to spend eternity in hell, unless he has a Savior. That is why the Holy Spirit comes to convict men of their sin. “And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (John 16:8).

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). That is why Jesus told all who are His disciples to “go and preach the gospel.” In hearing, they are convicted by the Holy Spirit of sin and their need of righteousness because of the coming judgment.

We can learn from those who heard Jesus directly and see how they applied His command to “go and preach the gospel.” Did they go on with their business and hope others would see and want to follow, or were they overt in telling people they were headed for hell? “The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go” (Acts 3:13). The whole section is great but look at Acts 3:19. “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.”

You might be surprised to learn who promoted “lifestyle evangelism” early on. “And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:18-20). Peter and John were commanded by Annas the high priest, Caiaphas and the council not to speak about Jesus. The Greek word for speak means to proclaim. Satan wants believers to be silent and disobey Jesus’ command to “go and preach the gospel.”

The question of “lifestyle evangelism” or Jesus’ command to “go and preach the gospel” can be best answered by Peter and John’s reply to the council. “But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye” (Acts 4:19).

I hope this helps make it very clear the sort of evangelism Jesus has commanded us to practice. Everyone reading this has an obligation to their Lord and those they care about. What friend would sit back quietly while someone they cared about was headed for disaster? We must accept that Scripture is very clear when Jesus said we are to “go and preach the gospel”– He meant exactly that.

Life-style evangelism is so much more comfortable, but it is not sanctioned by Scripture. We are commanded to live holy lives, but that is not for evangelism. “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness” (2 Peter 3:11). “Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16).

Steve

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One of the children took this picture while I was witnessing to a man on a recent trip as we had stopped for diesel.

The Conference

We’re traveling through the plains of Nebraska right now. We’ll be home by early this evening!

We are grateful for the opportunity to be at the CHOIS Idaho Conference this past weekend. After we arrived Friday morning at the church, the boys helped Dad and Mom set up in the sanctuary for their first session, while we girls worked on the set up of our book tables.

Throughout the day, Joseph, John, and Christopher made sure to take care of Dad and Mom by helping with their computer set ups, sound needs, and also sitting in on their sessions in case something was needed. When they weren’t helping, they were back at the book tables with us.

Although we didn’t do our Gospel Music Evening in Idaho, Dad decided we’d sing two hymns before the Keeping Our Children’s Hearts session Saturday morning. Since we brought our small trailer on this trip (which we became very grateful for due to the high winds on the first part), we didn’t have room to bring all of our instruments, just a few of the main ones (the rest of us were missing ours! :-)).

Saturday afternoon, Anna and Mary loved holding two little ones during a quiet time at our booth. We all love babies, and it was a treat to be able to be with these delightful little ones.

We packed out of the hotel Sunday morning and were on the road at a good time. Near lunchtime, as we drove through Utah, Joseph made a comment to Dad to the effect of, “Is Salt Lake City on the other side of those mountains?” as he pointed to the southwest. Dad replied were he thought Salt Lake actually was. It didn’t take more than a minute or two to realize we actually were rapidly approaching Salt Lake City, and we’d missed our shortcut that bypasses SLC! How could nine people miss our exit? Well, we did! So, we ended up going around downtown SLC, and going through a pretty valley up in the mountains that Mom loves, but we wouldn’t have normally seen going our normal route! Our “missed exit” mistake only cost us about 30 miles, and we did enjoy the scenery :-). The stretch between Cheyenne and SLC we love looking for antelope. A special delight this time of year was seeing little baby antelope!

Thank you to all who have been praying for us. We truly felt the Lord’s blessing on this trip.

Serving Jesus,

Sarah

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Dad and Mom giving Keeping Our Children’s Hearts Saturday morning.

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Dad said that puppies are great, but babies are the best :-)! (After the conference, a girl was carrying around her puppy, and Dad was just going to look at the puppy, but she offered for Dad to hold her.)

Summer Blizzard, But We’re Here!

Hurrying out of the hotel this morning, we found the temperature was quite cold, and it was definitely windy. As we drove, the wind was quite stiff, with gusts over 60 mph. Probably about two hours down the road, we hit a blizzard. Yes, a blizzard in Wyoming in June! With the wind and snow, it made for very interesting road conditions. Dad did a wonderful job handling the van and trailer in the difficult situation. We are so grateful for the Lord’s protection! We’re looking forward to the conference this weekend. For now, we’ll be having family devotions and then off for a good night’s rest.

Only for Jesus,

Sarah

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This was taken at the beginning of the snow storm!

On our way to Wichita

We are on our way to the TPA conference in Wichita, Kansas. The boys loaded most of the trailer last night, and then this morning they packed our personal luggage and other miscellaneous things. A special treat this trip is the addition of Nathan and Melanie. They normally aren’t able to come, but since we’re so close to home, they were able to join us. Grandad and Grandma graciously offered to watch Honey, our golden retriever. Oh yes, for those who may still be thinking about little Chester, Grandad’s going to keep sunflower seeds in her food bowl on the tree.

 

Grandad and Grandma joined us for the special prayer time as everyone stood in a circle while Grandad prayed. We’re looking forward to the conference this weekend, and our prayer is that the Lord Jesus Christ would be glorified in all that is spoken and received.

 

Maybe we’ll meet some of you all!

 

Blessings,

Sarah
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Pictures of Today

The house work is continuing to come along. Joseph has been diligently working on the plumbing, with Jesse as his helper. I took some pictures of them this afternoon.

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There is definitely work for the “clean up” team.

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Joseph was finished with his project in the ceiling, so he now was handing down his equipment to Jesse.

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We’ve also begun preparing for the Kansas state conference next weekend in Wichita (TPA). Above, Anna’s helping out with putting covers in the albums.

For those who have followed little Chester, she’s still doing well–and very playful! This afternoon, John saw her venturing off, so I guess she’s becoming adventuresome.

Only for Jesus,

Sarah

Chester’s Freedom!

This morning, several of the children brought our little anxious-to-be-released squirrel back to a tree behind our new house. Chester promptly scaled the tree and clung to it. At lunch, she was still up in the top of the tree.

Later in the afternoon, I went outside to take some pictures of our guys plumbing, and I decided to check on Chester. Dad told me where she had been, so I scanned the tree for her. Finally, I found her, and began talking to her. After about 5 or 10 minutes, she eventually came down the tree! I was delighted. I put her back in the cage, as I thought we might keep her in there a little while to help her adjust to a squirrel’s life in a tree. But, she was quite unhappy back in her cage.

She drank for a LONG time from her water bottle. Then John let her out of the cage, and she happily ate some cashews nuts. After a little while, Chester went back up the tree. She came down again—with some coaxing from Anna and me—and scrambled around on Anna. Yes, I’d say our squirrel is enjoying her freedom!

Only for Jesus,
Sarah

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Chester–hanging on the tree enjoying her nut!

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This is my favorite picture! Isn’t she cute?!