Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Five Hundred - I'm one of them..can you join us?

11 comments:

WayneDawg said...

See '1 City 500 Evangelists' link on the right side of the blog to join in!!

steve martin said...

Wayne,

Welcome back! I hope you had a wonderful vacation. Back to reality.

Well, I'm not in the Atlanta area, so I guess it wouldn't make too much sense for me to join. However, I might not join even if I were living nearby.

I'm just not a gospel tract passing out type Christian.

I do believe in sharing the gospel and I do speak to strangers about Jesus from time to time. And I do believe that God can work His will in someone from their reading of a gospel tract, especially if it is in conjunction with a person's witness.

I just believe that God meets people in the terrible times in their lives. When the law of God and the world is crushing them. I like to get to know someone a bit and find out where their need is. I try to address that need where I can and tell them that I'm in the same boat in many ways, and tell them what God has done for me and what he has done for them.

The tract thing may work and it may not, it's just that I am not so much a fan of the 'formula' type of witnessing.

But I will say this, I pray for you guys and gals and everyone that you speak with, that the Lord might grab a hold of their hearts and make them His own.

Godspeed Wayne, to you and the othe 499!

- Steve M.

Question of Identity said...

Hope you are refreshed after your holiday and raring to go!

If I was living near I certainly would be up for it - I have seen people come into a relationship with Christ through street evangelism and the use of tracts.

Praying for you!

Neil

WayneDawg said...

Wow - We have an area where we disagree!

*I just believe that God meets people in the terrible times in their lives. When the law of God and the world is crushing them. I like to get to know someone a bit and find out where their need is. I try to address that need where I can and tell them that I'm in the same boat in many ways, and tell them what God has done for me and what he has done for them.*

There is so much to debate about here...

Does God not meet people while they are having the time of their life? I was having the time of my life when God saved me...I was not going through some terrible time in my life. I had it all (and still do)...wife, kids, great job, etc. God still found me!

What happens when a person dies while you are waiting to get to know them better? I'd hate to try to explain that to God.....Well, God, I was waiting to get to know the person better so I could pick out a certain terrible thing in his life and relate that to my own life before I shared the Gospel with him; I didn't know he only had a few months to live.....

I find that a sinners greatest need is the Savior.

I pass out tracts as a means to engage in a conversation. Passing out a tract is never a 'formula' type of witnessing. I have talked with folks who were converted with a Gospel tract.

To be fair, the tracts I use always has the Law and Grace printed on them.

But, the tracts are to me a means to engage in a conversation and get to a point of using the Law and Grace.

Even if the person does not want to engage in coversation, at the very least he has the Law and Grace in his hands to read at a later time....

steve martin said...

Wayne,

Excellent points! You have the advantage over me though, you are refreshed from time on the beach!

There are always exceptions for every rule. But I have found that most people for whom their lives are going swimmingly well, do not have a need of God. It is in the tough times when people cry out for God and wonder what this is all leading to. You mentioned the law, and how it is included in the tracts. I think that the purpose of that Law is to crush people. Can it crush someone who doesn't have a care in the world...sure. Is it more likely to be prominent in the mind of someone having a rough go of it life, maybe.

And then there's the gospel side of the equation. Often that sweet freedom and promise of forgiveness and new life doesn't mean much for someone who's got it all going on.

I think this is why it is much easier for the gospel to take root in places like Africa, where people have very difficult lives as oppossed to say, Newport Beach, CA.

You mentioned what if they die while I'm waiting to talk to them. If that's the way you feel it works (and I'm not sure it is, for the reasons I've stated and that God may not allow one of His elect to die before the Gospel takes a hold of them), and also how could you let anyone walk past you at all without passing to them a tract. If I believed it worked that way, I would just find the busiest place on the planet and stay there 24/7 handing out tracts. I wouldn't even waste time going to church or going home or anything else, for that matter. Maybe huge trucks with massive sound systems and drop tracts from airplanes.
But I'm not so sure it works that way.

I think people need to hear the Law and Gospel as much as possible. They need to be born again not just one time where they make a decision for Christ, but rather they need to be born again, and again, and again.

St. Paul talks about "for those of us who are being saved..." It is a process of dying and rising, that God does to us in His Word.

So, I'm saying tracts aren't a bad thing. But I'm saying there is more to it than that. A lot more.

Thanks Wayne.

- Steve M.

WayneDawg said...

Steve -

Good points for sure -

But the Gospel cannot be just for the people who are down and out and going through tough times. The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation for anyone...the Jew first and then the Gentile.

People die all the time without ever hearing the Gospel...where do they go? They spend eternity in Hell. We cannot afford to wait to befriend everyone to share the Gospel.

This is why I hand out tracts and talk to folks.

Of course a Gospel tract in of itself cannot save anyone. The Law must do it's perfect job and crush the person as you say. Then, the good news of the Gospel makes sense.

As far as being born again; it's a one time thing. One can only be born again once. Now we are in the process of being saved. Salvation is not made complete until we are in Heaven.

It's like Paul Washer say's..."it's not that you are saved because you repented and believed one time; it's that you continue to repent and continue to believe." I think that is the same thing you were saying.

Of course there is much more than 'just' handing out a tract...like I said before, a tract is a way to hopefully enter a on the spot conversation to use the Law and present the Gospel right then. And if that person does not want to talk, at least he has the tract to look at later.

In Him -

steve martin said...

Wayne,

You sure have given me a lot of good arguments for the pssing out of tracts. And as I have said before, I have no problem with it and I do believe God can and does work through them.

But while that may be one of your preferred ways, it isn't one of mine. Not saying one way is necessarily better. God uses all types of people and many different ways to get His message across.

I'm not so sure if one can only be born again once. I know I die to sin everyday. And if I die, I need to be raised again. This is what I believe takes place in repentance and forgiveness. I think that continual dying and rising is the shape of the life of the Christian and we never move beyond it. But that is enough.

That is why when asked the question "are you born again?", I will answer, "Yes! and again, and again, and again. Or, I might answer, "Yes! In my baptism and everyday since then."

Like I said, Wayne, lots of good things to ponder with respect to how all this happens.

Thanks again, Wayne. talk to you again soon.

Grace to you!

- Steve M.

WayneDawg said...

Grace to you too Sir!

Doorman-Priest said...

I don't do tracts either: I've never found one which expresses a form of Christianity I recognise. However, I would be interested in turning out and engaging folk in conversation about Jesus.

Of course, I'd be saving folk for Jesus from slavery to a legalsitic, conservative, fundamentalist evangelicalism.

Still, saved is saved, Right?

WayneDawg said...

What form of Christianity is that DP?

The tracts I use all come from Livingwaters.com

The tracts use the Law folled by Grace. Which should (Hopefully) be the Christianity you reconize.

I'm not sure if you are slamming me on the legalistic, conservative, fundamentalist evangelicalism comment or not.

If so, I've been called worse for proclaming the biblical Gospel.

Thanks!

Doorman-Priest said...

Tongue in cheek my friend. Tongue in cheek. You'll get used to my provocative little ways.

I'd be genuinely interested to see one of the tracts. Can you do that?