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John Shirk

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Why is encouragement important?

john : June 15, 2010 9:39 am : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK-Encouragement is a positive word. Many people like to use it. The Bible uses the term. But what does it really mean? And what does it take for encouragement to take place? Two Scriptures give us understanding into the meaning of this word.

Hebrews 10:25 says, “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another-and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

God’s heart for believers is to be connected together. This is why going to a Bible-believing, grace-based church should be encouraged. Not because it makes us more spiritual. But because it is an atmosphere where the name of Jesus is honored and people have the opportunity to experience faith-building relationships.

Barnabas was a man in the early church who was gifted in encouragement. When he saw the evidence of God’s grace at the church in Antioch, the Bible says that he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. The example of Barnabas teaches us to encourage others to be fully devoted to the Lord, through our words, deeds, and attitudes.

That’s today’s Mission Statement for representing Jesus in the world today.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Ways to tell others about Jesus-Service Approach

john : June 11, 2010 8:40 am : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – In our Missions reports this year, we are seeing a trend among Christian organizations that go into the world to share the Gospel. Whether it’s Compassion International helping children break out of poverty, or Living Waters International digging wells to provide clean water for an area, or a disaster relief organization helping people in a crisis, the pattern is the same. Gain a hearing of the Gospel by addressing tangible needs in a timely way. Our compassion is incomplete if we share the Gospel without addressing physical needs. Our witness is incomplete if we address physical needs without sharing the Gospel. Serving in Jesus’ name involves telling people that the love of Jesus is what moves us to serve them.

In Acts 9, Tabitha is a good example of someone whose love for God was evident in her service. She was always doing good and helping the poor. We can look for service opportunities as a way to show the love of Jesus to people in need.

That’s today’s Mission Statement for representing Jesus in the world today.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Ways to tell others about Jesus-The Invitational Approach

john : June 10, 2010 10:03 am : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – In our excitement of becoming a new creation in Christ, we want others to share our experience of finding true and lasting satisfaction.
We recognize that this Gospel is too good to keep to ourselves. This is the solution for the whole human condition, not just a remedy for me.

In John 4, the woman at the well was refreshed when she drew the words of Jesus close to her heart. Leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” The Bible says they came out of the town and made their way toward him. As it turned out, many of them became believers in Jesus too.

The invitational approach is one way of sharing the Good News with others. We can invite our neighbors to a church function, or our co-workers to see a movie with us that presents the Gospel. Love for God and for people is what motivates us to invite people to taste and see that the Lord is good.

That’s today’s Mission Statement for representing Jesus in the world today.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Different Ways to tell others about Jesus-The Testimonial Approach

john : June 9, 2010 9:46 am : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – This is the type of evangelism that tells other people how God specifically touches us by His grace. This might happen in a setting where we are sharing one-on-one with a friend. Or we might have the opportunity to share our testimony at church.

In John 9, there is an example of a man who was blind from birth healed by the touch of Jesus. The Pharisees asked him how he received his sight. The man answered, “He put mud on my eyes, and I washed, and now I see.” One thing this man knew which the Pharisees could not deny was that he was blind, but now he could see. He asked them, “Do you want to become his disciples too?” When God touches our hearts with His grace, and when people notice the change, that is an opportunity to tell our story about how Jesus made a difference in our lives.

That’s today’s Mission Statement for representing Jesus in the world today.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Different Ways To Tell Other About Jesus-The Direct Approach

john : June 8, 2010 4:51 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Some would consider this approach to sharing the Gospel as more confrontational than other means.  This might happen in the setting of a debate or a series of meetings conducted by a traveling evangelist.
Some people are gifted to communicate the Gospel this way.

The story is told of how Eddie DeGarmo was used of God to lead Dana Key to faith in Jesus Christ.  One Monday morning in school, he grabbed Dana in the hallway and pulled him into a janitor’s closet.  It was there that he explained to Dana that his brother had brought him to Christ.  Now he wanted to share the good news with Dana. I don’t know if that is a direct approach, a testimonial approach, a friendship evangelism approach, or a combination of the three.  But in light of Dana’s recent unanticipated death, that proactive approach was life-changing for Dana Key, as it was also for Eddie DeGarmo.  It was out of that experience that two life long friends became brothers in Christ, and eventually became partners in ministry for the Gospel.  What a team they were!

http://www.christianbook.com/html/authors/2241.html

One of the most vivid examples in the Bible of a direct approach is when Peter spoke to the crowd on the day of Pentecost.  He told them that they had a part in the death of Jesus, and urged them to change their minds about Him.  He spoke of Jesus’ death and resurrection.  Peter then urged them to repent of their sins and save themselves from this corrupt generation.  With many words, he warned and pleaded with them.  The Bible says that, “those who accepted his message were baptized and about three thousand were added to their number that day.”  God worked through Peter to confront the enemies of Jesus with the Gospel, and moved them to become His friends and followers.

Great concern combined with a sense of urgency sometimes motivates us to take a direct approach to sharing the Gospel.

That’s today’s Mission Statement for representing Jesus in the world today.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Different ways to tell others about Jesus-The Intellectual Approach

john : June 7, 2010 2:49 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – This approach uses rational reasoning to reach the heart for the Gospel. This happens in the writings of Christian apologists, like Josh McDowell who wrote “Evidence that Demands a Verdict” or C.S. Lewis who wrote “Mere Christianity.”

In Acts 17, the Apostle Paul goes to Athens, a city full of idols with people interested in discussions about philosophy. Paul entered the marketplace of ideas by reasoning with people that his hope was in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. His cultural understanding of Athens gave Paul a starting place for sharing the Gospel. Instead of talking about the Jewish law, like he did at other places, Paul started with the altar that had the inscription: “To an unknown God.” He went from there to explain what they were missing in their worship. They were missing acknowledgement of their Creator. In God’s Word for Students, I Peter 3:15 says, “Always be ready to defend your confidence in God, when anyone asks you to explain it. However, make your defense with gentleness and respect.”

That’s today’s Mission Statement for representing Jesus in the world today.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Restoring Family Relationships

john : June 3, 2010 9:56 am : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – In First Kings 18, the prayer of Elijah’s heart was that the LORD might turn the hearts of the people back again. Through the mighty move of answered prayer, God performed a miracle that day to stir the people to declare, “The LORD-he is God! The LORD-he is God!”

In Malachi 4:5, we find a prophecy concerning Elijah. “See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers.”

When there is a moral breakdown in society, the breakdown of the family often occurs, and innocent people get hurt in the process. The role of Elijah in prophecy is to bring about reconciliation for family members. As we represent Jesus in our mission, we can serve as instruments of healing for families as we direct people to the hope and peace of God’s forgiveness in the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.

That’s today’s Mission Statement for representing Jesus in the world today.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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The presence of God

john : June 1, 2010 9:23 am : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – In Psalm 23:6, David said, “Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”

David was a man after God’s own heart whose tendency was to wake up to meet with God. He said in Psalm 5:3, “In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.”

The goodness and love of God were precious to David because David acknowledged God with reverence. He sought to be in a place of worship before God. That is where He found peace-in His presence. This is the assurance that we have with Jesus as the Shepherd of our souls. If we welcome Him as Lord while we live on the earth, He will welcome us into His kingdom of heaven. Surely goodness and love will follow us and we will dwell in His house forever.

Out of that peace and joy in our heart, we have a testimony of faith to share with others while we live on the earth.

That’s today’s Mission Statement for representing Jesus in the world today.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Revival at the Water Gate

john : May 27, 2010 2:53 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – If we look into any of the great revivals of history, we will find that repentance was a significant part of each one. That was the case in the book of Nehemiah, as the people of Israel began to return to their land after time in captivity. They gathered at a place called Water Gate to hear Ezra read from the Book of the Law of Moses.

Nehemiah 8:5 says, “Ezra opened the book. All the people could see him because he was standing above them; and as he opened it, the people all stood up. Ezra praised the LORD, the great God; and all the people lifted their hands and responded, “Amen! Amen!” Then they bowed down and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground.”

What followed was a period of weeping, and then a celebration of joy. That is the kind of effect that the Bible has on us when we take God’s Word to heart. We become responsive to the LORD’s mercy and supreme authority. Sin loses its control over us as we confess to the LORD, and then, we are freed to worship God with a joyful heart, because of the way God has made Himself known to us.

That’s today’s Mission Statement for representing Jesus in the world today.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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Vigilant Christianity

john : May 26, 2010 2:03 pm : John Shirk

JOHN SHIRK – Romans 13:11 issues this wake-up call.  “And do this, understanding the present time.  The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.”

In light of the Lord’s promise to return, the Apostle Paul wanted followers of Jesus to make the most of every opportunity with the present time.  It was his desire 2,000 years ago.  His words are relevant for our lives today as well.

What are some things that keep our eyes from being wide open to the spiritual needs around us?  One thing mentioned in this verse is sin.  Ongoing selfish desires cause us to make personal gain our primary focus.  This might come out in the form of pride, greed, or lust. These desires hold us back from being the person God made us to be.  The remedy for this dark pattern is to come into the light of God’s love.  Verse 14 says, “Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.”  With our faith focus on Jesus, He will give us new desires with a new attitude that enables us to live productive lives for the glory of God.

That’s today’s Mission Statement for representing Jesus in the world today.

John Shirk

john@wjtl.com

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