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Tag: Jesus

1

Why Don't We Evangelize? - We Do Not Love Others As Ourselves

Why Don't We Evangelize? - We Do Not Love Others As Ourselves

Written By: Dr. Angel

Welcome to Part 9 of our current blog series; "Evangelism". Click here for Part 8, "Why Don't We Evangelize? - We Don’t Love the Word".

The fifth reason why we do not evangelize is because we do not love others as ourselves.

How do you see yourself? Proverbs 23:7 reminds us that as we think in our heart, so are we. If you were a stranger on the street, would you want to be your friend? Take a moment to seriously ponder this question. You know your character, morals and your past. As a result, you know the kind of friend you would be to others. Do you truly love or hate yourself? The Lord commands us to love our neighbors as ourselves. If you do not love yourself, then you will not love others. Why? Because you cannot give away what you do not already possess.

Matthew 22:39 (NIV) - “And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.”

If you had a physical need, would you want someone to try to meet it? Is not the need for salvation the greatest need of every human heart?

Matthew 25:35-36 (NLT) - “For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.”

1 John 4:7-12(NLT) – “Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.”

Jude 1:21-23 (KJV) – “Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.”

As I stated in my previous article; Why Do We Evangelize: To Help Set Other Free, I believe the most loving thing that you could do for someone is tell them the truth so they can experience freedom. If you did not know the saving love of Jesus Christ, wouldn’t you want someone to tell you about Him?

Love tells us the truth and the truth sets us free! I am glad that someone loved me enough to tell me about Jesus so that I can love others in the same manner. When I reflect on the wonderful benefits the Lord has bestowed on my life, I cannot help but tell others about Him. What about you?

Psalm 103:2-5 (NASB) – “Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits; Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases; Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; Who satisfies your years with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.”

Don't forget what The Lord has done. Today, show someone that you love them by telling them The Gospel!

Tomorrow, we will dicuss the sixth reason we do not evangelize; we don’t feel it is our responsibility.

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Why Don't We Evangelize? - We Don’t Love the Word

Love The Word

Written By: Dr. Angel

Welcome to Part 8 of our current blog series; "Evangelism". Click here for Part 7, "Why Don't We Evangelize? - We Are Afraid of Difficult Questions".

A fourth reason why we don’t evangelize is we don’t love the Word. Jesus is the Word. If we really love Him, we will evangelize. When we neglect the practice of telling others the Gospel, we are demonstrating that we do not love Him. What? Wait, before you take offense to this notion, let’s look at what the scripture says concerning Jesus being the Word.

John 1:1-3 (NIV) – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.”

John 1:14 (NASB) – “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

1 John 5:7 (NKJV) – “For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one.”

Now, that we have settled the fact that Jesus is the incarnate Word of God, let’s move on to the issue of not loving “The Word”. Love is an action word. Jesus demonstrated His great love for us by dying on the cross for our sins even while we were yet sinners. Also, we know that God’s love for the world compelled Him to give His only son, Jesus as the sacrifice for our sin. Jesus Himself says that when we keep His commands, we demonstrate our love for Him. These commandments include telling others the Gospel, also known as carrying out The Great Commission. You can read more about this command in our second article of this series entitled; "Why Do We Evangelize - It's A Commandment".

Romans 5:8 (NIV) – “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

John 3:16 (NKJV) – “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

John 14:15 (ESV) – “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”

If we love The Word, we will do what He says. If we do not love the Word, we will NOT do what He says. Any questions? The bottom line is, we cannot give to charity, feed the poor, or help rescue kittens from trees in lieu of obeying the commandments of God. He wants our obedience to His Word more than our sacrifices. Our obedience to The Word is a demonstration of our sincere love for Him.

1 Samuel 15:22 (NASB) – “Samuel said, "Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.”

Acts 1:8 (NLT) – “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere--in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

The Holy Spirit is our helper and He empowers us to live lives in total obedience to the Word. Not only does the Holy Spirit empower us to uphold the much quoted “Ten Commandments” (Exodus 20:3-17) and “The Greatest Commandment” (Matthew 22:36-40). He also empowers us to uphold Jesus’ commandment to evangelize (Matt 16:15).

Mark 16:15-20 (NLT) – “And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned. These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak in new languages. They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.” When the Lord Jesus had finished talking with them, he was taken up into heaven and sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand. And the disciples went everywhere and preached, and the Lord worked through them, confirming what they said by many miraculous signs.”

Search your heart today and ask yourself; "Do I really love the Word?" Am I carrying out Jesus’ commandment to evangelize? If not, pray, and ask the Holy Spirit to give you boldness so that you can tell people everywhere about Jesus!

Get ready! Tomorrow, we will discuss the fifth reason why we don’t evangelize; “We don’t love others as ourselves.”

1

Why Don't We Evangelize? - We Are Afraid of Difficult Questions

Question

Written By: Dr. Angel

Welcome to Part 7 of our current blog series; "Evangelism". Click here for Part 6, "Why Don't We Evangelize? - We Are Afraid of Rejection".

A third reason why we do not evangelize is that we are afraid of difficult questions. We do not want to get asked a question that we do not have an answer for. No one likes to be the person with the wrong answer. We all want to be right sometimes, if not all the time. We ascribe to the belief that it is not wise to speak as an expert on a topic if we are not qualified to do so. For example, you would not speak about "rocket science" if you were not a "rocket scientist". Unfortunately, we often apply this same belief to sharing The Gospel. 🙂 Hummm...Why is this? As Christians who have personally experienced the love of Christ through His saving grace, are we not qualified to share our faith with those around us?

Perhaps we avoid evangelizing so we are not seen as people who do not have answers for every question that is presented to us. Could this be pride? If the questions were, "How many of each type of animal were allowed in Noah’s Ark?";"Who deceived Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden?" we would boldly proclaim "two" and "The serpent." However, we fear the possibility of being asked more complex questions such as “Were there dinosaurs in Noah’s Ark?”; “What specific type of fruit did Adam and Eve eat from the tree?” These are good questions. So, to avoid feeling embarrassed or engaging in controversial discussions, we eliminate our practice of evangelizing all together.

The reality is, sometimes questions related to obscure details about the Bible can make us feel uncomfortable if we do not readily know the answers. As uncomfortable as these situations may seem, do not allow them to deter you from your mandate to share The Gospel. When evangelizing, your posture should be to stick to The Gospel and rely on the Holy Spirit to give you the words to say. Remember, its all about Jesus! Do not allow difficult questions to distracted you from discussing mankind's struggle with sin and the redeeming power of the blood that Jesus Christ shed on the cross for us.

1 Corinthians 2:2 (NIV) – “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified”

1 Corinthians 2:4 (NLT) – "And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of The Holy Spirit."

Titus 3:9 (NLT) – “Do not get involved in foolish discussions about spiritual pedigrees or in quarrels and fights about obedience to Jewish laws. These things are useless and a waste of time.”

To reiterate, yes, there is a real possibility that you may be asked questions you do not have answers for. It is very important, however, to know how to respond in these situations. Do not try to argue; it's okay to say “I don’t know.” We will discuss the topic of responding in depth in the “How do we evangelize?” segment of this blog series.

The fear that we may not be able to provide adequate responses to difficult questions, can cause us to feel it is safer to avoid conversations about the Bible all together. Unfortunately, if this is our resolve, then conversations which constitute evangelizing would have to be eliminated. "May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?" (Romans 6:2, NASB) We have been set free from the spirit of fear and no longer should walk in it.We are reminded in 2 Timothy 1:7 that the spirit of fear is not from God, but from the enemy.

Therefore, do not let the spirit of fear stop you from evangelizing. Instead, study the word of God, know The Gospel, be ready to share your personal testimony, and rely on the Holy Spirit for guidance. He will give you wisdom, reveal mysteries from the Bible to you, and tell you exactly what He wants you to say at the right time!

Today, let's pray and repent of any fear, then ask the Holy Spirit to guide us as we evangelize. Let's make a fresh commitment to God that we will no longer allow the fear of difficult questions prevent us from sharing The Good News!

Ephesians 1:17 (NIV) – “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.”

Luke 12:11-12 (NKJV) – “Now when they bring you to the synagogues and magistrates and authorities, do not worry about how or what you should answer, or what you should say. For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”

Tomorrow, we will discuss a fourth reason whey we do not evangelize. Get ready!

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Ask Donnell: Are Children Assets or Liabilities To Their Parents?

Family in Hands

We received the following question;

"My father says to us that we (his children) were liabilities while growing up and now that we are older we are assets to them (parents). I was looking in the Bible to match it up with what my dad said but all I found was children obey your parents and honour your mother and father. I would like to know if children are liabilities or assets to parents."

This is a very interesting question. An asset is something that adds value and a liability is something that costs. Before we get into the scriptures let me tell you the first and easiest thing that comes to mind. From the perspective of the Government, before children reach a certain age, are mature enough to live on their own and/or can pay their own bills they can be claimed as dependents on their parent's taxes. What does it mean to be a dependent? It means someone else is responsible for taking care of you.

Naturally, when babies are born, they are 100% dependent on their parents for survival. They can't do anything for themselves but cry and hope a parent responds. As they develop, children depend on their parents until they get to the stage of their lives when they can take care of themselves. Until that stage, children live in their parent's home, eat their parent's food, occupy their parent's time and cost their parents money.

Unless a child does substantial chores or contributes to the household in some other significant fashion, from a purely financial perspective, it's understandable for parents to consider children as liabilities. After all, they are the biggest expense in the household without providing additional income. That is, until they become adults and no longer depend on their parents, sparing them the expense. In some cases, the roles are switched and children are held responsible for taking care of their parents in their old age.

In other cases, this switching of roles between children and parents takes place before the parents are old. It happens when parents hit tough times and need help from their children and even in extreme cases, a roof over their heads. This is an illustration of how children can become assets to their parents when they become adults. However, there is more to the story than just assets and liabilities. There is a third category that bridges the gap between each. Let's get into the Word of God for the truth.

Psalms 127:3-5(NLT) - Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him. Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands. How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them! He will not be put to shame when he confronts his accusers at the city gates.

The Bible describes children as both gifts and rewards from God for their parents. Not just that, children are described as arrows in the hands of a warrior and a blessing to their parents. Yes, children cost money when they are young but the payback is priceless in God's eyes. Hence, nobody should consider a gift from God as a liability. Also, when something initially costs but eventually adds value it is neither merely a liability nor an asset, it's an investment. That's the category that children fall into.

The arrow analogy is my favorite. The archer has four main responsibilities; aquiring the arrows, pointing them in the right direction, providing the force to propel them forward and releasing them. Once the arrow is first propelled by the warrior with sufficient force it can take flight on its own. In the end, it travels faster and further than the warrior who released it. It also fulfils the objective of the warrior without the warrior having to be in the same place that the arrow lands. Let's now apply this to parenting.

Proverbs 22:6(KJV) - Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

When children are trained in the way they should go, they are essentially given direction for their lives. The parent has to bear the child, point the child in the right direction, provide the motivation and support to propel the child forward and at some point, release the child. Once released, the parent has to trust The Lord that the child will end up at the desired destination. Sometimes, it might take a while but if it is done right, the end result is always the same. They will eventually hit the target.

Arrows don't travel in a straight line because of the force of gravity. As a result, each arrow takes a unique trajectory before hitting the desired target. In the same way, the path of each child is different so the parent's job is to point, propel and release their child. The rest is up to The Lord. With that in mind, let's wrap this up by emphasizing the multi-generational nature of God's plans. He rarely ever gives someone a big vision that's completely fulfilled in one generation. Hence, children are necessary to carry on the legacy started by their parents.

Genesis 18:17-19(NLT) - “Should I hide my plan from Abraham?” the Lord asked. “For Abraham will certainly become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed through him. I have singled him out so that he will direct his sons and their families to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just. Then I will do for Abraham all that I have promised.”

God's plan for Abraham included his children. In fact, God's promise to Abraham could only be fulfilled through his offspring. Look at what the scripture says. Only after Abraham teaches his children and their families the way of The Lord would God fulfill his promise to Abraham. Why does that matter to us? That's how God works. He doesn't just call one man, He calls the entire family. Simply put, the human race (pun intended) is a relay.

One generation passes the baton to the next one to continue running. Abraham passed the baton to Isaac who passed it to Jacob who passed it to Joseph who passed it to Ephraim, etc. all the way until it got to Jesus. Hence, if your parents fulfill God's Will for their lives the baton in their hands will be passed to you so that you can continue the race for your generation. Regardless, even if your parents don't do God's Will, through Jesus the baton of being God's people in the earth has been passed on to us.

So, to tie this entire discussion up, let's settle on a few things. All children are dependent on their parents when they are young. However, as they mature they can become assets to the family by choosing to add value to their parent's lives. They can also remain liabilities beyond the allotted time and drag their families down with bad decisions. In the end, the choice is yours. After all that your parents have invested in your life, have you begun to provide any value for their investment? I hope so. It's expensive to raise a child these days so make something of your life and prove to your parents that it was worth it.

2

Why Do We Evangelize? - Our Love For Jesus

Why Do We Evangelize? - Our Love For Jesus

Written By: Dr. Angel

Welcome to Part 3 of our current blog series; "Evangelism". Click here for Part 2, "Why Do We Evangelize? - It's A Commandment".

2 Timothy 2:4(NIV) - “No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer.”

John 14:5(NLT) - "If you love me, obey my commandments.”

This brings us to the second reason why we evangelize. We evangelize because we love Jesus and want to tell others about Him. When you love someone you find great pleasure in telling others about the impact they have had on your life.

Since we truly love Jesus, we are not able to contain the great news of what He has done in our lives. Our response to the great love He has shown us is to tell others about Him. We each have a testimony of what the Lord has saved us from, kept us from, or both! Our testimonies are powerful! We have been forgiven for innumerable sins and transgressions. This alone should compel us to testify of the great love of the Lord!

Luke 7:47(NLT) - “I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.”

Revelation 12:11(KJV) - “And they overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony.”

We can observe a love for Jesus that resulted in evangelism through the lives of a Samaritan woman and the Apostle Paul.

First, the Samaritan woman spent one moment with Jesus at a well. Her encounter with Jesus was so impactful that she immediately began to evangelize to an entire community about her experience!

John 4:39-42(NIV) - “Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. And because of his words many more became believers. They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have.”

Second, the Apostle Paul had an encounter with Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus. As a result of meeting Jesus, he was greatly impacted. His transformation resulted in Him denouncing all ties to his former life and dedicating the rest of His days to worldwide evangelism.

Philippians 3:3-11(NLT) -“For we who worship by the Spirit of God are the ones who are truly circumcised. We rely on what Christ Jesus has done for us. We put no confidence in human effort, though I could have confidence in my own effort if anyone could. Indeed, if others have reason for confidence in their own efforts, I have even more! I was circumcised when I was eight days old. I am a pure-blooded citizen of Israel and a member of the tribe of Benjamin—a real Hebrew if there ever was one! I was a member of the Pharisees, who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law. I was so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church. And as for righteousness, I obeyed the law without fault. I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!”

Psalm 103:1-5(KJV) - Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's.

What’s your testimony? Let’s take a moment and reflect on where you were when Jesus came to set you free. Were you like the Samaritan woman with a history of failed relationships, rejection and pain? Were you like the Apostle Paul with a history of great achievements but self-righteous and murderous? You did not choose Him, He chose you and loved you first. Now, consider where you are now in your life. REJOICE in His promises of a great future and a hope in Him!

1 John 4:19(KJV) – “We love Him because He first loved us.

Isaiah 1:18(NASB) -“Come now, and let us reason together," Says the LORD, "Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool.”

Jeremiah 29:11(NLT)- “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

What manner of love is this? All of our past sins have been washed away (Isa. 1:18) and our latter end WILL be greater than our former (Haggai 2:9). The unfathomable love that Jesus has lavished on us should compel us to tell the world all about Him and all He has done in our lives!

2

Why Do We Evangelize? - It's A Commandment

Why Do We Evangelize? - It's A Commandment

Written By: Dr. Angel

Welcome to Part 2 of our current blog series; "Evangelism". Click here for Part 1, "Evangelism: Four Questions We Should Ask Ourselves".

I have heard it said that when people do not know the purpose of something, they will abuse it. Therefore, I believe the first question we need to answer concerning evangelism is the reason for doing it. So why do we evangelize? If Christians do not know the reason or purpose of evangelism, it could potentially be viewed as pointless. Hence, they are unlikely to actively evangelize in the manner that it was intended.

There are many opinions and motives for why Christians evangelize. However, I would like to highlight three reasons that I observe from the scriptures. These three reasons for evangelism are as follows;

1) We are commanded by Jesus to do so

2) We love Jesus and want to tell others about Him

3) We have a passion for the unsaved to experience freedom.

The first reason to evangelize is that we are commanded by Jesus to do so. After Jesus’ resurrection, He appeared to His disciples on several occasions. His resurrection from the dead was undeniable. However, He would soon ascend to the right hand of the Father until the final day of His return. Prior to leaving, He gave His disciples a command that is known as the Great Commission.

Mark 16:14 (NIV) - “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”

We see in this scripture that Jesus said “go ye into all the world”. He did not say “consider ye going”; “a few of ye go” or “vote about going”. He gave us a clear directive to “go ye into to all the world...” Jesus’ master plan for spreading the Gospel hinges on the obedience of His followers. There is not a plan B.

In His infinite wisdom, He gave His followers the assignment of spreading the message of salvation. Now, He is patiently waiting for everyone to hear the truth and make a personal choice to accept or reject His gift of salvation. Essentially, His deepest desire is for none of mankind to perish in hell but to live with Him for eternity.

2 Peter 3:9 (NIV) - “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

The Great Commission is a direct command from our Commanding Officer, Jesus Christ. Just like any other command given by Jesus, the work of spreading the Gospel should be viewed as a priority by all who consider themselves soldiers or followers of Christ. In reality, the distractions of daily living can cause some of us to push this directive lower or even completely off our list of priorities. In fact, our hearts are sometimes drawn away by a love for other things than Jesus Christ. This brings us to the second reason why we evangelize.

2 Timothy 2:4(NIV) - “No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer.”

John 14:5 (NLT) -"If you love me, obey my commandments.”

We evangelize because we love Jesus and want to tell others about Him. When you love someone you find great pleasure in telling others about the impact the person has had in your life. We'll continue from here tomorrow with more on the second reason for evangelism.
23

Evangelism: Four Questions We Should Ask Ourselves

Evangelism

Written By: Dr. Angel

In January 2014, my husband Donnell and I obeyed the voice of the Lord and launched The Body Church in the city of Atlanta. Still in its infancy, the church has just appointed its first Elder and Deacon and moved into its new space nestled in the inner city of Decatur, Georgia. We are rejoicing with every new step the Lord directs! Now that we have settled into our new location, we are eager to get to know our neighbors and share the gospel of Jesus Christ with the surrounding community!

As I contemplated what to write about for this blog series, the Lord spoke to me and said “Evangelism.” What is evangelism? Merriam Webster defines evangelism as the “spreading of the Christian gospel by public preaching or personal witness; zealous advocacy of a cause”. When was the last time you shared your faith with an unbeliever?

I John 2:16-17 (NLT) –“For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.”      

Psalm 20:7 (NIV) - “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.”

Like a beautifully wrapped gift box filled with air, the world cannot satisfy our longing for love. We long for something real. I am grieved by the pain, violence, abuse, and hopelessness that is so prevalent in our world today. So many people have placed their trust in human effort, but have been disappointed. Other people placed their trust in successful careers, but have been let go. Still other people have placed their trust in riches, but have lost everything. When we survey the state of our society, it has never been clearer today that Jesus is our only hope.

1 Timothy 1:1 (KJV) – “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope;”

1 Peter 1:3 (NIV) -“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,”

As Christians in the Body of Christ, we have the answer and the privilege of bringing hope to our generation. We are all called to carry the message of Jesus Christ throughout the earth through evangelism. We are living in the last days. Second Timothy 3:1 warns us “that in the last days perilous times shall come”. It is clear that conditions throughout the earth are going to get a whole lot worse before they get better. Like Esther, we need to be reminded that we were born for such a time as this. Yet, it seems so few born-again Christians actively participate in evangelism.

Esther 4:14 (NKJV) - For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

A recent study conducted by LifeWay Research surveying 3,000 evangelical Christians showed that 61 percent of participants “fail to share their faith on a regular basis, even though they believe it is their responsibility to do so” (Christianity Today, 2012). Does this statistic concern you? Are you moved to action or greater intercession for lost souls? Though these findings are both alarming and heartbreaking, my sense is that they do not stir every heart toward greater evangelism to win the lost. Why do so few Christians share their faith?

Perhaps we need a clearer understanding of the Dos, Don’ts, How’s and When’s of evangelism. Exploring these four areas may help us gain a greater understanding of evangelism and stir urgency in our hearts to evangelize the world. In this blog series, I will attempt to answer the four questions:

  • Why do we evangelize?
  • Why don’t we evangelize?
  • How do we evangelize?
  • When do we evangelize?

Over the next few weeks, let’s embark on this journey together and see what Holy Spirit would reveal to us concerning evangelism, from the Word of God!

35

Help Us Welcome The Cracked Door's Newest Writer; Dr. Angel

Help Us Welcome The Cracked Door's Newest Writer, Dr. Angel

Genesis 2:18(NKJV) - And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”

After 9 years of being the main writer at The Cracked Door, I am excited to announce that my wife, Dr. Angel will now be stepping in to help. I still plan to answer your "Ask Donnell" questions and occasionally write a blog when The Lord gives me a special Word for you. However, as we celebrate our 9th year as a ministry The Lord is taking us to bigger and better things. This is an important step for us to maintain this good work that God started in us in September 2006. Here's a little about Dr. Angel's background.

"Pastor Angel Duncan, PhD has a heart that is passionate about leading others to Christ. Professionally, she has an extensive business background having held leadership posts in the corporate, academic, and nonprofit sectors. Additionally, she has spent several years of her life working to free women and children who have been enslaved in human trafficking.

She served as Director of Program Strategy for the establishment of one of the first “faith-based” restorative homes for victims of human trafficking in the South-Eastern region of the United States. She currently serves as a Business Professor at a prominent US Christian University. She holds a BS in Business Administration, an MS in Business Management and a PhD in Human Services with a specialty in Non-Profit Agency Development."

Here's the introduction to her upcoming blog series which will begin tomorrow morning;

In January 2014, my husband Donnell and I obeyed the voice of the Lord and launched The Body Church in the city of Atlanta. Still in its infancy, the church has just appointed its first Elder and Deacon and moved into its new space nestled in the inner city of Decatur, Georgia. We are rejoicing with every new step the Lord directs! Now that we have settled into our new location, we are eager to get to know our neighbors and share the gospel of Jesus Christ to the surrounding community!

As I contemplated what to write about for this blog series, the Lord spoke to me and said “Evangelism.” What is evangelism? Merriam Webster defines evangelism as the “spreading of the Christian gospel by public preaching or personal witness; zealous advocacy of a cause”. When was the last time you shared your faith with an unbeliever?

Ladies and Gentlemen, please help us welcome Dr. Angel to The Cracked Door.

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Ask Donnell: Will Heaven and Earth Literally Disappear At The End?

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We received the following question from Jabari;

"Good morning Pastor Donnell, I was reading Mark 13 where Jesus taught his disciples what will take place in the last days and one particular scripture jumped out at me that I don’t quite yet understand. It is Mark 13:31, “Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear.” This was after Jesus told them in verses 26 &27 of Mark 13 “Then everyone will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds with great power and glory. And he will send out his angels to gather his chosen ones from all over the world —from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven”. I am unclear as to what it means by heaven and earth will disappear. Can you help?"

Wow! Jabari, you sure are eating that scroll, aren't you? You've obviously been reading your Bible. Great question. Here's the best way to clear up a scripture. Find another one that says the same thing clearer. 🙂 Before we get into that, be sure to read Chapter 7, "The Gap Theory", from my book, Faith Science. In it, I discuss Biblical prophecies that address the end of the heavens and earth as well as certain scientific theories that connect with them.

Anyway, let's get to the good stuff. At first glance, if you don't know much about Eschatology (Bible "End-time" Prophecy), it would be easy to assume that Jesus was just using the phrase, "heaven and earth will disappear" as a figure of speech. Maybe He was just trying to emphasize how impossible it is for His Word to ever pass away. Perhaps, He could have said the same thing in a different way if He was merely using it to make the point about the lasting nature of His Word. However, can what Jesus said be taken literally? Perhaps, there's more in there.

2 Peter 3:10-13(NKJV) - But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

There it is as clear as day. God intends to start over. He will destroy the heavens and the earth as we know it at the end of time and then recreate them. He will burn everything with a fire so hot that even the elements themselves will be consumed. That supports a literal interpretation of the phrase Jesus used; "heaven and earth will disappear" because they will. This outcome is consistent with at least one of the popular scientific theories predicting the end of the expanding universe.

Isaiah 66:22(NKJV) - “For as the new heavens and the new earth Which I will make shall remain before Me,” says the Lord, “So shall your descendants and your name remain.

God intends to only do this once. When He creates the new heavens and earth they will remain forever. The tainted old earth and heavens that we live in now will be a distant memory and God will press the restart button. Thankfully, there will be no more sin and the devil himself will be in the lake of fire. Nevertheless, for some more insight into the circumstances surrounding the end of the earth and heavens let's turn to my favorite book of The Bible, Revelation.

Revelation 20:11-15(NKJV) - Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.

Revelation 21:1-7(NKJV) - Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.” And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.

After the one thousand year Millennium reign of Jesus Christ which follows The Resurrection, the devil will be released to tempt mankind one more time. He will lead those who remain on earth without Christ into revolt against God and they will be soundly defeated. Once that is done, God will administer The Great White Throne Judgment and send everyone who's not in Christ into The Lake of Fire to burn for eternity. It's at that point that God will destroy the heavens and earth and start over with only the people in His Kingdom. Everyone else will be in The Lake of Fire for eternity after being sentenced during The Great White Throne Judgment.

I know I threw allot of information at you there but that's the answer in a nutshell. If you want a better understanding of Bible prophecy read my book, "Revelation Unplugged". In there you will see much more about how things will end according to The Book of Revelation and other supporting scriptures.

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Ask Donnell: How Do I Ask God To Confirm "The One" For Me?

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We received the following question from a young lady;

"How do i ask God for confirmation for a person i have never seen? I dated one gentleman that i really liked but he no longer speaks to me. There has been no other suitors that have come along. But deep down in my heart the guy that no longer speaks to me is still in my heart. He may be the one. How do i ask for confirmation?"

This is a great question. A gentleman asked almost the same question a few months ago so check out the response at the following link; "Ask Donnell: How Will God Confirm Someone As Your Future Wife?" The principles in there will also apply in your case.

James 1:5-8(NLT) - If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.

First, let me congratulate you on your decision to seek God for guidance in this situation. Without His wisdom we are always bound to make bad mistakes that can affect us for life. When we ask God concerning a mate He answers us. This brings up the broader issue of developing your ability to hear from God so that when He answers, you will be able to hear and act on it. Read this blog, "Respect God's Voice In Other People". It's Part 7 of a mini-blog series on Hearing from God. Read all seven points by clicking the links in each blog to go backward to the previous point. Additionally, an entire section of my book, "Well Done", is dedicated to hearing from God.

So, is the guy who no longer speaks to you the one for you? Well, since I don't have any first hand knowledge of the details of your situation I don't know. However, I can reason using the facts you provided to me. What I do know is that your relationship with him is over and he is not speaking to you. Those two facts are important to keep in mind as you seek God about him. Whether or not he's still in your heart is not a factor because you can keep someone in your heart for as long as you choose to. When you are ready to let him go, he will no longer be in your heart. It's that simple. It takes time but it works. I assume that he's not married because if he is, then it's not a mystery. He's not the one.

Sometimes our emotions cause us to hang on to people we should be letting go. So, here is some good counsel. Since he has already let you go by not keeping in touch, it's time for you to let him go! Put him in God's hands and let The Lord reunite the two of you if He chooses to. If God doesn't do it, it's not going to happen because the guy has demonstrated that he's over it. Thankfully, that could be a good thing for you because when you let him go, you make room in your heart for the right person. Right now, that spot is occupied so even if The Lord sends someone in your direction, you're not ready to receive him. You can't see the man in front of you if you're busy looking back. So what now?

1 Corinthians 7:32-35(NLT) - I want you to be free from the concerns of this life. An unmarried man can spend his time doing the Lord’s work and thinking how to please him. But a married man has to think about his earthly responsibilities and how to please his wife. His interests are divided. In the same way, a woman who is no longer married or has never been married can be devoted to the Lord and holy in body and in spirit. But a married woman has to think about her earthly responsibilities and how to please her husband. I am saying this for your benefit, not to place restrictions on you. I want you to do whatever will help you serve the Lord best, with as few distractions as possible.

This is some of the best advice ever for single people. It's the same advice I received of The Lord while I was single and it works. Now is the time to go hard after The Lord with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength. Since you don't have a husband you don't have to split time so God can get all of you. Additionaly, during this season let The Lord shape you into the type of woman that the type of man you're looking for is actually looking for. It's much easier to attract the right man when you are the type of woman a man like him would be attracted to. Therefore, if you are looking for a man of God, let God help you to prepare by focusing your energy on your relationship with Him.

Psalms 37:4-5(NKJV) - Delight yourself also in the Lord , And He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord , Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.

Matthew 6:33(NKJV) - But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

I was single into my thirties and had to live these scriptures. I had to put God's Kingdom first and trust that He would do His part to add the things I desire to my life. My testimony is that when I finally decided to stop trying to force things and decided to trust God, He brought me my wife, Angel. It took several people speaking into my life and some bad experiences for me to finally reach that point but thank God I did. I just gave up and said God if you don't do it, it doesn't happen.

Until God favored me with a spouse I wrote several books, started The Cracked Door and threw myself headfirst into the Work of The Lord. He had my attention and now that I'm married I understand what Paul was saying to the singles. Make the most of your time while you have it. That's The Word of The Lord to you also. Give your all to The Lord while single until He sees fit to bring you a spouse. During that time, let God prepare you for the man He has for you.

Philippians 4:6-7(NKJV) - Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Let me also share another part of my testimony. When I finally decided to give up on doing it my way, The Lord impressed on my heart to ask Him for what I really wanted in a woman. I had never articulated it before because I thought that was not necessary. He is God so whatever He wants to do He should do. I have no opinion. However, when God says to ask He means it. So I did just that. I wrote a detailed list of the qualities in the woman I really wanted even though I had never met her (I thought) and prayed over it for about one week.

I then forgot about the list and went along with my life. A few months into my relationship with Angel I remembered the list while talking to her on the phone. I found it and was completely blown away. She was exactly the person I prayed for and I didn't even know it. In addition, God spoke to me in a dream through a scripture to confirm that I had found the woman He had for me. Hence, when I walked down the aisle I knew I was walking in my destiny. It was not an act of my will being done but The Lord's. That's what I pray for you too.

John 10:27(NKJV) - My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.

So what am I saying? Confirmation from The Lord about a spouse is so much more than a feeling because feelings are random and can change at anytime. God knows how to speak to the people who know His voice. I had to learn His Voice over a long time so when I needed to hear Him clearly about a spouse I heard Him in several different ways. Read the blogs I linked to earlier so you can also develop your ability to hear from God. This is probably the most candid answer you may ever get because I'm telling you as it is. I can tell you an answer that sounds good or can make you feel good or I can tell you the truth. I rather tell you the truth because only the truth will make you free. (John 8:32)

II Chronicles 20:20(NKJV) - So they rose early in the morning and went out into the Wilderness of Tekoa; and as they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, O Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem: Believe in the Lord your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.”

Proverbs 11:14(NKJV) - Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety.

I'm going to finish this blog with two points. Seek counsel whenever you think you met the person God has for you and trust what God speaks into your life through His prophets. Not only did I hear from God on my own concerning my wife but I received several independent confirmations from prophets and people I sought for counsel. Some people don't want to go through all of that trouble but when the pressure hits them in the middle of a bad marriage they will wish they did.

The decision to marry someone can be one of the best or one of the worst decisions you will ever make in your life so don't cut corners during the process when you don't need to. Before I leave, let me give you some free advice I received from an expert. You'll usually find the type of spouse you're looking for in the places where that type of spouse tends to be. If you're looking for a drinker, frequent the bar. If you're looking for a partier, frequent the club. If you're looking for a man of God, stay in the presence of God.

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