Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Man with a Maiden Series.....Part 3....Eric Simmons

This message is entitled "What Am I?" It is a short study on the different roles we have been designed by God to fulfill as men and as women. First, we are different by design. The emotional and physical differences are perhaps obvious, but what is your? And who defines your role? God or the world? Every day we face a world that loves to seduce us and massage us slowly into conforming to their image. Colossians 2:8 8See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. Another translation says "...through hollow and deceptive philosophy." This world loves to tell us that position dictates influence. The more you have, the more you are worth. The higher up the ranks you are, the greater you’re worth. The world loves to define our roles by outward appearance. For men, this may come in the form of working out. Do you believe that masculinity deals with strength alone? For women, this may come in the form of fashion and makeup. Do you believe that femininity deals with clothes and cosmetics alone? What defines your view of romance and relationships and sex? Is it the latest TV show or chick-flick or pornography? In God's word, men and women are defined by God himself. Genesis 1:26: 26Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. We are equal in value before God, but with very different roles before God. It is in Genesis 2:18 that God says that man needs a helper. Man needed help. There are differing roles already established by this second chapter in Scripture. Initiator.... Leader.... Helper.... and notice that God defined woman's role before He ever created sex. We must remember that marriage is temporal. I, Jenn, will not be married in Heaven. But I will still be a woman. My role will still be vital. Our roles are reflected in the power of the Gospel to change us. In terms of salvation, there is no difference between men and women. The ground is level at the foot of the cross. Okay okay. All very well and good in theory. But how does this look? How does this play out? There is NO perfect example or outline. It takes humility, it takes faith, and it takes charitable judgments. We must cultivate an understand of the opposite sex in understand how difficult their role really is. As a man-understand you are not really a good leader and it takes great faith to follow you. As a woman-understand that you are very difficult o lead. It takes tremendous faith to step out, initiate, and care for you. Understanding this will protect you from complaining and sinful judgment on both men and women's parts. Is there a way to accurately define was masculinity and femininity are, according to Scripture? Of course. Eric used the definition from Piper and Grudem's "Recovering Biblical Masculinity and Femininity." Masculinity-At the heart of mature masculinity, there is a sense of benevolent responsibility to lead, provide for, and protect women in ways appropriate to man's differing relationships. (The key words here are leadership, provisions, and protection.) Femininity-At the heart of mature femininity is a freeing disposition to affirm, receive, and nurture strength and leadership from worthy men. (The key words here are affirming, receiving and nurturing. It is also important to note that it says worthy men.) General Guidelines for application: 1. Men, ladies are called to help you NOT submit to you. They are called to submit to their husband, not to all men. They are called in their roles to help you. 2. Men, assume the responsibility of leading and initiating in your relationships with women. If you are aiming at nothing, you are bound to hit it every time. If you aren't pursuing friendships with women, do not expect to find a wife. They don't just drop into your lap like Mary Poppins. (And as a side not, women find men who are leaders and initiators incredibly attractive.) 3. Men, initiate conversation. 4. Men, initiate events WITH OTHER'S help. You don't have to do all the work, just lead the way. 5. Men, be a spiritual leader. Set the pace. If you are less mature than a certain women, be provoked to grow. Do not submit to self-pity and passivity and resignation. Eric told this story about his relationship with his wife when they were dating. One day, he asked her "Do I provoke you to love Jesus more and be passionate about Him?" She replied "No. Not at all." So he clarified and said, "Not like CJ provokes you, but just in some small way do I provoke you?" Again she said "No. Not at all. Eric, I have hope for you, but you don't provoke me." Women should be provoked by your example. He challenged the men to stop feasting on the hors d'oeurves of this world and to stop sowing seeds of apathy.
And if you are failing in this aspect, respond by repenting. Don't respond with apathy or self-pity. Self-pity is just uncongratulated pride.
6. Be brothers who protect and look out for women. Be grateful that there are women and you get to serve them. Be aware when women walk in the room. Don't allow your focus to only be on yourself. TREAT THEM AS DAUGHTERS OF THE KING.
7. Be brothers who look to fulfill practical needs for your sisters. For example, when she's moving, HELP HER. Help her with her schoolwork. Change her oil. And if it's a girl you are interested in, break something in her house SO you can fix it.
8. Confront the tendency to laziness and selfishness and cultivate diligence and servant hood. If you think that lazy and selfish hearts go away upon marriage you are GREATLY mistaken. They must be put to death now. Think about when you are at lunch. That first moment when the conversation begins to go from fun and frivolous to fellowship, it's hard. Work through that tiny awkward moment if it exists. And to the OTHER MEN. When a guy actually steps out, don't judge him or mock him under you breath. Support him. Help him glorify God.

General Guidelines for Women:
1. In your relationships with Godly men, encourage and make room for men to practice servant leadership. Let men know when you need help. Encourage men as often as possible when you see them initiate.
2. Look for practical ways to care for your brothers. Pray for them-ask them how and then let them know that you are. Write notes of encouragement. Make him a meal.
3. Feel the freedom to initiate- by using your gift of hospitality. Throw the dinner party, but then have them men pray and lead the conversation. You create the environment for them to lead in.
4. Don't read into a guys actions and initiative and assume he has romantic interested. Say to yourself:
"He’s just a friend. He's just a friend. He’s just a friend. He's just a friend. He’s just a friend."
A man initiating is a man who is serving, not a man who in interested. (And men, when you ARE interested and pursuing, communicate Cleary.)
5. Confront the tendency to sinful judgment and complain. Cultivate charitable judgment and gratitude.

God-in his mercy understands our frame and He knows how we are made. These things should reveal to you how desperately you need God. Lord help me. Lord teach me. It if was simple and easy, you would muss out on the opportunity to realize that God really does exist and God really does reward those who draw near to him.

Man with a Maiden Series....Part 2.....Joshua Harris

The title Josh's message was "Why Did God Make Me this Way?" He repeated the idea that Eric had said the previous month. Often, at Covenant Life, the idea that God should be glorified in our dating relationships has become twisted into a rules oriented thing that is wasn't intended to be. He gave the example of the game telephone, where the original sentence is passed from person to person and never ends up the same as it began.
For example, the original idea would be that "We want to see relationships that honor God."
This turned into: "You should court not date."
Which became: "Dating is EVIL."
This is now: "If you date, you will go to 'you know where.'"
Then: "Do not talk to the opposite sex.... ever."
Finally, when you don't abide by these "rules" it is "You should be ashamed of yourself...."

It can be easy to be a people that, instead of looking to God's word, we simply try to figure out what the rules are. A lot of times, this rule thing is something divorced from real faith and trust in God. We ask the question "Well, what does God think of relationships?" Essentially, a lot of people are really asking, "What do I have to do to get on the list of people God will bless with a relationship? How do I get in the relationship line?"

Instead, we should be asking ourselves "Is God enough?" Is He more than enough? For every thirst and every need? Not just spiritual thirsts, but physical and relationship thirsts? Is He more than enough?

Psalm 73:25-26 says:

25Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. 26My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Upon reading just this passage from Psalm 73 you might think "Psh. I'm not there. Stupid spiritual man." It might be easy to gloss this over as someone who has just come back from a mountain top experience with God. They don't know what real troubles are like. Josh reminds us of the ever-important truth to look at the WHOLE passage...the context. Go back to v. 2.

2But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped.

This is a man LIKE ME!!! He has come close to stumbling and slipping. But why? Go on to v. 3.

3For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked."

He is looking at these worldly people and they are doing well. In the following verses, the writer goes on to say that they aren't dieing and they are healthy. They aren't in trouble. The people not seeking to please God are doing okay.

You might be thinking, "I'm a nice, Christian single and I'm really trying to do this whole Godly relationship thing. Be purposeful and waiting and praying. But I'm looking around all the world is engaging in more relaxed and fun dating things. And they're okay. They aren't covered in boils and sores. They are good." REMEMBER. Just because you are serving the King, this doesn't mean your life is going to be all hunky dory.

Here Josh went a little sarcastic. He became sarcastic unhappy single Christian man and said, "They aren't walking with God and they have money and a nice car and a great house and the relationship. But I'm sure on SOME LEVEL they are unfulfilled.... right? I mean, I'm trying to serve God and do things the "right way" and my life stinks and there's no relationship and they have it all. THANK YOU God. This is TOTALLY fair. Good job."

We have to ask ourselves-"Is this all in vain? All this sanctification stuff? All this growth in holiness? The author of the Psalm asks himself the same thing. In v. 13 he says:

13All in vain have I kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence.

But then, he says this in verse 15:

"If I had said, "I will speak thus," I would have betrayed the generation of your children."

Were he to truly think holiness and sanctification were in vain, were I to truly think that, I would betray all the generation's of God's people that have gone before me...the people the He loves, that I am called to love.
It might not make sense. That they can live their lives totally without God in mind and yet they seem so happy. Verse 16-17:

16But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, 17until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end.

Their end is this-their final end. One day, these people who flaunt God will answer to God when He rouses Himself. Verse 18-20:

18Truly you set them in slippery places; you make them fall to ruin. 19How they are destroyed in a moment, swept away utterly by terrors! 20Like a dream when one awakes, O Lord, when you rouse yourself, you despise them as phantoms.

Back to relationships specifically. Do you view this GOOD way of doing this as more of a hassle than a blessing? If we are going to err, may we err on the side of upholding God's standards. Do not mock the grace that God has poured out in our midst.

When God is enough, we won't be making relationships a substitute God. I was made for God, I was NOT made for marriage. When that day comes, when I seem Him as He is, we will no longer be married. In marriage, enjoy the bond, but it is not the thing you are living for. Not only don't live for marriage when you have it, but don't live for the thought of marriage. Here, Josh gave an example.
He said to think about the difference of your attitude in these two situations. The first, is awaiting your paycheck in the mail on Friday. The check that you have worked for 10 days for, that you are expecting and, rightly so, feel that you have deserved. Think of the anxiety and nervousness that accompany it. Think now on the surprise check that comes in the mail from your great-aunt Hilda who just up and felt like being generous. Think of the joy in the unexpectedness.

God is enough. He is MORE THAN ENOUGH. Is that how you are living your life?

He closed by reading the lyrics to this song:


You are my supply, my breath of life
Still more awesome than I know
You are my reward, worth living for
Still more awesome than I know

All of you, is more than enough for, all of me,
For every thirst and every need,
You satisfy me, with your love
And all I have in you, is more than enough

You're my sacrifice of greatest price
Still more awesome than I know
You're my coming king you are everything
Still more awesome than I know

All of you, is more than enough for, all of me,
For every thirst and every need

Monday, June 05, 2006

Man with a Maiden Series....Part 1....Eric Simmons

The way I look at it, anything worthwhile I ever say has either been shown to me through God's word or taught to me by some really really smart men. And stuff that I say that isn't worthwhile is just that-not worth anyone's time to read it. So I figured since I'm the nerd who listens to sermons, why not just keep summarizing solid truth sermons. Anyways, whenever Sovereign Grace comes up, typically Josh Harris and the whole dating bad/courting good thing comes up as well. I'm currently going through a sermon series done at Covenant Life (kind of like the mothership of the Sovereign Grace churches. Covenant is in Gaithersberg, Maryland and is also where the Pastor's College is.) back in 2003 for their singles group. I'm halfway through it and have enjoyed it immensely. I hope you will as well.

The first sermon was by Eric Simmons. It is entitled "Why this Series?" and was orginally given on February 21, 2003.

Eric began by asking us this question. “Have you ever been amazed by something?” In Proverbs 30:18-19, Agur writes

“Three things are too wonderful for me; four I do not understand:

The way of an eagle in the sky,

The way of a serpent on a rock

The way of a ship on the high seas,

And the way of a man with a maiden.”

These are things which Agur just can’t really even comprehend. How does an eagle stay aloft in the air? How does a snake move with no feet? How does a ship stay afloat? How does a guy ever get a girl?

In our day and age, it could be very easy to simply go on and explain away the first 3 things. We could learn about air currents and density and motion and what not. But men and women? Psh. That’s STILL something we don’t get.

In 2003 when this sermon series began, Eric said he counted 11 reality TV shows on the process of dating and guys relating to girls. Joe Millionaire, Elimidate, The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, The Last Resort, etc. In fact, he said that for the season finale of Joe Millionaire, 40 million watchers turned in.

Why are we so amazed with it all? Truthfully, because we don’t know what we’re doing and we want to see other people who have no idea what they are doing mess it up too. We don’t always know how to have genuine, God glorifying friendship, coming together and loving one another and serving one another.

He then went on to list factors that prohibit friendships between guys and girls.

  1. The “Duh” Factor

Face it. Guys are stupid. Guys will say and do stupid things, but 98% of the time they don’t mean it. He gave a couple different examples. One was of a man who was dating this girl and he said to her “I just want you to know this. I am much more attracted to you spiritually than I am physically. Physically, there are others that could beat you, but spiritually man, you are the most attractive woman I have ever met.”

The second was of a group of singles from Covenant Life. This girl had been talking about how she had started exercising and working out and a guy friend responded like this. “Well that’s good. You should keep doing that. Because you’re not really the skinniest girl in the singles group. I mean, you’re not the biggest of everyone, but you’re not the skinniest.”

He said in situations like these, we just shake our heads and think “Duh.”

  1. The “Small Print” Factor

Ladies tend to read into things…not just big things, but EVERYTHING. A look, an e-mail, a kind hello…all of the sudden in a nano-second, she’s got you married with 3 kids and a picket fence.

  1. The Romance Factor

The same feelings that go along with plain old friendship are stored up in the same place as the feelings that go along with love and romance and emotions. Sometimes, we get confused and pull out the wrong feeling in the wrong situation.

  1. The Friends Factor

Even if the guy isn’t saying stupid things and the girl isn’t reading into all things, you’re friends will still be stupid and still read into things. Often, in front of the very person they are talking about in the first place.

  1. The Silence Factor

For girls, this may not be such a problem, but for guys, well…they’ll walk up to a girl and have a whole conversation planned out. They open their mouths, and NOTHING. Just complete and utter stupidity and silence and questioning looks.

  1. The Attraction Factor

Guys never think they look bad and girls never think they look good.

With all of this, how does ANYONE ever get married?

Especially at Covenant Life at this point in time, Eric said that there seems to be this one way of doing things mentality. If you fall outside of these specific dating boundaries, they “You Bad.” We need to learn wisdom, not rules.

For example, do we think that the guy should be the only one with all the feelings and desires at the start of a relationship and that the girl should just step out in faith with nothing in her heart and just rely on God to bring the feelings?

How you think WILL dictate how you act. The goal of this series is this:

  1. That new friendships would start.
  2. That old friendships would deepen.
  3. That courtships would begin.

This is not going to be a series of rules and wrongs and rights. It will be a series of cultivating wisdom.

James 3:17

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy, and good fruits, impartial and sincere.

Our dating lives will be one of the most incredible opportunities we will ever have to glorify God to unbelievers. If 40 million people tuned in to watch the Joe Millionaire season finale, you can bet there are some people watching how you handle this aspect of your life.

Saturday, June 03, 2006


Upon seeing this photo on, I could not resist posting it here and seeing if you guys could guess who this is. This is someone well known in Christian circles, but I didn't guess correctly who it was. I'm thinking you'll be GLAD to have seen this.

(I must say, the glasses are reminiscent of Elton John.....)

Answer is here....

New Attitude Day #4.....Session 7.....Josh Harris

My apologies for taking so long to put this last summary up (for those of you who are actually reading.) I feel like the lack of sleep from Na finally hit me this weekend, instead of upon coming home. Also, I want to apologize that this summary will not be as detailed, and therefore not as accurate as some of the past ones. Let’s just say I was running a tad bit on empty!

Anyways, here's Josh's last message.

The message was on taking it back to our communities. He said instead of over cramming our brains with yet one more thing and putting us on overload, he was instead going to kind of summarize the weekend.

He asked us "Where do we go from here?" He said that we want to go home and handle the truth faithfully. When we get home, we WILL BE TEMPTED and WE WILL SIN. It could be easy to look back at the conference days and be like "Wow. I'm good. I didn't sin at all while I was here. I guess I’ve finally got this God thing down." He reminded us that we didn't even have time to eat or sleep, let alone sin. While we were here, indwelling sin was not gone; we just didn't have the TIME to sin like we normally do.

When we sin, we must have a tight grip on the gospel.
Right before Josh's message, we sang the song "Before the Throne of God."

When Satan tempts me to despair

And tells me of the guilt within

Upward I look and see Him there

Who made an end to all my sin

Because the sinless Savior died

My sinful soul is counted free

For God the just is satisfied

To look on Him and pardon me

To look on Him and pardon me

When Satan tempts me to despair, tempts me to self-contemplation, self-awareness, and self-pity, I should not waste time arguing "No! It wasn't REALLY like that." or defending myself "yea, well yesterday, I served in this way, so I'm good." Look up! Look upward! See Him there, He who made an end to all my sin. I must hold tight to my righteousness in Christ.

In talking about Jeff Purswell's message on the Holy Spirit, Josh said this. When you think upon the Spirit, don't go straight to tongues and prophecy. Think instead of the Spirit's power to allow us to cling tight to God in His strength, not mine. In moments of weakness, pray for the joy of the Spirit. When praying for that lost soul which Eric Simmon's encouraged us to ask God to impress upon our hearts-when praying him or her, pray to be filled with the love of Christ. That our actions and words would be controlled by Him.

In reflecting back on Mark Dever and Mike Bullmore's messages on the Word of God, he said we must commit ourselves to the word in a new way. We must pursue and meditate on God's word with a greater zeal than ever before. Be the person at the end of the sermon who goes down front each week. Ask your pastor for application and study your notes throughout the week.
Here, he encouraged the men to lead in Godly fellowship. He assured them that if they are afraid they will fail, fear not, you will fail. But keep at it. Keep practicing. He then encouraged the ladies to let the men lead. He said that they will be times where we can lead better, but to step back, and allow the men to grow into the roles God designed for which God designed them. He encouraged us as ladies to look upon them not as the boys that they are, but the men they will become.
(Here, I want to insert a little blurb of my own, if I may. I have had the great GREAT blessing to be surrounded by a few men who do lead in biblical fellowship and in serving their church and the girls in the church, and for that I am so grateful.
This past week at New Attitude, a large group of us from the Gainesville, St. Pete Jacksonville, and, at various points, some from Orlando, were served wonderfully by a friend named Ryan. Three weeks ago, Ryan had thought ahead and made reservations for 30 at two restaurants near the convention center for lunch both full days. This allowed a large group of us to fellowship and relax and yet still get back for the next session on time. I, for one, was blown away by this. This is what I told him afterwards "
Once again, thank you for serving. In God's grace, you served us efficiently, effectively, thoughtfully, and most important, humbly. Men young and old can learn from your example these past few days." This was his response "Jenn, thank you so much all of the encouragement. It really means a lot. And I want you to know you guys made it a joy to serve. I had an amazing time and God, being the Great wonderful God He is, did amazing things in my life." I relate this story neither to lift Ryan up for serving nor myself for encouraging him. Ryan at once turned my praise of his actions intro praise for His God, which I loved. I tell this story rather to say that God is good and He is building my brothers up in this way and I am delighted to watch it happen.

The last thing that Josh said that I really wrote down was that we need to Go Home and represent the truth humbly. We must remember that we have no righteousness within ourselves and then live that way. Again, do we speak the truth in arrogance, or in tears?

We need to cherish the orthodoxy and pass it on.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

New Attitude Day #3....Session 6....Eric Simmons

Eric Simmons began his message on evangelism by asking us this question. “We have been preached the truth this week. What now will we do with this truth? He said that we have two options. We will either keep it self-contained or we will broaden it into our communities.

Colossians 2:4-9 was the basis for his sermon.

2Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. 3At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison-- 4that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.

5Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. 6Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

7Tychicus will tell you all about my activities. He is a beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. 8I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are and that he may encourage your hearts, 9and with him Onesimus, our faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will tell you of everything that has taken place here.

The first main point was that we need to Think Globally. We need a bigger picture of Christianity. We tend to get so caught up in our small little existence that we love site of the vision. Our life is so full of gotta’s. I gotta get up. I gotta go to class. I gotta go to care-group. I gotta go to celebration on Sunday. What was meant to be delight has turned into drudgery, because our gaze is on ourselves instead of on Christ.

Christ clarified our Mission upon His ascension.

Mark 16:15

15And he said to them, "Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.

Matthew 28:18-20

18And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."

The rule and reign of the Father has invaded the world? Do we live like this?

Back to the main Scripture, Colossians 4:2-9. Eric pointed out that the church at Colossae is not a church that Paul planted and pastured. Paul was writing this from prison and yet he is still encouraging them. No matter what Paul’s particular circumstances were, he was mindful that the gospel was bearing fruit somewhere in the world. Everyday the kingdom of God is being fully and further revealed. This global vision should inspire me to play my part in God’s vision.

The second main point was we needed to Act Locally. (Comment from me-somewhere in here Eric showed a video that was made in Gaithersburg. They interviewed people in his community and asked them what they thought the gospel was and some questions about evangelist. A sadly funny part was this. When asked “What is the gospel?” numerous people responded with “It’s like, some kind of music, right?” People in the center laughed, but what a tragedy. My friend Josh said this when talking about this short movie at Care-group tonight. “When I heard all these people with no clue as to what the gospel was about, I thought ‘What morons. How can they not know? It’s Christ. Get with it.’ Then I heard the Lord say to me ‘Without me Josh, you were that ignorant. You were that moronic. It is only by grace that you know the gospel is Christ and Him crucified and not merely a genre of music.’” I just thought that was a very cool thought and wanted to share it before jumping back into Eric’s message.)

Eric pointed out that Christ’s mission, this grand vision, wasn’t just for the 12 disciples. I too have been called to this, privileged to go out and tell others. I GET to tell people about my God. I GET to tell people about my Risen King. Do I live this way? Am I excited to share my God’s story? To talk about His redeeming love? Do I just ‘go’ to college? Do I just ‘go’ to work? Do I just ‘go’ to family functions? Or am I ever cognizant of God’s heart in sending me to that particular place at the sovereign time?

He said that we need to look at EVERY Sunday as a sending Sunday (for those not in Sovereign Grace, we are all about church planting, so many a Sunday are specifically church plant or mission trip sending Sunday’s, officially.) It’s not just a church plant or the mission field. At the end of the sermon, it’s not just lunchtime; it is sending time-out into our field, our culture, our lost world. We are missionaries to the world next door.

How can we be an effective missionary? First, we need to pray. In verse 2 of Colossians 4, Paul says to be “…steadfastly in prayer.” This word steadfastly means dedicated, devoted, persistent, and unwavering. Our prayers should be alert, watchful. We should be so filled with His presence that we are ever alert to His moving throughout His kingdom, ever alert to the Sovereign moments He places in our lives to tell others of Him. How should we pray? Verse 3 says “…for an open door.” Paul wants the church at Colosae to pray for an open door for the word. (Think about this. Paul is in prison. He is not asking for his prison door to be opened that he may be freed, but for the prison guards’ hearts to be opened. For his fellow prisoners’ hearts to be opened. He is right where he needs to be, and he is cognizant of that. Jail time has turned into Gospel time. Everything is seen through the grid of the gospel and the kingdom.

Again in verse 4, Paul asks for prayer that the mystery of Christ would be dear to them. Mystery is good. Were we to be all knowing and all confident, we would lose our dependency on the power of the Spirit. God wants fear in evangelism. It makes us desperate for Him and His power. It makes us rely solely on the Holy Spirit.

We should also pray for opportunities. Be warned. Praying for opportunities in evangelism is like praying for patience. It will happen, and it probably won’t always be pretty. It will happen at the most awkward and worst times that your human mind could possibly imagine. But it is perfect and seamless in the plan of the Kingdom.

Besides praying, we must also live. Verse 5 says Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the best use of the time.” Effective missionaries live a distinctly different live among a specific culture of people. We are to be where they are. Live where they are. Go where they are. We must hang out with the people to whom we are called. Here Eric said that when a missionary feels called to India say, is this what he does? Does he go to India and get married and get a stable job and simply just interact with the Indian people at the store and at the bank and with his neighbors? NO! He would then be a resident. He is specific and intentional in his actions. Do we live like this in America? Do we live like missionaries or residents?

We need to sow the kingdom of God strategically. Pick one person. Have a genuine authentic friendship with them. Pour into them, invest into them. Be love to them. You may be the only example of Christ’s love in their life. Make sure that your conduct matches your message. Enjoy them, love them, and above all, serve them. The world today is saying that we need to be relevant. But relevance is merely a package for truth. It is important, but it is not essential. When the emphasis is more on the shell and the packaging as opposed to the gospel, then we have some major issues.

Think of your language. We need to learn how to communicate with the culture. We should not walk around saying “church words” like sanctification and propitiation and relatable. The culture will not understand what you are saying. But there are certain elements of the culture that we need to out rightly reject. He asked if we all needed to get tattoos, and a nose ring, and wear a Coldplay t-shirt in order to connect with the culture. The answer is no. But if this is you, when people begin to unwrap your packing, they MUST SEE SOMETHING DIFFERENT. They must see grace. (My friend Eric at care-group tonight put it like this. “My unbelieving roommates, when they think of me, do they think of me as ‘Eric, Godly man who is living a pure life different from ours.’ Or do they think ‘Eric. Yea, he goes to church.’” Relevance is good, but not at the expense of truth.)

When witnessing, concentrate on how you say things more than on what you say. Concentrate on your attitude and motives and heart rather than your apologetics. The phrase “…seasoned with salt...” means witty and full of life. We are allowed to have fun! We are allowed to be fun people. In fact, we are called to delight in the Lord.

Do not get disheartened when you don’t see hundreds of people come to know the Lord because of you and your words. Probably, in the end, we are each more likely to be seed sowers than reapers. Eric told this story. There was a girl who worked at a Starbucks that for whatever reason, even though she wasn’t a believer, still felt drawn to this college group on campus and she would come and hang out and discuss and have fun with all these people. They invested in her life but never saw any tangible results. She moved away to New York (from Maryland) and he never really knew what happened with her. Years later, he was greeting people at the door at Covenant Life, and in walks this girl. She said to him “They say you hear the gospel 85 times before you profess faith. For me, it was 86. Thank you for those 85 other times. Thank youfor not stopping at 84.” We will never know, until in glory, the true impact of our lives for the Kingdom of God.