Monday, September 20, 2010

What Do Ya Know And Love 'Bout The Holy Spirit?

Hi friends, what's up? Liney and I had some guests over this weekend and some really good fellowship as we enjoyed a meal together, opened up the Bible and also had some time to pray together. Joy, peace, love!

Please pray for my friend, Bill, who has had one berserk lady at his work who has been trying to cause him trouble for several years. The company plans on letting some workers go and it would appear that she is trying to reduce the numbers early so that it won't eventually cost her own job. God knows it all.  

What have we been up to. Fellowship with some pastor friends and old buddies. I've shared my faith some lately and have been busy today, because I had two desktop computers die on me and I'm not even sure why. But I bought a hard drive enclosure at a really good price from one of those huge computer stores and was fortunately able to retrieve most of my lost data off of them both my laptop. Ever had a major puter crash like that happen before? Hate that. Temporal junk. I think I'll wipe the disks and rebuild at least one of these machines this week. Anyways, here something I hope will build you up. ~kurt  

Let's Talk Some About The Spirit!

"I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever." ~John 14:16, nkjv

Don't you just love to read through the book of Acts to see the torrents of water flowing so to speak.. you know, the acts of the Spirit? What an encouragement! Man, I think the Spirit is a Fisher! I think the entire Godhead is.
It's not about what we, the Church, can do.  

I love how the Holy Spirit is a Helper (with a capital "H") and not a hinderer of people. Mr Lu-Cifer on the other hand is always seeking to hinder people.. to deceive em, to lie to em, to rip em off, and to destroy the people whom Jesus died for.  

But the Holy Spirit still wants to help peeps..yup, help you get right with, and get closer to the heavenly Father. Sure; family closeness.
It's maturity time!

It's not the Spirit's desire or goal to destroy people. He could, but He really wants all of us to enjoy His age abiding life—life during life. It's non-stop abundant life! Not all of course will chose Christ and His holy heaven, but the Spirit help whoever will let Him help. Some church folk and leaders unfortunately play favorites. Some parents sadly do this with one child over another. Some business folk also wrongly play favorites in different situations, but the Spirit doesn't do that ..even though all Christians are His favorite children you could say.

He strongly loves em all the same. The Spirit is passionately thinkin' about both males and females no matter the color ..from every tribe, nation, and tongue! He wants em near. He shows respect for our decisions, but He's no respecter of persons. Do you spend time thinking and praying about people of different nations too?

The power that compels us to share comes from the Spirit who indwells us and Who also shares.

"Blest Holy Spirit from above with all Thy quickening powers
Come, shed abroad the Savior's love and that shall kindle ours." ~Watts

"You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me." ~Acts 1:8

Question. Could it possibly have been the same exact Spirit that was hovering over the surface of the deep in the Book of Genesis ..that later fully indwelt and controlled the earthly ministry of our prime Example (thee Fisher of men), Jesus Christ?

Answer. Yes; that was Him! Not a mean Spirit in the Old Testament and a different "nicer one" in the New. He hasn't changed one bit. 

The Holy Spirit has always been. He doesn't need you or me or anything. He wasn't ever created and He won't ever have an end. Duh! Good idea to be on His Team. He wins. His love for people is unending too, but His interest in soul-winning on earth will one day have an end. One day all evangelists will need to be retrained, because there will be no more evangelistic opportunities. That's why we need to take advantage of em on earth while we can! The Spirit who thought of witnessing will show us how.. but not forever.

I love what the Bible says about our Example (Christ) as well, "For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure" (Jn. 3:34). Could you imagine if that was the case with you—no measure at all? Exploits-mania! I personally desire more of the Spirit. Want Him to have more of me daily. He consistantly thinks of others and helps. Man, let's talk about Him some more. Tell me what you've learned. What is the third Person of the Trinity really all about? Is He a cosmic energy force without personality? No! But what were you taught as a child about Him? I wasn't. Did the thought of Him scare you?    

Well, in the Gospel of John we see Christ speaking of this third Person of the Trinity and calling Him the Spirit of truth. Principles and methods change, but truth never does. When you think about it.. no Member of the Godhead plays fast and loose with the truth many preachers do trying to wow you with their so called "special revelations!"

Jesus said, "And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you" (Jn. 14:16-17). Why? Well, it's because the Holy Spirit always works through the truth, which is incarnate in Christ Jesus and logged in the Holy Scriptures.

I want you to know that through the Word of God you can "receive the promise of the Spirit through faith" (Gal. 3:14)—you can receive the Holy Spirit Himself! Promises were given and need to be claimed. Did you know that God can still speak and direct you today. He does that by His Spirit.  

Listen this promise of faith will cost you nothing really.. except your entire life (yeah, there's no money or good works whereby you can pay for this uber-superb biblical experience). Righteousness if a free gift! But you can know Him and obey Him. That would sure be wise (..understatement of the year)!

Peter spoke of this "receiving," "Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the Word of God which lives and abides forever" (1 Pet. 1:23. Also see John 1:12-13).

And when the time is right, believer, the Spirit can speak through you ..if you'll let Him. The Scriptures say, "for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit" (2 Pet. 1:21-22).

Christ explained, "These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you" (Jn. 14:26). He went on to say, "But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me" (Jn. 15:26).

The Father sent the Holy Spirit for a worldwide evangelistic purpose that you can be privileged to be apart of! He still constantly points to Jesus Christ not to Himself. And He wants us to do that too ..wherever He leads us.

Yes, the Spirit is not only referred to as the Comforter, but He is also referred to as the Counselor, because He gives people God's kind of wisdom (and that's different from this world's insufficient lame wisdom), guidance for practical living, insight, and keen understanding of God's unchanging truth for the purpose of application.

"God's guidance and help that we need day to day are given to all who believe;
The Spirit has come and He is the source of power that we can receive!" ~Branon

"If you believe in Me [Jesus], come and drink! For the Scriptures declare that rivers of living water will flow out from within. (When He said "living water," He was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in Him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into His glory.)" ~Christ, John 7:38

"For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit." ~Paul, Romans 8:5

Perhaps as a child you heard Him called the "Holy Ghost," but most people today call Him the Holy Spirit. It's because He is altogether pure and Holy—He is completely separate from sin. There has never been anything even slightly evil or perverse about Him. And here's the cool thing.. He can make you pure and holy as an effective representative for God as well. He sanctifies Christians.

Do you currently have a relationship with this Spirit, or with Jesus, or with the Father?
When you confess and sincerely repent of your sin ..and, by faith.. invite Christ to come in to take control of your life as your Lord and Savior, that's when this super wonderful Spirit of God accepts you and does His work inside of you. It's an inside to outside work.

In fact, minus the "seal" of the Spirit's Presence in your life, you have no eternal credibility or standing with God at all.

That's for real, "In Him you also trusted, after you heard the Word of truth, the Gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory" (Eph. 1:13-14). Yes you and I were made for the praise of His Glory, but how often do the believers that you know set aside the complaining and praise Him? How often do they thank and give Him the glory?

But with the "seal" of His Presence you have the guarantee of Heaven becoming your eternal home with all the radically exciting blessings of the Lord. I feel grateful. Praise the Lord!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

How Do You See The Individuals That You Come Across?

"And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, 'Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.' So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully. But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, 'He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.' Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, 'Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.' And Jesus said to him, 'Today salvation has come to this house'.." ~Luke 19:5, nkjv

He saw something in him that others could not see, and Jesus befriended him.

Does this same out-reaching Jesus live inside of you?

Lord, please live big in and through me! So want this to happen! 

I've personally never met a fairly positive type of person who didn't genuinely love people from the heart and try to see the best in them.

That's what being a godly witness is supposed to be about.

Are you like that?

Well, you can be!

Got a question.. do you ever try to put a "10" on other people's heads?

I mean do you view others as having been created by Someone so incredibly intelligent that they must have at least some great potential, or talent, or gift, or smarts inside of them? I think that most of the time individuals are a ten in some hidden or non-hidden area. Can we see it or are we a bad-finder?

Do you see them with immense value like their Maker does, with beautiful ability in at least one area? Why not?

Sure many of us tend to have expectations of others, but we each can choose whether those expectations are positive or negative ..regardless if they are an employee, a friend, a fellow student, or a co-worker. And I'm not talking about "speaking it into existence" like the Word-faith people try to do, or about some weird visualization into reality stuff, or even about hyper-PMA jive here.

What I mean is that we believers can think that others are totally worthless or that they are worth a whole lot ..and God will let us do either.

It's great to expect the best and even look for the good ..instead of the bad in the people that we meet. Many an underling and or others have exerted themselves to exceed all expectations before.. they have gone on to do great things just because someone saw it in em as God does. Are you a good-finder? I know that you've heard some of those stories of victorious Olympiads like I have. What kind of methods of encouraging are transferable to where we live?

Perhaps us fishers of people can do just like Jesus did when He came across Zacchaeus out on a limb, and spend some time with that person to show em real agape love?

You know, I think it's good to view people as a ten in some area especially if God shows you this. It's also good to pray for them and encourage them with this value-thing in mind. But even if let's say they were merely a four in all areas, that's more than zero and shouldn't we be the people to recognize this so we can encourage em?
I've heard it said that we Christians usually see in other people ..what we expect to see. It think that could be true. Others have done that with you and me. I've also heard it said that people generally rise to meet our level of expectations. Generally speaking, I'm sure this could happen!

Makes me want to pray more how 'bout you? Today Lord, I pray that You would help me see sinners and saints the way you see them.. with great value! Help me see that everyone is gifted by You in some way, even if they themselves haven't yet discovered this.

Fill, refill, empower me to witness right ..where You lead me. I want to help them. I want to treat everyone that I come across today as if their life would end by the end of this day.

I don't want to act like I have all the answers, like I am what they need, or like they have all the time in the world to become what I want them to be. They don't need me at all. It's about You, Jesus!

And I of course don't want anyone's life to end, but I do want to see the priceless opportunity of bridge building today for what it really is in that moment. Wonderful!

How can I make the most of it for You and Your eternal Kingdom?

I want to wisely treat each one as if they were one of tomorrow's greatest leaders on earth, because with your redemptive love, unchanging truth, and great gentleness they just might be. I want to stop and show people respect even if they don't yet deserve it. Help me extend to each one that I meet the same care, kindness, and understanding that you would show them. I want to share the bad news and the Good News, yes even tactfully sharing stuff that they might not want to hear, but that You want them to hear in that moment that they can become blessed and a blessing tomorrow.

God, I pray that I can slow down and listen to people better. You know.. more attentively. Wanna lean in a bit closer without intrusively invading their space. Help me look em in the eyes avoiding all distractions and hear their hearts. Eye contact is a good thing, for those are like the windows of a person's soul huh.

I want them to feel and know that they have my full attention—that I won't prejudge or jump to moronic conclusions. I believe that You could help me "get it" and see things from the other person's point of view and earn their trust.

Lord, help me to change the things that you want me to change and know what you want me to leave well enough alone. You alone can change people.

With your Word, with a proper use of Your Top Ten List (Ten Commandments), use me to solve some problems that the person is experiencing and struggling with.

Help me to work hard in your grace daily to solve problems for one or for several people (perhaps simultaneously) if that is possible today. In You all things are possible and I want to be a servant of all.

Help me not impose uninvited advice on the closed-minded. If their heart is hard, please soften it. If their ears are stopped up, please open them. If someone asks for advice today, help me present good ideas—my best ones to them suggestions for them to study on and consider.. just like a Berean would do. But not givin' it to em as some cold paternalistic commander would do. God my opinions don't really matter at all, but Yours do so let your Word not return void when I open my mouth for you.

Help me to ask permission and make it clear. I mean with what's non-negotiable from You and make it clear on what's negotiable as from me (non-essential issues), but let me not forget to clearly share your solutions and promises. 

God help me never to flatter people or to embellish what's real, but to give strong encouragement, pure edification, and genuine compliments when it's right. Wanna build em up in faith.

Help me to be upbeat in your JOY not some downer-dude, some condemner, some hater of folks when I should only hate sin. Help me to have good humor and laugh heartily ..even at myself.. but never at their dirty jokes. I want to smile at people more, to reach out even leaving the 99 to approach the one, and to simply be proactive as You lead me, not just some self-important "responder" waiting for sinners to come to me.

If I wish strangers well ..from the heart.. if I greet them with a warm handshake and smile, if I become genuinely interested in what other people are interested in ..short of sin.. then they will probably feel like both You and I care about em, Lord.

Please make me enthusiastic, passionate, real, and zealous about Jesus and His work, Holy Spirit!

God, I often feel like going real fast, to get a lot done and make the most of each day, but yes, help me to slow down with the people that I meet and speak clearly ..heart to heart. For in relationship-building fast is slow and slow can be faster ..if You bless it.

If I come off as one who would rush them, then people will tend to back away and not want to return. Help me to pre-think about what You would do or say and then give them only what is appropriate for that time—a word in season that is so fitting and right! If I lean on You and not on my own understanding then they might find what they were looking for!

Lord, is there a way I can make the other person feel important and valued? Is there a way I can add value? Please show me. Can you help me to be sincere and not so syndical or jaded, 'cause we've all seen so much bogus fluff and fufu?

If wouldn't be bad if I could actually remember their names and use em, but not for my potential gain like some hardened salesman would do. 

Jesus, let me know where they are at spiritually—cold, lukewarm, or red hot, backslidden, lost, needing healing, or growing in their walk with you. Lord what help can I offer to them that's practical? Is there a way we can work together to help them reach the good goals they are after? If they see that I care about their family's practical needs being met, then maybe they'll be more open to hearing about how their spiritual needs can be met?

God, remind me to be humble today for all hubris is out, so last season! It's a choice that I've gotta make! Wanna say please and thank you, or I'm sorry, or ..may I. perhaps even yes Sir, or Ma'am (especially if they are older).

If I ever feel like criticizing people, or talking down to em, or disrespecting the absent peeps, or condemning em, or browbeating, or just complaining ..then let me quickly bite my tongue and quickly refocus on You. 

Help me never be rude or interrupt people as I so often see happening in the news today. They have opinions that I should respect and hear least for a time.. I mean You gave them this room to decide on things and that's their prerogative that shouldn't be taken away. But Help me to boldly stand up for the good, for truth, for real holiness ..for You publically.. and against all evil and what's wrong!

Help me Holy Spirit to know your timing and not to hesitate ..but to step up like a man of God. Help me serve you diligently with flexibility, but never become a "workaholic for God in ministry" no matter who tries to pressure me. Who needs lame idols? 

Some seem so skilled at being diplomatic—but help me do better than that with Your discernment. Never want to be a people pleaser or add an offense to the offense of the Gospel. Is there a way I can appeal to the nobler motives, not falsely read between the lines, and give people the benefit of the doubt? 

Even many irreligious people tend to favor hope, optimism, descriptive stories of redemptive goodwill, over those of bragging or self-focused opportunist activities.

Lord, if I am criticized or even found to be wrong; then help me learn from it and admit it quickly. We can fix that together. Your blood covers and is enough. You can change me. Wanna be open to restitution and becoming a better witness today!

Spirit, help me NOT be weird, but be natural for You, for the Father and for the Son! You, three in one.. are always winsome—never weird.

You know there is so much weirdness and spooky-creepy behavior out there these days.. that's done "in Jesus Name" and none of it helps the spreading of Your Gospel at all!

Mr Lu-Cifer and his folk seem so adept and skilled in trying to make people believe that You are overly intense, uptight, and stiffly religious like some heartless, joyless, or weird pushy charlatan type.

Thank you so much for true liberty.. for growth in knowledge, in grace, in understanding, and in Your wisdom! I want to become more like You with every passing day. This is important to me!     

Really wanna learn the people's lingo and allow them to talk about themselves and what they are into instead of shifting em over to talking about me or my hobbies. God, help me never seek to impress, but be careful what I promise or commit to, never giving people the wrong expectations.

Wanna keep all my commitments in an ethical and punctual way. Wanna let people feel that they can question or challenge what I say; for it's the Bible we all should go with.

Wanna be accessible, approachable and ask the right questions without prying.

Lord, help me completely understand their questions before I answer. I want to be sympathetic with the other person's ideas, feelings and desires. I want to segway "the convo" toward spiritual things in a sensitive friendly sorta way—towards the cross and the empty tomb!

I want to avoid arguments. Wanna bring up my mistakes at times.. my blunders, my past failings (my sins minus the gory details)—my personal story (testimony) and how You helped me come from such ugly defeat to a real Win. You get all the credit!  

I don't want to dwell too much on the stupid decisions and subsequent painful results that many felt.. that others did around me, even if there are some things I don't fully understand about all that, but instead I want to get to the Solution. My time on the streets is limited and I can study up and think deeply about more lessons to be learned when I hush and get alone with You later on.

"The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost." ~Luke 19:10

"People can't believe in Jesus if the Gospel they don't hear, so we must proclaim its Message to the world—both far and near!" ~Sper

Those rescued from sin are best able, with God's help, to rescue those still in sin. Lord, help me see today what you saw when you encountered Zacchaeus out on a limb!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket.

Just wanted to say hi. I've got a little time free to try and edify you today. How are you and your family doing? Are you encouraged or do you need for us to pray for you? Liney and I hope and trust that you are blessed and thriving spiritually, but if you are hurting we'd like to know so that we can pray for you. We're looking forward to taking some friends to kind of a young adult church that's kickin' in a little bit. Thousands of zealous but normal Christian college people there each week. No wierdness. Lots of righteous fun! And the music and worship are very creative! Anyways, God bless you and here's my devo for you...  
"He… did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all." ~Romans 8:32, nkjv


What do you know about this historical event?


Are you glad about Calvary?


Does it give you comfort in Christ?


Reminds of when Abe's faith was tested in Old Testament times—a type or shadow of what was to come.


The Lord told Abraham to take his son, his only son, the son he loved, and then to offer him as a sacrifice on the altar (on the very same hill).


Did Abraham obey the Lord in this?  


Sure he did. Amazing huh!


It was because he loved God so much.


Do we love God like that? Will you and I pass when we are tested ..with perhaps the people and things that we hold dear?


Man, I know all believers will be tested and experience trials, but I'm not sure in what areas. Believers are also tested when the Holy Spirit directs them to share their faith with an unbeliever.


God knows what's best for each one of us. Its' so that we can know Him intimately and also so that we will grow spiritually.


But it's hard for me to fathom sacrificing my own son. I've got three sons.  


Sure there have been times when our boys were kinda hard to live with in their young adult years—those rascals—and also times for them to live with me I'm sure. I've got a few house rules.


But Abraham literally bound Isaac down onto an altar, and Isaac actually allowed him to do this.. when he could have taken his old man. And then Abe raised up his knife to slay him like a helpless lamb obedience to God's Word. But right before everything got all gory and stuff, with the knife plunging down into his son, the Father quickly called out, "Abraham! Abraham.."


And yeah, you guessed it. His son's life was spared!


You remember the story.


God commanded Abe, "Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me. And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, in the mount of the Lord it shall be seen" (Gen. 22:12-14, kjv).


God provided for Abe a substitute. And He has done that for you as well.


It was an important thing for Abraham to have the fear of the Lord, biblical faith and a substitute. It's important for you and I to have these as well!


After cutting Isaac loose into freedom, Abraham took the ram and offered it on the altar there. But as God's only Son, Jesus Christ, the Son God dearly loves.. just hung there on Calvary's cross years later, it was as if the gleaming blade of God's fierce wrath against sin was lifted and then brought down upon Him with nothing to block it.


Yes, the difference with the two events was that there was no one there to call out a command to stay the Father's just hand at Calvary. Our loving heavenly Father, "..did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all."


The Lord Jesus is God's only Lamb for you even today. He is the Way the Truth and the Life and no one get's into His holy Heaven apart from a born again experience with Christ (see John 3). Yeah He is there for you right now if you are ready to get right with God.


"The Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all." ~Isaiah 53:6


"Love so amazing, so divine, demands my life, my soul , my all"


Jesus is your only Substitute to deal with all the sins that you have committed. He endured the full brunt force of the Father's wrath for you and for me. That's why we feel so grateful and want to go tell our friends. He is the One who can take all our wrong-doin's (sins) away for good.. for He was bound on the wood in our place.


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Have You Failed In Witnessing?

"And a little later those who stood by came up and said to Peter, 'Surely you also are one of them, for your speech betrays you.' Then he began to curse and swear, saying, 'I do not know the Man!' Immediately a rooster crowed. And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, 'Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.' So he went out and wept bitterly." ~Matthew 26:73-75

How could a young girl and her inquiring downtown friends scare a big strong man?

Man, I look forward to chatting with Peter about this when I get to heaven, because sometimes I too have become afraid inside of things that I never thought would move me. The enemy traffics in fear. He and his slimy buds are good at using this tool. Any of us.. if we are caught off guard and not walking in the Spirit could wimp out when we need to be taking a stand for Jesus. 

Pete simply needed to be baptized and controlled by the Holy Spirit (see Acts 2). He needed to rely not upon himself but upon God. This is basic. He probably didn't pray for boldness that day. He needed more witnessing passion instead of an interest in protecting his own hide. Easy for me to talk huh?

I can relate to this and think about this often. Each day I radically need the grace of God to witness so that I can become what He wants be to become.. nothing less, nothing more, nothing else!

I sure feel like I can identify with Pete, can't you?

Perhaps you can as well.  

Can you just imagine how Peter must have felt after he had an opportunity to witness, but then failed Christ and the team only to hear a morning rooster crow and remember what Jesus said? Perhaps that is the reason why he didn't run so fast to the empty tomb and why his friend John beat him there a few days later. 

Sure. I remember how it felt and how it was as a kid when I had blown it during the day and then my dad would arrive home from work. Would my mom tell him? I certainly wouldn't be the first one among my siblings to arrive at his car or at the front door to greet him upon his return. It was a horrible feeling inside. I never intended to let him down.

Man, I have failed in witnessing multiples times too.

Hate that!

Wanna knock a homer over the wall for the coach and the benefit of the team each time up to bat, but I've sometimes hit a foul ball right into the stands. Gotta remember that not all "hitters" so to speak "started out as hitters" but all of em started out on the bench and on the practice field so they could listen carefully to the head Coach.

Over 250 years ago, Alexander Pope said, "To err is human, to forgive divine."

Do you ever err? Sure you do and humility can be honest about this. 

I hope not with your doctrine. All witnesses are called to be studiers of the Bible. We don't outgrow the need to have our noses in the Book. Gotta import before we can export right.

Yup, the Apostle Paul told young Tim ..who would (desired to) become a great witness, "The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops. Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things" (2 Tim. 2:7).

He said, "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15).

The Apostle Peter agreed, "But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen" (2 Pet. 3:18).

It really ain't bad to study how effective witnesses do it out there with unbelievers ..up close and personal as well!

"Sir, I'm not here to embarrass you at all, but wouldn't you like for me to stop and briefly pray for you? Together, we can simply talk to our loving Father about your needs right now? What do we have to lose? Do you mind?"

Hey gang, all true believers will learn witnessing lessons. They might hear "No!" from hearers many times, but they also might hear "Yes, I'm ready." 

They will hear neither if they allow personal failure to paralyze them and keep them away from people.

Some will learn more lessons than others ..if they pray earnestly and try to lovingly engage unbelievers in their culture.

If a man goes out and buys all the best tennis equipment that the pros at Wimbledon use, but never actually makes it on to a tennis court to practice, he won't learn as many tennis lessons as the teenager does who has cheap used equipment, but does make it on to a court to bat some balls around. Duh! He can read a lot about tennis and pass some tests perhaps, but witnessing for Christians is learned in witnessing.. not so much in seminary or at the library (and I personally wouldn't dis reading about it).

A lesson can be repeated until we learn the lesson.. but not always because time could run out for the witness or for those they are trying to reach.

The essence of a real witness (a saint) and of the unregenerate (sinners) is imperfection, but all saints need to be encouraged to go pray, to go witness, to try again, and to not give up! Lives are at stake!

Failure in witnessing can be viewed as part of the tutorial price of learning to become effective in future witnessing. You've heard the stories of how many inventors learned through a process of illumination about what didn't work, before they arrived at what did. But every individual is different, so we can't afford to become self-confident along the learning path.

Don't be afraid to fail and please don't fail to try. The circumstances don't have to be perfect to start. That bus stop might be half broken down and in a real bad location, but God doesn't care about that. He cares about those that will board the bus (in our town we often have angry guys with a back-breath preaching down at people at bus stops and I ain't talking about that kinda stuff)!

All Christians are witnesses of the truth ..good and bad.. but God can make you a successful and fruitful witness for Christ's glory. You've got to trust Him and take some steps in the light He gives you.

Ask your heavenly Father daily to help you by His Holy Spirit to not fail ..and then in the holy fear of God (yeah, with reverential respect) simply follow His lead one step at a time, one relationship at a time, and one day at a time. Moment by moment He is Lord and He is with you. He can give you courage, great wisdom, the right words from His Word ..and the right approach with each encounter.

If you sin, just admit it and ask the Lord to forgive you. Like Peter learn from that failure and go back to meet with Christ even if you might not feel like it. Get up and try again!