Category: Evangelism

Witness Well

Four comforting promises when sharing God’s Word

God created the heart to pump life into our body. He created the fingers to feel and to explore.  He created the eyes to survey and behold.

There is one small part of the body God created to be the most powerful tool of our body. It is our most effective weapon to share the love of God through His Word, but at the same time, be catastrophic in providing a barrier.

It is called the tongue.

“You did what?”

“You did what?”  I asked my husband. He had been out walking and had met two Mormon Sister Missionaries. He’d invited them to come and talk with us about the LDS faith.

“Don’t worry,” he said, “You just provide the snacks and I’ll do the talking.” 

Out of Our Comfort Zone

“Sharing God’s Word with Mormon missionaries was completely out of my comfort zone.”

When Melissa attended a seminar, “Speaking the Truth in Love to Mormons” conducted by Truth in Love Ministry, she left both encouraged and intrigued. After the seminar, she began praying, “Lord, if Mormon missionaries appear at my door, I will let them in.”

How Mormon missionaries are providing Christians new opportunities to share God’s Word

“So, why did you become missionaries?” I asked my two Mormon missionaries who came to our house recently.

“It was something I felt I needed to do, plus I couldn’t find a job after high school,” replied the nineteen year old young man from New York.  “I just felt it was important for me to do before I carry on in my life,” replied the other from Florida.

There can be several individual reasons why a young LDS man or woman would choose to go on a mission, but in the backdrop of their decision is one core theme. Serving on a mission is a rite of passage in being a faithful Mormon. The leaders of the LDS Church refer to it as a “sacred duty.”

Returning missionaries receive a higher degree of status that allows for future leadership positions and for young males, and can improve their marriage prospects.

In the past year, several decisions have been made by the hierarchy of the LDS Church that has had a dramatic impact on Mormon missionaries and how they serve.

1.         Lowering the age requirement

Last fall, the living prophet of the LDS Church announced the lowering of age requirements for missionaries. The minimum age for worthy LDS males was lowered from 19 to 18 years old and for LDS females, from 21 to 19 years old. As a result, there has been a significant increase in the number of missionaries. By the end of 2013, experts are predicting over 80,000 missionaries serving around the world. Just in the past eight months alone, there has been a 30% increase in missionaries.

“More LDS missionaries planned for Southwest Idaho”

2.         Greater emphasis on using the internet

Earlier this summer, the LDS Church announced they will be making a far greater emphasis on utilizing technology to share their gospel message. This will be a dramatic shift for those serving on missions. They will now be encouraged to use social media to connect and follow up with people who are considered prospects.

3.         Going door-to-door is being less emphasized

Going door-to-door on bicycles is slowly being phased out as a primary emphasis of Mormon missionary work. Not only will missionaries be utilizing the internet as a point of contact, but LDS members are being strongly encouraged to provide contacts for the missionaries to follow up on. Teamwork is now being emphasized between LDS members and missionaries designated for their ward.

“Mormon missions: Door-to-door approach is out; Internet is in.” 

With the large influx of new missionaries, the LDS Church is understandably struggling in providing logistics for them and places to serve. By studying missionary placements, the LDS Church is sending missionaries to places where they are finding the greatest growth. This includes Africa, South America, and Mexico.

However, their greatest emphasis right now is sending missionaries to the western United States.

With the sudden rise in the number of Mormon missionaries, Christians can view this as a wonderful opportunity to share God’s Word with them. Prayerfully consider taking the time to prepare yourself to provide an answer for Mormon missionaries when they appear at your door.

Go to pleaseopenthedoor.com to learn more.

Does an evil spirit know your name?

Fear is a common denominator that prohibits a Christian from sharing the good news of free salvation in Christ. When examined, fears usually come from the result of being inward-focused instead of outward-driven. We tend to think inwardly, “What will this person think of me?” instead of outwardly, “Are they in spiritual danger from the consequences of sin?”

But, there is something even more unsettling that goes beyond our self when sharing God’s Word with others.

An evil spirit will know your name.

The Apostle Paul was preaching the resurrection of Christ in Ephesus to both the Jews and Gentiles. Over the course of two years, all the Jews and Greeks heard the word of the Lord throughout the province of Asia.

During this time, Paul was healing the sick and casting out demons. A few Jews decided to mimic Paul and attempted to do the same thing by casting out demons in the name of Jesus Christ.

“One day, the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?”  (Acts 19:15)

The evil spirits then overpowered the two men causing them to run away naked and bleeding. The news of this event spread rapidly and the Lord used it for good.

“In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.”  (Acts 19:20)

Unbelief is a result of spiritual blindness and a hardened heart. Only through the power of God’s Word can the blind see and softened hearts can trust His promises.

In this world, we are cloaked from the reality of a spiritual dimension that we cannot see or feel. There are forces at work that we cannot perceive or understand. They all are contending for a prize — the souls of God’s creation.

Conversion is a great victory. One of the greatest victories recorded in the Bible is the dramatic conversion of Saul from Tarsus. Something like scales fell from the eyes of Saul.

This suggests there is something other-worldly that is associated with conversion. It’s a victory that causes celebration throughout the hosts of heaven. Names are meticulously recorded in the book of life.

A human soul is a prized possession in the spiritual realm. And those Christians who share the message of salvation with other souls position themselves as a target, a strategic front, a point of attack between spiritual forces.

And you will be identified by evil spirits. They will know your name.

Here are three suggestions when sharing God’s Word:

  1. With great joy and confidence, be a willing participant in the spiritual battle.  For He who is with you is much stronger than the enemy. Victory has already been assured.
  2. Put on the full armor of God (Eph. 6:11). Power and strength comes only through His Word.
  3. Pray continually. There is power in our prayers that we cannot fathom. We pray because God tells us to. Pray specifically for a lost soul and ask the Lord for the strength and the opportunity to share His Word.

Three important steps to begin sharing God’s Word with Mormons

God plants the desire in every Christian heart to share the good news of salvation with others. Quite often, we just don’t know where to begin.

This can be especially true if we have been blessed with Mormon friends and neighbors — or have suffered the heartache of family members joining the LDS Church.

To properly share the message of the consequences of sin and the wonderful message of free grace takes an investment of time, prayer, and study. There are no shortcuts. Without preparation it can be unsettling when opportunities unexpectedly arise. As a result;

  • Instead of proclaiming God’s Word, we remain silent.
  • Instead of receiving joy of being God’s messenger, we feel convicted.

Truth in Love Ministry is encouraging Christians to be powerful messengers of God’s Word by using a specific approach. But how do I begin? The answer may be far less difficult than you think.

Based on experience, the adventure of being God’s messenger begins with three important steps.

STEP ONE: The power of prayer

Prayer is a means God provides to confess our sins and to remember the fact that he is ultimately in control. Prayer also helps us to remember that the power and the strength comes from God’s Word! Too often we tend to dwell on our selves when facing the prospect of being God’s messenger. When we admit our weaknesses, God will provide the strength!

Begin with prayer and express to God your willingness to be his messenger. Begin praying for the Mormon in your life and ask for an opportunity to share and the words to say. It’s amazing how the Lord provides! Trust in him “who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” (Eph. 3:20)

Article:  “Never underestimate the value of prayer when sharing your faith.” 

STEP TWO: Love builds a bridge

Truth coincides with trust. To evaluate truth, a person will largely depend on the source. In today’s world, people are inundated with information that is largely biased and exploited. To sift through all the information requires a certain amount of skill and discernment. Perhaps now more than ever, a trusted source for truth is a valued commodity.

Before sharing God’s Word, invest time to build a bridge of trust to show that a Christian can be a source of truth. This can be done by consistently displaying sincere love and care for that soul God has placed in your life. Then you can gently take the Mormon by the hand and point to God’s Word as our sole source for truth.

Here are some normal, everyday things people can do to engage people around them. In doing so, we can “gospel intentional” while prayerfully watching and listening for opportunities to boldly and humbly share our faith.

In your neighborhood:

* Bring them a plate of cookies or baked goods.
* Get to know their birthdays and send a card and/or a small present.
* Find common interests and inquire about the well-being of their family.
* Offer to provide a meal for their family on a weekday evening.
* Spend time chatting when you see them outside – get to know them.

At your work place:

* Make it a daily practice to speak or write a note of encouragement.
* Offer to cover for them when they need time off for something.
* Be friendly, chat at the water cooler or in the break room.

It never ceases to surprise us how genuine acts of kindness by Christians have a profound effect on Mormons.

Great Resource:  “Simple Ways to be Missional” produced by VergeNetwork.org.

STEP THREE: Sprinkle God’s Word.

Even after time has been invested in building a relationship of trust, we still sometimes struggle in taking that next step to verbally share our faith. You can start by sprinkling God’s Word into your everyday conversations.

When going door-to-door in Provo and Salt Lake City, we often had only a few minutes to share the gospel. We learned the importance of being succinct while at the same time piquing the curiosity of a Mormon. Declaring that we are already perfect in Christ was one way of doing that.

With a little forethought, you can be gospel intentional in a everyday conversation. Share something that is sincerely meaningful to you.

For example, you could say, “Yesterday at church my pastor gave such a wonderful message that brought me such great comfort and peace. He talked about how I’m 100% forgiven in Jesus right now. It was exactly what I needed to hear.” Stop and wait for your Mormon friend to respond or ask a question. If not, that’s okay. The conversation will move on. Yet, a seed of God’s Word has been planted.

If a Mormon is already questioning their faith, your comment will have a lasting impact. Sometimes, when you least expect it, they will ask you a question. Then, you will be ready to explain what Christ has already done for us.

Planting the seeds of God’s Word does not have to be difficult. We are simply messengers who share what we already know to be true.

More Words of Encouragement:  “Sharing God’s Word means trusting the power of the message not ourselves”

For more suggestions, subscribe to the monthly Truth in Love Ministry email updates by clicking here.

This revised article first appeared in the Fall 2013 newsletter of Truth in Love Ministry. To receive a copy either send an email to tilm@tilm.org or subscribe here.

Four key discoveries in overcoming fear in evangelism

Chuckling in your face.
Wincing in disapproval.
Polite smiles with a faraway look in their eyes.

God’s Word has that effect on people.

Negative reactions received when placing ourselves on a limb can cause us to think twice when future opportunities present themselves.

Gifted evangelists never seem to get rattled.

Fearless. Bold. They readily talk about their faith with anyone in their midst.

But many Christians are reluctant and twinge in embarrassment at the prospect of sharing the message of salvation in Christ. When golden moments to share our faith float away in full sail, reluctant witnesses remain on the shores of guilt and watch those moments fade off into the distance.

What causes a person to dive off the high board of their own inadequacy and into the pool of being God’s ambassador?

What drives a soul to jump off the ledge of their own fears of rejection and share the good news of forgiveness, redemption, and peace?

Are we like Gideon, demanding a sign before we step out in faith?

Are we like Jonah, who think our new next door neighbors reside in Nineveh and stay away?

I wonder how the Apostle Paul would answer these questions?

He understood weakness. In fact, his weakness was a source of great strength.

“For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

He understood what it meant to be timid. He confesses that he is timid when meeting people face-to-face. Perhaps Paul was not gregarious, outgoing, or an extrovert — all characteristics we consider as witnessing giants.

Paul appears humble, yet bold. Resolute, yet gentle. Persistent, yet discerning.

The reactions to Paul were not limited to sharp criticism or rebuke. He was chased, imprisoned, beaten, and stoned. He said, “Three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a day and night in the open sea.”  All for the cause of sharing God’s Word.

Sharing God’s Word is not a personality trait, but a calm conviction that what God says is true.

People come to the knowledge of truth through the power of God’s Word — and he uses us to point to it.

Only by the grace of God a soul is saved from the consequences of sin — and he uses us to transmit its message.

God uses jars of clay to further his purposes. He tells us to go, teach, and baptize all nations. And our peace comes from taking God at His Word when he says, “And I will be with you always.”

Here are four key discoveries in overcoming fear in evangelism:

1.         Only after we jump off the high dive of our own inadequacy, we discover that Christ has always been there to catch us. Like a little child jumping off the side of the pool we fall into our father’s arms.

2.         Only after jumping off the ledge of our own fears of rejection, we discover that we were simply meeting a divine appointment — one pre-arranged by God.

3.         Negative reactions by people are not to be taken at face value. It’s not personal. Their soil was simply not ready for them to respond well.

4.         Fear is a normal response. Sharing God’s Word is not a natural. It does take courage. It does require a measure of boldness. Yet, in that sharing, we discover that the sharing no longer becomes about us, but Christ in us.

That is the strength that comes from weakness! And to regularly experience that power and presence most often comes from sharing God’s Word with others.

Other posts on Witness Well:

Three short tips on sharing God’s Word with a friend or neighbor

Is anger an appropriate response in sharing God’s Word with others?

“My daughter became a Mormon nine months ago” — A Mother’s Ache for a Lost Child

The depth a parent will go to find a lost child. The pain, guilt, and desperation dominate our thoughts and emotions.

But what if the lost child is living in your own home?

Letters we receive from Christian parents whose children have turned to the false teachings of Mormonism breaks our hearts. Filled with anguish, they reach out to us for prayer, hope, and encouragement. And it seems that the vast majority of these conversions have come through dating relationships. A good example is a letter we received this past week;

“To whom it may concern,

My daughter, who will be 21 in February, was raised in a strong Christian home and was a leader in our High School department and a worship leader in High School and for our main church services. She has gone three times on mission trips through our church. Her senior year she started dating a Mormon. She hung around her Mormon friend and her gay friend and we thought they were just hanging out – the 3 amigos.

To make a long story short she became a Mormon nine months ago just prior to this boy going on his 2 year mission. She is a star struck girl and his family, ward, bishop and friends have all enveloped her into their church. The idea of being married for eternity to the one you love is quite a dream.

She has always been a girl of high morals and has never drank or had sex. Unfortunately, I feel that the whole appearance and works aspect has enticed her along with this boy and his family.

My husband has done extensive study on what the Mormon Church believes and he presented this to my daughter to no avail. He has read how to “Speak the Truth in Love to Mormons” and we have decided to just love her and she continues to live with us.

Many times she’ll be discussing something that was brought up at work and she’ll tell us what she said and we will say, “You know that is not what the Mormons believe.” In her mind she believes that Jesus died for her sins and she is saved by grace. So now her beliefs are intermixed with what she is being taught.

She doesn’t truly know what they believe and they only indoctrinate you a little at a time. She may be leaving for Salt Lake in January to some community college that promises an Associate degree in 2 years owned and run by the Mormon Church. We are not funding this but she has told us that there is plenty of money available for new converts.

We have released her to God and pray for his Holy Spirit to be at work in her life and that he will do whatever it takes to get her out of Mormonism. We choose to love her no matter what just as we would love her if she was a lesbian or a drug addict etc.

Keep her in your prayers please.  She has been such a good kid and a blessing to us as a daughter. Keep us also in prayer also that we would be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s guidance in how and when and what to say in the future as the opportunity arises. Thank you.”

At Truth in Love Ministry, our hearts ache with hers.

To comfort, encourage, and to pray for her, we are reminded of a story Jesus told; He said,

“Suppose one of you has 100 sheep and loses one of them.  Won’t he leave the 99 in the open country?  Won’t he go and look for the one lost sheep until he finds it?  When he finds it, he will joyfully put it on his shoulders and go home.  Then he will call his friends and neighbors together.  He will say, ‘Be joyful with me.  I have found my lost sheep.’”  (Luke 15:3-6)

We can pray for this daughter along with many others like her:

“My Shepherd LORD, Thank you for searching for Your lost sheep. Thank you for not turning Your back. Just as You never give up on me, let me not give up praying for her lost daughter and those like her. May her love for You be restored. May Your Word that’s been planted in her heart since birth shine the light of truth on what she is now being taught in Mormonism. May she see Your truth. Give her the courage and strength to walk away from any relationship that takes her away from You. And give comfort, encouragement, and hope to her parents – let them know that You love their daughter even more than they do and will never give up on her. LORD, do this for all parents who have children who have strayed from You – You are the only One that can bring peace and be that refuge of hopefulness.”

This letter and prayer appeared our weekly prayer alerts at Truth in Love Ministry. If you would like to receive requests like this, please subscribe to be a part of the Truth in Love Ministry prayer family by clicking here.