Tag Archives: evangelism

Do Your Children Have Beautiful Feet? – Part 5

This Dad’s Corner I expect to be the last in the series on sharing our faith with others. A good introduction to this article is an e-mail we received from a mom because I believe many will relate to her thoughts on the series. A fitting conclusion would be some pretty amazing statistics that Christopher, my twenty-eight-year-old son, wrote down that further highlight how critical this topic is.


“Some months I take a few extra minutes to read the Dad’s Corner as well as the Mom’s Corner. This month was one of them. Just last night on the way to church, I was explaining to my children, ages 8, 6, 4, and 2, what our purpose in life was. I told them our purpose in life was not to have fun playing or doing chores or schoolwork or anything else. Our purpose is to tell people about Christ and how to get to Heaven. I pointed to the person in the car next to us and asked them, ‘What if that man right there is going to go to hell when he dies?’

“I explained to them that since we knew the way to Heaven, we needed to make sure we told others because if we didn’t tell them, they might never know that Jesus died for them and will forgive their sins if they only would ask Him. (At this point in time only my eight-year-old has gotten saved, but I thought they all should be taught to tell others about Christ’s love.)

“After all my talking and explaining to them what our purpose in life was, my six-year-old son looked at me very confused and replied, ‘Why don’t we then?’ Of course it hit directly to my heart. Very sadly I had to confess to him, ‘I don’t know.’ When we got to church, the message that God sent to my heart was about ‘our purpose in life’ and that we are to be telling others about Him. And today I read the Dad’s Corner which talked of the very same thing. I have purposed in my heart, as of today, to start telling people about Christ for their sake, and for the sake of my children, so that they have an example to live by and hopefully not have to struggle with this issue as they grow into adults.

“Thanks for taking the time each month to encourage people like me.” (Used by permission.)

Statistics and Thoughts from Christopher

When I was twenty-six years old, the Lord began burdening my heart to share the gospel. I was convicted over my unfaithfulness of not being an outspoken witness in the years prior. As I began to speak with the lost, I was overwhelmed to see the Holy Spirit working in hearts and lives.

For some reason, which I couldn’t explain at the time, I felt His leading to keep track of the number of people with which I was able to share. After a period of time, I felt led to stop keeping track. I realized that a month had transpired.

The results?

December 10 through January 10:

Total tracts given out: 155
Number of individual people who received tract(s): 101
Number of people who rejected a tract: 4
Sharing on the telephone: 18 (telemarketers, customer service calls, etc.)
Number who were closed/cold: 1
Number I was able to share the gospel with: 11
Number who were already saved: 6
Strangers who in one form or another heard the gospel: 112

It wasn’t until several months later that I realized the significance of those numbers. Those numbers represented one month of my life as I sought to share with the lost. But one hundred months had transpired from the time I was eighteen until that particular month; one hundred months during which I was not as faithful of a witness as I should have been.

What would happen if I were to multiply the numbers in that one month by one hundred—with the resulting figures representing the prior years of unfaithfulness?

Age 18 through 26: (years of unfaithfulness)

Tracts NOT given out: 15,500
Individual people who didn’t receive a tract: 10,100
Number of missed rejections: 400
Missed telephone witnessing: 1,800
Number missed who were closed/cold: 100
Number missed sharing the Gospel with: 1,100
Number missed who were already saved: 600
Potential number of strangers whom I DIDN’T share with: 11,200

Those numbers could have been a bit higher or lower, but they are still staggering! The numbers represent just one person’s efforts (or lack of efforts) over the course of eight years. While I cannot go back and change those years, I can seek to obey on a day-by-day basis as the Lord Jesus continues to give me breath.

I wonder what numbers you might be amassing? Are they numbers of faithfully sharing with the lost? Or are they numbers of disobedience by keeping quiet?

As a father, besides considering your personal impact on others, what about the impact of your children? If they do not see you sharing the gospel with the lost, do you think they will become faithful witnesses?

Instead of one person being responsible for 11,200 souls not hearing the gospel, might a father, through the lives of his children, be responsible for hundreds of thousands of souls? The math is simple and straightforward. The result is either heartbreakingly sad or incredibly exciting—depending upon whether the numbers represent good or bad.

When reading an article it is sometimes tempting to skip over the Bible verses that are shared, especially if one recognizes the Scripture reference. May each of us take a moment and carefully read these next two verses, remembering that God is the One talking!

Ezekiel 3:18-19: “When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.”

Warning the wicked equals active evangelism. Notice that the warning was a spoken warning. Yes, Ezekiel was supposed to live a holy life. That goes without saying and is the basis for one being able to speak credibly with the lost. He wasn’t to silently live his life and wait for the wicked to ask him questions about his lifestyle! Ezekiel was to open his mouth and proactively warn the lost.

How does God measure my success or failure in evangelism? I believe it is by whether or not I open my mouth and share with others. Success equals sharing, while failure equals keeping quiet. As God told Ezekiel: the listener is responsible, before God, for his decision. I am responsible for warning him.



As we wind up this series on the importance of sharing our faith with others, I want to encourage you to make sharing Christ with the lost a priority in your personal life and in the discipleship of your children. Do you have beautiful feet? Do your children have beautiful feet?

“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!” (Isaiah 52:7)

“And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10:15)

As a side note, we have been very blessed by The Soul Winner’s New Testament. They are a perfect size to put in your pocket and carry with you at all times. We normally carry one with us and often give it away while witnessing. The New Testaments are listed on our site.

Do Your Children Have Beautiful Feet? – Part 4

I had intended to finish the series of articles on evangelism last month. However, while we were on our trip, Christopher and I were discussing those to whom we had witnessed. I appreciated what he shared with me and asked him to write a Corner about evangelism. The following article is what the Lord put on his heart.

It is a joy when our children embrace the Lord Jesus and want to tell others about Him. When a man has something with which he truly is thrilled, he wants others to know. It is a wonderful confirmation that the Lord Jesus is at work in our children’s lives when they will actively witness about Jesus, the only true Savior of a man’s soul.


Approaching Flames

A few weeks ago, we drove on the interstate through New York City, a massive urban center with miles and miles of apartments. If you had watched me staring out the window, you could have easily guessed I was from Kansas as I watched the towering expanse of concrete, brick, and humanity pass by. We even pulled out the camera and took some photos of the city through the van window. At one point, we saw smoke drifting across the interstate ahead of us. We assumed it was a factory smokestack, but we were wrong—an apartment building was on fire. Flames were shooting almost fifteen feet high out of a fourth-story window. A fire truck had just arrived in the street below and was beginning to raise its massive ladder. I snapped a few quick photos as we passed, and we prayed for those whose lives were being impacted by the fire.

fire-overviewIt wasn’t until later, as I reviewed the photos in detail, that the significance of what we had seen really hit me. The magnified images revealed two details. The first was amazing, but the second was heart-wrenchingly incredible. As I stared at those photos, the parallels between the fire and evangelism were almost impossible to overlook.

The first detail we noticed as we zoomed in: two firefighters heading up toward the flames on the metal fire-escape stairs. These men had lost no time upon arriving at the building and were demonstrating a willingness to risk their lives as they climbed closer to the fire. Their goal was not to put out the fire, for they carried no water hoses with them. Instead, the oxygen tanks they wore showed they were intending to save lives, even if it meant entering flame-filled rooms.

Those firefighters had a duty and a job to perform, and they were doing it no matter what it cost them (although I suspect they were also motivated by a heartfelt compassion for those facing danger). What would have happened if none of the firefighters had responded to the call? What if they had responded to the call but then sat in their comfortable fire truck and simply watched the building burn? If either one of those situations had occurred, wouldn’t there would be many people, perhaps including you and me, who would have condemned them for their actions (or lack of actions)?

For us, as Christians, not to speak up and seek opportunities to share the gospel with the lost would be a similar, unconscionable, shirking of (God-given) responsibility. “Go ye therefore and teach all nations . . .” (Matthew 28:19). We have a duty toward those headed for a horrendous future: “Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:44). “And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh” (Jude 1:23).

Jesus never said that sharing the gospel with others would always be easy and comfortable. I believe Peter is a perfect example of that. He wasn’t willing to stand up and identify with Jesus when he was asked, three times, if he were a disciple. Granted, Peter was in the midst of a difficult situation, but he was nonetheless given an opportunity to speak out and share, and he didn’t. But isn’t Jesus merciful? Peter confessed his failure and repented. Grace was given. And from that point on, we no longer see a fearful man, but one who was willing to speak out, no matter what the cost.

Whether a firefighter or a soul-winner, is the man who experiences fear called a coward? No! It is the one who gives into his feelings of fear and fails to do what he should. Even brave men will at times feel fear, but they choose to do what is right despite their fear!

Some don’t want to be spiritual firefighters – despite what the Lord has called us to do. For those who don’t want to be a firefighter, I ask you to consider what we saw as we zoomed even closer into the photo of the fire!

On the fifth floor, only a few feet over from the flames that were roaring out of the fourth-floor window below, was a woman with a child in her arms, standing on a small fire-escape platform perhaps fifty feet in the air. She was well aware of the danger her life was in if she stayed in the building. She could have chosen the way of escape for herself alone, and it would have been much easier for her to do so, because then both of her hands would have been free. However, she was taking the time and effort to see that the infant child was also safe.

Have we repented of our sin and believed in the Lord Jesus Christ? Has He saved us from the flames of hell? If so, how could we be so selfish as to escape the flames ourselves (by His grace) and yet leave others to such a terrible fate?

“And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11).

Will you one day stand alone before the Lord Jesus Christ with no one else standing beside you whom you helped rescue by pointing them to Jesus? Might the work we are so busy filling our days with burn up on the judgment day? “If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire” (1 Corinthians 3:15).

Whether you see yourself as a firefighter or simply someone who has been rescued from the fires of hell, won’t you reach out and help rescue others? Don’t be paralyzed by fear! Let us each be bold as we gently help those who are lost and dying!

Written by our son Christopher

Do Your Children Have Beautiful Feet? – Part 3

Last month when the Maxwell men were ministering at the homeless shelter, I spoke with a man in his late twenties. He shared how he was struggling with both chemical and alcohol addictions. That is very sad, but what he said next was even sadder. He told me that it was one of his parents who first gave him a beer and harmful illegal drugs. Last week I heard a similar story from another man. I can recall a childhood friend whose parents gave him beer so he could safely drink at home. He may have been safe, but these parents all have something in common. They have given their children appetites for what leads to destruction.

The example we set for our children and how we train them should be taken very seriously because we will all stand before God some day to give an accounting. “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God” (Romans 14:12). Praise God that most Christian families I know are attempting to lead their families away from sin instead of giving them an appetite for it. However, not sinning in not enough. We need to be living and serving as the Lord Jesus has commanded us.

In the parable of the talents, the man who hid his talent in the ground was not commended for having lost nothing but instead was sternly rebuked because he gained nothing. “His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed” (Matthew 25:26).

In the last two articles in this series, we have discussed the Lord’s command for us to actively share our faith with others. “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). By reading Acts, we see that the Apostles were sharing their faith, and we must do so, too. This month we will discuss some practical things that might be done in learning how to share Jesus.

Salvation is a work of God, and it is not a work of the flesh. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6). It isn’t about tricks and gimmicks, but the power of the Holy Spirit in converting souls. Religion may bring about some degree of outward conformity, but Jesus Christ changes people from the inside out. Therefore, we must be saved and in fellowship with the Lord if we desire to be used of Him in reaching the lost.

We need to bathe the Lord’s command to “go and preach” in prayer and ask the Lord to begin a work in our lives so that we can obey. Since converting souls is a spiritual matter, then prayer is foundational. Do we believe God is the One Who saves? Then we must be in prayer seeking His power in our lives to develop a deep love for the lost, a concern for their lives, direction in how to prepare and share, discernment in whom the Lord wants us to witness to and that their hearts would be receptive. May He give us boldness and a broken heart for the lost, and may He lead us each step of the way.

Some men have told me that their walk with the Lord is only one of “going through the motions.” If that is the case, I would encourage you to forget about sharing Jesus with others, and focus on your need for a real relationship with the Lord right away. Whether you are unsaved or carnal, I would plead with you not to rest until you have resolved it. Only then will the Holy Spirit be able to lead you as you witness.

Consider beginning to be evangelistic by giving out gospel tracts. On Friday, I stopped by a business to pick up something we ordered. Right next to the loading dock was a picnic table ringed with employees on break. I paused by the group on my way into the building and gave each a “million dollar bill” gospel tract and a few “Are You Good Enough to Go to Heaven?” tracts. They all gladly received them. Later as they filed past me while I was waiting inside, several of them thanked me again. They genuinely appreciated what I had given them.

I don’t leave tracts lying around public places because that can be seen as littering. However, when we are on the lookout, we will see people who are glad to read a tract that is given to them. I often watch for people who appear to be waiting. I remember once spotting a car of “tough guys” waiting outside the grocery store. I walked up and said, “You guys look like you have time to read something.” On occasion, I might add, “I think you will find this most interesting,” or “It’s just a gospel tract.” I can’t recall a person being rude or hateful, and hardly ever is the tract refused.

One thing that is important when choosing tracts is that they are interesting. That is why the “million dollar bill” works very well as a conversation starter or something easy to get in their hands. We tell them it isn’t real, but they might enjoy having one, and most want one because it catches their interest. I know some families include tracts when paying bills. I think that is a good practice as long as the business isn’t paying for the postage. It wouldn’t be right to send a tract if the tract ended up costing the company additional postage to receive it. May we be an offense to no one. “Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed” (2 Corinthians 6:3).

Finding good tracts can take quite a bit of time, so be on the lookout, or possibly ask others which ones they like. Tracts to use must be interesting and have a solid biblical foundation. The more motivated a person is, the more he will read. We like to have an assortment of tracts available so the Holy Spirit can lead us in which tract should be given. We have put up a Web page that lists tracts we have used that might help you get started. Seek the Lord’s direction every step of the way. If you sense a person is interested, then give him something that has more of a message. If not, then give a tract that may catch his interest so he wants to read more.

People expect churches to be the ones giving out tracts and sharing Christ, and they suspect their motives. They often feel a church only wants members and money, so they are suspicious. If you are sharing Christ as an individual or “just as a family,” a person is more likely to be open to what you have to say.

Consider having some contact information on the tract should the recipient want to know more. We had a rubber stamp made that has our www.familiesforJesus.com website on it. This way they can e-mail us if they want to dialog further about spiritual issues, but our address and phone number is kept private. Renting a low-volume website is so inexpensive these days that each family could likely do that as well. At that website, more details about salvation could be posted. However, I would encourage you not to put your family’s telephone number, e-mail, or street address on the site. Use a contact form such as you will find on Titus2.com; otherwise, you will receive a lot of spam.

A side note is that you might find a family website is a great learning opportunity. There are a host of beginner books that will teach you all you need to know about developing a website. It can give great purpose for your children to have a project such as this, and they will learn skills in the process. However, be on guard that any Internet use is monitored and 100 percent accountable.

We have also liked carrying our Soul Winner’s New Testaments when we are out, which have notes by the late Clift Brannon. There are notes at appropriate verses that are chained together so someone can look them up on their own, read the verse, and then read Mr. Brannon’s comments. Most of my family tries to have a Soul Winner’s New Testament with them all the time because we have had many opportunities to give a New Testament to a person who has desired more information. We started offering the Soul Winner’s New Testaments on Titus2.com at our cost because we had such trouble finding inexpensive New Testaments to give away.

Make it a true discipleship opportunity as your family learns to witness. Buy one book at a time on witnessing, and go through it together as a family. We found R. A. Torrey’s book called Personal Work to be of great insight and encouragement for us. Unfortunately, that book is out of print, but you might find one on the Internet or in used bookstores. Mr. Torrey has a much smaller book that is still in print called How to Witness to Anyone. Previously I mentioned LivingWaters.com. This group targets the more mainstream Christian of today, but it might be helpful in your quest to learn to be a soul winner.

We have a whiteboard in our dining room where we write Scripture verses that we want to memorize. After we ask the Lord to bless our food, we recite the verse(s) on the board. It is a great way to learn Scripture. Currently, we have most of Exodus 20:3-17 up so the family can memorize the Ten Commandments and use them when witnessing. As you have personal and family devotions, look for verses that you want to memorize for sharing Christ, then learn them at meal times.

We try to have a once-a-month family prayer time for the unsaved that we know. It is a wonderful time of crying out to the Lord for those who are headed for hell. I’m thinking of one young man we met at the fair last month who was proud of going to hell. Only the Holy Spirit can bring about conviction and the realization of a man’s need of a Savior. In his youth, this boy sees himself as immortal, but in joining the Marines, he may soon find himself vulnerable. Only prayer will have an impact on him at this point.

As your children observe you sharing Christ with others, it will build in them a similar boldness and desire to share also. Discussions around the dinner table and prior to evening devotions can be highly profitable for everyone as the family hears who shared Christ with another person and what was said. My family is always greatly encouraged to hear stories of what has happened in my witnessing or to share their own.

Every trip out of the home becomes a new adventure as you seek to share Jesus with others. Remember to keep in mind that this isn’t an exercise like one lifts weights. It is serious business, and souls are at stake. Our hearts have to be deeply concerned for people who are going to spend eternity in hell. Then as we witness there is no personal gain in it for us. We are doing it for the other person’s benefit and in obedience to our Lord.

There is so much more to the Great Commission than just obedience. There is blessing and fulfillment as well. The world’s entertainment and resulting fun is just a poor imitation for joy in the Holy Spirit. There is no greater joy than seeing lives transformed by the power of God. I can’t think of anything the world offers that can compete with that.

May we give our families appetites for the power of God in action, and we won’t be disappointed—not now or when we stand before our Lord giving an account of how we have spent our lives and discipled our children. Do your children have beautiful feet? “. . . How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things” (Romans 10:15).

Do Your Children Have Beautiful Feet? – Part 2

(You can read last month’s here.) This month we are continuing our discussion of the importance of discipling our children by helping them have a heart for evangelism and the tools to be effective in it. Jesus’ last command as He left this earth was: “. . . Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).

Until the more recent years, I thought I cared about seeing lost souls saved, but the evidence of my life didn’t indicate that this was a reality. I was content to live my personal life wholeheartedly for the Lord Jesus, striking up conversations when I could, and waiting for others to initiate questions about my faith that might lead to the opportunity to share Christ with them.

Lifestyle evangelism is a term I often hear associated with this kind of witnessing. The truth of those years was that I wasn’t being asked by those around me to tell them about Christ, and my family wasn’t developing a passion for witnessing. I am excited now by the changes in my heart and my children’s hearts as the Lord is leading us down a path of forthright evangelism.

Most people consider themselves to be good people; therefore, they believe they are able to get to heaven based on their own merit. Yet the Bible tells us differently. “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags . . .” (Isaiah 64:6). “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). And: “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). That is why it is vitally important for people to realize that without Christ they will spend eternity in hell and for us to be actively telling them about Jesus Christ.

Since Jesus commanded us to “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15) and the world needs Christ, why is it that believers of today are not witnessing? I’m sure there are numerous reasons, but I wonder if there are several very common ones for not witnessing. I will list a few in no particular order and what Scripture says in comparison.

First, some don’t know how to witness. This can be a hindrance, but should it be? If Jesus gave a direct command to someone, wouldn’t you expect him to obey it? Would Jesus give a command that couldn’t be obeyed? Of course not. If we don’t know how to witness, then we need to learn how. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). We don’t want to be disobedient to the Lord’s command to witness just because we don’t know how to do it. We learn how, and then we obey.

Second, some don’t want to offend people. That is fully understandable because we should not want to offend. To get in someone’s face and passionately tell him he is going to hell will likely be offensive. However, if our motive is love and we are deeply concerned for where they are going to spend eternity, they are much less likely to react negatively. “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18). If a person is unaware that he has a serious illness from which he will die unless treated, he will be grateful if you care enough to tell him of his disease. If our motive is viewed as selfishly trying to get someone to come to our church, the person is far more likely to react negatively than if we are seen as striving to introduce the person to a relationship with the only true God of the universe. Often, after I have shared Christ with someone, I will ask whether I have offended him in any way. Most people will not only say that I haven’t offended them, but many will also add that they are grateful for what was said.

Third, some are embarrassed to tell others openly about Jesus and don’t want them to think they are extreme. “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels” (Mark 8:38). I think Paul’s position on whether he cared if others thought him foolish is the one to take. “We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised” (1 Corinthians 4:10). It doesn’t matter if others think of us as fools as long as our Lord says, “Well done thou good and faithful servant.” Amen?

Fourth, perhaps some think they are too busy, and witnessing takes too much time. Can you imagine yourself on the way to an important appointment when you notice a baby stroller rolling out into the street? You know that soon a car will hit it, killing the child inside. Do you stop, putting yourself at some risk, to rescue the baby? In addition, you know that you will miss your appointment because after pulling the child from danger, it will take time to contact the authorities and find the parents. Certainly, we would put our agenda aside and do what needed to be done for the sake of the child. “. . . he that winneth souls is wise” (Proverbs 11:30). I have realized that I may regret not speaking to a person about his soul, but I won’t regret doing it.

Fifth, sadly, there are many whose faith is not anything worth sharing. I’m convinced this is true quite often. When a person has something he is excited about, you can’t stop him from telling others. In the following passage we see that the Samaritan woman hurriedly left to tell others in the city about Jesus. “The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ? . . . And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did” (John 4:28-29, 39). If we have a vibrant relationship with Jesus, we will want to tell others about Him.

Sixth, is that so very many—like we were—are satisfied with lifestyle evangelism. “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5). Abiding in Jesus makes us fitting instruments to be used by the Lord to reach others. Abide means to rest, to remain, and to dwell. This has to do with our relationship with Jesus. It is the basis for all that He enables us to accomplish. If we wrongly interpret abiding to mean we may be content to physically rest, remain, and dwell within the comfort zones of our homes and our churches—lifestyle evangelism—then we miss the aspect of abiding in Christ that allows us to move into the area of trusting Jesus to equip us to “go and preach.”

For many of those reasons why others don’t witness, I, too, have wanted my abiding in Christ to mean only that I read my Bible, pray, and live a “righteous” life. However, I have come to see that the ultimate of abiding is relying on Jesus Christ to give me boldness, gracious words, a loving heart, and the power of His Word in sharing the Gospel—not simply lifestyle evangelism but rather purposeful evangelism. We speak the Word; God brings the harvest. My responsibility is to be obedient; God’s responsibility is to bring the increase. “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour” (1 Corinthians 3:6-8).

As a further emphasis that we are to actively share our faith, we can look at who was initially in favor of believers sharing their faith by the lifestyle only. “And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus” (Acts 4:18). Peter and John were told by Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, and the council not to speak about Jesus. The Greek word for speak means to proclaim. They weren’t forbidden from living a “Christian” life. That wasn’t a threat to the high priest and the council. It was speaking and teaching in the name of Jesus that was the problem. Satan wants believers to be silent and disobey Jesus’ command to “go and preach the gospel.”

The question of “lifestyle evangelism” versus Jesus’ command to “go and preach the gospel” can best be addressed by Peter and John’s reply to the council. “But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:19-20).

I hope this helps make it very clear the sort of evangelism Jesus has asked us to practice. As we disciple our children, we should not neglect this important area. We want to encourage our children that telling others about Jesus and their need of Him is one way to show our love for them. What friend would sit back quietly while someone he cared about was headed for disaster? When Jesus said we are to “go and preach the gospel,” He meant exactly that. We want our children to understand the importance of this in a Christian’s life.

What is the fruit of these past few years of our learning to be overt in witnessing out of a desire to be obedient to Jesus’ command to go and preach? My younger children are growing in their desire to give away Gospel tracts when they are out and leave them in public places. My older children want to receive telemarketing calls and make business-related calls such as ordering things and asking product questions. This gives them the opportunity to practice witnessing. They have also begun to share Christ face to face with those they come in contact with.

We try to have a monthly prayer night usually with an emphasis on outreach. We have had the extreme privilege of leading several to the Lord Jesus Christ in just these few years—more than we had in the previous twenty-five years or so since my salvation. We have encouraged others in their relationship with Jesus Christ and in the importance of spending time every day in the Word. Many others, who have not made a decision for Christ, have indicated an interest in reading the book of John and considering salvation.

Maybe the greatest benefit of evangelism in discipling my children, which I alluded to last month, is that I have observed overtly sharing my faith with others strengthens my children’s faith. First they see Dad who is so in love with his Savior that he wants to tell others. They know that Dad’s faith is real and precious. What is important to a child’s father is impressed on the life of that child, and his desire for Jesus will grow. The children are also drawn to want to do what their dad does, and if Dad is sharing Jesus, they will want to as well.

Not only is the witnessing of Jesus a command, but there are so many benefits from it that we can’t be remiss in this important aspect of discipling our children. My heart is thrilled with the changes in my family concerning the reality of sharing Jesus Christ with lost and dying souls. Is it your desire for your children to be strong in their faith and dynamic soul winners? Are you stuck in the lifestyle evangelism rut, lacking the fruit of seeing changed lives for Christ? Do you have beautiful feet? Do your children have beautiful feet? “. . . How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10:15). Could I encourage you to start with your own life, and then lead your children to follow you? “And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand” (Matthew 7:26).

In the next part of this series, I will address exact ways our family has been learning to witness and how that has worked out in reality.

Do Your Children Have Beautiful Feet? – Part 1

To disciple our children we must help them learn to obey their Lord and live according to His code of conduct—His Word. One command is especially important, and that was His last command to us as He left Earth. “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). Jesus used two key words: “go” and “preach.” “Go” is very clear, and the Greek word for “preach” means to herald or proclaim.

Jesus often used practical, real-life examples to illustrate spiritual truths. In Matthew 4:19, He spoke to Simon Peter and his brother Andrew: “And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” A fisherman’s job is a proactive vocation. If he waited for the fish to jump into his boat because it looked more desirable than the water, the fisherman would starve. Fish love the water and die if they are out of it. Obviously, they do everything they can to stay in the water, and that is why it takes effort on the part of the fisherman to catch fish. We must be proactive as fishers of men if we are to be obedient to the Lord Jesus.

It appears that most believers have abandoned actively fishing in favor of hoping the fish will think the boat looks more inviting than the water. No doubt most churches still want to see people come to Christ and join their church, but I wonder how many believers are actively sharing Christ on their own. Even if they participate in going out witnessing as part of a church outreach, do they see evangelism as a command of Jesus for their daily lives? Are they sharing Christ with those whom they come in contact with each day?

In Florida while attending a large church, Teri and I went out faithfully every week and visited those who had visited the church. We had been trained how to share Christ, which we did on visitation when we encountered someone who was lost. However, witnessing was not something that I owned personally, as evidenced by the fact that I didn’t share the Gospel with those I met during my normal day-to-day life. When we moved from Florida and were part of other churches, we didn’t even become involved in their visitation programs. I was quite content with what is often called “lifestyle evangelism”—living my life for Christ so that those around me would observe Jesus in me and be drawn to Christianity by my example. Usually if we parents aren’t doing something, we aren’t going to teach our children to do it. Teri and I can see that we didn’t teach our older children how to share Christ, nor did they develop an appetite to witness during those early years. It has been in the more recent years that situation has been turned around in our family, and I want to give you some of the highlights of this blessed and exciting journey in our spiritual lives.

Over time, I became more convicted of our need to share Christ, and more concerned for the souls of others. At first, I timidly began to pursue conversations with those I met while I was out and about in the hope of discussing Christ. I was uncomfortable in being direct, though, and as a result usually didn’t get very far. Several years back, Sarah discovered a book on witnessing by R.A. Torrey, titled “Personal Work,” and we read it together as a family. We were convicted, challenged, instructed, and excited by the information. We were growing in our burden for souls, and the Lord was providing resources to help us learn to be more direct. One of the greatest helps we learned from Mr. Torrey was the importance of having the person you are sharing with read the passages out loud from the Bible so that he can see for himself what the Bible says.

Soon after that, Christopher, in his desire to learn more effectively how to share Christ, found the LivingWaters website. From them we discovered how important it is to use the Ten Commandments when witnessing. “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple” (Psalms 19:7). “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith” (Galatians 3:24). Just one word of caution concerning LivingWaters’ material. They are not very conservative, as evidenced by contemporary music and modesty issues on their DVD training set. With some degree of care, however, you will find some very helpful information about witnessing from LivingWaters.

Since then, most in our family have learned how to share Christ clearly and without being offensive, starting with Christopher and me. I have worked at telling my family at the supper table about any witnessing experiences I have had that day. When I have had occasion to interact with others during the day, my family has come to eagerly ask me whether I shared the gospel with that person. I will specifically relate my discussions with them so that they may learn how to ask questions, what to ask, and where to take the conversation. Simply by what the Lord has been doing in my life, I am observing my children gaining a desire to witness that I personally didn’t have until these past few years, nor could I instill it in them when it was missing in my life.

Christopher, our twenty-eight-year-old son, will often share the gospel with those he speaks to on the phone. When we are traveling, he brings his work with him, which means he has regular work-related cell phone conversations in the van. He may be calling to turn on the cell phone coverage for the laptop at the beginning of a trip, when the children will hear him ask, “Do you have time for a question that doesn’t have to do with our business?” Often the answer is positive, and they hear him continue, “Would you consider yourself a good person?” As soon as he hangs up, everyone wants to know what the other person was saying in response to Christopher’s side of the conversation.

When the children are with me when I am out, they can hear the whole conversation I have with someone concerning Christ and can see that other person’s response. They learn through my example, and they gain not only knowledge in how to witness but a comfort level that will help them as they share Jesus on their own. They also see how one person can lovingly and gently help another person to understand that without Christ he stands condemned before God. “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:36).

“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!” (Isaiah 52:7). May I encourage you, as the spiritual heads of your homes, to move out of the comfort zone of lifestyle evangelism into the uncomfortable, but highly exciting, zone of “go” and “preach.” In future articles I will describe some reasons people give for not overtly evangelizing, and I will give you more specifics on ways to lead your family to become overt in sharing Christ and encourage you in that path. In addition, I will share an unseen benefit your children will experience that, by itself, even if it wasn’t a command of Christ, would make it all worthwhile. Do your children have beautiful feet?

Just a Family, Sir

The middle-aged man thanked me as I handed him an ice-cold Pepsi and a Gospel tract. He then asked me what church we were with. I said, “No church, sir. We’re just a family that is trying to encourage people to think about where they are going to spend eternity.” He seemed surprised but genuinely grateful, smiled, put the Gospel tract in his pocket, and walked away.

The people that we met at our booth at the Leavenworth County Fair expected us to be part of some church membership/outreach program funded by a church budget. Once they learned that this was a project paid for and staffed by a family, the defenses seemed to crash down. They appeared to truly appreciate it. Through the week many came back each evening, and the conversation deepened, becoming more cordial and open. It was the most incredible opportunity to love our “neighbors” and give them a cup of cold “water” in Jesus’ name (Matthew 10:42).

As the week went on, we would question those we recognized as to whether they had read the tract we gave to them earlier, and most everyone said, “Yes.” We would then dig for a different one and query them to see if they had read the one we were holding. Often, we would ask them if they felt they had passed the good-person test, which was described in the first tract we always handed people. That would open the door for sharing Christ with them without being pushy or offensive. After talking about Jesus with someone who, by their own admission, indicated they were headed for hell, I would often ask them if I had offended them in any way. They always answered, “No.” Our goal was to clearly establish the need of a Savior but not to get someone to pray a quick prayer. The desire was to sow Gospel seed, which would spring up into true, life-changing new birth.

Nathan, my married son, and his wife, Melanie, had initiated the idea of renting a booth at the fair, feeling God’s direction, and he sought my counsel about it. Even though it sounded pretty incredible, I had peace about helping in any way we could. There were many questions about how and what was to be done, but few answers. We could hardly address the questions systematically because we had never done anything like this before. We had no way of knowing where the booth would be located or what kind of traffic there would be. Would people be suspicious or too proud to take a free drink? There were many things to pray about.

The logistics alone were quite staggering – purchasing, cooling, and transporting hundreds of cold drinks for each of five nights and one full day. Normally, as the dad, I have to pray though all of the issues of a project and then make the decisions, but it was wonderful because this time my role was not in leading but rather in undergirding. Nathan, my oldest “arrow,” was the head of this operation. I was greatly blessed to see not only his love for others but also the way the whole family worked together.

It was great to watch the children, young and old, all participating in various ways to make this happen. Nathan, Christopher, and John worked through some scenarios in trying to cool the drinks without having to purchase an iceberg every day. Eventually, they decided to split the drinks between four refrigerators each day and then put them in coolers with ice to take to the fair.

Transporting many extremely heavy coolers was another challenge. They decided to use two vehicles to move everything to the fairgrounds. The boys made multiple trips using a dolly and hand truck to get the coolers from the unloading area to our booth. Again, it was delightful to watch how the children worked “arm in arm.” That is the kind of teamwork that sports can never teach young people.

Since we didn’t know what we would encounter and wondered whether eleven people in front of a booth might be overpowering, I decided that the younger children would stay home with Teri and help as part of the support team. One big job that needed to be done was hand-stamping thousands of tracts with the www.FamiliesforJesus.com website that we would use for follow-up. Jesse, Mary, and Anna spent several hours stamping and repackaging the tracts. Then every night, Teri would have a special time of prayer with Anna, Jesse, and Mary for us and those with whom we were sharing Christ.

Life is short, and even shorter is the time we have with our children. We only have a few years to disciple them and prepare them for life in Christ. Opportunities like we had during the fair week are rare and valuable for all. Striving together with a common mission was a blessing. Because so many people came to our booth, each of us had the opportunity to learn to be more comfortable sharing Jesus when there was only a short amount of time for a conversation. I wonder how long it would take to have the same amount of witnessing experience if it were spread throughout the year.

The gentleman who was manning a booth next to us said he felt what we were doing was fantastic. He related that he had been watching the faces of those we talked to, and he believed many were under deep conviction through what was shared with them. He said he had traveled thousands of miles away from home on a youth mission trip for an experience that didn’t compare with what he saw going on at our booth. He felt most Christian teens think they have to go away somewhere to minister and what a shame that was. He wished he’d had an opportunity like what he was observing.

Youth mission trips are very popular. I know many have been greatly blessed by them. However, I also know mission trips are quite expensive, especially when the benefit is for just one person in a family to have a witnessing or mission-type experience. Unfortunately, while away from their families, some have also begun boy/girl relationships that have been undesirable. When considering a youth mission trip for your children, may I encourage you to pray about whether there might be something better in which all of the family could participate? Perhaps the Lord Jesus might be directing your family to minister together and, as a result, have a far greater impact than sending just one in the family away. Remember the response from the man I mentioned at the beginning when I told him, “We’re just a family”? I’m convinced that there is a far greater witness and power when things of this sort are done as a family.

Families are in shambles these days both in and out of the church. People are amazed when they see a family that is strong and serving together in a spirit of love. If our vision is to be used by the Lord Jesus Christ and serve others as a family, we will have the joy of being used by Him.

What is our purpose in being here and raising a family? Dads, may we each be committed to building arrows that are used for the Lord Jesus Christ. “As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth” (Psalms 127:4). May we each have a Christ-led family. May we each experience the joy of seeing how powerful the witness of a united family is when we are following the Lord Jesus Christ.

We have more about the fair on our Titus2.com blog.

Candy Bars, Checkers, and Pepper

“What is your favorite candy bar?” I asked the very tired-looking, aging checker at the grocery store where we shop weekly. She paused from passing the food in front of the scanner for several seconds, looked at me with a little suspicion, and replied, “Three Musketeers.” I gave the nod to one of the children and off he went on his mission. Momentarily he returned and slid the named candy bar onto the conveyor belt. After it had been scanned, another child grabbed it before being bagged and looked at me. I smiled and nodded. Mary, holding the candy bar out in her hand, said to the checker, “Here, we would like you to have this.”

For a second, the tired face had a puzzled look, but in a flash it was exchanged for a bright smile as she exclaimed, “That is so kind. Thank you! You just made my day.”

We had driven down to load the moving truck my dad had rented. We stopped to eat before heading to a motel and bed. When the waiter came to take our order, Nathan (our oldest son) spoke to him. Nathan said that we would be asking the Lord to bless the food in a few minutes and was there anything we might pray for him concerning. The waiter was a bit taken aback, recovered, and then said that his girlfriend’s father was in the hospital with serious heart difficulties, and they would appreciate prayer for him. The waiter was clearly moved and grateful that we had asked. I told Nathan how thankful I was for this idea and example because I was looking forward to asking others this same question in the future. Nathan explained that he had been with someone who had done this, and he had purposed to do it when he remembered.

When Jesus was asked about whether it was right to pay taxes, He responded with, “. . . Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:21). What a startling thing for Jesus to say. The Romans were harsh and cruel to the Jews. It would have been reasonable for Jesus to have said, “This government is as corrupt as the Pharisees. Don’t give them even a penny.” But He didn’t. He said give Caesar what you owe him. Israel was under the control of a wicked and ruthless government. Jesus was telling them to pay the taxes that were required. It would be certain that some of the money would be used to pay troops who would commit horrible crimes against Jews. Yet Jesus said to pay the taxes. The money Jesus was instructing them to render to Caesar ultimately would pay the soldiers who would crucify the Lord of Glory.

The Jews were seeking a political and national savior who would free them from Rome. We can understand that all too well. It was easy to be caught up in the emotion surrounding the 2004 Presidential elections. However, have you noticed, when listening to Christians discussing politics, that it sounds like they too could be looking for a political savior? It is as if a righteous leader can change the country. Now, don’t get me wrong, I want a righteous leader; however, a righteous leader will not make righteous citizens. As the morals of the general population slide, we can expect it to become impossible to elect godly men.

What, then, can be done? “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21). “. . . Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men” (Mark 1:17). “And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47). “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 28:19). The only reason believers make right choices, when they do, is because they are obeying the Lord Jesus. Then why should we be surprised when lost people make the choices that they do?

The long-term answer to the real need of our country is Jesus Christ. How will they know unless they are told? “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ . . .” (2 Corinthians 5:20) bringing the Good News of eternal life. We are to be salt to a decaying society. “Ye are the salt of the earth . . .” (Matthew 5:13). We are to be light exposing sin and leading others to the Savior. “Ye are the light of the world . . .” (Matthew 5:14).

Jesus’ time on earth was spent waging war for the hearts of men, and that is what He has called us to also. “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26). Are we any different from our fathers before us who had little impact in their society for Christ? Even worse, by our example we are infecting our children with the same lifestyle—a cozy, comfortable, complacent walk with the Lord. If that doesn’t sound lukewarm, I don’t know what does.

Brothers, are we willing to own our failure to reach the lost? Will we repent? I say that in general as I’m confident some of you are faithful in sharing Jesus every chance you get. From my experience, though, it may be one in a thousand or even fewer who have a passion for telling others about Jesus. Are we embarrassed to hand someone a tract or to ask them where they will spend eternity? “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels” (Mark 8:38).

I read a pastor’s comments after he had visited Christians in Africa. He said he was amazed at how much the African Christians had done with so little materially. He was also amazed at how little the United States Christians have done with so much materially.

Our decisions for how we use our time and money document our priorities and theology. We will spend our time and money on what is most important to us. We can tell ourselves witnessing is important, but if we aren’t actively doing it, frankly, it really isn’t important to us.

Sarah shared with the family something she had just read about D. L. Moody. Now there is someone who had significant impact on those around him. Mr. Moody had made a commitment to the Lord to share Christ with someone every day. One night he was lying in bed about to go to sleep when he realized that he had not shared Jesus with anyone that day. So he got up, dressed, and went out to tell another about Jesus Christ. Heavenly Father, may I be that serious about other men’s souls.

For years I have sought to share my faith frequently; however, the Lord has shown us that we really haven’t been passionate for the souls of men. I am ashamed to say that I don’t remember the last time I wept over someone’s lost condition. Our family desires revival in our hearts so we will be “. . . instruments of righteousness unto God” (Romans 6:13). Would you even now pause for a moment to pray for my heart and those in my family? Pray that our hearts would be broken for the lost. As Jesus was approaching Jerusalem during His triumphal entry, He broke down and wept over the city. “And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it” (Luke 19:41). Jesus was looking at a people who would reject their Savior and choose a convicted criminal instead of the Righteous One. May my heart be broken as well.

Our next-door neighbors have a small mixed-breed dog that is a “people magnet.” Everyone in the neighborhood loves Pepper. Since Pepper’s backyard runs next to the street, anyone walking by can see the dog. On spotting someone, Pepper repeatedly leaps vertically in the air almost to the top of the fence, with her tail furiously wagging. It looks as if Pepper has springs on her feet as she boings up and down showing her intense love for any morsel of time you might “cast” her way. Once she has won your heart and you reach over the fence to pet her, she presses her head against your hand, whines, and tries to lick you. It makes you feel like you are the most important thing in her life. People can’t resist her because of the love that just flows from her.

It is our desire to be like that little dog. I would like others to feel our deep love for them and be drawn to us on every encounter we have with them. When I speak to them about their souls, I hope they would sense a sincere love, a love that only Jesus Christ can give. I don’t believe I have ever pleaded for those receiving the Corners to pray for us like this before, but from the depth of my soul I’m asking now.

There are limitless ways to be salt and light, to show the love of Jesus and proclaim His name throughout each day. Just this morning someone had dialed a wrong number and left a message on our phone. Instead of hanging up, they left a most beautiful message proclaiming the goodness of God and inviting us to know Him if we didn’t already. We have found that buying candy bars for checkers, to show them we appreciate what they do for us, and by asking people how we can pray for them, we have purpose in every outing and trip. We have found a source for tracts that are very captivating, and we are learning how to share them effectively. (If you’d like to find about more information about these tracts, please visit: www.FamiliesforJesus.com)

We have heard some former waiters say that they dreaded the Sunday lunch after-church crowd. They felt that Christians were the most ungrateful, cheap people they had to serve. How can this be? We should be the most generous, grateful people on the face of the earth. Instead of a good testimony and chance to share Christ, a bad taste for the name of Jesus is left in the waiters’ mouths.

It all starts in the heart, which is why I ask you to pray for us, and we will pray for you on the Corners list. There is no other reason that I don’t weep for the lost than having a cold, hard heart. Please pray that the Father would pour out His Spirit into our family and give us abundantly of Himself. I know I’m being very vulnerable in asking this, but that is okay because it is the deepest desire of my heart. That is why I feel led to ask for your help. Together may we be used of the Father to share Christ with our nation and the world.

“How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things” (Romans 10:14-15).