Category Archives: Evangelism

The Best Defense Is A Good Offense

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No, it’s not a post about football.

This is about taking a stand for your family by going on the offensive.

This is for those – parents, wives, siblings or otherwise – whose loved ones are lost and you’ve run out of hope.

But you yearn desperately to hope again.

Know this: God loves prodigals and He is still very much involved in their journeys.

My wife and I know the pain and darkness of this all too well, and at our lowest low, a friend shared a tiny booklet with us that resurrected our flagging hopes.

And so we take up the offensive, and fight from a place of saintly hope.

We pray this will reignite the fire in your hangdog faith for the souls of those you most care about.

It’s lengthy, but what a payoff!

HOW I LEARNED TO PRAY FOR THE LOST

“This is the result of my search for the right way of praying for the unsaved. I have found it to produce amazing results in a very short time.

After more than 20 years of fruitless praying, it seemed that there was no possible chance for my loved ones to ever return to the faith. But after only a few weeks of the type of praying that I have outlined here, I have seen them studying the Bible by the hour and attending every church service possible. Also, their whole attitude toward Christianity has changed, and all resistance seems to be gone.

I have taken my place of authority in Christ and am using it against enemy. I have not looked at myself to see if I am fit or not; I have just taken my place of authority in Christ and have prayed that the Holy Spirit may do His convicting work. If each and every member of the Body of Christ would do this, what a change would be made in this world!

Believers everywhere are burdened for the unsaved or backsliding loved ones. However, many are praying in the spirit of fear and worry instead of faith.

This has caused me to seek for definite light on how to pray, feeling the need of praying the right prayer and also the need for a definite promise or word from God on which to base my faith when praying for the unsaved. Praise God — He never fails to give such needed help!

Perhaps because the salvation of some seemed to be an impossibility, the first verse of scripture that was given to me was Mark 10:27 – “With God all things are possible.”

The next scripture verse had occupied my attention for some time, but it took on a new meaning: “(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) casting down imaginations [speculations] and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:4,5). This shows the mighty power of our spiritual weapons. We must pray that all this will be accomplished in the ones for whom we are concerned; that is, that the works of the enemy will be torn down.

Finally, I was given the solid foundation for my prayers — the basis of redemption. In reality, Christ’s redemption purchased all mankind, so that we may say that each one is actually God’s purchased possession, although he is still held by the enemy. We must, through the prayer of faith, claim and take for God in the name of the Lord Jesus that which is rightfully His. This can be done only on the basis of redemption. This is not meant to imply that, because all persons have been purchased by God through redemption, they are automatically saved. They must believe and accept the Gospel for themselves; our intercession enables them to do this.

To pray in the name of the Lord Jesus is to ask for, or to claim, the things which the blood of Christ has secured. Therefore, each individual for whom prayer is made should be claimed by name as God’s purchased possession, in the name of the Lord Jesus and on the basis of His shed blood.

We should claim the tearing down of all the works of satan, such as false doctrine, unbelief, atheistic teaching and hatred, which the enemy may have built up in their thinking. We must pray that their very thoughts will be brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.

With the authority of the name of the Lord Jesus, we must claim their deliverance from the power and persuasion of the evil one and from the love of the world and the lust of the flesh. We should also pray that their conscience may be convicted, that they may listen and believe as they hear or read the Word of God. Our prayer must be that God’s will and purposes may be accomplished in and through them.

Intercession must be persistent — not to persuade God, for redemption is by God, but because of the enemy. Our prayer and resistance are against the enemy — the awful powers and rulers of darkness. It is our duty before God to fight for the souls for whom Christ died. Just as some must preach to them the good news of redemption, others must fight the powers of darkness on their behalf through prayer. Satan yields only what and when he must, and he renews his attacks in subtle ways. Therefore, prayer must be definite and persistent, even long after definite results are seen. And we must pray for the new Christian even after he begins to be established in the faith.

We will find that as we pray, the Holy Spirit will give new directions. At one time I was interceding for a soul and began to feel that my prayers were largely ineffective. Then the Holy Spirit inspired me to begin presenting that person to God in the name of the Lord Jesus. As I obeyed this leading, praying, ‘I present so-and-so to God in the name of the Lord Jesus,’ I felt that my prayers were gradually becoming more effective. It seemed that I was drawing that person from deep within the very camp of the enemy. Then I was able to proceed as usual, claiming every detail of that life for God, using the power of the blood against the enemy. This is true warfare in the spiritual realm. Thank God that our spiritual weapons are mighty and that our authority in Christ is far above all the authority of the rulers, powers and forces of darkness, so that the Enemy must yield. But it takes faith and patience and persistence.

Missionaries on foreign and home fields can resist the enemy in their districts, communities and schools by using the power of the blood of Jesus against the powers of darkness, sin and unbelief. With the authority of the name of the Lord Jesus they can demand the enemy retreat. Note that ‘it is the spirit that quickeneth the flesh profiteth nothing’ (John 6:63) and that ‘the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life’ (II Cor. 3:6). Therefore, we must constantly seek the motivation of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, in our faith, in our prayer and in our testimony. It is most important also that we confess our own sins and have them forgiven.

The enemy will use every possible means to silence our intercession and to block our attack against him. We must not only understand our enemy, our authority in Christ and how to use our spiritual weapons but also how to wear the armor that God has provided for our protection. Thus equipped and protected, we need not have any fear. But let us always remember that we have no power and no authority other than that of Christ.

‘Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ’ (II Cor. 2:14)

‘Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world’ (I John 4:4)

— L.M.
(The writer has asked her name be withheld)

The Truth Is Much More Eloquent

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Preachers are notorious for fudging on details when giving an illustration, often to move the hearers to an emotional response.

Take, for instance, this excerpt from a speech the British Prime Minister gave to the students of Harrow School on October 29, 1941. You don’t have to be a history buff to know from the date that England was fully vested in war against Germany at the time and Winston Churchill was its fearless leader. Against such a backdrop, this is how Churchill’s speech actually went down: Continue reading

Thy Kingdom for a Prostitute

While reading from Ruben Shelly’s I Knew Jesus Before he Was A Christian…And I Liked Him Better Then, I came across this touching story he quoted from Tony Campolo’s The Kingdom of God is a Party. I had forgotten I read that book years ago until his excerpt in the tenth chapter reminded me of one of our highest purposes for being on planet earth.

It’s a shame that I almost did not share this for fear of what some might think: you quoted from Campolo? Isn’t he a heretic?

Think what you will (and I admit to some of my own concerns…but might the issues be mostly my own?), but I could sit across a table at Starbucks with this guy. Especially when he shares stories like this:

Why is it that people turn away from what God wills for them? Turn away from the life that God wants them to live? Turn away from doing what Jesus wants them to do to share the salvation story and to bring joy into the lives of those who don’t have much to be joyful about?

I had to go to speak in Honolulu. Well, sometimes you get L.A. and sometimes you get Honolulu. If you go to Honolulu, because of the distance from the east coast where I live, there’s a six‐hour time difference. And I woke up at about three o’clock in the morning and I was hungry and I wanted to get something to eat. But, in a hustling city like Honolulu at three o’clock in the morning, it’s hard to find anything that’s open. Up a side street, I spotted this greasy spoon, and I went in. It was one of these dirty places and they didn’t have any booths, just row of stools at the counter. I sat down a bit uneasy and I didn’t touch the menu. It was one of those plastic menus and grease had piled up on it. I knew that if I opened it, something extraterrestrial would have crawled out.

All of the sudden, this very heavy‐set, unshaved man with a cigar came out of the back room, put down his cigar, and said, “What do you want?”

I said, “I’d like a cup of coffee and a donut.”

He poured the coffee and then he scratched himself and, with the same hand, picked up the donut. I hate that. So, there I am, three‐thirty in the morning, drinking my coffee, and eating this dirty donut. And into the place comes about eight or nine prostitutes. It’s a small place, they sit on either side of me, and I tried to disappear. The woman on my immediate right was very boisterous and she said to her friend, “Tomorrow’s my birthday. I’m going to be thirty‐nine.”

Her friend said, “So what do you want me to do? Do you want me to sing happy birthday? Should we have a cake a party? It’s your birthday.”

The first woman said, “Look, why do you have to put me down? I’ve never had a birthday party in my whole life. I don’t expect to have one now.”

That’s all I needed. I waited until they left and I called Harry over and I asked, “Do they come in here every night?”

He said, “Yes.”

I said, “The one right next to me…” 

“Agnes.”

“Tomorrow is her birthday. What do you think about decorating the place? When she comes in tomorrow night, we’ll throw a birthday party for her. What do you think?”

He said, “Mister, that is brilliant. That is brilliant!” He called his wife out of the back room. “Jan, come out here. I want you to meet this guy. He wants to throw a birthday party for Agnes.”

She came out and took my hand and squeezed it tightly, and said, “You wouldn’t understand this, mister, but Agnes is one of the good people, one of the kind people in this town. And nobody ever does anything for her, and this is a good thing.

I said, “Can I decorate the place?”

She said, “To your heart’s content.”

I said, “I’m going to bring a birthday cake…

Harry said, “Oh no! The cake’s my thing!”

So, I got there the next morning at about two‐thirty. I had bought the streamers at the K‐mart, strung them about the place. I had made a big poster – “”Happy Birthday Agnes” ‐ and put it behind the counter. I had the place spruced up. Everything was set. Everything was ready. Jan, who does the cooking, she had gotten the word out on the street. By three‐fifteen, every prostitute was squeezed into this diner. People, it was wall‐to‐wall prostitutes and me!

Three‐thirty in the morning, in come Agnes and her friends. I’ve got everybody set, everybody ready.

As they come through the door, we all yell, “Happy birthday Agnes!” In addition, we start cheering like mad. I’ve never seen anybody so stunned. Her knees buckled. They steadied her and sat her down on the stool. We all started singing, “Happy birthday, happy birthday, happy birthday to you!”

When they brought out the cake, she lost it and started to cry.

Harry just stood there with the cake and said, “All right, knock it off Agnes. Blow out the candles. Come on, blow out the candles.”

She tried, but she couldn’t, so he blew out the candles, gave her the knife, and said, “Cut the cake, Agnes.”

She sat there for a long moment and then she said to me, “Mister, is it okay if I don’t cut the cake? What I’d like to do, mister, is take the cake home and show it to my mother. Could I do that?”

I said, “It’s your cake.”

She stood up, and I said, “Do you have to do it now?”

She said, “I live two doors down. Let me take the cake home and show it to my mother. I promise you I’ll bring it right back.” And she moved toward the door carrying the cake as though it was the Holy Grail.

As she pushed through the crowd and out the door, the door swung slowly shut and there was stunned silence. You talk about an awkward moment. Everyone was motionless. Everyone was still I didn’t know what to say.

So, I finally said, “What do you say, we pray?” It’s weird looking back on it now. You know a sociologist leading a prayer meeting with a bunch of prostitutes at three‐thirty in the morning in a diner. But, it was the right thing to do. I prayed that God would deliver her from what dirty filthy men had done to her. You know how these things start ‐ some ten, eleven, or twelve‐year‐old girl gets messed over and destroyed by some filthy man and then she goes downhill from there. And men use her and abuse her.

I said, “God, deliver her and make her into a new creation because I’ve got a God who can make us new no matter where we’ve been or what we’ve been through.” And I prayed that God would make her new.

When I finished my prayer, Harry leaned over the counter and he said, “Campolo, you told me you were a sociologist. You’re no sociologist, you’re a preacher. What kind of church do you belong to?”

In one of those moments when you come up with just the right words, I said, “I belong to a church that throws birthday parties for whores at three‐thirty in the morning.”

I’ll never forget his response. He looked back at me and he said, “No you don’t, no you don’t. I would join a church like that!”