Posts belonging to Category Evangelism

The Power of a Question: “If you died today . . .”

Having been trained in Evangelism Explosion and as a frequent listener to WAFG radio when I lived in South Florida, I found the following paragraphs from the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church press release on Dr. D. James Kennedy’s death very interesting:

Dr. Kennedy was born Nov. 3, 1930, but his Christian life did not begin until 1953. Sleeping late on a Sunday morning, his radio alarm went off and a preacher’s booming voice invaded his slumber. “Suppose you were to die today and stand before God and He were to ask you, ‘What right do you have to enter into My heaven?’—what would you say?”

Dr. Kennedy soon discovered that answer was to trust in Christ alone for eternal life, and shortly after he made that commitment was called into the Gospel ministry. Crediting this radio program for hearing the call to Christianity, he founded WAFG (90.3 FM) in 1974 as an outreach for Christ to the South Florida community.

Anyone who has taken E.E. (Evangelism Explosion) knows the two diagnostic questions that help you transition a conversation into sharing the gospel:

  1. “Have you come to the place in your spiritual life where you know for certain that if you were to die today you would go to heaven, or is that something you would say you’re still working on?”
  2. “Suppose you were to die today and stand before God and He were to say to you, ‘Why should I let you into My heaven?’ what would you say?”

I have personally seen the power of asking these questions to many people over the years. What I didn’t know is that God used a variation of these questions to bring Dr. Kennedy to faith! I also did not know that God used the medium of radio to bring this question to bear on Dr. Kennedy’s life, and that this was part of what inspired him to launch WAFG so many years later. What a wonderful testimony to God’s grace and how he works in our lives to advance his kingdom!

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Dr. D. James Kennedy Retires

Dr. D. James Kennedy has retired as senior pastor at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

Dr. Kennedy, 76, preached his last sermon from the pulpit of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church on Christmas Eve 2006. He suffered a cardiac arrest four days later and has since been unable to return to the pulpit. A tribute worship service honoring the extensive ministry of Dr. Kennedy will be held in the main sanctuary of the church at 11:00 a.m. EDT on Sunday, Sept. 23.

I took Evangelism Explosion training at Coral Ridge back when I lived in South Florida. Dr. Kennedy taught some of the sessions, and I was impressed to learn that he still went out on visitation every week with the evangelism teams from his church.

Update: Rick Phillips shares a nice tribute to Dr. Kennedy over at Reformation 21.

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Back to School Tips on Sharing Your Faith

Jane Dratz offers some great tips for teens on sharing your faith as you go back to school for the fall.

Most students view the start of the new school year as an opportunity for new beginnings – a time for signing on with new school clubs and organizations. So step up and invite your unchurched friends to join you for youth group where they can make new friends, have some fun and explore spiritual truths about God.

Dratz gives the following suggestions to help you get the conversation going:

  • Talk about schedules and plans for the new school year. Ask your friends how they decide what’s important . . . This may open the door for you to talk about how your spiritual beliefs impact how you choose to spend your time. Let them know Jesus is important to you and why!
  • Ask your friends what they think of church. Listen. Then share your experience. Invite them to join you for youth group at least once, just to check it out first-hand.
  • Once you know what they think of church, ask them what they think about God. Do they believe in God? Why or why not? Share what you believe.

Your school years can be fruitful years for Christian witness when you commit yourself to sharing about Christ with others. Read Dratz’ full article for some more great suggestions.

Billy Graham Museum Opens in Charlotte, NC

Related story: The Day I Met Billy Graham

Contact and address information for the Billy Graham Library (Museum):
Billy Graham Evangelistic Association
1 Billy Graham Parkway
Charlotte, NC 28201
Phone: (704) 401-3200

The Billy Graham Museum in Charlotte, NC is set to open this Tuesday, June 5. The official dedication was held Thursday.

Hundreds of friends, family members, ministers and politicians had gathered to dedicate a library celebrating the ministry of Mr. Graham, whose vast popularity lent him the title “America’s pastor.”

Standing on a platform before the Billy Graham Library, former President George Bush delivered the keynote address, his voice cracking into a sob as he said Mr. Graham was “the man, the preacher, the humble farmer’s son who changed the world.” Former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton also spoke of how Mr. Graham had transformed their lives.

Infirm and rarely appearing in public now, Mr. Graham approached the dais using a walker and noted the sense of completion and twilight that marked the speeches before his.

“I feel like I’ve been attending my own funeral, listening to all these speeches,” he said to the crowd’s nervous laughter. “I’ve been here at the library once, and my one comment when I toured it was that it is too much Billy Graham. My whole life has been to please the Lord and honor Jesus, not to see me and think of me.”

The museum, also known as The Billy Graham Library, will hold various memorabilia from Graham’s life including childhood photos, his college yearbook, personal papers, and his wife’s engagment ring. There will also be footage of Graham’s evangelistic crusades from around the world.

Billy Graham is a wonderful man of great character and integrity, and I am glad they have put together this library to honor his work for Christ. Does anybody have any favorite Billy Graham stories they would like to share? I have one, but I think I will save it for a separate post next week. (Update: Here it is! The Day I Met Billy Graham)

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Reading the Bible with Non-Christian Friends (2)

A couple weeks ago I posted on Reading the Bible with Non-Christian Friends. Mr. Dawn Treader shares about doing exactly that over at his blog. See his post on Opening the Bible with an Unbeliever here.

Reading the Bible with Non-Christian Friends

Here is a great article on a simple idea: getting together to read the Bible with your non-Christian friends. In her article Back to the Bible, author Laura T. De Gomez shares how she got started:

I’d heard through the grapevine that two coworkers . . . had expressed some interest in spiritual things. So I dropped by their office one day and said, “Hi! I’ve been meaning to ask you both: Would you be interested in reading the Bible with me?” They looked at each other, then back at me, and said yes.

I was surprised by their enthusiasm. When I didn’t get back to them as soon as they expected, they called me to find out when we could start!

From the beginning, they loved it. Their initial nervousness evolved into excitement as they discovered the Bible is relevant to everyday life. By the second or third week, they were captivated by Jesus. Within about eight weeks, they had a clear understanding of salvation by faith. That was eight years ago. Both continue to walk with Jesus today and remain my friends. And it all started with a simple invitation to read the Bible together.

De Gomez goes on to share some of the main lessons she has learned about reading the Bible with her nonbelieving friends:


7 Nights of Worship – Pembroke Pines

The Church of Pembroke Pines in Florida has begun holding worship services seven nights a week in addition to their regular Sunday morning worship services. They are asking 600 of their members to commit to one of the night services on a weekly basis for the next year. This is partly to help with overcrowding on Sunday mornings, but also to reach out to the community in a new way.

They call the new plan 7 Nights of Worship at 7 PM. Each night of the week has a different host pastor and a particular style or focus. For example, Sunday nights have a focus on worship, Monday nights focus on young adults and young married couples, etc. However, the same message is shared at each service for the week (either live or by video).

Here is a blurb from their website:

Have you ever needed to pray or worship during the week? Have you ever wished there was a place to go where you could release your burdens and focus on something bigger than your problems? The gyms, bars, and retail stores are open every day. Why not the church? Why not our church?

I lived in South Florida for ten years just north of Pembroke Pines, so I know this area well. Although my theology of the local church and preferred style leans more towards the whole body worshiping together, this seems like a bold and creative step for the church, and I pray God uses it in a mighty way to reach more people with the gospel.

HT: Monday Morning Insight