MOMENTUM ENCOURAGING TO WORSHIP, WALK AND WITNESS
APRIL 2015 | ISSUE 7
How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, "Your God reigns!â€? Isaiah 52.7
in this issue |
Editorial | 3 The Great Commission | 4 GMI Leaders Conference (Hindi) Report | 6 The Evangelist | 7 Common barriers to evangelism | 9 GMI Leaders Conference Report | 11 DLC 2014-15 Report | 12 Get it | 13 Momentum is published in India by the Gateway Ministries family of churches, for circulation among members. Private Circulation Only. Subscription free. Chief Editor Mohan Varghese Editorial Team Stanley Mehta David Selvan Editorial Consultants Anand Mahadevan Shobha Sreekumaran Design & Production Sarangan Ramaswamy Published by Gateway Ministries International B 215, 2nd floor (Deck Level), Belapur Railway Station Complex Tower no. 10, CBD, Navi Mumbai400 614 Maharashtra, Indiaâ€¨ Telephone: +91- 2222150654 / 22189036 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are taken from the New International Version of the Bible. Articles featured in Momentum reflect the opinion of the authors and not necessarily those of Momentum or GMI family of churches - Editor
Use of media to effectively | 15 Loving your neighbour | 17 How toâ€™s and taboos in evangelism | 19 Cultural relevance in evangelism | 21 Stories to build our faith | 23
GMI Vision It is the dream of a place where the hurting, the depressed, the frustrated, and the confused can find love, acceptance, help, hope, forgiveness, guidance and encouragement. It is the dream of sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ with hundreds of thousands of residents in and around Mumbai It is the dream of welcoming 10,000 members into the fellowship of our church family-loving, learning, laughing and living in harmony together. It is the dream of developing people to spiritual maturity through discipling and bible studies, small groups, seminars, retreats and a Bible school for our members. It is the dream of equipping every believer for a significant ministry by helping them discover gifts and talents God gave them. It is the dream of sending our members on short- term mission projects and as missionaries & church workers into major cities of India, to different states within India, to our neighbouring countries and ultimately to other nations of the world. It is the dream of planting daughterchurches in every local language. It is the dream of becoming “Salt and light” in the community, thereby influencing every sphere around us with the Kingdom values, namely sphere of families, education, judiciary, arts & entertainment, Media, politics, business, industry, economics, social services, etc.
We should not ask, “What is wrong with the world?” for that diagnosis has already been given. Rather ask, “What has happened to the salt and light?” - John R. W. Stott In this issue of Momentum, we are addressing a burning issue in the church world-wide – How do we effectively communicate our faith? How do we present the Gospel message to our changing world with it’s many cultural challenges? There are people movements taking place among different communities and many are turning to Christ. Each of these is unique and shows that God is at work and we must be relevant to our times, as we seek to share about Jesus. In the 1970’s, I was part of a small team of young men who would share the Gospel through street preaching. We distributed tracts and prayed for needs of people who gathered and sometimes a few responded and accepted Jesus into their lives. Today we cannot think of preaching on the streets. Our message then, was salvation - “be born again”. Today we want to see the Kingdom of God come, bringing transformation into lives of individuals and communities, from the grassroots, as we address belief systems, values, world views, priorities and social concerns. Evangelism today is not ‘conversion’ but ‘transformation’ by making disciples who follow Jesus. We must therefore try to understand how different cultures think and how best to permeate the culture with the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. In this issue of Momentum, different men and women present how we can reach the un-churched with the good news of the Kingdom of God, effectively. May it give you new insights and create in you an eagerness to share with others who have never heard about Jesus Christ. We hope your passion to evangelise will be re-kindled and you will find more creative ways to reach your friends, neighbours and acquaintances. Do send us your views, ideas and suggestions.
Mohan Varghese pastors the Grace Tabernacle Ministries and oversees their churches. He is married to Sareeta and have three sons Adarsh, Ashok and Alex, the eldest is married to Tiqvah-El and they have a daughter Mireya.
richard colbrook |
The Great Commission making a paradigm shift to see its advancement in our generation
Richard Colbrook lives in Oxford with his wife Kate and their three children, Matthew, Stephen and Susanna. He is part of the regional leadership team of Oxfordshire Community Churches and is the Director of Evangelism and Church Planting for Salt and Light Ministries in the UK. The Colbrook family will be moving to Leeds (the third largest city in the UK) later this year where Richard and Kate will be leading a church planting team.
A paradigm shift is a change from one way of thinking to another. It's a revolution rather than a gradual evolution which does not just happen of its own accord, but is rather driven by agents of change.
special outreach events) will be able to cross this new cultural divide. This is the paradigm shift with which we are grappling and we are looking to Jesus, the master evangelist,for our inspiration.
I live in the UK, a country which has seen enormous changes in culture over the last 25 years. “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there,”wrote the novelist L.P. Hartley.This could summarise well the magnitude of change we have seen. The UK is now a country of multiple cultures with an underlying postmodern and post-Christendom mind-set and well over 90% of the population do not attend church. This change has led us to rethink how we communicate the timeless Good News in ways which will be both understood and received. We can no longer assume that our traditional methods of communicating the Gospel (mainly through preaching at
The Gospel accounts point less towards Jesus having one particular ‘method’ of reaching lost people and more to him finding connections with people and, even in brief encounters, finding a way in which life is shared and the person moves forward on their journey of discovery about who Jesus really is. For most of us, evangelism is not an easy or natural thing and, if we’re honest, effective evangelism which sees lost people becoming disciples of Christ can seem something of a mystery. But, the steps of making connections, sharing life and moving people forward that we see in the Gospels can help us demystify evangelism.
richard colbrook | Step 1: Connection. We need to find ways in which we can regularly spend time with the same group of lost people. This could be a club we start in our community for older people or youth for instance. Increasingly, we are finding it is more effective for a group of Christians to work together as a team to do this. A key for this stage is to be entrepreneurial and actively seek out new opportunities to regularly spend time with the same group of lost people, praying for ‘doors for effective work’ to open (1 Corinthians 16:8-9). Step 2: Sharing Life. Jesus engaged people in the depths of their being. As we begin to share life at a deeper SHARING LIFE level with CONNECTIONS Hearing their people and Regularly stories, creating hear their life spending time seekers, stories, then with the same lost recognising we’ll start to people where God is feel some of already working God’s compassion for them – a very strong emotion that is a motivational force to become more involved in people’s lives.As we share life we have the opportunity to do two things: Sow Seeds. We mustn’t feel under pressure to ‘share the whole gospel’ with people who are not ready or interested. Instead, we should listen more, talk less and ask people questions instead of ‘presenting truths’. Questions engage people, causing them to think, listen and even persuade themselves. Sowing seeds like this will move people to a point where they want to know more about Jesus. One of the most important seeds to sow is that real Christianity is very different to other religions – it’s far more of a relationship. In a religion you obey the rules (motivated by fear) and therefore you are accepted. However, with Jesus we are firstly accepted into a relationship and we then live differently (motivated by love and a grateful joy whilst being helped by God himself). Listen to understand where God is at work. We need to be sensitive spiritually and be listening out for clues in
conversations to discern who He is drawing close to at any particular time. These are the people who are ready for Step 3. Also, we shouldn’t neglect the opportunities to pray with lost people to see God break into their lives (with healing for instance). Step 3: An accompanied journey to salvation. In the UK most people who become Christians do so through friendship with a Christian, sharing life with that Christian and then by undertaking an intentional step-by-step journey to salvation with their friend walking alongside (often by attending a weekly group meeting where the Christian faith is explored, such as the Alpha Course). It is often best for people to ACCOMPANIED explore faith JOURNEY together with Step-by-step o t h e r journey from ‘explorers’. If exploration to one person makes salvation a backwards step one week then others are likely to have moved in a more positive direction and momentum develops in the group towards salvation. So what is the role of those gifted in evangelism in this new paradigm? I suggest it is summarised in Ephesians 4:11-12: to equip God’s people to do His work. It is to be a catalyst to help churches move forward and not get stuck at Step 1. It is to be a coach to develop other evangelists who will also facilitate forward momentum and help all to find their role in the mission-focused team. In all of this, the evangelist’s role is to impart faith and expectation to the church for the lost to be saved. This new way of thinking for evangelists is summarised in the table (on page 5). Finally, what is the role of church leaders who may themselves not be evangelists but pastors or teachers or prophetically-gifted? The leadership team of a church (and the senior leader in particular) sets the atmosphere of the church. This needs to be an atmosphere of faith which encourages the pioneering of new ventures.
richard colbrook | Old ‘thinking’ evangelists
New ‘thinking’ evangelists
Increasingly based in the local church
Communication by preaching (meetings, crusades)
Communication by preaching, incarnating the Gospel, listening, community involvement and accompanying lost people on their journey to salvation
Focused on communicating doctrine and truth
Focused on relationship, spirituality and helping people in their search for meaning
Equipping of others focused on evangelism techniques
Equipping of others focused on sharing life with lost people, coaching and demystifying evangelism
Often on the edge of the church
In the heart of the church
Catalysts to whole church
Similar message communicated to all
Communication is tailored to individuals and homogeneous groups of people
Often misunderstood and can have difficult relationships with church leaders
A key part of a church leadership team
Focus: doing the work of the evangelist themselves
Focus: equipping others to do the work of the evangelist
Saw themselves as the main means by which the lost encounter the gospel
See the church as the main means by which the lost encounter the gospel
We need to be determined to intentionally pursue the mission of the church in advancing the Great Commission and we need to make room for evangelists to play their part at the heart of our teams and churches so that the wheels of mission are always well-oiled. As I
said at the beginning, a paradigm shift does not just happen of its own accord, but is rather driven by agents of change. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we as leaders can be those agents of change.
Annual GMI Leaders Conference (Hindi) 2014 Report It was a wonderful time at the GMI leaders conference (Hindi) in Khandala. The highlight was the change of venue - for the first time the conference was held outside Mumbai, bringing up the level of excitement. The teaching sessions were good. The same topics as in the English conference, were covered by the speakers, suitably adapted to meet the local leadership needs, whilst providing a Hindi flavour. There were separate sessions on two occasions addressing some thoughtful topics pertaining to youth and women. Prophetic was a notch higher than the previous leaders conferences. There was an overwhelming turnout, with leaders attending from Punjab, Orissa & Nepal.
arthur thangiah |
one of the five-fold ministries in the master plan of God
The ministry of the Evangelist is one of the five fold ministries in the master plan of God to bring the church to it’s full stature. The life of Jesus on earth is a perfect model for this ministry. We then go on to see some of the characteristics of the Evangelist and his ministry. We also see some possible dangers in this ministry and how they can be avoided if this gift operates in synchronization with the other gifts of the five-fold ministry. The article concludes with an exhortation to the church to be always filled with the joy that an Evangelist brings. Arthur Thangiah has a graduate degree in Computer Engineering from IIT Kharagpur and a doctorate in Urban Transformational Leadership from Bakke Graduate University. He is overseeing the Tamil churches since 1976 and involved with Sahaara since 1995. He is married to Blossom and they have two children – Victor and Cheryl.
The Evangelist and the master plan of God “And He gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and the teachers to equip the saints for the work of ministry for building the body of Christ.” – Ephesians 4:11,12 The master plan of God for the church is carried out by the working together of the five-fold ministry as
described above with the apostles establishing, the prophets enlightening, the evangelists evangelizing, the pastors equipping and the teachers educating the church.. The Leadership Statement of Salt and Light Ministries International declares that “we believe that every church needs Ephesians 4 ministry to be all that God wants it to be.” Jesus – the original Evangelist Jesus is the original Evangelist, with Luke 4:18,19 describing how His proclamation brings salvation’s multiple graces. As a matter of fact, Jesus is also the original apostle, prophet, pastor and teacher. Ephesians 4:8 says that when Jesus ascended on high, He led captivity captive and gave gifts unto men of being apostles, prophets, evangelists etc. The five fold ministry functions that rested in Jesus are now being freely gifted to men.
arthur thangiah | The Evangelist – Character and making “… keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” – 2 Timothy 4:5
• Encourage each member in the church to pray every day for at least 3 people who do not know Jesus to become followers of Jesus. • Be an example of one to one evangelism.
The Evangelist – subtle dangers and threats Timothy is charged by Paul to do the work of an One of the dangers or threats in the ministry of the evangelist.The more the evangelist is like Jesus, the Evangelist would be the desire for large numbers which more are the people drawn to Jesus. Evangelists are would tend to typically kind, compromise on the encouraging, forgiving The Leadership Statement of Salt discipleship process. and honest individuals. Another danger could The work of the and Light Ministries be a lopsided emphasis Evangelist is best International declares that “we on escaping hell and defined as the winning going to heaven, and of the lost to Christ by believe that every church needs ignoring other facets of the preaching of the Ephesians 4 ministry to be all that the Christian faith. In word in the power of order to avoid these the Holy Spirit for the God wants it to be. dangers, the ministry of building up of the body an evangelist needs to of Christ. The ministry be linked with the ministry of a teacher to ensure that of an evangelist is ‘outward’ focused and he is always those who are born again are taught and trained, with looking at the vast sea of humanity as “lost and without the ministry of a pastor to ensure people are mentored hope” and is constantly presenting the good news of and cared for, with the prophetic to ensure that the Jesus Christ that will help them to change their lives. ministry is not man-centred but God-centred and with Also the “evangelist” has a special gifting to train the the apostolic to ensure strong foundations. members of the church to evangelize. He should give himself to: Conclusion • Conduct mass evangelistic meetings at regular The Bible says that there is great joy in heaven over one intervals preferably combined with signs and person who repents and turns to God. This joy is shared wonders. by the Evangelist.The ministry of the Evangelist is always • Conduct equipping meetings for members of the full of high energy and high excitement. Every church church “to catch the fire.” needs the ministry of the Evangelist to keep the • Engage the church in prayer for unevangelized excitement flowing. people groups.
“Don’t wait for a feeling or love in order to share Christ with a stranger. You already love your heavenly Father, and you know that this stranger is created by Him, but separated from Him, so take those first steps in evangelism because you love God. It is not primarily out of compassion for humanity that we share our faith or pray for the lost; it is first of all, love for God.” ― John Piper "We mistakenly believe that God needs workers, and so we cheerfully say, 'I'll go to work for the Lord.' If we could only remember that as far as His plans are concerned, God does not need us. God wants worshipers before He wants workers . He calls us back to that for which we were created - to worship the Lord God and to enjoy Him forever. And then out of deep worship flows our work for Him. Our work is only acceptable to God, if our worship is acceptable." ― A W Tozer, The Purpose of Man 8
jaya abraham |
Common barriers in evangelism and uncommon methods to overcome them
It is an interesting two-sided story. Many are the reasons why we fail to penetrate the peoples of the world with the Gospel, as well as many are the methods by which there are people successfully sharing the good news with folks. To many of us it is an intimidating wordEVANGELISM!
Jaya & Abraham love people. Their home serves as a refreshing place to serve people and share the love of God with them too.
Many of us are of the opinion that someone with the gift of evangelism should do it. Others of us wonder “Is it not the job of the evangelist?” I have good news for all of us – evangelism is for every born again Christian. And it includes the bold and the beautiful, the weak and the meek, the courageous and the coward. Evangelism isn’t for A- type personality but is for all. It includes all as the Cross plateaus the Message for us. It also includes those who are really scared in challenging times like ours……. What are the COMMON BARRIERS?
Beliefs Our beliefs system is blurred. It is worth asking the question: Are our
foundations sure? Do we know the truth that supports our belief system? I believe that the number one barrier to evangelism is our belief system. If our beliefs are not clear, then our Gospel will lack the power of God to impact the hearer. Articulation We struggle to communicate the truth. There is a huge gap in what we think and how we say it. As we speak we forget about being sensitive to the one we are speaking to. As you and I share, we lack Intentionality to weave a beautiful story for the listener. Resilience We feel rejected real quick and are not good at handling objections or questions. We expect people to respond positively the very first time. We often don’t persevere with our message when faced with opposition. Jargon We forget to share the main things and get bogged down by many- afact that we desire to prove. 9
jaya abraham | When was the last time someone who heard the gospel said to you “I have never heard it expressed in such a simple way!” We try hard to get through with justification – sanctification and many more such Christian jargon. And the listener does not get anything and doesn’t want to listen to you again. Procrastination We wait for too long to share the Gospel when today matters! We miss opportunities every day. If we don’t initiate, we procrastinate in sharing the good news. Not Enough passion We lack passion and do not intentionally fire up or kindle the spirit in us. When we don’t feel like it, we don’t do it. As feeling led Christians we fail to lead seekers into the Faith. Risk taking attitude We are minimal risk takers and do not think creatively. We don’t attempt radical ways of communicating the message. So, many are the barriers to the sharing of the gospel. So you think you can’t do it? Let me take you into the uncommon methods that you could attempt for sharing the gospel Message matters The methods can be varied but keep the message on the main thing - focusing on Jesus Christ. Make intentional moves that may be out-of-the-box like: • Befriending approach in discipleship – BelongBelieve-Behave.
• Christ over coffee: being available to have coffee with unknown folks at a coffee bar and build relationships in due course and share the gospel. Extra mile Be the one who goes the extra mile in the relationship with co-workers, neighbours and other friends and family. Count people not as interruptions but as an opportunity. Never feel limited with time – He multiplies it for you. Trusted truth teller As you build relationships with people – would you be such a truth teller that people will turn to you for encouragement, exhortation and advice. Home Make your home available for folks to rest, relax, be refreshed and get restored. Your home could be a place of peace people could come to. A lot can happen in a peaceful home for the ones who come confused. Outstanding love Do not judge and you will love the ones you are praying for and sharing the gospel with. As you continue to overflow with love for the sinner – God’s love will touch them. Are you willing to love folks who you can’t stand? Demeanor Your behavior is an attractive magnet for drawing others to Jesus. You are the first point of contact for them to experience their moment of Truth. So much for now……..
Following a great sermon on lifestyle evangelism one family thought they had better do something to witness for Jesus. So they invited their neighbours to dinner the following Friday night. When it came to the meal, the hostess was keen to show her neighbours that they upheld Christian standards in their home. So she asked little 5 year old Johnny to say grace. Little Johnny was a bit shy. "I don't know what to say" There was an awkward pause, followed by a reassuring smile from the boy's mother. "Well darling," she said, " just say what Daddy said at breakfast this morning." Obediently, the boy repeated, "Oh God, we've got those awful people coming to dinner tonight” At a church meeting a very wealthy man rose to tell the rest of those present about his Christian faith. "I'm a millionaire," he said, "and I attribute it all to the rich blessings of God in my life. I remember that turning point in my faith. I had just earned my first dollar and I went to a church meeting that night. The speaker was a missionary who told about his work. I knew that I only had a dollar bill and had to either give it all to God's work or nothing at all. So at that moment I decided to give my whole dollar to God. I believe that God blessed that decision, and that is why I am a rich man today." He finished and there was an awed silence at his testimony as he moved toward his seat. As he sat down a little old lady sitting in the same pew leaned over and said to him: "I dare you to do it again."
report | Annual GMI Leaders Conference 2014 Report The Annual GMI Leaders Conference was held from 27th – 30th November, 2014 at Ashirwad Global Learning Centre, Hyderabad. Our churches are being equipped through the five-fold ministry to build Apostolic bases. This Conference of leaders and pastors from across GMI clusters, saw a renewed sense of God’s Kingdom purpose. With uplifting praise and worship sessions, a new and improved prophetic voice was heard. The Gospel was brought alive through teaching and personal reflection. There was training on dealing with key issues – from developing times of prayer, being ‘youth-friendly’, to responding to failure in leadership. There were sessions on building apostolic teams, planting churches differently, the role women play in extending the kingdom, a new approach to Bible study in groups, developing a culture of honour in all that we do and how social media is changing the way we reach people today Apart from the banquet of spiritual food, mention must be made of the sumptuous meals and comfy accommodation. With a visit to the life-size Tabernacle, special songs in the Amphitheatre that kept us on our toes, prayer walks and 4 AM mafia games, this was a time of grooming, training and fellowship like no other. We’ve been equipped, refreshed and recharged.
Prophesies compiled at GMI Leaders Conference 2014 • God is going to do a new thing • He is expecting us to scrap all our old methods and be ready to do things in a new way. • A new season of fresh life of fruitfulness is coming. • He is going to take us through a way we have never seen before • A time of allotment, inheritance and possession is ahead. Many will receive their promised, specific areas of ministry. • Enemy will vacate their barracks to give way for His people, who will occupy nurtured and trained to take on the promised territories. • God is calling His people to seek him with total dependence on Him with a repented and a surrendered heart, appreciating and relying on the finished work of Christ on the cross. • What we are going to do next seven years are going to shape our next seventy years. • As we do, the angels will surround us; fire of God will cover and fulfil all His desired plans.
DLC 2014-15 Report A group of 22 students from the current DLC batch, visited Pandita Ramabhai Mukti Mission at Kedgaon on 14 & 15 Mar 2015. It was a life changing experience and most were powerfully impacted. The journey started at about midnight and the bus reached Kedgaon well before dawn. Despite the tiring journey all 22 were set for action from the morning devotions with Mukti Staff, where we led worship and Virgil shared the word. This was followed by an interaction with the staff. We got to hear their testimonies and know their passion and what motivates each of them to serve. Soon after that, we interacted over tea and snacks which we had brought from Mumbai. We presented to Mrs. Lorraine Francis, the Superintendent, the special gift of a Telescope which we had brought. They were all overjoyed as they were eagerly waiting for this. It was an answer to prayer for them and we were thrilled. Mr. Anil Francis prayed for us. Later we gave Thank You cards (hand made by our team) to all on the staff. This was followed by our visit to the Creative room, where we were fascinated by what the children had made. Our team spent over Rs. 10000/-, buying various items. Though the original plan was to paint windows and help in the garden, the Superintendent requested us to use the time more profitably to interact with all the staff and encouraging them. We enjoyed doing this. After evening tea, we had a very moving time meeting different groups of children. We first met the special needs children and sang songs for them, prayed with them and distributed snacks we had brought from
Mumbai. We then met the visually handicapped, their joy and their desire to serve God challenged us by their palpable joy and contented look despite their handicaps. We reflected on how we often grumble, though we have so much more. They sang for us and also one of them read from the Braille Bible. We later met with the orphans girls, 200 of them in the dining hall, singing so melodiously. We taught them the action song “running over”. It was a moving time again. We then went to the home for the old women as they were eating dinner, many of them abandoned by family and Mukti Mission is their home. That night we had a barbeque and a good time bonding together. We heard from an Australian missionary who shared how she was led to Mukti Mission. Her faith and determination inspired us. The next day was the Sunday worship where 1500 gathered. We led the worship and also sang during the offering time. We later had some special and cherished moments – met Margaret Williams, aged 90 who has been at Mukti most of her life. She prayed and blessed us. Visited Pandita Ramabhai’s room, seeing her bed, her Bible, the Marathi Bible she translated, her daughter Manorama’s portrait, story about the well which was dug and though no water was there, after she prayed it has never run dry till to-date. Visited the adoption centre and hospital too- a rare privilege. We left Mukti Mission after a late lunch. It was an action packed short visit, much observed, many things learned and all of us challenged…What a wonderful mission trip! 12
I get it !
“Hear then the parable of the sower. 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road…. …. And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.” Matthew 13:18-23 (NASB)
Nathan is married to Karen and they worship at BBC, Colaba. An engineer and a Human Resources professional, he leads the offshore Human Resources function for Shelf Drilling, an Oil & Gas organization at Mumbai. Hyderabad is where he calls home and prides in the fact that he can have Hyderabadi Biryani for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
I’m guessing that most of us reading this block of words have at some time had a seed sown our way. The seed… of the word of the kingdom! If you haven’t had one your way yet, then switch this book with the Bible or visit http:// www.gmi.org.in/ to know where the sowing’s happening. Now moving on, Matthew 13 talks of the story of the sower. Verses 18 -24 of this chapter Jesus explains the
story to the disciples around him. Guess they didn’t get it and so Jesus had to reveal the message from the story in more clear terms. Verse 18 of this chapter reads, “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and d o e s n o t u n d e r s t a n d i t , t h e evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart.” Verse 23 reads, “And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.” Both kinds of people mentioned in verse 18 and verse 23 heard the word. The only difference being, one understood it and bore fruit while the other didn’t understand it. I looked up this word ‘understand’ as mentioned in Greek for I knew the NASB version is way too cool to sometime miss out the original meaning. The word ‘understand’ is mentioned in Greek as "sunientos", having a literal meaning of "bring together”.
nathan | In today’s context this word would be ‘I get it’. In my Training & Development classes, I learnt that people have different learning styles. Rather, every individual learns or ‘gets it’ differently. Three broad styles are Visual, Auditory and Kinesthetic. Considering this, there’s a good chance that the seed has fallen on a visual learner. This person may have heard the word, but then he’s going to learn it or ‘get it’ only when he sees this word in action. Gandhiji may have been one such person. He read the gospels, he heard the word. In fact, Jesus’ sermon on the Mount is considered to have had a big role in shaping Gandhiji’s philosophy of life. Many say that Gandhiji was even considering converting to Christianity. What stopped him? The life of Christians on display! Just imagine, if this one frail man led the 2nd most populous nation in the world to Independence from foreign rule, how much more could he have done if his life was transformed by the power of the Gospel. Our lives are on continuous display, be it at school, at college, at the workplace, on the road, at your local store and even in your home. While you’re looking to
have people hear the word, what are you helping them get of it through your life on display? Is your life, enabling the evil one snatch away the sown word or is it watering the seed to bear fruit? At work, we use a technique called Competency Based Interviewing. Using this, we look for competencies that are inherent in a person by gauging his ‘displayed’ behaviors. I may think I have a skill or a competency, but unless I display it at the interview, my audience there, the interviewers, have no reason to believe I have it. Relaying this to Godly living, our audience, the world around us has little reason to understand the Power of the Word, unless they see it in action through our lives. So what now? May I suggest that we assess ourselves on how well we’re displaying our Godly competencies, the Nine fruits of the Spirit. Force rank them and pick the 2 which are least displayed. Work on them this year. Guess what, the difference in communities, cultures, cities and nations,getting or not getting what Christ did for them on the cross, lies with you and me. Live It and help them Get It.
daniel theophilus |
Using media effectively Media mainly comprises diverse technologies that are used as mass communication channels to reach a large audience. From broadcast media to print media to digital media to social networks, each new generation sees and experiences the world in an all new way, every single day!
Daniel Theophilus pastors Cross connect community Church, Ooty . He is married to Rohi and they have a son Josiah and a daughter Shekinah. Rohi works as a counselor in Hebron School Ooty. They together pastor the church in Ooty and run a small advertising firm called creohub (creohub.in). They also help in the administration of the orphan home run by his parents DMC Home (dmchome.org)
In fact, in the last decade or so, interactive media is almost an extension of our being. In India, with the deluge of smart phones, accessibility to media has peaked like never before. Children and young adults, youth and the greying, are flooded with easy-to-view, interactive and graphically appealing images, blogs, e-print, audio uploads, videos and podcasts. In a recent study on FB users, upto 63% visit daily and upto 40% multiple times a day! It is, therefore, a proven fact that media is shaping the lifestyles, belief systems, values & behavior of our society.
We, as a Church, exist to communicate the Gospel - the influence of God’s Kingdom. His values and principles aren’t just Sunday exercises but are to be lived out as a daily lifestyle. In the past, we’ve used a wide range of media to communicate. The present generation is more active online than offline. This encourages us to ‘Go where they are instead of expecting them to come to us’. As Phill Cooke, a writer, television producer, and media consultant , as well as a vocal critic of contemporary American-influenced Christian culture puts it, “The ability to see change coming & navigate this disruptive culture may be the single greatest key to the future.” In this media-consuming culture, the church and its presence online is one of the most effective ways of reaching out to the community.
daniel theophilus | With the church’s active presence on social networks, as in print and other broadcasting, we think differently (counter-culture) and see God redeeming our thought patterns through relevant posts. Our community rediscovers the purpose of their existence. When we put something into cyberspace, print or digital forms, we reflect our character. In communicating through media, especially to the youth, we need to consider our message and more so, its effective depiction. In this regard, we must analyze the effectiveness of the Church’s presence through media. •
Display an eye-catching logo on any media produced.
Use vibrant graphics.
Use your own HIGH RESOLUTION pictures (even for backgrounds).
Add pictures with all content.
Blog regularly. Increase number of posts.
Avoid too much text. Space it out.
Promote creativity. It’s contagious.
Collaborate with other churches.
Post short and crisp articles/ videos/ podcasts
Be intellectually appealing, too!
Have clear ‘click’ buttons that connect your page to other social media (FB, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest etc.)
Encourage your local church to participate. Have contests, run challenges... be innovative!
Be interactive. Reply to post and comments
To help us use media optimally, please read “Human Visual Processing”. Studies, like the Blink Test are interesting! The Blink Test refers to the 0.02 seconds it takes for a person to decide if something interests them. It applies to books, shows, movies, and especially to websites, blogs, online shops, articles, and even social media sites. That means, ‘to have an active / interactive audience, have an engaging post!’ Doesn’t this give us a perspective on effective broadcasting? It is important to have ‘media-goals’ for your church family. The youth want to meet the church online. Sharing posts and pictorial expressions of a verse, create a friendly environment for those who spot us on a social networking space. A posting schedule encourages social interaction at prime viewing time. In addition, it is crucial for posts and uploads to be authentic and credible. Plagiarism is a major ‘put–off’ and monotony kills interest. To counter this, upload messages and images that reflect the culture and flavor of your church. Think outside the box on this one. We may be tempted to simply post scriptures and pictures of the cross every day. In as much as that is central to our belief, it may not contribute to increased viewing. A major tip for Online Uploads: Post messages that are important to the audience on social media, not just what’s important to you. Then, when it is time for you to promote your next event, your audience will be much more likely to listen to what you have to say. Media is ever-evolving. There are no clear definitions here. The posts and uploads must reflect what’s unique about your church’s ministry. Therefore, we ought to regularly evaluate what posts the audience responds to and adapt from there. To sum up, ideally, the church uses media to share the Gospel in an invitational, non-confrontational, Christhonoring manner. When the body of Christ is alive and active (online), God can use it to be His life transforming agent.
“Even if 80 percent of the population of a country are Christian believers, they will have almost no cultural influence if the Christians do not live in cultural centers and work in culture-forging fields such as academia, publishing, media, entertainment, and the arts. The assumption that society will improve simply be more Christian believers being present is no longer valid.” ― Timothy Keller, Centre Church: Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry In Your City
esther kirk |
Loving our neighbour Walsall story
I have grown up knowing that “People are Important” and to live by the two great love laws; love God and love your neighbour as yourself. Living in a multi-cultural town that has some of the poorest areas in England, I have to work out what that means for me as an individual and as part of a church.
Esther Kirk is a social worker for the local government working with children at risk of harm. Esther also leads Coalpool Community Church with her twin sister, Sarah, which is a deprived area with high numbers of family breakdown, criminal activity and addictions. This was a church plant from Walsall Community Church. The church started 15 months ago after 15 years of sowing into the area, through living there, friendships and activities.
There are a number of different projects that Walsall Community Church has started in order to meet the needs of the local community and to create opportunities to bring the love of Jesus to people where they are at. One of the projects that started was Street Teams, which is a local NGO working with children involved in sexual exploitation. It began by working with vulnerable women and young people in prostitution, who were suffering abuse. Due to the poverty and needs of the area, Walsall Money Advice Project was set up. The project aims to provide individuals and families with access to information that will
i m p ro v e t h e i r w e l l - b e i n g a n d strengthen the social fabric of our c o m m u n i t y. T h i s c a n o n l y b e achieved by working directly with people to encourage their financial independence through specialist advice and advocacy. They have helped in assisting scores of people to take steps to get out of debt. The project grew out of a simple offer to help people who were having difficulty with form filling. The Big Feed aims is to help support the homeless, vulnerable and under privileged people of Walsall. They provide food, clothing, toilet and shower facilities, advice and a friendly face to those who need it most. There have a number of people who have decided to live for God. Living out “loving your neighbour” has been for me living life with people. It was our desire that Coalpool would be rebuilt, renewed and restored to its fullness. We recognised that this wasn't going to be an overnight change, or even within a year. We had to be prepared to see that this 17
esther kirk | was a long term investment, before we would see any fruit. We started Kidz Klub there in January 2000, and further projects added along the way. But we knew that for transformation to take place it needed to be more than a project, so my sister Sarah and I moved into the area in March 2005. Isaiah 61 speaks about "oaks of righteousness, planted by God to display His glory", This is what we want for us and this community. Oak trees are strong and can withstand the storms when their roots are planted deep. But they also take years to grow from a acorn to a tree that bears fruit. We walk through battles with people, whether drug addictions, broken relationships, financial loss, or grief. This comes with a cost. When your home and life is open to people who are broken, you get beaten along the way; whether that is money stolen from your house or seeing someone's addictions take hold of them again. The pain and sorrow that it causes God the Father also hits us, as spiritual fathers and mothers to these people, but we continue to hope to see their lives fully reach their potential. This journey means walking together as a community, which includes believers and non-believers, and living with open homes and open hearts. Kingdom
growth does not happen just on a Sunday morning but in the daily situations. It is about cooking dinner for a family whose mom is in hospital; taking the children across the road to school as they have missed their bus; it is learning what God’s word and love in action really looks like. It is those times of praying and supporting one another through really difficult times; it is having the young guy stay with you as his dad has just tried to kill himself. It is cleaning the house of others who are less able to; it is about giving food parcels to those you have just met or friends who are running low on money. It is about celebrating birthdays and weddings, and standing with each other at funerals; it is about the youngest to the eldest getting involved in serving; it is building intergenerational friendships. It is about family, having your ups and downs, but loving each other no matter what; it is about wanting to bring more people into that loving family that you are part of to grow, to be more like the Father. It is because He first loved us that we can love Him and our neighbours.
The Youth Leaders Prayer Training 65 GMI youth from several GMI churches participated in The Youth Leaders Prayer Training (YLPT) from 17 – 19 April at Bandra Retreat Centre, Mumbai.. This was a power packed weekend despite the unexpected failure of DLP, poor AC for half night prayer, and other unexpected inconvenience, The presence of God was tangible. The times of worship, the seven teaching sessions by John Elangovan, the two main prayer times and the prophetic words shared by several of those who participated, made for a God glorifying time together. Almost all expressed the desire that this kind of training be held on a yearly basis.
divya ruth jose |
Some how to’s and taboos to Evangelism Let’s face it: Evangelism can be scary.
I’m Divya. I love Jesus, Hyderabadi biryani and cricket. I play the piano when I’m not reading and I enjoy afternoon naps. Love being a part of Crossway Community Church, Hyderabad and I’m passionate about the Government mountain being reclaimed for Jesus. A work-in-progress, dreaming God-sized dreams and trusting in a hope, love and faith that hasn’t failed me…
It requires an honesty and vulnerability that can be emotionally, intellectually and spiritually exhausting. Even as I write this, I can bring to mind countless times that I have held back from sharing my faith with friends because I was afraid of being ridiculed, not having an answer to their questions or coming across as a religious freak. And I still do. Yet it is something each of us has been called to do in order to grow in our faith and fulfill the Great Commission. There is no magic formula or standard procedure to be followed when sharing Jesus with your friends, but here are some tips that may prove helpful. Some good ideas/ways to evangelize:
Get to know Him: You cannot introduce a person to someone you do not know. We will never introduce people to Jesus if we ourselves do not spend time with Him. We need to continually make time in prayer, time in the Word, and time with God a priority.
Initiate God Conversations: While “living out the gospel” is a lifestyle we are all called to, it cannot be used as an excuse to avoid using words. Let’s challenge ourselves to share the true reason of our hope and faith in our conversations with friends.
Offer Prayer: As Vic Gledhill has often said “ if it moves, pray for it”. When you don’t know what to say, offer prayer. It is very rare to come across a person who refuses prayer. Prayer works!
divya ruth jose | •
Go out and be the church. Let’s stop expecting our friends to come to church or attend every meeting we invite them to. Invite them home instead or take them out for coffee or a movie. Create an open environment where dialogue is encouraged.
Be motivated out of love. We need to ask God to fill our hearts with love for the people we are speaking to so that our conversations don’t become about fulfilling our New Year resolution or any other agenda. If evangelism isn’t motivated by love, stop doing it.
Some wrong ideas/ways to evangelize •
Bible banging, hell condemning evangelism. Please don’t. We cannot and should not fear someone into accepting Jesus.
Social Media Evangelism: This is a tricky one. Avoid getting into long, detailed theological debates on a social media platform that could potentially lead to misunderstanding and an unnecessary trajectory in the conversation. If there is an opportunity to have a fair and calm discussion, take it offline. If not, IGNORE. Yes, self-control IS one of the fruits of the Spirit.
Leave it to the pros. We need to reconsider the assumption that the minute our friend walks into the hallowed halls of the church building our responsibility towards them is complete. We are all evangelists in our own capacity. Give your pastor a break!
The less than honest approach. Do not trick them into attending a church meeting. If it’s a church meeting tell them it’s a church meeting. Remember who the father of Lies is?
Quick-fix Solution. Do not “sell” Jesus to somebody. Accepting Jesus as your Saviour is not a business transaction, but a heart transformation. A partial presentation of the gospel will do more harm than good in the long run.
Evangelism may not be something we have tried doing before, but maybe we can challenge ourselves this year. Let’s stop looking for excuses and start adjusting—our attitude, our presentation, our communication and our motivation. After all, if Jesus thought inviting others to follow Him was a good idea, it certainly still is.
At the conclusion of the sermon, the worshipers filed out of the sanctuary to greet the minister. As one of them left, he shook the minister's hand, thanked him for the sermon and said, "Thanks for the message, Reverend. You know, you must be smarter than Einstein." Beaming with pride, the minister said, "Why, thank you, brother!" As the week went by, the minister began to think about the man's compliment. The more he thought, the more he became baffled as to why anyone would deem him smarter than Einstein. So he decided to ask the man the following Sunday. The next
Sunday he asked the parishioner if he remembered the previous Sunday's comment about the sermon. The parishioner replied that he did. The minister asked: "Exactly what did you mean that I must be smarter than Einstein?" The man replied, "Well, Reverend, they say that Einstein was so smart that only ten people in the entire world could understand him. But Reverend, no one can understand you."
A pastor, after being away for the weekend, came back to town and saw one of his members at the store. Curious if he was missed, and if his young new assistant did well, he asked her, "How did the assistant pastor do Sunday Morning?” The lady threw up her hands. "Oh, Pastor, I hate to tell you this, but it was a very poor sermon. His delivery was fine, but the material was lacking. Nothing in it at all.” The pastor was a little perplexed since he had heard the young man before and he did fine. But he was secretly a little pleased to know that his own wisdom and words had been missed and that he couldn't be replaced easily. Later in the week before Wednesday service he saw his assistant and asked, "How did it go Sunday morning?" His secret pleasure was decreased somewhat on hearing his reply, however. The young fellow smiled. "Excellent," he said with confidence. "However, you had to leave so quickly that I didn't have time to prepare anything myself, so I preached one of your sermons."
sarangan ramaswamy |
Cultural relevance in Evangelism To s a y “ e v a n g e l i s m i s important” is an understatement. Evangelism is critical, it is a matter of life and death. Salvation of individuals and growth of the church, depend on evangelism. Yet, only a fraction of us, evangelical Christians actually share our faith with another person. Even in America - a nation that has produced evangelical stalwarts such as Billy Graham, only 52% of evangelicals shared their faith during the past year, declares a report by Barna Group. To add to this challenge of numbers, evangelism today faces a two-fold challenge of being culturally relevant and doctrinally sound.
Sarangan Ramaswamy is a part of Crossway Community Church, Hyderabad. He is married to Julie and they have three sons. He is passionate about doctrine and working with lights.
Over the past two decades, the idea of cultural relevance in church and evangelism, has been a topic of much discussion and debate. Churches these days, try and tailor services, weekly sermons, evangelistic events and outreach programs, to be culturally relevant to the seeker. They study the culture around and do church in a way that people can relate easily and return week after week.
Though this seems the very thing to do, on careful observation, we can see that in most of these churches, “cultural relevance” means little more than the idea that non-believers who come in to the church or an event should be entertained - enjoy the music, awed by the media, love the message and be attracted by the modern presentation of God. Did Paul mean this, when he said, “For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you.” - 1 Corinthians 9.19-23 21
sarangan ramaswamy | As a lighting professional who began working with stage events, I have been surprised to see several Christian (evangelical) events being conducted in a manner that resembles those found in the (secular) world. It is not the scale of the audio systems or the flashy lights, that bothered me, but increasingly, our music, the oratory style, the words we use and the mannerisms are gradually conforming to the pattern of this world, leaving little to differentiate our methods from that of the people that we try to impact. Evangelism does demand a level of cultural relevance. But are we doing too much, to show the world around us - we are cool, we are like you and we do all that you do? How do we evaluate ourselves and know that we are not losing focus? The Motive For someone like me, who comes from a non-Christian background, I would not have known Christ, but for an enthusiastic neighbour, who simply believed that Christ has to be shared. When our primary motive is the love of God and love for the neighbour, we will be aligning ourself with the biblical motive for evangelism. When we love God, we will joyfully obey His commission to evangelise and disciple. When we love our neighbour, we will desire nothing lesser for them than eternal life. Our aim will be to bring God the glory, through salvation of sinners like ourselves in order that the church would grow. Are we attempting this because we love God and love people? Or is it for other reasons? The Message We now need to consider our message - Are we presenting our message, as in the Bible or has it been altered? Are we presenting the Gospel as a promise of a better life - Is Jesus being offered as the “pill for all ills”, as the supernatural “health wealth” specialist or even as the ticket to heaven? As Martin Lloyd Jones puts it,”…a gospel which merely says, ‘Come to Jesus,’ and offers Him as a Friend, and offers a marvellous new life, without convicting of sin, is not New Testament evangelism.” Every once in a while, it is good to ask ourselves - In an effort to being culturally cool (and not offend), are we altering the message? Let us be aware that the Gospel will remain foolish to those who are perishing and by altering the message to be more acceptable, we not only dilute the message, but we risk much more. A watered-down presentation of the Gospel, may be the reason why many “Christians” still struggle with sins of the past, with taking up the cross daily and with setting
their thoughts on higher things. They just want ‘a-pie-inthe-sky-when-they-die’ Christianity. Stories, testimonies and illustrations can be used to explain, but must not replace the message itself. James 1.18,1 Peter 1.23, Romans 10.17 all highlight that God uses His Word in the salvation of sinners. The Word of God is the message. We do not appeal to the emotions, rather address the deceptiveness of the heart. Biblical evangelism begins with the presentation of the glorious nature of God. It is then followed by portrayal of the fallen, sinful nature of man, who is separated from God, with no hope of freedom. Then the work of Christ, through which a loving, yet just God redeems man, is explained. As John Piper says, “If you alter or obscure the Biblical portrait of God, in order to attract converts, you don’t get converts to God, you get converts to an illusion. This is not evangelism, but deception.” The Method Biblically, both “come and see” and “go and tell” methods of evangelism are allowed and effective. The audience, place and resources can at times determine the most appropriate method (gospel tracts, door-todoor preaching, service and relief work, creative arts, coffee conversations, social networks, internet media, crusades, events, radio or television shows) that can be employed. If we’re pursuing relevance, this is the one area we should seriously consider. However, checking if our heart is sincere, approach is simple and lifestyle is not hypocritical, would render our evangelism effective across all cultures. Also, we need to get a right hold of the concept of “priesthood of all believers” (1 Peter 2.5) and not leave evangelism to professionals/full-time ministers. Evangelism is not only about bringing your friend to an outreach event, so they can hear the Gospel from an amazing seminary-trained pastor. The Holy Spirit can use each one of us in evangelism, if we are willing. When we tell our own life story of how we came to know Christ, and the personal transformation, He has brought in us, we are setting the stage for evangelism. A Final thought By all means let us be culturally relevant, but let us not pursue relevance as an end in itself. Any pursuit of cultural relevance or contextualising should be with an understanding that we are a peculiar people (1Peter 2.9). Our cutting edge lies not in portraying ourselves, like the culture, but in being Christ-like.
deepak dhongde |
Stories to build our faith Evangelism is the responsibility of every believer. As Christians, we must look for opportunities to share the love of Jesus—personally—to a broken and lost world. We, in Nigeria use every opportunity to share the good news with the Indian community in Lagos. We create opportunities for our church to evangelise and we also partner with some of the Nigerian Churches.
Deepak Dhongde pastors New Life Bible Fellowship, the GMI church in Lagos, Nigeria. He is married to Carol and they have a son , Mark.
We plan every year for special series of sermons for evangelism outreach in the church calendar. For example, every year between Mother's Day and Father's Day, we do a family series to draw attention to an overwhelming need in our community —the need for strong families. It's an occasion when friends are invited to hear the gospel for the first time. We emphasise that Jesus is the key to a strong family and this opens the door to evangelise our friends. Every Valentine’s Day we launch an evangelistic sermon series for couples. We periodically have messages that are focused on the everyday needs of people and how
the Bible addresses issues like stress, faith, relationships, etc. We also make use of occasions like Easter, Christmas & Teachers Day, to plan bridge events. At such times and on civic holidays we invite un-churched friends to attend. We have repeatedly found that the un-churched are open to church invites during holidays because we Indians, in Nigeria, have no social life. Our friends are thinking more about ‘how’ to spend the time during these holidays and many would welcome an invitation. We take advantage of their openness to make a special emphasis during this time. Keeping in touch with community. We encourage our church members to bring friends to church at special times in the year. We have our small groups begin to pray three months prior to an evangelistic series to identify 4 to 5 people they would like to reach. We intentionally plan opportunities for members to share the gospel in the context of the small
deepak dhongde | group and at church. The important thing is that the church gatherings and the small groups work together to reach out to unbelievers. We invest significant energy in this strategy to get widespread involvement. Every person who attends our church gets a phone call or an email from either a group leader or a person to remind him or her that we are launching a new series at church and to encourage them to bring friends. The week prior to the start of the series, they get another phone call and an email, where we pray with them about their friends. The results from this effort are always encouraging because the whole church is mobilized. Lord’s Protection and His faithfulness: The Nigerian people enjoy showing love to people. If you visit Nigeria, you will find people always with a smile. But in Lagos, we have to be very vigilant. Although most people are very friendly, there are many very poor desperate people and robbery and muggings are common. It is heart rending to see very poor people begging for food and money on the road, often scantily clothed. So safety is a concern. It is not safe to walk on the roads as we do in India. If I invite somebody for
dinner, then they would have to stay over with us and go back only next day morning to their home. Traffic snarls ruin our day. The driving here is dangerous and it helps to have a local driver at the wheel who knows best roads to take. Traffic can cause delays and upset planned schedules by hours. Frustrations are many as people do not respect your time or priorities. But we in the Church, trust God for our safety, we commute at any time of day or night and ours is the only house where doors are always wide open. As the Lord keeps watch over us and it really makes a world of a difference and this allows us to get out of our comfort zone. ‘The LORD will protect you from all harm; He will protect your life.’ Psalm 121:7 By All Possible Means We see the results of our evangelism regularly. We see people beginning to attend and eventually trust Christ. We've found the church is energized by our corporate times of evangelism and outreach. The Apostle Paul said, "I have become all things to all people, so that I may by every possible means save some. Now I do all this because of the gospel” 1Cor 9:22-23
A woman pulled up to a red light behind another car. The driver of the car in front of her was talking on his cell phone, and shuffling through some papers on the seat beside him. The light turned green, but the man didn't notice. The woman began pounding on her steering wheel and yelling at the man to move. The man still didn't move. The woman went ballistic inside her car, ranting and raving at the man, pounding on her steering wheel and dashboard. The light turned yellow. The woman blew the car's horn repeatedly, as she yelled and screamed curses at the man. The man finally noticed the commotion. He looked up, saw the yellow light, and accelerated through the intersection just as the light turned red. The woman was beside herself, screaming in frustration as she missed her chance to get through the intersection. As she was still in mid-rant she heard a tap on her window and looked into the face of a very serious looking policeman. The policeman told her to shut off her engine and step out of the car. The red-faced woman obeyed, speechless at what was happening. The policeman then arrested the woman and took her to the police station where she was booked and placed in a cell. After a couple of hours the woman was escorted back to the booking desk where the original officer was waiting with her personal effects. The policeman handed her the bag containing her things, and said, "I'm really sorry for this mistake. But you see, I pulled up behind your car while you were blowing your horn and screaming and cursing. Then I noticed the *Choose Life* license plate holder, the *Follow Me to Sunday School* bumper sticker, and the chrome plated Christian fish emblem on the trunk. Naturally I assumed that you had stolen the car. Have a blessed day!” The elderly pastor was searching his closet for his collar before church one Sunday morning. In the back of the closet, he found a small box containing 3 eggs and 100 $1 bills. He called his wife into the closet to ask her about the box and its contents. Embarrassed, she admitted having hidden the box there for their entire 30 years of marriage. Disappointed and hurt, the pastor asked her, "WHY?" The wife replied that she hadn't wanted to hurt his feelings. He asked her how the box could have hurt his feelings. She said that every time during their marriage that he had delivered a poor sermon, she had placed an egg in the box. The pastor felt that 3 poor sermons in 30 years was certainly nothing to feel bad about, so he asked her what the $100 was for. She replied, "Each time I got a dozen eggs, I sold them to the neighbours for $1."