Chicken Evangelist

We recently returned from a trip to Texas.  Loved the church we visited!  The pastor had written a book I couldn’t wait to read:  The Adventures of a Chicken Evangelist, by Steve Nelson. It told of his experiences during 40 days of evangelism.  He asked the question we all have, “Can a chicken overcome his fears?”

The book did not disappoint!  Every chapter brought laughter along with encouragement and hope.   Yes there IS hope for those who are fearful of sharing their faith—as he was. Uh, did I mention he is a pastor?

I’m beginning to believe that pastors are most comfortable sharing their faith with people who come to their church and listen to them teach.  Going out and doing “cold-turkey evangelism” as he calls it,  is difficult for most, even pastors.  Yet Jesus told us to GO into all the world and preach the gospel.  He did not tell us to wait until they come to us.

Steve Nelson was compelled to obey God’s Word and go.  He would bring along one of his eight kids or his wife. They went to parks, malls, the ice cream shop, wherever there were people he could engage.

He went out fearfully, but he went.  Just as with anything, the more he did it, the easier it became.  There were some disappointments, but there were wonderful, unexpected successes as well.  What joy they experienced as a family!

The book was a delightful read.  In my opinion it’s  a must-read for pastors.  It’s also an excellent resource to help equip the church to be obedient,  e.g., an exciting focus for a small group!

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Time for Divorce

Fifteen years is a long time to live with an unreasonable, demanding husband. Susan had come to Christ ten years earlier and found great peace in experiencing God’s love and forgiveness.  Tom wasn’t interested in spiritual things and continued to make life difficult at home.  It was time for divorce.  Susan made an appointment with a lawyer.

Later that day she attended an afternoon tea and met two missionary women home on furlough.  As they became acquainted one asked Susan about her husband.  Susan quietly mentioned that she’d just called a divorce lawyer.  The woman said, “We need to pray for you.”

They led Susan into a back room of the house, closed the door and began praying. They prayed aloud for 10 minutes, then 20 minutes.  They would cry out to God, begging him repeatedly to save this marriage. They continued praying this way until 40 minutes had passed. Then they stopped.  One said, “God has healed your marriage. Go home and love your husband.”

She did.  Susan and Tom have now been married over 30 years.  Tom has not yet changed. But Susan can honestly say she has never again been tempted to call a lawyer.  She has learned to smile at the storms and praise God anyway.  God has been faithful. Their children are following Christ with their lives.  She and Tom are more content in their marriage than ever before.

Susan often thinks back to the 40 minutes of prayer that saved her marriage.  Most people would have ceased praying after 10 minutes.  Yet those women did not feel released from the need to pray until 40 minutes had passed.  They continued to pray it through to completion.

  •  “I hate divorce,” says the Lord, the God of Israel.   Malachi 2:16 NASB
  •  So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”   Matthew 19:6

 

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Anxiety Attack Solution

Eight-year-old Alex was experiencing anxieties. His mother asked him to bring a note pad and pencil and write some instructions for what to do when this happens.  She didn’t know what she would tell him to write, but she was praying and trusting God to direct her.

“1. Confess your sins and get right with God. Even if you can’t think of a sin, tell God. He may bring to mind something you have forgotten. If He doesn’t,  that’s all right, too.” She waited while Alex bowed his head and made a silent confession.

“2.  Ask God to remove your anxieties. Be honest and tell Him you don’t like these feelings and you want them gone.

“3. Thank God for your anxieties. That’s right!  Now I want you to thank God for whatever is causing them. By thanking Him we show God that we are trusting Him. We are also being obedient because God’s Word tells us in Ephesians 5:10 to be thankful for everything. There may be times when you’ll have to grit your teeth to say thank you; but once you do it God will flood you with His peace.

“4. Claim some of God’s promises from the Bible. Those promises are ONLY for true believers—those who put their trust in Jesus.  God put them there for us to use.” She had recently purchased a “Box of Promises,” a small plastic box containing 100 little cards, each with a promise from God’s Word.  She asked Alex to pick a card and read it. The first one he chose was John 14:27,  “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” Perfect! She suggested they claim that promise for Alex. She prayed, “Thank You God for giving Alex peace at this very moment. Your peace is not a temporary peace, but Your peace is the giving of Yourself to us.  You ARE peace and You are permanent. Thank You for who You are.”  Alex picked another card and then another. All three seemed  an affirmation of God’s guidance in this.

“5.  Ask God to remove the desires you have for things that may not be good for you at this time. When we dwell on our wants, we just become more and more miserable.

“6.  Ask God to give you more love for Him. None of us love God as much as we should. If you ask God to increase your love for Him, He will. That is one prayer God delights in answering.

“Keep the list in a safe place near your Bible. The next time you get anxieties, don’t come to me.  Go to the list first. Since you’ve already done numbers 1 and 4, I want you now, to do numbers 2,3,5 and 6.”

He prayed aloud while his mother prayed silently. He closed his prayer with, “God, please help me love you more and more—‘cuz I just wanna to be your very best friend.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

A month later Alex’s mother asked him if he had any more problems with anxiety. “Yeah, two or three times; but I always get the list out and by the time I’m finished doing the first thing on it, they’re gone.”

  • always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.    Ephesians 5:20
  • If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.    1 John 1:9
  • [Have you tried these ideas in your life?  How have they helped you? To leave a comment, click on title of story and then scroll to bottom of page.]
  • SONG:  THESE INWARD TRIALS – Click here to listen:
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Anxiety Attack!

An eight-year-old was experiencing anxiety.

“I’m not sick, Mom. I just have a scary feeling inside me. I get afraid and I don’t know why. Whenever you and Dad are with me I feel fine. Or if I’m playing a game or have a friend over, or even when I’m doing chores, I don’t have it.  It only comes when I’m alone or when I’m bored.”

Alex was a Christian. Just six months earlier he had approached his mom in much the same way, but with another problem: He didn’t think he was going to heaven and wanted to get right with God.  She led him to the Lord that night. Since then she had observed signs of spiritual growth.  As she studied Alex now, she sent up an arrow prayer: “Lord give me Your wisdom to handle this.” Then with confidence, trusting God as she spoke, she said,

“Alex, do you know there are millions of people who have those same feelings? Many are children your age. I’ve had them myself, and I had them when I was your age. Those feelings are called anxieties or anxiety attacks. God created us with the ability to have all kinds of feelings, including anxiety.”

“Mom, does God cause anxieties?”

“He does not cause them, but He does allow them. I believe He allows them for a good reason. You see He wants people to seek Him, to turn to Him and draw close to Him when they have these feelings. He loves us and He wants to comfort us when we turn to Him. But do you know what?”
“What?” he echoed.
“Most people will not turn to God when they have anxieties. Would you like me to tell you what many people do when they have anxieties?”
He nodded with interest.

“Many will turn on the TV or listen to music. They might call a friend or go for a swim or ride a bike. Older people may do things like drink alcohol…”
“and take drugs” blurted Alex.
“That’s right! Take drugs! Some people start eating too much. Others will keep very busy working hard: cleaning house, digging in the garden, playing sports, reading books or they’ll seek entertainment. Tell me Alex, are these things bad?                                                       “No. Some are good things.”

“That’s right! Some are good things. But everything I mentioned has one thing in common. They are all methods of escape when they are done excessively and for the wrong reason.
People can become so absorbed in a project or in some form of entertainment that they can escape from their problems for a while. The problem with escaping is that eventually, whatever you’re escaping from will come back to haunt you.  Sooner or later you have to stop whatever you’re doing and be still with your thoughts.

“All those escape methods will give temporary peace. None of them can give us permanent peace because they are man’s ways and not God’s ways of dealing with problems.

“Alex, I want you to get a pencil and paper. I’m going to give you a list of things I want you to write down; things to do when you begin to feel these anxieties coming on.”

At this time she had no idea what she would ask him to write, but somehow she knew God was directing her and she silently praised Him.

Please read my next post for the rest of the story…

[Have you experienced anxiety attacks?  If so, what works for you?                   To leave a comment, click on story's title, then scroll to bottom of page.]

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After School Bible Stories

She is 85.  Every week this dear woman and her husband place their two folding chairs under a tree in the large grassy area of their apartment complex.  Little children are invited to sit on a blanket to hear Trudy and Jim tell a Bible story.

Most of these children from the apartments are unchurched.  This is the first time some of them have heard the story of Jesus and His love for them. It’s the first time they’ve heard about His miracles and His sinless life. They are learning that we are all sinners destined to be separated from God for all eternity,  unless we have a Savior. They learn that Jesus came to earth to be our Savior.

Sometimes Trudy and Jim bring props and costumes so the children can act out a story from the Bible.  Often the parents come to watch and listen.  The story time takes less than an hour,  but every Friday after school the children come.

Craig is a young man from church who wants to learn to share his faith with confidence. He has begun helping them. They now alternate with one telling the story and another doing the review of last week’s story.  Story time with the kids has brought great joy to these precious saints.  They love the children. Moreover, the children love them!

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Read the Bible to the Sick

Do you ever wonder what to say to a sick person?  Did you ever think to read the Bible to the sick? Where would you start? How would you go about it?

Remember Charles, the paralyzed young man I visited in the care facility?  He asked me to read the Bible and pray with him before I left.  I did.  Since the facility is in another city, I asked our friend Jack who lives there, if he would follow-up and visit Charles occasionally.

Today he reported that visiting someone he didn’t know was outside his comfort zone, but he’s glad he went.  The experience affected him in a way he did not expect.  Charles asked questions and there was good discussion.  Jack read to him from the Bible,  prayed with him and agreed to return.

As Jack was leaving, he saw patients in wheelchairs sitting alone in the hallway, staring at nothing in particular.  His heart went out to them.  “I’d like to get permission from the administration to visit some of these people and read the Bible to them one-to-one.”

Then he referred to a book called One-to-One Bible Reading by David Helm.  It’s a simple guide to help Christians help others by reading the Bible with them.  The book suggests reading plans to do with non-Christians, with new Christians or with established Christians. It suggests questions for discussion to make it an easy and rewarding experience.

Jack’s visit created in him a desire to serve God in a new and exciting way. I too am eager to begin implementing the reading plans from this delightful book.  Perhaps you’ll want to check it out yourself!

  •  Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.   Matthew 4:4
  • For the word of God is alive and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.   Hebrews 4:12

[If you were to read the Bible to the sick, where would you begin?]

 

 

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God Uses Paralysis

It was one year ago that a young man whom I’ve known since his childhood was diagnosed with a debilitating disease, causing full-body paralysis.  One day he had trouble walking. The next day he could not move his legs at all!  Next there was paralysis in his arms. His speech and breathing were affected.

He still has a tracheotomy and a ventilator to assist his breathing, also a feeding tube. He’s hospitalized in another city, but yesterday I drove the distance to visit him. Despite the ventilator and the trach, he is now beginning to talk and the paralysis in his extremities is lessening! He is markedly improved!

He was happy to see me.  I remember the talks we had about the Lord when he was a teenager. He was open then, but not enough to make a commitment. Yesterday was different. He had questions and wanted prayer. I told him that a crisis does not leave us where it finds us.  Some people may distance themselves from God and become bitter and full of self-pity. Others choose to draw closer to God and gain strength and peace. Charles was choosing the latter.

He asked me how best to handle his fear and anxiety. I read to him from Philippians 4 and explained the importance of giving thanks even in our difficulties. This shows God that we trust Him. Trusting God is what the Christian life is all about. When we pray with thanksgiving, then God provides us with a supernatural kind of peace that protects our minds and our hearts. It’s important to protect our minds so we don’t become fearful, fretful, nervous and have sleepless nights.  Likewise, God’s special peace also protects our hearts so we don’t begin to love that which is not good for us.

Charles hung on every word. He wanted to have the assurance of salvation and I helped him pray. He said he’s had no local visitors and no clergy has ever visited him. Before I left, I called a friend who lives in the same city.  He offered to visit him and would also arrange with his church to have their visitation pastor see Charles regularly.

One of the last things Charles asked of me before I left, “Kathleen, when I return home can I come to your Bible study?”

  •  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.     Philippians 4:6-7
  •  In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.     Luke 15:10
  • [Have you had the privilege of sharing Christ with one so needy? So receptive? I came away with great joy. Did you?  To reply, click on the TITLE of this story, scroll to bottom of page to "Leave a Reply."]
  • SONG:  Jesus Heals the Paralytic – Click here to listen:

 

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We Came to Discuss an Abortion

It was another Sunday afternoon when a young couple approached our Bible table at the beach. They were looking over our free Bibles and books when the young woman noticed the tiny metal baby feet pinned to our tablecloth.

“What’s this?”

I explained, “These little feet are the exact size and shape of a baby’s feet in the mother’s womb, 10 weeks after conception. This is also a common age for a baby to be aborted—at just 2 ½ months.

She immediately backed away,  put her hands to her face and broke into tears! Her boyfriend went to console her.  Then he returned and explained privately, “My girlfriend is 10 weeks pregnant.  We came to the beach to discuss an abortion.”

There were two men working at our table. They took the young man aside and talked with him for over a half-hour.  Meanwhile,  two of us women talked with his girlfriend.  We learned they’d been feeling pressured to have an abortion, but neither was comfortable with it.

That afternoon they both decided to give their lives to Christ—right on the beach promenade! We prayed with them and they agreed to start coming to a home group Bible study with one of the couples at our table.  The older couple became mentors to the young couple, who soon married and continued attending Bible study and then church.

“Thank You Lord for putting us in the right place at the right time for that precious young family.”

  • For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.     Psalm 139:13-14
  • [What do you think about this? Was it a coincidence that they stopped at our table? Was it a coincidence that she asked about the footprint pin?  To leave a comment, click on this story's TITLE, then scroll to the bottom to: "Leave a Reply."] 
  • Song: ONE BUSINESS IN LIFE – Click here to listen:
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Teens & Jesus at the County Fair

Last week I was a volunteer storyteller in the Little Red Schoolhouse at the county fair.   My job was to tell children the story of Jesus.  What fun!

The LRS was positioned near the horse show, the pig races and the barnyard animals.  We met teenagers from 4-H Clubs and Future Farmers of America that were showing their goats or getting ready to auction their cows or lambs.  In between cleaning their pens and feeding them, they had time to visit us.

Consequently, instead of little children, most who heard the story on my shift were teenagers.  I was amazed at how many did not know the true message of salvation. Several did not know that Jesus had risen from the dead!  I told them we have a holiday every year when we celebrate His resurrection. “Can you name that holiday?”  Only one teenager guessed Easter.

Fortunately, all the groups that came to listen to the story were receptive!  They listened with interest. They asked questions. They learned that everyone who is willing to turn away from their sins and follow Jesus will have their sins forgiven. Moreover, they will also receive the Holy Spirit and all the fruit of the Spirit. They only need to exercise the fruit they will now receive. Now they will have the power to resist the temptation to sin.  “Do we need more patience?  Do we need more self-control?  Do we need more love?”  To each question they responded,  “Yes!

The teenagers prayed. They said they wanted to follow Jesus! Many chose to join the Truth Seekers’ Mailbox Club and receive free Bible studies in the mail so they could continue to learn and grow in their faith.

I was impressed that when it came time to leave, each group displayed an attitude of gratitude and respect.  Perhaps it comes with training in the raising and caring for animals.

  • God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.    Romans 5:8  
  • Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under Heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.    Acts 4:12   
  • The Truth Chasers Club® is an exciting Bible correspondence club designed to disciple children and adults. For more information:  http://www.cefonline.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=483&Itemid=100260/ 
  • What are your thoughts?  Are you surprised there are teens who don’t know the meaning of Easter?    
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A Precious Friend is Gone

Anne-Marie was diagnosed with a terminal illness only months ago!  She was one of my most precious friends. Now she’s gone.

We met years ago in the waiting room of an infertility specialist, as neither of us had been able to conceive. We discovered we had much in common: both registered nurses with husbands in doctorate programs at the university.  We became fast friends, enjoyed working together at the same hospital and spending many off-days together.

During her first pregnancy she was ordered to be on bed rest.  I would often prepare lunch, including a fancy jello salad—popular in those days.  She taught me her favorite: cottage cheese on toast, topped with mayonnaise, S&P.  We’d eat together and laugh a lot.

When our husbands completed their studies we moved to cities an hour apart.  I soon attended my first Bible study and within three weeks I had surrendered my life to Jesus Christ. He came into my life and changed me inside and out. I became a different person experiencing a peace, love and joy I’d never before known.

I drove to Anne-Marie’s  to share the good news with her.  What joy when she too wanted to give her life to Jesus!  Within a few days her husband Paul also surrendered his life to Christ.  Paul then shared Christ with a chemistry professor he taught with at the university and he too became born again!  Every time we were together Paul would say, “Oh, Kathleen, how we thank you for introducing us to Jesus!”

God answered our prayers for children.  We had two, while Anne-Marie and Paul were blessed with seven!  Altogether our nine children are following Jesus with their lives, and raising up godly children themselves!

How faithful is our God.  How I praise Him,  knowing that Anne-Marie is now safe in the arms of Jesus.

  • Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.     Deuteronomy 7:9

[Have you shared Christ with a best friend?  To leave a comment, simply click on this story's TITLE, then scroll down to "Leave a Reply."]

SONG:  ONLY ONE LIFE – Click here to listen:

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