Shockwave Challenge 2.0

I've been invigorated with a fresh passion for souls.  After all, isn't it what Christ is all about?  Wasn't his mission to seek and save the lost?  And if it was his mission, shouldn't it be my Christ-like mission as well?

A few weeks ago, I was inspired by a 17 year old in our church to make a faith project list.  Sure, I've done these in the past and applied my faith toward a certain goal, but it really got me thinking about a few things I've let slip in my personal life.  You know how it is.  You say you want to share the gospel with people and give life, but then life happens.  Distractions come.  Fear shows its ugly face.  Self-consciousness plays its little tune of doubt in your head.  Before long, you feel stuck.  The aforementioned foes pile up around you, gripping any idea of forward motion like quicksand.  Your only hope of freedom is grabbing onto a lifeline.  Remember when Peter began to sink after stepping out of the boat and walking on water?  What happened?  He reached up and held tight to the hand of His savior.

Christ has stretched out his hand to us, beckoning us, to partner with him in this mission of reaching the lost.  I'm taking his hand and have a few new goals for the next phase of Shockwave in my life.

1. I will personally pray with over 100 people to be saved this year.
2. I will finish and publish my book, Shockwave.

Like the initial Shockwave Challenge, I went public with it before I was even fully convinced that I could do it.  It was a public challenge that I, myself, had to accept.

Will you commit to taking the Shockwave Challenge?  Will you share the gospel with one person a day for the next seven days?

Challenge accepted!


Empower 2012 Begins

Following our camp for students in 6th-12th grade, Camp Overflow, we took 52 students and adults on the streets with an organized outreach to kick off our Empower 2012 week. Because of having 100 people at camp, everything took longer than expected, so by the time we were ready to go out, we really only had 45 minutes to minister in the various neighborhoods where God led us. By the time all of our teams had gathered back for dinner, we led 155 people to Jesus!
I was with Brian and Jay and we had tremendous testimonies! At one point, Brian (11 yrs) saw a large group of people on the basketball court and was immediately wanting to go minister to them. You see, at camp, Brian received the Holy Spirit and was empowered to be a witness (Acts 1:8). I told him to let me run grab the cooler full of water and we'd head over there. Jay was off getting another guy saved while Brian and I started wheeling the cooler to the court. Brian shouted, "Come get some FREE WATER!" It was like we had fish food! They all came over and grabbed a bottle. I presented the gospel and Brian led 16 young men and women in the prayer of salvation. After he got done praying, he said, "Now, who needs healing in their body?"

One guy perked up and said he had just twisted his ankle playing ball. I shared with him from our blue Miracle Working script and then Brian laid hands on him and commanded the pain to go! He said it was a little better but after we ministered to him once more, he said, "I'm straight now!"

I believe Brian is a shining example of Acts 1:8 and what happens when the Holy Spirit empowers believers! He said he would have never done that before camp!

This is just one of many miraculous stories that God did in just 45 minutes! What can He do if you give Him something to work with?


.more than a missionary

When you hear the word "missionary", what comes to mind?  Someone who spends a prolonged amount of time immersed in another culture with the purpose of spreading the gospel, right?  Google the word and you'll get plenty of results.  Look it up in your concordance, not so much.  The word "missionary" never appears in the Bible...not even once.  The word "witness", however, appears 175 times in the New King James Version of the Bible.

The word "missionary" implies that it's the job of certain people to spread the gospel.  The word "witness" implies that it's the job of EVERY believer to spread the gospel.  Hear just one of the 175 accounts: Acts 1:8 "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."

Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Acts 1:8 identifies two characteristics of the word witness and what Jesus meant by the concept. (1) They shall proclaim him king, and publish those truths to the world by which his kingdom should be set up, and he would rule. They must openly and solemnly preach his gospel to the world. (2) They shall prove this, shall confirm their testimony, not as witnesses do, with an oath, but with the divine seal of miracles and supernatural gifts.

The whole idea here is that the responsibility of sharing the gospel does not merely apply to a select few, but that it is the job of every believer to proclaim Jesus Christ and expect God to confirm this proclamation with the divine seal of miracles, signs and wonders.

The premise behind being a witness is not merely to tell, but to SHOW AND TELL.  I loved Show and Tell when I was a kid.  It was a time where if you had stuff, you got to show it off and if you didn’t have stuff, you got to see if the people who said they had stuff were really telling the truth.  Like that kid who always talked about his dog Spike and how it was the best watch-dog ever…but then when he brought him to Show and Tell, Spike wasn’t a Doberman, he was a dachshund.

Show and Tell is about furnishing proof.  You not only tell about something, but you back it up with a demonstration.  The door to door salesman has perfected this art.  "Let me tell you about my vacuum.  Now, let me pour this dirt on your carpet and show you how this vacuum sucks."

Here’s the bottom line:  Miracles confirm the truth of the gospel.  If Jesus was merely a good teacher, a Prophet, a good man, people would have dismissed him as the Messiah.  But He proved He was the Son of God and a sinner’s Savior through the works that He did (the deaf hear, the blind see, the lame walk and the dead are raised).  He gave us authority to do the same works that He did and commissioned us to do likewise.

Paul understood this commission, but not before having a reality check.  In Acts 17, he had the opportunity to preach to a packed house of intellectual leaders in the great amphitheater on Mars Hill in Athens.  His sermon was flawless, filled with quotes from their own poets and philosophers, and he even used an idol from their city to show them honor and grab their attention.  But after all was said and done, the results were minimal.  The Bible says, “"And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, ‘We will hear you again on this matter’” (Acts 17:32).

After the meeting, a group of people stayed with Paul, but the Scriptures do not specify how many of them became believers.  When he left Athens, surely he thought about the results.  What happened?  Why weren’t more saved?  How could they reject such a well-crafted message?  (I’ve had these thoughts myself at different times!)  As he thought about these things, he came to a conclusion.  It’s found in 1 Corinthians 2:1-2.

1 Cor 2:1-2 NIV 1When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. 2For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.

After the Athens experience, Paul resolved to never again lean entirely on the extent of his brain power to preach the gospel.  He continues his resolve in verse 4.

1 Cor 2:4-5 NIV 4My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, 5so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power.

He resolved to not merely tell of God’s goodness and mercy, but to demonstrate His power. The word "demonstration" refers to something that is outwardly seen or something visible that authenticates, proves, and guarantees the message to be true. It means to display or even to show off.  Paul learned that Show and Tell was a much more effective method than simply Tell.

So, how about you bring a little Show and Tell to your world?  Be more than a missionary.  Be a witness.


.shockwave sabbatical?

I've taken some time off over the holidays to do some reflecting and praying about the blog, the challenge and where to go from here.  In a number of ways, I've forced myself to do the challenge and it's been easier for it to become just another item on the religious checklist.  Pray?  Check.  Read the Bible?  Check.  Share the gospel with someone today?  Uh-oh...better get to it so I can check it off.  That was never the intended purpose of the shockwave challenge.  It's all been about motivating you (and me) to act in obedience to the Great Commission.  It's been about overcoming your (and my) fears in doing so.  It's been about stirring up God's love within us as believers and unleashing it upon our respective worlds.

Having said that, just like any other spiritual discipline, it's easy to get into a routine where you do something without even thinking.  And by not thinking, you don't reap all the benefits that were intended to accompany that spiritual discipline.  For example, I could mindlessly read my Bible while focusing on all the tasks I have to accomplish for the day and not glean one iota of spiritual truth from the time I spent skimming the words on the page.  Perhaps you're doing that right now as you read this post.  I hope not.  Or, I could pray selfish prayers according to my desires alone and not base anything I say on God's Word and I would be wasting my breath.  Religiously, I could "check them off my list" and say I've completed the task for the day.  But I would be no better as a result.

One major thing I've learned from doing the shockwave challenge is that it's more important to follow God's leading in sharing the gospel than it is to share the gospel as a religious duty.  There have been days where I've simply done the challenge just to say I did it.  And by doing it, I told myself I was "off the hook" for the rest of the day.  There have been other days where I've truly experienced God leading me to share with someone and it's led to salvation, healing, miracles and changed lives.  Those days when I partnered with God to share the gospel were much more fruitful than the days I did it just to appease my religious ideology.

So, for now, I'm taking a break from POSTING about my shockwave moments.  I'll still be doing the challenge, but with a renewed sense of purpose.  I'm refocusing on the original intent...reaching people and giving life.  I'll be praying for opportunities and taking the opportunities God sends my way.  I will be sensitive to His voice and follow His leading.  I suggest you do the same.


.shockwave challenge - day 95

We went to Moore today so Karis could spend some time with her cousins. We stopped for lunch at The Clock and after we ate, I asked our waitress if she needed prayer. She was obviously in a hurry because she kept cleaning the table while I was talking to her. She said I could pray for her transportation to be fixed. I said I would and then asked her the million dollar question. She said she thought she would go to heaven and then said no one could know for sure but she would find out on judgment day. She said she went to her own church and that was good enough for her. I tried to get in there with the gospel but she had already moved on. I prayed for her and told her to have a great day.

Sometimes you may find yourself with a person who is busy or preoccupied with something else. It's so important to remember that you don't have to force the gospel on anyone and make them listen to you. You can sow a seed by sharing with them what they are willing to hear and do your part by not turning them away from Christ through your actions. If they only let you get a prayer in, pray out the gospel so they can hear. Then trust God with the rest. Go out and give life today!


.shockwave challenge - day 94

We drove to Greenville this evening to get geared up for all of our Thanksgiving festivities this week. I was a little hesitant about doing my shockwave challenge while we're here because my tried and true invitation method wasn't going to work. I knew I would have to get creative in order to drop the million dollar question bomb on people. I prayed during some silent moments on our drive and asked God for creative ideas and for people to come across my path that were open and receptive.

We went to Walmart when we got here to pick up a few choice snacks for Karis, so I immediately left Kristen in the health and beauty aisle and went on my search for my next shockwave victim. Just a few moments later, I was walking down a main aisle and a woman and her son walked past me and then turned around and asked if I knew where the shower curtains were. I didn't, but I knew I could find them. I led her right to them and then said, "Since you asked me a question, now I get to ask you one!" I asked them the question and they both said they knew for sure they would go to heaven because they had a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

I overheard the mom say to the son as they walked away, "That was a good question, huh?" I was amazed at how easy God made it for me tonight. I have a new sense of confidence about shockwaving in another city this week. I know it's going to be challenging, but I believe I'm up for it! Who knows? Maybe I'll get some of my family in on the action!

Perhaps you'll be out of town this week in a new environment without any invitation cards to open the door for you to talk to someone about Christ. Be prepared for God to set you up and then seize the moment!


.shockwave challenge - day 93

I shared the gospel with a guy at Chick-Fil-A tonight while we were there for dinner. He was already saved and attended church in Aiken.

The more you share the gospel, the easier it gets. So start today and it will be easier tomorrow!