As he advanced academically, he begun to have difficulty explaining aspects of the bible. Since he couldn’t explain his beliefs to fellow professionals, he began to think of Jesus only as a perfect example morally and philosophically but dismissed issues about miraculous happenings in Jesus’s ministry. During that time, his wife was going through spiritual and physical struggles in recuperating from seven operations in 2 years.
On Wednesday evening, a friend invited him for a service at church, Daniel was then the president of the congregation, at which Dr. Harald Bredesen was to speak. Daniel went with his wife, Shirley. Dr. Bredesen discussed the practical application of New Testament principles, describing significant changes in peoples’ lives. He went on to talk about baptism in the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues. He also prayed in tongues during the meeting.
After the meeting, a man came forward with his wife, asking Dr. Bredesen to pray for her to receive the gift of tongues. Several people joined them and Dr. Cougar came forward too, but only as an observer. Dr. Bredesen, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, spoke on several issues that touched all who were present. He reminded them that the baptism in the Holy Spirit was a gift from God; its not deserved. One only had to ask, God would honour that request. That appealed to Shirley, who had been feeling abandoned by God throughout her period of sickness and because of a smoking habit.
He also asked if they had received everything the Lord had available for them. That really set Dr. Cougar thinking and wondering if all the talk about the baptism in the Holy Spirit was true. Dr. Cougar felt God had used another intellectual, Dr. Bredesen and his friend who invited him for the programme to get him to that point. Dr Bredesen laid hands on Daniel and he received the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Shirley and fifteen others also received the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
From then on, both he and his wife changed. He no longer needed facts but accepted by faith all the miraculous happenings mentioned in the bible. Since then, both he and his wife have had the opportunity to minister to and be ministered to in many different ways. For example, at a retreat he ministered to another computer scientist-using scientific terms to explain the reality of the Holy Spirit. Electrons cannot be seen but their power is seen: in the same way, the Holy Spirit is not seen but his acts are seen.
In our day, we face almost the same situation as the early church did. We are in a society where prosperity is seen as a sign of God’s favour, where people are lovers of themselves rather than of God, a society filled with necromancy, occultism, a focus on externals and many other things that digress from the gospel of Christ. The world cries out for authentic Christianity.
We must remember that although the externals are not the essence of Christianity, whatever spirit that is ruling our life will affect all we do, ie, what is inside us will invariably show up and show which kingdom we belong to. If you belong to Christ, what is the evidence?
God sent for the message of prosperity and divine healing however, we have taken it to mean that if you are not prosperous, God has not blessed you and have forgotten that the Christian walk entails suffering as well. It has also affected the body of Christ because we have a whole generation of Christians who expect prosperity as a sign of God’s favour and are not well grounded in the basic doctrines of Christianity. That has even taken away the impetus for evangelization.
Again, the whole crazy about prosperity has created a desperate class of people who feel their poverty acutely and may do anything to get out of it including homosexuality and “sakawa” further creating problems for the society. It is imperative that we pray for the poor of the nation but beyond that show love for needy Christians as well in order to avert some of these problems. The early church was noted for the love they showed.
Let us remember that we as Christians are the salt and light of the earth. We are the ones supposed to model behavior in the society.
In the early church, the message was entrusted to reliable/faithful men and women (2 Tim 2:2). The essence of Christianity is God being in control of our thoughts and aactions. (Matthew 28:18-20). We also need to study about the basic doctrines of Christianity (Hebrews 6:1-2). It is important for churches to have discipleship classes so Christians can grow.
Let us remember that the greatest evidence of Christianity is a changed life!
How you can evangelize
- Using facebook and other social media
- Being an online missionary
- Speaking one on one to people, e.g., you could decide to speak to one person about Christ at every lecture.
- Using text messages
Your lifestyle is not an alternative way but is a necessary evidence of your Christianity. Let us watch our lifestyles.
Also learn to embrace new technologies/ new trends and use them for the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Excel in your studies to make the gospel of Jesus Christ attractive to unbelievers. Manage your time well.
Finally, enjoy fulfilling the Great Commission.
God bless us all!
God intervened in human history in many different ways but his ultimate intervention was sending Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour. Jesus Christ came to pursue a missionary agenda (Lk 4:16-19). He had a mission of redemption and emancipation. A missionary is someone who carries out a purpose, in this case, God’s purpose.
God has his own purpose and although He is sovereign, He uses human channels as well. Remember mission is not just about the spiritual but about the physical needs as well (cf James). Jesus gave us the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20. He is the reason for all missionary activity. He commanded us to carry out missions in God’s own style and to present the totality of the Godhead. God the father, Jesus the redeemer and the Holy Spirit the Sanctifier. Jesus was a disciplemaker: he called the twelve; they were ordinary people and he trained them for three years.
Now we take a look at Paul. God made use of Paul’s background : He was a Jew, a Pharisee and rabbi; he was familiar with Hellenistic (Greek) thinking; he was a Roman citizen and He became a Christian. God has a purpose for everything and prepares us using our backgrounds. Let us be available for God’s use.
As a missionary, Paul was very strategic. He was a church planter, pastor and great disciple maker. Let us look at some of his strategies
- He made use of the synagogues. The synagogue was a familiar place to him, it was also a place where both Jews and Gentiles came to worship. (Acts 13:13-16, Acts 14:1-2) In mission work, you proceed from the known to the unknown. Be systematic and remember missionary work is gradual.
- He made disciples and delegated mission work (Acts 14:21-23, Titus 1:5-9)
Missionary work is team work; you don’t do it alone. Paul trained people and made them leaders in the places he went to minister.
- Mentoring: a mentee is someone who sits at your feet to acquire knowledge from you. Paul did this with Timothy. (Acts 16, 1,2 Timothy, 2 Tim 1:5-8). It is important especially for leaders to bring others up in missions.
- Paul always acknowledged the others he worked with. In his epistles he writes with his fellow “slaves” like Sylvanus, Sosthenes and Timothy. (1 Cor 1:1, 2 Cor 1:1, Philemon).
Remember mission work and discipleship occur in the context of the body of Christ. (1 Cor 12). We are all members of the body of Christ. We complement one another in our various giftings and areas of service. Do not try to be like anyone else because you are unique in God’s sight.
Finally, remember that mission work and discipleship are God’s business. We are the junior shepherds (1 Pet 5:1-4) and Christ is the chief shepherd.