HANDS TO HOIST THE SAIL

Raise-the-sail2HOW EXCITING IT HAS BEEN TO SEE YOU CATCH

THE WIND OF THE SPIRIT IN EVANGELISM.

INSTEAD OF A CANNED APPROACH

YOU HAVE BEEN ALERT TO THOSE WHOM

HE PUTS IN YOUR PATH

BEING HIS HEART, HIS EYES, HIS EARS,

LOVING AND LISTENING,

AND SENSING THE WIND OF HIS SPIRIT!

Lions

Lions

SO MANY STORIES:

NILA IN HER BED AND BREAKFAST

SUSAN AS A NURSE AT THE HOSPITAL

JACKIE TALKING TO THE OWNERS OF PETS

LIZ BEFRIENDING A NEIGHBOR AT THE MAILBOX

REBECCA LOVING HER SONS’ FRIENDS

LAURA INVITING HER NEIGHBORS FOR TEA

laurasteaparty

laurasteaparty3

LAURA-DANCER’S TEA PARTY TO GET TO KNOW HER NEIGHBORS

AND SO MANY MORE!

YOU ALSO WERE LIKE IRON SHARPENING IRON

WITH LINKS TO ENCOURAGE US.

A COUPLE I LOVED: 

MARY E. GAVE THIS SO YOU CAN FIND OUT WHO YOUR NEIGHBORS ARE

AND BEGIN TO PRAY:

http://pray4everyhome.com/pray/

AND REBECCA FOUND THIS CLIP FROM AN ATHEIST

WHO WAS SO IMPRESSED BY THE LOVE FROM A CHRISTIAN

WHO GAVE HIM A BIBLE:

I AM CLOSING THIS SERIES, WITH A SESSION ON HOW TO HOIST THE SAIL,

AND ALSO, AN INTRIGUING MESSAGE FROM TIM KELLER ON WHY PEOPLE RESIST JESUS. IT WILL HELP US PRAY FOR THOSE WE LOVE,

AND WHOM WE MAY BE SEEING OVER THE HOLIDAYS.

I ALSO WANT INPUT INTO THE BLOG FROM YOU!

SUNDAY:

  1. What do you think you will remember from this series one evangelism?
  2. Did you see any noticeable changes in your life? Any praise reports? If you have a SPECIFIC story TELL IT AS WELL AS YOU CAN!

Monday-Wednesday: Hands to Hoist the Sale

Again, we must be sensitive to His Spirit — for each person. These are a few things I have learned and I would love your input.

With Children:
3. Do you remember how Timothy came to faith? (2 Timothy 3:15)

I have come to believe that if you teach children about Jesus through the Scriptures, they will tell you when they are ready to put their trust in Him. I believe, because children are so impressionable, that you should not take the initiative with asking them if they want to trust Jesus, but let them be the one to ask. That way you know it is sincere and not just an attempt to please you. I remember my daughter Sally’s little friend Tricia. Tricia played at our house nearly every day and took part in our family devotions. One day when she and Sally were in the backseat and I was driving, she said, “I want to go to heaven.” Then she unbuckled her seat-belt and knelt in the back seat. I said, “Wait, wait — let me pull over.” And so I did and I came back with her so we could talk and I could make sure she understood, as much as she could for her young age.  Today she is a caring Christian nurse. I was so proud when she won the nurse of the year award at her hospital. I knew it was Jesus in her.

sally-and-tricia-as-little-girls

Sally and Tricia

I also think it is important to remember how very literal children are in presenting the gospel. For example, I wouldn’t ask them to “ask Jesus in their heart,” for they would picture Him climbing inside. I love the way my friend Carol presents the gospel to children because she takes a heart and has them cover it first with a black cloth (for sin), then red (for the blood of Jesus) and then white (for being made clean.) She also teaches them the Song “Nothing But the Blood.” (Which our own Lizzy gave us a link to:

 

4. What thoughts do you have on the above?

5. What has been your experience and thus wisdom about hoisting the sail with children? Do you have advice?

WITH WOMEN IN YOUR BIBLE STUDY

What I have found is that any Bible study can intrigue an unbeliever, but seeker studies are particularly good. I often find in a study, if i’m alert, I see someone is close but who needs some clarification. I usually try to find a way to talk to her one on one, as I shared with my neighbor Gladys, or I invite them over. It is often in those visits that I feel led to explain the gospel clearly.

6. Read Acts 18:24-28

    A. What do you learn about Apollos?

    B. What did Priscilla and Aquila do?

    C. What change took place in Apollos?

    D. How might you apply this in evangelism?

WITH PEOPLE IN YOUR PATH

7. You have been living this out, but I think this Scripture is relevant: 1 Corinthians 3:6. What do you learn?

There is also more than one way to present the gospel — but it is good to have one in your mind. I think if you can make it visual it helps: the bridge, the four spiritual laws, even using a presentation for a child…Using Scripture is vital — one approach is the Romans Road:

8. Given the opportunity, how would you clearly present the gospel?

9. Sometimes I find that the person already is His, but doesn’t have assurance. Using 1 John 5:11-13 (note particularly the verb in 13), how might you assure someone of his salvation?

Sometimes you’ll find a person has a hard time grasping the gospel. Again — there are different reasons for this. I remember with Ron is was because he has been taught religion — he had to be good! But this last week I met with a young woman and I discerned her problem was different. I told her a story from a Keller sermon. When a woman was leaving after church she told Keller: “The gospel is very hard to grasp.”

Wisely he asked her, “Why do you think that is?”

And she said, “Because if Jesus did it all, then I’d owe Him everything.”

My friend said, “That may be my problem.” (It’s a start to opening her eyes.)

THURSDAY- FRIDAY: Rejecting the Real Jesus from Tim Keller (free)

      Rejecting the Real Jesus - Timothy J. Keller

10. What stood out to you from the above and why?

FRIDAY:

I’d love your wisdom on the blog. I’m planning to do Thanksgiving and Advent.There is less participation, but that doesn’t mean I should stop — though it could. I so want to hear from the Lord and I’d love your counsel.

10. Is it meeting a need in your life — as my kids would say: “I want the brutal truth.”

11. What suggestions do you have for me — either positive or constructively critical.

SATURDAY:

12. What is your take-a-way and why?

 

 

 

COMMENTS (91) Post a New Comment ↓
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What do you think you will remember from this series one evangelism? Oh wow, I felt like we were just getting started!! I will probably go back and relook at the questions that draw people out because I can’t never think fast on my feet with that kind of thing.  I also really enjoyed hearing all the different testimonies of the women on this blog.
Did you see any noticeable changes in your life? Any praise reports? If you have a SPECIFIC story TELL IT AS WELL AS YOU CAN!  Well, it has definitely made me more conscious all the time about looking for windows of opportunity.  Since we began this topic I have not only talked the one time with my aunt Janet (my mom and I shared the whole gospel and our testimonies with her over lunch one day) but there is also another aunt I have not mentioned (Lois.)  Recently I have sept a lot of time with my aunt Lois (another of my mom’s sisters) and have had several opportunities to at least steer the conversation to spiritual things.  Once when we were talking about my current cancer situation, I mentioned that I have no desire to ever do chemo again.  Once a person gets to my stage and the “easier” stuff is no longer working, chemo is generally a last resort and typically only extends life by a few months (at best.)  I told her that, and then said, “If I were someone who thought this life is all there is and was desperate to live an additional two months, then I could see doing it, but since I’m a Christian and I know that I have heaven to look forward to, I can’t see doing chemo again.”  (Of course, I will pray about it, and cross that bridge when I come to it, that is just how I feel about it now.)  She just said, “yes.”  Like she understood that.  Honestly, besides my aunt Janet, all of my moms sisters would say they are Christians but we feel like it is more being “religious” than having a personal relationship with Jesus.  There is no evidence of the Holy Spirit.  Not trying to be judgmental, only God knows their hearts, there is just no fellowship of the Spirit there and we love them, so naturally we want to share Him with them.

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    Mary E — this is beautiful: Once when we were talking about my current cancer situation, I mentioned that I have no desire to ever do chemo again.  Once a person gets to my stage and the “easier” stuff is no longer working, chemo is generally a last resort and typically only extends life by a few months (at best.)  I told her that, and then said, “If I were someone who thought this life is all there is and was desperate to live an additional two months, then I could see doing it, but since I’m a Christian and I know that I have heaven to look forward to, I can’t see doing chemo again.”

     

    I think the same testimony could be made by missionaries risking their lives by ministering in deadly diseases, or simply going where there is great danger.

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What do you think you will remember from this series one evangelism? I missed a lot of last week due to my son being in the hospital but when I could get on and read-oh! What I remember is how his spirit blew through so many of us this last lesson. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE LAURA’S TEA PARTY PICTURES! WHAT A SPREAD-WHAT LOVE TO SHOWER ONTO YOUR NEIGHBORS LAURA.

 

Did you see any noticeable changes in your life? Any praise reports? If you have a SPECIFIC story TELL IT AS WELL AS YOU CAN! Yes but it wasn’t dramatic. When my son was struggling with Myocarditis in the hospital he said he felt like he could die and said, “Mom, I was thinking if I die I will get to see God-I was just thinking about God. I am not saying I will become a Christian or anything but just wanted to tell you that.” After he turned the corner for the better, I asked him how he felt about it. He said he is glad he is better. I think Isaac knows Jesus for he refuses to say there isn’t a God..and he was the one at 6 who asked me if he could pray to know Jesus..and while I encouraged him to wait, he just interrupted me and started praying on his own. It was THE MOST precious prayer. Then he would always be the one leading prayer before dinner and at other times. The thing with autism is they are too honest-and I know he is just in the ‘opposite of my parents’ phase as a teen-and it gets reinforced at school. While in the hospital, he said in regard to the election..I am doing the opposite of you guys because I just want to do the opposite-cuz I’m supposed to. :)

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    Rebecca, I am so sorry if I missed this somewhere on the blog or on our FB page….I did not know your son was hospitalized last week! I do hope and pray that he is doing okay now and has been released home?

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    I also missed that your son was in the hospital. I hope he is better now? Thanks for the encouragement ?.

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    I’m so very thankful God rescued him as a child and the story of his heartfelt prayer. It gives me great hope He is a prodigal and not an unbeliever. And now God has rescued him again from a disease that at least used to be often fatal. I’ll be interested in your thoughts from the Keller sermon this week.

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    YIKES!  I didn’t realize you had a son in the hospital either, Rebecca!  Praying the Lord will bring complete healing to him now, and use this for good in his life!

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1. What do you think you will remember from this series one evangelism?
Honestly, the HOPE from others’ testimonies–that God is a relentless pursuer of His children. Specifically Dawn’s, and of course Rebecca’s testimonies reminded me to never give up hope for those who seem so blind to Him.
2. Did you see any noticeable changes in your life? Any praise reports? If you have a SPECIFIC story TELL IT AS WELL AS YOU CAN!
Small, but yes. I feel SO much more comfortable with the idea of sharing the truth. I have always been one to ask the WalMart cashier how I can pray for her as I leave, but I have been much more pro-active lately, standing in line, or while talking with customer service people by phone…my job doesn’t provide much opportunity so I have to look where I can! This week I was talking with the US immigration dept. and started to share about my faith, and found out he was a retired military chaplain–but at least I’m getting more comfortable trying ;)
 
LAURA–LOVE seeing your photos!! So beautiful and inspiring!

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    You are stepping up and being faithful where you can. I am excited about this, Lizzy.

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3.–I SO agree with all you said here Dee on children! I cringe when a VBS or similar program “invites” kids to make a commitment. My older seemed to go that path, with a dated card stating she’d become a Christian…and yet we don’t see the fruit or real faith. My younger, I feel we avoided all of that, just shared Scripture daily, and he’s recently started his own devotional time every morning, completely on his own. It IS the Spirit, and I think it can be so dangerous to give a  false sense of faith. There are a ton of good solid material on the subject that’s helped me a lot with this. I think a key for me has been recognizing I am “only” to be my kids’ ambassador (and as Paul Tripp says, not “owner”) My job is to point them to Christ, teach His Word, but leave the rest to Him. Much easier said than done for me! And the “asking into your heart” has bothered me since before kids, simply because for me, it seems to place too much emphasis on US doing something, rather than receiving His gift. 

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    Lizzy — would love some links to the good material you reference!

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What do you think you will remember from this series one evangelism?

 
I never really thought it was my job to evangelize. That was for pastors and people with degrees in theology. I have learned that the bible says I am to tell everyone about Jesus. I had always read the passages but it didn’t sink in. Jesus is most important for all.
 
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭28:19‬ ‭ESV‬‬
 
I scanned the rest of the study for this week and noticed you are asking about thoughts on the blog.  I rely on the blog to keep me “in line” and focused everyday on what is really important in life; Jesus. I appreciate your hard work and I can’t imagine life without it. I know some may think this is extreme, but I am not kidding. I have to keep myself in check at all times. Sad, but true. Oh how human am I! However, I will take this week to think and give you thoughtful “advice.” 
 

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    Laura — just seeing the growth that has come from your obedience has been a HUGE encouragement to me.

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    Laura, I don’t think you are extreme at all because I feel the same way! DAILY I can wander away (we all like sheep have gone astray, each one to his own way). How about HOURLY. I need to be kept in line, too. I know you listen to Nancy Wolgemuth too, and I heard her podcast on “Brokenness” and she said that it means walking every day with that attitude of humility and repentance and saying yes, Lord(!) when we know we have sinned. I also need to be kept in line.

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The series on evangelism is a help to me because I now realize how important it is for me to listen to others and consider their life stories. All of us come to know Jesus in different ways and He pursues, just using us to be ears and to have a compassionate heart.
I still have trouble just putting my testimony into words, but am working on it. I know God uses people to draw our attention to him as we see the changes or differences in their lives. Every morning I pray to have my eyes open and to consider who God may be bringing into my path. Several young women have come into my radar and one woman in my exercise class. I invited her to have lunch with me and now we will see when that may happen.
I still need to grow in trust and let go of my anxiety about doing or saying something wrong… still need to let go of self and know that it is in His hands. Even my interest in others is enough and let others continue.
Thanks to each woman who has shared. It is an encouragement to me.

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Ears to hear and a compassionate heart is huge!

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Oh, dee!  Forgive my typos as my keyboard is acting up big time!  I’m so sorry I don’t contribute much at all to the blog, but please know that I get such a blessing from it.  I have a totally new life now with a 16 year old adopted internationally, needing much time to bond and work through many issues!!!  I also homeschool her (she has hardly any education, and I feel a HEAVY burden for this, to help her be self-sufficient one day as she is already 16), and I also work a job 32 hours a week as I’m a single mom.  I have never been so exhausted in my whole life, and most of it being an emotional exhaustion.  I SO very much look forward to this blog every Sunday evening when I try to take just 1-2 hours for myself to spend with my Lord.  I tell people what an encouragement this blog is to me.  Tonight, I was so wanting to get to the blog, but my dear daughter wanted to chat and listen to music with me, and then I got a phone call from a disabled man who I have helped for many years.  He was so lonely and I couldn’t get off of the phone.  And the whole time I’m thinking, “People, leave me alone!  I need to get with my blog!!”  :)  I know it is a lot of hard work for you, and I should be paying you for your precious time.  Your spirit and love for Jesus are so refreshing to me.  I can’t tell you how much I benefit from this blog and the wonderful ladies who pipe in! 

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    Thanks so much, Miriam. This is an encouragement!

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Dee I have to share your studies here on evangelism have to me been the most powerful ones as I have so had a desire to be stepping out more in this area and you have encouraged me to do so.  I have had more opportunities I believe in the last few weeks than I have had in 20 YEARS!!!!!! I believe it is due to being purposeful in our purpose!!!!! I am very excited about seeing God show up when I have been stepping out and I THANK YOU FOR THIS ENCOURAGMENT I know I have not been on here much posting but I have been reading and USING and SHARING your material. I have started a women’s fellowship group with the hope to invite women who may be seeking but with also a huge heart for women who have been out of fellowship. We have had 2 so far and they have been wonderful!  I do not want to go backwards only forward. I will pray for whatever you would decide about this Blog but I do want to share it is a BLESSING and I too thank you for all the work you put into it.
LAURA LOVED SEEING YOUR TEA PICTURES!!!!! YOU HAVE SUCH A TEACHABLE HEART!!!!!! YOU ENCOURAGE ME:)

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Did you see any noticeable changes in your life? Any praise reports? If you have a SPECIFIC story TELL IT AS WELL AS YOU CAN!

 
I mentioned above that I rely on this blog to keep me focused on Him. It is SO easy to get side tracked with the issues and life in this world ?. I don’t have a specific praise report; in fact, I really blew it this past weekend with my sister in law. My husband lost a brother in law and we went for the funeral. One of my sisters in law asked about our kids; how they were doing. I said ok, however I know just what challenges they are really going through. She specifically asked about our youngest because she saw an older sibling having a long FB debate with him that concerned her. She is either a non believer or atheist, not real sure. I told her I thought he was ok, and then somehow got roped into talking about the election. I love politics, but I truly tried (SO HARD) to avoid that conversation cause I knew it would lead to no good. We have opposing view points and she (I think) thinks Christians are awful people. I think the FB “discussion” of my kids was about the results of the election (can’t really remember now). I took the bait and then went on a rant about how the evil world (especially the media) has ruined my kids. It is my belief that if they would stop the endless reporting on the protests that they would go away. It may be true (the media bit) but I surely didn’t show her Christ that day. I’ve thought about writing her a letter to apologize and maybe humble myself a bit; not sure if it would help. Luckily, another sister broke us up. So, here’s a reminder that we must remain vigilant at all times. 

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    Liz — this is huge!!! I have had more opportunities I believe in the last few weeks than I have had in 20 YEARS!!!!!!

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    Oh Laura — yes, politics can be a snare of the devil — but your humble heart and a sincere apology owning just your wrong will go a million miles. I will pray!

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3. Do you remember how Timothy came to faith? (2 Timothy 3:15)
 
He read the sacred writings as a child.

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4. What thoughts do you have on the above?
 
 I guess I was less deliberate when I taught my kids about God.  We went to church, Sunday school, Mother’s Day out programs through the church,  VBS, and I was involved in different aspects of church life (Choir, dance) when my kids were little. The conversation never really came up about believing in Jesus/God, it was just  assumed.  To this day I’m not really sure where my children stand on their belief.  I think they all, in their hearts believe there is God, but I’m not sure that they know Jesus.  I hope it’s not too late to teach them.  I’ve told the story before of Sarah, when she was six or so, saying that a little boy who had died (Eric Clapton’s son) was so lucky because he got to meet Jesus.  
 
 I’m trying a bit of a different tactic this time with my grandson. I am reading to him the Jesus Storybook Bible.  I don’t really think I ever read Bible stories to my children, although we read all the time.  I like the story of Dee’s friend who uses the heart with the cloth covers too; I think I would like to try that. 

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    Laura–LOVE to picture you reading your grandson the Jesus Storybook Bible! I think that is great!! He is so blessed to have you : )

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4. What thoughts do you have on the above?
I love how Carol shows kids the Gospel. I think it is crucial that they learn that He is Holy and we are all sinners and fall short and so He came to cover us in his blood and wash away our sins.  Our sin needs to be covered so He can bring us to himself in relationship for He loves us so. The beautiful part is He did it!

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    Yes — kids do need to learn His holiness, as do we all!!!

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I am sort of skipping over #5, I feel I am still learning as I go and the thoughts I do have are too hard to put in a neat statement! But, one thought I have is that my kids are most shaped by my actions (good and bad)–and that includes my sincere apology to them when I mess up, but also the things I wouldn’t have realized they noticed like when I’m alone having devotional. A few months ago, I woke up, thinking I was the first up. And I found my 9 year old son on the screen porch alone with his Bible and a notebook, in the same spot my husband can be found every morning. That wasn’t “taught” in words, but I think much more powerfully through example. That said, I feel I have a “case study’ in my family to prove there isn’t a formula, and all we can really do is PRAY and get myself out of the way for the Spirit to blow that wind as He wills! But I know I am called to teach the truth, clear and accurate…to plant the seed and be faithful to hope for a harvest. 
* I do like the little New Growth Press booklet called “Leading Your Child to Christ” by Marty Machowski

6. A. What do you learn about Apollos?
He’s a Jew, a native of Alexandria. He’s an eloquent man, with a strong knowledge of the Scriptures. He spoke and taught accurately. He know about Jesus but only in part.  Yet, he was teachable. 
 
    B. What did Priscilla and Aquila do?
They pulled him aside and privately explained to him the things about Jesus that he did not know. 
 
    C. What change took place in Apollos?
Apollos came to know Jesus personally, in full. Reminds me of the J. Edwards quote-“There is a difference between having a rational judgment that honey is sweet, and having a sense of its sweetness.”
He went to Achaia and taught through the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ, and led many to come to faith.
 
D. How might you apply this in evangelism?
 
To recognize that someone may know much of the Scriptures, and yet still not know the sweetness of the Lord. It’s a reminder to be ready to ask good questions and speak the Gospel clearly, to be sure that they have heard the truth. It’s easy in our culture to have grown up in or around Church and think you’ve heard it all…but not really know the true Jesus. 
 
 

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    I’m savoring the picture of your child in his notebook and Bible in his father’s chair. And a little jealous you can still sit on a screen porch.
    And I love this: To recognize that someone may know much of the Scriptures, and yet still not know the sweetness of the Lord. It’s a reminder to be ready to ask good questions and speak the Gospel clearly, to be sure that they have heard the truth. It’s easy in our culture to have grown up in or around Church and think you’ve heard it all…but not really know the true Jesus.    
     
     

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    Lizzy, can I put the booklet “Leading Your Child to Christ” on our FB page with the other recommended books to read?

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5. What has been your experience and thus wisdom about hoisting the sail with children? Do you have advice?
 
I just exposed my kids to church to give them a chance to learn about Jesus. I’m still waiting to see if what I taught actually stuck. It is a process. I don’t think children should ever be forced to accept though. I never forced my teens to come with us to church. I’m not sure what we did worked ?. We’ll see…

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    That’s a sticky thing about making kids go to church — I don’t know that my children ever considered there was a choice for it wasn’t an issue. But I think, if it was, I’d have them go, just like I had them brush their teeth.
    What do others think?

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      Like your kids, Dee, in my family I think I can speak for my brothers and I in saying that we never considered going to church to be a choice.  It was so much a part of our lives growing up (Sunday morning, Sunday evening, Wed, etc…) that I just knew as long as I was living under my parent’s roof, church was not optional!  But, I enjoyed it and continued as an adult, so was fine for me.  Now, I will say that parents today have it much harder in this regard because when I grew up you did not have sports on Sundays.  I see families at my church who are gone nearly every Sunday, during certain seasons, due to sports and have often thought they may be making HUGE mistakes there, leading kids to believe that sports trump church, but then I have never had kids, so I feel like my opinion on this is of limited value.  And, bigger than this, God can redeem our mistakes…it just might be a longer, more painful path than it might have been.  Rick (a man at my church who is dying of stage 4 breast cancer) recently said that he feels like having his kids in sport on Sunday was a mistake.  They are in their 20’s now and neither attends church.  Ultimately, I guess you have to pray about it and try to follow the Holy Spirit’s lead in this.

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      I always had to go to church as a youngster as did my children. The problem I had was when my kids were teens (15-16) it became a huge fight on Sunday mornings and I really didn’t want to start my Sundays that way. I wanted them to want to go to church, not be forced. There was usually a consequence though; I didn’t agree with their choice and they paid in some fashion.

        Laura, this is an interesting discussion on do we force our children to attend church, or not? Throw into the mix an unbelieving spouse. My husband is not a believer. There is a lady at church I’ve known a long time whose husband is also an unbeliever. Both of our husbands do not attend church. She recently told me, when I asked about her two kids, that they don’t come to church anymore. She sadly said, “I lost”. It was hard for her to get them up, to get them there, and because they saw their dad not going, they didn’t want to go. My sons, and then my daughter, always went with me. My oldest was pretty good about attending throughout HS, and was involved in small groups.  My middle son, around the age of 16, started to not want to go. He became a lifeguard and worked at a Jewish Community Center, and signed up for the Sunday morning shift at the indoor pool. My daughter comes with me, but especially now that swim season has started, she is so tired and there are some Sundays I have trouble getting her up. I feel I have been more lax about church attendance with her….I know, not a good thing. She does not like going into the big room for the HS students, though. She prefers to come with me to my ladies Sunday school class.

        That makes sense, Laura.  I think each situation has to be taken into consideration individually.  It’s a tough issue.

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      In our family there came a time when our oldest son didn’t want to go to church, but we just told him that some things weren’t negotiable. Just like going to school, we can’t make you learn, but we will make sure you’re there.

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6. Read Acts 18:24-28 
 
    A. What do you learn about Apollos? 
 
apollos was a Jew from Alexandria who was a good speaker and well versed in scripture. He knew of Jesus, but only through the baptizing of John. He was passionate about his knowledge.
 
    B. What did Priscilla and Aquila do? 
 
They took him aside and explained more detail and corrected his “story.”
 
    C. What change took place in Apollos? 
 
He traveled and taught about Jesus in the places where he had refuted this belief earlier to the Jews (of which he was one).
 
    D. How might you apply this in evangelism?
 
Well, I really think I need to know more about the gospel before I begin any of this! This guy knew the scripture. I’m pretty weak in this respect. I know certain passages, but it doesn’t come to me just like that. Plus, when I am put on the spot, my brain doesn’t work as well as when I have time to think. This happens to me in teaching to. I have taught myself to slow down, breathe, and think (don’t just blurt out an answer) when a student loses a particularly difficult question.
 
Apollos was willing to learn and change. I am good in this department! I know that I don’t know! I am always willing to try something different to make it better ?. In evangelism, we can relate to our “subjects” better if they know we aren’t professionals. 
 
I’m not sure about how I would go to places where those knew I didn’t believe. I have always believed (less so in college though). The people I was around in college are not my friends today. I need to think on this a bit more I guess.
 
 

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Dee, I, like others, have been mostly following along on your series on evangelism, but not commenting much. I have found it quite helpful, though. This Fall has turned out to be a bit of a sabbatical for me. After my Dad’s sudden death in July and the rest of the summer spent in the intense, emotional dismantling of his belongings and saying goodbye to my stepmom who moved back to the States in September, I was emotionally exhausted. I haven’t led a Bible Study this Fall as usual and have spent much time in pondering if there is a way to make my Christian life and ministry more effective for the Lord. Given that, your series on Evangelism was perfect timing for me to look at ways the Lord might be leading in a new direction. 

I have had the opportunity to attend Alpha this Fall. Most of the attendees are from another church which is less conservative than I am, so some of the discussions are like seeing another side of life. I have been praying that God will use my words there to draw them closer to Christ and His Word, the Bible. I am, also, pondering ways to make contacts and draw unchurched women toward Jesus. Like others, I also have been hesitant to be “forward” in mentioning Jesus to my friends, keenly aware that I do not have the gift of evangelism and do not think fast on my feet to difficult questions. I also admit that fear of disapproval has hampered me. Becky Pippert videos have whet my appetite to explore more seeker friendly Bible studies. I need God’s help to overcome my shyness and lack of confidence.
 
I appreciated the challenge of the atheist on the video to tell others that they are on the tracks with a freight train approaching. If I love my unbelieving friends, I must talk to them about Jesus, the most precious thing in life to me.
 
Like Shirley, “I still have trouble just putting my testimony into words, but am working on it. …I still need to grow in trust and let go of my anxiety about doing or saying something wrong… still need to let go of self and know that it is in His hands. Even my interest in others is enough and let others continue.”
 
Also, Dee, the thought of you possibly discontinuing this blog makes me very sad, though I knew this day would have to come eventually. This blog fellowship has been a rock to me through some very hard times these last few years. I will pray earnestly for you as you seek His leading on this matter.

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    Diane — you have been such a steady and strong woman here. I’m so sorry to hear of all you have been through this year. Your comments on evangelism are encouraging.

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1. What do you think you will remember from this series on evangelism?
 
How important it is to listen, really listen to others. To listen instead of worrying about what I am going to say next. The exercise on viewing my testimony in light of am I a “Timothy” or a “Paul” was helpful to me, too. I used to feel ashamed that I wasn’t a Timothy, that I didn’t have a good beginning in life. But I am seeing that, like Paul, I can boast all the more about how great God is. To focus more on His story, not mine. I don’t have to go into all the details of my former life.

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    I too find I’m a better listener. May we continue!

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1.   What do you think you will remember from this series one evangelism?
Hello, everybody! Just piping in to contribute some. Too busy these days with family.
I have learned practical and insightful ways of doing evangelism. And for me not to wait till everything is perfect but be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s prompting in my conversations with others.
 
2.   Did you see any noticeable changes in your life? Any praise reports? If you have a SPECIFIC story TELL IT AS WELL AS YOU CAN!
 
I am learning to listen better with my heart especially to those who I disagree with like my daughter, my husband, and my students. With all of these three, I am learning to not rush in my conversations and make premature judgments. My propensity to be a “fixer” is very strong.
 
Example: My daughter and I have a discussion over the phone about her situation in relation to the election results. During the first 10 minutes, I gave her time to rant and rave. At a certain point, I offered some unsolicited advice and from there it turned into an argument. Then she cut me off and said, “Mom, I really don’t want your advice; I just want you to listen.” That was like a shout from the Holy Spirit. Although I feel like I botched the conversation, I was able to ask for forgiveness and we ended amicably though without some tears.
 
I am learning to just listen, love and repeat according to Karen Ehman. It is hard but am trusting God to help me. 
 
 

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    Bing–your example here is so convicting and powerful. I pray to have such a teachable heart as you! Love how you took her words as a nudge from the Spirit and asked her forgiveness. I’m sure that ministered more to her heart than any advice. So good: “I am learning to just listen, love and repeat”

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    Bing, I love your example of your conversation with your daughter! Yes, you gave the unsolicited advice (as I often do, too) but then you were willing to ask her forgiveness and to listen. I have two adult sons and my bent is to give them unsolicited advice, underneath which lies an idol of control. Thanks for setting a good example! Being willing to admit we were wrong and say we are sorry is so important!

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4.  My daughter was less than five when she responded to an altar call at a VBS.  Someone shared with me their concern that maybe she was just following others.  When I asked her about it, she said “oh, no, Mom.  I didn’t want to be alone on the inside anymore.”  Today she is a state training director for CEF (Child Evangelism Fellowship).  My son at the same age firmly told me that he was God; God was the sinner; and he didn’t want to go to heaven.  Months later he arrived at my bedside to say that he had just asked Jesus into his life.  It was rocky all through his growing up years, but today he has three of his own and is faithful in leading them in faith.
 
5.  It saddens me when people don’t believe that children can make that choice, that they need to be older first.  I believe you should plant seeds every way you can, always pointing to Jesus and the Bible.  My biggest prayer for children is that they not merely get inoculated to faith, but that they come down with a full blown passionate case of love for Jesus and faith in Him.
 
Dee, this blog is my iron sharpening iron.  A place where you widen my horizons, and challenge me not just to read and think but also to do.  Whatever the Lord leads you to do, you need to do.  I would sorely miss it, though.

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    Thanks, Mary B!

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    Mary B. I really love your stories of your daughter and son. And especially that you wanted them to not get innoculated, but to come down with the full blown case! That is so special. Yes, we do all want this.
     I am thankful that my children were willing to come to church and that they all came to know Jesus between ages 10 and 13 and are continuing to follow Jesus as adults. It is a blessing. I am not so sure about my grandchildren, though. They are being tested .

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Dee, I echo what the ladies are saying here. Yours actually is the only blog I follow and have participated in because of its depth, realness and the many resources that you have pulled together to make it as it is. A safe haven where we can be ourselves. The encouragement through gentle admonition and challenge is second to none. Like Mary B, please do what you need to do as God leads but I will sorely miss it. I realize I have not been a very active participant because of my schedule but I do appreciate the ministry of this blog to me VERY much!

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    Me too! Be still my heart-Dee,  I would be SO sad sad sad if you discontinued. Your studies are the only ones I have found to be depthy and Gospel centered drawing me to Jesus. Not only that..HIS WIND BLOWS HERE.

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Thanks, Bing.

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2. Did you see any noticeable changes in your life? Any praise reports? If you have a SPECIFIC story, TELL IT AS WELL AS YOU CAN!
 
I believe these last few weeks have got me thinking more….okay, I am a big-time “ponderer”, and I have to process things in order to take action! I am also a more quiet and reserved person and I feel that I am so much more comfortable one-on-one or with a very small group. I have been thinking about being more intentional to spend time with people. For example, my church had a veterans day breakfast last Saturday. I wanted to invite my dad. One of my sisters was discouraging, saying that he won’t want to go. I asked him and also, because we can’t leave mom alone, said we could take her, too. He wanted to go. My dad did receive Jesus about seven years ago but still doesn’t go to church (he is almost 90 now and there’s a lot of other factors such as his limited mobility, my mom’s Alzheimer’s). Anyway, we went and he really enjoyed it. There was a man who was a Vietnam veteran who spoke and gave his testimony; he quoted from John when Jesus said, “I AM the resurrection and the life….do you believe this?” And then he said to all of us there, “Do YOU believe this?” And I heard my dad say, “Yes”. Many there came and shook my dad’s hand, thanking him for serving. There were only about four WWII veterans there, and he got to talk briefly with one of those men.
 
I have a sister with whom I have a strained and rather distant relationship. She has been unkind to me in the past, and even within the last two months there was a very unpleasant incident with her. She works at the same hospital as me. Her birthday was this month, and I asked her if she’d like to meet me in the cafeteria for lunch one day and I would treat her for her birthday. She did. I did more listening to her talk about her life and her family than sharing about myself.
 
One thing I did, I shared on last week’s blog. I had a phone conversation with a patient in which I shared how God helped me during a time of fear and anxiety. I am beginning to ponder (!) something: Often, patients share some really heartbreaking things. I feel very helpless in these situations because I certainly can’t fix their problems. Often, I will say that I will keep them in my prayers. I am thinking that perhaps I should offer to pray with them right there and then, while we are still on the phone. The worst they can say is no!

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    OH SUSAN! I think the Lord gave you an early Christmas present: “And I heard my dad say, “Yes”
    I know he had already professed faith in your presence before, but just to have that assurance to hold on to in times you doubt–what a blessing to be with him and hear this!

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    Susan – -I’m dancing on the table. WOW WOW WOW :-)
     

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    Susan! These are all wonderful examples of how we are supposed to act with others as Dee has taught us! Thank you for sharing with us ?.

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    Susan-oh wow..I love this update and you dad. How encouraging that was for you. Also, I love how you blew the wind of the Gospel to your sister in extending yourself to her inviting her to lunch and loving her by listening. Encouraging to me.

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    Susan, your story of your Dad’s coming to the event and his words are heartwarming. I am so touched by all you are doing. We really do need to listen and I am practicing this.
    Thank you for sharing so beautifully each example.

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6d.  Application.  I feel like it applies to me, and my ability (or inability) to interact with others.  Thru this study, I’ve been given knowledge and tools.  Now I need to become proficient in using them.  Along side of my daily to do list, I have the four questions so that I can get them firmly fixed in my mind.
and like Susan, when a patient says something about wanting prayer, I offer to pray with them right then.  Always a blessing.

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7. You have been living this out, but I think this Scripture is relevant: 1 Corinthians 3:6. What do you learn?
 
Only God can give growth. I can plant the seeds and water though…

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8. Given the opportunity, how would you clearly present the gospel?
 
This one is so hard for me because I am not as well versed as some in the scriptures. I think I would tell them Jesus = love for all. He hung with sinners to show them light; what they were missing. He loved so much that He actually took on all that sin forevermore, and was crucified with it on His shoulders. Because He did that, we get to live in eternity, with Him, as long as we are able to accept Him into our hearts. He is just waiting for us to follow Him.

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9. Sometimes I find that the person already is His, but doesn’t have assurance. Using 1 John 5:11-13 (note particularly the verb in 13), how might you assure someone of his salvation?
 
It says that if you believe then you are guaranteed eternal life. 
 
 

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10&11.  Like others, I have definitely enjoyed and benefitted from this blog.  I think I started participating about 3 years ago.  Over this time there have been seasons where I have not visibly participated, but I often still got on and followed along silently.  It is very clear that a large amount of time and effort goes into putting this together.  I feel like you (Dee) are essentially writing an entire Bible study every week!  I can’t even imagine how you do all that you do.  As for any suggestions for how it could be changed?  I have often drawn comparisons of this venue (online study) with an in-person study.  The two studies I, personally have lead (both of them yours, Dee!  The Friendships of Women and Idol Lies) were with a group of maybe 5-7 women and, of course, all 5-7 women do not share their answers to every question.  In person studies tend to be: “Who wants to share what she put for #1?  #2?  etc…  So out of 7 women, you might get 2 or 3 (or less!) who share their answers to each question.  In that regard, it tends to be a little less bulky than in this venue.  That said, I do love seeing what other’s thoughts are on each question!  The nature this is just different, there’s no way around it.  So, if you are looking to alter it in some way, my thought would be that you could take one lesson and make it cover 2 weeks, or even a month (with the same number of questions as when it’s one week.)  Since we inevitably get more answers to questions (and responses to answers) in this venue, maybe just have 4 or 5 questions a week?  That would be my only thought on how to alter it, and hopefully make it a lighter load for you in the process.  If you did it monthly, the entire first week could be intro and “what stands out?” and maybe one other question, the entire last week could be listening to a sermon and writing up thoughts on that and then closing remarks (takeaway) the two weeks in between could be Scripture reading with maybe 3-5 questions each week.  Maybe start the study the first Sunday of a month and end on the last Saturday of a month? 
As far as does this meet a need, I think it does.  I’m guessing a certain type of woman is more drawn to this than others.  Many of us may not be as vocal as others in the in-person studies.  I tend to think that most of us arrived here because we were searching for something, sensing a void that was going unfilled by traditional church programs.  
I would hate to see the group dissolve all together, as I do consider you all be be dear friends.  I will pray for the Lord’s leading for you, Dee.  I know this has to be very labor- intensive for you and you are involved in so many other ministries.

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    MARY — THIS IS VERY HELPFUL INPUT. I have already felt led to shorten the lessons — I will go weekly through Advent — and then see. Every two weeks might be a plan. Thanks so much.

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10. What stood out to you from the above and why?  Wow, that was probably one of the best sermons I have ever heard in my life!  I don’t think I have ever really heard a message on that passage of Scripture (Matt 11:16-24) and I have never fully understood it.  One thing that stood out to me is what I guess, in our hearts, we all see a hint of…that people don’t reject Christ for the reasons they state (“Christianity is too hard” or “Saved by grace is too easy, too good to be true” or “it’s illogical”  or “it’s too logical”) they reject Christ because accepting Him means losing (giving up, really) control. We want to be in control, we want to call the shots, and even as Christians we still struggle with this at times.  It’s a process of constantly giving up control.  Understanding this really takes the pressure off of trying to present the gospel in some foolproof way, using apologetics, logic, etc… because the bottom line is really with the individual;  either they are willing to give up control or they are not.  Not that we shouldn’t present things in a logical way, but it’s ultimately not about that.
Secondly I love how he concluded by saying that Christianity is both extreme pessimism and extreme optimism and only in Christ can “the dirge and the dance come together.”  One friend of mine who is a freelance writer for various pieces of  Christian literature (a fairly new friend) has said to me a couple times, “If you ever want to write your story, or a short article, I’d be happy to help you.”  Most recently she gave examples of titles  like “It’s not fair!!”  She was talking about me having cancer three times (and a few other things) and I couldn’t put my finger on the reason why, but that feeling (“It’s not fair!!!”) no longer resonates with me.  Now I know that it is because in Christ “the dirge and the dance come together” and we can say, “it is well with my soul.”   
 

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      Really great article, Rebecca.  I don’t want people to think I have “arrived.”  Things like this (a stage 4 cancer diagnosis) do have a way of giving you laser focused vision on what really matters (things of eternal value.)

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    I missed that line about “the dirge and the dance” come together and will use it!

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    Mary, I really agree with you about this sermon. I even want to listen again and let it sink in deeper. I know that the control issue is so true. And the works part really made sense as Keller explained it. I always wondered why people seemed to embrace the “works” type of religion.
    Thank you for all you explain so well. The blog definitely has a place and it brings us together to understand others so much better, it seems, than some groups. Many groups do so much talking and so little real listening. However I like to ponder the responses.

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MARY!!! TEARS. Sharing this with my family, with my prayer group, with my Bible study…wow. This got me: “and I couldn’t put my finger on the reason why, but that feeling (“It’s not fair!!!”) no longer resonates with me.  Now I know that it is because in Christ “the dirge and the dance come together” and we can say, “it is well with my soul.”   
I know I tell you this all the time, but OH how HE SHINES IN YOU and we are so blessed to witness it!

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    I make a comment and then I read you saying the same thing. So many times! :-)

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    Thank you, sweet friend.  I just told Diane, I’m a work in progress, and it has been a LONG process!  Anything good coming out of this is only because He is showing up for me in a big way. 

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3. Do you remember how Timothy came to faith? (2 Timothy 3:15)
 
From infancy, Timothy must have heard the Scriptures read to him. His mother and grandmother were faithful to teach him.
 
4. What thoughts do you have on the above?
 
I do believe that the Spirit can move not only an adult’s or teen’s heart, but also the heart of a very young child, to receive the gift of salvation. Nancy DeMoss has said that she was five years old when she accepted Christ. Lizzy’s son is also a young boy, but clearly has a heart for the Lord. I do believe a child should not be coerced or pressured.
My oldest son was about 9 or 10 when, one night at bedtime, I was reading to him from a devotional I used called “Keys for Kids”. After listening, he said that he wanted to pray to have Jesus on the inside of him, too. He initiated it, and I prayed with him. After he prayed, he began to cry, saying “Thank you God, thank you Holy Spirit, thank you mom, thank you Keys for Kids, thank you Jesus….” He did attend church all through high school. Story is a little complicated as my husband was raised Catholic, though had stopped attending church; I was attending a non-denominational church, and he attended a Catholic school. I believe he identifies himself today as Catholic, but I don’t think he regularly attends church and he doesn’t to my knowledge read his Bible anymore. My middle son told me one day when he was pre-teen that he had prayed to receive Jesus after he heard a tape by Charles Stanley that I had playing while we were driving. About a year or so later he told me he prayed again because he had more understanding now of what it really meant, that Jesus died for his sins. He is the one who stopped going to church about his junior year in HS and in college would tell me that it wasn’t that he didn’t believe in God, he just wasn’t interested. However, earlier this year, and after his long-time girlfriend ended their relationship, he told me that he had been going to church every Saturday at a Catholic church (he’s still away at college). I am also not sure where my daughter stands. When she was in elementary school, I would overhear her playing school, teaching the Bible to her “class”. She would often read her Bible and write out little prayers. She is 16 now and will still come to church with me most Sundays, and still wants to be in small group study that meets once a week during the school year, but has little interest in having her own devotional time. She’ll still let me read the Bible to her, but I am not sure that she has owned the faith for herself. She is the only child who did not attend Catholic grade school, though she attends the same Catholic HS as her brothers did.

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    Susan — this gives me real hope that they all may be His and will return if they have strayed.

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5. What has been your experience and thus wisdom about hoisting the sail with children? Do you have advice?
 
I think I sort of answered this above….experience with my own children. I often feel much guilt about my boys because, I had converted to Catholicism after I married their dad, and we had them go to a Catholic school starting in 1st grade. After my second son was born, that’s when I was feeling like I was missing something, and when he was around the age of four, I started to attend a nondenominational church, and eventually stopped going to the Catholic church. That’s when my husband stopped going to church, but the boys remained in Catholic school. So they were exposed to both. I realize there was the gospel in both, but of course there are differences. I blame myself for what must have been a confusing situation to them. They didn’t seem to mind going to my church….I can remember the first time I took my oldest son with me and he thanked me for taking him to church. I know they got good, solid teaching there. But, it divided our family. I knew one Christian woman who told me that I should not have done what I did; that I should have kept attending the Catholic church because my husband is the head of the home and I was to submit to his authority. She said I could teach my children from the Bible but that I should have stayed. I’ve always felt a little like Sarah in the Bible who took matters into her own hands when she gave Hagar to Abraham to have that child. It created a real mess.
My middle son told me that when he was in 8th grade, and he happened to have a nun for one of his teachers, that she said Protestants are going to hell. He actually told her once that he wasn’t Catholic and he said she was rather stunned, to put it mildly. I do not want, however, to be scathing towards the Catholic church. Lizzy has shared here of her own Catholic upbringing, and how the Lord grabbed her heart as she reflected on a booklet with the Stations of the Cross in it.
Without having my husband as a spiritual leader and it being up to me, I feel I made many mistakes. Looking back, I can see how I relied more on my own wisdom, on what I was doing, than on God.

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6. Read Acts 18:24-28
 
A. What do you learn about Apollos?
 
He was a Jew, and he was very well-educated, and he knew the Scriptures thoroughly. It sounds like he had already become convinced that Jesus was the Son of God, the Messiah, and he had already received some kind of instruction, or teaching, about Jesus. He was speaking publicly about Jesus and what he was speaking was accurate, but his teaching was still incomplete. It says “he only knew the baptism of John”.
 
B. What did Priscilla and Aquilla do?
 
They invited him to their home and gave him the whole story….I think they filled in the blanks!
 
C. What change took place in Apollos?
 
He wanted to go to Achaia and spread the gospel. It says that he was a great help in refuting the Jews in public debates. He was able to prove, using the Scriptures, that Jesus was the Christ.
 
D. How might you apply this in evangelism?
 
This sounds to me like more of discipling someone. The way I read the text, it sounds like Apollos already believed in Jesus but he still had much to learn. People who put their faith in Jesus need someone to disciple them to help them grow in their knowledge and faith.

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    I think the phrase in that passage “a more excellent way” is telling. I think he had an open and hungry heart — but didn’t quite understand about Jesus. I see that often in our Bible studies that reach out.

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7. You have been living this out, but I think this Scripture is relevant: 1 Corinthians 3:6. What do you learn?
 
We/I can be a seed planter, or a seed waterer. I can share my faith with others, share about how God has helped me, or worked in my life, or forgiven me. If they’ve heard these things from others too, I am watering it more! But only God can make the seed grow. If I think of a heart as soil, only He can plow it up, soften it, and bring forth a tender plant of faith.
 
8. Given the opportunity, how would you clearly present the gospel?
 
This is hard! To be clear, to be concise. This is one thing that I did many years ago, before my dad received Christ and before I really had any spiritual conversations with them. One Christmas, I wanted to give them a Bible, so I got them the Living Bible translation with a nice cover and their names engraved on it. I wrote them a letter, and then I went to visit them on Christmas Eve day in the afternoon (we always have celebrated Christmas with my in-laws on The Eve and then with my family on Christmas Day), and I snuck the Bible up to their room and left it on their bed. In my letter, I shared about how I had come to know Him, and then I wrote about this metaphor: Once, when they had been returning from a trip out of state, and because my home is so close to the airport, I surprised them by meeting them at the airport around midnight, when their flight came in. They had driven their own car and left it parked there, so it wasn’t to give them a ride home, but I made some soup for them to take home. This was before the days of strict airport security, too. The small airport was nearly deserted, and I was able to wait for them at the end of the long hallway where the passengers leaving the plane would walk through on the way to get their luggage. I saw them coming – they were the only two at the time, and it struck me, and this is what I wrote about in my letter, that as they were walking down that long hallway, I was there at the end of it, waiting for them. I wrote something like when we get to the end of our lives, when they get to the end of their lives, death can be a lonely, frightening thing….if someone is not there waiting for you. I can still see them coming down that long hall….walking slowly, they were tired, it was late. I wrote that I wanted them to be sure that Jesus would be there waiting for them. That He could be, that He wanted to be.
 
I know that when they went up to bed that night, they found their gift and read the letter. I just planted a seed at that time.
 
This is also strange, but the other day at the doctor’s office, the receptionist asked me if there was a story behind my email address, as it has the words “Kings daughter” in it. I told her that because I am a Christian, I am a daughter of The King….she laughed and said that she had wondered if my ancestry was somehow tied to England and monarchy:))

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    Susan — I don’t ever remember you telling this wonderful story!!!

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9. Sometimes I find that the person already is His, but doesn’t have assurance. Using 1 John 5:11-13, (note particularly the verb in 13), how might you assure someone of his salvation?
 
I note that in verse 13, all the verbs are in present tense. “To you who BELIEVE….so that you may KNOW….that you HAVE eternal life.” I would tell this person that Jesus did not give His life on the Cross so that we could continue to live in a state of doubt, worry, and uncertainty. He wants us to know that if we have the Son, we have life. Period.
 
I struggled with assurance for years….I can hear myself saying, “But how do I know that I really have the Son? What if I am one of those people that Jesus talks about in Matthew, who think that they are saved but in the end He will say to them, I never knew you?” I used to think that salvation depended so much on praying the prayer, and I would pray again and again, thinking that I might have missed something, maybe I didn’t do it right. I would look at my own behavior – my failures, my sin, specific behaviors like things I would think, say, or do, and conclude that there is no way I can really be a Christian or I wouldn’t have done or said or thought that. Part of the problem, I believe, is that when I went to that first non-denominational church, which was a very large church, and began to grasp the gospel, no one ever personally discipled me. I think people can trust in Christ and then kind of fall through the cracks, especially in our big churches.

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10. Is it meeting a need in your life?
 
I usually don’t skip ahead in the lesson, but I do read everyone’s comments, so I “knew something was up”. For those who may not know how I came to the blog, I want to tell you, because it met a huge need in my life during a time of real crisis. In July 2009, my nephew, with whom I had always been very close, died from a heroin overdose. It shattered our family. I had never experienced such deep loss or grief before. I tried to pray, but honestly, I had been coasting in my faith and God felt more like a stranger to me than someone I could turn to for help. I became angry at God, especially when I would hear testimonies of those who had been alcoholics or on drugs and then God saved them and now they were Christians and free from addiction. I thought that He must not have really cared about my nephew like He cared about these people with the success stories.
 
I happened to hear Dee on the radio, and I visited her site and signed up to be on her email list. I got an email in which Dee asked if anyone would be interested in doing an online study going through her book, The God of All Comfort. I believe that was God throwing out the lifeline to me. I signed up, and in January of 2010, we began, and I’ve been here ever since. That first study helped me so much in working through my pain and grief, and I got support from those who were on the blog at that time. I read Dee’s book, we read through portions of Job, and certain Psalms, and God met me. I am very grateful and thankful for God leading Dee to do that study. He knew I needed help!
 
I am working through a study on The Songs by Nancy Wolgemuth, and this verse has taken on perhaps a different meaning for me (maybe not theologically correct). It is SOS 1:7-8:
 
Tell me, O you whom I love,
Where you feed (your flock)
Where you (make it) rest at noon.
For why should I be as one who veils herself
By the flocks of your companions?
IF YOU DO NOT KNOW, O FAIREST AMONG WOMEN,
FOLLOW IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF THE FLOCK…
 
It’s the “Follow in the footsteps of the flock”….that strikes me. I need to know where He (Jesus) feeds, where He rests….how to find Him, how to seek Him, how to experience those green pastures and still waters that He promises. I am a slow learner, and I need help to live the Christian life. To me, this says, as if He is saying this to me, “If you do not know, Susan, then follow in the footsteps of the flock….” Each and every woman here, in her own unique way, gives an example of how to live this life walking with Jesus. I am helped here often just to follow in your footsteps. This one verse speaks to me of the communion of the saints and why we need each other and fellowship with one another because we can’t do it alone, and were not meant to. Often I experience things that leave me feeling like I don’t know what to do! “Follow in the footsteps of the flock”.
 
Dee, I am so thankful that you have created this place where this little flock can gather, learn and grow together, and real friendships can develop. I do realize, though, as someone already said, that you are writing a fresh Bible study each and every week, and I can take that for granted, but it must take a lot of your time in prayer and preparation. I would very much miss this place….can’t really imagine it not being here, but know that you need to do what God is leading you to do, so I will pray for you!

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    “It’s the “Follow in the footsteps of the flock”….that strikes me. I need to know where He (Jesus) feeds, where He rests….how to find Him, how to seek Him, how to experience those green pastures and still waters that He promises. I am a slow learner, and I need help to live the Christian life. To me, this says, as if He is saying this to me, “If you do not know, Susan, then follow in the footsteps of the flock….”

    Susan, WOW, your whole post here is beautiful.  I’ve never pick up on that verse “if you do not know, Oh fairest among women, follow in the footsteps of the flock…”  
    That is like an Old Testament way of saying “Do not forsake the assembling of yourselves together.”  And, you are right, this is a place we “assemble together.”  I honestly feel like I know many women on here much more deeply than I know many of my own church congregation.

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      I feel the same way, Mary….I have shared more here and the women here have opened up their lives and been so real….I can’t say that I know anyone at my church as deeply.

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11. I can’t really think of any “constructive criticism” to offer! I always find your studies, Dee, challenging, of great depth, they make me really think, they are not the “fill in the blank the missing word from the passage”-type of studies. You don’t necessarily give us the answers. If I could pose a suggestion, it might be, if it would lighten your load, what about if we chose one of your books to study through? We would read a chapter, answer the questions….maybe even one chapter every two weeks, and then discuss a few questions here? Would that help you in that you wouldn’t have to be writing a new study each week?

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This week has been very busy at the hospital that I work at, we can’t get caught up because of all of the end of the year surgeries that people are having so there is lots of overtime. I also had a death in the family which has required out of state traveling. I said all of that to say that I’m sitting in a hotel room trying to do this week’s study and realizing that you want some thoughtful input about the blog, I might have to add it to next week’s study if that’s OK since writing all of this on my tiny phone is grueling.
As far as the evangelism series it really has opened my eyes to opportunities. A co-worker of mine has been going to a yearly sermon given at the 4H fair (it’s the only time she goes to church) and it turns out that it is preached by my dad’s old drinking buddy-turned-pastor and his son. I knew as we were talking that this is an opening door. My co worker even brought it up again the next day. I am looking forward to the opportunity to speak with her more on this.

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    Dawn, I am so sorry to hear about the death of a family member, and about how busy work is for you right now.  You have definitely been missed here this week. It’s wonderful, though, about the co-worker and you knowing that preacher as an “old drinking buddy” of your dads!  That will be a great opportunity to share the difference Christ makes in a life!!  Praying right now for her receptiveness and for the Lord to give you the words to say!

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    Dawn, I am sorry for your loss of a family member.

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I so appreciate all your input and ideas and encouragement. I’m sifting through them. I know I want to be brief — and after Advent may consider going every two weeks — I like your good ideas and am praying over them!

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 On Keller sermon… I think this is one of the best sermons I’ve ever heard him preach! Especially with regard to the evidence of  which he speaks. I am a scientist, and scientific evidence is important to me; in other words to state your conclusion about an experiment you have to cite your evidence  or no one takes you seriously.
 
 The Scripture speaks of people doubting who Jesus really was.  Keller cites a commentator who says that the disciples would never have written that into the scripture and less it was truly observed.  The commentator believes that everybody saw him repeatedly perform miracles, so how could anyone be a doubter? And yet they were there.  Keller gives an example of a horrific car accident where someone gets their hand cut off, and a miracle occurs where the hand is reformed and no blood or cuts exist anymore. If you saw that happen, you would believe; there would be no doubt.  Jesus performed miracles over and over again, so everyone should have believed. Some did not according to scripture. The commentator believes that this was written in the scripture because it was absolutely true.  I’m still mulling over this, I’m not sure I totally understand it. 

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4. What thoughts do you have on the above?  I think I would just say the Lord can use anything!  One of my dearest friend’s two oldest children got saved by singing “Into my heart” in bed one night.  (“into my heart, into my heart, come into my heart, Lord Jesus!  Come in today, come in to stay, come into my heart Lord Jesus.”)  The next morning (they had slept in the same bedroom that night, daughter 6, son 4) her daughter said, “Mom, I asked Jesus into my heart last night….I sang Him in.”  Her son then piped up, “me to, mom”  My friend kind of gave her son a scolding look, as if to say, “you just did that cause your sister did it!” and her son spoke up again, “He’s IN my heart, mom!”  I think to this day her son (who is now in his mid 30’s) would say that was when he received Christ as Savior, at age 4.  So for some kids “asking Jesus into your heart” maybe confusing but I think some understand that it means He comes to dwell in us.  I think I did at age 5.

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