by Pastor Tim Burt
Note from Pastor Tim: God bless you and Happy New Year to you! I will not be writing again until January 15th as Renee and I will be on the mission field. I'll update you when we return. There are hundreds of posts for you to go back and read! I know they'll bless you! If you are considering end-of-year giving, please consider this ministry and thank you in advance for your prayers as we continue to reach for the world and mission field with the good news of Jesus Christ! God bless you!
I recently conducted a poll. 73% responded that they believed helping people know Jesus should help direct the purpose of their life. 27 % responded that it should, but wasn't as much as they felt it should. This new year is almost upon us. It's a good topic to discuss with the Lord and ask Him to help you with! Making God's purpose, your purpose, aligns your heart and mind with His and takes you down a better path in life. I know this is an area Christians struggle with because they tell me so. I was stopped at church by a young woman who is a fairly new Christian. She had been trying to share her faith with a co-worker. Not far into the conversation he made the declaration to her that he did not believe like she did and that he was an agnostic. She wasn't sure what that meant and asked me. It's funny how people like to label themselves.
The definition for agnostic is this: One who believes that there can be no proof of the existence of God but does not deny the possibility that God exists. When I hear someone tell me they are agnostic I think, Haven't they ever seen a baby being born? Haven't they ever seen pictures that have come back from the Hubble space telescope? Didn't they study science when they were in school? Haven't they ever been to the top of a mountain and looked around? Haven't they ever studied the miraculous way that the human body works? When I look around, all I see is God. I felt that way before I ever received Jesus as my Savior. That's one of two things that compelled me to seek the truth about God. First, I just had this knowing that there had to be God. Just because I couldn't explain His existence didn't mean He wasn't there. Secondly, all of creation is too sophisticated to be a random accident! People like to think they are smart, but to deny the obvious, is very unintelligent! The identity of God's fingerprint is on everything.
When it comes to believing in Jesus, I often ask people, Do you believe that Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton were presidents? Of course! they would say. Well there are people who are on the earth today who weren't yet born when Richard Nixon or Ronald Reagan were alive. They will learn about them from recorded history! Jesus Christ is recorded by the notable Jewish historian Josephus with him saying about Jesus, He was Christ. This is recorded history. The authors of the gospels and many books of the Bible are recorded history and the best kept in all of existing writings! In Josh McDowell's book, Evidence demands a verdict, he makes the case that some of the greatest minds in the world agree that the Bible is the most historically accurate book in the world.
Even though we know all these things and present them to those we are led to share with, there are still and always will be, those who resist the truth. I usually speak to them this way. I ask them if they are honest people. Of course they will say yes. Then I ask them if they are agnostic because they want to be or because they just don't have proof otherwise. Most will say because they don't have proof otherwise. If they want to be agnostic just for the sake of being agnostic, they aren't agnostic at all. They are stubbornly stupid! (I say that in love!) For those that claim to be honest and are truly searching, they can be easily won to the Lord. I say to them, You say you are honest. If God undeniably revealed Himself to you over the next few weeks, would you be honest enough to admit it and give your life over to Jesus? They always say yes. Then I ask them if they will let me pray for them. First I pray that the Lord will open the eyes of their understanding. Then I ask them to repeat these simple words: God, if you are real and Jesus is your son, will you please reveal yourself to me. They might hesitate, saying I don't pray, but I tell them, This is a challenge to determine if God is real. If He is, then these words are pray. If He's not, they're just words and no problem. But if they'll say them sincerely and their heart is open, then God will send people to them and find multiple ways to reveal Himself to them, IF, they will be honest!
I have won many people to the Lord this way. They come back and tell me the many stories and coincidences that they realize couldn't be coincidence at all. They say that it seems like people out of nowhere are talking to them about Jesus. Then they turned on the television and this man looks through the television screen straight at them saying, You can’t afford to go another day without asking Jesus to be your Lord and Savior. Then while they are waiting to have the oil in their car changed, they see this little pamphlet on the table. They pick it up and its talking about the way to receive eternal life as a gift through Jesus Christ. Then someone out of the blue, forwards them a devotion about Jesus. Then on their twitter home page is a tweet that says, Discover Jesus, the only one who will never let you down. The honest ones come back and say, I couldn't deny that all this was coming at me and I could hear your words, God will reveal Jesus Christ and His love to you if you will just open your heart! They can't deny it and they promised not to write it off to coincidence. Before they go on this journey, I tell them how to pray and ask Jesus into their heart so that when this happens, they will know what to do.
We are to try to reach those around us with the love of Jesus. 2 Corinthians 5:11 (NLT) says, “It is because we know this solemn fear of the Lord that we work so hard to persuade others…”
Understand that we cannot personally reveal God. We can only share the truth of God’s love with others. If their heart is open, God will reveal Himself to them. That is His part and we need to trust it. Arm-twisting and debates with the hard-hearted has the opposite effect! But, remember that in showing people the scriptures, they aren't ordinary words. Hebrews 4:12 says, “The Word of God is quick and powerful…” If we will lovingly plant the seed of God’s Word in them, God is faithful. He will reveal Himself to those that are truly open and want to know the truth. And you should know that when Jesus told his disciples that the harvest field was ripe, that never changed. It still is! You are actually surrounded by weary people hungry to know God. Meditate on that thought and pay attention. God is directing them to you! When they open their hearts, God will work powerfully in their lives to help them see His hand upon their life. I learned years ago, I can only plant the seed and pray (which is watering that seed), for them. God is the one that brings the increase! This takes the pressure off us and puts it back to the one who knows how to continually influence their lives toward Himself! The Lord!
2 Timothy 2:25 (NLT) "Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth."
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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