MInTheGap

Standing in the Gap in a Society that's Warring with God.

Who’s the Target?

July 25th, 2007 Viewed 2229 times

One of the biggest questions we must answer when it comes to Vacation Bible School is who the target audience is.  There are two audiences that always vie for attention in the Christian church– the churched and the unchurched.  The one that you’re targeting makes all the difference in your approach.

Targeting the Unchurched Child

This target has many advantages.  They don’t know most of the Bible stories, so everything’s fresh and new.  They have interesting questions that churched children may already have the answers to or may never thought of.  They may be looking for answers.  They may be lost and in need of a Savior.  They’re not going to a church, so they could join your church.

In this setting, it’s important to have simple Bible Stories that focus on sin and forgiveness.  You don’t need to dwell on the Hebrew and Greek.  Your goal is simply to show them their need for a Savior and pray that the Holy Spirit does His work and they come to a saving knowledge of Christ.

Targeting the Churched Child

The churched child is a different ball game.  They know all the Bible stories and can probably tell you parts that you didn’t even remember.  They are familiar with all the leaders, and don’t have a problem “spoiling” the climatic ending.  They generally have already expressed faith in Christ for salvation, and therefore do not benefit as much from the reminders of their faith.

Here I believe that the biggest benefit to them would be in learning life application lessons– or even better, that they would learn how to study the Word of God themselves.  Too many Sunday School classes and other places where they hear about God’s Word are focused on the stories, but not how to draw life lessons out of it.  These children need to be equipped to be reaching their peers.  They could be a valuable aid to reaching the lost, but they don’t need to hear the salvation message again.

Mixed Targets

If you have a mixed audience you have to choose your topics carefully, or offer separate classes.  What you will need to do is always have a strong salvation message, but offer life application messages as well.  You may also need to incorporate some discipleship training into your presentation so that everyone can learn to read from the Bible.

What’s the target of your church’s VBS?  How well do you think your church does in reaching the target?

Prayer

June 24th, 2007 Viewed 2039 times

The biggest impact that we can ever make is getting on our knees before the Throne of God.  You see, we can think of great plans, and try to do many things in our own strength, but without the working of the Holy Spirit in the lives of those we are trying to reach, our efforts will be in vain.

Pray for the Lost to Seek Christ

The size of the hurdle that is between the Lost Soul and Christ seems to grow higher each day.  Secular Humanism is running rampant in our schools, our colleges, and from society.  The concepts of “if it feels good do it” and the “I’ve got to have it my way right now” are in full force through advertisements, money, etc.  Philosophers have declared God dead.  Science has tried to explain how we got here through chance.  And churches are trying to become like the world in order to reach them.

Three Keys to Witnessing Like an Apostle

March 18th, 2007 Viewed 2125 times

The effect of the Apostles on the first century landscape was incredible.  They were able to see 3,000 people come to know Christ on Pentecost.  Everywhere they went they saw people following them, coming to Christ, and creating churches.

What is the difference between our time and theirs?  Well, there are few things that they did differently that come to mind, and I’d like to share these observations with you and see if you have some others.

They Spent A Lot of Time in Prayer

After Christ went back to Heaven he gave the Disciples a command to wait for the Spirit.  So, what did they do?  They went back to the Upper Room and prayed.  They did this constantly until the Spirit came on in power– but they didn’t stop praying.  In fact, we see through out Acts that when they were captured, they went back to where everyone was praying.  They realized that they would only be able to do what God wanted them to with His strength.

When Parties Disagree

December 10th, 2006 Viewed 1818 times

What do you do when two parties disagree– be it in the family, in the church, or at work?

I believe that there are really three solutions that are available to us. We can choose to break ties and leave the relationship, we can choose to submit to whomever is the decision maker, or we can choose to stay, but continue to complain about the decision.

But what does the Bible say about disagreements?

Spiritual Gifts

September 15th, 2006 Viewed 4136 times

The issue of Spiritual Gifts is one that divides Christianity multiple ways because of what people expect from a church because of their culture.

To begin any discussion of Spiritual gifts requires me to define what I’m talking about.  I believe that the Bible clearly speaks to the concept that each believer, upon salvation, is given a number of gifts (as few as one, but can be many) of which they are to use to edify the church.  Different believers are given different gifts that complement each other in the local assembly.  We can see this in Paul’s Epistles to the Corinthians were Paul says that the gifts are complementary and necessary.

Problems come into play because of the nature of the gifts, so I guess I should list what the gifts are/were.  Gifts of the spirit differ from fruit of the spirit– they usually had an action and purpose.  They include speaking in tongues, healing, prophecy, exhorting, teaching, administration, helps, hospitality, and others.  The ones that are dividing the church are the first three.

In order to understand the debate that’s swirling, you need to understand the appeal and importance.  In the book of Acts, chapter 9, we see that tongues was used as a marker– or sign– gift to demonstrate that a Gentile named Cornelius was, in fact, a Christian.  Up until this point, Peter believed that only Jews could be saved, and God was making a point.

What were tongues?  Contrary to my good friend Stephen, I don’t believe that tongues are not foreign languages.  I believe that there were actually two forms of tongues.  One of my reasons for believing this is that in Acts 2 where the gift was first present there were many people gathered and they all heard what was being said in their native tongue.  The other supporting reference is in I Corinthians 13 where Paul clearly delineates that he speaks in the tongues of men and angels.  Granted that the tongues of men could be his own native tongue, but highly unlikely given the plural tongues.

However, I believe that this was a sign gift that expired.  If you look at the rest of the I Corinthians passage you see the statement that tongues would cease.  I believe that God used tongues at the beginning of the church to fulfill a prophecy in Joel, to give His stamp of approval on the Apostles, and to get the church up and running.  I don’t believe that it is in widespread use now.

Separation

September 10th, 2006 Viewed 3385 times

Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean [thing]; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. – II Corinthians 6:17-18

BricksSo begins one of the most difficult and complex topics that the church has faced since its founding. It is this topic that has divided churches over the color of carpet or issues of doctrine, and has created the multiple different “flavors” of Christianity we see in the world today. We all can agree that separation is important– God will do it ultimately when he separates the sheep from the goats (the saved from the unsaved), but how do we know who to separate from now, and what are the criteria?

Since there are multiple ways to begin this discussion, let’s start with the differences between the actors. There is Personal Separation and Ecclesiastical (or Church-based) Separation.

In Personal Separation, there are fewer guidelines and complexities, so I will cover them in short order. There’s a command in II John that if someone comes to your house and does not bring the gospel of Christ, then you are not to let him in the door, because that makes you a partaker in his evil deeds. Why? Because you will be seen not as taking a stand against the person’s beliefs (they are probably well known). If you feel the desire to share the gospel or try to reach them, choose a neutral place where you can talk with them.

Also, you are to choose your friends wisely. There are many passages that talk about the effect someone has on a friend and vice versa. However, the Holy Spirit saw fit to make sure that we realize that we are in the world and not of it and that we are to be witnesses. If we were to take a position of separation from all sin, we would not be able to witness. Christ went to those that needed Him, but He never went somewhere that would have been equated with sin.

He went to Zacceus’ house– a sinner, publican, but the house was not necessarily associated with sin. Mary Magdelen poured ointment on his feet and head, but again the person was a sinner, not the location. You’ll never find Jesus in the New Testament going into a idol’s temple. You’ll never see Him visiting a house of prostitution (he doesn’t even go to the women at the well’s house, maybe for the association with that house?). We too need to make sure that the places that we go and who we invite in do not have something attached to them that people would get the wrong impression.

When we get to Church-based separation is where things get difficult.

MInTheGap

Standing in the Gap in a Society that's Warring with God.