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Training Evangelists- August, 2021

Some of you who are a bit older than the rest of the crowd may remember the old preacher and author, Vance Havner. Forty six years ago I sat, listening to Vance Havner preach when he came to Moody Bible Institute. Havner, while addressing apathy in the modern church said, "I’d rather try to cool off a fanatic than warm up a corpse." For some reason that statement stuck with me. I’m glad it did.

In our last newsletter we introduced the young man wearing a mask who was invited to lunch at the restaurant after the baptism. He had many questions about the Bible and Jesus. By the end of the lunch his questions were answered and he was ready to follow Jesus. That young man is now soaking up God’s word like a sponge. We are starting to see that God may be raising up another evangelist.

It’s our practice to engage all the new believers in the Bible as soon as possible. We want them to understand that we hear the Holy Spirit as He reveals Jesus in the “Holy Book.”

We also try to prepare them for practical evangelism, teaching them how to share what The Lord Jesus Christ has done in their life. Full of zeal and a little bit of knowledge about the Bible, our new brother accompanied our Lesvos evangelist as he met with a Muslim man to talk about Jesus. During the conversation, the Muslim man referred to “the prophet Mohammad”. Our new brother came to life and with great gusto exclaimed, “Mohammad was only a prophet of the devil”. (Pause of shocked silence)…….. Ahh, Houston, we have a problem. Are you kidding me? Wars have been started for lesser statements. Ok, it looks like we have some more work to do before we send the new brother out on his own. In the debrief of that evangelistic encounter, our new brother defended his outburst by saying, “but what I said was true.”

How blessed we are to know a God who has spoken and has given us His word which is beneficial for teaching, for rebuke, for correction, for training in righteousness, so the man of God may be complete, fully equipped for every good work. We can point to Jesus in the Gospels as the model for telling the good news. We can point to the letters of Paul as we explain that God promises to conform us to the image of Jesus. We praise God for the indwelling Holy Spirit who opens our eyes to see Jesus, and conforms us to Him. Yes, we have some work to do, but I’d rather work at cooling off a fanatic, full of zeal, than trying to warm up a corpse. Thanks Mr. Havner for sharing your unique perspective.

Former Muslims are incredibly effective at reaching other Muslims with the message of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ. Pray for this ministry of training the new believers to do the work of an evangelist (see 2 Timothy 4:5). Consider the prayer in Colossians 1:9-11 as you remember the new believers. Here we see just how we should be praying- not just for these new believers, but for each other as well! Most of these new believers don’t stay in Greece, so as they are growing in their training as evangelists, they're preparing to take the gospel all over Europe.


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