O. J. Russell
“The story is true – only the names and places have been withheld to protect the guilty!
“A congregation moved into a new building with gleeful delight and some degree of pride over the elegant material surroundings in which they would worship. Someone supplied two beautiful five-foot plants to adorn the front of the new auditorium.
Some months following the opening service in the new building, to the dismay of the elders and building committee, the plants disappeared. Said elders and said committee sounded the alarm! The congregation was bombarded with announcements. Men were deputized to seek the whereabouts of that which was lost. Apologies were made to the donors of the decorative plants. For two months, the missing pot plants became the conversation piece of the church at worship and at home. The search was intensified, and the announcements and pleadings were unending.
The quest ended quite abruptly when the local preacher dared to solve the problem. It took nerve to do it! Since the pot plants had not been found and obviously were not going to be, he arose following a long announcement about the lost decorations and said, “We have heard a great deal about the missing plants that were lost. For two months at every service announcements have been made and people have earnestly looked for that which is lost. For years, we have known that sheep have strayed from the flock. Prodigal sons and daughters are away from the worship and the Bible declares that they are lost. Each soul missing here today is more valuable than the whole world – and yet we have not heard one announcement, nor have we seen anxious concern about Mary Smith, John Brown or Sam Jones, whose eternal welfare may hang on our concern. If we had put forward one tenth the energy in locating lost souls of this flock as we have the lost plants, surely angels in heaven would rejoice!” Suffice it to say, no other announcements were made about the plants.
Is this not true in so many areas? With 7,874,965,825 (as of Wednesday TCT ) people in the world, with 70 million born each year than die, how can we be so concerned over minute details such as the color of carpet, types of pews or stained-glass windows?
In Dallas, Texas, several years ago, before the Sunday morning services began in a large church, the preacher and some members came to the front steps of the commodious building just in time to see a man fall prostrate with his hands stretched out toward the pulpit. They stood there and watched him die. Suppose this man, seeking for something which the world did not give him, had heard only an intense and frenzied plea for lost pot plants! THINK IT OVER. (Gospel Advocate, March 5 1981, p 148).
DON’T BRING THE WORLD TO CHRIST – PREACH CHRIST TO THE WORLD!
I keep beating the same old drum . . . to know counterfeit money you must know real money. The better the knowledge of the real the easier to spot the phony. In conversations concerning the “mega churches” others argue, “They must be doing something right!” Tragically, the evaluation is built upon statistics, not scripture. The issue is not, “what is truth?” but “Will it work?”
Said brethren don’t understand me when I tell them “Super Preachers” may do many things right, but they are entirely wrong in their concept. They are in the “religion business” . . . they do that well. We are in the “Gospel business” . . . this we must learn to do well.
Re-read, memorize our title! We are not here to bring the world to Christ . . . we are here to preach Christ to the world. These concepts contradict. We are proclaimers . . . the Kerygma. We are evangelists, the evangelism! The power is in the message! We don’t have a message – the message has us. We preach!
Consumer churches force God to adapt to the whims of sinners. God has to come on their time and terms. This is blasphemy. Consumer churches strive to make the gospel acceptable not available. Consumer churches try to connect with the world, not convict the world.
The unique work of the church is preaching. The gospel still saves. God has determined to save the world via preaching. The church does use wisdom in the best ways to preach. . . but not in ways to save without preaching. If ever the church was preaching it must be now! Put God’s pulpit back into the church! Thunder out against sin! Proclaim Jesus as our only Savior!
PREACH CHRIST TO THE WORLD!
Keynoter 11/10 1994
A PLAN FOR PERSONAL EVANGELISM
In John 1:35-37 two disciples of John the Baptist heard Jesus speak and they followed him. “One of the two,” we are told in verse 40, was “Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.”
Verses 41and 42 tell us that Andrew “first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, We have found the Messiah, which is, bring interpreted, the Christ. And he brought him to Jesus. Therein, I suggest, lies a three-part process of personal evangelism that will work. It is simply a process of following, finding and bringing.
First, like Andrew, we must follow Jesus ourselves! Those who do this hear his voice (John 10:27) and will serve him and obey him. In John 12:26 Jesus said, “If anyone serves me, let him follow Me! And where I am, there my Servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.” It is futile to think that any other type of evangelism will work.
Second, like Andrew, those who follow Jesus truly follow Him, and will find another who needs to do likewise. In the case of Andrew, he found his brother who happened to be Simon Peter. Have you ever considered how much of the Scripture would be different if Andrew had not found his brother who became the apostle Peter? Finding implies seeking, hunting, searching. Jesus was a finder by nature and purpose (Luke 19:10). Those who truly follow Jesus will not, cannot rest until they have found someone to join them.
Third, those who follow Jesus, and are compelled to find others who need to follow him will keep looking, seeking, searching until they are able to bring someone, one at a time, to “the Messiah, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.”
The church will never have more bringers than it has finders, and there will never be more finders than there are true, genuine followers.
Frank Morgan Via Go Teach Christ, Valdosta GA 11/15/1987