“Excercise” For The Soul! 

At 43yrs of age I am finding certain things much easier and others growing harder. Among the things growing harder is staying in shape. Through my teens, twenties and thirties I thought very little about staying in shape because my interest in extreme inline skating and skateboarding and the manual labor of my jobs and hobbies kept me in good shape. Now, with my participation in extreme sports ending and my manual labor becoming the exception rather than the rule, I have to think about staying in shape. Wait, what? Yea, I have to think about staying in shape now! I know, poor me right. Many of you may be thinking, “Welcome to my world, I’ve had to think about staying in shape all my life.” If you are among my readers who think this, kudos! I’m learning how much self discipline it takes to be intentional with one’s health. If you’ve been doing it for years, God bless you for your intentional stewardship of your health.

Among the things I now do to remain in a reasonable resemblance of good shape is I attempt to walk at least an hour every day. I don’t do it with weights or power walking. I “just” walk. Physically I walk in the same manner as I would at any other time, but mentally I set my heart on finding others to share the light of Christ with. When I make my walks intentional like this I call them soul walks. I begin each of my soul walks with a cup of water,  a prayer for God to help me come across people who will converse with me and the first verse of the song, “Give Me One Soul Today”:

“Give me one soul today, Lord teach me just what to say; Friends of mine are lost in sin and cannot find their way. Few there are who seem to care and few there are who pray; melt my heart, use my life, give me one soul today.” 

If I am walking my neighborhood, I attempt greet everyone within talking distance with a “Good morning neighbor.” If it is not my neighbor than only a “Good morning.” In both cases I try to part with them with a “God bless you” or “Go with God.” Sometimes interchanges only last the time it takes for us to pass by one another. At other times their responses create opportunity for more conversation. Though I am walking for exercise, I do not hesitate to stop and talk if the opportunity presents itself (Colossians 4:5,6).

Whatever direction the conversation goes, I have as my focus, representing the truths of God and revealing Him as the source. This might include saying things like, “Yea, God is good in that way,” or “As a Christian I…” Really this is the kind of conversation I try to have in any context of interaction with others and not just during my soul walks. During these conversations, I have it as my goal also to invite people to know the Lord, whether it comes out as an invitation to meet with the church or do personal Bible study together or both, I have it as a personal goal to offer some form of invitation.

My last couple of soul walks have resulted in multiple interchanges including three extended conversations. One of these interchanges resulted in the man whom I met having personal Bible study with me and attending church services with me that very evening! In fact, this guy, Sean was sitting on his porch playing video games on his phone when I approached. At my greeting quickly followed by an invitation to church services, he revealed he was in a rough patch in his life and that he thought God knew he needed someone to talk to and sent me. Humbling to say the least.

We’ve since texted some and spoken on the phone once. Though our schedules have not coincided yet again, it is our desire to meet and study together further. My goal for our next encounter is to study the gospel and compare our obediences with it to see if we’ve actually put on Christ to be saved or not (Galatians 3:26,27, et. al.).

Walking for “exercise” has a dual benefit when it is done with souls in mind. It aids good physical and spiritual health. Soul walks build up my body and my soul, with a view to greater physical health, stronger spiritual living and the promise of the fruits of salvation in the lives of others! I urge you to try it!

Reasoning In The Market Place

“Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was being provoked within him as he was observing the city full of idols. So he was reasoning in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and in the market place every day with those who happened to be present.” Acts 17:16,17

Keenly aware of the need of the people around him of the saving message of Jesus, the Apostle Paul used the synagogue of the Jews and market place of the citizens of Athens as a platform by which to share. 

I don’t think I’ve quite figured out what places today might be our “synagogue” opportunities for sharing Jesus. Our “market place” opportunities however seem more obvious. Literal physical places of buying and selling (restaurants, grocery stores, department stores, garage sales as well as the digital marketplace.

Yesterday (June 28th, 2017) I posted my family car for sale on five what I would call social media marketplaces – Offer Up, multiple Facebook sell sites and good ol’ Craigslist.

Offer Up:

Facebook:

No sooner than I got my ads posted than did I start receiving calls, texts and messages! For most of the next three hours straight and a portion of the next two hours after that, I fielded inquiry after inquiry about our car. Until finally a buyer arrived, looked it over thoroughly, test drove it and bought our car, six hours later! It was quite the ride! No pun intended, but enjoyed nontheless. Not what I had planned for the day, but productive for the family at any rate. 

My time spent selling our car was also evangelistic. Some time ago I decided to attempt to do something direct to point every person I communicate with to God. Opportunity and my own personal courage in each instance determine just how far I go, but my attempts include everything from simply saying, “Go with God” to “How interested would you be in discussing some scriptures about that together?” Responses to me range from simple amens to obedience to the gospel. There being almost no deriding negative responses. So few in fact that it is hardly worth even mentioning. In fact I cannot think of one in recent history.

Following is a statement I made at the close of all of the message interchanges I had about selling our car. Following my statement are the responses I received.

Me, “​[Buyer’s name], our ’96 Camry has been sold. I hope you find another deal. Go with God (John 14:6; Acts 2:36-40, Romans 6:3,4). If you are in the area some time join us for worship and rich fellowship at the church of Christ in Anaheim 10 AM Sunday at 1759 B Orange Ave, Anaheim.”

Gabriel, “Thank you. God is good, God is great.”

Robert, “😊. Amen…”
Julian, “Ok, thank you.”

Junior, “You are awesome thanks 👌”

Israel, “Thanks”

Ryan, “ty”

I received no response from Melvin, Rigoberto, Dominego, David, John.

Luke records results from Paul’s reasoning in the marketplace of Athens. The later part of this record reads, “Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some began to sneer, but others said, “We shall hear you again concerning this.” So Paul went out of their midst. But some men joined him and believed, among whom also were Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them.” Acts 17:32-34. 

Brethren, though we may not see ourselves as Pauls, most of us frequent market places of some kind weekly. Don’t worry about whether you can share Jesus like the apostle Paul or not. Determine to share Jesus, pointing people to God the way you are equipped to do so. Even if all you can think to do, or find the courage to do is say something about having faith or say, “God bless you” or “Go with God” or give a tract or hand out a business card for the church, or something else, attempt to do something. And then keep reaching for improvement, confessing Christ and inviting others to know Him better and better. 

Unlike Paul, many of us have much more time to reason in our market places. He had a relatively short stay in Athens. Some of us frequent our market places five, ten, twenty plus years. Imagine what God could do with our influence for Him in these places over that period of time!

Think souls brethren! 

What You Can…

Yesterday was a phase three (invitation) and five (discipling) day for me evangelistically. The previous day was a phase one day (awareness; see previous post: Stepping Your Way To An Evangelistic Walk). 

Yesterday I intended use the entire afternoon to seek souls in various ways. Though the day went in a different direction than I thought, there was still ample opportunity to be evangelistic. In fact I began my day being evangelistic by thinking and praying about what I might say about Jesus, God, Bible study and or the church   to anyone I might encounter (phase 1 awareness). At breakfast the family discussed our different bible reading from that morning (phase 5 discipling). It was a good start to an evangelistic day.

The hours that followed breakfast were filled with unscheduled ant control, adjustment to my outdoor office, email interchanges and phone interchanges (some of which involved phase 5 discipling), lunch with the family and unscheduled meeting house signage improvement, shopping and time consuming installation. By the time I was available to “be evangelistic” in the way I planned, it was already 4:45 PM and I planned to be home by 5PM to enjoy supper with the family. Needless to say, my plans for the afternoon went out the window, but only in a matter of speaking.

As I said earlier, my goal for my afternoon was to find people to talk share Jesus with and this did happen in a way. Though I did not speak about Jesus directly I did find a few opportunities to leave a little God with others and even offer a couple of invitations to worship and study the Bible. 

Yesterday afternoon I went to Home Depot. As I checked out, handing her my card (below) I invited my checker to visit our church assembly and also consider an online Bible study we offered (phase 3). She seemed delightfully surprised and receptive. As I stepped out the exit door encountering a man waiting in for store help to load his materials, I offered to help him load so that he did not have to wait for store help. He thanked me for my gesture while declining my help. I parted his company after saying, “God bless you.” (phase 2). While in the parking lot I saw an older woman and man in a minivan having a hard time backing out of their parking space, I walked over and spotted for them to make it out without hitting anything. From their car they thanked me for my help. I said, “God bless you” to them too. (phase 2). After working on the project I had gone to Home Depot to buy supplies for, before heading home, I stopped by a grocery store. After checking out I offered my checker my card and invited her to join us for worship some Sunday (phase 3). She received the card with enthusiasm and the a fellow patron in line behind me said, “amen” rather loudly. 

Though I consider the interchange I had with those mentioned rather light for me, preferring to have an actual conversation with people about their relationship with God and need for Jesus followed by a study of the gospel and invitation to obedience, I acknowledge what I did was evangelistic. And not only was it evangelistic, it was further into the phases of evangelism than I had made it the day before! Improvement of any kind is good. 

 

Brother’s and sisters in Christ (Galatians 3:26,27), do what you can with whatever time you have, to the degree your courage will allow, in walking evangelistically. And if our Lord blesses you with another day the next day, do it again and then again and again and you will be walking pleasing to the lord evangelistically. 

“ Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders,  making the most of the opportunity.  Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.” Colossians 4:5,6

“Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God; just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit but the profit of the many, so that they may be saved. Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1

Keep thinking souls! 

Quotes from Khalil

“I am a caterpillar. Well, that’s not really entirely true. My mother was a caterpiller, my father was a worm, but I’m okay with that now.” Khalil/Jonah: A Veggietales Movie

You probably have to have watched the movie to fully appreciate my quote from Khalil (above).

The reason I quote him is because of his statement of what he is and then correction to say that it is not really entirely true with explanation to follow. 

When the subject of evangelism enters a conversation some brethren adamantly declare that they are not evangelistic, others reluctantly admit that they themselves are, but that they are not very good at it. Then there are still others, however few, who see themselves as soul winners and good at it. It is in each of these cases that Khalil’s words ring true, “Well, that’s not really entirely true…”. 

I suggest to you that most, if not all, Christians practicing their faith, are more or less evangelistic, exercising one or more phases of the five phases of evangelism to varying degrees in the different relationships in our lives. 

I think I can identify five phases of evangelism: 1. awareness of souls, 2. confession of Christ, 3. invitation to study, 4. instruction in God’s will, 5. discipling new converts. 

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Any given day our various relationships likely represent one or more of these phases. There may be those rare days where we do not think about the souls of the lost (awareness) or offer any encouragement to the saved (discipling), but I’m guessing these are few and far between. For the most part, we want the lost to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus and the saved to be encouraged and strengthened to remain faithful – this is evangelism! If you think about the people around you needing the Lord, you are accomplishing the first phase of evangelism – awareness. You are being evangelistic, at least in spirit! 

I realize that maybe technically, just thinking about people’s need for God may not fit the definition of being evangelistic (i.e. e•van•ge•lis•tic; adjective: 1. seeking to convert others to the Christian faith; missionary 2. Zealously advocating a particular cause; campaigning), but as a necessary first step toward “seeking to convert others,” I count it as part of the practical nature of evangelism. 

Any given day in any given relationship, whether family, friend, acquaintance or a complete stranger we pass by in the street, when we are aware of other’s need for the Savior of their souls, we should take joy in our participating in evangelism; and like Khalil, be, “ok with that now.” However, we must not rest on our laurels in our joy, but instead we should use it as a stepping stone or springboard toward implementing the second and following phases of evangelism in our relationships. 

Our evangelistic walk with the Lord is not required to be a sprint, though evangelistic sprints like campaigns or other special evangelistic efforts are good; and those brethren who show themselves advanced evangelistic athletes are inspiring. Our evangelistic walk can be baby steps and even beginning with a crawl at first and still please our Lord. Over the years of our faith that follow however, our walk should improve (1 Thessalonians 4:9,10; Philippians 1:9,10; Ephesians 4:15). 

What evangelistic phases are you in in the various relationships in your life? Take joy in being in that phase, knowing that it pleases your Lord Jesus. Also ask God to help you make it to the next phase in each of those relationships. Remember, that every relationship may represent a different phase and that this may even vary from day to day and be ok with that. Simply do your best, with God’s help, to make the most of every interchange you have with others, to point them toward Jesus. Use the five phases of evangelism to map out a plan for improvement and gague your progress. 

Keep thinking souls! 

Stepping Your Way To An Evangelistic Walk

Made it to a park late yesterday afternoon. Sat at a picnic table with my “laptop” and bible software, studying a scripture I read earlier in the day, more in depth. My prayer was for a soul to talk to Jesus about. 

I counted fifteen adult souls who crossed within 50 yrds of me, most lingering doing one thing or another in the park. 

My personal study was challenging making me have to be conscious about look up from it at my surroundings so as not to miss an opportunity. 

My seating was not doing my upper back and lower neck any favors. 

A squrrel enjoyed several french fries nearby. 

There was a sign on my computer which read, “ARE YOU SURE YOU ARE SAVED? YOU CAN BE! ASK HOW. 1 JOHN 5:13. My eyesight is fading and I could not see my sign from very far away, though maybe someone with better eyesight could. 

Only one person came close enough for me to speak to them. He pedaled by on a bicycle. We only said hello. 

I did not speak to a soul in the park about Jesus, but I am better for having thought about it. Awareness of souls is part of evangelism and in this way I was evangelistic yesterday. Not to mention I also participated in discipling brethren last night (another part of evangelism), as part of Anaheim’s midweek Bible study.

Today I pray for a soul to talk to Jesus about, if the Lord gives me the means to do so. I’ll strive to be aware of the souls around me and I’ll attempt to step further into evangelism – awareness of souls in need of a Savior (2 Cor. 5:14-21)… confession of Christ (2 Pet. 2:9,10)…invitation to study (Col. 4:5,6)…instruction in the will of God (1 Cor. 15:1-8)…discipling in Christian living (Heb. 10:24,25). 

Every step forward in evangelism is positive, even if that step is not as far along one day as another. When we consider all the steps we’ve taken in a week they add up to walking evangelistically. Some weeks it may seem more like a sway or pacing than a walk, but its something and our and perhaps others relationship with God will be better for it. Other weeks our evangelistic walk will be more like a sprint or marathon! 

Keep thinking souls, taking what steps you can each day, in each relationship you have with others, toward pointing them toward Jesus!

The Early Bird…

This past Wednesday I joined the Long Beach brethren in their midweek Bible study. Arriving early I found a young man, whom I later learned was named Jerrell, playing with a radio controlled pickup across the street from the meeting house. I approached Jerrell and spoke with him about various aspects of the radio control while he entertained us with different maneuvers. As the conversation drew on and time was approaching for Bible study to begin members began showing up. Katherine Manning, being one of them, strolled across the street and greeted us, somewhat surprised to see me. They did not know I was planning a visit. After inviting us to join them in Bible study, Katherine excused hersel and Jerrell and I continued our conversation. 
I asked Jerrell if he believed in God and thought he was saved. He affirmed that he did believe and thought he was saved. I asked when and how he was saved. He could not say exactly. He generically referred to various events in his life that caused him to think about God and feel like He was with him. In response I asked if the Lord were to return right then, if he was sure he’d be invited into Heaven with him. After a short pause he said he did not know. I asked if he thought it was possible to know. He said he was not sure. I asked if he thought it desirable to know. He said yes! With enthusiastic agreement I invited him to allow me to read him a scripture, which he did. I read 1 John 5:13 which says we can know we are saved by what is written. We discussed the source of faith being what is written Romans 10:17, then turned to 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 which he volunteered to read. This passage says that Jesus is going to return in wrath toward those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel. We discussed how knowing Jesus is knowing God (John 8:19). Jerrell confirmed that he knew Jesus as God who came in the flesh, lived a sinless life and died on the cross to provide forgiveness of sins for all who believe in Him. So we turned our attention to obeying the gospel. Reading 1 Corinthians 15:1-8 we discussed how the gospel is the message of Jesus death, burial and resurrection. I asked how someone could obey the death burial and resurrection of Jesus. Jerrell thought maybe it was by doing good. We turned to and read Romans 6:1-11 and discussed how obeying the gospel is being baptized into Jesus death, burial and resurrection. We turned to an illustration I had in my pocket We Care New Testament depicting Jesus dying on a cross, being buried in a tomb and raised back to life. Then we turned to the same illustration overlaid with a person being baptized corresponding with each act of Jesus death, burial and resurrection. I asked Jerrell what it meant to obey the gospel and be saved and he said it meant being baptized. I agreed and then shared Acts 2:38 with him to include repentance. I asked him if he was ready be baptized to be obey the gospel and be saved. After a long pause, he said he was not sure.  I asked what kept him from obeying and shared how when I came to realize my need to obey the gospel, I immediately called up someone I knew and asked them to baptized me as soon as possible.  I invited again and he said he was not ready. I suggested that more study of the subject would help him be ready and invited him to get together with me again. He agreed and we exchanged contact information. By now it was getting dark and time for Bible study across the street. I invited him to join the study, but he said he had to attend to some things at home. I encouraged him to drop in to Long Beach’s meetings, and we parted company. 

Had I arrived with just enough time to leave my car and go right into the building for study (as is often the case), I would have missed the opportunity to share the amazing news of God’s love and salvation with him. In this case the proverb, “The early bird gets the worm” proved true. I must admit that I arrived early in hopes, with the accompaniment of prayer, that I would find someone to share Jesus with. My prayer and effort were rewarded! 

Please keep Jerrell in prayer concerning making a decision for Christ in the near future. 

Keep thinking souls and perhaps, show up early to appointments looking for opportunity to share Jesus with others.

You Can Take This To The Bank

Brother Jon Roe, recent Southern California transplant to Phoenix, AZ shares a soul-winning experience:

“I just moved to Phoenix and needed to update information at Chase bank.  The banker I met was not just someone I needed to do business with, but he was also a soul.  How can I introduce him to Jesus, I thought.  I began by saying, “So, tell me about yourself”.  He said that he just moved here from Chicago and I immediately saw we had something in common.  We then talked about the adjustments we both were having to make.  I asked him if he had found a church to go to yet.  He said no.  I said, “How’s your relationship with God?”  He said, “It could be better”.  I asked him if he wanted to get together and look at some verses.  He said no.  I told him he should come and check out the church I go to and maybe his relationship with God could get better.   To my surprise (O ye of little faith), he showed up at church.  He was greeted warmly by the members.  He even came back the next Sunday and I decided I would again ask him if we could look at some verses.  He agreed to do so and we met one evening.  I again asked him about this relationship with God and he answered the same, “It could be better”.  I asked him if he had ever given his life to Christ and become a Christian.  He said he was baptized but wasn’t sure if he was saved.  “If the Lord were to come back today, would you go to heaven”, I asked.  He said he wasn’t sure.  “Would you like to be sure?, I replied.  He said, “Yes”.  “Can I tell you about how I became a Christian?”  He said, “Yes”.  I always start with 1 John 5:13 and emphasize that we can know we have eternal life….based upon what is written.  We began to look at the things written and I showed him how we must 1) Believe in Jesus (John 8:24, Matthew 16:13-17), 2) Believe in the gospel (Romans 1:16, 1 Corinthians 15:1-4), 3) Obey the gospel (2 Thess. 1:6-9, Rom. 6:3-4, Acts 2:37-38).  At the end, I asked him, “Would you like to obey the gospel?”  After some hesitation, he said, “Let’s go”.  My banker is now my brother…and you can take that to the bank.  Souls are everywhere, even at the bank.  Blessings to all of you.”

Jon Rowe is blessed to be part of numerous souls beginning saving relationships with God every year in his personal work, using the basic approach he shared above. Not that the approach itself or Jon himself is the key necessarily, but his heart for souls and willingness to make the most of the opportunities afforded him, with a focus on the gospel message. These are things we can emulate and find greater fruits of the lost being saved in our walks with God.

Keep thinking souls brethren!

Friends Are Friends Forever Only If…

Back in 1983 a religious music artist released a song titled “Friends” in which the first line of the corus read, “And friends are friends forever; If the Lord’s the lord of them.” Friends and readers, this seems to me to agree with scripture at least as far as the idea that we will be recognizable as ourselves in the life to come (1 Samuel 28:8-17, 2 Samuel 12:23; Matthew 17:3-4). However, though it seems that we will be recognizable in our life after this one, our friends will only remain our “friends” in that life if as the song lyrics go, “the Lord’s the lord of them.” And by friends I mean godly friendships between people with whom we share a common bond which mutually builds the other up in some way. 

As a person who seeks to emulate my Lord’s love for souls, I find reports about what others are allowing God to do through them for the good of people’s souls extremely encouraging and motivating. Since beginning this blog I continue inviting brethren to share with me their experiences in reaching out to souls in their lives with the saving message of Jesus. And when they do, I ask if I may post it here as an encouragement to my readers. Seeing the value of such sharing, though hindered by the sometimes daunting task of putting one’s experiences into words to be read by all, once in awhile brethren send me their experiences to post. They do so not to boast about or take credit unto themselves, but to boast of the works of God in their lives and the lives of the lost they come to love (1 Corinthians 1:31, 2 Corinthians 10:17,18, 1 Peter 2:9). They do so in hopes of encouraging and motivating YOU to follow their example (Philippians 3:17). 

Sister Kristie Morton Nevinski recently shared the following evangelistic experiences with me:  

“Hi Jeff, I had been meaning to message you about some exciting ways God has been working and to thank you for the encouragement you have given me. 

I’m in a bible study with people of all different christian backgrounds and a while back the topic of “once saved always saved” arose. I brought it up with my friend Kate from the study afterwards while we were outside letting the kids play. Although she attends a different church, I was encouraged by her perspective and we seemed to be on the same page. I’ll admit it was uncomfortable for me because I worry I will not say the right thing or that a question will be presented that I don’t know the answer to, but I’m so glad God gave me the courage to bring it up. 

A week or so later, another friend and I got to talking about faith, works, and salvation. I mentioned that although baptism without belief means nothing, that I believed that the bible taught baptism played an important role in salvation. We were distracted by the kids and the conversation changed course, but in my heart I wondered, has Kate been baptized? In the past I had somewhat assumed that she had been, but I honestly didn’t know. Again, it was a little awkward but I went back to that topic a while later, referring to my comment and asked if she had been baptized. She answered that no she had not been but felt that she should and had wanted to be for three years! She wan’t making excuses but said that although she had believed in Jesus for years that at her church you had to take a class first and she just hadn’t done it. When I told her she could be baptized at anytime she wanted…like this afternoon…she almost cried and was just so excited. She talked to her husband about it and also wanted to give her out of town family time to plan to attend. This was a very good thing because we really needed some time to stop and look at the scriptures. My husband leads a bible study in our neighborhood which Kate’s husband attends so it was nice that relationship was already established. Kate and her family all came over for dinner and then my husband led us in a conversation/study about what the bible says about baptism. After reading about what baptism is and a few examples from Acts (ending on the Ethiopian Eunuch), Kate and her husband both seemed a little taken aback and realized that water baptism played more of a vital role than they realized. That’s the short version, but she was immersed the next evening at our church and many of her extended family members attended. I feel so humbled because what we did was so little, but God did BIG things with it!

Another friend that I would appreciate prayers for is Julie. She is from overseas but has lived here several years. The church they attend is due to family ties on her husband’s side. Julie believes baptism is important but doesn’t want to upset the family by not joining that church and not getting baptized there. Just bringing it up to them has caused quite a stir. She feels her family was more accepting of her faith before she even knew about Jesus than they are now. I hope to study the bible with her to help her develop a more personal interest in study the truth, and to help give her courage to be immersed despite her family situation.” 

Kristie’s example is wothy of emulation. Allow this sister’s example move us to urgency and courage in engaging our friends and acquintances in conversation about salvation in our Lord Jesus! 

Is the Lord, the Lord of your friends? I pray He will become so today!

Born Again! 

“Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him. ‘Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.’ Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:1-3

Brethren rejoice with the angels and saints meeting in Anaheim! Ron Lewis was born again, obeying the gospel of Jesus Christ through baptism in Jesus name Saturday February 25th in the four o’clock hour! See pictures below.

Ron visited the Anaheim assembly of the church for the first time February 12th 2017. Being a former Catholic, but recently unable to continue meeting with them due to access issues caused by limited mobility, he decided to give us a visit. Actually, ten years earlier, while still attending the Catholic church with his wife, he saw our meeting house sign and wondered who we were. Ten years later, after the death of his wife and the onset of mobility issues, he decided to pay us a visit. We are so glad he did!

During his first attendance with us on a Sunday morning, we conversed quite a bit getting to know one another. In that conversation I asked Ron how he came to visit us and if he believed he was saved and if how. He shared his story of Catholic conversion. I asked questions about his beliefs about Jesus, repentance and baptism. We talked about the purpose and form of baptism found in the Bible. Two things that were new to him. I encouraged him to consider being baptized biblically. He said he wanted to think about it. Ron remained after services and joined us for a monthly feast with the saints meeting in La Verne, CA hosted at our meeting house. Everyone got to know Ron a little bit and he them. 

Upon Ron’s second visit I brought the topic of obedience to the gospel again, to which Ron requested I visit him at his nearby apartment later in the week to study the topic. We studied a couple of hours two days in a row that week and Ron decided he wanted to obey the gospel by being baptized! He was not able to do it that day or those immediately following, so we set our sights on the coming Saturday. 

Duane and Janice Shelton, William Kheirandish, Holly and Zoe Yost, David and Sandra Norris and myself were present, with me doing the baptism and David assisting. It was a beautiful day! There is nothing quite as marvelous as someone’s rebirth, though one’s physical birth certainly compares. 

What do you do with visitors? Do you know what brought them to your assembly? Have you any visitors who have been coming for awhile? Do you know their faith story? Has anyone personally given them an invitation to obey the gospel of Jesus Christ? 

How about people in your assembly who have visited so many times that you hardly see them as visitors anymore? What do you know about their faith story? Have they been personally invited to obey the gospel of Jesus Christ?

If you have people in your assembly or any part of your life, whom you are ashamed to ask about their faith and invite to obey the gospel so long after having knowing them, apologize for it and ask the next opportunity you get. It is the most loving, caring thing you can do for their soul. If they die having been faithful to the assembly, but not having obeyed the gospel, they died outside of Christ and are destined for the wrath of God (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). 

Ron was asked about his faith and invited to obey the gospel upon his first visit to the Anaheim Sunday morning assembly of saints. By his third visit he came as a new brother in Christ – born again! 

Keep thinking souls!