PO Box 26055
Anaheim, CA 92825
Greetings Friends and Brethren,
“People need the Lord, people need the Lord; At the end of broken dreams, He’s the open door. People need the Lord, people need the Lord; When will we realize That people need the Lord. When will we realize That people need the Lord.” Lyrics to the song People Need The Lord
Pretty straight forward song, right? Let’s keep admonishing one another with it.
Who’d Have Thought…
One of the first steps to increasing our effectiveness in sharing the good news of Jesus with the lost is growing our awareness of the opportunities God affords each of us to do so. I see this as evangelistic perception. Below are some of the personal experiences Anaheim brethren have shared over the past two months concerning the development of their evangelistic perception. These accounts come from discussions participated in during our weekly Evangelistic Fellowship sessions.
Janice Shelton shared that her son John’s problems with migraine headaches resulted in interchange with his high school janitor and secretary about the importance of prayer. She also mentioned that she met with a long time friend, retired teacher and tax client of Duane’s for lunch. As they spoke about their love for reading, Janice said that she finds the most value in reading the Bible. They spoke about the uniqueness of the Bible and Janice introduced the poetry of the Psalms and thought for thought rhyme to her. Her friend was intrigued and thought she’d look into it further. Janice hopes to follow up in the future.
Sandra Norris reported that sister Jo Gray’s doctor was so outspoken about his faith at a resent doctor visit that she felt like she had been encouraged by a sermon by the end of the visit. She noted that it was a good example of sharing one’s faith freely on the job.
Leon Sims noted a conversation about spiritual things he had with a dad at softball practice Leon coaches. The conversation was cut short by other people arriving. He hopes to follow up in the future. Leon also shared that on another day he made it a point to bring his Bible to a car dealership he was going to be visiting, thinking it would be a good witness to those who saw him reading it. He also hoped that it might cause someone to comment about it, creating an opportunity for spiritual conversation.
Fred Flory shared that while assisting a fellow patron at a car wash he remembered to say, “God bless you” before leaving.
Sheila Sanchez recently read Muscle and a Shovel by brother Michael Shank and intends to share it with a coworker in hopes of initiating further conversation and potentially study of the gospel of Jesus. Muscle and a Shovel is a true story about Michael Shank’s journey to biblical faith and obedience to the gospel as a result of the efforts of a coworker. I have heard and read many reports about how this book has helped many come to biblical faith.
Duane Shelton reported a recent visit with an estranged relative who had been away from God for a long time. He said he’s not had much contact with this person over the years but has always desired to see them come back to the Lord. Duane decided that the major medical issue his relative was experiencing might serve to help them be open to another invitation to come back to the Lord. He took his relative two Christian evidences books to read and reminded them that God wants him back. Duane told him about a friend in the church who came back to God after 37 years of living in sin (prison, etc.). Duane said his relative received him better than in times past and is hopeful of spiritual progress with this person. Duane also shared that after finishing filing his taxes a long time client tarried in Duane’s office. This long time client shared his aggravation toward his church’s leadership. After listening closely to all that was said, Duane responded with a the problem being church government. Duane pointed his client to scriptures about proper church government and encouraged him to read them. He hopes to follow up with him in the future.
David Norris shared while holding open a door for someone at a bank, they said “God bless you,” to which he returned the same. He suggested that the man who addressed him must have been in one of my Evangelistic Fellowship classes. lol. In two other encounters at the bank David shared that he has had some interchange with the tellers about the church.
Della Murry says she went outside of her comfort zone and spoke with a handy man she her husband Ron had over fixing a garbage disposal! She said she asked him if he went to church to which he replied in the affirmative. She also asked him if he had been baptized to which he also responded in the affirmative. He shared that he had been raised Catholic but left them and is now part of a non-Catholic Christian fellowship. He said that in this fellowship he has learned a love for reading the Bible for which the Della praised him and encouraged him to continue reading. Before leaving, the handy man thanked Della for asking him about his faith. The man was scheduled to return for a visit to fix another item. Upon that visit Della shared a number of gospel tracts and articles with him, encouraging him to keep studying the Bible.
Holly Yost noted that she addresses her Facebook friends bold proclamations that are sinful. She shares relevant scriptures and encourages them to read them.
Most of these reports I have shared previously in my blog, jeffyostthinksouls.wordpress.com. If you desire more details on these, many more and my own, you can find them there.
I share these accounts in my report for the sake of assisting my readers in realizing that God uses every sort of willing person in evangelism. Not just a certain kind of people. We all have a place in this work. What is yours?
Who’d have thought there were so many opportunities and contexts in which to share Jesus with others? I hope that eventually you will say you would have though it and are! Anaheim is certainly beginning to think this way.
Equipping The Saints…
In addition to the weekly Evangelistic Fellowship meetings we’ve been conducting at Anaheim, many members have availed themselves to various other outreach works and training.
In March of this year, Brian Norris, Fred Flory and Sheila Sanchez and I met at McDonald’s one rainy Sunday afternoon for a Community Outreach Study. We posted a hand written sign on our table inviting people to ask us about Bible study. As we sat there we studied the We Care bible conversion study. David and Sandra Norris were able to participate in part of it also. No fellow patrons came up to the table during this meeting, but we each learned a bit more about how to study the gospel with others. We also strengthened our confidence in confessing Christ to the public. If you’re not sure what a Community Outreach Study is, please refer to my January – February 2014 evangelist report found in my first wordpress blog post.
Also in March Pamela Hernandez and I met twice at McDonald’s in an attempt to study with a man named James. James did not show up for the study either time. Our time was not wasted though, we used both opportunities to better train Pamela in how to be a personal teacher’s helper (PTH) using Open Bible Study (OBS) materials. Pamela has not attended most of our weekly OBS classes. Since we did not quite finish the OBS material in these two sessions, we met with two other sisters Sunday mornings in an alternate Bible class to the main one. One of the sisters who joined the class did so in an effort to get PTH (Personal Teacher Helper) experience (Sheila Sanchez). Another joined in an effort to deepen her Bible knowledge and fellowship (Andrea Stundtner).
Janice Shelton and I continued a conversion study began in February 2014 with William Kheirandish. Meeting multiple times a week. As a result William obeyed the gospel March 21st, to become a child of God by faith (Galatians 3:26,27)! William continues to assemble with Calvary Chapel Open Door in the area. Since his conversion, David Norris, Janice Shelton and I have been meeting with William for Bible study once a week at his house. At this time, we’re studying the identifying marks of the Lord’s church to help William decide whether he can honor God by continuing to meet with Calvary Chapel or not. Our study has revealed a number of issues that we’ve encouraged William to make some decisions about. Please keep this new brother’s spiritual growth in your prayers.
Janice Shelton, Andrea Stundtner and I began meeting for a Community Outreach Study in March. Since beginning we’ve met eight times and had opportunity to speak with three fellow patrons about the Lord! Two have shown interest in further contact! We have plans to follow up with these.
March 19th I made an unannounced visit to Long Beach for their evening Bible class. Brethren in attendance were curious enough about my work with Anaheim that they strayed from their planned class to talk to me about my work. I think that our time together was profitable.
Sheila Sanchez and I went door to door inviting people to personal Bible studies in March. Results include studies of Matthew 7:13,14, 21-23, 2 Timothy 3:16 and various other passages with four people. One contact scheduled a personal study Sunday nights at the Anaheim building, though he has yet to shown up for it. Two others took OBS materials for self study and one who seemed to be agnostic was open to further contact. Follow up continues with all three.
In April, Anaheim’s weekly OBS class ended and a Christian evidences class using Fisher’s Of Men’s Search For Truth materials began. Midway through the OBS training class, brethren began taking turns leading each class. Classes are being conducted as if the brother leading the class is in a personal conversion study with each brother or sister called on. The rest of the participants listen and practice being personal teacher helpers (PTHs).
I was invited to give a talk at La Verne, CA, April 27th, as part of a regular monthly swap of speakers between La Verne and Anaheim. My topic was evangelistic. There was much conversation about the church and evangelism in the fellowship that followed.
As of this report Anaheim brethren are involved in following up on twenty-eight souls. Seventeen to interest in personal study, five to encourage in self study of OBS, four in personal study with us, and two in discipleship as newly converted brethren.
“There is much to do, there is work on every hand” and Anaheim brethren are rising to the occasion!
Join us in the work of the Lord by doing what you can to reach the lost around you.
In my last report I shared, “The aim of my work, as I am currently approaching it, is to help establish a core of brethren, in every congregation…, active in reaching the lost and committed to intentionally discipling new converts. Brethren in every assembly who will continue provoking that assembly to be evangelistic, by their example, long after I’m gone. I’m visiting congregations to evangelize with them, not for them. I’m approaching the work as a mentor, taking brethren with me to gain experience in the evangelistic work I teach and preach. I hope to help every willing member find their active place in evangelizing their world. I believe much can be achieved toward this end with long term visits/short term relocations. I also see great advantage in staying with a work, if possible, until it shows signs of being self sustaining.”
A question I’ve been asking since pursuing the goal stated above is, “How long is long enough to work with any given congregation before moving to the next?”
The book of Acts suggests to me that it depends on each congregation and community. Workers seemed to spend days with congregations at times and years with them at other times. As I came out to California there was some talk of my work, including only a six month stay in California. As Anaheim and I access the progress and goals for our work together we think it will take longer than six months to reach our goals. Staying more than six months in California creates some interesting issues for my family and ministry. I won’t go into the details here, but request your prayers concerning wisdom in addressing the issues.
In my last report, I shared that the work here with Anaheim was moving in a positive productive direction. I believe at this report that this remains to be true. Brethren report that they are seeing the souls around them more readily and clearly. They report that because of our work together they are becoming more bold in confessing Christ before others and apt to inviting them into spiritual conversations and studies. Please pray that this trend will continue in Anaheim and become an identity for them as Christians. Pray that evangelism will become something that they miss when they are not doing it. Please pray that the church will begin to value each soul like God does (Philippians 2:1-12).
Posting my evangelist report here on Word Press and on the Kirksville church’s web page at http://kirksvillechurchofchrist.com/ is an effort to no longer use email to send it out. I plan to send out one last email with this report, indicating where to view my reports. I would appreciate it if those interested in my work, from each congregation, could make announcements pointing others to my online reports and blog and even print a hard copy to post on a bulletin board in your meeting house. Thanks in advance.
P.S. The transmission issues we were facing with the pickup have been resolved! Oh yea! Our house and land in Kirksville has been sold! Thank you for your prayers concerning both situations.
God bless each of you in His service,