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How often do you have a conversation about God about somebody? Once a week, five
times a week, ten times a week. NoIm not talking about how many conversations you had
about Chain of Lakes Church. It wouldnt surprise me if we all had conversations about this
place. Im talking about conversations with God.
I want us to be a community of people who frequently talk about God with others. Were
curious and interested to hear what other people think. Were not afraid to hear other peoples
opinions. And even if peoples opinions about God are quite strong, were still willing to
demonstrate the love of God through Jesus Christ.
Talking about God can be so much fun. If we approach it with a sense of curiosity these
conversations can stimulate us, intrigue us, stay with us, and help us grow as followers of Jesus
Christ. They are as important to our faith as breath is to our lungs. When we have these
conversations were participating in evangelismnew evangelism.
Today Im completing a two-week sermon series called New Evangelism.
The AIM of this series is to equip every one of us to participate in and enjoy evangelism.
This is a teaching series and were approaching it with a sense of curiosity. We want to
learn about the connection between our story and Gods story.
During this series were reading through 1 Corinthians. Last week we read the first eight
chapters, this week the last eight chapters. I want to encourage you to get out this brochure that
is in the bulletin. Ive written a devotion for you that covers the last eight chapters of 1
Corinthians. Use it this week. In the middle is a place to take notes. God might say something
to you that youll want to remember. On the back is a listing of prayer requests.
Last week I shared that the first part of being an evangelist is knowing our own story.
Last week we heard stories of people who shared how knowing Jesus Christ has benefitted their

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lives. We heard the story of Ray Jones, the national coordinator for Evangelism with the
Presbyterian church. Ray shared how moved he was to experience the love of Jesus Christ in a
community. We looked at the story of the apostle Paul and how the death of Jesus was so
important to him. I shared some of my own story of how knowing Jesus has benefited my life.
The three most important parts of my lifemy marriage, the birth of my daughter, and my being
a pastorcame because of knowing God. Then after the sermon we enjoyed hearing Jason
Blairs story. His story stayed with me all week. I loved hearing Jason share how he died to his
own self as a result of knowing Jesus Christ.
In the bulletin you have this card. Later in worship were going to ask you to fill this
out. Some of you might have brought this to worship today.
Last week my daughter, Hannah, told me she liked the sermon. But she told me I should
have shared a definition of evangelism earlier in the sermon.
SLIDE

Evangelism is helping people discover and own a life-transforming relationship to

Jesus Christ.
We want every person at Chain of Lakes to discover and own a life-transforming
relationship to Jesus Christ. This is a reflection of our Purpose Statement. This is also what we
want for every person in the wider community.
I think the ways and techniques of evangelism have changed. What worked years ago
doesnt work today.
Were calling this New Evangelism. Let me contrast New Evangelism with the
stereotypes of Old Evangelism.
SLIDE
New evangelism is developing relationships; old evangelism is a single encounter

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New evangelism is a dialogue; old evangelism is a monologue


New evangelism is asking good questions; old evangelism is giving a lot of information
New evangelism is demonstration of the gospel; old evangelism is presentation of the gospel
New evangelism is being a fellow journeyer; old evangelism is being an expert
New evangelism is being soft; old evangelism is being loud
New evangelism has the tone of consideration; old evangelism has the tone of argumentation
New evangelism believes salvation is now and after death; old evangelism is concerned about
after death.
The Good news about New Evangelism is we dont have to be experts on God or
theology to be an evangelist. We dont have to know the different views of Creation or
atonement. We dont have to know how John Calvin interpreted the Bible compared to how
Martin Luther interpreted the Bible. We dont have to know how differences between Transsubstantiation, con-substantiation, and Zwinglis view of the sacrament.
We dont have to be theological experts.
What we want to know well is our story. We want to be able to share how Jesus Christ
has made an impact in our own life.
The first part of New Evangelism is knowing our story. The second part is knowing
Gods story. I want to spend some time talking about Gods story.
The best way to share Gods story is to talk about how God loves us. God created us out
of love. Jesus came into the world because of love.
Remember John 3:16
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God so loved the world that he gave his only Son that whoever believes in him
will not perish but have eternal life. God sent the Son into the world not to condemn the world,
but that the world might be saved through him.
Gods love saves us.

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Then Jesus grew up and as an adult gathered a group of people who lived with him for
three years. During those three years this group of people learned about this love and saw thie
love in action. Jesus taught his followers through parables and through healings and by helping
people who lived on the margins of the world. This week were seen about the migrant crisis in
Europe. There is no doubt in my mind that if Jesus was alive today he would be with those
migrant. When the religious establishment condemned him, Jesus stayed firm in this love. He
prophetically stood up for it.
The night before Jesus died he gathered with his disciples and shared what some call the
11th commandment. Jesus told them this:
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I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also
should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love
for one another. John 13:34-35.

The next day Jesus willingly let himself be murdered on a crossthe greatest example of love
the world has ever known. Jesus could have retaliated against his murderers. But instead
Jesusvulnerable, naked, dying from asphyxiation, experiencing pain that few humans in
history have experienced. Jesus looked out at them and said, Abba, Father, forgive them for
they know not what they do. Because of the cross you and I have a relationship with God
Then God raised Jesus from the dead to prove that love and life can always overcome
hate and death. After Jesus ascended to heaven, God shared the Spirit with usthe Holy
Spiritwho resides within each of us.
This love is the most powerful force in the universe. The Apostle Paul shared this in
Romans.

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SLIDE
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things
present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation,
will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39
This love from Jesus changes everything.
This love can change the human heart. If you know of someone who is struggling, pray that they
can have an experience of Gods love.
This love can give us direction. If people are struggling with direction with their life, pray that
people can be directed by Gods love
This love can break down barriers between people. If you know of people who are struggling in
a relationship, pray that this love can prompt them to forgive each other and even experience
reconciliation.
This love will never end. As Paul wrote in Corinthians, for now we only know see in part. On
earth we only get a glimpse of this love. When we die we will receive the gift of salvation in
heaven. We will eternally receive the fullness of Gods love.
Gods love is a spiritual force that exists here on earth. But it is a force that exists with
other forces. In heaven Gods love wont have to co-exist with other forces.
This is Gods story. When we share how our story connects with Gods story were
being evangelists.
Last Sunday we had a congregational forum where we shared how were doing this year.
We celebrated that 12 new families have connected to Chain of lakes. Almost all of those
families connected because they were invited to come to church. The best way to grow for us is
to encourage you to invite people. Sell tickets this week to the carnival.
We have to be careful about our own motives when we invite people.

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Recently I saw an example of evangelism that really didnt work. I was in a restaurant
and the person I was with (lets say his name was Sam) recognized someone who hadnt come to
church for a while. (lets say his name was Frank). Frank was dressed in a motorcycle outfit.
One look at Frank and it was obvious that Frank had experienced some very hard living.
Evidently Frank had gone to Sams church and hadnt been present for a while.
When Sam saw Frank he said something like, where have you been.
If you see someone who has attended Chain of Lakes and hasnt been here in a while,
what is the worst thing you can say to that person. I havent seen you in a while.
Why is this so bad? Immediately the person is going to feel guilty about not coming.
If you see someone who hasnt attended Chain of Lakes what is the best thing you can
say to that person, How are you? Our task is to show concern for the person. Were not
trying to lay a guilt trip on the person.
When Sam saw Frank he laid a lot of guilt on him. They started joking about Franks not
coming to church. Sam said he was going to wait at the entrance of the church for Frank. Sam
said that Frank better not make him wait. Sam was hinting at you better come to church to get
your life cleaned up. There was this whole veneer of morality and goodness in the
conversation. If you want to be good, you better come to church. Sam was operating under the
assumption that church is this club of good people and that Frankwho obviously had done
some things that werent goodhad better come to church to get cleaned up.
The church is not a club of good people who exist to judge the world.
The church is a group of sinners who have dedicated themselves to the love of Jesus
Christ and want to show that love (its called the Kingdom of God) in a humble way.
To be an evangelist were called to be authentically humble.

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People who are not connected to God. They arent waiting for the opportunity to a
member of a club. But people who are not connected to God can have their hearts touched by
the love of Jesus Christ that is demonstrated in humility by a group of people. When people who
are not connected to God or the church see how our lives have been transformed, then they are
going to be interested. That speaks to people.
Thats why at Chain of Lakes we dont try to use the language of membership. We
certainly do want people to be connected to this community. But were more interested in
helping people. Were much more interested in seeing that relationship with Christ direct
peoples lives.
Invite people to churchabsolutely. I hope this week we do a lot of inviting. Invite
people with a sense of authentic humility.
Let me close by addressing one question. The question is this:
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How do we have these conversations about God with people where we demonstrate Gods love
through Jesus Christ?
Let me close by sharing three tips for demonstrating this love.
First is pray that we might be aware of opportunities. The best thing we can do at Chain
of Lakes is for everyone to pray for opportunities to demonstrate the love of Christ. Imagine the
power of every person praying. This week I want to challenge you to pray for an opportunity.
By praying we become even more aware. Our prayers give us a focus.
Last week we looked at how the apostle Paul felt insecure in sharing the message of Jesus
Christ with the people in Corinth. This is quite amazing that the greatest new church
development person in the history of the world felt insecure. We know that sometimes it is scary

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to demonstrate Gods loveto talk about our faith. I feel insecure. Our own insecurities lead us
to pray. Why would we do this without Gods help. God wants to help usso lets pray for this
help.
Second we can acknowledge that God is working in another persons life. You and I
arent evangelistsGod is the evangelist. We trust how God is working.
This is what the apostle Paul was sharing in the reading we heard today. Paul said this:
SLIDE
For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus
Christ. 1 Corinthians 3:13
If we use the metaphor of a house to describe another person, we can take comfort in
knowing that this foundation has already been set by God. God is working.
When we have opportunities to demonstrate Gods love with another person, then we
can take comfort in knowing that God is working in that persons life.
Finally when we do find ourselves in a situation where we have a conversation about
God, an excellent way to respond by asking questions. Draw the other person out. Ask
questions like:
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When have you had an experience of God?
When have you seen Gods love in action?
Do you believe that God loves you?
What are your thoughts about Jesushis life, his death, his resurrection?
What questions do you have about God?
Our sincere, humble questions can spark a conversation. When we ask questions like this
suddenly our conversation doesnt have to have a tone of defensiveness or morality. Were
another person on a journey who is interested in the faith journey of the person in front of us.
Prayknow that God is working in that persons lifeask questions.
We can do this