Tag Archives: friendship evangelism

Habits of Holiness: #3- A Heart for Lost People!

“Only six months?! Doc, you’ve got to be kidding me!” “No, Larry. It’s true. You only have six months (that’s 180 days or 4,320 hours or 259,200 minutes or 15,552,000 seconds) left on this earth.” Then I woke up.

But what if that were true? What if I had only 15,552,000 seconds remaining in the hour glass of my life? What would I do for the next six months? How would my life change? What priorities would take center stage in my life? How would such news impact my relationship with others — my unsaved friends, my fellow Christians, my wife, my children and grandchildren?

Now, I’ve not been told that I only have six months to live, but what if that were true?

We’ve looked at two holy habits that ought to be in our lives — even if we’ve got twenty more years to live: (1) we must spend time in God’s Word, and (2) we’ve got to stop playing at praying!

The Lord has also been burdening my heart the last few years with the truth that many of us are NOT friends of sinners like the Lord Jesus was (Mt. 11:19).

I feel so strong about our proclivity to listen only to Christian music, have only Christian wallpaper, hang around only Christian people, and eat only Christian casseroles that I’ve recently written a book entitled Unlike Jesus: One Area Where Jesus-Followers Excel. Granted, it’s a bit of a negative title, but I believe we need to be awakened from an ungodly enchantment that says the fewer non-Christian friends we have the holier we are. That’s a belief that smells like smoke and comes from the PIT!

An assignment for you: Spend some time with one of your unsaved friends this week. Leave a comment below how your time together went.





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Posted by on April 13, 2019 in evangelism


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“Unlike Jesus” – A Theology Matters Retreat for Dayspring Camp – Part 6 (Conclusion)

Friends:  Thank you for staying with me through this six-part study of being a friend of Jesus.  I get to do a “Theology Matters” conference with a group of young people at Dayspring Bible Camp in Missouri from August 3-5 on this critical topic.

We have already seen in our study that we need a theology which undergirds our efforts to reach lost people. We need a theology of lostness, a theology of friendship, a theology of worldliness, a theology of evangelism, and a theology of repentance!

Let’s notice this morning a sixth theology which we need to rightfully be a friend of sinners like Jesus was and that is —


Granted, if you were to survey a systematic textbook on various theologies, you wouldn’t find this one among them!  What we mean is, if I want to be a friend of sinners, a great deal of intentionality will be required of me.  I will see myself as “on mission.”  I will wake up in the morning — after my requisite coffee — and ask, “Lord, is there someone today that I might befriend for Your sake?  Where can I make strategic decisions to spend time with the lost and to listen to their stories?”

For me the challenge in Philippians 3 helps me here.  There we read: 12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

What’s the “all this” in verse 12? In the previous section Paul spoke about “the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (v. 8). He speaks of his desire to “gain Christ” (v. 8). He longs to “be found in [Christ]” (v. 9). He want to “know Christ” (v. 10). And he wants to attain “to the resurrection from the dead” (v. 11).

In summary, Paul wants to please the Lord, to glorify Him, to count everything loss in comparison to honoring and serving Him!  And that just makes sense IF the Lord Jesus is who we believe He is — the Lord of glory, the One for Whom we should live each moment, the friend of sinners!

Here are several practical steps you and I can take in becoming much more intentional in following our Lord’s example in loving the lost:

1. Repent of your past of not purposely developing relationships with lost people.

2.  Begin to pray strategically for a few unsaved acquaintances who can become close friends.

3.  Determine to work hard at nurturing and advancing those relationships.

4.  Commit yourself to listening to the stories of your not-yet-born-again friends.

5.  Ask others to pray for you — and for them!

6.  Don’t hesitate to ask other Christians about their unsaved friends.  And if they say they have none, go over Matthew 11:16-19 with them.

7.  Gently and respectfully ask the leaders in your church about their unsaved friends.  And if they say they have none, ask them if they would be willing to look at Matthew 11:16-19 with you.

8.  Make friendship evangelism a priority in your prayer meetings.  Don’t allow those meetings to degenerate into mere “organ recitals” (= praying for each other’s health).  Pray strategic, personal involvement prayers.  Don’t pray, “Lord, save my friend John.”  No!  Pray, “Lord, give me an opportunity this week to have coffee with John and to ask him about his teenaged son who is on drugs.”

9.  Celebrate breakthroughs in relationships!  Rejoice when good conversations take place.  Praise the Lord with other believers when your lost friends ask good questions.

10.  Do your homework.  Developing serious relationships with sinners will require digging for answers to their questions.  One of my friends had me over to his house for coffee and, somehow, within a few minutes he had asked me what Buddhists believe, what about those who have never heard the gospel, is there really a hell?, etc.

Choose not to be unlike Jesus.  Be a “friend of sinners.”






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Posted by on August 3, 2018 in friendship


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“Unlike Jesus” – A Theology Matters Retreat for Dayspring Camp – Part 5

The Lord Jesus was a “friend of sinners”!  He was!  And I want to be too.  From August 3-5 I will be leading a “Theology Matters” retreat with young people on this topic at Dayspring Bible Camp in Missouri.

In this six-part study we have already seen that we need a theology which undergirds our efforts to reach lost people.  We need a theology of lostness, a theology of friendship, a theology of worldliness, and a theology of evangelism.

Let’s notice this morning a fifth theology which we need to rightfully be a friend of sinners like Jesus was and that is —

V.  A Theology of REPENTANCE!

What we mean here is that we need a solid grasp of the great joy of starting over!  Of admitting where we were wrong.  The North Carolina preacher Vance Havner once said, “An excuse is the skin of a reason stuffed with a lie.”  We have many excuses for not being a friend of sinners — and we want to examine one of them in this post.

The great theologian Carly Simon sang, “I haven’t got time for the . . .” (she was singing about pain, but you get the point).  “I’m too busy to get involved with unsaved people,” some Christians might say.  “I’ve got church meetings, small group, mission trips (to reach lost people over the ocean), and I need to have some quality time for myself!”

Repentance is a change of mind and heart about a matter.  The repentant believer says, “Lord, I’ve been wrong not to intentionally pursue relationships with lost people.  I’m sorry, Lord.  Please forgive me and help me be more like my Savior!”

Although there are a number of other excuses we Christians give for not spending time with sinners, this issue of time cannot be avoided. All of us have exactly 24 hours each day, right? Well, one scientifically-minded person wrote the following question to a website: “Why do we have 24 hour days if the earth actually rotates every 23 hours and 56 minutes?” One smart person responded, “23 hours and 56 minutes is one ‘sidereal’ day with respect to the stars, but by then the Earth is in a slightly different position in its orbit around the Sun, so it takes an extra 4 minutes to make one ‘solar’ day (the number of sidereal days in a year is exactly one greater than the number of solar days).”[1] I didn’t really understand that much at all. But at the very least we can say that each of us has 23 hours and 56 minutes every day to experience. And to use.

Someone named Alice Bloch said, “We say we waste time, but that is impossible. We waste ourselves.”

The Lord Jesus intentionally spent time with the lost.  He socialized with them, ate with them, fed them!  He listened to their questions; He told them stories; He loved them.  May I ask you, what are you going to do with your 23 hours and 56 minutes today?  (to be continued)




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Posted by on August 2, 2018 in repentance


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Come Attend “Iron Sharpens Iron” at Emmaus Bible College! May 24-27

I will be presenting three workshops with the following titles: “Five Certainties in the Light of Tragic Events”; “Courageous Preaching:  The Spirit of God and Today’s Preacher” and “Unlike Jesus:  The Lost Art of Being a Friend of Sinners.”  Here is the conference’s website for registration!


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