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A Stroll At Leisure With God

An Infusion Today and An Opportunity

I just wanted to let all of you know that I have an infusion today. I will also have an opportunity to see Dr. Jotte and FINALLY get the results of the CT scan I had several days ago. I hope he can give me some insight into the pain in my shoulder.

I want to thank all of you for praying and being concerned. I appreciate it very much. I will be certain to pass on what he says in tomorrow’s blog.

In the meantime, the Lord is at work bringing together several strands of circumstances into a lesson for me.

DON’T YOU LOVE HOW THE LORD DOES THIS?

He pulls everything together; nothing is incidental or extraneous. Everything is noteworthy and “classroom” worthy, and class is always in session.

First, as I have indicated in this blog, over the past few weeks, I have been cleaning up spaces and rooms and closets and just about anything I can get my hands on. Up until last Saturday, this very rare “clean up and organizational mode” was restricted to my house.

However, the workday at the church last Saturday has inspired me to focus on my office at church. One of my first projects is to organize the few shelves in my library that contain tracts and brochures.

Second, as I started this work, I got very convicted. It was as if the Holy Spirit said, “John, these items do not belong on a neatly organized shelf; they belong in the hands of my people and thus in a position to be shared with those who do not know Jesus and/or those believers who need encouragement. Come on!” Of course!

Third, I shared this conviction with Connor as we met last week and, as a result, I’ve decided that I would like to devote a few minutes in a worship service every now again to a time when I challenge the church to share and then hand out one of these resources.

Tracts are NEVER to be used (unless the Holy Spirit says, of course) as a substitute or replacement for a verbal witness. Instead, I believe they are best used in conjunction with sharing the gospel. So, I want to remind folks of this.

I know there might be some who will be hesitant and maybe not even receive a tract because they know that they won’t hand it out OR worse, they refuse to hand it out.

I’m going to try to convince folks that sharing the gospel is NOT some guilt trip that a pastor lays on folks, but it is a God-given opportunity that we respond to if and when the Lord opens that door.

The place that a tract or some other type of “handout” has is that it is just a tool that the Holy Spirit might use.

Of course, the theology of the tract must be right. This goes without saying.

Even as I write this, I know that there might be some who don’t believe in using them at all OR those who go to the opposite extreme of putting them OUT everywhere. My response to all of this: whatever!

The point is that however, wherever, and whatever—we are commanded to be His witnesses wherever we are (Acts 1:8). This is the bottom line.

Fourth, the Lord used a comment that Betsy* made on Sunday as she spoke of the work that she and her husband are doing in East Asia. In the course of her testimony, she reminded us that it is illegal to talk about Jesus publicly and “to hand out tracts.”

She made that explicit comment, and when she did, I got even more convicted. I have a bunch of tracts sitting on a shelf in my church office! What is wrong with this picture? I live in a place where I have total freedom to give them out wherever. I need to do this, again as the Holy Spirit directs.

Fifth, I had a good conversation with a friend yesterday. This encouraged me to continue to share as well.

Sixth, two passages in Acts 17 have spurred me on. Notice the accusation against Paul and Silas from the rabble-rousers in Thessalonica: “But when they failed to find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brethren before the city authorities, crying, ‘These men who have
turned the world upside down have come here also’” (Acts 17:6 AMP).

How about that? God used these men to “turn the world upside down”! Talk about impact! All they did was continue to preach and teach and share, and they didn’t have any tracts! Ha.

One more passage. The Stoic and Epicurean philosopher in the Agora or marketplace in Athens made this comment about Paul: “’What would this idle babbler wish to say?’ Others, ‘He seems to be a proclaimer of strange deities,’-because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection” (Acts 17:18, NASB).

“Idle babbler” literally means seed picker in the Greek New Testament. As one commentator explains, these so-called philosophers were accusing Paul of being “a third-rate intellectual devoid of method” (Eckhard J. Schnabel, Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on Acts).

Who really was the person devoid of method and intellect?

Lord, thank You for everyone who is praying for me today? Thank You for Dr. Jotte and the medicine that is available to help with this cancer. I pray that my port would work today, but beyond that, I confess the sin of pushing evangelism to the back burner in my life. Holy Spirit, help me to be sensitive to You and ready to share, if You so lead AND ready with a tool, again, if you so lead. It is no big deal to carry a tract just in case You ask me to hand it out. I love you, Lord. Use a seed picker like me to turn this world upside down or right side up, as the case may be! Amen.
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