Seed Sowers

Reading: Isaiah 32:20 “Happy are you who sows beside all waters…”

Title: “Seed Sowers”

Evangelism is the process of sharing the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins, and pointing people to repentance from sin and a commitment to live their lives for Jesus.  When we talk about the subject of evangelism most of us freeze up in fear.  We would almost rather do anything else besides evangelize, but it is an important aspect of being a Christian.  We have to find a way to face our fear – I am not saying it will be easy, but it must be done.  The Lord wants us to be seed sowers.  When a farmer is planting his field of corn he takes handfuls of seed and scatters it all over the ground.  This is the way our lives should be.  We want to plant seeds of the Gospel into the hearts of our friends and family members.  This does not mean that you have to stand up and preach, but sometimes a simple “I will pray for you” is a seed that is planted.  There is so much joy that fills our heart when we are obedient to share the Good News with someone.

Ask the Lord today to show you how you can plant a seed in someone’s life.

 

Pastor Justin Steward

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Book Launch Is Here!

Well I am sorry to leave you all in suspense (does anyone actually read this?).  This past week has had its share of crazy hiccups.  Since I wrote my last post my kids got sick – like the puking kind of sick.  Then I got the bug.  Then work decided to “blow up” – like coup d’état conspiracies mixed with high school drama.  I decided to ask one of my tenants in my rental property to move out for not paying rent, and another tenant called the police on yet another one of my tenants.  Oh, plus my homework (I am going back to school full-time), and nursing home services that I hold weekly.  However, the day has finally arrived.  My book made it to the online marketplace yesterday, and printed hard-copies are displayed at the Zion Christian Publishers bookstore just in time for next week’s Pastor’s convention.

I’d like to give a shout out to my brother in law Andrew Hamilton and Rebecca Vanderburgh who spent hours tirelessly perfecting the cover.  I am very happy with the way it turned out.  They both love design work, if you would like to contact them I could put you in touch with them.  Also, a big shout out to the Zion Fellowship formatting, printing, and binding team.  Hannah, Carla, Suzanne, and Pastor David all did an amazing job.   And the greatest thanks of all goes to the Lord Jesus Christ whose atoning death on Calvary and resurrection from the dead made evangelism “a thing.”  Without him we truly are nothing.  He rescued me from sin and darkness and I will forever be grateful for that.  I owe him my all.  There are some other special thanks and dedications inside the book, but you will have to get the book to see what else is inside.

I am having a special introductory sale of $10 each (plus shipping and handling), or for only $12.00 you can have a copy of this new book AND my first book called “The Messenger of God: Lessons from the Life and Ministry of John the Baptist.”  To take advantage of this offer you will need to order directly from me using the contact form (or email me at jms22782@hotmail.com).  Please make sure to leave your email address and I will send you an invoice through Paypal or Facebook.

The e-book version is still coming down the road, but no date has been pinned down for that release.  I really appreciate all your prayer and support through this project.  I trust that God will use this book to stir the flames of evangelism in the hearts of all his people.  I am available to come and speak at churches, hold outreaches, seminars, or teach at your Bible School.

That All may hear!

Rev. Justin Steward

Countdown to Book Launch – Day 2

The Covers were printed yesterday, and I am still waiting to hear when the books will be printed.

As I announced yesterday I am going to be releasing little snippets of the book here until the actual day of launch, and will be taking pre-orders for the book. I will have an e-book version and a print version available.  Price of the book is not yet determined.  If you would like to pre-order a copy please fill out the contact form on this site and let me know what type you would like (e-book or print), how many, and leave your email address and phone number.  I will be selling some here, on Facebook, and at Zion Christian Publishers for now.  I will be able to receive payments via paypal.

Here is a preview of the contents.

    1. Part I. Evangelism
      1. Section A – Introduction to Evangelism
        1. Chapter One – Introduction to Evangelism
        2. Chapter Two – Why Evangelize?
        3. Chapter Three – Who is to Evangelize?
        4. Chapter Four – The Ministry of the Evangelist
      2. Section B – Personal Evangelism.
        1. Chapter Five – Introduction to Personal Evangelism
        2. Chapter Six – Practical Tips in Personal Evangelism
        3. Chapter Seven – The Use of Gospel Tracts
        4. Chapter Eight – Methods – What Do I Say When Leading Someone to Christ?
        5. Chapter Nine – Dealing With Fear in Evangelism
        6. Chapter Ten – The Power to Be a Witness – The Baptism of the Holy Spirit
      3. Section C – Planned Outreaches
        1. Chapter Eleven – Planned Outreaches
        2. Chapter Twelve– Follow-Up
        3. Chapter Thirteen – Mass Evangelism
        4. Chapter Fourteen – The Role of Prayer in Evangelism
        5. Chapter Fifteen – Tips on Witnessing to People of Other Religions and Other Faiths
        6. Chapter Sixteen – Apologetics
  1. Part II – The Vision of Zion
    1. Chapter Seventeen Understanding the Vision of Zion.
  2. Part III – The Role of Evangelism in Our Pursuit of the Vision of Zion
    1. Chapter Eighteen – How Does Evangelism Relate to the Vision of Zion?
    2. Chapter Nineteen – The Role of the Evangelist in the Vision of Zion
  3. Conclusion

Appendix……………………..………………………………………………….

Evangelism Survey………………………………………………………………

Course Outline……………………………………………………………………

Bibliography……………………………………………………………………..

Does that sound like a book you would like to read?  If so I  am taking pre-orders for the book. I will have an e-book version and a print version available.  Price of the book is not yet determined.  If you would like to pre-order a copy please fill out the contact form on this site and let me know what type you would like (e-book or print), how many, and leave your email address and phone number.  I will be selling some here, on Facebook, and at Zion Christian Publishers for now (other avenues are being explored).

Countdown to Book Launch – Post 1

Many of you would not know that I have been working on a book for the last seven years.  It has been an interesting roller coaster ride to say the least.  I may write about some of my experiences here eventually.  During the next week I am going to be giving little snippets of the book here until the actual day of launch, and will be taking pre-orders for the book. I will have an e-book version and a print version available.  Price of the book is not yet determined.  If you would like to pre-order a copy please fill out the contact form on this site and let me know what type you would like (e-book or print), how many, and leave your email address and phone number.  I will be selling some here, on Facebook, and at Zion Christian Publishers for now.  I will be able to receive payments via paypal.

Book covers are being printed today!  The coloring here is not completely accurate, but at least you can see what it will look like.

FINAL_EVANGELISM_COVER (1)

Here is a little snippet from the Introduction….

Do we need another book on evangelism?  There have already been so many written, yet it is my belief that this book has something to offer the Body of Christ that others do not.  While there will be many things in this work that have already been said, perhaps it will be said in a different light, and I believe that there is a unique perspective that this book offers—the role of evangelism in our pursuit of the vision of Zion or in other words, God’s highest and best for our lives.

There can be a tendency, in some Christian circles, to major on certain aspects of the Christian life while neglecting other important truths.  In this work, I want to focus on two often opposing sides which are both based on important aspects of the Christian life. 

One side majors on the deeper life and the pursuit of holiness, but neglects evangelism.  Some in this camp can even come across as being critical of those who major on evangelism and begin to view them as though they are on a lower spiritual level (Outer Court).  The other side majors on evangelism while neglecting personal holiness and coming to maturity in Christ.  Those in this camp focus on evangelism, while neglecting the truths of growing up to maturity in Jesus Christ. They can be very critical of those who are pursuing the deeper life, even thinking of them as extreme or legalistic.  Such an approach produces many spiritual babies and very few spiritual fathers.       

In our Christian life, it is very important to strike the perfect balance of two seemingly opposite poles.  The Lord is a God of balance; in fact, He hates a false balance (c.f. Proverbs 11:1).  When Paul wrote to Timothy about “rightly dividing the Word of Truth,” he was talking about this subject of balance (2 Tim. 2:15).  He was saying that as a student of the Word of God, we need to see what all the Word of God has to say about a subject and divide it right down the middle, so that the right side is the exact same size as the left side.   It is with this balance in mind that this work is being written.  I want to show that God is after both things—evangelism and the deeper life of holiness (maturity in Christ).  It has never been about just one or the other, but it has always been about both.  Therefore, the major purpose of this book is not only to discuss evangelism, but also to show the great need for the vision of holiness and maturity (the vision of Zion).  I also seek to reveal how important it is to set this deeper vision before all new believers.  Finally, the last section of the book is dedicated to showing how these two important truths are married together in perfect harmony; you need both, you cannot have one without the other! The main message I seek to convey is that you cannot attain spiritual perfection, holiness, and go on to Zion if you are neglecting your own active, personal involvement in evangelism!

Does that sound like a book you would like to read?  If so I  am taking pre-orders for the book. I will have an e-book version and a print version available.  Price of the book is not yet determined.  If you would like to pre-order a copy please fill out the contact form on this site and let me know what type you would like (e-book or print), how many, and leave your email address and phone number.  I will be selling some here, on Facebook, and at Zion Christian Publishers for now (other avenues are being explored).

 

Dead Sea versus the Sea of Galilee

Have you been in a rut in your Christian walk? Do you feel stagnant and lifeless? The answer may be found by comparing these two bodies of water—the Dead Sea, and the Sea of Galilee. The Dead Sea is so named because there is no life that can be sustained in its waters. It is full of minerals, but zero fish, and no life. The reason for this is because there is no outlet. Water flows into the Dead Sea, but no water flows out of it. Conversely, the Sea of Galilee is filled with fish and life. It has water flowing in, as well as water flowing out through the Jordan River. It cleanses itself of excess minerals and salt by flowing out. Because there is flowing in and out, the Sea of Galilee sustains much marine life. Many Christians continually receive great teaching from the Word of God. Their lives are like the Jordan River that has been flowing into the Dead Sea. If Christians do not have an outflow of life to others, they become stagnant and dead. The remedy to feeling stuck in a rut, becoming stagnant and lifeless is to find an outlet through which we can flow. Witnessing to others brings life and refreshment to our own souls. It is good for us, just like exercise and fresh air. Furthermore, there is an inner cleansing that comes into our life as we actively engage in evangelism. We become more conscious of the fact that people are watching us; this should cause us to walk more circumspectly and ultimately, victoriously over fear and sin. Having an outflow can bring a deep change into our lives and cause us to become more holy.

My Thoughts Are Not Your Thoughts

There is a verse in scriptures that we read a lot and think we know what it means.  I have found that this verse can be quite a revelation to our hearts as we begin to walk out some stuff in our lives: “ Where the rubber meets the road” they say.  Many truths in scripture are like this – they can be exciting to preach about, or to hear about, but not nearly as exciting when that “word becomes flesh” in us.  This can only happen by experiencing the Word, and walking through the life of Christ in our own lives.

The verse I am referring to is from Isaiah 55:8 – “my thoughts are not your thoughts says the Lord, neither are your ways my ways.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

My thoughts are not your thoughts

Let us first dissect the part about our thoughts .  Much of what goes on in our lives begins in our mind.  It is the battlefield for the enemy and for the Lord.  What we are thinking determines our actions, our habits, our lifestyle, our destiny, an ultimately our eternity (Abraham Lincoln?)  The Proverbs says “as a man thinks in his heart so is he.”  The mind is very important, it reveals who we are, what kind of a person we are.

In many ways our way of thinking is totally contrary to God’s way of thinking.  His way of doing things totally baffles our logical minds sometimes.  Plain and simple, we just don’t get it – we don’t understand Him.  God’s way of looking at things is very different than ours.  Situations in our life happen differently than we thought or planned that they would.  We don’t always understand why this happens, and maybe we never will.  This creates a struggle within us.  We often think that we know better than God, because our way of thinking makes a lot more logical sense to us.  This is where we must learn to walk by faith, and trust the Lord.  “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding .  in all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths”.  (Prov 3:5).  As we journey through life we have got to come to the place where we can trust the Lord.  So often we begin to worry and fret about our circumstances, because we evaluate them with our own minds.  It is important that we do not let our own understanding get in the way.  “Lean not on your own understanding.”  Our own understanding and evaluation of circumstances is so futile.  We must trust that God’s evaluation is from a much higher plain of understanding.  We are always evaluating things from our own perspective and with our own human wisdom, but our natural mind is often at war with the spiritual mind (c.f. 1 Cor 3:19).

Stay Tuned…

Church Shooting

I generally try not to post my first reactions to an event, because I have noticed that my delayed opinion about an issue is often different from my initial reaction.  By waiting I generally save myself the trouble of having to apologize or retract something said hastily in my zeal to make a righteous point.  I don’t believe I am doing this here.  There was another church shooting the other day, a terrible tragedy in the United States.  I have heard many people say things like: “of all the places a person should feel safe, it should be in a church….It is just so wrong that of all places a person would go to a church to murder people”.  I understand the sentiment, and my post is not meant to be without compassion or insensitive but it got me thinking about a couple of things:

  1. We are in a battle.  The enemy (Satan) hates Christians, and would like to destroy us.  When he gets his talons into a person you can be sure that he will use them to try to “steal, kill, and destroy.”  This is his business, this is what he does.  We live in a society that is becoming more and more antagonistic to Christians and their values.
  2. Being a Christian is not meant to be safe.  Only in America do we embrace the notion that Christians should live without risk of anything evil happening to them.  It is because it has been very easy to be a Christian in this country for many years.  This is because being a Christian in America has not had any real threat of violence, loss of job, or income because it was generally accepted as the acceptable religion of the country.  In other countries, churches get shot up or burned down every day.  Christians are shot, beheaded, and tortured for believing in Jesus.  They are disowned by their families, property taken away, families murdered etc.  This is just part of being a believer in other countries.  “It is through much tribulation that we enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22).
  3. The Real Gospel has been obscured in many places.  In America we have embraced a Gospel that is not even true.  In this country the Gospel message is that Jesus wants to make you happy, healthy, and wealthy, and when things start to get bad on the earth, don’t worry, you will be whisked away by the rapture.  No need to endure “hardship as a good soldier” (2 Tim 2:3-5).  No need to “endure to the end”…and be saved (Matt 24:13).  This is not the Gospel!  We have to come back to what the Gospel really is.  We are a lost race on our way to eternal damnation in the Lake of Fire, which was prepared for the Devil and his angels.  This is our default destination – we are hardwired to rebel against our creator and follow our own will and our own way.  This is the same mentality that Satan has, but God wants to rescue us from that.  Jesus, God in the flesh, lived a sinless life, died a cruel death, rose from the dead, and defeated hell, death, sin, and Satan for us.  He is alive today, if we will repent of our sins and put our trust in Christ alone as our means of salvation we can be saved from such a terrible fate.  It is only fitting after all he has done for us, that we would in turn give up our entire lives to him in service.  You see, this is the real Gospel.  When you have this as your perspective, no matter what happens to me in life – its okay, because no one can take this from me.   I am not entitled to wealth, happiness, or even my health.  I am not entitled to a long life of cushy-ness.  I am not even entitled to a respectable death at a ripe old age.  If I have those things, praise God!  I hope I will use them for his glory, but if I don’t…I know that when I die I will have eternal life with Jesus.  That alone makes everything else worth it.

What exactly am I trying to say?  I think I am trying to say a lot, but just to summarize.  Being a Christian in today’s America is not safe.  I don’t expect it will ever be again.  I think things will get worse, and we can expect more people getting killed at church by men and women driven by the enemy of our souls.  This does not frighten me!  The Apostles of the Lamb were murdered for their faith. Countless believers have been and will be martyred for the name of Christ.  Let us not for a minute think that this is a new thing or that it should not be.  If we are right with God, spiritually, than we are safe in him, but in this world we will have trouble.  And in the midst of the trouble, God will shine forth his light and his glory in a way that the world will not be able to deny.  His power, glory, and revival will break forth in the USA – in the midst of the violence, and hatred towards Christ.  There have always been haters of Christ, we have just been mostly sheltered from it in the USA.  The time is here for the real Christians in the USA to come forth as gold, and this will be preceded by pressure, difficulties, and a mighty outpouring of God’s Spirit!

Ephesians 6:10-16 

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, 

and in the power of his might. 

11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may

be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 

12 For we wrestle not against flesh 

and blood,  but against principalities, 

against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this

world, against spiritual wickedness in high [places]. 

13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may

be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 

14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt

about with truth, and having on the breastplate of  righteousness; 

15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 

16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to

quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 

17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the

Spirit, which is the word of God:

18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the

Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and 

supplication for all saints