Article By: Rev. Dr. Kevin G. Harney | Organic Outreach International
Read the original article HERE.
I love campfires. The warmth and the crackling of fresh logs in a fire ring brings back great memories. It is a delight to sit around a bonfire with friends and family and talk, laugh, be quiet, and even sing. But after time, the fire starts to burn down. The flames become embers. The orange glow turns gray. Fires don’t last.
Unless you throw on another log!
When a campfire starts to cool off and wane, there are usually people who take it on themselves to find a fresh log, toss it on, and get the flames burning hot again. This is the nature of campfires. It is also the nature of outreach!
When Jesus walked on this earth, He ignited an evangelistic wildfire. He was a model of loving the lost, welcoming the outcast, and speaking truth in grace-filled ways. It was Jesus who made a way for us to come back home to the Father. Our Savior called us to “Make disciples of all nations,” and to give witness to Him right where we live. Our Savior commissioned us to reach the surrounding community, the tough places many people avoid, and the very ends of the earth (Matthew 28:18 and Acts 1:8). Jesus fired His followers up to share the message of salvation that is found in Him alone. The results of what Jesus ignited have been changing the world ever since.
As we seek to stay on the mission established by our Messiah over two millennia ago, it should not surprise us that we need to keep igniting and rekindling the fire Jesus started. Time causes the flame to flicker low. The devil constantly tries to throw water on the evangelistic fire God wants to light in His people and church. Personal fear, busyness, cultural pressure, and many other things can cause the outreach fire to burn low.
"WHEN JESUS WALKED ON THIS EARTH, HE IGNITED AN EVANGELISTIC WILDFIRE...HOW CAN WE KINDLE THE OUTREACH FIRE THAT JESUS BEGAN?"
So here is the question of the day: How can we kindle the outreach fire that Jesus began? As we walk into 2024, what are some simple and accessible ways we can keep the flames burning bright in our hearts, homes, communities, and churches all year long? Here are seven simple ideas, let’s call them logs you can toss on the fire any time. Do this and watch the flames grow!
Pray for your heart to burn hot! Spend time praying for yourself. Stop and do it right now! “Lord Jesus, grow my love for the lost. Give me Your heart and tender care. Help me grow bold in sharing my faith with the people You put in my life.” Pray this way regularly and see how God lights a fire in your heart.
Tell stories (and listen to stories) regularly. Make it a habit to talk with Christian friends and family members about how they are sharing their faith. Have spiritual conversations with other believers about where God is moving and drawing people closer to the Savior! Share your stories of steps being taken forward with people who are on a journey to Jesus. It is amazing how these stories inspire all of us and fire up our passion for sharing the Good News of Jesus.
Dare to ask God to open doors for you to connect with non-believers. Invite the Holy Spirit to give you divine appointments to share your faith. Jesus said, “Ask and you will receive!” When was the last time you asked God to lead you into situations where you can influence lost people to take a step closer to Jesus, the Good Shepherd? When this happens, outreach fires burn hot.
Review your schedule. When I get too busy and I don’t have time to be with my family members and friends who are far from Jesus, my heart cools off quickly. When I get meaningful time with people who need to know the love and amazing grace of Jesus, it is like fuel on the fire of my soul. Maybe a way for you to increase your outreach fire could be making time in a normal week to connect closely with people who are still far from Jesus. Review your schedule and make sure you have regular time to be with people who have not yet decided to follow Jesus as their leader and Savior.
Read the four Gospel accounts that begin the New Testament in your Bible. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John record the life, love, and ministry of our Savior. When we read the story of Jesus, his example ignites our heart to be more like Him. His love for the lost gives us a vision of how we can and should love and serve others.
Pray with people who are joyful or hurting. Every week, you encounter people who are not Christians but they are more than willing to share their story with you. When someone discloses a real and personal pain, offer to pray for them. Most will say yes! In the same way, when a friend or family member tells you about a great joy they have experienced, offer to lift up a short prayer of thanks. When we do this, God shows up and outreach fires burn hot!
Use great resources, watch practical videos, and listen to inspiring outreach-focused podcasts. One of the best ways to throw an outreach log on the fire of your life is to leverage great resources. Here is the great news, we have gathered dozens of these kinds of resources for you to use. Learn more about tools like the One-Degree Rule, Organic Disciples Devotionals, the Spiritual Markers Assessment, training videos, and much more here. (*free registration required to access some of the resources.
My prayer is that our outreach fires will stay ignited, hot, and blazing high into the dark skies of our world! Stoke your own evangelism flames, but let us help you along the way. Blessings as you shine the light and bring the warmth of Jesus everywhere you go.
Rev. Dr. Kevin Harney is the President and co-founder of Organic Outreach International. Along with founding Organic Outreach International together, Kevin and Sherry have co-authored Organic Disciples, Seven Ways to Grow Spiritually and Naturally Share Jesus, the Organic Outreach Trilogy, and the upcoming book, Organic Prayer. Kevin is the lead pastor of Shoreline Church in Monterey, California.
Article Submitted by: Jonathan Hill
Director of Evangelism
Cornerstone Conference IPHC