Imagine this not too far-fetched scenario: Mom and Dad are going out together for a few hours, and before they leave they make a simple request of their young son: "Johnny, we will be back in a few hours. Before we get back, could you please straighten up your bedroom?"
Mom and Dad enjoy their evening out together, but they're shocked by what they see when they return home.
The lawn is freshly mowed. The living room has been vacuumed. All the dinner dishes have been washed.
Something powerful is on the horizon. The Lord is equipping His church for the greatest outpouring the world has ever seen. We must do everything possible to prepare our hearts and to train others for this soul-saving revival. We also must be willing to be used by the Lord in new, unfamiliar ways.
A fresh evangelistic anointing is about to rest upon true believers. Fear will give way to Holy Ghost-boldness as the Spirit of God directs His people into uncharted spiritual territory. The thirsty masses are about to be handed an unsolicited cup of cool water that will change them for eternity.
In an interview with a major news organization I was asked if the evangelical church should be responsible for solving the world's starvation and disease epidemic. Though I don't believe the answer lies solely with the church (it's a little more complex than that), I do believe that we are mandated to feed, clothe and help the poor. If we don't, then according to the Word of God, our religion is lifeless.
When I'm speaking at conferences and events across the country, I'm often asked why so many ministries use the media. After all, it's a very expensive business. Couldn't we use that money for feeding the hungry or helping the homeless? Wouldn't Joel Osteen, T.D. Jakes, Joyce Meyer, James Dobson (and even your local pastor) be better stewards if they spent God's money on more traditional evangelism?
All good questions. No one wants to waste financial resources or damage opportunities for reaching the lost. So, my first response to such queries is to study the life of Jesus.
How did He reach people? Where did He reach people? How did He make an impact on them? What can I learn from His life and ministry?
One of the highlights of my life is the time I put flowers on the grave of a man I had never met. I first heard this man's name—Samuel Zwemer—in the 1980s during a class at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, the oldest and most prestigious Muslim university in the world, sometimes called the "brain of Islam."
My professor taught us that throughout history Christians had attempted to destroy Islam. He reminded us of the bloody battles Christians had waged against the Islamic world during the 200 years of the Crusades. He pointed out the Western colonialism that had been practiced from the late 1700s to the mid-1900s.
"Now Christians have a new strategy to defeat Islam," he added. This strategy was embodied in the name and picture I saw in my textbook: that of Samuel Zwemer.
Individual Christians have played extraordinary roles in the spread of the gospel.
Early in my Christian walk (which began more than three decades ago), I recall hearing the phrase, "One plus God is a majority." The idea behind this was that Christians should never be discouraged by numerical or other odds ranged against them because, with God, not only are all things possible, but also ordinary worldly reckonings of who will or won't succeed are often overturned.
Later, as some prominent figures in the charismatic movement began behaving in odd ways, Christian teaching began to focus once more—correctly—on the need for both general laity and leaders to be accountable to oversight through a pastor or some sort of board of elders.