Saturday, May 31, 2003

"Wireless Coffee"....

Down at the center today, again a handful of Christians got together and prayed & talked over coffee and (wirelessly) surfed the net together, learning from each other all the while. Some are hi-tech techs, and some of us only can translate from Geekish into English. But our common thread is... being "e-capable and C-centered". And we're all learning something from the others... in a warm, welcoming, invitingly-neutral environment.

Today, progress at the center continued... discussing such things as Christian video clips (where to get 'em, etc.), Linux "directories", portal gadgets, and of course.... blogs. In fact, we got our tech team-blog started, called.... "'Wireless Coffee".

Thursday, May 29, 2003

"Don't You Wish... "

[continued 'Tales from the Trail' - see yesterday's post]

Almost no matter what form we prefer for sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ, we often hit the limit as to how far any one person can go at one time in their journey toward the abundant life. That is... Don't you wish there was a good way of helping people CONTINUE in meaningful, relational dialog so as to "go to the next level"?

Don't you wish there was a readily available web of Christians just waiting to help with this ongoing process?

And when we're out on the trail, we meet a lot of nice, well-intentioned, interested & interesting young (& not so young) people who just need to keep the wheels turning about this Jesus-thing. Many need a warm, welcoming, inviting, NEUTRAL place to go to be able to dialog with knowledgable Christians... and also with other people just like themselves... asking the hard questions.

Don't you wish there were some "Alpha groups" located around the city that we could bring people to? And don't you wish that those groups were truly collaborative constructed by various Bible-believing ministries, so as to immediately preclude the appearance of an ulterior purpose, ie, church membership in YOUR church?

Mike & I do. Recently a young co-ed on the trail would have been a great one to ask to "Please come share just exactly those thoughts you just now expressed to us... to an informal group that's gathering over at the McCafe to ask & discuss such things."

[Hmmm. What are the possibilities? Perhaps tomorrow. Stay tuned.]

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

"Suffering for Jesus... at McD's..."

[Continuing "Tales From The Trail"...(see previous log entries below)]

I just read "Conspiracy of Kindness" by Steve Sjogren (author & blogger), primarily putting forth a "refreshing new approach to sharing the love of Jesus". While questionably not-so-new, the premise is fine -- it was often part of Jesus' methods. Servant evangelism is great... Do "deeds of love" and speak "words of love". And Sjogren fills the rest of the book with suggestions about what's worked for them. It's well worth 'the read'.

But presumably to accentuate the value of his book's premise, he plays against the Elmer Gantry stereotype. In fact, Sjogren unabashedly proliferates that image among his Christian readers. In his chapter entitled, "Unlearning the E-word", he alludes to most 'personal evangelism' today as the "shark approach"... which "tend to traumatize everyone around them with their unfettered aggression", and further reminding us of "the worst characteristics of pushy salesmen"... and equating it with "enthusiastically offending people for the Lord".

Wow. While I can't speak for D.James Kennedy, Frank Wright and countless others, I can't remember any occasions when Mike & I have left any Jaws-like trails of blood on the Monon. LOL. Too bad Sjogren didn't take EE training, before overlooking an obvious remedy -- ie, evangelism TRAINING -- before doing the disservice of striking further fear into his readers' hearts.

Ok... so here's how truly fearful evangelism on the trail can be... Ready?

After knee-walking on broken-glass all the way to Broadripple, dragging our cross-sized soapboxes & a bull-horn (not)... we finally arrive at McDonald's new "McCafe"... and have a latte... and maybe take an ice-cream cone with us as we casually head out into the 'water', looking for the next 'victim' to chat with about Good News....

Bmmp a, bmmp a, bmmp a, bmmp a....

[Tomorrow... a trail-thought comes to us... 'Don't you wish....']

Monday, May 26, 2003

People Do Listen... People Do Change... Some People. Sometimes.

[Trail Questions, continued]

We're not obligated to cause change. We're only obligated to study, to listen, to pray, to prepare, to go, to love, to care, to do, and to share what you know. The results are in God's hands. Thankfully. Because none of us are perfect at any of these, even; but... "It is God who works through you to will and to act according to His good purpose."

[Tomorrow... "Suffering for Jesus... at McD's". LOL. Stay tuned.]

Sunday, May 25, 2003

"Fred's Answers"... (continuing from Weds on the Trail....)

Remember Fred? When we asked him that final question... the "Suppose" question... he gave us all the reasons God should NOT let him into His perfect heaven! "I've been a bad husband, a bad father and I haven't been to church in 25 years." And indeed, if that is God's yardstick for measuring, and if God 'grades on the curve'.... Fred knew he would be in big trouble. And so would I !!!

People assume the Bible says something like this... "If you do the 'do's and you don't the 'don'ts', then you go to heaven."

But praise God, that's NOT His yardstick, and He doesn't grade on the curve. [If He did grade on the curve, no one could ever know for sure they had eternal life... yet John wrote otherwise... I John 5:13. So any religion formed on the basis of '12 sins or less' (or enough good works)... apparently flies in the face of the Apostle John's first-hand writings; and you need to keep looking for what the Bible really says.]

Unfortunately, the vast majority of people we talk to wrongly assume something along those lines. So we really do offer some GOOD NEWS !

[Do you or I ever wrongly believe something? No doubt. But about what? And how will we come to learn differently? I guess it boils down to... Are we willing to hear we're wrong about something, if there's something BETTER in store for us? So what do you think? Do people out on the trail ever want to hear about that 'good news' ? Stay tuned.]

Thursday, May 22, 2003

New NRB President Credits 2 Important Questions In His Life...

"and he shared the Gospel with me in a fairly unique way, using the two diagnostic questions from his Evangelism Explosion (EE) training."
... Dr. Frank Wright, President, National Religious Broadcasters

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

"Yes, I Probably Will... Well, I Hope So At Least."

So few people really even know that the Bible was written so that they COULD KNOW that for sure. (I John 5:13). I guess that's part of the very reason we're out there -- to let everyone know otherwise.

I remember attending summer camp as a kid, looking forward to the Friday night campfire finale, because the leader had been telling us all week that "Friday night, we have a sure-fire test to see if you're going to heaven or not." We were all anxious to know that for certain. Wouldn't you be?

But back to the trail now... Yesterday, a real nice elderly fellow (let's call him "Fred") told Mike & I that for sure he was NOT going to heaven. Now that was a unique answer we don't often hear. He said surely he wouldn't be allowed in because he hadn't been to church in 25 years.... as if that was God's yardstick for measuring who 'makes it' and who doesn't.

How do you think people answer the final question then....

"Suppose, just suppose -- we don't wish it on anybody -- Suppose you WERE to die today and find yourself standing before God, and He were to say something to you like... 'Fred, why SHOULD I let you into my perfect heaven?'..... what would you say?"

[Stay tuned. Tomorrow we'll share the answers of a person who's now a new national Christian media mogul.]

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Amazingly Most DO Believe There's A Supreme Being...

But they're not nearly so sure about having to someday "account" to Him. In fact, most will respond, "Wow, that's a tough question... I hadn't really thought that through. I'm not sure."

[So sometimes, we may simply interject... "Between now and the day you die... how will you go about resolving that issue?" You really have to love these kids and their quizzical looks, as they often begin to seriously start thinking about such things.]

We proceed with Question #4 -- the first of the infamous TWO Diagnostic Questions of this approach... (we'll talk soon of a number of people who have come to know Christ personally because of someone taking a few minutes to simply ask them these two upcoming questions)...

"If you were to die tonight -- and it does happen (for instance recently a Broadripple high-schooler was murdered here in Indy and these kids can relate) -- Do You KNOW FOR SURE that you'd have eternal life, that is, that you'd go to heaven? I've got a 'Yes', 'No', and a 'Hope So'. Or is that something you're still working on?"

[What do you think they say, folks? Stay tuned.]

Monday, May 19, 2003

Not In Broadripple, There Isn't...

[continuing re Questions on the Monon Trail]

Nope. NOT a rise in spiritual interest here... at least not among those we encounter on the Monon Trail each Tuesday. They'll gladly talk with us about spiritual things, but they virtually ALWAYS answer that question as "NO... About the same level of spiritual interest as 5 years ago."

Next question... and this tells us a lot...

"Would you say that you believe in a Supreme Being, who watches over you, and to whom you must ultimately answer? (And you can break that down however you like.)"

[Whaddaya think, folks? You have to understand, that the Broadripple area is a great place for young people here, to come hang-out, and be themselves... So there's just about every type of free-thinker known to man here, and that's probably why they're so willing to talk with us. Some just hang out on the bridge (over the neat canal we have), and others actually live under the proverbial bridge here. Mike & I have a great friend here, Eric, who loves these these kids and helps them via his ministry called Outreach, Inc.. In fact, some of us are now wanting to get together to form a collaborative Christian effort to provide a warm, welcoming, neutral environment there... say at the McCafe... at which they could ask the hard questions and study about this "Jesus", and come to their own conclusions. Perhaps start an Alpha group there. And btw, Eric is joining Dr. John Perkins in June, to speak at the Urban Strategies Seminar here in Indy.]

So what do you think? Do these kids believe in a Supreme Being? Accountable? [Stay tuned.]

Friday, May 16, 2003

A Rise In Spiritual Interest?

Continuing... Quick Questions on the Trail... Here's the #2 Question we like to ask:

"According to many, there's been a recent rise in people's spiritual interest... usually connected to the events of 911. Would you say you are MORE interested in spiritual matters today than 5 years ago?"

[Readers... Maybe the answer is obvious, but what do you think -- more interest, or less, or about the same? Our findings... tomorrow. Stay tuned. And btw, how about YOUR spiritual interest?]

Thursday, May 15, 2003

Appx 80% Will Gladly Talk About Spiritual Things !

Now here I start guessing.... I'm betting that 80% of Christians assume that 80% of Americans would NOT talk with us about spiritual things.

So where's the disconnect?

Btw, later this week, let me share a news story about a guy who has now risen through the Christian ranks to recently become the president of a national Christian media organization, who gained eternal life because someone took the time to ask these questions of him. Stay tuned.

Ok, back out on the trail again.... the FIRST of the 5 questions I personally like to ask, goes something like this...

"Great, you said you'd help us. So let me ask you... 'Of what general religious group would you say you're affiliated, or you've attended while growing up? And btw, how often might you guess that you attend?' "

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

"Trail Questions" (continued from yesterday)

[Anyone want to venture a pre-guess as how many people will willingly talk to a couple of strangers about spiritual matters?]

"Hi, I'm Neil and this is Mike, and we're out here in the Broadripple area today asking people just 5 brief questions of a spiritual nature and wonder if you'd help us by giving us your thoughts?"

[the answer, tomorrow]

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Quick Questions On The Trail...

Just wanted to start logging a few journal-type notes from a typical afternoon as Mike & I (& whoever's with us) go out asking people a few questions on the Monon Trail here in Indy. Many are people who will never otherwise feel comfortable going in a church, or maybe will never feel compelled to want to read through 66 books of the Bible. Or they turn off 'Christian tv' just as quickly as it 'turns them off'. So how else will anyone reach them with the good news? [Btw, this set of questions that we use is not Mike's nor mine, lest anyone think we're particularly bright or clever or godly. Those who know us very well, know better. **smile** No, rather, we're simply following some tried & true experiences of others. Will write more about that sometime soon.]

Tomorrow, I'll continue with the questions, but for today, let me just pose the very first question we ask of someone the Lord leads us to...

"Excuse me.... Would you help us a minute?"

Monday, May 05, 2003

Congregations Cast Wider Net... With Websites

Great article!

Btw, any Greater Indianapolis (Bible-believing) congregations needing expert advice or help 'casting their net'... come join us for "Wireless Coffee" any Saturday (free), at 12th x Central, Sponsored by Christian Collaborative Network, Inc.. Importantly, find out how you can get your church-site seen!