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More than purple jars

My mother’s favorite story is from her childhood. It was about a little girl who needed new shoes, but foolishly spent her money on a beautiful purple jar. One day she opened the jar and dropped it on the floor. All the purple water spilled out and she was left not only with a useless jar, but old shoes that still hurt her feet.

Recognize this as a parable for evangelizing opportunities. Millions are distracted by dressed-up philosophies while they hobble along having settled for what they wanted and not what they needed.

In Bible study the other night, James Kerr, my pastor, shared how he went to an emotionally-charge church service when he was young. He walked away realizing that Scripture had not been a driving force in the service. He had a good time, but felt empty afterward.

In the Cincinnati Area, believers do not witness for Jesus in a vacuum. Churches in which our members worship and are discipled are meeting in specific locations and many are streaming or broadcasting their services, too. But they are only one voice and many of those are drowned out. Thousands of messages bombard non-Christians. These do shape their theology, doctrinal premises, and understanding of Christianity prior to salvation. And, unfortunately, those without Christ and a consistent diet of Bible study only seems to distort their own belief system.

Countering warped theology with Truth from the Bible is as simple as speaking to your neighbor. A testimony from a friend or co-worker can overshadow Satan’s ploys. The Holy Spirit is at work! Trust Him to open doors for you.

A few years ago now, I joined Sajjan Betham who is now planting Queen City Church that meets at Mt. Carmel Baptist in Kenwood to evangelize in his neighborhood. In only one hour, two families committed to being in a Bible study at Sajjan’s home.

In Luke 10, Jesus sent out His disciples with a purpose to intentionally prepare towns to receive Jesus and His kingdom message. Trained as disciple-makers, believers in your church can join with other believers in God’s harvest. Acts 1:8 carries a promise to witnesses that they will receive power. The important thing is to obey Jesus and prayerfully “look to the harvest fields” (John 4:35).

And if you have trouble meeting your neighbors who close their doors and ignore you, try what a pastor in another state did. He paid his kids a quarter every time they saw their neighbor go to their mailbox!

Entertaining ideas are like purple jars that fill our neighborhoods. Tell the Lord that you want to engage in evangelism that provides Jesus as the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6).

-Mark Snowden directs the Cincinnati Area Baptist Association

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