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Summary: #5 in a series. God is pouring out a whole new level of city-wide cooperation amongst churches and church leaders. Prayer-Care-Share is a concentrated effort focusing on "Building Bridges to our Community"...loving our communities to Christ.

PRAYER.CARE.SHARE. Week # 5

For those who are new today...we’ve been working together over the last 4 weeks toward a common goal... 30-35 churches in CR area working TOGETHER for: PRAYING, CARING SHARING for our community. Loving our community to Christ. Building Bridges in Linn County.

Two weeks ago: BOOKMARK SUNDAY. 10,000 Christians picking 3-5 names to begin a PRAYER CARE SHARE covenant with God. Asking God to bring MAJOR GOD ACTIVITY in these lives over the next 3 months. You do the math. That’s 30,000 to 50,000 people! Being prayed for by 10,000 people!

So...we’re two weeks into praying for our names...HOW ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR BOOKMARKS?

Did you bring your BOOKMARK today?

Have you run out of prayers yet?

Any answers yet? Any God-activity to report?

In two weeks: GO TO THE WALL SUNDAY....write names on our wall.

So...as we continue praying for the names on our bookmarks...praying through our circle of influence...

WHAT AM I REALLY EXPECTING TO HAPPEN?

We’ve encouraged you to PRAY BIG PRAYERS...

Someone to come to Jesus?

Someone get closer to Jesus?

Someone sitting with you here on Easter Morning?

Someone taking communion with you in three months?

Someone to experience MAJOR GOD ACTIVITY in their lives over the next 3 months?

But again...I ask you...WHAT ARE YOU EXPECTING GOD TO DO? What are you REALLY expecting to happen?

Be honest!! Be gut-honest!

Most of us are trained & conditioned to have only ONE THING HAPPEN that will really be BIG! really BIG!....

The person GIVING THEIR LIVE TO CHRIST! Right?

Salvation: Giving your life to Jesus! (see slide)

Praying..."Oh God, if you’re up there, GIVE ME A SIGN!"

and HE ANSWERS YOU! God replies..."I’M UP HERE!"

Salvation is a wonderful thing...isn’t it?

We have brochures back @ The Lamp Post that can help you make that major life decision today. We welcome that opportunity with you TODAY....

BUT...there’s a slight problem...a very slight flaw in our thinking in the church. We see THE SALVATION COMMITMENT as THE BIGGIE...THE BIG DECISION.

THE REAL DEAL. THE ONLY DEAL. THE EXCLUSIVE ’ONE-TIME-SEALS ALL’ DEAL.

As a matter of fact...let’s look at it this way. Let’s say...GIVING YOUR LIFE TO JESUS (GYL2J) is the same as the fine art of POLE VAULTING.

How many of you here are really good @ pole vaulting?

In the church, we truly celebrate this FINE ART of GYL2J... (using pics of various pole vaulting folks)

(CLICK) We celebrate those who GYL2J well!

(CLICK) We work together to get people over the GYL2J hump!

(CLICK) We write GYL2J manuals on how to help people GYL2J.

(CLICK) We even work in teams & help our kids to GYL2J.

(CLICK) and yes, praise God...most of us make it over the top!

Yet...as funny as that seems...making GYL2J a ONESHOT GOAL puts all of us in a very vulnerable place. That ONE TIME ’WINNER TAKES ALL’ ALL or NOTHING mind-set sets us up for BIG-TIME disappointment & failure on our bookmark prayers. Many of us will be disappointed when most of the people on our bookmarks don’t COME TO CHRIST by Easter morning. Right?

As a matter of fact...we need to refocus ourselves.

Get a WHOLE NEW SET OF GLASSES when it comes to the FINE ART OF GIVING YOUR LIFE TO JESUS!

Rather than POLE VAULTING...we need to understand that the FINE ART of GIVING YOUR LIFE TO JESUS is more like RUNNING HURDLES...a series of hurdles.

Back in 1975... Missiologist James Engel in his book What’s Gone Wrong with the Harvest introduced American Christianity to the Engel Scale of Spiritual Decision.

Professors & teachers @ Fuller Seminary like C. Peter Wagner and John Wimber took the Engel scale and added a few more bits of info & in doing so...brought many Christians to a much needed awareness that PEOPLE COME TO CHRIST in STAGES!

Becoming a Christian is a PROCESS...not just a one-shot EVENT.

Engel scale: People come to Jesus in stages...

Start with THE Key EVENT: ’0’ New birth!the finish line.

-8 Awareness of supreme being, no knowledge of Gospel

-7 Initial awareness of Gospel

-6 Awareness of fundamentals of Gospel

-5 Grasp implications of Gospel

-4 Positive attitude towards Gospel

-3 Personal problem recognition

-2 Decision to act

-1 Repentance and faith in Christ

C.Peter Wagner added...discipleship & Christian growth rings...

Wimber added the fact that people can move along the scale faster when GOD’S SUPERNATURAL ACTIVITY (signs & wonders) are added. WORDS & WORKS. Information & experience!

How many of you can say...this was my trek toward Jesus??

In 1920’s...CS Lewis was off the Engel Scale...an atheist.

In 1929...Lewis took his first major step toward God.

“In the Trinity Term of I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England. I did not then see what is now the most shining and obvious thing; the Divine humility which will accept a convert even on such terms. The Prodigal Son at least walked home on his own feet. But who can duly adore that Love which will open the high gates to a prodigal who is brought in kicking, struggling, resentful, and darting his eyes in every direction for a chance of escape?”

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