Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Interacting with your Jehovah’s Witness Friends

About 2 months ago two ladies showed up at our front door. Jennie greeted them and they explained they were talking with people about life and then asked her why she thought bad things happened. Jennie answered because of sin and they agreed and showed her a verse in their “Bible” app to support it. They then asked why God would allow sin and thus bad to remain and said they’d be back in around a week to get her thoughts. They were very cordial and not invasive. About a week later sure enough they came back with an answer and another question and repeated that process a few more times. One week later, I was home and got jumpstarted to the 4th or 5th question. The next time they came to visit us we actually got to invite them inside and sit and talk for a brief time getting to know each of them a bit as well share a bit about ourselves. At the end of that conversation they said they’d drop a booklet off for us to read through and, true to their word, they did. We’ve starting reading it over and discussing it as a family which has been excellent for us to process through our own faith more. Along with that we’ve been taking a good deal of notes in it to ask at our next meeting. Two weeks ago they dropped by, but due to house work we weren’t able to meet. They told us that was fine and they’d come again some other time. We’re hoping for this week and excited to see what the next steps hold.

Why write about all this? Well, it’s given me a few takeaways and areas to grow in as I think about evangelism…
1. Relational evangelism can be super helpful and goes both ways. Hopefully through the multiple meetings they’ve done, desiring to break down our barriers, theirs have come down a bit as well. So often we can see those who hold different views than us as enemies where there might actually be a neat opportunity for friendships that might advance the gospel further. We are blessed to have them seeking us out and willing to spend time with us.
2. We need to have a good understanding of the gospel ourselves. Reading through that packet there were a number of things that were so close, but just not quite right about the gospel and what Scripture says. On the outside it looks very Christian, but digging in you start to realize, though they’re quoting Bible verses, it’s not really what the Bible is saying. That being said, it all can sound very appealing and almost Christian and could be quite persuasive if one’s understanding of the gospel was not clear. Ultimately, as Christ’s ambassadors we are to represent Him and His thinking, not be drawn into the thinking of those He’s sent us to (2 Corinthians 5:20-21).
3. We need to see lost people through God’s eyes. It is easy to drive one’s car into the ditch on either side of this road. Either we can see people we disagree with as the enemy and put up our guard instead of letting them into our life OR we can lose sight of their deep need and only focus on befriending them. Reading through the packet there were a number of repeated statements about God destroying sin and all evil & only letting the good and righteous be with Him in Heaven.  I found myself thinking, “but that’s the problem… I am the sin and evil that must be destroyed and cannot stand in God’s presence and no amount of good I do can remove who I am.” Outside of the gospel with another standing in our place, that is true for each of us and these two young women as well. They are doomed and have no real hope in the beliefs they currently hold.
4. We need to trust in the sufficiency & ability of God’s Word. It can be a bit intimidating to interact with people we disagree with. This can be even more so when they claim to use the same source of truth we do (the Bible). Almost every part of the pamphlet we’re reading has scripture verses to back it up. Some of it is correct (as all good lies are best presented), some is wrongly interpreted, and some is completely remade based on their bad “Bible translation.” A strong tendency can be to then jettison the Bible for our truth and instead rely on logic. However, logic never saved anyone and the Bible can hold its own. To this, Charles Spurgeon has a great quote, “The Word of God can take care of itself, and will do so if we preach it, and cease defending it. See you that lion. They have caged him for his preservation; shut him up behind iron bars to secure him from his foes! See how a band of armed men have gathered together to protect the lion. …. O fools, and slow of heart! Open that door! Let the lord of the forest come forth free. Who will dare to encounter him? What does he want with your guardian care? Let the pure gospel go forth in all its lion-like majesty, and it will soon clear its own way and ease itself of its adversaries.” We may not have all the answers when we go to the Bible with our friends. We may have to tell them such and ask to table the question or topic till we’ve had time to further research. But why we should never do is shy away from it. The Bible can hold its own even (as especially) when we cannot.
5. Prayer is essential as God is the only hope for making dead hearts & deceived minds alive and comprehending (Titus 3:3-7, Ephesians 2:1-10). Nothing we say or do, no amount of love and care we show, no depth of time or relationship with them, or anything else will ultimately be able to bring them to life outside of the work of God in them. We are praying for them. Asking God to reveal their need and give them His hope. In the meantime we will seek to simply be faithful in loving them, inviting them into our lives, and having conversations with them for as long as He allows.

A few thoughts for us to think through:
- Is there someone in your life God has placed there for you to be His ambassador? If not, how might you go about finding someone?
Are you willing to spend your time reaching out to them though you have no guarantee of fruit? 
Are you treating them as a true friend remembering the balance of not being apathetic or antagonistic in your presentation of truth?
Do you bring them to the Lord in prayer seeking to act faithfully, but relying on Him for true change?

May the Lord use us for His glory and good of all those He would call to Himself!

Friday, February 1, 2019

What to Expect at the March Conference

Hi All!
I want to encourage you to consider spreading the word to your circles of influence about our March conference. I am excited to have three tracks to offer, so there is truly something for everyone.

Dr. Stuart Scott has been very influential in Janell’s and my counseling training over the years and we are very excited to have him come to Bethany Community Church. Dr. Scott will be teaching in this track along with our own Pastor Daniel and Bethany Baptist Senior Pastor Ritch Boerckel. This track is relevant for anyone who is married, is considering marriage and for anyone seeking to grow in shepherding married couples.

Dr. Stuart Scott teaches in the graduate program of biblical counseling at The Master’s University in Santa Clarita, CA. He has over forty years of experience in counseling and pastoral ministry. He is a Fellow with the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors. Stuart is an author as well and is married to his wife Zondra and they have two grown children and two grandchildren.

Dr. Scott has authored many resources, including: "The Exemplary Husband"; "From Pride to Humility"; "Communication and Conflict Resolution"; "Anger, Fear and Anxiety"; "Biblical Manhood, Leadership and Decision Making"; "The Faithful Parent: A Biblical Guide for Parenting" (co-authored with Martha Peace); and most recently, "Killing Sinful Habits: Conquering Sin with Radical Faith" (co-authored with his wife, Zondra Scott). He has contributed to "Think Biblically", "Christianity and Counseling - Five Approaches" and co-edited "Counseling the Hard Cases".

Scott O'Malley is coming again for a series designed for single adults, high school age and up. This series developed in Scott's mind as he drove home from our 2018 conference. He processed conversations with our youth and some parents and was so excited about the theme that he contacted me and asked if he could come back this year. Scott is Campus Director of Twelve Stones Ministries, Inc. in Helmsburg, IN. Scott has served at TS since July, 2007.  He has worked with troubled children and families in a variety of settings for over 15 years. Scott has a Master of Arts Degree in Biblical Counseling from the Master’s University, CA. He and his wife Tara were married in 1992 and have eight children.

This series will be taught by Bethany Biblical Counseling Ministry staff and volunteer counselors. This track covers themes that are essential for anyone involved in intentional ministry, from parenting, to personal discipleship, to care group leaders, to Sunday School teachers to general biblical counseling. If you have an interest in learning about your own spiritual growth and sanctification or if you want to become more effective in encouraging others in their walk with the Lord, this track will be worth your time.

Please consider inviting your family, friends and neighbors to our conference. We are praying that this year's conference would have a regional impact for the Kingdom of God that would reach far beyond Bethany and the community of Washington.

For more information, check out these links:


Kent Kloter