A bit of pushback on Personal Evangelism

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My son is 4 years old and at the moment is into guns. He runs into the room and fires imaginary bullets - immediately all adults put up their hands and surrender. The only other time I feel like doing the same is when I hear the phrase 'personal evangelism'!

I appreciate what Jeremy (in a remarkably long series) and our newest member of the team Leon Brown have written. I agree with nearly everything they are saying (the posts which I've read) but I do wonder if alongside daily bible reading notes, Murray McCheyne's bible reading plan and missionary magazines if there is anything more guilt inducing than the phrase personal evangelism. It's particularly so at this time of year. Churches rightly make the most of the opportunities at Christmas and Carol services still have such a strong cultural echo that people will come, but there are folk in our congregation who I know who have invited  friends, neighbours and colleagues and they haven't come. These people need our encouragement. I wonder whether we should ban certain phrases for 2014 like 'personal evangelism', 'quiet times', even 'personal salvation' is a foreign term to the bible. Of course, the concepts behind these sayings are right and yet the flesh can even make the best of things guilt inducing.
When my father  was angry with us as kids he would say 'I'm getting a little sick and tired of '.... (fill in the blanks for various behaviour) but when he was really irate and you were about to feel the full force of his wrath the phrase would come out 'I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired'. Well, I am sick and tired of feeling guilty for things I don't need to feel guilty about. If I pray I haven't prayed enough. There are so many things I don't pray for, in fact I can't remember all the things I should pray for. Do you ever find yourself wanting to backdate prayers for things you've forgotten about? As a Pastor, part of the package is constantly feeling guilty.
I should point out there is enormous amounts for me to feel guilty about - just ask my wife or my elders - but I keep coming back to Matthew 11 more and more in the Christian life: 'his yoke is easy and his burden is light', he will not 'crush the bruised reed or quench the smoking flax'. My hunch is that as we speak of the wonder of the person and work of Christ, overflowing thankful rejoicing hearts will result in evangelism, even 'personal evangelism' whatever that is.
One of the dangers we face (and I speak personally) is that Christmas becomes an evangelistic frenzy while actually teaching believers the wonder, the depth, the glory of the incarnation can get slightly lost.  ''28 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. 29 For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.'' Colossians 1:28-29
Posted December 18, 2013 @ 9:48 AM by Paul Levy

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