Helpful Tidbits for Organic Church Life                                                   April 6, 2009
Taking Initiative with the Gospel
My Reflections
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Just a reminder that Passover is upon us. On most Hebrew calendars the Passover begins at sundown, April 8th (Kararite Jews will celebrate beginning sundown, April 10th).
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Dear ,
PennLast weekend I was in Seattle presenting at an Organic Church Planters' Greenhouse (if you haven't yet gone to one of these, please do). While there my co-presenter, Katie Driver, told me about a video on YouTube that's a must-see. Essentially, it's of Penn Jillette, Las Vegas headliner and athiest, asking the question, If you Christians really believe in a hell, shouldn't you be telling people like me how to escape it?

THIS WEEK'S QUESTION/TOPIC: Taking initiative in sharing the gospel
Taking Initiative with the Gospel
Excerpted from Search & Rescue by Neil Cole
Search & RescueA hero takes initiative rather than waiting for others to fill the gap (2 Tim. 1:6-7).
Paul sets an example for Timothy and then challenges him to rise to the same standard as a leader. He writes: "I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline" (vv. 6-7).
So many leaders, especially men, wait on others to take the initiative in life. One could argue we have been suffering from passivity ever since the fall when Adam followed his wife into sin rather than taking the initiative to lead into righteousness. I believe that this is so important that in training my own son to be a real man, initiative was one of the five principles I taught him. Women, of course, can take initiative, lead, and become heroes as well. I am not suggesting otherwise. I am merely stating that too often men do not take the lead, especially as it relates to raising their children. I believe this is perhaps the greatest threat to our society today. I long for a time when the kingdom of God is so real to our people that the hearts of the fathers are turned back once more to their children (Mal. 4:6).
Paul was a real man and a spiritual father to Timothy. He went to Timothy and initiated a whole new level of spiritual leadership with him, and then challenged him not to be passive or timid or to go on retreat. Instead, he reminded him to demonstrate the power, love, and discipline of a true hero.
Paul goes on to raise this challenge higher with Timothy when he writes, "I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus...preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction" (4:1-2). He finishes this thought with, "Be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist [telling others the Good News of Jesus], fulfill your ministry" (v. 5). We must all fulfill the call of God on our lives by taking initiative when it is convenient and when it is not (2008:32).
My Reflections 
A couple weeks ago I got into a conversation with someone I had only know casually. Knowing he was a bit on the shy side (or so I thought), I struck up a conversation. I asked, "So, what's goin' on? Anything interesting?" He said, "Well, I lost my job a few weeks back."
Like most part of the country, layoffs have become commonplace in Sacramento where I live. So, it wasn't like he was embarrassed or anything. Then he added, "Honestly, if they hadn't done it to me, I was getting pretty close to doing it to them." "Why's that?" I responded.
"Well, there are a couple business ventures I've been wanting to pursue, so I was just about ready to pull the plug. They just did it for me." After inquiring of the ventures, he went in for the kill. "There's a meeting I'd like you to attend with me sometime." Images of Amway, of course, raced through my mind.
After assuring me it wasn't Amway (and picking up on my obvious disinterest), he said something rather interesting. "If you've got a product that will change people's lives, why wouldn't you tell everyone you know about it? It just seems like the right thing to do."
My head spun. I replied, "That's interesting. If I were to apply that same logic on you, I'd go ahead and tell you about Jesus right now. Would you like me to tell you about Jesus?"
Although the rest of the conversation is too lengthy to write about here, I did learn something that day; intelligent atheists wonder why Christians don't proselytize if they honestly believe that people will go to hell if they don't know Jesus.
Hope this was of some benefit to you.

Traver Dougherty
The Banqueting Table