The Big Diehl

{blog of adam}

15 Jul

I Shouldn’t Have Been Surprised.

Posted in Book of Acts Church, Evangelism on 07-15-11

Today, I had an hour to blow before a product I purchased was ready for me to pick up. I ran over to Petco to get some dog food for my huge dog. I knew I still had 55 minutes to blow after that so I was going to run to Starbucks and chill on my laptop.

As I was backing out of the parking space I prayed, “God let my hour be useful for you – let me run into somebody that I could minister to and be a shining light for you.”

I put my truck in “Drive” and began to move forward and made eye contact with a Hispanic man that was walking right in front of me in the parking lot. I waved him on and he moved the direction I didn’t expect him to like he wanted to talk to me.

This is right after I prayed and asked God to let me connect with someone and minister to them. hmmm…. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised.

I rolled down my window and talked with the guy. He asked how far away another town was, because he was expecting friends to come from there and pick him up. I told him how far away it was, and then he asked for money for food – he hadn’t eaten all day.

Okay so I’m not trying to paint myself as a Saint or something. Of course I was skeptical. Is this guy just trying to get a freebie? Is he just some illegal alien leeching off the system? But especially since I had just prayed for God to do something like this, I took the bait – cautiously.

“Sure. I’ll buy you food – but I won’t give you money.”

That didn’t phase him one bit. He said, “Okay, that’s great!”

So we just drove over to McDonald’s and I bought him a value meal and sat and had a conversation with him. More than I thought possible I spoke to him in Spanish, believe it or not. His name was Romero. Born in Texas, raised in Mexico. I asked him a million questions about where he was from, how he got here, where his family was, what he’s doing here, etc. I will admit for the first 5 minutes I was expecting him to stumble over his answers and get caught in a lie. But he didn’t. I really believe he was telling the truth. I really enjoyed meeting him. In the discussion I became aware that he was nominally “catholic” (like many Hispanics who grew up in Mexico), but from my perspective his religion wasn’t any deeper than “his parents were catholic, so he must be, too.” And that’ not really anything at all.

Romero was someone I wanted to help, and in this situation I considered him a Person of Peace. That’s what Jesus called it. The idea is that wherever we go, we should be ready for a person of peace, someone that shows some receptivity to the gospel. These are generally people that are going through a challenge, crisis, or change. When we encounter someone that might be a person of peace, we should bring up the Gospel in a small way to see if they’re interested — which really isn’t that difficult considering how applicable the Gospel is in situations like these. If they aren’t interested or show no signs of receptivity, forget it (shake the dust off your feet). (A person of peace is often someone that you already know, but suddenly becomes more receptive to the gospel. My situation today is my situation. I kinda have to be more outgoing if I expect to find a Person of Peace because I work in a church. Your person of peace might be some guy in the desk next to you who is going through a divorce or some other challenge, crisis, or change. If you want more examples of people of peace in the Bible – check this out).

So there I sat with Romero. I told him that I know God loves me, and I believed God loves him. I wanted to demonstrate the love that God has for him by purchasing his meal, “This food represents the love that God has for you.” (I said it in Spanish! You should have heard me habla!)

Keeping in mind the discipleship process discussed in my previous blog, I believed I was a part of God’s bigger plan for Romero. We said our goodbyes and I told him I’d pray for him. And we left.

And then I came here to this custom coffee shop to review it! In hindsight, I really wish I had prayed for Romero right there before leaving. He shared a hundred things I could have prayed for with him. No reason I shouldn’t have.

I’m living a mission! Join me!

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19 Apr

Your Mission.

Posted in Book of Acts Church, Devotional Blog, Evangelism, Mentoring on 04-19-11

I almost titled this blog “Your Mission, Should You Choose To Accept it.” Then I erased the second part because if you chose to follow Christ, this is your mission. Today I’m going to re-examine the great commission, because I think we may have limited it; our perception might be off. (Many thoughts in this blog were inspired by content in Alan and Deb Hirsch’s book, “Untamed”).

Visit the Blog for Image

First let me provide this visual of the “Engels Scale.” It acknowledges a process people undergo in coming to faith and growing in Christ (don’t get caught in the details, the point is that there is a PROCESS):
——————————————————
-6 Awareness of supreme being
-5 Initial awareness of gospel
-4 Positive attitude toward gospel
-3 Personal problem recognition
-2 Decision to act
-1 Repentance and faith in Christ
*NEW BIRTH IN CHRIST*
+1 Post-decision evaluation
+2 Incorporation into Body
+3 Growth in Jesus
+4 Communion with God
+5 Stewardship
+6 Reproduction
——————————————————–

see blog for image!Our mission comes directly from Jesus. Summarized, our mission is to make disciples. In other words, our mission is to help people along towards a +6.

I think we err when we consider discipleship (or the Great Commission) as only getting the unsaved to Christ; getting people to a “0″ on the scale.

I also think we err when we consider discipleship as only what occurs after we receive Christ. I think discipleship is the full process from -6 to +6. I am arguing that we have two types of discipleship: (1) Pre-Christian Discipleship and (2) Post-Christian Discipleship. This is our mission; and what Jesus modeled with his disciples.

So what’s that mean for us?

1) I think we should be discipling everyone we come in contact with; truly living out the Great Commission every day and in every place. We should be discipling people even without them knowing; showing God’s love in every situation.

2) I think we need to recognize the value in our “neighbors” moving from a -5 to a -4 without being disappointed that they didn’t make the jump all the way to “0″ after one conversation.

3) I think we need to live and think like we are on a mission. Because we are. Living with this perspective is really kinda exciting! What will God do with people who are willingly ready to disciple?

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01 Feb

The Greatest Hope for the Future of Christianity.

Posted in Book of Acts Church, Evangelism on 02-01-11

I was recently asked, “What is the mission field of your church?” (In this post I am referring specifically to our local mission field).

I immediately thought, “That’s easy – DeKalb County.” Others from my church would probably give a similar answer — a geographical location. Perhaps you might give your church the “mission field” of a demographical target – like “young adults” or “Hispanics.”

Dr. Hunter of Church Doctor Ministries showed me how wrong that was. Let me quickly explain why.

Firstly, these answers are incredibly institutional, and the days of the church functioning primarily as an institution are numbered. Church must become less of an institutional organization and more of an organism; a family. You see, if you declare your “mission field” as a location, you’ve immediately cut off all personal relationships.

Secondly, the Bible doesn’t say anything about the Church Leadership/Organization having a mission field. The instructions for Church Leadership/Organization is to equip the people. The command for Christians (the real Church, not a building) is to go and reach the lost.

With that said, I would like to join Dr. Kent Hunter in redefining our church’s mission field:
Our mission field is the sum total of the networks of every individual in our church.

That leads me to the topic of this post: The Greatest Hope for the Future of Christianity. It’s the contacts list in our cell phones!

Cell phone, tweets, Facebook, blogs. Mankind has never been THIS networked ever before in history. The mission field of my church is my network! Your network! I have an unsaved friend in another state – THAT’S our mission field! I have no idea who you are, but my subscriber list keeps rising and rising — I’m networked with you declaring Truth and we don’t even know each other.

The greatest hope for the future of Christianity is the Church (the people) being networked together with more people (many who are searching for Truth) than ever before. Our networking makes the future look bright – if we use it.

Please understand the greatest hope for Christianity is Christ. Period. I am in no way denying that. But I’m talking about the greatest hope for the FUTURE of Christianity – the spread of it.

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17 Sep

Hang On To Your Belt. He’s Coming.

Posted in Book of Acts Church, Devotional Blog, Revival on 09-17-08

I typically would say a phrase like, “If God sends a great spiritual awakening . . .”

Just now I caught myself saying, “When God sends a great spiritual awakening . . .” and I had absolute confidence, NO DOUBT IN MY MIND, that it would happen very soon.

It’s later than its ever been. We’re closer than we’ve ever been before.

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28 Apr

Hey Cross Boy!

Posted in Book of Acts Church, Devotional Blog on 04-28-08

If you read about the early church in the Book of Acts, you will see a drastic difference between today’s Christianity and the church described in the Book of Acts. Extraordinary events today were ordinary for first century Christians: healing, dead being raised to life, hundreds coming to Christ every day, miracle after miracle after miracle. So I dug into the Book of Acts to answer this question, “What did the early Church do that Christians today are not doing?” This post is a part of a series of posts that aim to answer this question.

I grew up hearing about persecution and how we should stand up for what we believe in even when we are persecuted.

In sixth grade, my older brother had a really cool cross necklace made from bent nails that he got at a “D.C. Talk: Jesus Freak” concert. One morning he gave me permission to wear it to school. Of course I was jazzed about this because I would be COOL. I wore it all day and I remember in gym class another guy named Jacob called out to get my attention, “Hey Cross Boy!” I got really excited when he called me cross boy. I remember leaving the 6th Grade locker room with a big smile on my face thinking, “YESSSSS, I’m being persecuted for Christ!” Being called a name like this was hardly persecution but I didn’t realize that in 6th grade!

As I studied the book of Acts, I was shocked at what the Early Church went through in order to tell others about Jesus. Right
here
is a huge list. They had opposition to the gospel EVERYWHERE they went! After the stoning of Stephen in Acts 7, persecution broke out against ALL Christians. Now we’re not talking about calling them “Cross boy” — I mean serious persecution! Serious enough that everyone MOVED and scattered all over the region. I can only imagine they were running for fear of their LIVES. Yet this life threatening persecution drove them CLOSER to Christ and they told others about God ALL THE MORE!

So let’s compare this with American Christianity. There are two things I think the early church had that we are missing. We aren’t driven to Christ, and we back down at persecution.

We aren’t driven to Christ. When the early Church was persecuted it stirred their faith even more. In America, especially in the Midwest region, we aren’t stirred in our faith. We don’t have extreme persecution. If there is to be a revival we MUST be stirred in our faith. I’m not a prophet nor do I feel I am prophesying, however I want to make a PREDICTION (based on my own gut instincts and not on anything God told me). I predict that the economy will get much worse than it is right now. I predict the value of the US $ will plummet and financial difficulties will turn hearts back to the Church, and then to God. God wants ALL of ALL our hearts – and he’ll use an economic depression if that’s what it takes to get us stirred in our faith. We must be driven towards Christ!

We back down at persecution. This is an understatement. American Christians DON’T back down at persecution – American Christians do not live loud enough for the slightest speck of persecution to arise! We are petrified of being persecuted! Christians are the only religious followers who seem to be scared to tell others what they believe. Very few American Christians get any sort of persecution because they don’t do what they believe in the first place. This is a significant problem. I’ve heard it said, “If you don’t have someone mad at you, you’re probably not making much of a difference.” I think there’s a lot of truth to that statement.

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02 Apr

‘Tis a Gift to Be Simple

Posted in Book of Acts Church, Devotional Blog, Finding God on 04-02-08

If you read about the early church in the Book of Acts, you will see a drastic difference between today’s Christianity and the church described in the Book of Acts. Extraordinary events today were ordinary for first century Christians: healing, dead being raised to life, hundreds coming to Christ every day, miracle after miracle after miracle. So I dug into the Book of Acts to answer this question, “What did the early Church do that Christians today are not doing?” This post is a part of a series of posts that aim to answer this question.

Let this video play while you are reading this post:

In 1864, Elder Joseph wrote this song, “Simple Gifts” while living in a Shaker Community:

‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free,
‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain’d,
To bow and to bend we shan’t be asham’d,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come round right.

The concept of living simply is clearly rooted in the early church in the book of Acts. Check these references from Acts. The early church lived a simple life in order to help others. There are two areas where I think we are too complicated.

Firstly, our finances are too complicated. We have far more things than we have any use for. Do we really need extra vehicles? How many T.V.’s do we actually need? Now I’m not trying to shake a finger and claim that we should live in poverty. If you are financially blessed, be blessed, but remember that you are blessed to be a blessing.

Secondly, our minds are too complicated. We need to shut up and listen more. I wrote about that a couple years ago.

Spend a couple minutes meditating on the words of “Simple Gifts” and/or the scriptures listed behind the reference link above (feel free to check the contexts). Ask God how he may want you to live more simply in order to help the Church.

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31 Mar

Family Ties.

Posted in Book of Acts Church, Devotional Blog on 03-31-08

If you read about the early church in the Book of Acts, you will see a drastic difference between today’s Christianity and the church described in the Book of Acts. Extraordinary events today were ordinary for first century Christians: healing, dead being raised to life, hundreds coming to Christ every day, miracle after miracle after miracle. So I dug into the Book of Acts to answer this question, “What did the early Church do that Christians today are not doing?” This post is a part of a series of posts that aim to answer this question.

As I read through the book of Acts there was a huge theme that kept coming up – FAMILY. I didn’t recognize this pattern until chapter 21, so that’s why this list of scriptures is not comprehensive.

There were many people traveling and spreading Christianity in the first century church – and they were all treated like family. When Paul is writing to churches, he often says things like, “I long to be with you . . .” The church viewed themselves as family.

I think this is one thing that’s challenging the American church today – we aren’t a family. Take Galatians 6:2 for example, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” What does it mean to carry each other’s burden?

About a year ago I had a friend that came to me and confessed to me that he was struggling with a sexual addiction. All it took was a girl to wink at him and he would have her in bed by the end of the day, sometimes within the hour. He was a Christian, but he was struggling. He came to me because he wanted to be healed and he trusted me. I prayed for him. A few days later he called me up and explained that he had sex with another girl again. I couldn’t believe that he was so far into sin and did it again! I couldn’t believe he was such a lousy human being – that’s really what I was thinking. His situation made me very uncomfortable and I began avoiding his phone calls and text messages until he stopped calling and leaving messages.

When I read Galatians 6:1-2 last month I felt great conviction from my actions a year earlier. I didn’t treat this brother like a brother – I treated him like an enemy simply because the nature of his sin made me uncomfortable. That’s my problem, not his. I wanted Christianity to be nice, clean, orderly, and easy. He was making it messy. In reality my friend had a healthier perspective of Christianity than I did – Christianity should be filled with messy poop, because poop is a sign of life!

If the American church really grasped this idea of our spiritual family ties, I think we would see more people openly confessing their sins. We would have a much healthier Christianity — we would be carrying each other’s burden.

Can I give you the same challenge I’m giving myself? It has two parts. First, be accepting of a Christian who’s confessing their sins to you. Remember they’re confessing because James 5:16 says “Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another so that you can be healed.” Secondly, don’t disobey the Bible – find people you can confess your sins to that will pray for you. And then do it!

**Cue Exit music: Sister Sledge doing “We Are Family”**

6 Comments »

04 Feb

Jesus is NOT My Homeboy!

Posted in Book of Acts Church, Devotional Blog, Revival on 02-04-08

If you read about the early church in the Book of Acts, you will see a drastic difference between today’s Christianity and the church described in the Book of Acts. Extraordinary events today were ordinary for first century Christians: healing, dead being raised to life, hundreds coming to Christ every day, miracle after miracle after miracle. So I dug into the Book of Acts to answer this question, “What did the early Church do that Christians today are not doing?” This post is a part of a series of posts that aim to answer this question.

They Respected and Feared the Name of Jesus Christ. Here’s Scripture.

In the book of Acts we can see respect for Jesus formed after a great work. Amazing things were happening and it resulted in a Holy Fear for God. That didn’t surprise me, that just makes sense. But compare that to today’s world.

Today the respect for God has been diminished into the ever popular, “Jesus is my Homeboy” campaign. Thousands of T-Shirts with these designs have swept the country. The “Jesus is my Homeboy” design does a great job demonstrating the caring relationship we can have with Him, but it tosses respect and Godly fear right out the window. Jesus is NOT my Homeboy – HE IS GOD!

The natural result of Godly fear is genuine holiness. Revival starts with holiness.

Church, if we’re expecting God to come and do amazing things among us — if we’re hoping for God’s presence to show up powerfully — if we’re hoping for a revival, we must be holy. We must respect and fear Jesus and his commands. We must be obediant. God will come with great power when we’ve prepared a Church that’s worth it.

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