An elevator speech is the speech you would give in an
elevator.  It is what you would tell
someone whom you have never met before and may never see again…twenty seconds
to share what is most important to you – and to them.  Members of Peace Thru Christ shared their
thoughts on what should go into the Peace Thru Christ elevator speech.   Those thoughts were put together into the
following:

What church
do you attend?  I attend Peace Thru
Christ Lutheran Church. We preach the Gospel that Jesus died on the cross to
take away our sins.  We are saved by
grace (God’s undeserved love) thru faith, not by anything we can do to earn
salvation.  We learn this from the Bible,
which we know and teach is the inspired Word of God. Visitors are always
welcome.  We have a K-8 School. Our
church is easy to find.  We are in
Middleton on the corner of Hwy M and West Point Road.

 

Last Friday I spent the whole day learning about public speaking.  We learned about gestures.  We learned about posture.  We learned how to organize speeches.  We learned about establishing credibility.  Establishing credibility is what a speaker does to make the audience believe him.  He may establish credibility by telling about his education, his experience or his position.  Establishing credibility is an important part of speaking.

There is an advent story about credibility.   I am thinking of the angel Gabriel appearing to Zacharias to tell Zacharias about the John the Baptist.  You know the story.  Zacharias had a problem didn’t he?  Zacharias didn’t believe Gabriel.  Zacharias said “How can I know this is true.”  This is always a striking picture for me – a man, asking an angel to establish credibility.  Gabriel went along with it.  Gabriel started with “I am Gabriel,” and that would have established a lot of credibility.  Gabriel was God’s special messenger angel.  Gabriel is only mentioned 4 times in the bible:  twice in Daniel, once appearing to Mary to tell Mary she would be the mother of Jesus, and here appearing to Zacharias.  The name Gabriel carried a lot of credibility.  Gabriel did not stop there.  He went on.  Gabriel said “I stand in the presence of God and I am sent to bring you this news.  Gabriel built his credibility on two facts – God was with him, and he was sent.

Sometimes I think I need to establish more credibility.  I think all of us feel this way sometimes.  We doubt our own credibility.  We have opportunities to tell people about our Savior and we hesitate.  We hesitate because we think it is not the right time or place.  We think we don’t have the right words.  We think people don’t want to hear our message.  When we hesitate, we need to remember that God gives us all the credibility we need.  Think of Jesus words, “Lo I am with you always” and “Go and teach all nations.”  God is with us, and we are sent.  Next time you hesitate, and doubt your credibility, remember that God has established our credibility the same way Gabriel established his.   God is with us and we are sent.

Evangelism Vignette – November 20, 2010

How many of you have been to Disney World?  I remember a series of television commercials that Disney ran.  They would feature an athlete trotting off the field after a victory – maybe a world series or super bowl win, or an Olympic gold medal.  A voice was heard asking the athlete, “You just won the super bowl! What are you going to do now?”  The celebrity would always reply, “I am going to Disney World!”  Anybody remember those commercials?  The Disney folks wanted us to believe that Disney World was the ultimate celebration of the ultimate victory.

I thought of those commercials after bible class a few weeks ago when we talked about Paul’s return to Jerusalem in Acts chapters 21 through 23.  Paul was beaten, threatened with scourging and taken into custody by soldiers to protect him from the angry mobs that wanted to tear him to pieces, but the opportunity to tell people about his savior was a great victory.  And then what?  Paul wasn’t going to Disney World.  No, chapter Acts 23 verse 11 says “But the following night the Lord stood by him and said, ‘Be of good cheer, Paul; for as you have testified for me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome’.”  Now, I know Paul is the one who said “to live is Christ, to die is gain,” and Paul wanted to go to Rome, but I have to believe that at some level, Paul’s sinful flesh had to say, “What? Be of good cheer?  Rome? Wasn’t this enough?”  Paul knew that more beatings and prisons and abuse waited for him in Rome.  But yes, God said “Be of good cheer,” and Paul went with good cheer.  For Paul, the ultimate celebration of his Savior’s ultimate victory was to share it with others.

So, what about Peace Thru Christ in Middleton, Wisconsin in November of 2010?  Our little congregation has the struggles of making ends meet in difficult economic times.  Struggles to maintain our property and buildings with limited resources; struggles to continue a Christian day school with small enrollment; struggles to preserve the message that has been entrusted to us.  We’re not going to Disney World either.  Well, be of good cheer because our congregation of less than 100 also has the privilege of bringing God’s message of forgiveness to a metropolitan area of over 500,000.  Yes, be of good cheer because we know God gives us the ability to carry out this task – Philippians 2:13 says “For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for his good pleasure.”  Be of good cheer because we have the infallible Word of God – Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword…”  Be of good cheer because we have been chosen for this work – 1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”  Be of good cheer!

Be of good cheer, and let your ultimate celebration of your Lord’s ultimate victory be sharing that victory with others.

Evangelism Vignette – July, 2010

How many of you work for a company or belong to an organization that has a mission statement?  Anybody want to share one?  One definition says that the mission statement should be a clear and succinct representation of the enterprise’s reason for existence.  Here are some examples that I found.    Aflac Insurance’ mission is “To combine aggressive strategic marketing with quality products and services at competitive prices to provide the best insurance value for customers.”  Some are simpler.  Walt Disney’s is “to make people happy;” or how about Merck pharmaceuticals, “To preserve and improve human life.

Listen to this one from a Mike Sydow chapel talk – “To seek the best spiritual outcome for everyone you come in contact with.”  I never heard Mike call it a mission statement, but I believe it meets our definition of a clear and succinct representation of a Christian’s reason for existence.  Let me repeat it.  “To seek the best spiritual outcome for everyone you come in contact with.”  There are some big words in there, even though the longest are only four syllables. 

Seek is an action word.  I need to be not just casually watching, but actively working to make something happen.  Seek is also a comfort word.  I don’t have to make sure the best spiritual outcome happens.  The Holy Spirit takes care of that.  His word will not return unto him void.  But I do have to seek the best spiritual outcome by presenting the Gospel. 

Best spiritual outcome– those are the joy words.  We know the best spiritual outcome is eternal life in heaven.   That’s why we want to share.  That’s what we want to share.

Everyone is the word I stumble on.  Usually, I fail even to seek the best spiritual outcome for half of the people I see.  Sometimes I don’t even seek the best spiritual outcome for my friends and coworkers, let alone the guy that cut me off in traffic.  But, God would have everyone to be saved.

Mike Sydow referred to Hebrews 13:20 and 21:  “May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever”…and God does equip us – does work in us.

I was thinking of all this during the awkward silence while I waited in Wal-Mart for my paint to be shaken.  Asking myself if I was going to seek the best spiritual outcome for the paint guy or not.  Next thing I knew, the paint guy was telling me about a decision he had prayed about.  The door was opened.

In a couple weeks, we will have an opportunity to learn how to better use those open doors.  We are planning small group discussions on how to handle regularly occurring opportunities to present the Gospel.  Then the small groups will present their ideas on different opportunities for the whole group to discuss.  The most important thing for the success of this exercise is to have a large number of people involved and working together to improve their personal evangelism skills.  Please join us.

Evangelism Vignette – February 2010

In our Sunday bible classes we have been studying the mission work in the early church.  The recurring theme in the book of Acts is that the word of the Lord grew and multiplied.  What an exciting time to be a Christian.  Every section of Acts concludes with a triumphant phrase like Acts 6:7, “So the word of God spread.”  How did they do it?  The Holy Spirit did it – but let’s look at how he did it.

First of all, God set the stage.  It began with the Babylonian captivity of the Old Testament.  The tragedy of God’s people being carried away from the promised land caused Jews to be dispersed throughout the known world.  Many Jews did not return to Israel, but settled throughout the Babylonian empire, establishing the synagogues that Paul and his coworkers visited.  The rise of Alexander the Great caused the Greek language to spread throughout the known world.  The apostles could communicate with people of many nations in one language.  The rise of the Roman empire brought roads and safer travel on land and sea.  Those carrying the message of a risen Savior could move about in relative safety.  God used the kingdoms of men to set the stage for the spread of his eternal kingdom.

God also sent his Holy Spirit to empower the men that he used to carry his word.  Not only that, the apostles had been taught by Jesus himself.  Acts 4:13 says “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled.  And they realized that they had been with Jesus.”

So how is it with us?  What has God given us to work with?  The world has gotten smaller, and we have ways to reach people that those early disciples could never have imagined.  We can put a message on the internet that can be seen around the world in seconds.  We can travel to the corners of the world in hours.  We have a synod network of missions and preaching stations extending to other continents.  But most importantly, we still have the word and the command.  1 Peter 1:19 says “And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts;” and Matthew 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your father in heaven.”

We can be like Peter and John.  We talk to people every day, on the street, in the store, at work, everywhere we go, who need the Savior that we have.  God help us to use the tools that he has given us so that our lives, our actions and our conversation cause those around us to marvel, and realize that we too, have been with Jesus.  SHINE!

Evangelism Vignette for Nov. 22, 2009

How many of you marched with us in the Good Neighbor Festival Parade?  Of those who marched, how many were watching the people watching the parade?  How many of you noticed that people reacted differently when a religious float went by?  What were some of the reactions you noticed?  I could sort the reactions into 3 groups – see if you agree.

My first group was the quiet and uncomfortable group.  It was almost as if they really weren’t expecting Jesus to be at their parade.  Maybe if they pretended we weren’t there, we wouldn’t notice them either.

I saw another group that nodded in quiet approval or maybe even applauded, but cautiously, as not to draw to much attention.  They seemed to be glad we were there, but not too anxious to have everybody know they were glad.

I bet all of you noticed the third group that I noticed.  Actually, the third group was only one man, but I bet everyone remembers that man waving his arms in the air yelling, “Yea Jesus, I am definitely down with Jesus!!!”   He wanted us all to know!

After the parade, I asked myself which group I fit in … and which group I want to be in.  You may have asked yourself the same questions.  For me, the answer changes from day to day.   For me, there are too many days when I find myself in the quiet, uncomfortable, or cautiously approving group.  I’d love to spend every day yelling with reckless abandon, “I am definitely down with Jesus.”  So how do I get from here to there?  The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.

Romans 12:2 says “And do not be conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”  The interesting thing is that Paul wrote these words to believers; believers who still needed to be transformed.  Mark Hall of Casting Crowns paraphrased this passage, “It means I have a saved spirit, but I still think with a lost brain, and slowly but surely my mind has to be transformed.  Such transformation comes but one way – by truth…by his word.”  The more time we spend in his word, and its reassurance of our forgiveness and salvation, the more we have to share that word.  Acts 20:32 says, “So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the Word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.”

The Lord blessed us with many opportunities in 2009.  We had opportunities to make the community more aware of our church and opportunities to share our message of peace with God through our Savior Jesus Christ.

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