Wednesday, November 17, 2010

FIRST Wild Card Tour: No Greater Joy by Jerry Wiles

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


No Greater Joy: Power of Sharing Your Faith Through Stories and Questions

Whitaker House (September 1, 2010)

***Special thanks to Cathy Hickling of Whitaker House for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


With a background in military service, business, missions/ministry, and education, Jerry N. Wiles, serves as president emeritus of Living Water International (LWI), one of the world's leading faith-based water solutions ministries. He is a noted authority on the burgeoning “Orality Movement,” which is transforming the face of
evangelism worldwide. Wiles coined the term “oral discipleship” in the 1980’s to describe strategies he was developing to reach “oral communicators” -- two thirds of the world’s population who do not learn through reading. As LWI for president the past 20 years, Wiles helped facilitate 9,000 water projects for communities in 26 countries. He hosts the daily radio show, Winning Others to Christ, airing in 174 countries on the KHCB Radio Network.



Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Whitaker House (September 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1603742425
ISBN-13: 978-1603742429

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Divine Appointments: Recognizing the Activity of God


“Good morning. Has the Lord been good to you today?”

That was my greeting to a young waiter in a lingering moment before a breakfast meeting at a hotel conference facility. I approached Walter with the thought of sharing Christ. He was warm and friendly and took a few minutes to chat. After our brief exchange, I asked him if he had come to know the Lord Jesus in a personal way. He told me that he had been raised in a religious family and had attended church as a child.

I shared with Walter briefly about God’s purpose and His love, about Jesus coming into the world to pay for our sins, and that He was raised from the dead so that we can have new life.

He was open and interested, so I shared Scriptures from John’s gospel and the book of Romans. I asked Walter if he had ever made a commitment of his life to Christ. He said he wasn’t sure how to do that.

I explained that he didn’t have to be in a church building or go through a long religious ritual, but that God was right there with us, and we could include the Lord in our conversation. I told him that he could receive Christ right then. I briefly shared with him from Romans 10:9–13 about believing, confessing, and calling on the Lord.

If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

I suggested that he call on the Lord and ask Him to come into his life. I led him in a prayer something like this: “Lord Jesus Christ, I know I need You. I believe You died for me. Have mercy upon me, a sinner, and save me. I receive You into my life and ask You to make me the kind of person You want me to be. In Jesus’ name, amen.”

I was scheduled to be the guest speaker that day at the breakfast meeting and had arrived early, and this is why I’d had the opportunity to have the encounter with Walter.

Later that morning, as I was speaking to the group, Walter walked into the room as I was describing my earlier conversation with him. He mistakenly thought I was introducing him to say a few words and spontaneously began sharing that he had asked Christ into his life.

It was a tremendous encouragement to the eighty or so men at the breakfast, since my topic was personal evangelism. It was also a great encouragement for me to get updates about Walter for about the next fifteen years from my friends who attended meetings frequently at that hotel and stayed in touch with him.

Walter later became the catering manager at the hotel and gained a reputation as a respected employee. He had a great ministry and witness for Christ through his professional relationships.


Nothing Mystical about Sharing the Gospel


There’s nothing mystical or magical about sharing the gospel and bringing people to the Lord. It’s a matter of demonstrating the love of Christ and being willing to tell others about Him.

There are two important principles in sharing your faith:

Know who you are in Christ and who He is in you.
Be willing to bring Jesus into a conversation.
Knowing your true identity in Christ can make a world of difference in how you relate to others. The truth about you is that God intends for you to be the truth about Him.

God’s Word tells us that we are complete in Christ, we are made righteous in Christ, we are new creations in Christ, we are ambassadors for Christ, and we are ministers of reconciliation. (See Colossians 2:9–10; 2 Corinthians 5:17–21.)

When we believe what God has said in His Word and act on the fact that it is true, the Holy Spirit will make it real in our experience. Real faith is acting on the promises of God.

One of my mentors from years ago, the late Manley Beasley, used to say that faith is “acting like it is so, when it’s not so, in order for it to be so, because God said it’s so.” (See, for example, Romans 4:16–21; Hebrews 11:1.)

Acting on the Word of God converts the truth into our experience. Therefore, you can act on the truth that God is working in you “both to will and to do for His good pleasure,” according to Philippians 2:13. You can also act on the fact that God is faithful to do—through you—what He has called you to do, according to 1 Thessalonians 5:24.

The various ministry encounters you read about in this book are illustrations of God’s activity through our humanity, not illustrations of our doing something for Him.

For example, a few years ago, I was reading a popular Christian magazine and came across an article written by a man with whom I had shared the gospel about ten years earlier. I had actually witnessed to him on a couple of different occasions before he received Christ.

As the Holy Spirit led me, I didn’t approach our discussions in a traditional way. I never asked him to pray a prayer or do any of the typical things you might think to request of people when witnessing (although I do some of those things at other times). However, after I had talked with him about the gospel the second time, he sent me a note and told me that he had repented of his years of rebellion and had trusted Christ.

This man immediately began to share his faith, and a number of people came to the Lord as a result of His witness. In fact, he and I were able to team up in reaching several convicts in a prison through correspondence and sharing gospel literature.

Seeing God at work in these ways makes our walk with Him a high adventure every day!


Recognize the Activity of God in People’s Lives


The more spiritual sensitivity we have and the more we see with the eyes of faith, the more readily we will recognize the activity of God in people’s lives and the more fully we’ll be able to cooperate with Him in “divine appointments.”

Think of the implications of Christ living in you and wanting to express Himself through you on a daily basis.

Many Scriptures refer to our being in Christ and Christ in us. Just an awareness of our spiritual union with Him makes a difference in the way we relate to others. My former pastor once said, “Our main purpose should be to love people and tell them the truth.” That really puts things into perspective in a nutshell. We are so prone to make things more complicated than they are or than God intended for them to be.

Be Encouraged That God Will Use You


I often tell people that I grew up with an inferiority complex, and then, when I became an adult, I discovered that it wasn’t a complex at all; I was just inferior!

Well, the truth of the matter is, we are all inferior when we compare ourselves with Jesus Christ.

The good news is that the Superior One, Christ Himself, is prepared to live in us and compensate for all our weaknesses. In fact, it’s in our weakness that His strength is made perfect, according to 2 Corinthians 12:9.

God often chooses the most unlikely candidates to accomplish His most significant work.

For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God; and righteousness and sanctification and redemption; that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.”

(1 Corinthians 1:26–31)

Be encouraged that God will use you in a wonderful way to share Christ with others. Keep in mind that He is available to you to the degree that you make yourself available to Him.

God will use you in powerful ways if you will fully yield to His lordship, receive the fullness of His life in you, and trust and obey Him.

Enjoy the journey!



Questions for Reflection and/or Discussion


1. What is a divine appointment?

2. What are two key principles in sharing your faith?

3. What does God’s Word tell us about who we are in Him?

4. How does the Holy Spirit make God’s Word real in our experience?

5. To what degree is God available to you for witnessing?

6. What steps can you take to be more effective in sharing Christ?

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