HAVE YOU HEARD THE GOOD NEWS? WHO HAVE YOU TOLD?
The Upward Look, by Jon Forrest
Have You Heard the Good News?
Who Have You Told?
Last weekend my friend, Artie Carnes, who has been a minister of the Gospel for near 50 years came with his son in law, Steve Brinn, to share with our church family an exciting program called Kiamichi Jumpstart. This is a seminar which has been developed by Artie with the assistance and encouragement of several ministers and active Christ followers who have helped Artie in its development and coordination. The plan is to take this powerful information to churches everywhere to remind them of what it means to make and keep the main thing, the main thing.
Artie is the director, and with his wife Dora, leads the operations and programs of the Kiamichi Mountains Christian Mission in the mountains of Southeastern Oklahoma. His base of operations is at Christ’s 40 Acres, a Christian Retreat Center and Campground near the community of Honobia, Oklahoma where the famed Kiamichi Men’s Clinic has occurred since 1949. It is now called by its former nickname The Greatest Gathering this Side of Heaven and now welcomes men, women and youth in its program which annually takes place on the first Tuesday through Thursday of May. Christ’s 40 Acres also holds youth camps and family camps along with other exciting events each year. Also, established recently is a two-year school of preaching on the property of the mission. However, the mission of this wonderful operation has expanded to the Kiamichi Jumpstart Seminars that include teaching on practical evangelism and discipleship to church families everywhere.
While I have attended many enlightening church growth conferences and seminars, with some excellent programs, nothing I have experienced gets down to brass tacks like this seminar.
Artie reminds us that programs are meaningless and even useless if they are not based on the commands of Jesus and Scripture. Fundamental to this seminar is the great commission of Jesus Christ to his apostles and to all who claim to be followers of Him. I’ve heard and even preached countless sermons on fulfilling these commands of Jesus, but the fact is that few people come away with even a clue about how to get it done.
In Mark 16:15 Jesus makes a powerful command:
He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.
Artie tells a story about asking a group of young people, “What is the Gospel?” Their great answer was, “It’s the good news.” Then he told them, “That’s a great answer. Now, what is the good news?” Their reply, “The Gospel.”
Our problem is that we know the pat Christianized answers, but that is as far as it gets. Many church people have not obeyed our Lord’s command to preach, proclaim, teach, or share the good news. But the worst part is they often don’t even know what that good news is. Even if they know the gist of the gospel, that Jesus died for our sins, was buried in a tomb, but rose from that grave 3 days later, they are either afraid to share it or don’t know how to tell it.
Artie shared with us a simple, yet concise way to tell anyone the good news in a minute or less. He told us that we can do this easily! But he didn’t tell us we had to be great at winning a person over to Christ when we do it. We don’t even have to know everything about leading that person to Christ. Once the good news has been shared, you can bring church leaders, pastors and friends in on the action. Essentially this is all you have to say:
“Hey, did you hear the good news?”
(the hearer may respond or not, but that’s okay. Keep going)
“Let me tell you about it.”
“Jesus died on the cross, was buried and rose from the dead.”
When he did, he took care of two problems we all have.
1. He took care of our sin problem because our sins were nailed to the cross.
2. He took care of our Grave problem because we can also be raised from the dead.”
If we want to get in on it …Jesus said, ‘We must follow him and be born again.
Now, isn’t that good news?”
If they sound interested, you might ask, “Would you like to learn more about how this good news can help you?
Understand this: once you have shared this brief, but powerful message, the ball is in their park. You will get all kinds of responses, but now the person you told is in possession of the most important information they could possibly acquire. If the individual is already a devoted follower of Jesus, they may say, “I know! Isn’t that great?” If they have had a nominal experience with church or Christianity, they may even say, “That’s great! I’ve never heard that before!” If they have no knowledge of Christ or Scripture, the responses can be all over the place. “I’ve never heard that.” “That’s very interesting.” “What does that mean?” “That’s the craziest thing I’ve ever heard.” Very seldom will you get a negative response, but even if you do, you are not responsible for their reply. Your job was simply to tell them.
However, if you perceive any kind of openness to the message, you can follow up with a question: “Would you like to know more about how this good news can work for you?”
If the answer is yes, the opportunity for sharing God’s plan of salvation is there. If you are prepared for sharing it; go ahead. If you need help, you can invite them to meet your pastor or come with you to your church services or a Bible study or to your Sunday School class or small group. You can invite them out for coffee, a meal, or to your home. Bring along someone who can help you teach them more about Christ and how to be born again.
Paul wrote: For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.
Jew and Gentile covers everyone. The good news of Jesus Christ is God’s power to anyone who believes it, even to the point that it brings that person to salvation (being saved from hell and to eternal life in heaven).
When you share your one-minute message you are, at that moment, the most powerful person in the universe. Why, because you are giving life transforming power to someone who needs it.
Artie reminded us that even your dog is a creature. Tell him. The point being that it’s great practice and you get an immeasurable blessing simply by telling it.
In Ezekiel 37 God took the prophet to a valley filled with dead, dried out bones. He asked him if these bones could live. Ezekiel, being honest, told the Lord that only he knew that answer. So the Lord told him to prophesy to them that they would receive life. Guess what happened! As Ezekiel preached, the bones grew muscle, tendons and flesh, pulled together, began to breathe, got up from the dirt and began to dance around.
God’s message is THAT powerful.
The good news in that 1-minute message has the power to bring life to people who are dead in their sin. You can bring them back to life because of God’s power.
You can share this with friends, family members, restaurant servers and personnel, the checker at the store, co-workers, your doctor, your nurse, your barber or hairdresser, your boss, your mechanic and anyone who will listen. You should make a list of people you want to tell and then watch for opportunities wherever you go. There are more opportunities than you could possibly know.
Artie suggested that whether your church is known for great worship services, a big youth group, impressive buildings or anything else, the best thing a church can be known for is “the church that tells people the good news.” Jesus said in John 12:32 “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” Tell people the good news about Jesus and he will draw more people to himself through the message and to his gospel telling church.
I am thankful for this great teaching Artie Carnes brought to us. His training concentrates, not on programs or manmade growth principles, but rather on learning practical ways to obey the commands of Scripture that will transform the life of a Christian and a church family into real life disciples.
I highly recommend the seminar and the leader. Kiamichi Jumpstart should not be revolutionary but, because the emphasis and mission of so many churches has drifted far from biblical ideals it is totally revolutionary. I recommend it to any church of any size, whether it is perceived as struggling or thriving. Thank you, Artie Carnes and the Kiamichi Mountains Christian Mission for sharing this with us.
This Sunday and next we will take a two-week break from the series of messages we have been following on WHEN GOD BUILDS A KING so that we can focus on the gospel messages of Palm Sunday and Resurrection Sunday (aka Easter). This week’s message is titled “Ain’t No Stone Gonna’ Take My Place based on the Triumphal Entry of Christ the King into Jerusalem as told in Luke 19:28-40. I hope you will share in this powerful message of worship.
Telling the Good News with you,