Thursday, September 6, 2007

My exposure to Dr. Kennedy came when I was in high school attending Twin Oaks Presbyterian Church in St. Louis, Missouri. I was introduced to the Evangelism Exposition program which is a good – I believe – way to share the gospel to the non-believer on the streets. The goal of EE is to get a gospel presentation out in its entirety in just a few minutes, but yet with the illustrations, Scriptures, examples, and applications it can be as drawn out as one would like to make it.

I took the EE course while in high school and came across a handy way of remembering the five points of the gospel presentation – heaven, man, God, Christ and faith – on my hand using all five fingers. To this day, when I share the gospel, the EE gospel outline is more often than not the presentation that I’ll use – more or less. When I share my faith, I am immediately drawn to this EE method of sharing the gospel. Now I recognize that it is not all about the method and it is all about the message. At the same time, I am of the mind that the method can be combined with the message to make it more persuasive to the listener.

Along these lines, I was talking with Elizabeth recently about Jesus and his evangelism techniques. I wonder if there was more than one time when Jesus shared the gospel identically. It seems to me that he tailored his gospel presentation to the hearer, to the setting, to the geographical locale and the like. I find that Jesus shares the gospel differently with the disciples than he does with the rich young ruler. He shares the gospel differently with the Samaritan woman at the well than he does with the Pharisees in Jerusalem. What a fascinating study that would be to study the various methods that Jesus employed when bringing the gospel to the lost. I think we would be surprised at how much difference there is in his gospel presentations. Don’t get me wrong, it is still the same gospel with the same God and the same fallen condition innate in mankind and the same grace alone that saves but the method which with Jesus uses may vary from time to time.

Not only was he a great evangelist, but Dr. Kennedy was quite the pastor, the preacher and the scholar. Expressing this more colorfully, he was a man who on the front page of his church website has an open Bible with this phrase, “glorifying God by reaching the world for Christ.” Would it be that we all – as shepherds of God’s flock – have this phrase imprinted on the forefront of our minds as we labor for the Master.

I pray that some day I would be a pastor and shepherd with a desire for the glory of God to be manifest as Dr. Kennedy exemplified. May I have a heart for the lost as this man displayed. May I have a heart for the Scriptures as this man so clearly evidenced. I pray that I would be a man that longs for the reality of 1 John 3:2 just as Dr. Kennedy did, 1 John 3:2 2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is.

These were some of his last words before he died from his pulpit at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church,

“Now, I know that someday I am going to come to what some people will say is the
end of this life. They will probably put me in a box and roll me right down here
in front of the church, and some people will gather around, and a few people
will cry. But I have told them not to do that because I don’t want them to cry.
I want them to begin the service with the Doxology and end with the Hallelujah
chorus, because I am not going to be there, and I am not going to be dead. I
will be more alive than I have ever been in my life, and I will be looking down
upon you poor people who are still in the land of dying and have not yet joined
me in the land of the living. And I will be alive forevermore, in greater health
and vitality and joy than ever, ever, I or anyone has known before.”
May we all have this vision for the land of the living as Dr. Kennedy did. May we hunger for it and long for it with an increasing zeal day by day. To God be the glory.

1 comments:

your wifey ;-) said...

Honey,

I think you already ARE a man like that. You are such a blessing & a treasure, my love, not only to me but to all who know you... great blog!

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