Issue Number Six

Don's Schedule
Please pray for these ministry opportunities.

  • July 12-14
    Sage Avenue Baptist Church
    Mobile, AL

  • July 28-31
    Calvary Baptist Church
    Osceola, AR

  • Aug. 9-11
    United Baptist Church
    Mars Hill, ME

  • Aug. 16-18
    Village Parkway Baptist Church
    San Antonio, TX

  • Aug. 25, 8:30 & 11:00 a.m.
    Open Door Baptist Church
    Raleigh, NC

  • Aug. 25, 5:00 & 6:15 p.m.
    Wake Cross Roads Baptist
    Raleigh, NC

  • Sept. 6-8
    Northridge Baptist Church
    Northport, AL

  • Sept. 13-15
    New Covenant Baptist Church
    Parkville, MO

  • Sept. 27-29
    West Broadway Baptist Church
    Lenoir City, TN

Sample Chapters
by Don Whitney

Why I Am A Baptist
from Why I Am A Baptist

Do You Thirst for God?
from Ten Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health

Silence and Solitude
from Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life

Why Join a Church?
from Spiritual Disciplines Within the Church

A Spiritual MindSet
from How Can I Be Sure I'm A Christian?

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More Evangelism Resources

What If Michael Newdow Lived in Your Neighborhood?

After hearing of the June 26, 2002, ruling by 9th Circuit Court in San Francisco that the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional due to the words "under God," anger knotted my stomach. How could one atheist—Michael Newdow—and two liberal judges in the city notorious for homosexuality, remove the name of God from our nation's pledge? I nearly sheared my tongue off while thinking, "This is another reason why that whole city should fall into the Pacific."

Then I realized how much I sounded like Jesus' disciples, James and John, when they wanted to call down fire from Heaven to consume a city that wouldn't receive God's truth. I knew I deserved the same response they got from Jesus who "turned and rebuked them, and said, 'You do not know what kind of spirit you are of; for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them'" (Luke 9:55-56).

That caused me to think how I should—and not just how I should not—respond to this event. To put it in terms of the 2,000-year-old question, what would Jesus do? And that turned into this sobering self-confrontation: "What would Jesus have me do if godless Michael Newdow (or someone who became similarly disreputable) lived in my neighborhood?"

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Ten Questions to Ask to Turn a Conversation Toward the Gospel

Many Christians suffer with unnecessary fears about sharing their faith. Once they finally get a conversation turned to the subject of the Gospel, however, most believers find that they're able to manage quite well. Much of the time the biggest problem is simply moving a conversation from small talk to "big" talk, the biggest subject of all—the Gospel. Here's a list of questions that can help. Some of them aren't original with me, though I don't recall where years ago I first heard the ones I've borrowed. I've found that the last one opens more doors for the Gospel in the widest variety of situations.

  1. When you die, if God says to you, "Why should I let you into Heaven?", what would you say? Are you interested in what the Bible says about your answer?
  2. If you were to die tonight, where do you think you would spend eternity? Why? Are you interested in what the Bible says about this?
  3. Do you think much about spiritual things?
  4. How is God involved in your life?
  5. How important is your faith to you?
  6. What has been your most meaningful spiritual experience?
  7. Do you find that your religious heritage answers your questions about life?
  8. Do you have any kind of spiritual beliefs? If what you believe were not true, would you want to know it? Well, the Bible says . . . .
  9. To you, who is Jesus?
  10. I often like to pray for people I meet; how can I pray for you?

Evangelism is Possible Without Training

Why don't we witness more actively? As mentioned earlier, some say it's primarily because many Christians aren't adequately trained to share their faith. There is some truth to this. There are worthwhile advantages to going through some guided thinking about the specifics of sharing the gospel. But as we think again about the blind man Jesus healed in John 9:25 it should become evident that we cannot attribute out failure to witness to a lack of training. Though he had been a believer in Jesus only a few minutes and obviously had no evangelism training at all, he was willing to tell others what Jesus had done for him ("One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!"). Moreover, any Christian who has heard biblical preaching, participated in Bible studies, and has read the Scriptures and Christian literature for any time at all should have at least enough understanding of the basic message of Christianity to share it with someone else. Surely if we have understood the gospel well enough ourselves to be converted, we should know it well enough (even if as yet we know nothing else about the faith) to tell someone else how to be converted.

[Taken from pages 106-107 of Don's book, Spiritual Disciplines For the Christian Life. Read a chapter from this book]

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Family News and Notes
  • Summertime. It's been hot and dry here in Kansas City, but when I compare that to the wildfires out west, who can complain? I'm not sure yet, but from a map I've seen it may be that a retreat center east of Payson, Arizona where I spoke back in March has burned. The governor toured the area while I was there because of concerns even back then about the potential for a wildfire. When it started raining during one of my messages, literally everyone in the room ran to the window to watch. I was in a remote area of Idaho in May, and one farmer said that a "crick" in the mountains was dry for the first time he'd seen in sixty years. For us here western Missouri it has only meant that the lawn has browned and thinned in places. But the rains on July 3 & 4 have helped considerably. I'm sure you're all wondering how we've resolved the great flower box dilemma I reported last time. We found a student at the seminary who does some carpentry and he has made one for us and is working on another. Caffy's trying her best to keep the flowers alive that will be transferred to the boxes once they're in place on the windows above the garage. Her tomato plants seem to be thriving and have several blooms.

  • Speaking of Caffy, she hurt her back. In mid-June she was doing some landscape improvements in the back and overdid it. To make a long story short, she developed sciatica. I knew that meant a pinched sciatic nerve, but what I didn't know was that the nerve is pinched by muscle spasms, not by vertebrae. That's the good news. The bad news was that it meant she and Laurelen weren't able to accompany me as planned to a family camp on the banks of the Delaware River in northeastern Pennsylvania. We had really been looking forward to this time together, especially Laurelen. But instead of having a much-anticipated week together (while I spoke each night), it turned into the longest time apart we've ever had. After the camp the girls were going to fly home and I was to fly to Canada to teach at Heritage Theological Seminary near Toronto for a week. So Laurelen had her dreams of swimming, etc., dashed, and Caffy had to spend most of two weeks in pain and various states of incapacitation, and I had to be away from them for two lonely weeks. We're so grateful to Janet McClurg who was able to move in for a week (because Andy was in China) and for my mother who came for the second week. Other friends and church members provided meals and transportation that helped us immensely. Caffy also got good medical care and has just about fully recovered.

  • Laurelen has finished her first season of softball.In Ball Uniform She was in an eight-and-under instructional league. We all enjoyed softball far more than soccer. But I must admit there were times when it was a bit frustrating. If you've ever heard the old jokes about the kid telling an inquirer that the score was 59-0, but that was okay, because his team hadn't batted yet, well, you would get my point. Mercifully, someone thought of ways to adapt the rules to spare us these kinds of things. The games can last only seventy-five minutes; no team can score more than six runs per inning, etc. But at the start of the season we were dealing at the level of the girls not even knowing where to run after/if they hit the ball. Once Laurelen made a good play at third while the runner on second ran to third, but then went past the bag and just stood there, three feet from the base. "Tag her! Tag her!" I screamed from the bench, fifteen feet away, as Laurelen stood with the ball in her hand. Have you ever realized how even a simple phrase like, "Tag her!" is totally meaningless to someone who is new to softball? Both Laurelen and the runner just stared at me until the third base coach guided the runner back to the base.

  • Ecclesiastes 12:12 testimony: Please pray for my last two months of work on the manuscript for Simplify Your Spiritual Life. It's due September 1 and I have a long, long way to go. I'm feeling good about the usefulness of the book once it's published. NavPress has moved the publication date up to June 5, 2003. That's good news. Now I just need to finish writing it!

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