This post is the newsletter I prepared for the church of which I am pastor. There is a wider message, one which may be of some value to those who are not the direct recipients of the original newsletter.
Dear Church Family
Yesterday afternoon, right after the Thanksgiving dinner leftovers, I headed out into the neighborhood where our church building is and had a most wonderful time. I came back with 13 less booklets titled, God’s Glory, which is a handsome yearly calendar with lots of extras, plus a music CD, and a book mark with a schedule of our meetings. On the reverse side there is a wonderful piece Katie wrote, which I read to all 4 of the people I had a chance to talk with and which proved to be a perfect ice breaker. Every one of these was divorced and knew about our workshop, and this lead into a couple of rather deep conversations. I was surprised at how these people had very positive things to say about our MAC and every one of them said they would like to visit.
I intend to continue this “invitation evangelism” every afternoon after lunch that I can. Years ago I did this same thing and it yielded some fruit. There are about 40 booklets left and I am going to get them all out, by God’s grace, in the next couple of weeks.
The Friday before this past Sunday (November 30), Katie and I went into San Francisco to get some video footage for a book trailer we are getting ready for Memoirs of a Jesus Freak. Though we did not intend for this to happen, it was a fantastic time of witnessing and it was like the old days, and I mean the late 1960s and I was reminded that the real thrill and adventure of the Christian life is doing what Jesus said to do — proclaim the Gospel to all. In a way I am failing you if I do not encourage you to be a witness. Yes indeed, there is a genuine fear factor involved, the fear of rejection or humiliation. I mean, what if you run into someone you know. These issues are soon overcome however. Now, I do not want to make anyone feel bad, and I certainly intend to go about the neighborhood by myself, even without Katie, because I think one person knocking on the door is less intimidating, but I must say that we are all called to tell others about Jesus and this is the best time of year to do so.
For some reason, I have been lately energized to reach out to Muslim people. I am past the point where I am concerned and worried about the Islamists and terrorists, that is real concern certainly, but more than that I have been given a heart to reach out to these poor people who have been captivated by a demonically oriented religion. And they are helpless to get out, the vast majority of them, though some do leave Islam and at at price. In January, actually the 17th and 31st, Saturdays, from 10am to noon, we will be studying Islam. But, you must let me know so I can order the proper number of books. Already there are five indicating they want to be involved and I have already started feeding them some books. And guaranteed, this will change your life. Hey, you know what, us old preachers, we just never give up. We still have a reason to get up every day and go to the work. And who knows how much time we have left.
Now Christmas — for me and so many this special time of the year is a mixed bag. I love it really, the tunes go through my head, those lovely hymns I have known so long and which get richer in meaning as the years roll on; yet there is a certain melancholy for me right in the middle of it, and sometimes to the point I am merely hoping to get through till January in one piece. Long ago I stopped trying to be a cheer leader, jumping up and down and waving pom poms about how happy we all ought to be. After all, we are not children anymore. I prefer our low key celebrating of the season at MAC with our focus on the great traditions of Christmas and the core meaning of Christmas. And we spend a considerable amount of time together, in table fellowship especially.
This will be my seventy-second Christmas. It has been a good run and by God’s grace there may be some more. My dear friends, a most merry Christmas to you all.