Personal Witness Training
Copyright 1994 by the Christian Research Institute.
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“Personal Witness Training: Your Handle on the Great Commission” (an article from the Christian Research Newsletter, Volume 2: Number 6, 1989, page 4) by Hank Hanegraaff. The editor of the Christian Research Newsletter is Ron Rhodes.
Years ago I heard an illustration of a young boy named David who was busily engaged in building a sand castle on the seashore. This was not to be an ordinary castle. It was to be the most magnificent sand castle ever built.
David labored from the early hours of the morning through the heat of the noonday sun. Gradually the sand castle began to take shape before his very eyes. He had crafted magnificent motes to protect the sand castle from invaders; there were huge fortresses with flying buttresses; and there were tall, stately towers with brightly colored flags furled in the breeze above them.
David was so engrossed in his labors that he was completely unaware that the sun was slowly sinking. He was oblivious to the dark clouds forming on the horizon and was completely blinded to the tide that was moving inexorably closer and closer.
Finally, the inevitable occurred. In the growing crescendo of waves, there came that mighty torrent of water that leapt his carefully crafted mote and overwhelmed the castle of his dreams. David stood there with sand and water dripping from his fingers, looking down in utter disbelief and dismay as his magnificent sand castle disappeared into the sand around it. The towers had crumbled, the motes were full of water, and the flags laid muddied in the sand.
A sad story? Perhaps. But not nearly as sad as the fact that this is a perfect analogy of the post-Christian era in which we live. Like David, we are busily engaged in building our dream castles. And we are unaware — like David was — of the “sinking sun,” of the “dark clouds” moving toward us, and of the inexorable “drawing nigh of the waves.”
Three significant waves have crashed upon the shores of America. The pilgrims rode in on the first wave and brought with them the Judeo-Christian tradition. God was honored as the sovereign Ruler of the universe, and America became the greatest missionary-sending force in the world.
But then there came another wave. This wave brought in the concept of secular humanism, and with it, science was hailed as the new “god.” Americans became intoxicated by their own abilities to solve problems through science and human effort. Man became the master of his own destiny. Evolution became the central pillar on which this society was founded. No longer accountable to a sovereign God, Americans began to live by the dictates of their own wills. Suddenly, America was engulfed in a sexual revolution which brought with it a pandemic of AIDS, broken families, abortions, and alcohol and drug abuse.
And then a final destructive wave crashed upon the already eroding sands of the American shores. This wave swept America out of the Piscean Age — the supposed age of orthodox Christianity — into the Age of Aquarius. Without a single shot being fired, America had been converted to a new religion in which man deified himself as “god.” Whereas in mechanistic evolution man was said to have evolved physically, in the New Age movement man is expected to take the ultimate evolutionary step toward “godhood” as he raises his “Christ-consciousness.”
One can scarcely forget Shirley MacLaine in the television series, “Out on a Limb,” arms thrust skyward on a Malibu beach shouting “I am God.” And lest she be dismissed as part of a lunatic fringe, one might well consider the sales of her materials and the popularity of her seminars. By 1987 her books had sold eight million copies, generating an estimated $40 million annually.
Over the past few years, cults, eastern mysticism, and the occult have gained an alarming level of credibility in the United States. From the mind sciences to the New Age movement, Americans are being bombarded by the bottom line that “all is one, all is God, and man is God.”
While many church leaders boldly predict revival, America is clearly drifting farther and farther from its moorings in the Judeo-Christian tradition. True revival can indeed take place, but it will not happen _unless_ and _until_ committed Christians once again see it as their responsibility to be salt and light in a lost and dying world.
In the midst of turmoil, Christians alone have the answers for a country (and indeed a _world_) literally out of control. In this environment we have been commanded to “be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks us to give the reason for the hope that we have” (1 Pet. 3:15).
If America is to return to its roots in the Judeo-Christian tradition, it will only happen as God’s people are equipped to effectively communicate the gospel. Only as a person’s heart is transformed by the power of the gospel will he or she turn away from the pagan practices of the New Age movement.
That is precisely why I developed a program called “Personal Witness Training: Your Handle on the Great Commission.” In twelve memorable sessions, Christians can become equipped to be effective witnesses for life. By using enjoyable memory associations, participants experience firsthand that learning can be fun.
What might you expect as a participant in PWT? In PWT you will meet Evangel the Good News Bear, who functions as a key to remembering how to communicate not only _what_ you believe but _why_ you believe it. You will discover:
* How the features of a person’s face will always remind you of the keys to developing a relationship and “earning” the right to share your faith.
* How to develop a testimony into an effective tool for communicating the gospel.
* How the parts of the gospel can be associated to parts of the body so that whenever you see people they will remind you of how to communicate the Good News.
* How to lead someone in a response to the Good News and to the assurance of salvation.
* How to communicate the basic steps of discipleship and growth to new believers in such a way that they will never forget them.
* How to handle objections and turn them into opportunities for sharing the gospel.
The Great Commission is not an impossible dream, but rather one which can be fulfilled in our lifetime. If each Christian alive today would lead just _one person_ to faith in Christ each year, in six years they’d literally run out of people to evangelize.
Truly there can be no greater joy in this life than that of being used by the Holy Spirit in bringing others to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Only through the effective propagation of the gospel can America again be regrounded in the faith “once and for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). Only then can we truly stem the tide of a nation mired in the shifting sands of the so-called Aquarian Age.
End of document, CRN0016A.TXT (original CRI file name), “Personal Witness Training: Your Handle on the Great Commission” release A, March 21, 1994 R. Poll, CRI
(A special note of thanks to Bob and Pat Hunter for their help in the preparation of this ASCII file for BBS circulation.)
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