GIFT WRAPPING THE GOSPEL – James 4:4

Please hear my heart on this “concern” – I am not naive to the fact that the mere suggestion of this could be controversial and fly in the face of modern ministry methodology.  Nevertheless, this was not something I solicited from the Lord in my time with him as I was driving to work recently; other than the fact that I have been, for many months now, trying to listen in prayer, more than talk.


This is also NOT a pointing of fingers…. but a reflection upon a question…


The questions I heard as we talked were:


“What are we “appealing to” in our efforts to preach the Gospel? Carnality & flesh, or Spirit & Truth?”


“In our attempts to engage the hearer, what method of engagement are we using, and what aspect of their being are we engaging? Spirit or flesh?”


Anyone who knows me at all, knows that I love a great production, as much or more than the next guy; however, I can’t deny the question God asked “me” and I can’t deny my personal conviction that if we use carnality to engage, entreat, invite, draw, etc – then we will have to use these same methods to “retain”.  If these methods are carnal or fleshly, then is this God’s way?  Certainly He has given us gifts of creativity!!  However, I guess my concern, based on the questions the Lord asked me is, are we using our creative gifts to appeal to spirit or flesh.  What appetite are we satisfying? Certainly the feeding of the 5,000 (4,000) was creative and fed the physical appetite (however it was unquestionably a spiritually miraculous revealing of Himself)… however, likewise, “eat my flesh and drink my blood” was creative too, and, wrapped in mystery, it rocked His followers to the core, and “many left and followed Him no more.”


In our creative & sincere efforts to draw them in and engage them, what methodology have we embraced & promoted?  I have been convicted, for a few years now, that much of my attempts to “engage” and many of my “methods” sound and look a lot like James 4:4: 


“You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”


Are we making ourselves enemies of God in our attempts to engage, appeal to & otherwise attract people for ministry?  Does God need, use or condone such actions?  Does the end justify the means?


God is asking me, and those who would be willing to dialog and explore, with an open mind: “What direction are we going to take in ministry?  What methodology will we embrace as Godly?  What aspect of those whom we have been given audience with, will we make effort to engage (or appeal to)?  Are we following Jesus’ model in ministry, or “improvising”?  And if improvising – is our improvisation of Him, or of the flesh?


I know these are hard and even dangerous questions – but I find “hard” and “dangerous” exciting, when it is inspired of the Lord!!  I have found tremendous growth in my relationship with the Lord, by challenging and questioning everything to insure it lines up with Christ. (As C.S.Lewis wrote, “He is not safe, but He is good.”)


I welcome your dialogue on these questions and thoughts.  Let’s be Christlike in this.  If you aren’t willing to engage a Christian Dialogue (two-way conversation, with multiple points of view, and a willingness to glean insight from Christ in others), without being harsh or critical of others, then please refrain from participation.


For The Kingdom,


~ Gary

About NoSpectators

NoSpectators primary blog author, Gary Kienel, strives first and foremost, to be a dedicated Ambassador of the Kingdom of God in the earth; Gary is also humbled to be a husband of 38 years to Shelley; a father, poppa, discipler, teacher, pastor, mentor, and worship drummer. His passion is to be captivated by Christ Jesus; and found faithful as a believing disciple of Christ named among the "sons of the Kingdom"!

Posted on March 9, 2012, in Bible, Carnality/Flesh/Worldliness, Jesus Christ, Ministry, Student Ministry, The Gospel of the Kingdom, Worship Music. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. When I was engaged as a ‘professional’ minister in a large church and spoke with other ministers about events and activities, one of the first questions asked was usually, “How many did you have?”
    And when talking about evangelism efforts the question was usually, “How many got saved?”
    The direction we take in ministry and our methodology usually reflects our focus. When we focus on “How many…?” then that’s how we plan our activities and events.
    Jesus drew a crowd by teaching and healing – using the gifts of the Spirit, so to speak. Some of the giants of Christianity did the same. When this happened, God certainly got the glory. Today,we do say that when we have a successful activity, “Praise God!” Then we are tempted to continue by listing all the wonderful things we did to make this activity great. I’ve done it myself. We want to know if the money and effort we spent was worth the result. Hello???

  2. Seeing that we all have a ministry, a door that God has clearly opened & provided an avenue, I find myself asking this same question you mentioned above! Is this truly about the ministry or is it about the fringe benefits that come with it? Am I using it to share the gospel? I agree these are questions we all need to ask our self! “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” That is so right! Are our reasons right? Is it about our Master? Forgive me Father, I press forward, seeking His guidance & direction.

  3. We are to be salt and light, a city set on a hill, be the example and the difference in the world through humility and love. We don’t need to become like the world to win it. Jesus didn’t. Why should we? Blessings, Gary!

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