Thursday, December 17, 2015

Bishop’s Note: December 17, 2015 Gifts of the Holy Spirit – Evangelists

Bishop Eric Menees

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.”
(Ephesians 4:11-14 ESV)

As we close out this series on the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, we look at the positions in the church that require the gifting of God the Holy Spirit. St. Paul lays out these ministries in the fourth chapter of his letter to the Church in Ephesus. Beginning with Apostles, and then Prophets, today we look at the ministry of Evangelists. 

By definition, evangelists are those who share the Good News of Jesus Christ. While all baptized Christians are called to share the Good News of Jesus Christ, there are those Christians - lay and ordained - who by God’s Grace naturally share the Good News of Jesus with any and all that they meet.

When I think of evangelists, I think of two young women: one named Rebecca and the other Christina. They are two women who couldn’t be more different in personality, or more similar in their love of Jesus. Rebecca, her husband, and their children were members of the congregation I served in San Diego. Rebecca is reserved and quiet, never seeking attention or being out front. However, she has the ability to speak naturally about Jesus and would invite family, friends, and co-workers to church so that they could get to know Him too. Rebecca has a passion for supporting unwed mothers.  She was and is excited to help these women and see their children be born, grow, and thrive!  

Christina and I met when I came to the Diocese. She is single and gregarious, fearless in social situations, and equally has a love for Jesus and a desire to share that with others. Three years ago, the Lord put it on my heart to ask Christina to consider being a lay evangelist at Fresno State University. Without batting an eye, Christina said yes and set out on a two-year adventure that brought the Good News of Jesus to the Campus of Fresno State. While God did not bless that ministry by drawing hundreds of people to an on going ministry, He did draw several non-Christians or lapsed Christians to Christina, who led them to Jesus!

Neither Christina nor Rebecca are “ordained” or hold special titles in the church, but both are gifted evangelists and lovers of Jesus.

How is God providing opportunities and the desire in your life to quietly or boldly share the Good News of Jesus Christ? I bid you to pray for opportunities and the desire to share the love of Jesus; if you ask, I am sure He will give you the desire, opportunity, and ability to glorify the name of Christ!

I pray you all a blessed fourth Sunday in Advent, as we prepare to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ and prepare for His Second Coming!

Catechism Questions 201 - 206

201.    What is the Sixth Petition?
The Sixth Petition is: “And lead us not into temptation.”

202.    What is temptation?
Temptation is an enticement to abandon total trust in God or to violate his commandments. (Proverbs 1:8-19; James 1:14-15)

203.    What are the sources of temptation?
My heart is tempted by the world, the flesh, and the Devil, all of which are enemies of God and of my spiritual well-being. (1 John 2:15-17, Galatians 5:16-21, 1 John 3:8)

204.    What kind of protection from temptation do you ask for?
Knowing Satan’s hatred and my weakness, I ask God to keep me from sin and danger. (Luke 22:31; James 1:14; 1 Peter 5:8)

205.    Does God lead you into temptation?
No. God never tempts anyone to sin, nor is he the cause of any sin, but, so that I may grow in obedience, he does allow me to be tested on occasion, as he allowed Jesus. (Matthew 4:1-14; Hebrews 5:7-8; Genesis 22; Judges 2; James 1:1-8)

206.    What are ways to guard against temptation?

I can guard against temptation by praying the Lord’s Prayer, asking for strength, confessing my sins, recalling God’s Word, and living accountably with others. (Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 14:38; 1 Corinthians 10:13; 2 Corinthians 12:9-10; Ephesians 6:13-17; James 5:16; 1 John 1:9

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