Sunday, January 23, 2011

Passion and Persuasion

I went with my daughter to hear a beloved former pastor speak on the subject of evangelism. It seems that many churches believe this is a teachable skill. I'm not sure that evangelism is possible without a personal passion burning so brightly that people are drawn to the flame. Those that walk the walk toward joyful Holiness will have others asking to hear the talk.

When Richard and I were in Costa Rica many years ago, the praying mantises would be so drawn to the candlelight on our dinner table that they would reach for it and burn their little "hands". When my grandson was about two years old, he spied the sun setting over the water, jumped off the couch, and as he was drawn like in a trance toward the sight, he said, "Granny, look at the big orange ball. Can I touch it?". With these words, he put out his adorable little fingers with full confidence that he could touch the sun. All life is drawn to the light.

Some people just glow with their glory in God, their joy in Jesus, their happiness in the Holy Spirit, their peace in The Paraclete. How can others resist this power of persuasion? The most blessed with the light are the most needed to walk into the valley of darkness to retrieve the lost. This former pastor seems to be one of these people.

I have had several of my most cherished people facing cancer in the last year. They were at peace while I was dying inside. When I asked how they could be at such a peaceful place in the face of death, they immediately and repeatedly proclaimed that their peace came from their faith in the lessons taught by Jesus. I have faith, but I'm still dying inside at the thought of losing them.

I guess I wouldn't worry so much about missing the faces, voices, hugs, smiles, and smells of my loved ones if I was the one going to God. And I sure hate knowing that they'll be so happy that they'll never miss me as a mere mortal. I am, however, thrilled that they're not adding their own fear to my mourning, and it all comes from a belief in the promise of the Eternal Spirit of Wholeness.

There's an old church song taught to children, "I've got that joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart..." Live it and they will come, and when they ask how you can be so joyful even in the face of death, be prepared with an answer straight from your heart about the source of your joy.


  1. What a great entry. I love the descriptions. Sweet 'the innocence and undoubting beliefs' of a child.

    Oh how I remember the 'I've got the Joy, Joy, Joy'

    I still have it!

  2. EXCELLENT! You wrote a quotable quote in this one that rings so true with me. "I'm not sure that evangelism is possible without a personal passion burning so brightly that people are drawn to the flame." That is simply profound.

  3. The same as the burning flame of evangelism burning within is the peace in the face of death. It's not "faith in the lessons taught by Jesus;" it's the Spirit of Jesus burning within that gives peace. One is intellectual; one is spiritual.

  4. by the way, the reason the saints in heaven do not "miss" those still on earth is that the saints live in the eternal now, so they are at this moment already in the presence of those still in time. Eternity is not severed by time.

  5. At the time my late husband Michael was in the hospital for 7 month before the heart transplant, I was always amazed at how joyful I would awake. I went to the hospital at 7 am each day and often find him back in ICU or some other death watch, but each morning the Lord put the verse in my head and heart "Joy cometh in the morning." I would go into the room cheerfully and he would make it through another day. The Holy Spirit is awesome.