Healing Power

Running commentary on how Jesus' Healing Power is affecting my life - and helping me to help others.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

What's the Threat Level?

Podcast available here

Over the last five years, we've heard a lot about threat levels. With the creation of a new cabinet post called the Department of Homeland Security, came a new idea about threat levels. Using bright colors, we can see how the government perceives the level of terror threat against our nation.

Many have also developed parodies of the threat level. Since I have kids, here's one of my favorites:
Terror Alert Level
I'm thinking about posting it over there on the sidebar...

So we recognize the threat level indicator and what it all means, here is the official listing from the Department of Homeland Security:
  • Red = Severe - basically, a terrorist attack is imminent or occurring
  • Orange = High - There is a high risk
  • Yellow = Elevated - This is where we've been since 9/11
  • Blue = Guarded - If we ever win the war on terror, this is likely where we'll be. Kinda like DEFCON in the military, they never go below DEFCON II.
  • Green = Low - When we all get to Heaven...

But, I began to think about another threat level. The Evangelism Threat Level. In Sunday School, we read the story about Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 8:26-40). We asked why Philip found evangelism so easy, while the rest of us find it so difficult, and people began to share stories.
One told about a playground incident where a first-grader told another first-grader she was going to hell because she didn't go to church. The girl was so traumatized that she had to be sent home, and the parents filed a grievance against the school.
Another told about the day a group of church women who had been sprinkled were told about immersion. 26 were immersed that day.
Another told about an evangelist who had a table at a university and brought in many people from different backgrounds.
Another told about the street preacher with tracts.
I brought up old friends who were 'bible-thumpers' and thought that beating others over the head with the bible was the way to lead them to Christ.

Why are some of these successful, while the others are not? That's when the idea hit me about Evangelism Threat Level. I don't know how many levels there are, but I'll discuss high and low threat levels.

The playground evangelist and the bible-thumpers are a high threat level. I suppose it would be orange or even red.

Meanwhile, the street preacher, though he's likely considered to be a bit whacked-out, is a lower threat level. Perhaps, if he's shouting "The Day of Judgment is coming! You must repent or spend eternity in HELLLLLLLLLLLL!" the threat level would be a bit higher. But if he's just handing out tracts without actually saying anything to you, it would be a bit lower. So, we'll say this guy is somewhere between blue and orange.

Then, there's the guy with the table at the university. He just sits there, with books and tracts, and only speaks to people who first speak to him. That's a pretty low threat level. We'll call him a definite blue. Not quite green because he's still reaching out to people who are not yet believers.

Finally, you've got the group of women at a bible study. They are there by choice, already believers and studying the Word of God. They hear about immersion versus sprinkling and make the choice to be immersed. That's a very low threat level, we'll call it a definite green.

OK - so we've got
  • Kid tells another kid she's going to hell
  • Bible-Thumpers
  • Street preachers
  • Guy at the table
  • Ladies at a bible study

Now, how do we handle the different threat levels? I think that depends on your relationship with Christ and your personality style. Me, I'm not very comfortable getting in people's personal space, but I've been told that this writing is actually impacting lives. So, I keep writing. I also do things like sit in restaurants reading my bible with copies of the Gospel of John available to distribute. I let them come to me. It won't plant a seed, but if someone's seeking and sees my bible open, they'll ask.
There are others who are more outgoing. They are gifted with being able to just come right out and say it even in less comfortable settings. They won't sit and wait, they'll interrupt your day and say, "My friend, do you know Jesus?" Sometimes it works. Every time it will plant a seed. If they don't know when to let go, though, they'll just drive people away from Christ. They'll become 'bible-thumpers'.
Then there are those who don't do anything. They are so uncomfortable with the Word of God that they just sit there and hope nobody ever asks them about Christ. If someone does, they blow it off. I used to be this kind of person, but the Spirit convicted me of my lackadaisical attitude toward the Word of Christ.

What's your threat level? Are you willing to push it a bit and share the Word? Are you willing to reach out to others? Be a hero.


  • At 8:23 AM, Blogger Joy in the Journey said…

    A few weeks ago, our extended family spent a weekend at the family cottage.

    The 25-year old husband of my niece was there. He's a nice guy, but then again, there will be a lot of nice people in hell one day. Someone told me that he regularly watches PG-13 and R rated movies with his three year old son.

    As a professional Christian mother, that fact endlessly disturbed me.

    We were all sitting on the dock--kids were fishing, parents were helping them, and we were enjoying the water and (God's) creation.

    The Holy Spirit came over me in a way that I've rarely experienced. I casually said, "So where are you guys going to church these days? You know, being a Christian isn't just a one hour a week deal. It's all day, every day. Why would you want to watch movies that don't give glory to God? Or listen to music that isn't praise and worship music?" Every time I opened my mouth, I had NO IDEA what was going to come out of it.

    "Well, we're trying to find our son a Christian preschool. My wife and I should really pray together more, blah, blah, blah."

    I said, "This isn't about your son or your wife. This is about you. What are you doing to get personal with Jesus."

    Looking back, I can see that my threat level was undoubtedly red. Is there something beyond red? Like maroon???

    But it did fit the situation perfectly. We all should strive to become so in tune with our surroundings as to be able to adjust our methods to be the most effective.

    God tells us to "Just do it." Not "Do it if you feel comfortable." May the Holy Spirit make us all to feel extremely comfortable at all times and in all places!

    I wonder how our next cottage gathering is going to go. . .

  • At 1:56 PM, Blogger NChitwood said…

    this is something that i have always struggled with. i usually wait until a question is asked, then i'll be glad to chat about jesus and salvation. but until then, it's all about shopping, eating, blah blah blah. i need to get my act together in this department for sure! thanks for the wake up call buddy!! sometimes it's too easy to assume that all the paid professionals are doing the work for you...BAD BAD BAD, i know! *slaps the top of her head*

  • At 10:59 PM, Blogger ClayMan said…

    Wow, Joy! That's great that you allowed the Spirit to lead you! I am still working up the courage to allow His work in my life like that.

    Have you had a chance to find out how your 'outreach seminar' was received? Perhaps some eyes were opened! Praying that this is a turning point!


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