PIPS – Prayer, Inspire, Prepare, Share!

Pips are the little seeds in fruit that if planted and watered in good soil, enables more fruit to grow. It’s a good mixture of biblical metaphor – planting seeds in good soil and seeing fruit grow in our lives.

It’s also the acronym for our strategy in evangelism and outreach. The first three are the springboards for the last word – we spend time and energy praying, getting inspired by God and the Gospel and preparing for gospel work so we can share the good news with the lost around us.

Let’s take a closer look at each word to see how they are crucial to evangelism.

PRAYER

E.M. Bounds in his typically passionate way states: ‘Prayer is the hand-maid of missions. The success of all real missionary effort is dependent on prayer. The life and spirit of missions are the life and spirit of prayer…The missionary movement is the Church of Jesus Christ marching in militant array, with the design of possessing the whole world of mankind for Christ…The key of all missionary success is prayer. That key is in the hands of the home churches’.[1]

Though his main focus is on mission overseas, his words still ring true for the mission at our doorstep. Although God does not need to use prayer to achieve his purposes, he often does! And the success of evangelism is bound up in our faithfulness in prayer. Are we praying for the lost?

Paul knew the need for prayer. He tells the church in Colossae to ‘devote yourselves to prayer’, before asking for prayer himself: ‘And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.’ (Col 4:2-4). Elsewhere he asks for boldness in prayer – so he would be fearless in evangelism (Eph 6:19-20).

Without prayer in our armoury, most of our outreach will be blunt, and it is unlikely we’ll see new fruit grow.

Let’s ‘pray without ceasing’ for the lost.

INSPIRE

Here’s one definition of inspire: ‘to make someone feel that they want to do something and can do it’. Another is: ‘to make someone have a particular strong feeling or reaction’.[2]

To gloss it up in Christian language, we want people’s hearts to so be enflamed that their affections for God and his Gospel will lead to action.

At the end of the day, we all need daily doses of holy inspiration because our hearts are fearful and dulled when it comes to evangelism. We know how important it is, we can tick all the theological boxes, but we’re not excited by Jesus and are scared to share the good news.

Inspire is all about finding such delight and satisfaction in God and his Gospel that we can’t help but want to go and tell. Inspire is about getting us excited about Jesus, so Jesus is naturally on our lips. Inspire is about sharing what you love.

The prayer in Psalm 90:14 needs to be our daily prayer: ‘Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.’

Where do we go for satisfaction? We go to the unfailing love of God; we go to the outstretched arms of Jesus Christ displayed at the cross.

We need to be filled with the vision of Isaiah who saw the glorious holiness of God and said in the presence of God’s power and beauty: ‘Here I am. Send me’ (Isaiah 6:8).

He was willing to go on mission impossible, to people who wouldn’t hear because he entered into God’s presence and saw the holy power and beauty of God. We might not have the same vision, but we can fill our heads and hearts with the vision of our glorious God and His glorious Gospel: The announcement of good news concerning the glory of God in King Jesus!

Dwell on this Gospel. Dwell on Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. Look eagerly to His return. Hope earnestly for the beautiful reality to come – the Gospel that promises a life without death, evil, pain and tears. Behold the victory of God. Remember his promises. Remember his miracles. Remember his salvation. Remember his grace.

Get inspired by looking to our amazing God and his wonderous Gospel![3]

PREPARE

Whenever we go on a trip, whether big or small, a certain amount of preparation is involved. Tick lists are created. Essential items are bought. Time is booked off.

Whenever we have an exam or an assignment, preparation is crucial for success. Revision is needed. Books are read. Deadlines are checked.

It’s the same for evangelism. Preparation is crucial. Peter says: ‘Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have’ (1 Peter 3:15). Traditionally this verse is used for apologetics, the discipline of giving a defence or answer for the truths of Christianity. So how do we prepare?

First, we prepare our hearts. The first part of the verse starts with, ‘But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord’. Make sure your heart is entuned with the worship of Christ as Lord of your life. Check that you’re worshipping Christ. That Christ is supreme in your heart. If He isn’t, spend time doing the first two things – praying and getting inspired. Tune your hearts to Christ.

Second, prepare our hands. The context of 1 Peter from 2:11 to the 4:11 is the appeal to live such good lives amongst non-Christians that they see our good deeds, and through that, see the glory of God. The last part of 1 Peter 3:15 says: ‘But do this with gentleness and respect’. The way we speak and act is crucial. You could describe this as pre-evangelism preparation. Our actions matter. So, are we loving, honest, kind, gentle, respectful, fighting sin and doing good?

Third, prepare our heads. To give an answer requires preparation, like a lawyer pre-trial. We need to know the material and the case so well, that we are confident in proclaiming it. This means there’s no substitute to knowing your bible well, knowing the gospel well, knowing God well, and taking time to think about the big issues – the big barriers to evangelism so you can give an answer about the hope we have in Jesus. Will you be prepared when the opportunity comes?

SHARE

All this leads to the crucial need to open our mouths and tell people about Jesus.  To actively seek out opportunities to share the good news. To share with friends, to share with strangers, to share with work colleagues, to share with family, to share with bus drivers, to share with beggars, to share with those who are heading to hell and need to hear the Gospel to be saved. Remember it’s not our job to save. Leave the results to God. But it is our job to go and tell.

I’ve been set with a scary task for one of my modules, but one I am thankful for because it gets me out of my comfort zone and into mission-mode. The task is this, and it is the ‘unfinished task’ for all of us: Attempt to tell at least one non-Christian about Jesus every week for the next ten weeks.

Why not attempt the same with me?

And remember PIPS

Prayer

Inspire

Prepare

Share


[1] E.M. Bounds, The Essentials of Prayer, pp. 130-131.

[2] https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/inspire

[3] Here’s a summary of the Gospel you can read about in previous blogs: The Gospel is the announcement of good news concerning the glory of God in King Jesus, bringing to conclusion the story of Israel in the life, death, resurrection and return of Jesus, who brings victory over sin, Satan and death, which brings salvation by grace to all who repent and believe in Jesus as Lord and Saviour, following Him unashamedly with hope through suffering and life.

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