I am truly amazed when I consider how blessed we are in our ability to communicate the gospel and Biblical truth in our ministries today.
I am even more astonished when I think about how far the Lord has brought us, personally, in this regard, in just three-and-a-half years with The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry.
Of course, in a perfect world, we would have had everything we are doing now all laid out ahead of time—planned, prepared, produced, and ready to unveil before we ever stepped into our first ministry assignment.
Life and ministry, however, are never perfect. We learn by doing. We grow as we are able, as we go—sometimes even as we are stretched.
A turning point for us in our commitment to better communication in our ministry, and toward the greater use of technology in general, came with the shutdowns for the pandemic in 2020. Unable to travel, we had the time, opportunity, and necessity to expand our reach online.
Fortunately, I knew immediately how I wanted to go about doing that. Having assisted Dr. John Whitcomb in operating his page on SermonAudio.com since it launched in 2003, I always knew that I wanted to establish my own outreach there—which I did in April of 2020 at SermonAudio.com/pscharf.
Incidentally, SermonAudio.com/Whitcomb went past a million total sermon downloads in 2021. Since there have been roughly 414 million sermon downloads in the entire history of SermonAudio, that means that about one out of every 400 sermons listened to on the whole website has come from Dr. Whitcomb. That is truly astounding!
I cannot imagine how we ever conducted our ministry for The Friends of Israel without being on SermonAudio. Basically, everything we do, technologically speaking, now revolves around our presence there. And SermonAudio continually adds new features and provides greater tools to accomplish more—more easily.
Steven Lee, the founder of SermonAudio, visited the IFCA International Annual Convention recently in Albuquerque, N.M. I got to meet him in person for the first time and was able to thank him again for the incredible impact of his ministry.
The Lord has graciously allowed us to advance on other technological fronts, as well. I am grateful for SharperIron.org running this column since I began producing it in this current format in 2020. Recently, I have been blessed to make new connections with Dr. Jimmy DeYoung, Jr., who has added me as a broadcast partner and runs my sermons at ProphecyToday.com. RaptureReady.com has also started sharing my articles as a contributor to their website. In addition, the Lord supplied a faithful, expert volunteer to help us get our weekly e-newsletter off the ground in the last year, allowing us to share all of our news and content conveniently and broadly.
We want to be careful to give God all the praise for such advancements and opportunities while also continually looking for new ways to multiply the effectiveness of our ministry.
Jesus did tell us: “By your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matt. 12:37). And His half-brother taught us: “My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment” (James 3:1).
It seems reasonable that one part of that “stricter judgment” may relate to whether or not we have seized every opportunity that is rightfully available to us to get the message out in the short span of time that is ours.
And yet, right there, we are reminded of how incredibly frail, fragile, and fleeting this amazing ability to communicate that we now enjoy truly is—especially in the age of cancel culture. And we face not only this previously unexpected scourge of censorship but also the bane of cyberattacks, which threaten each of us daily.
I recently had the opportunity to interview Steven Lee about these very significant issues. The video of that interview is available on my SermonAudio page, and it will become the basis of my next columns, as I use this content to resume and conclude my series called “Two Years Later: Where Are We Now?”
I pray that these articles will be a help and encouragement to all who read them toward the further expansion of the great ministry to which we have all been called—exercising our amazing ability to communicate for the glory of God.
Paul J. Scharf (M.A., M.Div., Faith Baptist Theological Seminary) is a church ministries representative for The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, based in Columbus, WI, and serving in the Midwest. For more information on his ministry, visit sermonaudio.com/pscharf or foi.org/scharf, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version.