This past Sunday I preached from Colossians 4:2-6 and unpacked these two simple points: 1) Evangelism is for Everyone
2) Evangelism Happens Every Day
Check out this great new website on the gospel called the6c.com. Chad Nuss has put together a really helpful resource for anyone who is curious about Jesus Christ and how he influences our lives and this culture. I invite you to take a look at the various videos, articles, and helpful information and to point others to this website as well.
- The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones
- The Story of God for Kids by Soma Communities
- Engaging in Story by Soma communities
- The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative by Christopher Wright
- The Mission of God’s People: A Biblical Theology of the Church’s Mission by Christopher Wright
- The Drama of Scripture: Finding Our Place in the Biblical Story by Craig Bartholomew and Michael Goheen
- Living at the Crossroads: An Introduction to Christian Worldview by Craig Bartholomew and Michael Goheen
- Light to the Nations: The Missional Church and the Biblical Story by Michael Goheen
- Treasure Trove of Articles and PP Presentations about the Story of God by Michael Goheen
- Shaped by the Story: Helping Students Encounter God in a New Way by Michael Novelli
- The Story of God, The Story of Us by Sean Gladding
- Redemption: Freed by Jesus From the Idols We Worship and the Wounds We Carry by Mike Wilkerson
My buddy, Cam Potts, also pointed me to this great resource that "provides a beautiful, powerful, yet simple explanation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ using 4 major themes found in the Bible: Creation. The Fall. The Rescue. The Restoration." Check out the website for more info.
My friend, Matt Perman, recently guest blogged at the Leadership Summit at Willow Creek. He wrote that John Dickson's message on humility was the best he's heard on the subject. Dickson is Director of the Centre for Public Christianity and Sr. Minister, St. Andrews Anglican Church, Sydney, Australia. I had the privilege of meeting him at a conference we held for pastors back in 2008. He's the real deal - probably the clearest (and most encouraging) speaker on the topic of evangelism I've ever heard. I encourage you to read John's books and listen to some of his messages here.
Tony Kummer, from ministry-to-children.com, recently asked me to respond to the problem of over-churched kids. By over-churched kids, he means kids with too much religion and not enough actual interaction with Jesus. This is a relevant issue for pastors' kids. My short answer is that we must model the gospel to our kids and get them on mission early as a church family.
Michael Wallenmeyer challenges us to ask these questions as we seek to engage our neighborhoods:
- Without asking someone else, can I provide the first and last names of the people who live beside (or above and below) me?
- What can I describe about their lives that can be known only by someone who has been inside their home?
- What are some of the God-shaped longings and/or questions that currently shape their lives?
And I'm especially challenged by this last question:
How cool would it be if when people asked us what God was up to in our church, instead of heading to our buildings, we took them for a extended tour through our neighborhood to show them?
Here's an old video from a couple years ago! The challenge is still relevant so I'm reposting it. Let's get off the couch and get into the lives of others this summer! You can also check out my post on Gospel-Driven Garage Sale.
Alistair Begg, John Dickson and Rico Tice teamed up for this year's Basics Conference at Parkside Church in Cleveland, Ohio. The theme: Doing the Work of an Evangelist. Everyone loves Begg. Dickson is one of the clearest speakers on evangelism I've ever heard. And Tice spent the last few years developing the highly acclaimed, Christianity Explored. Quite a line-up.
My pastor, Tony Rose, said it was one of the best conferences he's been to in awhile. Check out all the sessions here.
As people enter our doors this Easter Sunday, will they see us as real people worshiping a real Savior? Will they enter a community of grace? Tim Chester, in his excellent book, You Can Change, lists some great questions to discern if your church is a community of grace, and thus attractive to broken, needy sinners.
- Are people open about their sin or is there a culture of pretending?
- Is community life messy or sanitized?
- Are broken people attracted to your community?
- Is conflict out in the open or is it suppressed?
- Are forgiveness and reconciliation actively pursued?
- Do you constantly return to the cross in your conversation, prayers and praise?
Randy Newman on his new book, Bringing the Gospel Home:
Whenever I have spoken about evangelism, the number one question I get asked is, “How do I witness to my family.” Often the question is posed with tears and anguish. So I decided to tackle this emotionally charged topic by focussing on the goodness of the gospel, the high priority of family, and the complexity of communication. My goal in writing this book is to offer people hope by pointing them to scripture and telling a variety of stories of others who have witnessed to family.
This book comes out in April 2011 - pre-order a copy.
Sometimes it's difficult to discern the validity of a child's profession of faith. We complicate things further when we look for the wrong thing. When I started out in ministry I remember someone telling me that a child's love for Jesus is a good indicator that he or she is saved. There's some truth to that. Our faith should be evidenced by a change in our affections. We ought to love Jesus and hate our sin. Yet discerning how much a child loves Jesus is difficult to gauge. Indeed, many children grow up "loving Jesus" and admiring him as a great person. So the question of how much a child loves Jesus isn't very helpful. A better question is how much does this child understand (and embrace) the love Jesus has for him. 1 John 4:10 says,
"Herein is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins."
This verse puts the emphasis in the right place. It's not what I do for Jesus that saves me, it's what Jesus has done for me. My salvation (and assurance of salvation) is not based on how much I love Jesus, it's based on how much Jesus has loved me through his substitutionary death on the cross.
When we picture community in the church we usually think about sitting in a safe, comfortable home with our small group laughing and hanging out together. And that's a good thing. We need that! But I often wonder if real community can only happen when we get off the couch and get into the lives of people and risk something for the gospel. Alan Hirsch calls this communitas--the next level of community where individuals come together in a common mission that may include suffering and opposition. His thoughts are compelling:
What do you think? Do you agree with Hirsch? Can real community (communitas) happen without moving into the lives of people outside the church?
I saw this statistic today and thought it was worthy to share: Top Five Times People Are Open To Considering Matters Of Faith…
* #5 – After the birth of a baby (28%) * #4 – After a natural disaster (34%) * #3 – After a major national crisis i.e. 9/11 (38%) * #2 – During the Easter season (38%) * #1 – During the Christmas season (47%)
Who will you personally invite into your church and into your home this Christmas?
A couple weeks ago at our Wed. night ministry to families (called SEEDS), I shared the gospel using giant silly bands! I got the idea from this great website and made it my own. The basic outline: God is the King (Gold Crown), We are Sinners (Black Heart), Jesus is the Savior (Red Cross), and Turn, Trust and Follow (Green Foot), is an easy way for kids to remember the gospel visually. Special thanks to Connie Homola for making these silly bands out of PVC pipe!