Evangelism Should Be Bold
Jesus epitomized the statement “Actions speak louder than words.”
He did say things, yes, and we hold His words dear but it was His actions that stimulated responses more than His words. It was John who alluded to this truth in the last verse of his Gospel.
And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. John 21:25
Note that John was focused on the actions of Jesus not His words. I’m sure John recorded everything Jesus said that we needed to hear, leaving nothing out but what he couldn’t record, because of the sheer volume, were the countless things Jesus did. John portrayed a “doing” Jesus not a talking head.
It is also interesting to note that much of what Jesus did was done quietly in the background, without commentary. He didn’t do things to draw attention to himself. He was bold not noisy.
Consider the following: Read more
Preparation Is Key
In Every Detail
Tom Coughlin is the kind of guy that intrigues everyone. He seems a bit brash on the outside but his ability to win football games at every level consistently over a lengthy career, even the biggest game of all – not once but twice – proves he is more than just noise and bluster.
His second book, Earn the Right to Win, reveals just how deeply the stream runs below his turbulent exterior.
And in chapter 3, Success Is In The Details, you get a glimpse of how information rich football is and how cerebral Tom is in mastering the game. Winning at football means processing endless details.
Tom, of course, isn’t focused only on football. His point in the book is that there is a correlation between the effort to win at football and what it takes to win in the rest of life.
Success, Tom says, begins with superior preparation and as Christians we must believe that what is good for football success is also good Gospel success.
Football Is Complex
To appreciate the meaning of Tom’s point we need to first take a look at the complexities of football.
Football has one objective, score more points than the opponent, which seems quite simple until you look at the process. Football is no simple game and the proof is the many people who watch even several games and say, “I don’t understand.”
The reality is, very few people completely grasp everything that it takes to run even one play successfully much less win the game. It really is that complex!
Let me illustrate. Read more
We Must Articulate The Gospel
Not Throw It At People
At the heart of Christian belief is the Gospel. It’s a major concept in the New Testament. I wouldn’t say it dominates but it is definitely pervasive. You find it everywhere you look.
The word is used 98 times in the New Testament and is found in nineteen books. It is mentioned toward the beginning and the ending of several of these books:
- The first three books: Matthew, Mark and Luke
It seems strange that the word “Gospel” isn’t found in John even once, until you realize that John focuses on “belief” which is the personal response that catalyzes the application of the Gospel to an individual’s heart. John’s focus, therefore, compliments the focus on the Gospel in Matthew, Mark and Luke.
Other books where “Gospel” is mentioned toward the beginning and ending are:
- 1 & 2 Corinthians
Mark gives the word first importance. It literally opens and closes the book. It is mentioned in the first verse of the first chapter and almost the last verse of the last chapter. That is also true for Romans.
In three books: Romans, Galatians and Philippians, the word is used at least five times in the first chapter alone – six times in Philippians 1.
The Gospel was obviously important to the New Testament writers and most people recognize that. Unfortunately it isn’t always made very clear today.
The Gospel Needs Specific Definition
It is common that when people talk about Jesus they often mention the Gospel but rarely do much to explain it and it really needs to be explained. “Gospel” is only one word and it has a very simple, unspecific, generalized meaning: “good news.” That’s it. Without more detail you’re still in a mist. All kinds of news can be referred to as “good” so we need to specify what the news is. Read more
The words “believer,” “Christian” and “religious” are often and wrongly used interchangeably.
If we want to know if a person is a “believer,” we ask if he or she is a “Christian” when neither term guarantees the other. Being apparently “Christian” doesn’t guarantee one is a “believer” and becoming a “believer” (saved) doesn’t guarantee a full, immediate and irreversible changeover to only Christian ideals. These terms are not synonymous.
It also doesn’t help that any person referred to as “religious” is generally assumed to be both a believer and Christian-like. Even believers get the tags mixed up – the ones who should know better – which only adds to the confusion.
These terms are similar, yes. They overlap in some ways, yes. But the differences are significant.
There is no guarantee a person will live a Christian life or get involved in religion just because they believe.
- Some believers – good salt-of-earth types – never go to church or adopt the lingo associated with church goers. Their problem isn’t with God or truth but with church and the people who attend.
- They are Christian-like in the sense they are honest, reliable, generous, patient and so on, but don’t make in-your-face claims about how Christian they are.
Even though we hate to admit it, we know this is possible based on what the Bible teaches.
Attempting to display Christian qualities (being a good person) or engaging in religious activity is neither the means nor the proof of salvation. The opposite is also true. Lacking certain qualities or failing to engage religiously may baffle us but it doesn’t rule out the possibility a person is a true believer.
We know this to be true but still use the terms without distinguishing one from another. It’s been done this way so long, people do it without thinking. Semantic confusion at it’s worst. Fortunately we are sensible enough not to do this in other areas. Fishing equipment is a goo example. Even though fishing poles, seines and spear guns have a common purpose no one mistakes one for the other. The terms are never used interchangeably.
But mention the words “believer,” “Christian” and “religious” and things get blurred. Please allow me to explain why that should change. The differences are bigger and more significant than you might think. Read more
Filed under: Christian Living, Evangelism, Ministry Methods of Jesus
Jesus Is To Be Recognized
Every Christmas we “celebrate” the birth of Jesus or at least we say we do but are we really celebrating or just memorializing?
We talk about Jesus in the past tense, like He used to be here but not now. The timing of His birth, where He was born and how desperate the circumstances were is the focus. We talk about it, play act it and build replicas of it but all of that looks back to a time in the past. A time that most of us can’t relate too.
Is that how we celebrate birthdays? We look at a person’s baby pictures and talk only about the circumstances of their birth, and we speak of them only in the third person, as if they aren’t present or living. That makes a great memorial, not a birthday celebration.
Christmas today paints the picture of the Jesus that was then. The question is where is He now? He accomplished a lot in the few years following His birth but is He finished? Was His impact only for that day and time?
When we celebrate the birth of Jesus two important facts should influence how we plan the party:
- One, He rose from the dead. He is out of the grave not in it.
- Two, He is a person. He has personal attributes. He does personal things, still.
So, if He loved people, felt their pain, communicated with them, connected with them and saved them 2000 years ago shouldn’t we expect Him to do the same now, even, and especially, at His birthday?
He said He came to seek and to save those who are lost then, and there is no reason to think His purpose has changed. He hasn’t stopped doing what He originally came to do.
So, instead of focusing on the Christmas story of 2000 years ago, let’s talk about the one that is still being written today. That focus will help us see that Jesus is doing the same thing now that He was doing then. The only change in today’s story is geographical. Read more