Relationships and the Great Commission

This Sunday I preached from Romans 10, where Paul reminds us that we are the instruments God sovereignly uses to deliver the gospel news to the world. "How will they hear without a preacher" is motivation for every follower of Jesus to be that preacher. It doesn't necessarily mean  only pastors and missionaries do the preaching, but all Christians should in some sense, preach the word to the lost. We should do this winsomely, lovingly, and intentionally. This passage convicts me in a lot of ways. For starters, it presupposes that I actually care about those who don't know Jesus. In my daily life, how often is my heart broken for the brokeness of the world around me? Secondly, Paul's words also presuppose something else: that we are actually building relationships with people not like us so that we may be the bridge that leads them to Jesus. Much of our Christianity...

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Three Dangers of Simplistic Evangelistic Methods

If you've been a Christian for any length of time, undoubtedly you've been exposed to one or more "proven" methods of sharing your faith. In my lifetime I've been exposed to a few of these. They have been helpful in narrowing down the message, helping me get more comfortable sharing the gospel, and summarizing the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. But there is a danger in relying too heavily evangelistic methods or tools. Here are three that concern me: 1) We send the message to ourselves and our hearers that the gospel is simplistic. The truth is that the gospel is simple--simple enough for a child to grasp, Jesus said (Matthew 10:14-15). Paul articulated a one-sentence gospel in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4. And yet, the gospel, while being simple is not simplistic. There are many mind-boggling aspects about which we will never understand. We will never fully grasp the Incarnation, how Jesus could...

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Why Christians Are Not the Point of Easter

I'm studying for my Easter sermon. I have to be honest, sometimes I get intimidated by Easter sermons. It's not that I don't enjoy preaching about the pivot point of our faith: the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It's just that I know on Easter there are those people sitting and listening to my message that probably don't want to be sitting and listening to my message. (My friends could joke and say this is the case every Sunday!). Some preachers get really fired up by a crowd of nonchurch people. They are gifted evangelists who are always at ease sharing their faith with hostile hearers. In a Christian sort of way, I envy them. I get nervous. This is a big moment. This could be the only time that some people will hear the gospel. I don't want to mess it up. This is where God reminds me that He can...

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Easter Meditation: What Am I Doing With Jesus?

I’m writing this as I’m meditating on the most beautiful moment in the history of the world. It is the moment when the risen Jesus says, “Mary.” Jesus, the Good Shepherd, knows the names of his sheep. And Mary was a most earnest seeker of Jesus. She had a past to be ashamed of, baggage that would embarrass most of us, things we wouldn’t talk about in polite company.