Is it really Good News?

Good (1)

So much of what we talk about in church revolves around this idea of Gospel or good news.

Mark opens by saying that his writing is the Good News about Jesus Christ. Matthew 4 says that Jesus traveled around preaching the good news about the kingdom. In Romans, Paul said that he is not ashamed of the Good news of Jesus Christ and just a few verses earlier he defined it this way,

God promised this Good News long ago through his prophets in the holy Scriptures. The Good News is about his Son. In his earthly life he was born into King David’s family line, and he was shown to be the Son of God when he was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. He is Jesus Christ our Lord. Through Christ, God has given us the privilege and authority as apostles to tell Gentiles everywhere what God has done for them, so that they will believe and obey him, bringing glory to his name.And you are included among those Gentiles who have been called to belong to Jesus Christ. I am writing to all of you in Rome who are loved by God and are called to be his own holy people. [1]

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How would Jesus use His Money?

Photo Credit: tehusagent via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: tehusagent via Compfight cc

Of all the stories that Jesus told, the Parable of the Shrewd Manager in Luke 16 is probably the most difficult one to understand. Most of the others are somewhat straight forward. This one, however, is tough because Jesus seems to be siding with the bad guy. He picks the guy who does wrong and is dismissed by his employer. The point of the story, however, isn’t that the manager was bad, it was how he used his master’s money to make sure he still had friends after he was let go. Jesus says that the lesson in the story is to, “Use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. Then, when your earthly possessions are gone, they will welcome you to an eternal home.” [1] Continue reading

Speaking the Truth about God

I’ve been on a journey this year through a chronological Bible reading plan. The plan takes you through Genesis and then into Job. There are a lot of things about the book of Job that are very striking, but this time through Job what really struck me was his “friends” and how easy it is to be just like them.

1024px-William_Blake_Job's_Tormentors_c1785-90_this_state_1800-25_British_Museum_LondonJob is inexplicably stuck with disaster and disease. From the human point of view, there seems to be no rhyme or reason for all this devastation after having lived such a good life. Job begins to lament and question why God would do such a thing to him and his friends are ready with an answer that goes like this, “Obviously, Job, you have done something wrong and you have earned punishment from God. Everyone knows that God punishes people for their sin.” Continue reading

Asking the Right Question about Evangelism

“You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” [1]

Recently I’ve been writing about asking the right questions, and there’s one more thing I want to ask about: Evangelism. Are we asking the right questions about Evangelism? Continue reading

Praying for a Harvest

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Photo Credit: bernat… via Compfight cc

The last section of Life on Mission is really the place where you begin. To live a life on mission, you need to begin with prayer. The problem is, most of us don’t start there. We end in prayer.

I’ll admit that I have the problem. I love a good problem and when something is presented to me, I’ll try to figure it out. You may have not even asked me to solve your problem but odds are if you told me about something you’re working through I’m thinking through solutions in my head. The trouble with this mentality is when it comes to mission, God doesn’t ask us to solve the problem. He wants us to go and do His work, not go and figure out our work. Yes he wants us to use our skills, abilities and resources, but we need to do it his way and not ours. That’s why we start with prayer. Starting with prayer allows us to submit ourselves to God’s way and it says that we are relying on God’s power and not our own.

There are a lot of things I could say about prayer, but I don’t need to say all those things. All I need to say is that we need to pray.

In Luke 10:2, Jesus challenges his disciples to ask the Lord of the harvest to send workers into the fields. So my challenge this week at the end of this reflection of Life on Mission is to pray. Pray for God to send workers and pray for God to send you.

Can I get a Witness?

The next step in living a Life on Mission is sharing. This step may be the most intimidating step of a life on mission. This step requires us to evangelize, to tell people the good news about Jesus. On one level, I’m not sure why this step is so hard. Telling people about Jesus should be the most wonderful thing ever. When you find something amazing, you tell people about it. Whether it really is amazing or just a funny cat video on YouTube, you tell people about it, so why not Jesus.

Don't evangelize like this...  Photo Credit: Sherlock77 (James) via Compfight cc
Don’t evangelize like this…
Photo Credit: Sherlock77 (James) via Compfight cc

On the other hand, I get it. It’s scary and intimidating. Whether we’re afraid of what people might think or we don’t know what to say, many people find it hard to share the Gospel. We have so many ideas of what sharing the gospel looks like that it’s hard to know whether we should stand on a street corner or start up a debate club. Continue reading

Neighboring without an Agenda

Recently I heard Jay Pathak and Dave Runyon, the authors of The Art of Neighboring, being interviewed on the radio. The Art of Neighboring is a great book about how to get to know and how to love your neighbors. One of the things that really struck me in this interview (which you can listen to here) was their discussion of loving without an agenda. They argue that Christians need to learn to love their neighbors without the agenda of evangelizing them. I know this sounds crazy considering this is a post about living life on mission and our mission is to share the gospel, but this is an important discussion to have if we are going to take the next step and serve our neighbors. Continue reading

The Sin of Older Brother

Now the man’s older son was still out in the fields working. He came home at the end of the day and heard music and dancing. He called one of the servants and asked what was going on. The servant said, “Your brother has returned, and your father has butchered the fattest calf to celebrate his safe return.”

The older brother got really angry and refused to come inside, so his father came out and pleaded with him to join the celebration. But he argued back, “Listen, all these years I’ve worked hard for you. I’ve never disobeyed one of your orders. But how many times have you even given me a little goat to roast for a party with my friends? Not once! This is not fair! So this son of yours comes, this wasteful delinquent who has spent your hard-earned wealth on loose women, and what do you do? You butcher the fattest calf from our herd!”

The father replied, “My son, you are always with me, and all I have is yours. Isn’t it right to join in the celebration and be happy? This is your brother we’re talking about. He was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found again!”(1)

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When Jesus Gets in Your Boat

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Photo Credit: Leefotos via Compfight cc

This last weekend, we were privileged to Pastor Wilfredo “Choco” De Jesús speak at our International Feast and NexLevel events. He challenged us with the story of Jesus getting into Peter’s boat and how it changed Peter’s life forever. Jesus literally got into the boat of Peter and called him to come and see what he was all about. Later in his life, Jesus sent Peter to go and die.

Jesus has given us the same call to come and see and then to go and die. He sends us to die to ourselves and make an impact in our communities. In order to do this, we have to start where Jesus did and get into people’s boats. continue reading

People of Peace

I’ve been writing a lot about speaking about Jesus and being an ambassador for Christ. This is something that can be extremely intimidating. What I’ve been learning recently is that it doesn’t have to be.

When most of us think of evangelism we probably think about walking up to strangers and saying, “Hey, do you know about Jesus?” or “Do you know what would happen to you if you die tonight?” While this is challenging to people and can produce results in the right environment, I know from experience that more often then not this doesn’t result in very much. Sharing the gospel is more effective when done in relationships and done over time. Again this sounds intimidating. It involves going out and developing a relationship with someone new. While we think that this may be difficult, you probably actually already know someone and have a relationship with someone that would be willing to listen. continue reading