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
What do we share with people when we share our faith with them? In his book Speaking of Jesus: The Art of Not-Evangelism, Carl Medearis argues that more often than not we are telling people about Christianity and not Jesus. At first it sounds a bit crazy that you could do this. How can someone tell about Christianity and not tell people about Jesus? Donald Miller proved that this is possible in his book Searching For God Knows What when he shared the Gospel with a group of Christian college students and left one thing out. He asked them what he left out, and they didn’t know. He left out Jesus. It’s possible to talk about our faith and forget the most important person. So often, we tell people about sin, the origin of the world, we present logical arguments for the existence of God and the supernatural, we may even tell them that Christianity offers freedom from sin and eternal life, but we can fail to introduce them to the person of Jesus Christ. continue reading
Earlier this week, I wrote about how being an ambassador for Christ means to live out His mission. The second part of being an ambassador is being present in the world. If you are an ambassador, part of your job is to present in whatever country to which you are ambassador. You live life there and maintain a presence for your home country.
The same is true for us. As ambassadors for Christ, we maintain a presence for Jesus in the world. When Jesus was in the world, he “became flesh, and made his dwelling among us.” He was present with his creation. Jesus didn’t do what he did from the outside, he did it from within the world. He came to us, rubbed shoulders with us, and showed us a new way to live. Philippians 2 says that he gave up his lofty position in order to live among us as one of us. It’s amazing that God goes to such great lengths to love and rescue his people.
The best way, I think, to explain this is to use the explanation the Greg Nettles and Alex Absalom use in their book One Of. continue reading…
A few weeks ago, I wrote about how we are called to be ambassadors for Christ. We are to carry out His mission of reconciliation that brought us to faith in Christ. When we become followers of Jesus, we are sent on a mission. We are sent on the same mission that Jesus was sent. Jesus tells his disciples, “As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you” (John 20:21). Likewise, Paul writes to the Corinthians that God reconciled us to Himself and, “he has committed to us the message of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:19).
So now we live out the mission that God has given us. This is not something reserved for “missionaries” or “ministers,” but instead this is something for all believers. We are all missionaries and ministers, though not by vocation.
I think that it’s easy for us to recognize that we are on a mission and that the church has a mission. Jesus came to save the world and we attest to that because we have been saved. Then after salvation, we cheer on the church and stand for its mission, but fail to live out the mission ourselves. It’s like being drafted to play for a pro sports team, but you attend every game as a fan. You were called to be an active participant in the team, but instead sit back watch the action. continue reading…
This is the time of the year when many of us settle back into our normal routines. The Christmas decorations are gone and our break is over. Around New Year’s many people made resolutions about how they would change in the year to come. Most of our resolutions have now been forgotten. This month at Westbrook, we have been exploring how to move from making resolutions to being made new in Christ.
Our first teaching series of 2014 at Westbrook, New Year, New You, has focused on helping us go beyond resolutions and become the New Creation the God intends us to be. Our theme verse is 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new is here!” When we submit our lives to Christ, we are made into a new creation! When God makes us new, he gives us a new mission as well. We no longer live for ourselves, but instead we live for the mission of Christ. Just a few verses later we are told we are now “ambassadors for Christ” in the world. continue reading…