Book Review: The Gospel and its Ministry by Robert Anderson

“The Gospel and its Ministry” is a great read, because Anderson addresses many essential gospel terms and concepts. If there is any subject the enemy wants to distort, it is the gospel. Having written 150 years ago, he does not deal with current distortions like baptismal regeneration or open theology, but his clarifications are important for any age. Continue reading

Five Questions: Bridge Building with the Gospel

 

Five Questions: Bridge Building with the Gospel

I have a growing concern for the lost in the world.  My concern has gone through ebbs and flows over the years, but as I realize the lack of many days left in life (maybe thirty years), I realize I may not have much time to reach out to others.

There are few things in life more moving than to watch a person put their faith in Jesus’ substitutionary death on the cross and His resurrection.  There are few things more fantastic than to watch a rebirth happen before my eyes.  There are few things that motivate me more than witnessing a person who becomes my spiritual brother or sister!

Do you get that opportunity very often? 

One of the tools I use to transition to talk through the good news of Jesus Christ is to ask five questions.  The questions are merely a tool to build a bridge to someone so I can share the greatest news in the world – that Jesus died on the cross for his/her sins and that he/she can grow in a relationship with the God of the universe.  The questions are a tool to share that God loves him/her so much that God sent His only begotten Son to die on the cross for the sins of the world and that whoever believes in Jesus would have eternal life.  That’s fantastic news!

Here are the five questions I use to start a discussion and build a bridge to a person:

  • Do you ever talk about spiritual things?
  • In your opinion, who is Jesus Christ?
  • Do you believe in a heaven and a hell?
  • If something tragic were to happen, do you know where you would go?

           [If God asked, “Why should I let you into heaven?” what would you say?]

  • If what you believed were not true, would you want to know the truth?

The answers to the first four questions don’t really matter too much, but they do tell me a great deal about where the person is spiritually.  They tell me what the person is trusting in for salvation, if anything.  They get the person talking and allow me to gain credibility that I am interested in them as a person (and I am!). 

The main question is question number five, “If what you believed were not true, would you want to know the truth?”  If they say yes, then I have a free and open door to walk through and share my faith.  I’m not forcing myself onto the person.  I give the person an opportunity to say no, before I start talking about Jesus.  But once they say yes, then I can take them through a gospel presentation, whereby they can make the greatest decision of all time – accepting Jesus as Savior to become a child of God.

What do you use to build a bridge to talk to people about the Lord Jesus Christ?  Does it work well?  I’m interested in your feedback, because I want to be effective in building bridges and sharing Christ.  Let’s go reach the world for the sake of Jesus!

It affects you!

            Every infringement on God’s presence around you affects your life!  Whether it is an attack on the comment that Dan Cathy, CEO of Chick-fil-A, makes, or the removal of crosses across the country, “it affects you!”

There are groups trying to remove the Mount Soledad Cross in San Diego erected on behalf of Korean Veterans, the cross in the Mojave Desert and now the Steubenville, Ohio, logo, which has a small cross.  An organization called “Freedom from Religion Foundation” FFRF makes the following statement:

“Steubenville is a theocracy and is a Christian city where non-Christians or nonbelievers are not favored citizens. The city may not depict the university chapel and cross because to do so places the city’s imprimatur behind Christianity. The city of Steubenville must not endorse ‘faith’ and church. While we understand that Franciscan University is part of the City, the City may not depict the University chapel and cross because to do so places the City’s imprimatur behind Christianity. This excludes non-Christians and violates the Constitution.”1

Because of the FFRF actions, the cross was removed from the logo.

Is this really significant?  After all, it is “government” property and the government is bound to not “promote religion.”  Friends, this is an example of Normalcy Bias whereby we think things will not get any worse if we just let this happen.  We think, we’ll let this happen, but nothing worse will happen. Should Christians get concerned that organizations are even going to remove crosses from cemeteries?  They say they would never do that, but the people of Germany never thought things would get as bad as they did during the 1930s.

The issue is the cross removal, but it’s more than that.  It’s an issue of whether we Christians are going to share the love of Jesus Christ’s gospel and see God’s mighty works done in our lives.  Is God’s tremendous grace so powerful that it affects your life to tell others?  Are you more excited about God’s grace than the multitudinous forms of entertainment? 

I would like to make my agenda holding forth a plan to keep every cross standing.  I am concerned about that, because every symbol removed is a sign of moral degeneracy in America.  However, I’m even more passionate about the gospel spoken to every person in America and appreciate what our Outreach Team is doing to be intentional to follow up with visitors and community friends.  Let’s ask God to focus our attention on all the right priorities!

1http://politicaloutcast.com/2012/08/atheist-gestapo-bullies-another-city-into-removing-crosses/#ixzz22ahyk700

War on Poverty Man’s Way

            In 1965 Lyndon Johnson declared war on poverty when 15% of America was under the “poverty” level.  His “deal” became a raw deal, because man will never solve his problems without the Grace of God.  We now spend 668 billion dollars per year on 126 programs.  We are still at the same level of poverty of 15%. God is not a part of the program. If you leave God out of any solution, you’ll have a temporary fix at best and a deceitful money pit of misery at worst.

            When a repentant woman came into a dinner engagement and anointed Jesus’ head with a very costly oil of spikenard, the indignant criticized her for this seemingly waste of resources.  Jesus told them to leave her alone and then said, “For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good; but Me you do not have always.”  (Mark 14:7)  Jesus didn’t say, don’t help the poor, but you may do them good.  He also said they would always be with you.  In other words, we ought to do good by helping, but always in the name of Jesus, so Jesus is the reason for our help to them and they know the reason for the help they receive.  But we should also know that money and resources in themselves are not the solution to poverty as the raw deal has shown.

            Am I against the support the poor receive from the government?  Not really.  I believe the church should be the source of help, but the church is at a point, where it can hardly take care of its own.  Unfortunately, the government welfare level of support has risen 41% in the last three years alone, an astronomical figure and still there is no change to godliness or upward mobility of the poor.  The only true answer is a change of heart and seeking after God’s way.  Money has become one of the “gods of this age.”  People think money will solve theirs and the world’s problems.  It never will and never was meant to solve problems.

            What we can do is reach out to the poor through intentional outreach.  Grace does that through Servant’s Heart, individual ministries and the newly formed Outreach Ministry Team. Who can you tell about your relationship with Jesus Christ?

Book Review: A Gospel Primer by Milton Vincent

The Gospel.  What a remarkable word and truth.  I often forget the Gospel power as I dig into many other theological issues, counsel with practical problems and serve the needs of people.  Yet, the Gospel is the central theme of Christianity and should not be forgotten, set aside or choked out in dealing with the challenges of life.  Milton Vincent has very simply drawn our attention to the beauty of the Gospel message by recalling 31 ways the Gospel must be central to our salvation and life itself.  They remind me to keep things simple and not lose sight of the power of the Gospel to dispel discouragement and frustration.  I appreciate the simplicity of his work “A Gospel Primer” as a breath of fresh air to set aside the concerns of this world to rejoice in the joy of salvation.  His lengthy poem is wisely assembled and built on great principles of Scripture that will move your soul to praise God to His glory.  It is a quick read, but should be enjoyed slowly for reflection and deep meditation.