I enjoyed this video from David Platt about how to practically make disciples on a day to day basis.
Archives For Evangelism
I have often marveled at how much and how light the Apostle Paul traveled. As you read the book of Acts and the Epistles you get a quick sense of how much ground the guy covered. He was in and out of countries, cities, and towns. He shuffled through different cultural contexts with their variant practices of worship. You see him in synagogues, in the market place and in the Areopagus (Acts 17). At the same time, he traveled light. He had one satchel and it was filled with gospel.
Rick Warren is a masterful communicator. So, what is he endeavoring to communicate with his announcement that they are canceling the services at Saddleback Church this weekend so they can serve their neighbors?
According to The Christian Post:
“Good Neighbor Weekend” has been enthusiastically received by the majority of the 20,000 members at Saddleback Church in Orange County. Many have already signed-up online for acts of kindness, according to church officials.
Volunteer opportunities suggested and organized by church members include visiting severely disabled children in hospitals, serving breakfast to homeless and families living in motels, and helping families having members in the military stationed away from home with house chores.
Additionally, many more churchgoers will be reaching out to their neighbors in ways they’ve conceived themselves.
Did you catch that number? 20,000 people! That’s a lot of people.
Let’s think about this then in terms of pros and cons (concerns).
In Matthew 28, the Great Commission, Christians are instructed to bring the gospel to all people and nations. Think about how radical this is. It is a command to transgress the ethnic, national, and social boundaries of this world with the gospel. Of course, Christians are to do this in an honorable, charitable, and tactful way. But make no mistake about it, it is a command to make converts from people’s current systems to Christianity.
Think about how unsettling this would be if other institutions adopted this same charge. David VanDrunen, in his very helpful book Living in God’s Two Kingdoms, says this:
This missionary task distinguishes the ethic of the church from the ethic of common kingdom institutions. Any earthly society that sees its task as evangelistic in nature has radically transgressed its proper boundaries. A Nazi regime that seeks to make the whole world German—or any American regime that seeks to make the whole world American, for that matter—is a frightening thing. No civil government could accomplish such a goal except by trampling other civil governments through unjust warfare. No particular culture could dominate the world except by a cultural imperialism that fails to respect the creativity of image-bearing human beings in other cultures.
It’s been over 8 weeks now since protesters descended upon Wall Street to tangibly express their frustration. 8 weeks! That is 8 weeks of living in tents and among strangers in public parks. Initially in New York City and now spreading out to other metropolitan areas, it is clear that the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protestors are continuing to gain momentum and news coverage.
What is not as clear is why they are “occupying” these parks. I should say it is not clear in an coherent, organized, precise direction.
On the other hand, their objective seems to strike a consistent tone.
I was recently in for a doctor’s visit and was attempting to turn our time of chit-chat into gospel-chat. As I made my move the Dr was receptive. When I told him I am a pastor he smiled and asked, “Where do you guys get the topics for your sermons?”
Without thinking I gave what I think was a great answer, “The Bible.”
He smiled and said, “I guess I walked into that one.”
A dog barks when his master is attacked. I would be a coward if I saw that God’s truth is attacked and yet would remain silent. (John Calvin)
I have difficulty remembering his name however, his impact remains profound. It was 17 years ago this fall when I was in Basic Training in the military. I was an unbeliever, a flaming (straight! but unabashed) unbeliever. One of my favorite ways to punctuate or begin a sentence was by taking God’s name in vain. Then this guy from Ohio had to bunk next to me. He always read his Bible and refused to let me get off my blasts without calling me out. In his fast paced, country-ish, Southern Ohio-Northern Kentucky twang, he would tell this Yankee, “Could you please not do that?” I would often reply with a stare. He would then say, “Please don’t take God’s name in vain.”
That didn’t convert me, however, it did unsettle me. It did produce some reform, at least around him. Furthermore, I was made aware of what I was doing and I didn’t like these regular meetings with that internal siren named the conscience.