Capacity for love

The more we love God,

the more we learn to love our Christian brothers,
the more we love God and our brothers,
the more capacity we have to love our lost friends,
the more we learn to love our lost friends,
the more capacity we have to love even strangers we have never met.
It all starts though with our love for God and builds from there!

Keep your eyes open for God at work

I have been reading The Unexpected Journey by Thom Rainer. The book is about people from 12 different faith backgrounds came to find and know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

The testimonies and stories of faith are revealed via interviews conducted by Thom, his wife and occasionally other staff members.
The book is a fun read because the narratives. There are details about each faith and each persons story on how they found Jesus Christ.
My heart has really been humbled and yet excited by reading these stories. One key I have been reminded of by these stories is that God is always working! Even when we think that are neighbors or friends are lost causes, we should not give up on them.
Be on the look out for where God is at work. God placed Christians in each of these respective lives on purpose to share Christ’s love and the Good News.
Simply showing Christ’s love to a neighbor you know is in need by serving them with a gift, food, merely talking to them or even prayer if God is pushing you to serve. The simple love of service can really open the doors to the lost person’s heart and prepare them for the Gospel.

Servanthood Evangelism

“People are more than twice as likely to allow a person to share their faith when evangelism is combined with simple acts of servanthood.”

Servanthood Evangelism is intentionally sharing Christ by modeling Biblical servanthood.

The great ideas for servant evangelism are numerous!

Check out this website for some ideas!

Here are some thoughts:

Walk the streets of the community offering to change burnt out light bulbs for free and share the light of Christ

Change the batteries of fire alarms because of the love of Christ

pass out free water at a sporting event

Do a gas buy down…for a few hours at a gas station offer to pay the station .25 for every gallon pumped in 2 hours. The gas station sells the gas 25 cents cheaper, the customers are happy and you get a chance to talk to the customers about why you are doing this!

Bake cookies for visitors and visit them. The principle is do not just invite the community to come to your church, instead bring the church and love of Christ to them!

Community-driven: cook food for or mow grass for a particular community or a particular set of families, no strings attached.

Do not participate in a “church sports league,” do participate in a community/open/secular league.

People will ask “why are you doing this?”

This is the essence of servant evangelism and this is the opportunity to share the Gospel and God’s love!

Thoughts on discipleship

I think the church has gotten off track in some ways when it comes to discipleship. I want to be an instrument of change if God wants to use me in some way for a discipleship revolution if you will.

Loving people and remembering that they are fallen has really challenged me and made me step back a little bit to remember that what we are dealing with. Sinful people that need delivered, then developed, then deployed…and at each step there will be rejection. there will be hardships. There will need to be caution and extra care taken at each step of the way. So this principle helped bring me down to reality and challenged me. How can we make these changes that I think we so need but also in light of the fact that men are men. Sometimes I have not been a delicate discipler, but I need to be more so.

I desire to build in men at my secular world as well as my sacred world (church.) My strategy might be different but my goal is the same for both: deliver, develop, deploy and see reproduction!

This course influences me to pray for my lost friends at work that I want to build into. It influences me to pray for men to build into wherever I am. This course influences and challenges me to lead the way. I cannot just preach discipleship, I have got to be doing it. Not just on the receiving end but also on the building into new guys end of it.

Teach Truth in love

My pastor and I were having a conversation about teaching. It is great to teach truth from the Bible, that is essential, but if you teach truth without love, without agonizing in love with and for the flock then your teaching breaches legalism. We must teach in love. We must not teach love only without the Bible and truth, that leads to liberalism. (And a bunch of other way off base cults, post-modern relativism, etc…)

There is a balance. You must teach truth, but we must teach with love.

It got me thinking, I am passionate about truth and the Word of God, I love God, but am I being legalistic? Am I agonizing over my learners and students? I love my church and my students but am I putting the two together? Am I agonizing for my students? Am I teaching them only because it is truth and it is right? Or am I teaching them because I love them and know that this truth is what is best for them?

A lot of great stuff to ponder today

The most dangerous thing …

…a Christian can do in this day and age is to live in a Christian bubble, with only Christian friends and never develop real relationships with the lost.

This has been my observation as have been studying evangelism, the post-modern culture, and the church.

You see the culture is more relativistic. They are less likely to be concerned with any theory that claims to be the one true way. They are more skeptical of any type of theory or logic, in general. They have questions but they are not sure what type of answer they want. They enjoy the journey of life.

What they value and want is real relationship. They want someone to love them, listen to them. 1. Becuase all humans desire this. 2. Becuase there is a higher value on this in the post-modern society. Community and social connection. People want to share ideas and blend the relative ideas together. They are extremely acceptable and tolerant of pretty much any belief system, as long as it does not claim to be the “One true way.”

Missional churches have placed a lot of time and creatively into the methods of evangelism. Let me tell you, these creative ways of sharing the Gospel, some of them are pretty effictive. But the biggest thing I have learned and like about most of these missional expiriments is this: the foundation of the outreach is a relationship.

Live out your faith, live out Jesus in your life. Build a real relationship with your lost friends and do not base the relationship on if they go to church with you or not. Do not base it on if they accept Jesus or not. Just be real with them. Be honest with them. Love them. DO invite them to church with you, but do not try to force anything on them.

The most dangerous thing a Christian cna do is to not have any non-Christian frineds, not share his faith, live in a Christian bubble. This is dangerous and bad for all Christians for several reasons!

It portrays a selfish “fat baby” Christian and Christinity. We have portrayed Christianity in a negative light and outsiders have a negative (false) perception of what Christianity is and what we are about long enough! It is time to demonstrate the Gospel and live as Jesus did!

It is not responsible way to live. God has called us to share our faith with others.

It shows lack of maturity, shallowness , and misplacement of priorities. Is Jesus Christ your first love? Prove it.

Intentional Christianity.

The future Christian

My reflection on the Afterword of Unchristian:

This chapter in the book is a collection of thoughts and ideas from Christian leaders.

All of the perceptions in this book are not merely perceptions, but reality. There are tens of millions of people who see Christianity as how it is described in this book and there is good reason to why they see it this way.

Fortunately, God i a God of grace and love. There is a future and a hope. God wants to redeem and save! we need to remember common grace. The Modern church has forgot the basics of our faith like grace. When we forget about grace and do not portray it in society and in our disciples, the culture easily gets a negative perception of who we really are.

The simple truth is we need to become more Christ like again! It is hard work. We do not need strategies, we need to simply build our relationships and transform as Christ did.

This means:
getting out of our comfort zones
advocating for the undefended
be better listeners
fighting for social justice
being more courageous
being more humble
escaping the sub culture
living it out in the real world
truly sacrificing
taking it to the streets
being selfless and compassionate
do less fighting and bickering with those that disagree and love them
heal and self-help ministries, doing what we are called to do – what the government cannot do
being concerned with excellence in everything
being consistent in life
being bold
faith in action
changing our methods but not our mandate

We can truly change the world. God is sovereign and he wants to use us. We need to step up to the plate and let the Holy spirit make us into what he wants us to be.

The Political Christian

My reflection on Chapter 7 of Unchristian:

Dealing with the perception that Christians are primarily motivated by a political agenda and promote right-wing politics.

This chapter did not stick out to me too much.

I’ve blogged about this before so I will not spend too much time on it.

Obviously, younger generations are less traditional in their political viewpoints and agendas. Their stands on issues like homosexuality, media decency, sexuality, and family is continual shifting away from what their parents believed.
The younger generations are more willing to compromise their opinions to get the job done. They do not hold strongly to one position. As you can see in today’s relativistic, post-modern mindset!
Also the young generations are more skeptical than any others before them. Especially of the Bible.

As you have heard me rant before: I believe that politics are important but they are not worth dying for. By that I mean we need to put focus on the right thing. God and our love for Jesus is the right thing. If we win an election but loss our soul in the process, then it is not worth it. Also we need not put too much emphasis on Politics, nor on one particular party. Christians should never have a political party of association. We should go a lot deeper than just right wing or left wing. But instead vote for change. World change through the love of Jesus.

One party does not have all the right answers. Don’t put your eggs in one basket, don’t vote nessicarly on one issue. But one which is the best canidadte to lead us as a whole.

Also Chrisians need to lear about respect.
Respect others who have different believes.
Respect the leaders of our nation despite their agenda.
And do not get confused by the word respect!

Also do not think you can solve all the world’s problems with politics, cause you cannot. God can!
Do not be a hypocrite, but do vote. Do pray for our leaders. And do engage politics with a Christ-like attitude! And do promote good thing through politics in light of the Bible.

The Sheltered Christian

My reflection on chapter 6 of UnChristian:

The perception that Christians are boring, unintelligent, old-fashion, and out of touch with reality.

The Christian culture or sub-culture, seems to be well behind the secular culture. It is not as exciting to outsiders.

The perception continues to build since many outsiders see the “moral behavior” of Christians as boring, dull, predictable, lifeless, disconnected, and a rigorous standard of rules that keeps Christians away from pleasures.

Some outsiders go so far to say that Christians do not even have room to think and act for themselves. Their religion keeps them in an insulated box.

And there are good points here that outsiders are making. Think about how much time we Christians spend together doing things together for our own enjoyment. IN OUR OWN BUBBLE!

Instead of engaging a social club, we need to be out in the world as Jesus was.
Outsiders are not aware of their main problems. The true Christian worldview is not prevalently known by all people. We are failing at explaining the problem of sin to our common men. We are failing at sharing God’s love and Gospel!
we are not in the culture creating, contributing, and fighting for good art, music, history, literature, government, science, medicine, education, and social justice. Christians have had a history of creating and contributing to culture in the past and through this they have transformed the world and demonstrated God’s love and the Gospel to others. But today we are failing at this also!

Today’s younger generations are more flexible in viewpoints, more diverse in opinion, more comfortable with just about anything…they enjoy searching for new sources of input. They/We are more protected and more safe. We like safety. Everyone is entitled to safety and their own way of life and opinion and viewpoint.

Of course, every life is messy. Sin is messy. Fortunately our God is a god who can work in the mess, in fact he works better when people’s lives are messy and out of whack.

What do we do?

As is, Christians are not sharing the Gospel enough. They do not even have time to.
We need Balance. We need to spend less time doing in church things and more time reaching out in the world.

We have a responsibility to engage culture and engage lives. We have relationships with outsiders, but are we really sharing the Gospel with them? Are we salt? Are we light? Are we being the city on a hill?
These things take time and energy, are we devoting time and energy to the lost and our outreach to them?

Love dispels fear. Do not be afraid. But let the Holy spirit work and speak words through you.

Have compassion. Expect trouble, persecution, and to be offended. But do not let it bring yo down.

Be ready at any time. God wants to use us if we are willing and ready. Listen to the Holy Spirit!
Also be ready and willing to help the desperate: the sick, the needy, in gritty, real and raw places.

We come back to the idea of balance:
We are to be in but not of the world.
Pure and proximity.
Both are important.

One of the most important things to do is to forget about having this “Christian culture or subculture”
and to simply live in (but not of) this real world.
Secondly inside of this world we all a have a sphere of influence -people we see, live with, go to class with, sit by, in real life at school, at work, and everywhere we go normally.
These people are the people God has placed in your life to talk to, interact with, and share God’s love with.