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Archive for the ‘Evangelism’ Category

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“You cannot hear (revelation) without heading it.” Peter Rollins (ht)

I think one of the great lies festering within the church is that hearing is enough.  We can easily leave people with the impression that you can hear the Gospel and that is enough.  We don’t communicate well that it is the the fruit (heading) that is always the evidence of that hearing.  One proves out the other.  But we don’t always tell people that.

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God Colors

What’s your God color?

I love Eugene Peterson and The Message.  I was reading the Sermon on the Mount this week for work and loved it.

13“Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.”

14-16“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven”

I love that image of “God-colors.”  It is so easy to default to thinking God will speak to humanity through nature or the written word, but it is we who are to be how people experience God.

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One of the assumptions we make is that our relationships are defined by beliefs. And this is true to an extent. Much of the tension we experience in relationships is the idea that we must share the Gospel, which over time has been narrowly defined by a single moment of acceptance of faith in Jesus that secures their eternal salvation. And so when we meet someone new, we encounter moments that offer us an opportunity to share the Gospel.

I meet so many people who have such a sense of shame around these brief moments. “I didn’t share the Gospel with them. I’m not living my faith.” As though our relationships becomes defined by this ticket punch.

Much of the tension exists in the assumption that the person we encounter has little or even no knowledge of Jesus. But if we listen, we will likely find this is not true. Most people are aware of who Jesus is. Even in Jewish, Islamic, and Buddhist cultures, Jesus is revered for being an Avatar or prophet. Some might even have an deep understanding of the Gospel.

And even when we share the Gospel story, we’re left with the real question. If this person says, “No,” for whatever reason, will we still choose to love them? Will we still share the Gospel with them? Will we still be love, which is the fullest reflection of Jesus and the call to mission? Or, will will simply treat the person as a transaction that is defined by our duty to get them into heaven? Because real evangelism happens after they say no.

In a postmodern world, they will likely say no until they see the reality of the Gospel in our lives. They are likely reject the Gospel because they want to see if it is “true” in our lives. We can’t hide behind a plastic, intellectual faith that ceases to produce fruit. We must share the Gospel by suffering with them, sharing in their pain, and brokenness. And this is only possible in love.

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I was going through my notes from the New Conspirators Conference and I wanted to pull out the coolest thing I heard. I wrote about this in the reviews, but this is the one thing that stood out to me and resonated days after leaving.

Shane Claiborne was sharing about what it means to love in the midst of poverty. He was so humble and gentle of heart. It is virtually impossible not to want to throw it all away when you are around him. He’s so uncluttered.

And during the question and answer session a guy in the back stood up and said,

“I’m a Palestinian Muslim. But I like what you are doing so I wanted to come and listen.”

Love attracts in ways that no religion can. It cuts through all the garbage and junk we add to the equation. It clarifies and crystalizes the true image of God for those around us in ways that no debate or argument can. When we love, we are Jesus to the world.

So may we BE love today.

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