Is Jesus your friend? I started to put this together as a joke, but realized there may be a teaching principle in there. It features the cast of Wretched Radio (Todd Friel, Tony Verkinnes, and David "Hip Hop" Shannon) break dancing.
For more information on wretched radio, check out www.wretchedradio.com
I would love your thoughts on the 4 page document by Justin Peters (JustinPeters.orgthat can be found at the link below. It is a only a quick summary of a few passages within "The Message", but I found it to be quite powerful. I've have never done a formal study from the message myself, but the few times I have pulled from it I found it to be entirely too much of a paraphrase for my personal taste...however I never read the passages cited in the article.
"And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledgeand all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God."
Last November I posted about how our kids listen to our actions, and just this last Sunday I was blessed to be able to witness another example just last that I want to share with you.
Before I share this story, I want to reiterate that I do not share this as any sort of righteous testimony to my competency as a parent, or out of pride for the actions of my daughter. I know I have many shortcomings as a parent, and there are likely many more that I have yet to realize. I am sharing this as an encouragement for each of you; so you can see that the children in your life are watching you...they are listening to your actions.
Each Sunday morning for the past few months, my 5 y/o daughter "Minnow" and I wake up and head off to church early so I can finish my prep for the Youth Sunday School class I teach. My wife (who is expecting) and our 2 boys (2 & 3 y/o) stay back and arrive later in time for worship. Minnow & I have developed a bit of routine on Sundays. We leave the house in plenty of time and stop by a local gas station/convenience store and get some breakfast. We typically bring at least one million dollar bill tract in with us to give out in the store, and usually leave one at the pump if we need gas that AM.
Last Sunday as we pulled into the parking lot Minnow asked me, "Daddy, can I give a million dollar bill to the lady at the counter?" I had a feeling this was coming, as we had been talking about whom we would give the tract to ever since we left the house. "Of course!” I replied, and we walked into the store. We picked up my coffee and her water, our sandwiches & some pastries for the boys and my wife and went up to the counter to pay. Without any hesitation whatsoever she handed the tract to the woman at the counter and said, "Did you get one of these?" and immediately followed up with "Read the back when you get a chance." I was quite impressed with how smooth it came out for her, but this isn't even the part of the story that I wanted to share. It gets better.
On the way to church we were listening to a sermon and talking some more about the Gospel. Minnow asked me if she could have a couple of tracts to keep in her bible, and I gave her a few after giving her some instructions:
a) They are for giving away, not to be kept and treated as toys.
b) They should always be kept crisp and new looking.
After church, I headed out the front door and back towards the rear of the building where we parked my truck. As I started walking down the hill I noticed three little pony-tailed heads huddled around the opposite side of my truck. I was wondering what they were up to, and my first thought was that it wasn't something good. I decided to slowly approach the truck and keep the cab of the truck between us to shield their view of me.
As I approached, the only voice I could hear was Minnow. What she was saying absolutely melted my heart. This is what I heard:
"Here girls, take these. They are not real money, they are Gospel tracts, and they have the Gospel on the back of them. Here's what you do with them. You give them to someone that doesn't know the Gospel. Just say, "Did you get one of these?" and then you ask them to read the back when they get a chance. Remember, don't keep them for yourself, they aren't toys. Oh yeah, and don't wrinkle them all up. Keep them flat."
I must admit I was quite filled with pride at that moment, and I had a hard time not just interrupting their little pow-wow and picking up Minnow to give her a giant Daddy-sized hug and kiss. But I quickly checked myself and focused on how pleasing this must have been to the Lord, and thought of how I could use it to teach Minnow a lesson on obedience. It is so often as parents that we only teach lessons of obedience when we are battling disobedience.
On the trip home I asked Minnow why she gave those tracts to her friends and she said, "Because I don't want people to go to Hell, Daddy. They need to know about the Gospel so they don't go to hell."
Maybe I need to start listening to her actions more.
Hopefully you have noticed the new logo/banner at the top of the site. I have been considering making a change for quite some time now but I just haven't had the time. But today I decided to just get it done. And here's why:
I created the previous logo when I launched the site well over a year ago. I put a lot of thought into the development of that logo. To me, it symbolized my sinfulness (the red lava like skin) calling out to my Savior to save me. In the logo, I attempted to symbolized Jesus as pure, holy, perfect, exalted (white, w/o blemish, elevated above me). And this is exactly where I failed, and it has been bothering me for some time.
What in the world was I thinking? I'm a wretched sinner, whose every work compared to His (from God's perspective) are like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6), and I tried to somehow capture the essence of the Pure, Holy, Perfect, Loving & Righteous God in a logo? I mean, even if I was able to come up with it, can you even imagine what that would look like? Do you see how inaccurate it would be? I dare not make myself a graven image of the one true God, in order to make him my god. (Deut 4:16-18)
I just want to be clear on something. I'm not saying you can't paint a picture of Jesus, or you shouldn't wear a cross as a reminder of what Jesus did for you. But I am saying that we should be careful with those things. We should be careful anytime we try to capture the essence, character, or nature of God outside the bounds of scripture. When you make (or use) the image of Christ there is a very fine line between glorifying & blaspheming.
Like most of the "gray areas", it comes down to a matter of the heart. I prayer-fully searched my heart, and The Holy Spirit convicted me...I dare not ignore His conviction.
A few weeks ago, my Pastor asked me to sub in for him and teach our Wednesday night bible study. He and I talk quite often about evangelism, and he knows the burdent the Lord put on my heart about reaching the lost, so he asked me to teach on that subject in particular. It turned out that there was no way that I could fit it all into a 1 week class, so it has turned into a 3 week series.
The first session was focussed on two main ideas, "What is evanagelism" & "Why we don't evanglize". Below is the 1st of the 3 sessions, if you are intersted in evanglism I urge you to give it a listen. If you're not intersted in evangelsim...I beg you to listen to this message.
I know there are a lot of smart people that read this blog, and I would love your thoughts and comments on this message, but not related to me. I would like them to be focussed as to how this message could be improved and how effective it was in Glorifying the Lord. That's why we preach & teach, for His glory.
The Most Important Thing We Have (Session 1/3)
"Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures" (emphasis mine)
1. What is evangelism?
a. Evangel literally means "_______________" - Or Good "___________________"
b. Evangelism is the _______________ of "Good News"
c. An Evangelist is the ______________of "Good News"