The more I’ve worked with addicts and dealt with my own sins, the more I’ve realized that most churches are falling short in a very important area–freedom from sin. Oh, don’t get me wrong. Most churches teach freedom from sin. Most command freedom from sin. But very few are helping people become free from sin. Most of them simply tell people to quit sinning and then slap them on the wrist when they catch them sinning again or belittle and shame them for doing so. What can we do about this?
Have you ever read “The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom” written by Thomas Jefferson? Many believe it is the basis for the freedom of religion clause in our Constitution’s Bill of Rights. Amazingly, some have used this notion of freedom of religion to mean that none of us should actually talk about what we believe. Our modern pluralistic society asserts that the only real sin is to discuss, debate, or argue about any point of religion. Amazingly, if Jefferson were to hear that being fostered in the name of his Statute, I believe he would roll over in his grave.
Okay we’ll try posting this again. Sorry for the misfire for everyone who already tried to look at this.
As someone commented on the YouTube page, it is a shame something this good is being used to market a marketing company. But then, perhaps they are a marketing company because they know how to come up with something this good.
I just couldn’t help but wonder if the way we spoke the Gospel might not change the way folks hear the gospel sometimes. What do you think? Click the following link to add your input: Post a comment.
For my e-mail and RSS subscribers, if you can’t see the video, click here.
I am certain you want to be involved somehow in saving souls. I know you want your congregation to grow because everyone is involved in that work. But if you’re like me, you’ve been hindered by a faulty model and a slight misunderstanding of Jesus’ teaching. I am convinced that if we can undergo a slight paradigm shift, we will get rid of the #1 hindrance to saving souls and pursue the #1 key to getting the job done.
Please rank my review at Multnomah’s site by clicking here.
Radical: A Book Review
When a book has the word “radical” in the title, you can expect to be challenged. When a book is entitled Radical, you can expect to have your feet kicked out from under you. That is exactly what David Platt accomplishes with his book, Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream. Continue Reading…
I guess it’s been a couple of months ago now that my wife asked me to start having Bible studies with each of the kids. My initial thought was, “What? Are you kidding me? Do you know how much work I have to do each day?” I couldn’t believe she was asking me to add this in to my day. Sure, I want to have some family time in the Word each week, but add in three Bible studies?
I wondered if she had forgotten that we had just moved to work with a new congregation. I was busy trying to meet people. I was establishing new studies with people, trying to visit with guests in the congregation. Not to mention we had moved from a congregation in which I had to preach once a week and now have to preach twice (I know, I know, most of you other preachers are playing the violin and weeping for me). How could she ask me to do this?
I was conflicted. In fact, I felt guilty. I knew this should be something I wanted to do. After all, I am the dad. My job is to lead my family. My job is to raise my kids in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. But at first, all I could see was the sacrifice of my time and how it would get in they way of my “job.”
Then something hit me. If one of my neighbors called up and asked for a Bible study, I would be all over that. If a visitor in the church asked for a study, I would jump at the chance. If anybody in the congregation asked me to have a study with their family and their children, I’d be making all kinds of room in my schedule. Why? That’s my job. It’s what I do. It’s who I am. I study the Bible with people. I’m always looking for opportunities to do that.
Suddenly it became clear. I now have three opportunities to study every week with someone. These three people are extremely important to me. I want them to serve God more than I want anyone else to. Why on earth would I get upset about scheduling time with them to study the Word? Now, no matter what, I get to have at least three Bible studies per week. I get to share God’s word with three people. Sometimes we get a lot out of it. Sometimes it is a struggle. But this is my life. It’s what I do. I can hardly believe I was ready to miss out on the opportunity just because I was having a skewed perspective.
I bring all this up because I’ve met a lot of dads (and moms) who bemoan the fact that they have always wanted to be able to teach someone the gospel, to have personal work or evangelistic studies and help others get to heaven. They are sincere about that, but they consistently overlook the very people God gave them to teach.
Why not set up your first weekly Bible study? Why not do it with your children? You can do it with them as a group or work with each of them individually. Either way, if you’re looking for someone to share the gospel with, why not do it with your kids. They need it too.
And remember, God’s way works for your family.
Hey guys, I’ll be getting back to regular posts soon. Just a lot of stuff going on right now. So, I’ll rely on the Skit Guys again today.
We all want to pass the gospel on to others, to plant the seed. But perhaps there are some ways we should avoid. The Skit Guys give a great example of that. Enjoy.
(here’s the link for my e-mail subscribers: http://edwincrozier.com/?p=1981)
I’ve often read this parable about the purpose for the local church. Thanks to Jason Hardin, I ran across this video that illustrates the teaching. I thought I’d share it with you as we learn God’s Way for our congregations.
I hope it is edifying and challenging.
(If you landed on this post without seeing the others in this series, let me explain what is going on here. Thursdays is my day to talk about God’s way for our congregations. Right now I’m in the middle of a series on the Jerusalem church and it’s success. This is the second post in the series. I encourage you to check out the introduction to this series to know more about what is going on and to find an index of the posts in this series as they are put up. Enjoy.)
If you’re like me, you can find all the ideas and concepts in the world that won’t work. You can pinpoint exactly why every idea has a flaw. You can examine the failings of every concept and plan. You can know exactly why what worked for others won’t work for you. I can do that with the Jerusalem church. I can sabotage every good thing I can learn from the Jerusalem church by starting to look at all the reasons it won’t work for me or for the congregation of which I’m a part.
Therefore, I want to start by getting rid of those objections. I’ve examined the reasons I think it may have worked for them that we may not be able to emulate and learned that they are empty excuses.
Jerusalem Did Not Grow Because of Miraculous Gifts
The easiest flag to wave to claim we just can’t mirror what Jerusalem did is to point to the miraculous gifts. After all, the whole church got started because the apostles were speaking in tongues (Acts 2:4). People listened because they were amazed at the miracles. As the church grew, people were in awe of the apostles and their miraculous abilities (Acts 5:12-13). Even when Philip scattered and went to Samaria, the sorcerer and the people were convinced because they were amazed by the “signs and great miracles” (Acts 8:13).
God doesn’t work that way through His people anymore. (If you are reading and disagree with this point, let me know. I would love to study the issue with you.) We won’t speak in tongues. We won’t heal the sick. We won’t divine or divulge anyone’s inner secrets. We won’t raise anyone from the dead. If we could do all of that, then maybe we could be like Jerusalem. But we can’t. So why bother even trying?
We need to understand that the church did not grow because of miraculous gifts. That is, not in such a way that makes growth impossible for those who don’t have those gifts.
First, we need to remember the account of Lazarus and the Rich Man in Luke 16:19-31. The rich man was convinced, like so many of us, that miracles were the key to save people. If his brothers saw someone rise from the dead, they would believe. But Abraham’s answer was clear, “If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.” Interestingly, we get so caught up into thinking that if people saw miracles they would believe, that we forget that Jesus rose from the dead yet most of the Jews figured out reasons why not to believe. Do we really think that if we could perform miracles we would convince everyone? Of course not. God has provided the scriptures. If people will not believe the Bible, they will not believe even if they see a miracle.
Second, I think we attribute the growth in Jerusalem to the wrong thing. We attribute it to the miracles. Instead, let’s attribute it to the right place. Let’s attribute it to the working of the Holy Spirit. The Jerusalem church grew because people witnessed the work of the Holy Spirit. While they may no longer witness the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit, they can still witness the work of the Holy Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” This passage is not saying these are the characteristics we need to work on. It is actually saying that when we are walking by the Spirit, these are the characteristics we’ll start developing.
People may no longer see tongue-speaking, sick-healing, dead-raising, poison-protecting, miraculous works of the Holy Spirit in us. However, when we are walking by the Spirit, folks will witness what may to them seem no less miraculous. They will witness selfish people become loving. They will witness miserable people develop joy. They will witness impetuous manipulators become patient. They will witness the cruel and mean-spirited become kind. They will witness the untrusting and untrustworthy become faith-filled and faithful.
They may not hear the rushing sound of a mighty wind, but they will be no less impacted as they see the silent working of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Not everyone will be piqued. Not everyone was attracted by the tongue-speaking. But some will. Some will see how the Spirit has worked in our lives and they will want part of it as well.
We must not think Jerusalem’s success is beyond us simply because the Holy Spirit no longer grants His miraculous gifts. Instead, we must recognize that the Holy Spirit is still working in us and He will attract people to us as He changes our lives and we bear fruit.
Please understand a happy by-product of this recognition. We are not left alone to make Christ’s church grow. His Spirit is working in us and through us. We can have success like Jerusalem because we are not alone.
(Make sure you come back next week as we expose and dispose of more excuses about growing like Jerusalem.)
In the past, I know I’ve gone about evangelism and sharing the gospel with others in all the wrong way. There was a time when I trusted in myself that I was righteous. My evangelism told the world, “If you can start being as good as I am, maybe you can be a Christian too.”
However, God has humbled me, forced me to be rigorously honest, and caused me to realize I need to take a different approach. I need to share with the world, “If you are as bad as I am, you need a Savior too. I’d like to tell you about Him sometime.”
If I can ever help, let me know.
Come back next Monday as we pick up with Praying Like the Psalmists.