Posts Tagged ‘Gospel’

Counterfeit Gospels is a look at the true Gospel in a world of false alternatives. Wax portrays the Gospel as a three-legged stool that collapses with any one element missing. He lists the three legs as the Gospel story, the Gospel announcement and the Gospel community. While I fully agree that the Gospel story and announcement are essential parts, I still came away not fully convinced of the points made about the Gospel community. I fully agree that Gospel community is a vital part of the Christian life, but I am not sure it is part of the Gospel itself. I still found this book very helpful even with the few points that I may disagree with.

What I found to be especially helpful was the focus on counterfeit gospels that are present today. Wax not only points out the counterfeits in this book, but he also shows why these counterfeits are attractive to us. So many of these counterfeits are present in our churches today. This book effectively counters the counterfeits. I also found it helpful to realize that the Gospel announcement of the life, death and resurrection of Christ is vital to be told in the context of the Gospel story. In a country where we can no longer assume a general knowledge of Christ, we must tell the story of creation, the fall and our sinful state before God. The Gospel announcement is not good news without the Gospel story. This is a book that I definitely would recommend.

“I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this
review.”

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Where to Go?

Posted: August 15, 2010 in Christianity
Tags: , ,
Eastern hemisphere nations with a majority of ...

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Okay, here is something that I am struggling with currently. When thinking about global missions, where do we decide to go?  There are great amounts of unreached people who have never heard the Gospel. Even by narrowing it down to the 10/40 window, which is the area that contains a majority of unreached peoples, the possibilities are endless. I have seen and heard from many who say to just pray and God will reveal a place. The more that I pray, the more my heart seems to be broken for multiple areas of the world. Is there even a correct answer as to where to go?  Does God have a specific place that he is calling us to go?  Or does he want us to not be so concerned about where?  Maybe, He just wants us to go. My head is filled with these thoughts and questions. I have a real lack of patience with waiting to go. I feel an urgency that calls our congregation and myself to go now. Christians in the United States have been blessed with many resources and a freedom to share the Gospel. Unfortunately, we are not living up to the call Christ has given to our lives. We are not going and spreading the Gospel.  My wish is that the American church would wake up and feel the urgency needed to spur them forward in missions. I think God may be less concerned about where we are going, just as long as we are going. Maybe we should stop worrying about how much it may cost, or how dangerous it may be. Maybe we should just count the cost and go. So where do we go?  Anywhere and everywhere that there are people lost and dying without the Gospel.

As you can see, I have changed things up. It has been awhile since I have posted much. I intend to start blogging again, but with a much different focus. In the past two months, I have had a major transformation in my passions and priorities. I have been newly broken for the vast lostness of the nations. My goal will be to focus on areas where I see change needed. I will also be drawing attention to unreached people groups. I can no longer accept a comfortable American Christianity. I long for a more biblical Christianity that is willing to risk everything for the sake of the lost. I hope to learn from others who are already living this way, and to encourage others to join me on this journey. I don’t know where this journey will lead, but I trust with Christ at the center that I have nothing to fear. I fear more what will happen if I continue to sit back and do nothing. I can no longer sit back and be quiet. I feel that I must be a voice for the nations. Join me so that our collective voices may grow louder. Pray for the nations.

Persecuted Christians

Posted: October 28, 2008 in Christianity
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How often do we think about our persecuted brothers and sisters? We take for granted the freedom we have in the United States. So many people here get to hear the Gospel, but yet reject it. In countries where Christians are persecuted, many never hear the good news of Jesus Christ. Nine out of ten of the world’s least evangelized cities are in Afghanistan, where 77% of the people are unevangelized. The number one least evangelized city is El Aaiun, Sahara with 82% of its people having never heard the Gospel.

Persecution is common in many of these same places. In Orissa, 70,000 Christians have been displaced. Christians have been leaving Mosul, Iraq because of persecution. 7 have been killed there this month. The enemy will do anything to try and stop the spread of the Gospel. They can kill Christians and they can bind Christians, but they can’t bind the Word of God. We need to be lifting these people up in prayer. November 9th is international day of prayer for the persecuted church. Many of these people can reach people with the Gospel that we will never be able to reach. Pray for these people daily.

Here is a link to a video of the underground church in Vietnam.

Go to your local christian bookstore and check out the titles. Noticeably missing are books that focus on the Gospel. There are some there, but you may need a ladder or flashlight to find them. You will find titles called, The Shack, Sex God, 21 Ways to Finding Peace & Happiness: Overcoming Anxiety, Fear, and Discontentment Every Day, Become a Better You: 7 Keys to Improving Your Life Every Day, and Claim Your Victory Today: 10 Steps That Will Revolutionize Your Life. Why do we not see books such as The Truth of the Cross by R.C. Sproul up front when we walk in the door. I have seen articles comparing The Shack to The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan. How far have we fallen that a book with false teachings about the Trinity could be compared with a classic like Bunyan’s book? It is not the christian bookstores fault. Much of the problem can be traced to the church down the street.

Christians no longer have a desire for meaty subjects, because most pastors feed them sugar. Preachers from the 1700’s and 1800’s would be ran out of most churches today. Why? Because nearly every message contained the Gospel. They preached from the Bible and they were unashamed of it. They were less concerned with making the congregation happy, and more concerned about making God happy. No topical sermons on how to have your best life now. People have become so full of this watered down preaching that they look for books of the same sort. If a non-christian can hear a sermon and completely agree with it, there is a problem with the message. The Gospel is offensive to those not in Christ. I am becoming increasingly frustrated with the number of Christians who would gladly sit through a sermon that would make Oprah proud. I want some meat when I hear a sermon. I don’t come to church so that I can leave feeling good about myself. I come to church to be fed. I want to leave with some meat to chew on. It is time for pastors to preach the Gospel, and for churches to get rid of the ones who are not. We need to stop buying worthless Christian self help books, and start buying books that actually equip us for ministry.

Are you unsure what you are being fed by your pastor? Listen to almost any message by Paul Washer and you will hear Gospel preaching. You don’t have to agree with all his doctrine, but you will get the Gospel as it should be presented. If you have been getting nothing but sugar from your pastor, you will be offended as soon as Mr. Washer opens his mouth. The church has lost it’s power, because it has lost the Gospel. If we return to the Gospel, we will see the Spirit move in the church again. It is all about Christ on the cross, and Him crucified for our sins. Jesus did not die so we could be healthy and wealthy. Pastors take up your cross and feed your sheep.

Check out Paul Washer challenging pastors.

In the town of Littleton Colorado, a colony of prairie dogs are going to be removed or euthanized for the expansion of a church. The colony of 30 prairie dogs is on a vacant lot on church property. The church is searching for a place to relocate them, but have found no takers at this time. Of course, protesters are picketing the church (Rock of the Southwest Church). The expansion is to be for a new youth center that serves the youth of the community. It appears the more things change the more they stay the same.

In the Bible, we see people were already worshiping creation instead of the creator (2 Kings 23:5). We are to be stewards of what God has given us. Unfortunately, many today have taken this to the point of idolatry. This is not just the typical tree-huggers, but Christians too. In Colorado they are more worried about a colony of prairie dogs, than the youth of the community. Has our country so devalued the value of humans, that animals and the earth are equally or more valuable? We have people who will sit in a tree for days or picket for prairie dogs in Colorado, who at the same time would support a woman’s right to choose to abort an unborn child.

Some Christian leaders have also become wrapped up in this. What starts out as good intentions, can quickly get off track if we are not careful. We can become so focused on an environmental or social gospel, that we forget the ultimate goal. The ultimate goal is to reach the lost with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is great if we can feed thousands of hungry kids. But if we feed them and never lead any to Christ, did we really gain anything in the end? We have given them a full stomach here, but let them slip into eternity in hell. It is great to be faithful in taking care of the planet. We should not support the abuse of animals or the environment. But if that is our main message, who are we serving and worshiping? We must remember where and on whom our focus belongs. We are called to do all these things, but we also must make sure everyone knows why we are doing it. It is not because it is the nice thing to do. It is because we are commanded by God to care for the poor and needy. It is because God tells us to be good stewards of the Earth. And in doing so, others can see the love of Christ in us. We must remember that even the best things that we do, if not done for the glory of Jesus, is nothing but filthy rags. Everything we do should be for His glory. Lets remember Jesus came to save sinners, not prairie dogs.

The church I attend celebrated it’s 50th anniversary this weekend. Many former members and pastors returned for this celebration. Several of the pastors spoke or gave sermons today. Several good points were made that apply to both our church and many other churches out there. We need to celebrate the past, but we need to do so without taking our eyes off the future. A church can’t become so wrapped up in it’s past accomplishments, that it forgets there is always work to do. We can become so wrapped up in what we did that we forget it really wasn’t us who did it anyways. Everything we have and everything we accomplish is by the grace of God. When a church starts saying, look at the beautiful building we built and look at how many people we are bringing in, a fall is soon to follow (Proverbs 16:18). It is not of our doing or the pastors doing, but of the power of Christ in us. That being said, we must move forward. As a Christian, we are to be serving the Lord until we are called home. When we get older, the manner in which we serve will change. That does not mean when we retire from our jobs that we stop serving God too. Too many times our senior members get burned out or are made to feel there is no place for them to serve. That can’t be the case, because they are vital to the health of a church. They have wisdom from years of serving God that needs to be imparted to the next generation. There is a disconnect in many churches today between our senior generation and the younger generation of Christians. This older generation has lived through a time of rapid changes in the world and in the church. The older generation looks back with fondness at how church used to be, while many in the younger generation have no desire to hear about what used to be. The church today needs to come together and be of one mind and of one goal. We need to learn from the past, while being relevant for today. We need to do all of this with one common goal of sharing the Gospel of Christ. Young or old that message never changes. Jesus Christ saves and He is the head of His church. Many have not heard the truth of the Gospel. It is each and everyone of our responsibilities to see that they do. Let’s move forward together with Christ as our leader.