I know I’m supposed to share the gospel. But fear always seems to get in the way.
To wit: I once had a conversation with a staunchly liberal (and probably unsaved) lady in my town. I invited her to my church and mentioned how faith inspires us to love the least of these. As I walked away, though, I realized I had only wanted to talk about topics she wanted to hear. I held back the portions of the gospel that caused friction with her worldview — namely, that Jesus is the only way to the Father.
On another occasion, I discussed faith with a deeply conservative (and probably unsaved) man. After I explained my interest in international missions, he said, “I hope you don’t leave the country. I hate any country that’s not America.” I didn’t know how to respond, so I didn’t. I held back the portions of the gospel that caused friction with his worldview — namely, the parts about Jesus saving us to share his good news to the ends of the earth.
In both instances, fear prohibited me from sharing parts of the gospel my listeners didn’t want to hear. So I stayed away from controversial topics. And both of them heard something less than the full gospel message.
Have you ever had a good day turn bad? Elon Musk can empathize. Musk, the entrepreneur behind Tesla Motors and SpaceX, celebrated his 44th birthday on June 28. The day started off great, I’m sure. Who doesn’t like birthdays? Yet that morning one of his SpaceX rockets, destined for the International Space Station, exploded after launch. What started as a great day quickly turned sour.
Paul and Barnabas had one of those days, too. Luke tells us the story in Acts 14:8-23. Continue reading
Franklin Graham has done more for the kingdom than you or I ever will. His humanitarian efforts have provided practical help and gospel hope to millions around the globe.
Yet his recent Facebook post about Muslim immigration troubles me. Here’s his main point:
“We are under attack by Muslims at home and abroad. We should stop all immigration of Muslims to the U.S. until this threat with Islam has been settled. Every Muslim that comes into this country has the potential to be radicalized–and they do their killing to honor their religion and Muhammad. “
A sermon on Acts 1:1-11 delivered at Blackwater Baptist Church in Virginia Beach, VA on May 3, 2015.
I have a soft spot for mercy ministries — those outward-focused ministries that serve the less fortunate in a community. Some of my sweetest ministry experiences have come through my nearly eight years of serving with English as a Second Language (ESL).
One day, though, I stepped back and asked the question: Why do we do ESL? Yes, ESL meets a practical need (teaching English), a relational need (building friendships), and can open doors to a spiritual need (presenting the gospel). But beyond an ESL ministry’s practicality, does it — or any mercy ministry — have biblical warrant to be a ministry of the church?
So I set out on a quest. I scoured Scripture to see if the Bible commands us to care for the needy (it does). And I surveyed church history to see if our spiritual predecessors cared for the less fortunate (they did).
In my studies, four theological principles emerged: Continue reading
Years before David Platt became the President of the International Mission Board, he was an ordinary pastor. Then he wrote Radical (2010) — the short yet piercing book that took the evangelical world by storm.
In it, Platt reacts to an American church that has embraced unbiblical values, fallen prey to materialism, and valued comfort above all else. He calls Christians to believe and obey all of Jesus’ teachings — even the parts that are most difficult to stomach. He takes the reader on a journey to rediscover the truth and urgency of God’s gospel, learn how to fulfill God’s global purpose in his divine power, overcome significant blind spots, and live a life of radical abandonment to Jesus.
Radical by David Platt is a small and concise book, but each page pops with challenging issues. In light of his recent appointment to serve as President of the International Mission Board, I revisited this book to discover the top four issues that stood out to me: Continue reading