Can you believe that we’re not telling people about Jesus? At least not like we (the Church) used to. I know that I was surprised and saddened as I learned about this from a recent Barna Report.
If you read the report, you’ll find that it was focused specifically on teens. And you might think that gives us “adults” a pass on this. After all, we’re not under the microscope. That’s just not right.
We are under the microscope. Sure, teens are influenced heavily by our culture. But they’re also influenced by family, peer groups, and subculture. If our teens are failing to live their faith, it’s our fault. We have failed. And we need God’s help to fix it.
From time to time, I think about sharing my faith – how, when, and with whom.
As a follower of Jesus of Nazareth, there is an element of sharing my life of faith that comes naturally as I live in this world with my faith in God. But that’s not enough – I also want to be able to give a reason for the hope that is in me to any who ask (1 Peter 3:15).
Which leads me to my question for today:
As a follower of Jesus sharing my faith, am I primarily concerned with whether the Gospel is true or whether it works?
Truth and Reality
Truth is the relationship between perception (or communication) and reality. If my eyes work right, what I see will be true because it will represent reality. And if what I communicate is based on reality, it will be the truth. That is to say that if I look up and see a blue sky and then tell you that the sky is blue, I have perceived and communicated what is true.
If, however, I see the sky and see that it is fuchsia, my perception is flawed because it doesn’t perceive reality. Or, worse, if I see that the sky is blue but tell you that it is brown, I am not telling the truth.
Often, a single interaction can make or break our opinion of something. And while it’s possible to overcome a first impression, it takes a whole lot more work than just getting it right the first time.
Based on a first impression with a person, we may assume that person is either open or closed, warm or cold, focused or distracted, and so on. But what if that person is also representing a community?
It’s the same with community
A first experience with a community will leave an impression of whether it’s an open or closed community, warm or cold, engaging or disengaging, interested, disinterested, or self-interested. But here’s the rub: if you’re a part of a community, somebody’s first reaction to that community could be their interaction with you – whether you want to believe it or not. Continue reading →
Over the last few days I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the Gospel because of a blog posting that I read at Signposts 02 asking what is or is not the Gospel. In fact, I’m writing this in response to a request by specksandplanks. To be fair, this is probably a post I should have written some time ago and I would definitely like to thank specksandplanks for calling me out on it.
Before I begin, though, I would like to say that of all the responses I read, there was one that stood out to me, posted by Teddy. It’s a video of John Piper’s presentation of what the gospel is (an event, an experience, etc), which I also shared with my Facebook friends. If you haven’t already seen the video, you should definitely check it out here.
The Gospel is both simple enough that a child can understand it and so beautifully faceted and shaded with nuance and glory that it will take the full understanding of all those who name the name of Jesus to begin to understand it.
That got me thinking…perhaps there are some things that we can do daily to be more effective in the Kingdom of God. In fact I know there are. Here are four things that we – you, me, anybody who is in a relationship with God through Jesus of Nazareth – can do daily and which will improve our effectiveness. Continue reading →