2.15.2010

The Olympics


I sat on the sofa Friday evening watching the opening ceremony of the Olympics. It is always a great spectacle featuring entertainment, culture, pageantry, etc. They really get your imagination and patriotism going every four years.

I want to introduce you all to a fantastic tool that we use with our athletes. I helped to get an Athletes in Action movement started at High Point University this school year. We have about 15 students who come out every other week so far, depending on season and schedules. Side note, pray for continued growth and especially for some students to step up in leadership of this movement...thanks!!

Well, the tool is a website called: www.beyondtheultimate.org It features college, professional, and olympic athletes telling their stories of how they discovered that real fulfillment in life comes only through a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

Here are some questions that this website helps provide answers for:
After you have reached your goals, then what? Even on your way up the ladder, have you wondered if even "the ultimate" — whatever that is for you — is really enough? Can even your dreams really satisfy? Isn't life about more than what you want? What if there is something that satisfies you even beyond your dreams?

Maybe you know a friend, have a child, or coach someone who would benefit from looking at this website. I encourage you to point seekers to the site to check out: Is there a God? Where is God in the midst of tragedy? And beyond blind faith. You can also browse around just to find which athletes are talking about their faith.

2.12.2010

The Gospel Is Not Just for Others

Yesterday, I reflected on preaching the Gospel to others. Today I am reflecting on preaching the Gospel to Ourselves and to the Enemy. Both are a reflection on Micah 7:8-9:

"Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD will be a light to me. I will bear the indignation of the LORD because I have sinned against Him, until He pleads my cause and executes judgement for me. He will bring me out to the light; I shall look upon His vindication."

Preaching the Gospel to Ourselves

This passage in Micah is a wonderful example of speaking truth to oneself in the darkness of guilt. This is what Piper calls, "gutsy guilt:" Taking sin seriously, knowing we are guilty before the Lord but knowing He will redeem us. We can all relate to Micah's description of bearing the indignation of the Lord- bearing through the darkness of knowing we disappointed God...again.

But, the good news is He already has redeemed us in Christ! Micah looked forward to the Messiah-to the day when God would plead his cause. But, we already have Him! The cross is our vindication-Jesus already plead and is pleading on our behalf if we believe in Him. He's already shed His blood; He already took our judgement on Himself at a costly price.

The truth that we are redeemed by Christ's blood, if we trust Him, gives us joy in darkness. we must take sin seriously, as Micah does, and realize it angers the Lord, but we need not dwell in guilt. God doesn't want that because dwelling in guilt is NOT the Gospel of redemption. We need to learn to preach the light of the Gospel to ourselves in the darkness of sin. We need to dwell on the Gospel. When we dwell in guilt, we're saying that Christ's death wasn't enough to save us from our sins.

Whether we've been walking with the Lord for one day or one decade, we need to preach the Gospel to ourselves to preserve our joy in Christ. As Piper says, "We never outgrow the Gospel."

Preaching the Gospel to the Enemy

This may seem like a weird concept, but that is exactly what Micah is doing in this passage. Micah shows us how to preach the Gospel to to our Accuser, Satan.

Satan cannot take away our salvation, so he will do all he can to try to steal away our joy in Christ and therefore, render us ineffective and make us miserable. His oldest trick is to come alongside our guilt and tell us we're hopeless, to mock our fallen state and tell us we're worthless. He is a liar.

Therefore, it is necessary for us to preach the Gospel to Satan. This is what Micah is doing: "Rejoice not over me, Satan. When I fall, Jesus lifts me up. He is my righteousness and light and though I must shortly bear the darkness of knowing I disappointed the Lord, Jesus is pleading my cause and has taken the judgement against me. He is my righteousness and redemption, therefore NOTHING I do will make God love me any more or any less. You cannot rejoice, Satan; You are defeated and have no power over my joy in Christ."

Take that, Satan! The power of the Gospel!

"Because Christ is our righteousness, He is our grounds for unshakable joy."
-John Piper



2.11.2010

Sharing the Gospel

My Bible study has been themed this past week-I love it when that happens! It means God is trying to tell me something! I've been studying different books-one with one of my disciples about evangelism and, of course, When I Don't Desire God by John Piper. Last week, all my reading was about sharing the Gospel-and not just to others, but to myself and the Enemy too.

Here are my reflections:

Sharing the Gospel With Others

I know I'm supposed to do it, as a follower of Christ. Even more, it's part of my ministry! But, even so, I lose the passion to do it. That's why it's been a great refresher to study about the heart of evangelism with my girls.

I love the passage in John 1:35-51, which describes how some of Jesus' first followers shared their faith. They were young-brand new followers. They knew very little and yet they ran to tell those they loved about Christ.

I am going to focus on Philip and Nathanael because that is my favorite part of this passage. Philip, with very little knowledge, ran to find and tell Nathanael about Jesus. Notice that Philip did it urgently and intentionally. He didn't just share with whoever was most convenient or yell out on the streets. He rant to find Nathanael and tell him.

Nathanael scoffed at him, "Nazareth! Can anything good come from there" This didn't stop Philip. "Come and see for yourself," he simply responded and then brought Nathanael to Jesus.

I love this part of the passage because it addresses two of my greatest fears in evangelism and that of my students: lack of knowledge and rejection.

Philip just met Jesus. All he knew was that Jesus was the Messiah whom was prophesied about in the Law and Prophets. His lack of knowledge didn't stop him from telling others about Jesus. His faith and joy in Christ surpassed his lack of knowledge.

Nathanael scoffs at Philip and yet that doesn't stop Philip either. He doesn't become offended or angrily try to debate Nathanael. He simply takes Nathanael to Jesus and lets Him prove Himself to Nathanael. And guess what? Nathanael surrenders his life to Christ!

Philip is a great example of how we should approach evangelism: with humble boldness and faith. So what if we don't have all the answers? God is bigger than all of our question marks. So what if someone laughs in our face? Their need to hear the Gospel is greater than our need for man's acceptance!

Lord, help me be like Philip and share the Gospel with humble boldness. Let my faith faith take over my fears of rejection.

Later, I will write about the other two topics: preaching the Gospel to Myself and to the Enemy.

2.09.2010

Soularium

The question is not what you look at, but what you see. --Henry David Thoreau

I was on campus at Greensboro College last week talking to students about life and spirituality. We had a great time and were encouraged, so I thought that I'd share a little bit about it with you all!

We used an image survey called Soularium to begin conversations with students in front of the cafeteria. We wanted to hear a little bit about their lives, world views, and spiritual journeys. And the goal is to use the information they tell us in order to tie their stories into God's bigger story, the Gospel. So it is a very relational and intentional method to dialogue about the Gospel.

Basically, we have 50 picture cards laid out on a table. We ask each person a series of questions and they respond by picking cards that represents their answers. We then ask them to explain WHY they picked each card. The questions are basically: What 3 cards would best represent your life right now? Which image best represents your understanding of who God is? What 1 card expresses what you wish were true of your spiritual life/journey? Here are some of the common images I've gotten:








In under 2 hours, we had about 15 open, deep, honest, and frank conversations about life, God, and the Gospel. Many of the students were even very excited to take part in the survey!

I share this for several reasons, (1) to rejoice in what God is doing in the hearts of students across the Triad campus and even the world, and (2) to encourage you all to begin/continue to intentionally pursue the people around you every day with love and to step out in faith...ask good questions, be a good listener, and share the "good news" that Christ alone can satisfy your soul's deepest desires, because (as Tim Keller would say) you are more sinful than you ever before believed, but in Christ, you are more loved and accepted than you ever dared hope!

2.07.2010

Super Bowl Sunday

It is a glorious day!
Once a year, seemingly everything revolves around football. People gather for food, fun, and football. We will be going to a Super Bowl viewing party with our small group tonight. I encourage you all to take some time out with family and/or friends and relax. There's something for everyone...the food, the game, even the commercials.

What are your favorite game day snacks?






What are your viewing plans (hint: HDTV and big screen are a must)?

Finally, what are your favorite commercials from years past and this year?
http://www.superbowl-ads.com/





We're anxious to hear from you!

Cheers