Something To Think About: Embarrassed, Saddened and Challenged

I was impressed yesterday.

What I experienced shocked me to some degree and yet almost made me feel embarrassed, saddened and challenged.

What am I talking about?

Well I am on a mission trip with the 96:3 project in New York City.

We spent our day in the Bengali neighborhood of Jackson Heights praying, walking the neighborhood, talking to business owners and sharing the Gospel with people willing to listen.

After our day in Jackson Heights we spent some time walking through Little Italy and decided to take the train to Staten Island Ferry to take in Lady Liberty and the NYC skyline at night. It was breathtaking. I love this city.

On our way to the Staten Island Ferry there was a group with masks holding TV’s showing a video. My daughter Niah and I stopped by to see what was going on.

While I was standing there I met a young lady Nicole and she came and asked me a few questions about the video they were showing like “how did that make you feel?”

The video they were showing was videos of animals being killed in gruesome ways and she proceeded to try and convert me to become a vegan. Which is something Nomi and I have been talking about for health reasons. So I was willing to listen.

Nicole proceeded to explain to me with passion the values of her vegan lifestyle. Then she gave me a card and on this card was all kinds of contact info and help. Nicole said if you call this number we will hook you up with a mentor for 22 days, give you recipes and help you with your journey.

After I walked off I must say I felt embarrassed, saddened and challenged.

embarrassed

Embarrassed because it doesn’t seem like the Christian community is as passionate about the Gospel of Jesus as Nicole was about the vegan lifestyle. Nicole knew what she believed, why she believed it and was willing to share it with the world no matter how people treated her. If we as believers had as much passion and conviction as Nicole I wonder how much of an impact we could have on the world.

saddened

I was saddened and convicted because as Christians we believe that a person must put their trust in Christ. It is a matter of heaven and hell. The consequences of rejecting the Jesus of the Bible will impact a persons soul forever and yet for many of us it is the best kept secret in the world. I have to wonder if we really believe the truth of the Scripfures and if so, I wonder why we’re not sharing the Gospel with others.

Nicole had all the info I needed to switch to a vegan lifestyle. She had websites, a list of how I can get another source of protein in my diet besides meat. She had a phone number I can call to get a mentor for 22 days that would help me with the transition who would also provide me with recipes and answer any questions I may have.

How many people/churches provide a person who gives their life to Christ with this many resources at their disposal?

How many Christians/Churches are committed to mentoring/discipleship of a new believer?

challenged

I left their challenged in the areas of evangelism and discipleship. It seems like Christians have separated evangelism from discipleship, as if they are two different ministries. Yet Jesus said “Go into all the world and make disciples” which involves sharing the Gospel (evangelism) and teaching them to observe everything Jesus has commanded (discipleship).

Many times it has felt like “mission accomplished” when a person says yes to Jesus, yet according to Christ the mission has just begun.

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Beholding Glory

Our college group is spending a summer with Paul by reading through all his letters. We are tackling them a chapter a day. Every now and then I will post an encouraging word, explanation or meditation. Here is what I wrote today:

Love this verse!

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. – 2 Corinthians 3:18

As believers, we have an unveiled face, with our unveiled face we behold the glory of the Lord. 

The glory of the Lord Paul is referring to is Christ. We see Jesus!

Not only do we see Jesus, but we are being transformed into the same image. As followers of Jesus, we should be more like him with every passing day. Paul uses the term “from one degree of glory to another.”

This is the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. But how does that work happen? John Piper says we need to “behold glory”, but how do we behold the glory of Christ, when he isn’t present with us?

In 2 Peter, Peter describes his experience at the transfiguration, he uses words like seeing majesty and hearing the voice from Majestic Glory and yet after seeing and experiencing Christ in glory Peter says,

19 And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. – 2 Peter 1:19-21

Peter says what I experienced was amazing, but y’all we have the scriptures, the written word fully confirmed, pay attention to the word.

How do you behold the glory of Christ? How are you transformed from glory to glory?

By the Spirit of God transforming you into the image of Christ through the reading of scripture. The author of the Bible becomes the author of heart transformation in your life, by revealing the glory of Christ through the scriptures. Which highlights the importance of spending time in the word daily.

The Early Bird Gets The Link

Here is your daily links.

On Bible Reading 

Here are some articles concerning reading the Bible and asking certain questions when reading your Bible. Five Great Reasons to Skip Reading Your Bible This Summer, “Summer is here! And we’ve got five great reasons to skip reading your Bible this summer:”

4 Questions You Should Ask When Reading the Bible 

Worth the read.

How Our Unbiblical Views of Forgiveness Perpetuate Our Social Media Outrage

The problem with this cycle is two fold. First, sorry isn’t repentance. Secondly, forgiveness isn’t unconditional. Forgetting these two points is why so many relationships have all kinds of junk bubbling under the surface. And it’s why our media/social media is caught in a vicious cycle of dumb outrage.

Three Untruths You’ve Probably Said to Hurting People

Here are three of the most common unbiblical phrases people use to comfort those who are hurting. Brace yourself, as you have most likely used or heard these! 

Finding Your Identity in Christ Looks Like Death

What does it mean to find your identity in Christ?

The Early Bird Gets The Link

Hope you had a restful weekend, here are some links to start your week.

Six Attitudes That Kill Evangelism 

why are our churches less evangelistic today?

Four Ways Husbands Should Lead 

Paul’s instructions in Ephesians 5, which draw from the creation narrative of Genesis 2, give us at least four ways the man was to have a Christ-like leadership role.

The Question Churches Can No Longer Ignore

Given the fact that many Christians feel like they don’t know enough about life issues, and many professing Christians are having abortion themselves, how can we create a culture of life within our congregations?

9 Ways to Raise Up Leaders in Your Church

Good and practical.

Signposts: Senator Ben Sasse and Russell Moore talk about how perpetual adolescence hurts the church

A conversation worth listening to if you find yourself with time.

The Early Bird Gets The Link

Here’s some links to start your weekend.

Six Great Devotionals to Read This Summer

God has graciously equipped his people to write about the truths of Scripture for specific circumstances, to explain God’s Word through books. One of the greatest gifts to the church is devotionals. These books force us to read Scripture more slowly and reflect on its applications.

7 Sets of Resources for Building Your ‘Theology and Culture’ Library

Some good resources here.

2017 Summer Reading List for Christians

So it’s summer time to me. Which means, of course, it’s time to gather some good books to read. Which ones are you reading this summer?

The Mushy Middle

Wonder Woman and the Gender Wars

Wonder Woman is unperturbed by all this. She’s been in the middle of gender wars before. In fact, she’s been there from the very beginning.

Do You Know How to Find Joy?

Everyone wants a happily-ever-after, but few people are willing to give up sin and autonomy to get it. In this lab, Pastor John shows how it is our joyful duty to live for God’s glory.

Final Thoughts On Romans For College Students

Our college group is spending a summer with Paul. We are reading all his letters, a chapter a day, beginning with Romans and ending in Philemon. Today was our last day in Romans. Before I leave this marvelous piece of writing I jotted down some questions and thoughts. 

Do you have Gospel friends? 

In Romans 16 we read a whole list of names Paul recommends, who have helped him. Christianity is meant to be lived in a community of believers who build each other up in the faith. Do you have friends who build you up? Are you part of a church? Do you have friends who will warn you when your slipping and keep you on track?

Do you have Gospel goals?

In Romans 15 Paul writes of his goal to share Christ in Spain when he leaves Rome. Do you have Gospel goals? Goals to grow in the Gospel? Goals to serve? Goals to share Christ with a person or people groups?

One Last Thing

One last thing, there is name that comes up in Romans 16 which is very interesting. 

“Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord; also his mother, who has been a mother to me as well.” Romans 16:13
In first passing there is nothing which sticks out, but… 

If you flip your Bible to Mark 15:21 we read this, 

“And they compelled a passerby, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross.”Mark 15:21

This is the story of Christ being crucified, when Christ was struggling to carry the cross, out of no where Simon of Cyrene is chosen to carry the cross for him. Simon was with his two sons Alexander and Rufus. Church history believes the Rufus Paul is talking about is this Rufus, son of Simon of Cyrene. Rufus, “chosen in the Lord.”
Until Next Time

The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. – Romans 16:20

The Early Bird Gets The Link

If you want to really know yourself, start by knowing God
Know the One in whose image we have been made. Know God so we can know our need for him. Know God to know the character of the One who sacrificed all to meet our need.

How to Win the War for Your Mind

We need to take captive our thoughts and examine them. To take something captive is to take control of it and put it in a controlled environment — like putting a ferocious animal in a cage. Then, we need to take a close look at our thoughts and consider what we are thinking or believing and why.

What We Need Most

Our main problem is not lack of time or resources or the annoying people in our lives. Your main problem and my main problem is that we do not see enough the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. We are not amazed. We do not stand in awe. We are not rendered speechless in his presence.

3 Ways Complementarian Pastors Can Encourage Women

If your church has all-male pastors and elders, the number of women wanting to serve as a pastor or elder are likely few. So unless a woman specifically requests to serve in a capacity that your local church has reserved for elders and pastors, go ahead and tell her where there is freedom. Most of us have heard about the boundary lines, but not necessarily about where our leadership gifts would be a blessing to the body. (Italics are mine)

Emotional Intelligence Resources

Here’s some good resources, worth the time to check out.