Archive for the ‘Evangelism’ Category

When I was at Texas A & M in 1961, freshmen in the corps of cadets were not allowed to walk or stand on the grass-strictly an upper classman privilege. But what if it was not allowed in your neighborhood or apartment complex? It wouldn’t make sense and your friends would probably move on. They certainly wouldn’t visit you in your neighborhood.

What do you think those who aren’t going to check out our church meetings have concluded about in their words “our religious clubs” that steal all of the joy out of life? Maybe it’s the dress code to get in, or the rules about what you can;t do on a certain day, or that you better not have a wine bottle in your fridge at home or some other rule that really doesn’t make sense to them (or to Jesus for that matter).

We can do a lot to ease the concerns of those not following Jesus by removing barriers to their exploring the truth that is not misrepresented as rules that must be obeyed or else. We could start by inviting them to the group that meets in our house for a meal and a beer if they would like one as well as a practical discussion of how following Jesus makes a difference at work, in the pickup basketball game  or how we raise kids. Help remove the conclusions those not following Jesus have about church by enjoying life with them both in your house and theirs. Remember  that Jesus never compromised anything and they called him their friend.

Further ideas can be seen in Matthew 15: 8 & 9, John 10:10 and Acts 15:28 & 29.

English: Bottle of wine.

English: Bottle of wine. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What comes to your mind when you think of these words? Interesting, strange, trapped might be a few. What about alternative reality? Are these guys real and is there really a hotel like this? Without getting too “out there” with this just consider that most people live in a reality that defines life in a way from which there is no escape, is very repetitive, is hard to make sense of, and usually ends in depressing conclusions that frustrate the fire out of them.

What does this have to do with Jesus? In a word-everything. The deal is however, he has decided to let you and I live and reveal an alternative reality to people trapped in mindless trivia issues that never go anywhere. 

When we live lives where we genuinely care, extend grace without condition, raise curiosity by going the second mile, love them when we know they have differing views about gun issues than us…(you can add to this), they realize we live according to an alternative reality that really does offer freedom from everything that traps them every day. Anyway, they are really more concerned about life before death than after it.

Think through Matthew 5:38-48; 2 Corinthians 10:12; Colossians 4:5 & 6 and 1 Thess. 1:2-9 and see how you can communicate this life to them. By the way if they only see this in you, they might conclude you are just an exception. But if they see this in several of us, they are going to want it. This really is church.

Oh, No! It's Devo

Oh, No! It’s Devo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A 16mm jacket dupe microfiche

A 16mm jacket dupe microfiche (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You might have to microfiche for this headline but its importance can’t be overstated. It was a typical Sabbath day, the people were there probably not expecting too much to happen but there was one factor they had not counted on-Jesus was in the house! The meeting started well but by the time it was over, the people were trying to kill Jesus. What the spank was going on? Look at Luke 4:14-30 and especially verses 18-21.

Jesus identified his purpose but the people thought he was pushing it too far. But think about verses 18 and 19. Why is this good news? What is good news to those who don’t know Jesus or who get up every morning to go to work and come home to crash for the rest of their life?  Is the good news inviting them to meetings, challenging them to only eat certain food, washing their hands for all kinds of things or is it much more? We must know what would be good news to those not following Jesus.

This in part requires listening to our friends. People trying to make life work without Jesus are locked up in jails of all kinds. They can’t see how to escape the many traps of life and they are hammered, crushed and broken down by countless inventions of men that just tie the knots tighter. Freedom, Sight and Release are what Jesus is talking about. Do our friends not following Jesus get this? Do they see this message in us? Can you give someone a little hope today?

Everyone enjoys eating out. No preparation in the kitchen, no agonizing over cooking the fish just right and of course no cleanup required. Jesus enjoyed eating out-in fact he did this almost every day. But one day he surprised his men and caused the religious types to show their real character.

Check out Matthew 9:9-12. Jesus had an important thing for his men to learn here. He knew those with unfounded religious rules would have a fit but then, that was part of his plan. The religious club needed to remove some things from their priority list. We must learn to engage our culture without compromise. Engaging means association with but does not mean shallow conversations. We should ask meaningful questions to help people think through their conclusions about life. And, we need to really listen to people even when we absolutely disagree with them.

1 Corinthians 9:22 in the Living version says in part “…trying to find common ground with non-Christians so as to tell them about Jesus and let Jesus save them.” 2 Corinthians 10:2-5 adds a dimension that is often overlooked.

Extra credit: John 2:1-11. We need to help people when we can. People have a lot of water but maybe not much wine. It is easy to live rather plain lives void of adventure. We may be able to help people with that. Also, 1 John 2:15,16 should help us not cross boundaries that would diminish our effectiveness with our culture. We do not have the right to do what we want to do, be who we want to be or have what we want to have if we are following Jesus.

Where are you having dinner tonight? How do you need to work on the compromising aspect?

“He’s such a popular guy, everyone likes him, I can’t wait until he gets here, and the jokes he tells…”-quote seen  in the Jerusalem Post  in  AD 32. Wait, who are they talking about? “This guy has to be stopped, he is ruining everything we have tried to build and he discredits our tradition…and us, look who he is hanging with now.” Now, who said this?

One thing is certain-Jesus was loved or hated. There was no middle ground. He never allowed that. He cared too much for those looking for a way out of the multiple jails they had been put into by the religious people of their day as well as what life had dictated. They knew he didn’t approve of their lifestyle but he always showed up at “happy hour” to be with them.

To make an impact with people outside of the Christian sub-culture we are going to have to be embedded in the culture of the world. This does not include compromise but rather association.

Take a peek at Matthew 11:19 and Luke 7:39; 19:5-7. Do you need to change anything in your routine to follow Jesus in this aspect of life?

The Parking Lot

Posted: September 4, 2012 in Church, Culture, Evangelism

It’s Sunday morning and there are no parking places. Referring to those driving to visit a church? Not really-it is the parking lot at my apartment complex. What’s wrong with these people? Don’t they know you get up and go to church on Sunday morning? These people don’t get up until 10 or 11 and then they wander over to the pool or hot tub. A lot of them walk around the lake with their dog.

What about bringing church to these people instead of trying to take them to another location? Jesus frequented the synagogues of his day but most of his ministry to those called “sinners” (all of us). There is nothing wrong with meeting with other believers on Sunday but most people who do not know Jesus won’t get up on Sunday morning and drive to another parking lot to be with religious people. We must think about how we are going to get the gospel to these people. Maybe they would come to our apartment or a clubhouse or Panera Bread to talk about what life is about. This is what my wife and I are working at while we live in this part of the world.

Jesus seemed to be highly interested in making friends with and bring life to a culture that did not know how to make life work. Think about Luke 14:25 and the sentences that follow or just read a gospel and notice how Jesus used up many of his days and evenings.

What are your not yet Christian friends doing next Sunday…or Tuesday evening?