4 Suggestions on “Sharing the Gospel” from Matt Chandler

In a recent interview with Bob Smietana for Facts and Trends Magazine, Matt Chandler offered four practical suggestions for teaching Christians how to share their faith.

1. Get the gospel right.

Strategy doesn’t matter if churches don’t get their message right. And people can’t share the gospel if they don’t know it. “Get the gospel message right,” he says. “And then be confident in that message. Not in your delivery but in the message. Here’s what we do—we love well and we share the gospel.”

2. Admit your faults.

Self-righteousness is one of the biggest turnoffs for nonbelievers, says Chandler. Don’t pretend being a Christian makes you superior to other people. “If you really understand grace, it’s not us and them,” he says. “It’s us. The ground at the cross is flat. The gospel of Jesus Christ has set me free to not pretend that I am perfect in front of you.”

3. Don’t try to scare people into following Jesus.

Chandler’s not afraid to talk about hell. He says it’s an “awful reality” that can’t be avoided. But avoiding hell isn’t the main message of the gospel. “If hell is how you are trying to motivate people toward heaven, then you have missed a key component of what God has done for us in Jesus Christ,” he says. “Namely He has justified us, sanctified us, and is adopting us as sons and daughters. You have missed the entire delight piece—where God delights in those He has rescued.”

4. Focus on the gospel instead of arguments about non-essentials.

Chandler tries to steer clear of arguments over issues like creation, evolution or the age of earth, where he’s not an expert. “If you think you don’t have all the answers,” says Chandler, “Just say ‘I don’t know. But here’s what I do know—Jesus changed my life.’ A passionate belief in Jesus Christ that has changed your life is still the best apologetic.” Remind people their job isn’t to save nonbelievers. Instead, they need to share the gospel and let God do the work. “I have tried repeatedly to lay out the reality that it is God who saves,” he says. “God saves. That takes the pressure off of people.”

To read the whole article, click here.

On Reading Books

Al Mohler recently published a helpful article titled “Some Thoughts on the Reading of Books“. Dr. Mohler establishes good guidelines to energize your reading life.

1. Maintain regular reading projects. Mohler strategically reads in six main categories: Theology, Biblical Studies, Church Life, History, Cultural Studies, and Literature.

2. Work through major sections of Scripture. Mohler constantly reads works in biblical theology as well as exegetical studies as he works through books of the Bible.

3. Read all the titles written by some authors. “Identify some authors whose books demand your attention. Read all they have written and watch their minds at work and their thought in development.”

4. Get some big sets and read them through. “Set a project for yourself to read through the entire set…You will be surprised how far you will get in less time than you think.”

5. Allow yourself some fun reading, and learn how to enjoy reading by reading enjoyable books. Mohler allows some time each day, when possible, for enjoyable/recreational reading.

6. Write in your books; mark them up and make them yours. “Books are to be read and used, not collected and coddled…learn to have a conversation with the book, pen in hand.”

Read the whole thing here.

New Book: Michael Kelley’s “Boring”

My friend and co-worker (and fellow fruit flavored candy lover) Michael Kelley has written an extremely helpful book titled Boring. Not only is Michael a good writer, he is also a good thinker. He applies these two God given gifts to challenge our perceptions of everyday average life.

“What if we are looking so hard for these grandiose experiences of significance that we are missing the opportunities for significance right in front of us,” he writes. “What if there is no such thing as ordinary when you follow an extraordinary God?” (8)

In Boring, Michael seeks to reorient the reader to this important and often neglected truth. Too many of us fear that our lives will be ordinary. However, for the Christian, an ordinary life is a paralyzing myth. If you are a follower of Christ – you are the child of a God that is anything but ordinary. The God of the Bible is the God who created, sustains, and providentially directs all things – including the seemingly mundane details of your life. This is not an abstract theological truth that has no impact on your daily activities, but should shape every aspect of your life.

boring-michael-kelleyThe problem is that too many of us miss what God is doing in the valley, because we are longing for the mountain top experience. However, all of us know that the majority of the Christian life is lived in the valley. According to Kelley, “…The truth is that we will all spend 90 percent of our time here on earth just doing life. Just being ordinary.” So, the heart of the problem is not with the routines of life, but with our understanding and expectations of them. Kelley argues that we should reorient our thinking to see the profound nature of our extraordinary God, and how that impacts the activities of daily life.

“What if God actually doesn’t want you to escape from the ordinary, but to find signifi­cance and meaning inside of it?”

The question isn’t whether or not God is present and active; the question is just how aware we are of that presence and activity.

“This greater reality is happening right in the middle of the ordinary people, singing in their off-key kind of way, trying to wrangle their ornery children. In the middle of the mundane there is something of cosmic significance going on…A regular life isn’t just a series of physical times and moment strung together; it’s a progression of being formed into the image of Jesus…Because an extraordinary and active God is there, constantly working, there is no such thing as ordinary anymore.”

Pick up this book and read. Prayerfully, Michael will show you how to see every relationship, every act of kindness, and every moment for what it is: a part of God’s exciting plan for your life.

Together for Adoption: “Why is Your Mommy White?”

The Ministry of Together for Adoption 

Laura and I are so grateful for the ministry of Together for Adoption. Several years ago we attended the national conference in Franklin, TN, while waiting to adopt our son Solomon. If you have adopted, are in the process of adopting, or praying about adopting I would encourage you to attend the Together for Adoption National Conference on October 4-5 at Southern Seminary. If you do attend, prepare to be inspired and equipped for adoption, foster care and global orphan ministry. Here are the details.

Six rich general sessions. Sixty tool-gathering workshops. One breathtaking Story.

In the Bible, Adoption is a story-word. God’s work of adoption within the world is a story that encompasses all of human history, from its pre-temporal beginnings when God predestined us to “adoption as sons through Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 1:3-6) to the eventual renewal of all creation (Romans 8:23)—the Day when everything sad comes untrue. From the Apostle Paul’s perspective, Adoption is the redemptive Story that changes everything for us and the fatherless.

Alongside the six rich plenary sessions, our national conference will provide more than sixty tool-gathering workshops led by Dr. Timothy Paul Jones, Dr. Randy Stinson, Johnny Carr, Dr. Jon Bergeron, Gerrit Dawson, Susan Hillis, Elizabeth Styffe, and many other global leaders.

Together for Adoption National Conference Details

General Session Topics

  1. The Story Gone Wrong (Mike Reeves, author of Delighting in the Trinity)
  2. Stories of the Fatherless (Dr. Sharen Ford, Manager of Colorado State’s Permanency Services Unit)
  3. The Story Re-Written (Dan Cruver)
  4. Our Lives Re-Written (Mike Reeves)
  5. Stories of the Fatherless Re-Written (Vermon Pierre)
  6. When Everything Sad Comes Untrue (Scotty Smith)

8 Breakout Session Tracks

  1. Stories about Beginning the Adoption Journey (Pre­-Adoption)
  2. Stories from Experienced Adoptive Families (Post-Adoption)
  3. Stories from Experienced Adoptive Families with Special Needs
  4. Stories about Foster Care within Families
  5. Stories about the Orphan Crisis from Experienced Organizations
  6. Stories about Financing your Adoption Journey
  7. Stories about Developing Ministries for Adoption/Orphan Care Movement
  8. Stories about God’s Work through the Theology of Adoption

Download the PDF version of the Breakout Sessions listed according to their Story-Tracks.

See the conference schedule.

Tim Brister on “From Strangers to Missionaries”

Over the last year or so I have watched my friend Tim Brister devote a considerable amount of time to writing about missional living. Not too long ago Tim posted a summary blog of his reflections and writings on this subject. I have found his thoughts beneficial and challenging, so I wanted to share them here.

Strangers to Missionaries Overview Graphic

Brister’s Series:

Other Supplementary Articles from Brister:

Thankful for Martin Luther King Jr.’s Dream

I Have A Dream

It’s been fifty years since Martin Luther King Jr. shared with a divided nation his “dream” of racial equality. I am thankful for his dream, which is a reality for our family today. This is our son Solomon with his cousin Emma.