Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Billy Graham has a gift for story-telling. Part of the reason that he is such a good communicator is because he has a knack for conveying truth through the stories of other people's lives.

Why is this such an effective tool in sharing the Gospel?

Because God is infinitely and inseparably intertwined with all three members of the Trinity, He is inherently relational. And as beings created in God's image, our lives are marked by the centrality of our existence in a social context. So, since we have a part of our souls dedicated to relating with other people, we love stories because they give us a glimpse of others' realities. Simply put, a story can present truth in a much more powerful way than simply laying out the logic of the Bible.

And the best story to use when sharing the Gospel is yours.

To put it more poetically and powerfully than I could, I'll quote Chuck Swindoll's book Come Before Winter,
"Because one of the most convincing, unanswerable arguments on earth regarding Christianity is one's personal experience with the Lord Jesus Christ. No persuasive technique will ever take the place of your personal testimony... The skeptic may deny your doctrine or attack your church but he cannot honestly ignore the fact that your life has been changed. He may stop his ears to the presentation of a preacher and the pleadings of an evangelist but he is somehow attracted to the human interest story of how you, John Q. Public, found peace within."
Chuck precedes what he was saying by pointing out that six different times, when the Apostle Paul was confronted with angry crowds, he used his own personal testimony to convey the the absolute truth of Christ.

But, even now, I hear an objection: "But I don't have a good story to tell. My salvation story wasn't marked with explosions, life-threatening situations, and wild living before coming to Christ. I just got saved after I was gently prodded by the Holy Spirit."

Let me answer with two counter-objections:

First, I'll quote Lee Strobel from the book Unexpected Adventures
"You might be thinking Well, here we go again. First an attempted killer becomes a pastor and now Paul hears directly from heaven. My story isn't anywhere near as compelling as those. The truth is that few people can identify with a brutal street gang leader or the greatest missionary of all time... But chances are that a lot of folks can identify with a story like yours."
And second, I'd like to point out that is is just as amazing for God to save the ex-convict out of his sin as it is for God to save you out of your past life of "smaller sins." Whether you're selling drugs or just telling white lies here and there, you are in complete rebellion of Christ's plan for your life. In my opinion, it is crazy for me to see God tear down someone's facade of righteousness and make them realize that they are horribly sinful despite their outward appearance of "goodness."

So who's up for a story? I know everyone out there is.

Go tell 'em yours.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

RMP: Fulfill Your Ministry

In this video, one of my favorite pastors (Matt Chandler) talks about fulfilling your ministry as an individual person in Christ created with your own unique communication style.

And let's get this clear: everyone has a ministry. You don't need a degree to preach the gospel, only to preach the gospel at 1000 degrees.

And as a plus, he imitates Mark Driscoll, which is hahalarious.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Glass Cage

If I look at you, I should see God.

Now before you get out your pitchforks and burn me at the stake for heresy, let me explain. And seriously, get rid of the pitchfork. We have guns now. Get with it.

Instead of leading you through a seemingly irrelevant metaphor or taking you an a ridiculous rabbit trail, I'm going to lay all my cards on the table right away:

We need to be transparent.

2 Corinthians 5 says the following:
"Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us."
So, what I'm about to tell you may not come as a shock if you've ever had any church background (or pitchfork background) but, according to this passage, Paul is telling us that the God of the universe is reaching out to the world through those He has already saved. He calls us to be glass cages containing His Spirit, so that when people look at us, they see past us directly into the face of God Himself.

Because you might be the only example of God's qualities your friend ever sees.

As Marty McFly would say: "That's heavy."

Does that mean we are to lose our individuality and identity? No way, stake-burner. It means that as we grow in God and start to "be conformed to the image of his Son," we begin to take on His attributes of love, grace, faith, and glory and reflect all these things back to our Creator. (Romans 8)

My suggestion?

Let's start praying that our daily, hourly, and "minute-ly" actions, behaviors, and attitudes display the characteristics of God. So that when you need to go twenty minutes out of your way to pick someone up so they can come to church, you do it with joy. So that when you get demoted at your job, your coworkers see that you handle it with grace and patience. So that when you have to walk out of a movie because it's ridiculously raunchy, your friends see your passion for purity, despite how much they'll make fun of you for it.

So put down your pitchforks (or guns, if you've been busy) and put on Christ.

Friday, February 17, 2012

RMP: Destroy

I'm usually not a huge fan of monologues, but this one blew my socks off the first time I heard it. And then the rest of the night was just awkward 'cuz of the whole no-socks thing, but that's beside the point.

It's part of a music album by a band called Worth Dying For, and the best way I can describe this video is that it is essentially a battle cry. Just think Braveheart's last speech in the movie, but with more meaning. I say "more meaning" because we fight for a permanent freedom that won't end the day we die.

It starts out basically describing us before Christ just as the prophet Isaiah does: "We grope for the wall like the blind; we grope like those who have no eyes..." and then moves on to what comes after salvation.

Just listen to it, and make sure you're listening close. It's powerful.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

There's an app for that.

Bible study?

There's an app for that.

Actually, there's bunches of them! There's softwares, programs, and applications that you can readily have at your fingertips to research the Bible with. You can go on the internet to find every resource known to man. E-books offer a wealth of information to help understand and interpret the Bible.

Exegesis. Sanctification. Ecclesiology. Calvinism. Arminianism. Intercession. Premillennialism. Postmillenialism. Reformed. Zionism.

You can now know what all those mean and where you stand on those issues! Great, right?

Well, that depends.

The great thing about all of these resources that are available is that we can truly grow in our ability to stand firm in the truth of the Gospel. In reference to protecting the truth, the Apostle Paul says to his disciple, "O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you." (1 Tim. 6)

So that's good.

But the reason that I say that all of this readily available knowledge might be dangerous is two-fold:

How do you know that what you're reading is legit? Do you know if the author is being held accountable for what he is writing? Do you know whether or not you are being led astray by something that sounds very good, but ends up being as wrong as a man shaving his legs.

And yes, I'll even subject Kingdom Eyes to the same standards: As far as being held accountable, the words that are written here are measured by other solid members of faith. And as for the other two questions, it's up to you to match what I say against the entirety of Scripture, and look at Kingdom Eyes with a careful eye. Just like anywhere else.

Getting lost.
Even with all of the valid resources that remain after you've knocked out the crazy guys, there's a very present danger of something that I see happening a lot. Falling in love with the Bible and not falling in love with Jesus.

Sounds weird, right? Well, humor me.

This week I listened to a podcast by Matt Chandler, and he made a point I never recognized before. I'll try to condense what he said: the church in Ephesus was too legit to quit. Seriously. Out of all of the churches in the New Testament, this one was off the chain. They were growing by ridiculous numbers, and at one point, had enough influence to make sure that, "all the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks." (Acts 19)


And when we get to Revelations, we see that this description of the Ephesian church:
"I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary."
 Among other things, John says that they are pretty good at sniffing out lies and getting rid of them in the congregation. But there's a problem. He goes on to say this: 
"Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place." 
Ouch. There issue was that they had stayed hardcore about the doctrinal truth of the Gospel, but had let their love and intimate passion for the person of Jesus die down. And the impending consequences for this, despite all of their good works, were pretty serious.

So, here's what I say: Congrats to the people who are serious about knowing where they stand on the truths of the Scriptures. You should be. But don't lose yourself in thinking that that's enough. Loving Jesus and knowing the truth He gives us in His Word go hand in hand. Like cream cheese and marshmallows.

So always make sure that what you're ingesting spiritually is true. And always make sure that you don't let your love for doctrine outweigh your love for God.

Monday, February 13, 2012

RMP: Speak to the Dark

Historically, (since I started RMP like five weeks ago -__-), I haven't ever posted anything other than a YouTube video, but today I would like to introduce a new song and band today.

Quiet Science is a band I recently discovered, and they are legitsauce. If you're into rock with a bit of synth mixed in, you'll love these guys. And what's refreshingly different is that opposed to other Christian rock bands, (I won't name names) they're lyrics are very deep and probing.

The song I would like you to check out is called Speak to the Dark, and it's basically about prayer. My favorite part of the song is where the singer says,

"They say I must be mad to speak to the dark.
As crazy as a blind [man] waiting on angels
To stir the water line."

As far as I know, this is a reference to the invalid that Jesus healed in John 5, who was waiting on angels to stir the water of the pool of Bethesda so that he could be healed.


Yes, I just used the suffix -sauce twice.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Concrete = Community.

I live in a fairly suburban, white-picket-fence style community. (I don't have a white-picket fence, and come to think of it, I don't know anyone who does. We need to get rid of that saying. This is a long parenthetical statement.)

Anyways, as I was saying, (before I was so rudely interrupted by my past self) in my community, there's a sidewalk that runs in front of pretty much every house. It passes through each persons property and links the whole community together.

As I was working around the house this past week, I accidentally got some grass fertilizer on the sidewalk, and I knew I had to get it off because it was pink. And if you don't know why that's bad, let me just say that water, pink fertilizer, and white concrete don't mix to produce a very nice-looking sidewalk. And considering my community's Nazi-minded Homeowner's Association, I wanted to keep the sidewalk looking nice.

That being said, I got out the biggest broom I could find (actually, the only broom I could find) and I started sweeping almost the entire length of my family's portion of the sidewalk. To get a little bit of insight as to why I think of writing about the topics that I pick, it's because of random moments like this: as I was sweeping I realized that the sidewalk reminded me of how the church works. Call it what crazy, but that's how my mind works, because apparently to me, concrete = community.

Anyhow, think of it this way: The houses are representations of each of our individual lives as believers, which would not be connected were it not for some common element. That's where the sidewalk comes in. The sidewalk represents all of us being brought together into the body of Christ. Now, I've written about the body of Christ before, but I wanted to add an element to this discussion of the church: responsibility to our part of the body. In other words:

Whatever you do, do it as best you can.

Just like the Homeowner's Association has requirements as far as how your sidewalk is supposed to look, God has requirements as to how we are to operate in our respective positions in the church. Ephesians 4 says, 
"From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work."
So, does that look like spending all of your time over-booking yourself with church responsibilities?

The short answer: No. 

The long answer: In whatever responsibility we have, whether it be pastoring a church, discipling a few people, cleaning bathrooms, offering up your home, volunteering to help the old lady who can't do much at your church, or serving in the children's ministries, we must make sure that we devote ourselves to doing the best job possible. We need to take care of our sidewalk.

For some people, this might mean being more disciplined in setting specific times to meet the people they are discipling, or making sure that you're spending enough time alone with God before you go out and serve, or sacrificing the time that you feel entitled to have for relaxation for God's purposes.

That might even mean dropping some responsibilities because you've taken on so much that you can't do anything with 100% of devotion. God would rather have you be serving in one area to the best of your ability, than serving in five areas with a half-hearted dedication to each.

Whatever it may be, look into your respective calling, ask God what you need to start changing about your involvement with it, and follow it through.

So let's get out that broom and start sweeping.

Friday, February 3, 2012

RMP: Ready... or Not?

I've written about what a Spoken Word is before, but for the sake of brevity, I'll just tell you that Spoken Word is essentially a free-form variation of poetry that's uses clever word associations to point to deeper truths. (usually, anyway.)

In any case, I do believe that this is the most powerful Spoken Word piece I've ever seen or heard, and its subject matter is that of the Bride of Christ, given by two of the most talented Spoken Word artists in the Christian realm. Make sure you're actively listening while you're watching it to get the full meaning behind the poets' words, cuz sometimes this stuff can go right over your head.

Without further ado, I present to you this weeks RMP: "Ready... or Not?" by Janette...ikz and Ezekiel.