Monthly Archives: June 2014

Worship and Evangelism are basically the same thing

Think of the last time you went to a really great restaurant. You might have praised the owner or the waiter who served you, telling them how amazing the food was. But after you left the restaurant you most likely told a friend that they just have to go try it.

Speaking to the owner or waiter was worship; speaking to your friend was evangelism. You may have said the exact same things, but your words were addressed to different audiences.

One of the reasons God saves you is “that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (1 Peter 2.9). In other words, he saved you in order to turn you into a proclaimer. And your proclamation is going to be pointed in two directions: it will be directed towards God as worship, and it will be directed towards others as evangelism.

I think evangelism can be made a lot more complicated than it needs to be. We make it hard by assuming that we have to have comprehensive knowledge of the Bible, training from experts, familiarity with apologetics and philosophy, and the ability to persuade people. All of these things can be useful, but it’s sad when Christians feel they can’t evangelise.

If you can talk about your favourite restaurant, film, city, beach, comedian, coffee, artist, shop, designer, actor, band, programming language or book, then you can evangelise. Worship is the outflow of enthusiastic and passionate admiration. But when you think of it, so is evangelism.

A little while ago my sister-in-law told me of a conversation she had with a guy at her church. He was pretty vocal about his favourite clubs and music, but he said that evangelism wasn’t his thing; he couldn’t tell people about Jesus. She told him that if he could enthuse about the things he loved, then he could tell people about Jesus.

When worship is the outflow of your heart because you really love Jesus, and you want to thank him for all he is and all he’s done for you, then evangelism need not be any more complicated or difficult than letting others overhear something of that passion. I once heard one of country’s foremost apologists, Amy Orr-Ewing, put it somewhat like this: “We just need to go and tell people how amazingly wonderful Jesus is. It’s as simple as that.”

A Bible for Readers

Many Christians find it hard to read the Bible, but a couple of unnecessary obstacles make it even harder.

First, the fact that so many Bibles are laid out so horribly. The font is tiny, the page is messy and cluttered, and worst of all, there are two columns on each page–something you’re only likely to find in an encyclopaedia or dictionary.

Second, the addition of chapter divisions, verse numbers, section titles, and all other kinds of clutter on the page make it more difficult to sit and read the books of the Bible as books. Instead, you’re more likely to read in microscopic chunks so that, by the time you’ve made any progress in a book you’ve forgotten what came before (since you read it days or weeks ago). The original manuscripts of the Bible books had none of these added extras.

Continue reading

The questions Jesus asked

Jesus was able to do more with a question than others can manage in hours of speaking and persuading. With his questions he had the power to undo men, or put them back together. His questions cut through all pretense and hypocrisy. His questions expose and often wound. They also minister faith and strength to those who lack it. Jesus chose his questions carefully with the wisdom of one whose mouth was well taught, and in an instant accomplished great damage against an enemy, or great help to a friend.

Jesus used questions in his teaching to arrest the attention of the listener, and enable them to be honest with themselves. He also used questions as weapons against his accusers. They were unable to hide their true motives, or their sheer ignorance, when he turned his great mind and insightful heart upon them and asked them the question they did not want to hear. Their logic was overturned, their safe place exposed, and their self-assurance destroyed.

A question punches through your certainty. It knocks you off balance. It exposes your bluff for what it is. It makes you doubt your doubts and question your assumptions. A well-placed question is like an ear worm; it gets inside your head, and it’s difficult to shake. It gnaws away at your foundations, and exposes your inconsistencies. It makes you panic. A question might also enable you to catch a glimpse of light when all is darkness. Continue reading

Happy Birthday Seth Gregory and Gregory Paul

IMG_1541

Yesterday our boy, Seth Gregory, turned one. Today his grandfather, Gregory Paul, turns 61. I have no idea what mum is doing with that glue.

Seth came within 30 mins of being born on the same day as his grandfather, but Sie pushed hard. Grandad still claims it’s the same birthday if you go by Jewish reckoning of days (“And there was evening, and there was morning…”).

Nobody told me just how much I would love my little boy, and I now understand a little more of the why behind all that love and devotion my dad showed to me and my brothers. Thank you dad. And happy birthday to you both.

God chooses the weak

At times you can feel painfully aware of your inadequacies and weaknesses. In facing the prospect of church planting, I feel that now more than ever. It’s because of my awareness of everything that could go wrong, and of all that we lack. It’s knowing that Jesus was right when he said, ‘Apart from me you can do nothing‘. It’s also because of a keen awareness of all the fake success that churches can enjoy, which is little more than wood, hay and stubble.

This paragraph leaped out at me as I read Jim Hamilton’s outstanding little book, What is Biblical Theology?:

“In the mystery of his wisdom, God chooses mostly weak and insignificant people as his own. He wants no humans boasting (1 Cor. 1.29), and he wants us relying on him, not ourselves (2 Cor. 1.9). When God sets out to make a great nation of one man’s descendants, he starts with a man whose wife is barren. When he wants to choose a king, he picks a young boy whose own father didn’t think he would be king, and so when the prophet comes to anoint one of his sons, Jesse doesn’t summon David until Samuel has passed over David’s older brothers (1 Sam. 16.10-11). When God wants to save the world, he sends his Son to become a baby, born to a peasant girl in questionable circumstances, and he sends him not to a great world capital but to a small town in Galilee. It’s almost as though God repeatedly gives a head start to the opponent who will never outrun him.”

There is sweet comfort in knowing that our weakness actually qualifies us for service.