Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Time To Say Goodbye

Maybe we will come back later in another form. You can check our own individual blogs or look for us on facebook where we will have redeployed. Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, December 18, 2006

We NEVER get beyond the gospel

"We never “get beyond the gospel” in our Christian life to something more “advanced.” The gospel is not the first “step” in a “stairway” of truths, rather, it is more like the “hub” in a “wheel” of truth. The gospel is not just the A-B-C’s of Christianity, but it is the A to Z of Christianity. The gospel is not just the minimum required doctrine necessary to enter the kingdom, but the way we make all progress in the kingdom.
WE are not justified by the gospel and then sanctified by obedience but the gospel is the way we grow (Gal. 3:1-3) and are renewed (Col 1:6). It is the solution to each problem, the key to each closed door, the power through every barrier (Rom 1:16-17).

It is very common in the church to think as follows: “The gospel is for non-Christians. One needs it to be saved. But once saved, you grow through hard work and obedience.” But Colossians 1:6 shows that this is a mistake. Both confession and “hard work” that is not arising from and “in line” with the gospel will not sanctify you—it will strangle you. All our problems come from a failure to apply the gospel. Thus when Paul left the Ephesians he committed them “to the word of his grace, which can build you up” (Acts 20:32).

The main problem, then, in the Christian life I that we have not thought out the deep implication of the gospel, we have not “used” the gospel in and on all parts of our life. Richard Lovelace says that most people’s problems are just a failure to be oriented to the gospel—a failure to grasp and believe it through and through. Luther says (on Gal. 2:14), “The truth of the Gospel is the principle article of all Christian doctrine… Most necessary is it that we know this article well, teach it to others, and beat it into their heads continually.” The gospel is not easily comprehended. Paul says that the gospel online does its renewing work in us as we understand it in all its truth. All of us, to some degree live around the truth of the gospel but do new “get” it. So the key to continual and deeper spiritual renewal and revival is the continual re-discovery of the gospel. A stage of renewal is always the discover of a new implication or application of the gospel—seeing more of its truth. This is true for either an individual or a church."

-Tim Keller

We NEVER get beyond the gospel

"We never “get beyond the gospel” in our Christian life to something more “advanced.” The gospel is not the first “step” in a “stairway” of truths, rather, it is more like the “hub” in a “wheel” of truth. The gospel is not just the A-B-C’s of Christianity, but it is the A to Z of Christianity. The gospel is not just the minimum required doctrine necessary to enter the kingdom, but the way we make all progress in the kingdom.
WE are not justified by the gospel and then sanctified by obedience but the gospel is the way we grow (Gal. 3:1-3) and are renewed (Col 1:6). It is the solution to each problem, the key to each closed door, the power through every barrier (Rom 1:16-17).

It is very common in the church to think as follows: “The gospel is for non-Christians. One needs it to be saved. But once saved, you grow through hard work and obedience.” But Colossians 1:6 shows that this is a mistake. Both confession and “hard work” that is not arising from and “in line” with the gospel will not sanctify you—it will strangle you. All our problems come from a failure to apply the gospel. Thus when Paul left the Ephesians he committed them “to the word of his grace, which can build you up” (Acts 20:32).

The main problem, then, in the Christian life I that we have not thought out the deep implication of the gospel, we have not “used” the gospel in and on all parts of our life. Richard Lovelace says that most people’s problems are just a failure to be oriented to the gospel—a failure to grasp and believe it through and through. Luther says (on Gal. 2:14), “The truth of the Gospel is the principle article of all Christian doctrine… Most necessary is it that we know this article well, teach it to others, and beat it into their heads continually.” The gospel is not easily comprehended. Paul says that the gospel online does its renewing work in us as we understand it in all its truth. All of us, to some degree live around the truth of the gospel but do new “get” it. So the key to continual and deeper spiritual renewal and revival is the continual re-discovery of the gospel. A stage of renewal is always the discover of a new implication or application of the gospel—seeing more of its truth. This is true for either an individual or a church."

-Tim Keller

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Who Stole the Men?


Some disturbing stats (taken from Mark Driscoll's talk two weeks ago):

• There are 11-13 million MORE women Christians in the US than men

Women are:

• 100% more likely than men to be involved in DISCIPLESHIP
• 56% more likely than men to be involved in CHURCH LEADERSHIP
• 54% more likely than men to be involved in SMALL GROUPS
• 39% more likely than men to HAVE A NORMAL DEVOTIONAL/QUIET TIME
• 33% more likely than men to VOLUNTEER AT CHURCH
• 29% more likely than men to READ THEIR BIBLES
• 29% more likely than men to ATTEND CHURCH
• 29% more likely than men to SHARE THEIR FAITH
• 29% more likely than men to GIVE FINANCIALLY TO A CHURCH


If your heart doesn't break when you read those stats then... well I don't know but it is way sad.

So here are my TWO QUESTIONS:

1) What are we doing wrong? (including in Campus Crusade for Christ since we have men and women pass through our ranks)

2) What do we need to do to fix it? (Assuming you believe the kingdom of God is meant to be populated equally by men and women)

Friday, November 03, 2006

CCC Prez has the "Inside Story"

Steve Douglas (CCCI Prez) is coordinating the “Inside Story” Conference this November 15-17.

Whether you know about the conference or not, or are familiar with its origins or not I think it is a worthy conference to take note of.

This particular conference was born out of a movement I have been following for a couple years. It was born out of the 2004 Lausanne Conference in Thailand as a special taskforce on “Making Disciples of Primary Oral Learners”. What came out of that meeting was the OneStory Partnership, the International Orality Network (or ION) and other key missions connections. I was at the 2005 International Orality Network Conference last year and I remember hearing that the following years the ION conference would branch into two conferences. One concerned with oral communicators internationally and another concerned with Secondary Orality in the postmodern West. The latter conference was called the “Inside Story" Conference for the postmodern or concrete-relational communicators. Steve Douglas has taken lead as coordinator for this conference.

Word is that Steve Douglas is going to talk about his own Bible narrative work in some university in Florida that he says can be turned into a effective and transferable model.

Check out the conference website for more info on what the conference aims at accomplishing. You might find this right up our alley as we need to constantly rethink effective gospel communication at Cal-Poly and elsewhere.
Any questions?

Any thoughts?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Missional Evangelism from iMonk

Nevermind how I found this article at iMonk, but I did. I don't read iMonk regularly, so don't get the impression I agree with everything he says because I don't know what he says. But this article about the "Future of Missional Evangelism" is interesting.

I looked at one other article in his series "Physician Heal Thyself" and iMonk pits reformational evangelism against revivalist techniques. One thing I have noticed in this article and other reformed books on evangelism is that a false dichotomy is created in that either evangelism is "friendship/earn-the-right-to-be-heard" evangelism or else it is a hideous "bait and switch" type of evangelism.

In CCC, we have always been about taking the initiative to share the Gospel and then leaving the results to God...as the old saying went. But no CCC'er I have ever known likes the idea of lecturing people without listening or spending time putting on big "revival" meetings where we twist people's emotions. We hate that kind of stuff, amen?

Missional evangelism is appealing because it falls in line with what we already have seen is the most successful evangelism--friends introducing friends to Jesus....which involves opening your mouth and communicating with real words about Christ.

That is not to say we don't see people come to faith when sharing randomly on campus. I have a friend who came to faith at Cal Poly Pomona over 25 years ago after a staff person approached her during lunch and shared the 4-laws with her. My friend says she was just "ripe fruit" ready to be picked. God ordained for her to meet this staff person "doing randoms" near the stables one afternoon.

Of course, I hear some of you saying, "Yeah, that was 25 years ago....things were different." Yeah, I am an old guy. But remember what the Bible says about gray hair. Watch it.

Anyhow...that is not really my point.....it's just that I came across this article on Missional Evangelism and it articulates some of the things we have already been discussing.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A little encouragement...


This post recently by Piper encouraged me, so I thought I would share it with you all. Piper was feeling the pressure of comparison after his national conference and all the amazing speakers that were there. So in meditating on John 21:18-22 God led him to these conclusions:

"Book after book, conference after conference, DVD after DVD—telling me how to succeed in ministry. And all of them quietly delivering the message that I am not making it. Worship could be better. Preaching could be better. Evangelism could be better. Pastoral care could be better. Youth ministry could be better. Missions could be better. And here is what works. Buy this. Go here. Go there. Do it this way. And adding to the burden—some of these books and conferences are mine!

So I was refreshed by Jesus’ blunt word to me (and you): “What is that to you? You follow me!” Peter had just heard a very hard word. You will die—painfully. His first thought was comparison. What about John? If I have to suffer, will he have to suffer? If my ministry ends like that, will his end like that? If I don’t get to live a long life of fruitful ministry, will he get to?

That’s the way we sinners are wired. Compare. Compare. Compare. We crave to know how we stack up in comparison to others. There is some kind of high if we can just find someone less effective than we are. Ouch. To this day, I recall the little note posted by my Resident Assistant in Elliot Hall my senior year at Wheaton: “To love is to stop comparing.” What is that to you, Piper? Follow me."


You can read the full article here. It is worth your time, whether you are in ministry or not.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Fifties Evangelism Today

Our recent team discussions about the ineffectiveness of our modern approach has been hard. We are having to admit that sharing the Four Laws like we did in the fifties is not working as well.

Bill Bright got it right back then for his generation. It was incredible. Contextualized and spot on. Things have changed and if Dr. Bright were alive now I think he would in his modern pragmatic view cheer us on to recontextualize again to our current culture.

We took a straw poll on our team and the majority of our conversions in the recent past have been predominantly Catholic. They have the Judeo-Christian world view still intact to work from - similar to the college student of the fifties.

The obvious nut to crack here is how to communicate the Gospel in our postmodern setting. As a general rule our students are great at sharing the "laws", but as products of their postmodern world, parental upbringing, church background are horrible at making friends and initiating in everyday encounters with non-believers.

We are actually thinking of teaching our students on basic social skills. "How to make friends" When our student leaders saw this they laughed. But then said they would come because they wanted to see what the staff would actually teach. If we adopt some new postmodern method to communicate (contextualize) the Gospel, there is still the awkward step of faith to say something about God much less Jesus, particularly when no one is watching.

I think sharing Christ a heart issue. Sharing about Jesus must come from a full heart centered on the cross and its implications. Out of a full heart of Jesus flows a desire to share.

Moderns are asking now: How do you get people to live this way much less measure it. Or is this just another Modern way of thinking? Is tracking effectiveness and taking statistics a Modern way of doing things? Scripture is full of number keeping. Singularly to give God the glory.

What do you guys think? I can't wait to talk more on Friday in our field staff meeting to figure this out.