Fear and Hate or Faith and Love?

Photo by Bart LaRue on Unsplash “God is sovereign so we don’t need to tell anyone about Jesus.” “I’m not called to be a missionary.” “I’m not gifted in evangelism.” It seems that there are more reasons not to talk to people about Jesus than there are reasons to do it. Everyone is looking for an excuse. Some folks are more theologically astute and make arguments trying to leverage doctrine. It turns out that all of us are invited into God’s mission. So why are we always trying to get out of it? I think there are two major reasons. The first is that we are afraid. We fear being rejected. We fear being asked a question for which we don’t have an answer. There is the fear of conflict. Many of us think that if we talk to someone about Jesus it will turn into a fight. Our fears are probably unending. The second is more insidious. We simply don’t care about people enough to invite them...
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Are you…Radical?

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?lt1=_blank&bc1=FFFFFF&IS2=1&bg1=FFFFFF&fc1=000000&lc1=0000FF&t=danielmroseco-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&m=amazon&f=ifr&asins=1596449381I just finished reading David Platt’s Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From The American Dream. It’s a good read and really challenging. David successfully puts the ideas and concepts of books like Brian Walsh and Sylvia Keesmaat’s Colossians Remixed: Subverting the Empire into terms that the average 40+ person can understand. His metaphors are great. His passion is obvious. I think for the most part his exegesis is solid too. Nothing really stood out as problematic. I really appreciated the clarion call throughout the text to abandon all and follow Jesus. For this alone the book was worth the price of admission. The place where I think the book really wins is the emphasis on discipleship. I am reminded again that Robert Coleman nearly 50 years ago really did know what he was talking about with The Master Plan of Evangelism . I hope that we who have read this book will take the Biblical command to multiply our lives through discipleship seriously. It is...
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I Can See Clearly Now…

…the rain is gone,I can see all obstacles in my wayGone are the dark clouds that had me blindIt’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright)Sun-Shiny day. It’s funny how clarity can change things. After the first big winter storm the schools were all closed and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader had just been released, so we packed into the car and headed to the show. The roads weren’t too bad but there was a constant spattering of stuff on my windshield. I hit the mister and nothing happened except for the mud and grime to smear. The realization of traveling on an expressway with no visibility was a little nerve racking. This got worse as I had to slowly make way around the exit ramp cloverleaf without falling off the side. I learned a timeless that day: Clarity IS important. In the previous post we talked about the importance of language. Here’s the thing though: language without clarity is useless. This hit home...
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Watch Your Language!

Sa a se bagay ki pi enpòtan ke ou te ka janm li. Ou ka li li l ’? Si ou pa kapab alò ou pa pral kapab konprann. Ou dwe konprann! Frape, frape! Ki moun ki la a? Ou. Ki ou? Oh pa kriye, li jis yon blag!I think that I have heard the words, “Watch your language!” more than I could ever imagine. It turns out that when I was younger I did not have much of a filter. It also turns out that as an adult I do not have much of a filter. Every day my poor wife has to remind what not to say.Don’t you feel bad for her? I do.My issues are not the point of this post, however. The issue is language. Could you read the opening few sentences? Unless you are some sort of awesome linguist, then probably not.If you are a follower of Jesus you speak a secret language, a language...
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Destruction or Construction?

I was 18 or 19, the room was jammed with more than 1,000 college students and we were enthralled by the man on the stage. He was thick necked and spoke with power and authority. When he got passionate the veins in his neck bulged. As a young man, I found in him the embodiment of all that I wanted to be: strong, intelligent, quick witted, and a command of philosophy and logic that left your head spinning.He shared story after story of destructing the worldviews of other people thereby creating a vacuum for the message of Jesus to fill.He didn’t share many stories of people becoming followers of Jesus.Fast forward nearly ten years.I am alone in my basement listening to a man with an English accent, whom I have never seen. He is sharing story after story of people responding to the story of Jesus.One man built bridges and the other created vacuums.One man started with humanity being created...
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Can You Understand Me?

One of the most powerful feelings I have ever had was the time that I landed in Germany and realized that I had no idea what the signs said. It was remarkably uncomfortable. I had no idea what he ads were saying, I had no idea what the people around me were saying, I could not understand a thing. I felt very lost and very confused and very much alone (which is weird because I was traveling with a group of six others).I felt these things because I knew I had no hope of being understood.I have found that as a Christ follower who intentionally seeks to introduce others to Jesus I unwittingly speak German to them.In my previous post I talked about respect. Well, if I respect someone then I can not caricature them. I need to honestly and authentically understand what they believe. This means that I must listen. Not only that it means that I must hear...
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R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Aretha sang, “Find out what respect means to me”. Respect is a simple word. It is one which causes people to get into fights, feel good, or get loud. Respect is something that is intangible and yet is required.Today I interacted on a blog where some people were critiquing a friend’s book.They had not read the book.Yet, they trashed the book. They trashed him. They challenged his character. It was a personal attack.They claim to be Christians.Over the last couple of weeks I have been teaching a group of people about how to engage with those who don’t follow Jesus. We began with “respect.” Why? Because this is the place that Jesus starts. This is the place that Paul starts. They were respecters of people.Consider Jesus’ interaction with the Samaritan woman in John 4.He respected her. He did not pull any punches but he dealt with her in love and did not demean her.Respect is a powerful form of love...
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Figuring It Out…

For the last few years I have been on a journey. It’s a journey that has cost me friendships. It’s a journey that has caused me to look pretty deep and it has caused me to evaluate my understanding of “church”. This week I had an epiphany. It’s both/and and not either/or.You’re thinking ,“That’s pretty cryptic.”You’re right. Let me clarify.The journey that I have been on has been the journey from thinking of church as primarily a “come and see” to that of “go and tell.” As per usual I have taken the pendulum of my life and swung it from one end of the spectrum to the other.I didn’t even notice.Passion does that.This week I met with a group of pastors from the area for a planning time. We were meeting to plan what our churches would do together as we participate in “E.A.C.H.”, a city-wide movement of churches that are seeking to give “everyone a chance to hear” during...
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Communion and Faith

One day not very long ago my son and I were sitting in the gymnasanctatorium at our church readying for worship to begin. That particular morning was a communion sunday and the table was front and center and covered. For a 6 or 7 year old boy anything covered with a sheet is instantly mysterious and requires investigation.“Dad, what’s under that sheet?”“Communion son.”“What’s communion?”“It’s when we celebrate Jesus dying on the cross and rising again.”“Yeah, but what’s under the sheet?”“Juice and crackers.”“Really? Do I get some?”“No.”“Why?”“Because the juice and crackers are symbols for Jesus’ death and resurrection and the only people who get to eat them are those who believe in Jesus.”“I believe in Jesus.”“You do?”“I do.”“Well, you have to meet with Pastor Doug and talk to him about the fact that you believe in Jesus and what that means.”“I do?”“Yes.”“I can’t do that, I would be too scared.”“Well, then you’re not ready for communion.”“Hmph.”And so began a conversation about...
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