We Need Senior Believers To Better Expand the Kingdom

They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green…

Psalm 92:14 (ESV)

I grew up in a smallish beach town in Southern California. From what I remember, it was a pretty solid blend of people of all ages. Our neighbors ranged from young families to senior citizens.

But sleepy Seal Beach was also home to one of the world’s largest retirement communities, a place known as Leisure World.

Leisure World , which was home to about 9000 residents, was built like a fortress with high walls and a manned gate.

As I remember (from both my childhood and adult experiences), Leisure World was a place that seemed to give off a vibe something like this: “Hey young people, keep out. This is our place and our time!”

Most of the facilities at Leisure World (the pool for instance) weren’t kid-friendly. In fact, to be a kid inside Leisure World – even if you were there “legally” to visit grandparents -was to feel like an intruder.

But, obviously, for a number of retired people Leisure World was the “bees knees” and “cat’s meow” (how’s that for some older expressions?). The reason? These seniors were looking for a large degree of separation and segregation.

When it comes to life in God’s church,  I sometimes wonder (and worry) if a smattering of our older saints might be feeling a tug toward a similar type of church setting; a sort of “Leisure World” church culture which revolves mostly around them and their wants.

A place where the younger generations are rarely seen, let alone heard.

In the most severe cases, some of these folks tend to find kids, teens, young adults – even boomers – to be an intrusion on their idea of what the perfect church looks like.

There are certain churches that that carry out their ministries in an “older fashioned” manner. They are thick with nostalgia and have a penchant for things associated with the good old days. Essentially, everything about these churches, from the architecture to the services to the media, appears to be have more in common with 1960 than 2016.

I understand the temptation for some to feel drawn toward a church that reflects one’s own demographic. We all seem to be pulled to spend time with people mostly like us. Why? Because it’s comfortable. We speak the same language. We share the same interests. We are at the same life stage. And sometimes we just have really good memories about a time gone by.

But, ultimately, my contention is this: I believe most of these “retro-driven” churches are holding on to dear life to something that will most surely die. And. as a result, these churches are missing out on a lot of the action when it comes to building the kingdom.

In short, I firmly believe that the best churches are the ones that are inter-generational.

Meaning, we need all sorts of people to make the church function properly.

Without a solid balance of ages from 0-100, we set ourselves up for becoming niche-driven rather than kingdom-focused.

Although it may be challenging for all parties, I would rather work at tying to figure out how to do life together as an inter-generational church than one that only seeks to focus on one age group or demographic.

. . . . .

All this got me thinking: if a senior believer came and asked me what I thought their role is in an inter-generational church, here’s what I would want to tell them:

WE NEED YOUR WISDOM

You’ve lived longer than most of us. You’ve had more experiences. You’ve learned from your victories as well as your failures. We need you to help us navigate through life. Tell us your stories. Especially the ones when you were really struggling and you weren’t sure what to do. Tell us how God showed up just when you were about ready to throw in the towel.

Job 12:12 says, “Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days.” In a world filled with confusion, we sure could use your sense of spiritual clarity.

WE NEED YOUR EXAMPLE

We need to see how you walk with Jesus. We need to learn how you pray. We want to watch you and figure out how you approach marriage after 40, 50 or 60 years. Help us see how to handle people with grace. Show us how to smile at the future, because your hope is not in the things of this world, but deeply rooted in Jesus.

Proverbs 16:31 declares, “Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life.”

WE NEED YOUR MINISTRY INVOLVEMENT

Although we may retire from our career, there is no Biblical concept of retirement from the life of the church.

O.S. Hawkins said this:

“Retire”…the very sound of the word carries with it the connotation of resignation or retreat. For many in our modern world, retirement seems to be synonymous with an attitude of “settling down”—or even “settling in”—to a lifestyle that often buries our talents and treasures and that can inevitably lead to becoming content with a life that, all too often, can result in just meaningless monotony.

There are so many places where a person can lend their talents to the life of the church. VBS. Service ministries. Bible studies and community groups. Greeting. Ushering. Cleaning. Cooking. Praying.

The Bible describes the church as being like a body with a variety of parts. When are seniors are absent, we are missing some vital body parts.

We may take a rest from our job, but may we never be tempted to unplug from ministry.

WE NEED YOUR FINANCIAL SUPPORT

Let’s be honest. Families with kids are struggling just to make it. Its harder for them to give, because they have so little to give from. Many are faithful givers, but they have much in common with the widow and her mite.

Churches need older people who are often more financially secure to help support spreading the gospel to kids, teens and families.

And what an investment! Imagine the impact your dollars can have on the life of a child or teen who needs to hear about Jesus.

My feeling is that when money goes to the “Leisure World” church, its a lot like donating to a museum. But when we give to the inter-generational church, its more like giving to a hospital. One is a about preserving the past, the other focused on saving lives.

WE NEED YOUR PRAYERS

Of all the ministries and programs that a church can offer, the ministry of prayer is the most vital. And yet it is also the least tapped. By the time we reach our senior years, we may find some church activities are simply too strenuous or demanding. But almost anyone can pray.

I believe there is something special about older believers praying for younger generations.It reveals a willingness to, spiritually speaking, pass the baton. Isn’t that we want? A new generation of teachers, leaders, disciplers and missionaries? Then what better way to raise them but through prayer?

. . . . .

As much as seniors have to offer the inter-generational church, I believe the inter-generational church has some things to offer to them as well: purpose, vitality, renewal and hope. 

Although it can be challenging to serve in a church marked by all ages, the rewards are great. Why? Because we are carrying out God’s will to be faithful in passing on the gospel to another generation.

What could be better than that?

What Good are Trials?

All of us go through seasons of life when things seem to be flowing smoothly.

Generally, those seasons are very agreeable to us.

But other seasons are marked by challenge, difficulty and trial.

They can be hard to navigate, and oftentimes even harder to understand.

Most of us would be glad if life didn’t have any hardship. But that wouldn’t be realistic. And it wouldn’t be biblical.

James, one of Jesus disciples wrote this about the tribulations that cross our path:

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4 (ESV)

Rather than condemn our trials, James (inspired by God) actually calls upon us to rejoice in our trials.

I think most of us find this to be counter-intuitive…or maybe just plain nuts.

Yet, because this teaching comes from the mind of God, we must stop and try to figure out how trials in our lives can actually be of worth and usefulness.

Scanning through the pages of scripture, I believe we can build a deeper understanding of what God is up to when he allows us to struggle and suffer:

  • God’s ultimate purpose for us is that we might be conform into the image of His Son (Romans 8:29). Often times He uses trials to accomplish this.
  • God allows trials that we might become stronger in faith and more useful for His purposes. (James 1:2-4)
  • After we go through a trial, God can use you to help someone else who is in the midst of a similar challenge. (2 Corinthians 1:4-5)

 One of God’s greatest goals in allowing us to go through trials is that we learn perseverance.

 The Christian life can be compared to a long race (Hebrews 12:1-3), and all of us know that to be a successful racer, we have to learn how to keep going.

The big takeaway about trials is this: although we may not see it, they serve a purpose. Or purposes. God does not allow trials into our life just to aggravate us. He sees them as a tool that hold real potential to make us become wiser, act more kindly, or more able to endure.

Through the years some wise men have written about the challenge of understanding and navigating trials. Allow their insight to give you a proper perspective on how to deal with the trials that pop in your life:

The reason why many fail in battle is because they wait until the hour of battle. The reason why others succeed is because they have gained their victory on their knees long before the battle came. Anticipate your battles; fight them on your knees before temptation comes, and you will always have victory. ~ R.A. TORREY

How you think when you lose determines how long it will be until you win. ~ G.K. CHESTERTON

Press forward. Do not stop, do not linger in your journey, but strive for the mark set before you. ~ GEORGE WHITEFIELD

Nothing paralyzes our lives like the attitude that things can never change. We need to remind ourselves that God can change things. Outlook determines outcome. If we see only the problems, we will be defeated; but if we see the possibilities in the problems, we can have victory. ~ WARREN WIERSBE

At the timberline where the storms strike with the most fury, the sturdiest trees are found. ~ HUDSON TAYLOR

Perseverance is more than endurance. It is endurance combined with absolute assurance and certainty that what we are looking for is going to happen. ~ OSWALD CHAMBERS

How Can I Measure my Spiritual Growth?

Much of the Bible speaks to the topic of spiritual development. Words like “grow” and “mature” are commonplace.

To facilitate our spiritual growth, God provides us with three primary tools:

  1. The Church
  2. The Spirit
  3. The Word

Through the Word we find out “in black and white” just how God wants us to live our lives.

Romans 12:2 makes this declaration:

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (ESV)

The Bible gives us both the content and the context to be able to understand how to choose wisely regarding the various choices and situations we might face.

Through the Spirit we gain power,  insight and understanding. In trying to explain the soon-to-arrive Spirit to the disciples, Jesus offered these words found in John’s gospel:

“But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.” (John 15:26-27 ESV)

“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. (John 16:12-14 ESV)

Finally, God helps us grow by means of the church. In isolation, its difficult to develop spiritually. But in the context of community, we can learn from one another. Perhaps one of the most concise descriptions of how fellowship promotes growth is found in Proverbs 27:17:

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” (NIV)

Much like stones placed in a rock tumbler, our interactions with others, even though sometimes painful, can help us grow in Christian maturity and usefulness.

Now, as to the question found in the title of this post: how can I measure whether I am growing or not as a follower of Jesus?

Sometimes we try to measure the development of our Christian life with certain outward markers.

We go to church a lot.

We’ve learned how to employ a lot of Christian jargon into our speech.

We only listen to Christian radio stations.

But I believe the true test for how we are doing in our development comes down to a single word: obedience.

Bottom line, are we doing what God tells us to do? And are we not doing the things that He says we shouldn’t?

To me, the answer to those two questions are the most significant indicator of whether or not I am on an upward trajectory of spiritual growth.

Consider Jesus’ warning found at the conclusion of His well-known Sermon on the Mount:

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

Jesus’ point was simple. The one who obeys finds safety and security. They hold fast even when the storms of life try to bring destruction.

But the one who hears but fails to heed lives precariously! All it takes is a few challenges and their life is in danger of falling apart.

Regarding our willingness to obey God, well-known preacher Martin Lloyd-Johns said this:

“Love is not just a sentiment. Love is a great controlling passion and it always expresses itself in terms of obedience.”

That quote is completely in line of what Jesus said in John 14:21:
 “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” (ESV)
Bottom line, the presence (or non-presence) of obedience in our life has a direct correlation with the health and welfare of our spiritual life.

The (Near) Death of Common Ground

As a culture, it seems we are becoming more polarized by the day.

One reason for this, I believe, is the fact that we have become extremely individualized, meaning we pour a lot of time, energy and concern into manufacturing and maintaining a personal identity.

It shows up when we order our coffee. Or when we buy a car. We want these things to be just how we want them, and if we don’t get things our way (thanks Burger King), we become less than happy.

As a culture, we seem to have become a tribe of Epicureans, spending our days in pursuit of personal satisfaction by means of temporal delights and sensory stimulation.

Another reason for the polarization is (from a moral perspective) the fact that our culture is definitely in a shift. Values that were once thought to be set in concrete have know been brushed aside in favor of a whole new set of standards.

Perhaps nothing can be as divisive as our value systems. No wonder people are encouraged to not talk about religion or politics. Many a holiday gathering has been torn asunder by the sharing of our deep-held beliefs and perspectives!

One more reason to throw in the mix: the ever-present flood of news and information, coupled with the availability of social media. The result of these components is that our minds are constantly bombarded with harsh realities and bombastic opinions.

These three reasons, along with other factors, have made it more challenging for us to interact as human beings.

More and more, we find ourselves suspicious of others who aren’t part of our camp, whatever that camp may be.

The result is that we find ourselves, essentially, living on social islands.

Because of our fears and misgivings about others, we find our circle of social interactions getting smaller and smaller.

Conversely, the list of people we don’t like grows longer and longer.

Simply put, we’ve lost the art of finding common ground.

Which means vital conversations aren’t taking place.

When I consider the four gospels that describe Jesus’ life and ministry, perhaps no other human interaction of Jesus intrigues me than His encounter with the woman at the well.

The account is found in John 4, and what it describes is a situation that many in that day felt should not have ever taken place.

Why? Because of all the differences between Jesus and this woman.

He was a Jew. She was a Samaritan.

He was a man. She was a woman.

He was sinless and spiritual. She was sinful and living in shame.

From a cultural perspective, the overarching sentiment would have been this: Jesus and the woman should have simply acknowledged all their differences and kept the conversation from ever getting started.

But Jesus wasn’t bound by the culture, but rather by His calling.

He spoke first. She responded.

They talked about water. (Which is about as common ground as you can find. Everyone needs water.)

They talked about religion. (Although most won’t let on, near everyone has questions about the purpose and meaning of life and fears about mortality.)

Bottom line, Jesus cut through all the dissimilarity and found common ground for conversation.

And the result was amazing. As it finally dawned on her that she was talking to the promised Messiah, her heart was transformed. She promptly went back to her town and told the people about the incredible encounter she had with Jesus, and led them back to Jesus so they could hear more for themselves.

One thing I’ve noticed with my son Aaron, who has Down Syndrome, is how well he does engaging people from all walks of life.

I envy his ability to be in a crowd and display a desire to connect with pretty much everyone who crosses his path.

The reason he does this is because he spends little time thinking about human differences, but rather his mind is full of the fact that we have so much in common.

Aaron has a high sense of optimism that somehow, some way, a connection can be made with most people.

I probably could use a bit more of his relational buoyancy.

Tim Downs, in the preface of his book called Finding Common Ground, asked these questions:

In a world that’s growing more hostile to the gospel, what can Christians do? How can we communicate with our unbelieving friends and coworkers in a way that won’t seem pushy, intolerant, or judgmental? In a world that’s heard it all before and no longer seems to care, where do we begin?

His response? By sowing seeds in the field of common ground.

That is the one place where we can hope to find fertile soil for life-changing interactions and conversations.

A Life of Worship: Worshiping Beyond Sunday Morning.

Although I’m sure it has been an issue within the church for a long time, it seems that in recent decades this problem has only intensified: the idea that our worship of God is relegated to the 5 or 6 songs.

Of course, it is true that when we gather together for a service and sing out to God, we are indeed worshiping Him.

May we continue to glorify God with what Hebrews 13:5 describes as “the fruit of our lips.”

The problem is that if we only view worship as church singing, we are missing out on the great depth and breadth of worship opportunities that surround us.

Here are few quick thoughts to hopefully give us a bigger view of what it means to experience worship

We worship when we acknowledge and celebrate God’s truth and submit ourselves to God’s Spirit.  John 4:24

We worship when we verbally exalt and praise God. Psalm 107:32, Hebrews 13:15

We worship when we view God as bigger and us as smallerJeremiah 10:6; Isaiah 64:8

Worship isn’t so much about external styles as it is about internal transformation Micah 6:6-8; Romans 12:2

We worship when we pray. Matthew 6:9-13; Philippians 4:6

We worship when we obey. Romans 12:1; John 14:21

We worship when we give. Matthew 6:21; Hebrews 13:16

I like how Tim Hughes sums up a proper, healthy and full view of worship:

“Worship must be Christ centered, Holy Spirit led, a Response to the Father, about Intimacy and Service and always lead to Transformation!”

 

Focused on the Gospel, Part 3

Sometimes its hard to stay focused.

This is often a reality for Jesus’ church.

Sometimes we drift away from our calling and pursue lesser endeavors.

There are a few things that can work their way into the life of a church and begin working against the effort of  accomplishing the mission of Christ. Consider:

A CONSUMER MENTALITY

I’m not a coffee drinker, but there is nothing like being in a Starbucks and listening to someone order their coffee to highly exacting specifications!

And this desire for finding things that fit our personality and preferences seems to be everywhere!

We know what we want and we figure out how to get it!

Advertisers and marketers really have a field day with this, don’t they?

So, the question that arises is this: What happens when we bring an attitude of consumerism into the church?

Well, it probably starts to become more about us and less about God and His mission!

I love this expression: God is looking for communers, not consumers!

THE PURSUIT OF COMFORT

In our modern culture, comfort can rise to the level of an obsession!

Any time we feel any level of discomfort, our mind immediately starts sending us signals to find a way to get comfortable!

Now I don’t think the goal of a Christian is to be in constant pursuit of being uncomfortable, as if we become more spiritual by serving some sort of penance…

But I do know that Jesus made a pretty bold statement about what it meant to be one of His followers:

Matthew 16:24-26

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?

Regarding the culture of comfort, John Piper offered this:

“One of the main dangers in being comfortable in our Christianity is that over time comfort tends to begin to feel like something that God–or the world–owes us; and what we once called “luxury” is now called “need.” More and more we want things, and securities, and comforts. And we find our conversations with people even drifting onto the subject of special new things that we have just bought and we’re not talking Kingdom language anymore. It’s a creeping kind of gangrene with a smiling face on it that eats away at the heart of the Kingdom.”

I guess the bottom line question is this: “Is it possible to be in pursuit of Jesus mission if we are just as passionate about pursuing comfort?”

Here’s one last reason I believe we sometimes struggle to advance the mission of God.

THE PRESENCE OF CRITICAL SPIRITS

A person who possesses a critical spirit seems to live their life by this adage: “Behind every silver lining, there has to be a cloud.”

In the book of Jude, Jude wrote about individuals who are known as “grumblers and fault-finders” as being a danger to the spread of the Gospel and the health of the church!

Jerry Bridges on critical spirits:

“One of the most difficult defilements of the spirit to deal with is the critical spirit. A critical spirit has its root in pride. Because of the ‘plank’ of pride in our own eye we are not capable of dealing with the ‘speck’ of need in someone else. We are often like the Pharisee who, completely unconscious of his own need prayed “God, I thank you that I am not like other men. We are quick to see – and to speak of – the faults of others, but slow to see our own needs. How sweetly we relish the opportunity to speak critically of someone else – even when we are unsure of the facts. We forget that “a man who stirs up dissension among brothers” by criticizing one to another is one of the “six thing which the Lord hates.”

Why is it that we sometimes find ourselves in the rut of cynicism, complaining and criticizing?

  • We’re sinners.
  • We don’t appreciate or haven’t experienced grace.
  • We suffer with insecurity: By putting others down, we trick ourselves into thinking we’re elevating ourselves.
  • We’re envious. Rather than celebrate someone’s successes, we stew.
  • We’ve allowed a root of bitterness to take hold in our lives: Often this happens if we have unforgiven sin, unrestored relationships or unmet expectations.
  • We spend too much time around people who constantly speak negatively about others. (It can be a bit contagious)
  • Satanic influences: Satan loves to play on our feelings of discontentment or jealousy!

Consumerism

Comfort

Critical Spirits

A trifecta of things that can stall the mission of a church in no time flat!

And the only way we can get the mission back on track is with another word that begins with the letter  C:

CONFESSION

When we confess, God restores.

1 John 1:9 (ESV)

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

It is through humility and repentance that God can realign our crooked thoughts and get us back on course to become more and more focused on Jesus.

 

Focused of the Gospel, Part 2

A scary reality is that it is fairly easy for churches to drift away from a scriptural calling.

All too quickly a church can slip into becoming more of a social club or a secret society than a force for the Gospel.

In the very last book of the Bible, the book of Revelation,  the apostle John (who was in his last years of life) had a visitation from Jesus.

The Lord would go on to reveal to John many things that would happen in the future…but before He did, Jesus spent some time talking about the health of some of the churches that existed in Asia Minor (seven to be exact).

To a couple of churches, specifically the ones located in Smyrna and Philadelphia, Jesus gave an emphatic thumbs up, commending them for their unwavering faithfulness to Christ and His Gospel.

But to others, Jesus felt the need to point out some of their failings.

  • To the church in Ephesus, Jesus lamented that they had “lost their first love.”
  • To the church in Pergamum, Jesus complained about the fact they had allowed some false teaching to take root among their congregation.
  • To the church in Thyatira, the problem that Jesus pinpointed was one of sexual immorality taking place among the ranks.
  • Of the church located in Sardis, Jesus didn’t have much good to report at all. He simply said that although some say you are an alive church, you are essentially dead.

But perhaps the most depressing of evaluations came to a church that was located in the city of Laodicea.

The problem with this church was not only the fact that they were missing the mark for what Jesus would want from a church, they were actually deluded into thinking they were doing a great job!

Check out how Jesus said it in Revelation 3:14-22

“And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation.“‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot!  So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.  I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”

Wow. They thought they were hot stuff, but Jesus had to remind them that they were really way, way WAY off course!

Here’s the deal: Jesus wants His churches to be on mission…to be hitting the target.

But sometimes we drift away from His goals and His desires.

There are a lot of things that ail the church in our current age.

Like the churches described in the book of Revelation, we too can get missionally derailed by things such as misplaced priorities, apathy, immorality or deviant doctrines.

(In the next post, I’ll write about a few of the possible reasons why we can, as churches, find ourselves off-mission.)

Focused on the Gospel, Part 1

As a church, Jesus is the reason we do all that we do. Simply put, our calling is to, primarily, communicate His message.

Simple, huh?

Yet its sad to think that there are some churches that spend most or all of their time talking about everything BUT Jesus!

  • They talk about positive thinking
  • They talk about political hot buttons
  • They talk about societal frustrations
  • They talk about personal prosperity

But they seem to forget that the cornerstone and the foundation of our faith is Jesus.

Thus, they fail to help others understanding who Jesus is, what He has done, and how His life, death and resurrection impacts us all.

The idea regarding the teaching of who Jesus is and why He came is summed in a single Biblical word: Gospel

The word Gospel comes from the Greek language and it simply translates, “good news.”

It is a word is used over 75 times in the New Testament.

I think one of the best places to get our minds wrapped around what the Bible means when it uses this word is by looking a 1 Corinthians 15:-5

Now I would remind you, brothers,of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.

When I look at this passage, a few things stand out to me:

  1. It is the message that Paul felt to be of highest priority

Of all the things Paul could have talked about to them, he felt strongly that this was the message he HAD to communicate

  1. Paul made a point of saying that the content of His message was able to save them!

No wonder this was a high priority message! For in this message, people were able to experience the salvation they needed.

  1. Finally, Paul described the content of this Gospel message: It was rooted in the fact that Christ died for a specific reason…check out verse 3…and that He also was raised up back to life on the third day!

This was the part of Paul’s message that gave it teeth!

Bottom line: when it came to the Gospel, Paul was a man who possessed what might be called a “missional mindset.”

Perhaps this question has bounced around your mind: If God has saved us, why does He keep us around here on this earth?

Why is it that immediately after responding to Jesus we don’t make a bee line for heaven?

I believe the only logical answer to that question is that He has work for us to do right here.

Ultimately, while on this planet, our great purpose as believers is to serve God and His purposes, which is primarily to share the Gospel.

When it comes God’s vision for us, how’s our focus?

(In the next post, I’ll write about the reality that many churches drift…even churches that were started 2000 years ago.)