Archive for September 2008

I once was lost   Leave a comment

Can you picture it?…The scene is the quad at Cal Berkley (but it could be any such institution of higher learning!) The sun is shining and the grass is littered with students working on their tans. Amongst them is group of Christians with guitars seeking to share their love of Jesus with their friends. Their plan, to use a bold act of worship (joyful singing!!) to arouse the curiosity and prompt questions from listening sunbathers ………but nobody had any questions in fact nobody was really interested .
This experience prompted one of  the worshipers to observe “our bold worship had grown our faith, but it made for weak evangelism. Our fatal flaw? We came up with our evangelistic strategy while we were alone in a room together with a bunch of Christians
……..and it prompted such questions as:
What is it like for those who are lost to take steps toward Jesus?
How can we be helpful to them on the journey?
Over the next ten years, while working amongst students Intervarsity workers Don Everts and Doug Schaup asked these and other similar questions and documented their findings. The results have been published in a book entitled “I Once was Lost”. The subtitle for the book is” What postmodern skeptics taught us about their paths to Jesus” and the lessons are remarkable and illuminating.
I hope to write in more detail about their challenging findings in the future but for now just a few “appetizers

“Each individual path to faith was a unique mystery ….and their collective paths had remarkable similarities”

“ There are five significant shifts (thresholds) that go in postmodern folk as they come to faith”
1 From Distrust to Trust
2 From Complacent to Curious
3 From Closed to change to Open to change
4 From Meandering to Seeking
5 The Threshold of the Kingdom itself

“Understanding the mysterious nature of the path has freed us from activism and ushered us into a humble place of wonder and prayer
…understanding the organic nature of the path has freed us from the frustrations of “one trick” evangelism and empowered us to get involved in the specific unfolding of mysteries of our friends”
“…the great news is the better we listen the better we serve those on the journey”

I am convinced if you are serious about sharing your faith you need to read this book ……and you need to have it on your shelves to refer to regularly!

Posted September 12, 2008 by jolm15 in Uncategorized

The look   Leave a comment

If you have been with us for the last couple of Sundays at New Life you will understand me when I say its all about “the look”! That moment when two sets of eyes lock and the communication is louder and clearer than any words could be. Jesus looked at the rich young ruler ( Mark 10:21) and loved him. Jesus locked eyes with Zaccheus (Luke 19:5) and called him down from the tree.
This morning I read about another of these “looks.” Peter so badly wanted to be a hero for Jesus and on a number of occasions this desire prompted him to open his mouth simply to make room for his foot! Each time Jesus was kind and firm in picking him up and pointing him back in the right direction. On this occasion  Jesus even warns him it is about to happen but our hero is mounted firmly on his white charger! ( Luke 22:31-32) Then before he has time to think almost, the white charger throws him and our hero has denied he even knows Jesus not once, but three times. Then it comes ( Luke 22:61“the Lord turns and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered…..”  I can never read that verse without getting chills .
Three looks, each magnificent in their eloquence, but each very different. Each with a powerful message of His love, a love that would not be crushed but would not compromise, a love that when we receive, changes our lives beyond recognition, and a love that will restore even the most abject failure and use them as “the rock on which I will build my church” (Matt 16:18).
I think Jesus had to cure Peter of his “hero complex” sincere as it was. To fulfill the amazing purpose Jesus had for him, Peter had to recognize his weakness enough to become simply a tool (and a hand tool at that!!) in the Masters hands.
I know that we can’t see those eyes today, however I don’t know about you but I have felt them more then once. Each time it would be true to say “ Then Jonathan remembered…”. Isn’t it wonderful to know to know however, that Jesus is still willing to use failures, even repeated ones like me, when we remember to surrender

Posted September 10, 2008 by jolm15 in Uncategorized

Just a sample   Leave a comment

On of the nicest things about having Mondays off is that I can enjoy contemplating all the amazing things that God did over the weekend. Yesterday, as I recalled how much I appreciated our worship service I was challenged by another quote from Jeff Lucas in “Creating a Prodigal Friendly Church.” 

Does our preaching [or service as a whole] stimulate , irritate, confront and occasionally infuriate? Does it just take up time on Sundays or does it drive us back to our Bibles on Mondays eager – even desperate to slake the wholesome thirst that has been created …….?” [brackets mine]

As I thought about this I remembered trips to Costco! No shopping spree would be complete without visiting at least one of the multiple carts strategically placed to offer you a taste of some delicacy . Their job is not to feed shoppers (although the frequency with which some people visit the carts you wonder!!) Their purpose is to give you a taste that excites you enough to go to the shelf and place some in your cart to enjoy at home .
So how about church …….when did God last give you a “taste” of something that you were excited to take home.  Something you wanted read more and/or learn more about so it would make a difference on Monday?

Posted September 9, 2008 by jolm15 in Uncategorized