They Just Need To Hear!

I can't wait to connect again with my new friend. I just met him briefly after a meeting I had with some other pastors. He shared with me that he loved what he overheard us talking about...but that he didn't know too much about Christianity. 

WOW! A young man hungry to talk with me more about life in Christ? He truly wants to know more and the passion in his eyes was amazing. I'll be meeting with him soon!

I firmly believe the church is missing something big. Our nation isn't as much post-Christian as it is unreached. Most people I meet who aren't Christian have no real idea what Jesus wants for them - to be freed from constraints of sin and experience abundant life.

We must be courageous because many millions simply haven't heard the gospel for all it is. Our hopes must be lifted and our vision must expand. Jesus came to seek and save lost people. We can't wait for them to visit church, we need to confidently reach out in love.

I have two simple, but powerful, ways to help equip and inspire people to share the gospel:

  1. The church needs to celebrate life-change stories every weekend service. I'm not big on doing something "all the time", but this is an exception. In the church I was lead pastoring in Anchorage, Alaska, we had these stories every week. It created of culture of expectation and I believe life-change stories help spur a booming church. We had "many added to our number" year after year.
  2. People need to be equipped and encouraged to share their story. If you look at Acts 26 you'll find Paul sharing his story. That's it, just his story! It took him all of 3 minutes, I timed it. The most powerful and relevant tool we have to reach people who are unreached is our story. No one can steal it and no one can deny it...it's our story! 

Sure, there's more to do like arming people with central passages of scripture, having outreach events, caring for the poor, and on it goes. But we can't forget the two big basics: Celebrate life-change as an expectation in our churches and unleash people to share their stories. Many millions of people are hungry to hear the gospel...let's tell them the whole story.

If you want to join a church that will live this out...you're invited to prayerfully consider joining me in a new church plant. Signup right here.

 

The Gospel: So Good We Have To Tell The World

Jesus came to seek and save lost people. We can't wait for them to visit church, we need to confidently reach out in love. (That's my tweet from two days ago - just hours after God met with me in his word. What came next was only a God thing.)

It was early Saturday morning and God had an appointment with me. He wanted my heart to beat fast again for the gospel – for lost people who need to hear the good news. 

I was re-reading a classic by Watchman Nee and also pouring through the gospels for God's heart on reaching lost people. And there it was, Luke 10:2, John 4:35, and Matthew 9:37, all variations of the same theme  – There's a huge number of people who are ready to hear the gospel, and many will respond by saying yes to God!

Just a few hours later God revealed this to me. He wanted me to see how hungry people are to hear about the life God offers them. I'll share the rest of this story, and some basic points of action, on Wednesday. I hope this season has you lifting your eyes to see the spiritually hungry people all around us – what a message of hope we have!

 

You're Invited: We have another "Vision Chicago" meeting on Dec. 3rd. I'd love to have you pray and consider if God would have you join the core of our new church plant in downtown Chicago. Sign-up here

Into The City

There's very little balanced behavior in our broken world and the fallout is significant. Taking a stand for almost anything makes you a target. Either people are rock stars or they're getting kicked in the teeth. The higher the profile the greater the emotional swings. And the shift from hero to zero can happen in a moment. It's true of anyone who rises to the surface in almost any setting. From being a 1st grade playground leader to the President of a nation and everything between, fans and friends can feel like a fragile emotional commodity. And here is the brutal reality we must get our minds around: The gospel is very costly to the messenger. The Apostle Paul was clear - "through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God".

In the city of Lystra, Paul went from being worshiped as a god to being stoned as an accused fraud. Through it all the gospel remained strong. Paul was left for dead after a horrific stoning. Then a few faithful disciples of Jesus circled around him. Two miracles happened. 1. Paul actually got up. 2. He went back into the city. He went on to "strengthen" and "encourage" the folks to "continue in faith". Wow! So what does this mean for us? It's gut check time. We have to wrestle with what we believe about the gospel. When we finally pin down that Jesus is the only true hope for our communities, nation and world, it puts a fire in our belly that carries us through the highs and lows. Our strength as messengers of hope parallels our level of core conviction that Christ can transform lives and cities. 

And here's God's invitation to us. Whether cheered or jeered, keep your feet on The Rock and the gospel at the center. The good news can penetrate darkness and God uses his kids at the tip of the spear. The weapon we wield is lousy at traditional combat, but it slices through spiritual conflict like a hot knife through room-temp butter. Rise up...and go into the city with the confidence of Christ. Rocks can't keep the gospel down! 

Acts 14