Archive for September, 2010
Have you ever thought of the tight connection between God’s joy and evangelism? Luke 15:7 outlines it fairly clearly when Luke writes: “There will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” The context is the hope of lost things found again – coins, sheep, and two sons. The great gladness of heaven is not that wars have ceased or that suffering has ended. It is found in one sinner repenting, coming home to the grace of God.
I often hear people in church say something to the effect of “We really need to first focus our efforts and attention on reaching and serving those in our church, and then we’ll be equipped and empowered to serve those outside.” But according to Luke’s logic, that’s a recipe to repeatedly miss out on God’s joy. We’ll never taste the joy of heaven if we follow that advice; we’ll always remain out of sync with the gladness of the gospel.
Evangelism has become a distasteful word for many people, especially in our post-modern culture. For many it smacks of used car salesmen, shifty pressure tactics, exclusive claims, or sheer arrogance – but it need not. We must to reclaim the word (literally it means to “good news” someone) and reimagine the task of evangelism if we ever want to know some of the celebration that all heaven enjoys. The gospel of Jesus Christ is good news – something has happened in history that changes everything and that news must be announced.
At the heart of the Christian faith is a party because people have come to know the gospel. How about joining the party and inviting others to know that joy? Why not become a joy evangelist?
And in other very exciting news, I’m having my very first book published. I’ve had articles published, entries in a book, but this is my first book. It is scheduled to be released at the beginning of October 2010. It is called Seeking God’s Face: praying with the bible through the year. It’s co-published by Baker Books and Faith Alive Resources.
Here’s what Eugene Peterson, author of The Message, says about my book: “Seeking God’s Face melds prayer and Scripture into a companionable guide for becoming a participant—both listening and speaking—in the great salvation conversation that is the Christian gospel.”
It is a daily prayer book modeled after the daily office, however a much simplified version. You can read more of the foreword by Eugene Peterson, my introduction to the book and a few sample days to try out. You can find this at
You can buy the book at the above link on Faith Alive or the links below:
Pass the word around and encourage others to check it out. I’ll post a little more on praying the daily office and the use of prayer books.
I’m very sorry for being a blog-slacker since mid- August. There has been a lot going on here – start of a new season at church, and also the big decision for me to be stepping down as Sr. Pastor and taking my leave from River Park Church. Betty and I have discerned the need to step away from active ministry for a time to do some study (I want to explore what forms church might take shape in the future, as well as explore how evangelism can function in a culture allergic to it), rest (give my family the gift of evenings at home – well, maybe the gift is more for me than my family), and then to pray, discern next steps and recalibrate for future ministry.
That leave will start on November 1, and I plan to blog about our time away, along with what I’m studying and discovering. I hope you’ll stick around for that.
I’m going to be changing the blog up somewhat. It’s been focused on the 90 day joy experiment but will broaden out beyond that. I’ll be giving it a new look and probably a new name – so stick around and keep in touch.