Monday, April 21, 2014

City Notes | Sharing + Speaking of Jesus: The Art of Not-Evangelism Part 2 of 3

Sully Notes 7: Books in 25 minutes or less

Sully Notes are more than a book review. They are meant to provide you with direct quotes from some books I've read in the last year, so you can get a taste of the overall theme of the book and then begin to chew on what your life might look like if you applied what you read. 

Here are links to the previous Sully Notes books:

And here is the previous post in the Sully Notes 7 | Speaking of Jesus series:

Speaking of Jesus | Sully Notes 7: Part 2 of 3

Chapter 5 What Would Paul Say?

Jesus didn’t come to build a kingdom. He brought one with Him. ... Because He spoke in the outlying regions, not from the pulpit of the temple, He spread this good news to people who were never likely to get within touching distance of an altar. ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand,’ He would say. No doubt heads turned, whispers abounded. ‘Where? Do you see it?’ Wherever He went, the pained and lost people He met followed Him. Jesus’ gospel was that He was the kingdom of heaven, with an easy and light yoke. He was available, and He was compassionate. And it appears that He was making house calls.– pg. 80

“Above all, Paul understood that Jesus was of sole importance. Remember how he wrote to the church at Corinth, ‘I resolve to know nothing except Jesus’? He wasn’t posturing so that he could follow with a great message. He was making an obvious and public declaration of his priorities. He was saying, ‘Get this: There is one that matters above all. Jesus Christ.’” – pg. 83

Is it critical that people ‘believe in God’ before we tell them about Jesus? Didn’t Jesus come here in the flesh to meet people who could not or would not acknowledge God in the first place? Must we filter the gospel through Paul’s writings before we share our faith with others? Do we believe because Paul makes sense to us or because Jesus came to us and said something like ‘follow Me’? ... Is there something wrong with pointing to Jesus in the first place, so that He can do the explaining? Do we trust God with salvation? – pgs. 84-85

Chapter 6  Speak of Jesus … Not About Jesus

… I tell people that if you want to get to know Jesus, the actual person, then read the four Gospels. Read them until they become part of you. Eat and breathe them … two things are called ‘the Word’: the Bible and Jesus. All of Scripture points to Him. I remember hearing a story about Charles Spurgeon debriefing his young intern preacher after he delivered the sermon. Dr. Spurgeon told the young man that he did a great job, but that he missed one key element. The young preacher asked what that was. ‘There was no Christ in your message, son. We preach Christ here ... The intern was shocked. ‘But, sir,’ he replied, ‘I was preaching from the book Ezekiel.’ Spurgeon responded, ‘Son, until you can find Christ in Ezekiel you will not share my pulpit again.’ Jesus is the Word. And then the Word became flesh and lived with us. And now dwells in us. All of the Bible is helpful, but it is a signpost to the ultimate Word of God – Jesus the Christ. We do not follow the Bible. We don’t worship the Bible. We love it because it directs us toward the One who is everything … Jesus is the point of the Bible. It all points to Him. I don’t have to be the Bible’s defense attorney. All I have to do is speak of Jesus and He will draw people to Himself.” – pgs. 88-89

“ … in the gospel of John, the primary metaphor Jesus uses to describe Himself is that of bread to eat and water or blood to drink. It’s pretty clear Jesus wants us to eat and drink Him. Not to understand what that means about His as a point of theology, but to actually imbibe Him. Inhale Him. So … how does that work? ... I think we need to believe that it’s possible to have Him in us. Really inside of us. Believing that what Jesus asks of us is possible should always be Point Number One.” – pg. 90

Practice acting like Jesus. Review the Gospels several times a day. I know them well enough now that I can literally scroll through all eighty-nine chapters and find several examples of how Jesus acted or spoke in a given situation and attempt to do something similar in my current circumstance. You can’t imagine how helpful that is if you haven’t done it. In order to do so, you have to know the Gospels inside and out and recognize that you have Jesus residing in you by the Holy Spirit’s power. Get used to this and it’ll change your life. We speak of what we know. Know Jesus and you will speak Jesus.” – pg. 91

Chapter 7 Our Religion Can Beat Up Your Religion!

“If the standard is actually following the real Jesus – then I’m not even sure I’m one of ‘us.’ Depends on the day – or the moment. We know the standard can’t simply be having good theology. Even demons have that. Or using the label. Or going to church. Or being born in a Christian country and have the name Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John.” – pgs. 98-99

If you don’t feel like you have to evangelize someone away from their team and onto yours, you can speak of Jesus much more freely, and thus, more effectively. … Not feeling like we have the burden to convince the world that they’re wrong and we’re right allows us to talk about Jesus and how amazing He was and is with total freedom.– pg. 103

Relax. Enjoy your friends. Enjoy their company along with the company of Jesus. Point Him out, freely, without fear or intimidation. You’re not responsible to sell Him to them. You’re simply saying what you’ve seen. You’re not the judge. You’re the witness. We’ll go further and further into this way of thinking until you’re free to speak of Jesus often and always. And you’ll see – people will listen. Not because we’re so good, but because He is so compelling!– pg. 105

Chapter 8 Is It Good News?

Looking at the life of Jesus, we can surely agree that His delivery was always suited for the time and the person. He was angry in the temple. He was abundantly gracious with the woman caught in adultery. He was slightly less grace-filled with His disciples. Tougher on Peter than on Andrew. Downright mean to the Pharisees. He asked nothing of the healed lepers and the blind and the beggars. Delivered without question the demoniacs and hassled His disciples when they showed little to no faith. The delivery of Jesus’ good news – that the kingdom of God had arrived – changed nearly every time He presented it. But let’s assume He always did it right. Were there times the recipients of His message couldn’t hear? So many times. The disciples constantly confused His message with their version of politics. They believed Jesus would restore the physical kingdom of Israel. The Pharisees, Sadducees, and Herodians heard Jesus attacking their power base. The Roman leaders heard Jesus wanting to overthrow their empire. The ones who truly had ears to hear Jesus typically were the hurting, the broken, the desperate. What united the misunderstandings of the disciples, the religious leaders, and the political leaders was an inability to hear the message of the kingdom the way Jesus presented it. They all heard power. Either that Jesus was about to give them earthly power or that He wanted to take it away. He was speaking of a whole new way – but they couldn’t hear because their ears were clogged with the ways of the world.” – pgs. 109-110

“Luke tells us in Acts that Jesus of Nazareth ‘went around doing good’ (10:38). People tend to like such a person. Remember the mission statement of Jesus? ‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor’ (Luke 4:18-19). I find it most interesting that when Jesus quotes this passage from Isaiah 61, He omits the last part. In the original version Isaiah continues with ‘and the day of vengeance of our God’ (Isaiah 61:2). Why didn’t Jesus say that part? I believe it was because it didn’t fit (at the time anyway) with the good part of the good news He wanted to proclaim. For those who were (and are) desperate, Jesus was always good news. He was the one who rescued them.” – pg. 112

Doctrine is a good thing. We all have doctrines. We all have a theology. It may not be well thought through, but we have one. We may be wrong, but we believe something about almost everything. Paul clearly teaches us to have sound doctrine. Well-studied beliefs about God and His ways so that when we speak of Jesus we know what we’re speaking about. Makes sense. However, when we go terribly off course is when we lead a conversation with doctrine rather than Jesus Himself." – pg. 115

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