Friday, May 16, 2014

Spring 2014 Acts 29 New England Regional Part 2 of 4 | Re-Evangelism

Emmaus City Church Worcester MA Soma Acts 29 Re-Evangelism


Acts 29 New England Regional Discipleship Training with Jonathan Dodson in Woburn, Massachusetts on Monday, May 5, 2014 

These posts are for the Discipleship Training I had the privilege to participate in back in early May with Jonathan Dodson and more than 90 churches represented in the New England area. The topics covered were "Unbelievable Discipleship", "Re-Evangelism", "Gospel Metaphors", and "Gospel Counseling". Here's the first post:

I'm still soaking in the thoughtfulness and wisdom that was shared. If you'd like to do some soaking yourself, here are video links* to three of the talks followed by my notes from the specific session this post is focused on:

*I would highly encourage you to watch the videos as Jonathan provides more research and great real-life examples during his talks that I wasn't able to record below.


Discipleship Training with Jonathan Dodson Part 2 of 4 | Re-Evangelism

“I am advocating that we share the true gospel, namely that Jesus is the Christ and the one, true Lord, the only Messiah that redeems from sin and the true King that reigns over all.

The gospel is news about the good and true story that Jesus has defeated sin, death, and evil through his own death and resurrection and is making all things new, even us. Faith in the gospel sweeps us, not into Christianity but into Christ.

It offers us an entirely new way of being human, not merely a new way of thinking and behaving (any religion can do that) … (the gospel) is a shift that comes about through an exchange of one identity for another, from an old identity to a new identity ‘in Christ.’ The gospel says: ‘God saves you, not by faith in your doctrine and friends, but based on faith in Jesus.’ Faith in other things will bring a slow, disappointing death, but faith in Jesus pulls us into a deeply satisfying life.

Since the gospel is an exchange of death for life, not an exchange of wrong beliefs for right beliefs, it must change where we place our faith. The gospel is not about recruitment to a cause or community; it is about regeneration to a new Savior and Lord.” – pg. 26,
The Unbelievable Gospel: Say Something Worth Believing

"Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord." There's so much packed into that name, that statement of faith. But do we keep our focus on Him and the wonder of who He is? In so many ways, we as His followers need to re-evangelize or retell the gospel to ourselves again and again. Too often, we take our eyes off of Jesus and instead put them ourselves or each other. Then we lose sight off the One who can make blind eyes see.

"Whether we are pastors, churches, apathetic, secularists or atheists, we all talk about what we're taken with. You don't have to convince someone to talk about what or who they love. Everyone is an evangelist of something."

How are we convinced of the love of the One who first loved us? How are we filled by this love? How do we let His love overflow to others?

"When we see the sufferings and service of Christ for us, we can be free to suffer for and serve others. When we see that Jesus is going to renew everything, we have everything to give away. Paul said to those in Ephesus, 'You know how I lived among you ...' (Acts 20:18). He not only shared the gospel, he shared his life with them; he shared everything with them. His confidence in Jesus enabled him to say, 'In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’ (Acts 20:35). His confidence was in remembering Jesus and what He said more than anything else so that he could serve everyone else."

So what's stopping us? "The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe" (Proverbs 29:25). If our master is the fear of others and what they think or how they will respond, then we'll be stuck. 

"'Master fear' is not a good master. But 'master missional' or 'master individual' are not good masters either. Master Jesus is a merciful master. He gives us infinite attention and approval. When we reach the end with our idols, they mock us. Jesus was mocked for us and we can never reach the end of His love for us."

Everyone wants safety. Everyone wants security. We're just looking in all the wrong places for our safety and security. Our character comes out when our glass what we hold on to for our identity and security is jostled and bumped. Are we filled with the Spirit of Jesus or something else? Our character will be an expression of where our hope rests.

"In managing our reputation or others' perceptions of us, we still think less of ourselves than what God thinks of us in Jesus. And we still want less and settle for less for ourselves and others than what God gives us in Jesus."

For example, the rich young man in Mark 10:17-31 desires wealth on the outside and comfort on the inside. But he still has concern for his soul. His wealth and his comfort haven't given him complete safety. They are less than what he needs. But when Jesus asks him to give them up to find true peace with Jesus, he can't let go. It says in Mark 10:21 that Jesus loved him. That's why he told him to sell all he has. Jesus knew his wealth and his comfort were not a safe place for the rich young man to find his security. But in the end, even Jesus let him go.

"If we're faithfully asking people to follow Jesus with us as we declare and display His gospel, the fruit will be some people following Jesus and some people walking away from Jesus and us. Jesus told us this would happen and we can rest in Him when some leave."

Next post: Discipleship Training with Jonathan Dodson Part 3 of 4 | Gospel Metaphors

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