Archives For January 2012

Gary Rohrmayer has written a helpful little book (76 pages) called Spiritual Conversations: Creating and Sustaining Them without Being a Jerk. In it, he provides a lot of practical helps to engaging unbelievers and overcoming evangelistic entropy.  Below are five ideas for increasing spiritual conversations with people in your life (from chapter 7):

1.  Make It a Priority

It is important for mission ally minded followers of Jesus to think strategically about their conversations throughout the week. If you don’t plan it or make room for it, the likelihood is that it is not going to get done. . . . If leaders are going to be serious about connecting with people, they need to uncover at least 5 new contacts a day, equaling about 35 a week, which will lead to 3 “sit-downs” for a meaningful conversation.

2.  Pray for Opportunities

Include in your praying . . .
* that God draws them to Himself (John 6:44)
* that they seek to know God (Acts 17:27)
* that they believe the Scriptures (1 Thessalonians 1:4-7)
* that Satan is bound from blinding them to the truth (Matthew 13:19)
* that the Holy Spirit works in them (John 16:8-13)
* that God sends someone to lead them to Christ (Matthew 9:37-38)
* that they believe in Christ as Savior (John 5:24)
* that they turn from sin (Acts 17:30-31; Acts 3:19)
* that they confess Christ as Lord (Romans 10:9-10)
* that they yield all to follow Christ (2 Corinthians 5:15)
* that they take root and grow in Christ (Colossians 2:6-7

3.  Get Out and Into Your Community

Look at your calendar and see what fills your week. I encourage spiritual leaders to think about tithing their time to community service and interaction (about six hours a week). . . . Networking is more about join in than it is about just hanging out in coffee shops, bookstores, and restaurants.

4.  Establish Routines and Cultivate Relationships

Beyond the tithe of your time in your community I encourage leaders to establish routines and patterns so that you build a relational presence with business owners and servers. Think strategically about all your interactions and pray that you can be a redemptive influence within that social network. A couple of telltale signs of this are, “Do people know your name?” or “Do you know people’s names?”

5. Be Available to Those Around You

As pastors and leaders we need to be spiritually sensitive to those Divine opportunities where God can use us in His redemptive plan. . . . There are times when we need to push beyond weariness and busyness and allow God to interrupt our agendas and schedules.

Questions to consider:

* How many contacts does it take for you to get a meaningful sit-down with a person?
* When is the last time you asked God to open new doors of opportunity for you?
* If you were to tithe to community service and interaction what would your work week look like?
* What relational commitments are you making in your community?
* What places do you frequent in your community?
* How do you overcome spiritual insensitivity created by your weariness and busyness?

 

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A Little Blog Update

Tim Brister —  January 30, 2012 — Leave a comment

Just a little note about what I am hoping to do in the future. I have come to the conclusion that the season of life right now is one with little margin for rightly lengthy blogposts (though I have dozens of drafts awaiting my attention!). So to keep my blog active, I will attempt to provide more bit-size stuff that I am either working on, reading, observing, or studying in Scripture. 

If you think of it, I appreciate your prayers for the ventures I am undertaking at this point, including leading our church in a time of transition, launching PLNTD, expanding mission in Haiti, and hosting band of bloggers in April. Thanks!

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I just finished J.D. Greear’s book Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary as part of the Roots Reading Initiative (with PLNTD).  His last chapter focuses on the marks of a gospel-centered church, and he provides three of them.  They are:

1.  In a gospel-centered church, preaching the message of the gospel is the priority.

Greear: “The gospel is an announcement that Jesus is Lord and that He has won the battle for your salvation. We are to respond in repentance and faith (Mark 1:15). The gospel is not good advice about how to live; it is good news about what God has done. Jesus told His disciples to be ‘His witnesses,’ which meant they were to tell everyone, faithfully, the story of what He had done for the world. Their lives would certainly demonstrate the changes His power brought in their lives, but they were to constantly point to what He had done that made those changes possible (222).

2.  In a gospel-centered church, the emphasis of the message is more on what Christ has done than what we are to do.

Greear: “… the only thing that brings true spiritual growth is abiding in–dwelling in, thinking about, standing in awe of–what Christ has done for us” (223).

3.  In a gospel-centered church, the members demonstrate the beauty of the gospel in community.

Greear: “… by doing what healthy local churches do (praying, sharing, constantly preaching the word, etc.), [the early church] were evangelizing the community. The presence of a healthy local church in a community is the greatest catalyst for the evangelization of that community. In a healthy church the local community should see the glory of God on display” (229).

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A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P

In his book, Grounded in the Gospel: Building Believers the Old-Fashioned Way, J.I. Packer has a chapter entitled “The Gospel as of First Importance.”  In that chapter, Packer discusses the pastoral and formational applications of the Gospel.  Many are familiar with the quote from Tim Keller that “the Gospel is not the ABC’s of the Christian life; it is the A through Z of the Christian life.”  Packer writes,

“In that spirit we offer the following ‘Gospel Alphabet’–twenty-six pastoral and formative reasons why the Gospel must retain primacy as the content of Christian education” (108).

This week, we come to the letter “Q”.

Q is for Quickening

Though by nature we were dead in our trespasses and sins and were objects of God’s wrath, God quickened us–made us alive with Christ–through his love and grace (Eph. 2:1-5). This God did, and still does, as we believe the Gospel, putting our faith in Jesus Christ. Lutheran theology especially emphasizes the notion that the Gospel is God’s quickening word, spoken to us in infinite mercy. We need to hear this word continually for our own sakes and to speak it faithfully to others.

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