Every Christian is either a missionary or an imposter.
Recently my friend Bryan Barley came to our church here in Suffolk, VA. He was sharing with our elders on Tuesday night and with the larger congregation on Wednesday. Bryan and I have been friends for a few years now and I have always enjoyed the way he can challenge me in a Biblical and gentle way. I genuinely feel that he is a friend that sharpens me and nudges me toward faithfulness.
It was fun to hang out with Bryan as we talked about the gospel, theology, ministry, and life. We mixed in a some sports, comedy, and ridiculous religious broadcasting to top it off.
If you are unaware of the journey that Bryan and his family are undertaking you should check out their church. They are moving to Denver, CO in January of 2011 to plant a gospel-centered community right in the middle of the city. Rarely have I found a church planter as gifted, thoughtful, teachable, and faithful as Bryan.
It was refreshing to be around Bryan because he thinks the way all Christians should be thinking — like a missionary. Nothing is off limits. Every strategy, relationship, and plan is tested against the Scriptures for the purpose of sharing the gospel with the nations.
Bryan shared many insightful things about missions, urban ministry, church planting, community, and mission. One thing he mentioned has continued to haunt me: as Christians we do a lot of different things when are really called to do only one thing and do it well — we are to be disciples that make disciples.
As Christians it is easy to get distracted by buildings, staff, programs, strategies, fads, events, budgets, and more. The will of God, however, is simple — go and make disciples. Go to the nations. Go to the neighborhoods. Go to the cities. Go to the companies. Go to the schools. GO!
Among all the things (some of them good and some of them bad) that I am doing, am I doing the one thing I am called by God to do?
When I saw this video I was both convicted and encouraged. Convicted that I am not doing more to obey the call of God and share the gospel with all people; encouraged because God is at work in the world and He has invited me to join Him in that work.
How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? (Romans 10:14).
I am an expert at rationalizing and justifying my own behavior. I could take this simple statement from Scripture and find a way assuage my guilt because I don’t go and tell. Why is it so hard to obey?
David Platt recently spoke at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Beware, if you listen to this message you will likely experience the “holy destruction” that the Spirit of God can bring. Be prepared for conviction.
Platt presents a clear and compelling message of “What the Gospel Does to Our Hearts.” The truth of the matter, the gospel, when rightly understood, will ruin your worldly way of life.
Are you ready to have your life ruined?
Until the gospel invades our hearts, any efforts to help the poor will be shallow and short-lived; but when the gospel of a Savior who became poor that we might become rich radically invades our hearts, it will radically affect the way we live for the sake of His glory amidst urgent spiritual and physical needs around the world.
The gospel demands radical sacrifice.
Hate your mom and dad, wife and kids; pick up an instrument of torture and give up everything you have. That’s a lot different than admit, believe, confess, and pray a prayer.
Could it be that somewhere along the way we have taken the gospel, the very lifeblood of Christianity out, and put Kool-Aid in its place. What it means to follow Jesus is to give up everything you’ve got.
Jesus is not a good teacher to be respected; He is a sovereign Lord to be obeyed.
‘That Jesus did not command all His followers to sell all their possessions gives comfort only to the kind of people to whom He would issue that command.’
If we take Jesus and twist Him into our image, then even when we gather together in our churches and lift our hands to sing songs to Jesus… we are not worshiping the Jesus of the Bible — we are worshiping ourselves.
The gospel, not guilt, is motivation for giving to those who are in need.
‘God always gives what He commands.’
We have found someone worth losing everything for… Do we believe [Christ] is worth it.
Materialism is not just wrong — it’s dumb.
The cost of discipleship is great… but the cost of non-discipleship is far, far greater. It will cost us to give our resources, money, possessions, and lives in this world. But what if we don’t? The cost will be great for a billion plus people who will go on without knowledge of the gospel while we spend our millions on our buildings, and our programs, and our stuff. The cost will be great for our brothers and sisters in the world who will continue starving while our dogs and cats eat better than them. But the cost will not just be great for them, the cost will be great for us. For we will miss out… in this age and the life to come.