An Incomprehensible Gospel.
The gospel is completely incomprehensible by man’s understanding.
In speaking to Muslims or atheists or others about the gospel, the question many times is a very good one: “Why did God’s Son have to die?” If he is truly God, he would not have to die! It would be unjust, and God is able to complete his purposes without having to endure such a cost.
But it’s clearly laid out in Scripture — “the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Cor. 1:18). Salvation is NOT something that we can attain just from an intellectual understanding or worldly wisdom. The mystery of the gospel, hidden for ages but destined before time began, must be REVEALED by the Spirit of God. For who can know the thoughts of God other than the Spirit of God?
It has to be — repeat: HAS TO BE — the Spirit of God revealing the gospel to people. That’s why Paul clearly lays out the posture of his preaching: in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. To know nothing except Jesus Christ and him crucified. It must be his Spirit that reveals to the lost, not words of persuasion!
That’s why it’s a blatant lie of the Enemy to tell you that you’re inadequate in sharing the gospel. There will never be an instance where you did not preach well enough. On the flip side, no one is ever saved because of how eloquently you preached the gospel, because it’s designed that no one can boast! Between his Sovereignty and how salvation even happens in a person, how well you preach is never the point. THAT you preach is always the portion given to you.
Romans 10 still stands, and it’s logical. How could they ever believe if they have never heard?? How can they hear if no one preaches. And how can we preach if we are not sent. 2.5 billion people who never have had the opportunity to hear. And Revelation 7:9 guarantees that there are people from every people group on the earth that will be around the throne!
There are people that he has prepared to hear, that he is working in with his Spirit that only need to hear! Will you be obedient? To find them? To love them? To just simply preach Christ and him crucified?
Because that is the mandate given to us. Go and preach the gospel to all creation, to all nations. Not to do it eloquently, but to do it.
Obey because your savior calls you, and preach because the gospel is worth it. It is such good news. “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.” The reason that the gospel is so illogical and incomprehensible to people is because it IS outrageous. How in the world does the crucifixion of the blameless Son of God lead to my salvation?! It only makes sense in light of the perfect wisdom of God.
It’s hard to take because it is absolutely inconceivable how far God was willing to go for his people. How far he was willing to love. To sacrifice. So that we might be saved and reconciled.
Jesus went that far, obeyed to the point of death, so that you might have hope forever. How rich this gospel is! Would we let something like how well we can preach, or what people might think of us, keep us from telling the greatest news in all of history?
Is this gospel worth preaching?
"Make me Thy Fuel, Flame of God."
An Excerpt from Through Gates of Splendor:
"His junior year at college completed, Jim [Elliot] wrote to his parents: "Seems impossible that I am so near my senior year at this place, and truthfully, it hasn’t the glow about it that I rather expected. There is no such thing as attainment in this life; as soon as one arrives at a long-coveted position he only jacks up his desire another notch or so and looks for higher achievement — a process which is ultimately suspended by the intervention of death. Life is truly likened to a rising vapor, coiling, evanescent, shifting. May the Lord teach us what it means to live in terms of the end, like Paul who said, ‘Neither count I my life dear unto myself, that I might finish my course with joy…’"
During that summer, after preaching to a group of Indians on a reservation, Jim wrote: “Glad to get the opportunity to preach the Gospel of the matchless grace of our God to stoical, pagan Indians. I only hope that He will let me preach to those who have never heard that name Jesus. What else is worth while in this life? I have heard of nothing better. ‘Lord, send me!’”
In his diary of the summer, he wrote: “‘He makes His ministers a flame of fire.’ Am I ignitible? God deliver me from the dread asbestos of ‘other things.’ Saturate me with the oil of the Spirit that I may be a flame. But flame is transient, often short-lived. Canst thou bear this, my soul — short life? In me there dwells the Spirit of the Great Short-Lived, whose zeal for God’s house consumed Him. ‘Make me Thy Fuel, Flame of God.’”
God, give me unwavering devotion to this end.
Icaro Doria, a Brazilian man, working for a magazine in Portugal started this campaign using real data from the UN and flag images, he’s created whats known as Meet the World. The colors within the flags from its respective country are used to represent current, geographical relevant issues. Take a look.
This is kind of awesome.
this is so creatively important
God loves Muslims, and so should we, even those few who are our enemies.
Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. (1 Timothy 4:12)
Let’s consider some other examples of relatively young people making huge impacts:
• On October 15, 1517 God used a 33-year-old monk named Martin Luther to accidentally start what became known as the Protestant Reformation.
• John Wesley was only 26 when he started his “holy clubs,” sparking revival on England’s campuses.
• One of the most influential theological works in the history of the Church, John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion, was not written by a baldhead graybeard seminary professor, but by a young man in his early 20’s.
• George Whitfield, the original mega-phone mouth, was 20 when he joined one of Wesley’s holy clubs and 25 during his first mission trip to America in 1739, where he preached to open air crowds as large as 30,000 people.
• William Carey was an illiterate cobbler until he was saved as a teenager. He immediately tacked a world map to his cobbler’s bench and began to educate himself. Carey eventually produced more than 200,000 Bibles and tracts in forty different languages. In 1792, Carey was 31 when he birthed the modern mission movement.
• Charles Spurgeon, the greatest preacher of the nineteenth century, started preaching at 16 and attracted such large crowds, that, before he was 30, he had built and filled the 5,000-seat Metropolitan Tabernacle in London.
• William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, started preaching in the slums of London while still a teenager.
• In 1844, George Williams, then a 23-year old businessman, started the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) as an evangelistic outreach to businessmen.
• In 1722, Count Ludwig von Zinzendorf, at the age of 22, founded a Christian community dedicated to prayer and world missions. Its followers eventually became known as the Moravians. They had a prayer chain that lasted 100 years. Their mission work spanned the globe.
• George Müller was saved at 20 and founded the world-famous Bristol Orphanage ten years later.
• In 1646, George Fox was saved as a 22-year old. His bold in-your- face preaching landed him in jail four years later. During his sentencing, the 26-year old fearless preacher warned the judge to “tremble at the word of the Lord,” thus earning the nickname “Quakers” for his followers.
• Early Methodist horseback riding evangelist and frontier church planter, Peter Cartwright, was saved as a 16-year old and started preaching one year later in 1786. He was ordained a deacon at 21 and an elder at 23. He singlehandedly won the West! (In case you ever wondered “How the West was Won”)
• Called by some as the most brilliant mind America has ever produced, Jonathan Edwards entered Yale in 1716 at the age of 13 and was converted the same year. At the age of 21, Edwards preached the sermon that sparked the “Great Awakening,” bringing thousands to a living faith in Christ and laying the spiritual foundation for what would become the United States of America.
• David Brainerd was converted at 21 in 1739. Another young gun who got in trouble because of his boldness, he was expelled from Yale three years later for “indiscreet zeal.” He then became one of the original cross-cultural missionaries to Native Americans, traveling over 3,000 miles on horseback, making disciples, training leaders and planting churches. His motto was “burn out for God.” He did just that, dying from exposure at the age of 29 in 1747. He was found dead on his knees. He may have burned out too soon, but he accomplished more in his 29 years than many do in 70 or 80.
• Robert Moffat, pioneer missionary and father-in-law of David Livingstone, was just 21 when he started his fifty-five years of ministry in Africa. Like most preachers in their early twenties, he probably had more zeal and faith than wisdom and strategy. But, because of his obedience and despite his youth, he helped reach a whole continent.
-Spiritual Multiplication in the Real World
Young people, don’t believe the lie that you’re not old enough to GREATLY impact the kingdom. Take a bold step of faith and go change the world for Jesus.
I can not seem to fall asleep tonight. I am angry.
When tragedies and shootings and bombings happen, my response is normally sadness. Sadness and sympathy at loss of life, at brokenness, at pain. But something about today’s events at the Boston Marathon is causing me sleepless, clenched-teeth anger.
Maybe it’s because I’m getting tired of seeing tragic news events in what seems to be every other month. Tired of these days clicking refresh on news sites and twitter feeds and wondering what is happening. Angry that the bombs went off at the four-hour mark, where the trained runners have finished and that is when the families and people running for causes are finishing. Angry that the fingers automatically point to the guy who looks Middle Eastern. Angry because I can’t get the image of blood spattered on pavement out of my mind.
I’m angry that 50% of our generation will have cancer in our lifetimes. I’m angry that 20,000+ children die a day from preventable diseases. I’m angry that there are more slaves today than during the peak of the slave trade. I’m angry that there is straight up genocide happening in so many countries and so many people don’t even know it — Congo, Syria, North Korea, and Somalia, just to name a few.
This thing called compassion fatigue doesn’t seem to be taking over. This stuff still makes me lose sleep.
If Jesus isn’t true, and the resurrection didn’t happen, and he is not returning, what hope do we have? If Matthew 24:14 and Revelation 7:9 and Revelation 21 aren’t true — if Jesus is not returning to make everything new — we have nothing. Man’s nature and track record tell us that there isn’t any reason to be optimistic.
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. …And he who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”
This is why I’m passionate about lifting high the name of Jesus to all nations and seeing movements of disciples multiplied all over the world.
Because without the name of Jesus going to every people, he won’t return. And without his ways, societies won’t transform. And people won’t stop sinning. And we will have no way to endure or escape sin, suffering, and death without him.
Praise be to God, that the words of this book are trustworthy and true, and His promises are always fulfilled, and that He is completely sovereign. Thanks be to him, that we have an unfailing hope in Jesus.
God is good. Bombs went off at the Boston Marathon today. Those two statements are still not contradictory. We know this because a holy Savior was unjustly nailed to a Roman Cross for our sins 2,000 years ago.
And we have hope. Because he rose from the grave three days later. And he is coming again to make everything new.
Come, Lord Jesus.
The Last Day
Today was my last day at Adlucent.
After 1.5 years, I am sad to be leaving. It was my first job out of college, and I couldn’t have asked for a better job, a better culture, or a better group of people.
I’ve learned so much from my time there. From being a completely inexperienced, 21-year-old philosophy graduate, to handling millions of dollars as a senior account manager in a complex industry, I can confidently say that it was completely God’s favor and blessing that allowed me to enjoy the success I had there.
And I loved the people that I worked with. They are hilarious, interesting, smart, creative, and just fun to be around. I’ve learned just as much about building relationships and interacting with people as I have in the SEM industry. I’ve learned how to enjoy the company of people with different backgrounds, and how to share about Jesus as my treasure in the workplace.
But God’s calling on my life has always been to the nations. Before I even left college or interviewed for jobs, I knew that He was sending me to go where there is no Gospel. That was always the foundation on which my time at Adlucent stood.
Still, I didn’t expect to leave quite as quickly as I did. Joining a Goer MC under Andy Kampman opened my eyes to just how immensely God was moving among the nations. Thousands upon thousands of disciples being made in movements all over the world, in the hardest places in the world! I got a glimpse of just how plentiful the harvest is, and consequently, how great the need for laborers is (Luke 10:2).
So, for the next year and a half, I will be joining Every Ethne as a mobilizer under the 100 People Network of the Austin Stone before launching to Thailand in late 2014.
My heart is heavy; it’s still a little raw. These people that I saw for 40+ hours a week, shared life with, and have grown to love — I know that God loves them so deeply. The abundant life and joy and purpose that I know in Jesus, the vast majority of my friends at Adlucent have not experienced. I pray for a revelation of the Gospel to come to Adlucent, and for many to be saved.
But I’m also excited. I trust Him in all of His sovereignty for the calling and plan He has on my life. I’m passionate to see the vision of Revelation 7:9 fulfilled, of a multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language to be worshipping before the throne.
Jesus has forever changed my life. He has purchased me, and all I am belongs to him. Career success and a big salary pale in comparison with the deep intimacy I have in following him and embracing the calling he has for me.
Today was my last day at Adlucent — and for all I know, the last day I hold a job in the professional world. My desire is that this decision would be in order to hasten the coming of the day of the Lord (2 Peter 3:12), and that the gospel of the kingdom might be preached to all the nations — and then the end will come (Matthew 24:14).
My hope is that this last day would directly impact the last day of all things, when he returns and makes all things new. Would praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!
Hebrews 11 - By Faith
My notes/list of the attributes of the people commended for great faith in the Hebrews 11 Hall of Faith:
-convicted, confident, sure of things yet to come and not seen
-their faith leads to salvation on the last day
-brought a better offering, brought their best, realizing their sinfulness & God’s holiness (Abel)
-walked with God and pleased God by their faith (Enoch)
-drew near to God, believed in His absolute existence and that He rewards those that seek Him (IMPT!)
-faith = righteousness —> salvation
-unbelief = sinfulness —> condemnation
-have no sight for the world; their eyes are fixed on heaven!
-God did the physically impossible thru them, and multiplied their descendants innumerably (Abraham and Sarah)
-even died in faith, believing God would fulfill His promises even beyond their lives (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph)
-believed in God’s power beyond their capabilities (Abraham)
-believed their promises would be fulfilled in their sons and their disciples (Isaac, Jacob, Joseph)
-not afraid of earthly dangers and threats, but of God’s goodness (Moses’ parents)
-refused worldly pleasures and suffered, for a better reward (Moses)
-endured earthly threats because they had seen the invisible King (Moses)
-endured foolishly, fruitlessly, trusting in God’s promises (Israel around Jericho)
-saved their whole household (oikos) by believing in God! (Rahab)
-had exploits greater than their own power/imagination (Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, etc.)
-suffered greatly to obey, to believe in God’s promises, seeking a better reward
These people had an absolute assurance that their God would fulfill His promises and that He had a better reward than what the world could offer. They refused the world to go foolishly, blindly after what God had sent them to at a great cost to themselves, even death. Yet they will be made perfect on the last day, because of Jesus!
This type of faith astounds me. When they are mocked by the entire world and cannot see where their fruitless endeavors go, still they trust in God. Their faith is based on God’s promises and on His character — nothing else. Their lives look completely contrary to the world, rejecting it. And they suffer for it. There is no neutral action or worldview: either you are following the ways of Christ’s Kingdom, or you are following the ways of the world and the Enemy. As He says in James 4: “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.”
Help me, God, to believe in your promises and in your character — that there is a better reward to be had than what this world can offer. Even in suffering, help me to say that Jesus is worth it.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
My friend Farshid is currently in prison in Iran because of his faith in Jesus. I was touched by a letter he sent a few days ago…
To the fathers and mothers who lost their precious children in the Connecticut tragedy,
I really don’t know what word in the world could comfort…