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Steve was a salesman at a local car dealership and I bought my first Malibu from him in 2009. When I heard about his severe cancer diagnosis, I was overwhelmed with a deep compassion and a nudge from the Spirit. 

October 12, 2017 2 1 comments
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Innovative projects and initiatives are happening across CRC, and the Ignite fund is here to help support this innovation and creativity in ministry! Check out a few of the exciting projects that have been recently funded through Ignite.

June 14, 2017 0 0 comments
Resource, Guide or Toolkit

These ten conversation starters can be used in lots of different contexts to make faith conversations feel natural.

May 13, 2017 0 0 comments
Discussion Topic

What methods are you or your church using to be fair to those you support and yet keep it fresh?

May 4, 2017 0 3 comments
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We might not know our neighbours or even like our neighbours, but we need to hear God’s call and allow it to guide our faith and actions to love our neighbours on the streets, in schools, at work, and in our churches. 

April 21, 2017 0 1 comments
Blog

Five community gardens projects in Kent and Muskegon counties received funding and training grants of $1250 this month to grow their projects and increase their benefit to local community members.

April 21, 2017 0 0 comments
Discussion Topic

We desire to reach communities that have no idea what “the law” is. Do they really need to hear the law to see their sin? Doesn't it make more sense to meet Jesus, Christ crucified, and let him reveal their sin?

March 15, 2017 0 0 comments
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At an ornate church in London, England, there is a special memorial for the "Unknown Soldier." The memorial has four inscriptions that sounds great on first flush but risk being nothing more than sentimental humanism. 

February 6, 2017 0 2 comments
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No longer can we simply ask, “What can we do to get people to come to our church?” We must also consider, “How can we go into the world to encounter those in need of the gospel?”

January 1, 2017 0 1 comments
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Sometimes small congregations assume that any significant community ministry effort is beyond their reach. Read how a smaller church can make a big impact in their community.

January 1, 2017 0 0 comments
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Pastor Carey Nieuwhof shares ten ways your church can be involved in the unique opportunity to reach people at Christmas.

January 1, 2017 0 0 comments
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Go and Tell is an easy and practical way to share the gospel based on the Heidelberg Catechism and it is free online (including videos, audio, a booklet, and additional resources). 

December 22, 2016 0 0 comments
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Many of us, including me, have keen regret when we look back on ministry with little accountability for disciples being trained to make more disciples. And seldom did my disciples make disciples.

November 28, 2016 0 2 comments
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Disciple-making isn't easy or comfortable. And that's a good thing. When it isn't comfortable, it breaks us. When it isn't easy, it makes us rely more on the strength of Jesus and power of the Holy Spirit. 

November 22, 2016 0 0 comments
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Mark Hilbelink, pastor of Sunrise Community Church in Austin, Texas, describes how “The Weirdest Little Church in Texas” set out to call and nurture disciples. How about you? Do you have a story about discipleship? 

September 21, 2016 0 0 comments
Resource, Article

In his challenging article "Why Expository Preaching is the Power for Pastoral Ministry" Michael Milton demonstrates from the Scripture eight benefits of constant, consistent and careful opening of God's Word. 

August 30, 2016 0 0 comments
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Churches and denominations should be known as places of great organizational imagination, creativity, and experimentation. Embracing a worldview of abundance propels our organizational creativity.

August 17, 2016 0 2 comments
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Evangelism is a hard thing. I've experienced that in youth ministry. We can't give up on sowing seeds if it's hot outside or we are sweating a lot! We can't give up because its hard or inconvenient. 

August 5, 2016 0 1 comments
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An ideology of scarcity keeps us from pursuing a common good for our neighborhoods and the world around us. As the church, we must confront the worldview of scarcity and offer an alternative way. 

July 21, 2016 0 1 comments
Blog

  Introduction:

            There is a statement floating around in mission circles that has been attributed to St. Francis. Likely he never said it, but lots of people like to repeat it. It goes: "Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words if necessary." This statement has then been used...

June 28, 2016 0 3 comments
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I’ve got to think that the hours spent with those two guys last night, engaging God in what they are most passionate about, on their turf, may have a more lasting impact than years of Sunday services. 

June 23, 2016 0 0 comments
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For many years, I struggled to teach myself how to play guitar. After getting stuck, I took more lessons and my learning picked up. This is much like discipleship in the church today. 

April 27, 2016 0 0 comments
Resource, Book or eBook

Here are 10 simple vital signs that offer insight into the health of a congregation—five commitments and five functions.

April 13, 2016 0 2 comments
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We are always preparing for this mission of demonstrating biblical love to others—not as an “evangelism program,” but as a natural display of Christ’s love to others.

April 13, 2016 0 0 comments
Resource, Workshop or Training

How do you disciple a new believer? Jesus recognized that the people He encountered were at different stages of growth and development, and He worked to challenge each of them to the next level. 

February 23, 2016 0 0 comments

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Thank you for sharing this beautiful story! You've encouraged me to be bold in looking for opportunities to share Jesus. 

we might assume that most churches are not entirely healthy.  Yet God uses them to bring the gospel.  They may be missing one aspect or another of these ten signs of health.  But just as a man with a broken leg could still write a book, so a partly unhealthy church can still demonstrate grace, or speak truth to power, or provide solace for the hurting.  God used Jonah, a spiritually unhealthy man, to bring the message of repentance to Nineveh, and God used Israel, an unhealthy nation, to bring Christ to the world.  Signs of health are important, but not as important as the good news of the gospel itself.  

Perhaps it's time to evaluate where your church's gifts and passions and interests are in the area of missions. Finding a focus can spark new interest and help ensure that your dollars are being used effectively. One resource to help you do that is Catalyst Services http://catalystservices.org/. Several World Renew and World Missions staff have been trained as missions coaches if you would like to go that route. Feel free to email me if you would like to learn more.

Mission Emphasis, Faith Promise, the "List"

 

Thank you for your thoughts on Acts! These are some of the very questions I wanted to address in my book, "Together for the World: The Book of Acts." Thanks for keeping the conversation going on a book that's what we need these days as we learn to re-evangelize our culture. 

I have been pretty critical of quite a number of Do Justice articles in the past but this is a good one.  It focuses on how each of us should regard and treat our neighbors, and avoids taking a position on what the government should do in terms of setting or enforcing immigration laws.

The CRC does not teach that God can regenerate anyone he chooses? Or refuses to regenerate all  those who work hard at loving God and being a good neighbor? IF god can regenerate only "believing in Jesus" Christians then what is the pragmatic difference between the CRC and the dispensationalists?  And Billy Graham's teaching?

Go and Tell is an easy way to equip you to share the gospel. Go and Tell is free online at www.fortwaynecrc.com Testimonial: "Go and Tell has impacted me in different ways. First is a great tool to tell others about God and guide them trough the process of receiving Christ as their Savior.  But also made me recognized how selfish we can be sometimes when we don't share God's love and mercy with others." From Dorian River's Edge Church 
El Paso TX

Thanks Ken,

There's some pretty good stuff in there.

In Greg Ogden's manual, "Discipleship Essentials", the opening lesson starts with, "Discipling is an intentional relationship in which we walk alongside with other disciples in order to encourage, equip and challenge one another in love to grow toward maturity in Christ. this includes equipping the disciple to teach others as well."

One has to take the time to build a relationship with a neighbour, colleague or friend before inviting them to join you on a journey to meet Christ. I don't know if it is apathy on the part of CRC people, but they do not seem overly concerned with the "lost". One  way to build relationships is to invite them to your home for a meal. Again, CRC people like to socialize with CRC people, who they are comfortable with. 

I was blessed to be part of a discipleship group, with a pastor who had previously led 2 other groups on a one year journey. The result was that everyone who took discipleship became a leader in the church, either in council or a ministry. When I tried to engage others in a discipleship group, I was turned down. CRC people don't like to have to share about themselves. I did disciple one inmate in a prison and we completed 22 of the 24 lessons before he got transferred. None of the 15 - 20 people in our church, who took the discipleship course, have discipled anyone else. Perhaps we need to check out what the Baptists are doing. In my area they are planting churches with great success, based on prayer and requiring new members to tithe.

I have a men's group that meets once a week for Bible study and accountability. Most of us are volunteers with Kairos Prison Ministry, which holds weekends in federal prisons and then returns weekly or monthly to meet with weekend participants and their friends. We sing, pray and then meet in small groups to share accountability questions. These meetings are very powerful in growing men's faith. We also encourage them to attend the numerous Bible studies that are available in these institutions.

We have tried to start discipleship classes with released residents, but they are resistant to committing to the 24 weeks required.

 

posted in: Make Disciples

How do you disciple a new believer? We tend to make disciples the way we were discipled but for so many of us that meant coming to sit at church and not learning how to make disciples who make disciples. Jesus recognized that the people He encountered were at different stages of growth and development, and He worked to challenge each of them to the next level. 

Who then should attend the 4 Chair Discipling Seminar?  Anyone who you want to see challenged to be a disciple who makes disciples!  During the 4 Chair Discipling Seminar, we will answer the following questions: 

• What is a disciple?

• Who is the model for being a disciple?

• What is a disciple's mission?

• What is a disciple's motivation?

• What is the process of becoming a disciple who makes disciples?

• Where am I in the disciple-making process?  What are my next steps?

In 4 Chair Discipling, you’ll get a clear and simple picture of how to follow in Jesus’ footsteps and to do the same thing. Included in the 4 Chair Discipling Seminar:

• A fresh look at Jesus as our model for being a disciple who makes disciples

• An overview of the 4 Chair Discipling process, highlighting Jesus' 4 challenges

• A simple understanding of what we need to know and do to grow to be like Jesus in our character and priorities

• A simple understanding of what we need to know and do to become fishers of men

• A simple understanding of the barriers that keep us from moving to the next chair and how we experience breakthrough

May the Lord bless every CRC church and every believer with the joy of making disciples who make disciples who make disciples…

If you would want more information about the 4 Chair Discipling seminar Contact Sonlife Ministries (https://www.sonlife.com/) or Pastor Jim Halstead is a certified Sonlife 4 Chair Trainer (Community CRC, Fort Wayne, IN) fwcrc@hotmail.com www.fortwaynecrc.com

posted in: Make Disciples

I agree with your basic view on the matter. What might be some of the practical ways we could flesh this out?

Backdrop:

We (my local church) as an "OutReach Committee" seek to engage with the local public in our rural setting by hosting a Thanksgiving Service, and a Christmas Service to invite the local community to at least get some contact with the Gospel. There is also a Trade Show that we set up a booth and had out tracts about Christianity. Each summer we host a "Yard Sale" where local people can rent a table and sell their stuff. We provide refreshment and some live music entertainment.

We "fished all night but caught nothing" is how some feel about our efforts. We wonder how other churches are doing in this kind of endeavour.

For me it appears to be mainly a "committee" project and the last couple of years has been difficult to get volunteers.

Peter.

Very timely and true Kevin! Perfect love casts out the fear of scarcity, and the Spirit leads us anew into abundant creativity!

Peter Stellingwerff

Exactly! Logically, we don't evangelize so that people can be saved (can become regenerate) but to welcome the regenerate into the many benefits of the Church in this world. For years I heard sermons about my neighbors all going to Hell if I didn't pester them about "inviting Jesus into their hearts." One preacher said that we (I) would have to push our neighbors over the edge into Hell if I neglected to "evangelize" them.

I am already to discuss the matter if the topic arises but I hate to pester people. If they come to my door . . . .

The purpose of evangelism in Reformed theology is the same as the reason in other branches of Protestantism -- 1) to be obedient to the Great Commission, and 2) because God has set it up so that the preaching/teaching/sharing/what-have-you of the word precedes regeneration.  See Rom. 10:14-15.  Also see Canons of Dort, "First main point", Article 3: "In order that people may be brought to faith, God mercifully sends messengers of this very joyful message to the people and at the time he wills. By this ministry people are called to repentance and faith...".  Even if one limits this to those who were not baptized as infants, it is still a massive call: go, make disciples, and baptize.  We must be looking everywhere, including outside our church walls, to find the elect, since God hasn't told us who they are.

AMEN!

Excellent article.  I have the same thoughts.  We of course need to share our faith with love and grace, but we also need to get over our fears and share the truth of the good news!

Go and Tell is a three hour evangelism seminar and is an easy and practical way to equip you to become a fisher of men (Matthew 4:19) based on the Heidelberg Catechism.

Go and Tell Testimonial from Chet Swearingen (President of Beautiful Feet ministry):

"Go and Tell is an inspirational and practical seminar on how to effectively and compassionately communicate the Gospel. The facilitator, Pastor Jim Halstead, goes beyond communicating methods and facts about evangelism, he transfers his passion and life experiences as well. I highly recommend this seminar to any church or denomination.”

 

The Go and Tell evangelism seminar is a free online seminar and includes videos, audio, booklet, and additional free resources. To access Go and Tell free online go to www.fortwaynecrc.com and Click on the Go and Tell tab. 

If you have any questions about the Go and Tell evangelism seminar or if you would like to host a seminar-please contact me.

 

Delighting in God,

Pastor Jim Halstead

www.fortwaynecrc.com

This is a very timely topic. The way this article is written it asks more questions than showing us what a healthy congregation  looks like. I would like to see more quantitative information rather than wordy platitudes.  I might suggest a church do a CV of itself. Because no personal information is provided we need not be concerned about privacy! So things like "birth dates" and other major timely events could be listed.  Also the number of members since starting in increments of 10 years e.g. List historical budget and what percentage was paid in Ministry Shares. How many pastors have served the church.  How many Council members are there. How many males and females. How many children baptized, how many professions of faith each over the last five years.  How many children enrolled in Cadets and Gems.

it may also provide information on money's spent on local evangelism and collections for sundry causes. In short how much does it really collect for all causes. 

if the church wanted to be really courageous it might consider confirming its commitment to the CRCNA official stand on a number of current issues.

The attached survey was way too complex and very difficult to answer objectively by a member.

Harry Boessenkool

Thanks for sharing this resource.

There's obviously better places to find an answer than my answering in a comment section.

But I think at the very least as a short answer evangelism done for the purpose of obeying and honoring God. Gospel proclamation is commanded. In Reformed theology the end result is out of our hands, but the act of proclaiming the gospel is something that we should do regardless of the perceived outcome. I think the Reformed distinction between the visible and invisible church places this task at a more central role than in a dispensational atmosphere.  It is at the very least one of three marks of a church in the Belgic confession. (which I hope is fairly uncontaminated by dispensational theology) 

 

Exactly what is the purpose of evangelism in Reformed theology? To invite the elect/possibly regenerate into the fellowship of the earthly Church or to convince strangers to "invite Jesus into their hearts" (or whatever) so that God can regenerate them?

Doesn't regeneration proceed conversion? We respond because the Holt Spirit has regenerated us? Many Reformed pastors and members seem to be contaminated with dispensational theology. Reformed practice began in Reformed communities where infant baptism welcomed them into the Church.

This is good, evangelism one of our biggest roles as church leaders, and frankly, something we're not very good at.  Thanks for the nudge. 

Sounds great Pete. Would you be willing to share your document? It would be fun to see a few membership class samples! 

Sounds great Pete. Would you be willing to share your document? It would be fun to see a few membership class samples! 

Something I designed years ago has served me well even with adaptations in different churches.   A four-week (4 hour) class entitled "Believing to Belonging"   Week #1 -" Believing"  Basic on faith.  Verses from Ephesians and Romans.  I also teach "the Bridge" and have them place themselves someplace around the great Chasm.  Week #2 - "Believing part B"   This week I go over Reformed thought and doctrines. I review the Creeds and Confessions.  Week #3 "Belonging part A -   What does it mean to belong to a denomination and what is the CRC?    Week #4 - "Belonging part B"   - I talk about our specific church... its dreams, vision, and ministries.  Practical stuff.      Each week we keep it highly relational and tell some stories and most participants ask a lot of questions.  NO lecture.

 

 

 

 

Thanks for your great ideas and experience!

 

Allow me to share our experience on the mission field in Mexico where we work with the National Presbyterian Church of Mexico. We constantly offer a new members class called "Inicios" or "Beginnings" at our 11 a.m. Sunday School hour. The class runs for four months so we offer it three times per year. 

 

The course starts with the big questions: What does it mean to be a Christian? Who is God? What is our problem? Who is Jesus? What does Jesus do? How to receive salvation? We teach on justification, sanctification, adoption. From there we move to some sessions on the denomination and some Reformed history. From there we move to our local church: our values, how to grow in grace, areas to serve, our ministries, meaning of sacraments, importance of covenant, etc. And we end with the membership questions to asked at one's public profession of faith.

 

The course neither guarantees membership nor obligates anyone. If, at the end of the course, people would like to make their public profession of faith and be baptized (if not baptized before), then they fill out a membership sheet, meet with the elders and then set a date. We have almost all new folks go through the same course: new believers and those from other churches, although the needs are different. Also covenant youth raised in the church take the course prior to their profession of faith.

Rev. Ben Meyer

Seymour CRC (Grand Rapids, MI)

Missionary to Guadalajara, Mexico with CRWM

 

 

 

Thanks, Sam, this is a great topic and one that I hope people will comment on. When I revised our membership process a little while ago there was a dearth of materials about the topic. I found one very good book, called Membership Matters, I think, but not a whole lot else. 

My "working" process (always open to change) is based on CS Lewis' image of the Christian faith as a great house with many hallways and rooms. The first session is about belonging to Christ and is a presentation of the gospel. The second is about the biblical nature of the church and what it means biblically to be a member of a church. The third session is about the "hallway" of Reformed theology, history and practice and the last is about the "room" that is our own church. I also sometime show a video about infant baptism if this is a topic of discussion. I would love to hear what others do.

I'm a little surprised that our denomination doesn't have a simple "welcome to the CRC" type of video that could be shown to prospective members, at least not one that I've found. This wouldn't have to be a big DVD production, just a simple Internet video. I think it would fill a real gap.

 

 

Interesting topic, is it possible that "being set apart" has different meanings to different cultures in Christian environments? Can one ethnic reality cause different "hearing/ interpretation " of "set apart." 

 

 

MJill: YES! All very practical and awesome ways to create spaces to buld relationship and share experiences.....Make Bannock over a Fire? You peaked my interest.....gotta try that one.....googling it now :>)

posted in: Evangelism

I appreciate this article.

We can ask Holy Spirit to continually help us to be aware that every time we are with other people it is an opportunity to let God love them through us. We can be open to conversation with strangers as well as friends. We can find ways to continually include people in our lives. Invite for meals, ask them to garden with us, offer to teach their family how to make bannock over a fire, attend an apple squeeze, go sledding, help fix their roof.....

posted in: Evangelism

Great observation. All to often we place the emphasis on the verb GO. Indeed the important point is to MAKE. Of course we do not make disciples by ourselves. That would certainly scare us. But we must be in the world and constantly ready to share the hope that is within us.

Bonnie, you are correct in that translation of the verb "to go" in Matthew 28:19. It's a participle that more describes how you are to make disciples rather than just going. It's a lifestyle rather than a sometime thing. 

Great points!  For some of us, its too bad we were not encouraged nor taught how to do that from the time we were children.  Never too late to start.

I am not a Greek scholar - but I once heard a pastor say that "Go and make disciples... would be better translated, "as you are going, make disciples ... " That makes sense to me, it's every Christian's calling.

Greg...

Thanks for your comment. I totally agree with supporting missionaries at home and abroad, especially now that they must do a lot more fundraising. The problem is that there are many who are more complacent to just give to missionaries than be one as well thinking they've met their responsibility which they are called to. Missionaries need our support and I gladly give to their work wherever I can both in money and in time. I think the word used now is "glocal"--be both globally and locally focused in missions. Hmmm... that might be my next blog post.

Hi Joshua,

I agree one hundred percent that the mission field is all around us and that we are to invite people into the kingdom - and live in a winsome way that draws them in. That is what Salaam Project is all about. But CR World Missions has survived for 125 years because people were also willing to give of their hard earned income and many have heard the Gospel because of it. So I would say yes, reach out to your neighbor locally, but if you feel called to support your missionaries through prayer and finances - go for it. Thanks for blogging.

Greg

Thanks for your article, Larry, on the love of God.  You are right when you say this is an overused statement.  It’s overused not only by suggesting that many people and even many Christians don’t know how to define this love, but they also don’t recognize that God’s love in Christ is particular (a limited atonement).  So what about those outside of the pale of the Christian faith, which is the vast majority of people.  Does God even love them?  It does seem as though Bill Wald has hit onto something when he suggests the “first person” pronouns of “we” or “I” indicates only those who are in Christ, or the “elect” or “chosen.”  

It’s difficult to think of God loving those who have been chosen for destruction (Romans 9).  In fact for those who are not the object of God’s love, he insures their destruction.  We often speak of God determining, not only the ends, but also the means.  If God has determined the means by which the chosen would come to salvation (election), he has also determined the means by which the lost would come to their destruction.  He has credited the lost (as well, as the saved) with the sin of Adam.  There is no way, anyone can claim to be righteous, even the newborn, for all have been credited by God with Adam’s sin.  On top of that God imputes to all people a sinful nature, by which they can’t help but to sin. Paul talks about his own failure against sin in Romans 7.  He says he is a slave to sin and an utter failure.  And that’s the implication for all people apart from Christ. This sinful nature is given to all by God.  On top of God crediting all with Adam’s sin and giving all a sinful nature, he gives a standard of perfection that is impossible to meet.  As we have been taught from the Bible, “It is impossible to please God.”  So God has determined the means (and insured) for the destruction of the human race.  The sinful lost cannot even respond to the gospel without the Spirit's enabling.  It’s seems difficult to understand why the sinful lost will be held responsible for their own sin, when God has determined the means by which they can’t help but to sin.  Of course Paul criticizes anyone who would talk back to God or criticize his ways.  God has a right to do whatever he wants with his clay.

So when God has determined the damnation of the majority of the human race, it is difficult to talk about the love of God flippantly.  And even for those in Christ, who are to display God’s love to others, it would seem difficult to claim that love for oneself when Christians are no better than others at displaying love for God and neighbor.  Just as the Old Testament Jews failed to keep God’s commandments, so also do Christians.  So where does the assurance of God’s love come from, where is the proof of the Spirit’s working?  This whole love of God seems very confusing to me (unless I should throw huge sections of the Bible away).  Oops, we can't do that.

posted in: God Is Love

"Love" and "God" are very mysterious. 

"Love as it turns out is not defined however we desire."

Is God's love defined as however God desires? 

"Love is always connected to Christ. If someone tries to give definition to "God is Love" without this connection they are not being true to the text. Not only so, but God's love far from freeing us to do whatever we wish actually obligates us to follow God's love by loving others. To divorce "God is love" from this obligation to love also brings a failure to the true definition of God is love."

The Devil is in the pronouns. Do the pronouns refer to "we, the regenerate" in exactly the same way as to "we, the condemned?" CRC members more learned than I have made the case case that the doctrine of predestination only refers the "We," the regenerate thus converted. If so then is not God semi-Pelagian and/or Arminian?

 "For the Christian the propitiation was the shed blood of Jesus on the cross. It turned away the wrath of God so that He could pass "over the sins previously committed" (Rom. 3:25). It was the Father who sent the Son to be the propitiation (1 John 4:10) for all (1 John 2:2)."

Then propitiation is option on God's part but was intended to be mandatory in Jesus' "pre- cross" thinking?  

​If God does not desire (love to see) the unregenerate to spend eternity in Hell. Then what should we conclude about the nature of God, love, authority, power, and hell? How about Purgatory? Does it not make good sense if used to modify the theology of (CRC) Rev. Punt?

If a person, knowing (understanding in his mind and his guts) the eternal consequences, chooses Hell over Heaven, who "wins?"   

posted in: God Is Love

To know that Christ died and suffered as a result of God's love, is to understand the depth and breadth of His love.  But we often have a very shallow understanding of love.   The epistles of John say much more about this.

Who loves more:  the mother who says her son in prison for theft and vandalism is a "good boy", or the father who brings his son to the police because he has stolen a car, and trafficked in drugs?  God's standards indicate that His love is not a nicey, nicey smiley feeling, but a steadfast faithfulness to his promises and demands.  His love for the repentant sinner comes with the expectation of repentance and change.    Our love for each other is tied to God's love for us.  This is not an unconditional love, but it is a forgiving love.   "  7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin...  9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."    "2 This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. 3 In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, 4 for everyone born of God overcomes the world."

"II John 1: 5 And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. 6 And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands."

God's love was shown in the Ten commandments (and some other commands) he gave, as well as in the promise of the Messiah.  The commandments were the way people were to demonstrate love to each other.  Our failures were covered by Messiah's payment.  Our desire to follow these commands demonstrates our love for God and each other.  Our lack of desire to follow these commands indicates our lack of desire to love one another.  Let us walk in the light, and confess our sins, and be purified from unrighteousness, and have fellowship with one another.

 

posted in: God Is Love

Hi Bill,  Thanks for the thought.  I've reflected on this as well. While we can go in the category or Pelagian or semi-Pelagian I go in a different direction. I remember reading the book on early church history, Cities of God. This book pointed out how Paul went to the cites because that was where new people were moving and these people were much more open to gospel than people living in the more traditional rural areas. Also, the author was able to look at how social relationships and guilds were important for spreading ideas and spreading the gospel. Recognizing how God used social systems and social networks in the early spread of the gospel I see "funneling" as another way that God uses his created systems to reach those he has called to himself.  I see "funneling" therefore neither as Pelagian or semi-Pelagian, but as the way God connects us to those he is calling to himself. 

 

 

 

posted in: Are You Funneling?

Would this approach be Pelagian or Semi-Pelagian?

posted in: Are You Funneling?

A missionary with Christian Reformed World Missions recently wrote a blog entry on using a song by Mumford & Sons as an evangelism tool. In the blog, he also quotes Grant Lovejoy who writes, “The best discipling resource among oral communicators is not a printed booklet but an obedient Christian. Oral communicators learn by observing.” I have certainly found this to be true in my ministry.

"A simple gospel does not exist"

A simple gospel exists if matters of command and control are eliminated e.g. the "and all you gots to do is . . ." addendum.

 

Like Paul, share your testimony (Acts 26). God has arranged this encounter, your equipped for this work, rejoice, no one is better fit for the task than you are.  

Salvation is personal; Jesus calls his sheep by name (John 10).

As for something to give the person: If the person is into social media, internet etc.

                Link: http://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/what-gospel/

 

For pamphlets: Varied just search gospel tracts.

                I have two short works I can put in the mail to you tomorrow if you want them for free:

                1. Ultimate Questions by John Blanchard, 31 pages

                2. Jonathan Edwards “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”, Made Easier to Read by John Jeffery Fanella, 32 pages (it has a few notes marked on one page)

The best book I've read on the topic is: 'Evangelism - Outside the Box' by Rick Richardson. He gets at the heart of the matter within us... how to engage the Spirit in the process, and in the end offers some very intriguing ways of presenting the gospel, including Alpha, GIGs, and on a napkin (post-modernly).

I just finished reading Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard in which he uses the term "Gospel of sin management" repeatedly in describing how Christians on both the right and the left have gone wrong. In a footnote to a sentence on p.42 he credits “Demythologization— Crisis in Continental Theology,” by Peter Berger, in European Intellectual History Since Darwin and Marx, edited by W. W. Wagar [New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1966], p. 255; where Berger uses this term. Hard to tell who got it from whom, but interesting concept.

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