Thinking Out Loud

September 4, 2012

Rejoicing With The Angels

Today’s post appears jointly with Christianity 201.

NIV Luke 15:7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

This is the verse that is indirectly responsible for the phrase:

“All the angels in heaven rejoice when there’s a soul saved.”

That particular phrase does not appear in scripture.

The principle does appear in scripture.

Two recent stories at Christian Post were worthy of more than a simple line and link in the Wednesday Link List.

The first one I saw was a report that 1,251 people were saved at New Spring, Perry Noble’s South Carolina church. I know not everyone reading this (or writing this) is 100% sold on all Noble’s methods, but even if this statistic were exaggerated by a factor of ten, this would still be reason to rejoice.

Meet your new brothers and sisters.

But another story at CP a day earlier reports that 11,000 people — out of a crowd of 650,000 — were saved at a two day Evangelistic rally in Ponta Negra Beach, Amazonas state in the northwest of Brazil, conducted by that country’s well-known televangelist Pastor Silas Malafaia; a name most of us have never heard before.  Again, a rather round number; but why doubt that something extraordinary happened.

11,000! The Christian world should stop and party.

To our newest members of the faith family: Welcome! 

I once heard someone say that each Christ followers should — at the very, very least — ‘reproduce themselves’ spiritually by leading one person to Christ in their lifetime.

Have you led someone to Christ?  I know at this point many will want to cite this verse:

NIV I Cor. 3:6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.

This verse is used to justify the idea that some people plant seeds while others are ‘harvesters;’ the people who get down to asking the question that brings someone to a point of decision. But I think this dodges responsibility and makes bringing someone to faith someone else’s job. 

If you haven’t had the joy of being in the spiritual delivery room — of witnessing a new birth take place — let me challenge you.  Not 11,000 people, not 1,251… one person… and here’s the extra impetus: Before this year is through.

Read more at Passing the Blessing Along

Advertisements

April 15, 2012

Brandon Cox: Five Cautions

Brandon Cox is a Pastor, planting Grace Hills Church in northwest Arkansas. He also manages Pastors.com and Rick Warren’s Pastor’s Toolbox newsletter. Grace Hills Church is only eleven weeks old but Brandon has some cautions he wants to share.

If you read what follows, you’re joining the article in the middle, so I suggest you read this at Brandon’s blog, where it appeared under the title, Why Grace Hills Church is in Jeopardy.

If we fail to intentionally be the church, we will unintentionally just do church. And that’s true, no matter how much we say we’re going to “be the church.” Doing the Sunday gathering thing is what we’re good at, and even though we spend a lot of time and money on it, it’s still easier than scattering to be the church in our community.

If we fail to intentionally make disciples, we will unintentionally just make fans. I believe in making Jesus famous and bringing people into the enjoyment of His glory, but our mission is more than increasing the popularity of the church. The mission is to help people become reproducing, sold out Jesus-followers.

If we fail to intentionally be authentic, we will unintentionally just perform. I’ve performed before. In fact, I’m a recovering performer and have struggled with an addiction to the approval of others, so admitting my weaknesses is tough, but essential. I no longer trust my autopilot to lead me into genuine authenticity. Being real takes effort, and if we aren’t real, nobody heals.

If we fail to intentionally embrace all people, we will unintentionally play favorites. And the apostle James warned us about the danger of insulting the cross by picking and choosing those with whom we want to do ministry. Rather than hanging out with only the “churchy” people, of our color, of our political persuasion, of our cultural background etc., the gospel itself demands that we purposely break free and seek out new friendships for the gospel’s sake.

If we fail to intentionally be generous, we will unintentionally consume everything. By default, we spend it all, and we tend to spend pretty much all of our resources on ourselves. Churches tend to fall into the trap of sustaining their institutional machinery, maintaining their buildings and budgets, and begging for more volunteers and bigger offerings to keep the snowball rolling. Generosity requires purposeful sacrifice (if we can even use that word in light of the cross).

~Brandon Cox

Blog at WordPress.com.