Archive for the ‘Ministry’ Category

After the post “The hardest truth to get across” a student posted this question: “How, practically, does one illustrate to another the depths and disgustingness of sin without making the other person close up to anything else you have to share with them?”

Here was my response:

I got a one initial thought before I’ll list a couple practicals. The natural reaction of someone hearing the indictment of sin is to close up and want to say, “im not that bad…” So although it takes discernment, winsomeness, and love to illustrate the vileness of humanities sin, it ultimately takes a supernatural work of the Spirit to feel the weight of sin and feel conviction ( John 16:8-9).
Some practicals:
1.) Because the Spirit alone convicts sin, pray that the Spirit would convict the individual to see their sin and trust in Christ.
2.) The primary means the Spirit uses to convict sin is the hearing or preaching of the word/gospel. (see 1 Thess 1:5 or Rom 10:16-17). If you can show them in the Bible the holiness of God and the reality of human sin, that seems to bear much fruit. Some passages that have been convicting for me are Gen 6:5, Isaiah 64:6, Romans 3. with that, never end with sin, always show the hope they have in the Godman, Jesus Christ. Show them in scripture that their sin is so serious that God himself was the only one that could atone for it.
3.) Fight to see your own sin. I think that the more you can see personal sin the more you’ll be able to show others their sin. When a guy sees that your admitting guilt to sin and are grieved for your own sin, he may be more likely to see his own. When your having a conversation with a guy you can say, “here is how I am a sinner and need Jesus.”
4.) lastly, get specific about sin. telling someone they are a sinner and have fallen short may not mean anything to them. But if you can show them specific shortcomings and why it offends God, the sin can become more real to them. For example CJ Mahaney described the sin of pride as contending for the supremacy of God. So instead of saying “you’ve got the sin of pride,” you say something like, “you are prideful and that means that you are making yourself your own savior and God.”

So again, there is some offensiveness to telling someone they are a guilty sinner that is worthy of punishment, some people may not receive that news the greatest. But we have more than bad news, we have the message of hope that Christ came into the world to save sinners. Mark Driscoll says, “Tragically, if we lose the offense of the cross, we also lose the attraction of the cross so that no one is compelled to look at Jesus.”

Sympathize With One Another

Posted: November 13, 2009 in Ministry, Sanctification

the-good-samaritan21Some of the most meaningful moments in my life have come when others have shown me sympathy or compassion. When others have gone out of their way to meet me where I’m at and help me with my present needs, my heart has been impacted  in many ways. In fact, one of the marks of a true Christian is treating others feelings and situations as more important than their own.

Galatians 6:2 says, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ,” and Romans 12:15 says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” In essence Paul is saying in these two passages that loving someone means sympathizing with them in many different ways. So, the Christian is called to holistically love others by putting others needs above their own, by treating others as you would treat yourself (see the Parable of the Good Samaritan [Lk. 10:25-37]).

Showing compassion and mercy is not easy, it is actually very counter intuitive. But by God’s grace let’s strive to be people of sympathy, mercy, and love as we are conformed more and more to the image of Christ.

Below is John Calvin’s Commentary on Romans 12:15 (verse is above), I thought it was good and helpful:

A general truth is in the third place laid down, — that the faithful, regarding each other with mutual affection, are to consider the condition of others as their own. He first specifies two particular things, — That they were to “rejoice with the joyful, and to weep with the weeping.” For such is the nature of true love, that one prefers to weep with his brother, rather than to look at a distance on his grief, and to live in pleasure or ease. What is meant then is, — that we, as much as possible, ought to sympathize with one another, and that, whatever our lot may be, each should transfer to himself the feeling of another, whether of grief in adversity, or of joy in prosperity. And, doubtless, not to regard with joy the happiness of a brother is envy; and not to grieve for his misfortunes is inhumanity. Let there be such a sympathy among us as may at the same time adapt us to all kinds of feelings.”

-John Calvin, Commentary on Romans

Free E-Book on Discipleship

Posted: November 5, 2009 in Ministry

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The Resurgence blog posted a free book for download by Winfield Bevins called, Grow: Reproducing Through Organic Discipleship. I’ve only read a little bit of the book, maybe a chapter or so, but it seems very solid. He quotes authors and pastors such as Tim Keller, C.J. Mahaney, C.S. Lewis, Jerry Bridges, and many others. It’s a quick read, about 70 short pages. Check it out if you’re interested.

  1. Download the e-book in PDF format for free

  2. Buy the book

  3. Go to the e-book site

(HT: The Resurgence)

6 Essentials of College Ministry

Posted: September 15, 2009 in Ministry

This is a blog post by Justin Holcomb, the academic dean of re:Train. It was recently posted on the resurgence blog. The links are helpful as well, and serve to expound on some of his thoughts.

“I have served as a campus minister for five years and have taught at two universities for nine years. In that time, I’ve learned some lessons about doing campus ministry both the hard way and from great mentors. Here are the top six things you need to know if you’re doing college ministry:

1. Don’t confuse the gospel with religion
To prevent doing this, talk about Jesus (who he is and what he has done) all the time. If you don’t, students will think Christianity is really about something else, like morality, philosophy, piety, social justice, or a religious experience. If you start talking more about what they should do instead of what Jesus has done, you’re preaching another gospel (Gal. 1:6-9), which is to put heavy burdens on them (Matt. 23:2-4).

2. Learn about sexual assault
The prevalence of sexual assault is staggering. At least 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men are or will be victims of sexual assault in their lifetime. And the numbers are much worse for college students. These young women and men feel crippling shame, deep guilt, and painfully alone because of what has been done to them.

3. Teach students how to read and interpret the Bible for themselves
This means being clear on the relationship between the law and the gospel. The law is “perfect, true, and righteous altogether” (Psalm 19:7-9) and “holy, just, and good” (Rom. 7:12), but it does not effect what it demands (Gal. 3:21). The good news is that on the cross Jesus took our penalty of law-breaking and fulfilled the law, so he could give us his righteousness. God then works in us to will and to do his good pleasure (Phil. 2:13). The very law that condemns us becomes the very thing that God fulfills in us through the power of his Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:18-23), not through our effort (Gal. 3:1-3).

4. Be prepared to comfort students because of divorce and death
College students are at a phase in life where their parents seem to get divorced, if they aren’t already, now that their children are leaving home. This is also the age when grandparents begin to die.

5. Study apologetics
Many students still have brain cells left, and they’ve been reading and thinking about their world. They have legitimate questions about who Jesus is and what he did and why he isn’t just a good example. They want to know why they should trust the Bible as reliable. The immense suffering in the world makes them doubt either the goodness or power of God or both. They think Christians are hypocrites and bigots, so why should they become one?

6. Be prepared to counsel students about what they’re really facing
You must be prepared to counsel about eating disorders, pornography, cutting, abusive relationships, and the lingering damage of sexual sin. College students tend to be the shock-absorbers of the myths our cultural sells. Idols are brutal slave masters.”