Entries Tagged as 'Evangelism'

Global Missions

Global missions stands at the heart of what it means to be a Southern Baptist. It does not look like that’s going to change anytime soon. However, the unanswered question for our generation concerning the mission of God is: How great, and with what intensity, will the Spirit of God blow through our churches, seminaries, and our own hearts to accomplish his purposes among the nations? 

Baptist heroes such as William Carey, Adoniram Judson, and Charles Spurgeon challenged people to reflect on the statement, “The question is not ‘Should I go?’ but ‘How can I stay?’” I would ask the readers of this blog to join me in asking the same question with serious prayer and sober reflection. With over six billion people spread across the globe and the vast majority of those in an area with little or no gospel influence, we must consistently consider and reconsider how we are fulfilling Christ’s command to reach the nations.

The students at SEBTS (at least those in chapel) have been encouraged and challenged to consider the joyful mandate Christ places on his disciples in the Great Commission. Please listen to the two missions sermons delivered in chapel this week by Dr. Danny Akin and Dr. Bruce Ashford. Dr. Akin preached on the Great Commission with insights from the life of William Carey. Dr. Ashford challenged hearers from Romans 1:14-17. The sermons are here.

What practical ways can we challenge people to consider the cause of global missions? Is it passing on a sermon like these? Is it giving them a copy of Elisabeth Elliot's Through Gates of Splendor or John Piper's Let the Nations Be Glad!? Is it one on one conversations, asking each other the hard questions of discipleship? Questions like, "Are you willing to live 20,000 miles from home?" "Where is your home?" "What is keeping you here?" "Are you fully surrendered to the Lord's will for your life?" There is joy set before those who put their yes on God's table. I pray that includes us. May God’s Spirit grant us repentance and a great infusion of missionary zeal in the days ahead.

Live Strong, Lance Armstrong

What do I have in common with Lance Armstrong? He's an international celebrity, a champion bicyclist, and a world-renowned philanthropist who has devoted his resources and his fame to fighting cancer, a cause most closely associated with the yellow "Live Strong" bracelets. And he's an atheist who has rather publicly ridiculed the Christian faith. I'm a Southern Baptist seminary student. But for a few days this summer I found myself with Lance (and 15,000 other bikers) bicycling across Iowa. For seven days, there we were: a group of rookies, some seasoned veterans, and one superstar.

It might be hard to imagine the excitement of riding alongside Lance Armstrong. Just imagine playing basketball with Michael Jordan. When my brother and I saw Lance Armstrong coming up behind us, we couldn't believe we were tearing through the Iowa countryside side-by-side with the man himself.

I didn't want to ruin the moment by saying something dumb. So we enjoyed a brief moment of silence. But I couldn't help myself. Caleb and I engaged Armstrong in some conversation: about the goodness of pie and homemade ice cream, about how much we appreciate his work against cancer since we lost a grandfather to it, about what keeps him going in his athletic pursuits.

We asked Lance Armstrong if he is a Christian and he told us no. We shared the gospel with him and told him that, as Christians, we're on board with his fight against cancer. We told him that we're not just against certain manifestations of death, but the whole thing. Since Jesus has overcome death in all of its ugly wholeness, we're all about taking on death itself.

I'd like to tell you that our witness about Jesus knocked Lance off his bike, like Paul on the way to Damascus. I'd like to tell you that he prayed to receive Christ and is now applying to Southern Seminary to study for the pastorate. But the story's not that dramatic. Lance didn't respond in repentance and faith. He graciously dismissed us. He may not have listened to the gospel, but what happened next sure turned my attention more closely to it.

After riding a little farther with him, my brother and I passed on ahead of Armstrong and the pack, opening up some highly coveted positions next to the superstar for other riders. As it happened, we were entering the town of Victor, Iowa. They were expecting Lance Armstrong. The streets were overflowing with spectators yelling Armstrong's name or "Live Strong," clapping, taking pictures, the whole deal. Yellow wristbands and shirts were as many as there were bikes. Lance was about 20 feet behind my brother and I and he was closing in on us. About midway through the town, he passed us for good. He and the "Live Strong" mob went on their way. My brother and I just looked at each other and laughed, as if to say, "What a crazy day."

Right then something struck me. It was kind of like when you're driving with your window down and you smell something that reminds you of a time of the year, an experience you had as a child, or something like that. The memory has a realness that almost overwhelms you. But the "memory" that struck me that day didn't come from a smell. It was from an event. And it didn't remind me of a past event. Strangely enough, it "reminded" me of an event still in the future, an event someone once wrote about.

The Apostle Paul wrote about a day that is coming when Jesus, the victorious warrior king, will return in triumph to this galaxy. Paul draws on an ancient pattern of a conquering king who returns from battle to his people waiting for him, cheering, outside the walls of the city, eager to march in with him in glory. Paul writes that all of us in Christ, living or dead, will rise to meet our heroic Messiah in the air (1 Thess 4:17). And we will march back into a new creation for a great celebration (Rev 21-22).

As I rode along, I realized how limited, by comparison, Lance Armstrong's celebration was. It is limited, ultimately, by death. Many of those cheering for Lance Armstrong will have their cheers silenced one day by cancer. All of us will have our jubilations interrupted by death. A yellow "Live Strong" bracelet can't ward it off.

I shared the gospel with Lance Armstrong as much as I could at the time, huffing along on a bicycle. I hope one day he sees it more clearly than I could say it. The day is coming when no one will be cheering for Lance. They'll be cheering for Someone Else, One who isn't on a bicycle but on a white horse. One day cancer will be defeated, not by yellow bracelets but by pierced hands and feet. Nobody will be cheering for Lance Armstrong on that day, but I hope he's there to cheer for King Jesus. I hope he hears and believes a gospel that is the only really good news. I hope he learns how to "Live Strong," with a life that is stronger than death.

Praying for Change, Sitting in Silence

What servant of Christ with any vision for the church and the glory of God does not pray to be used as a conduit for God’s Spirit to flow through for the purpose of advancing the Kingdom of Christ?  Certainly, our greatest prayer must be for the gospel to be worked into people’s hearts, resulting in changed lives and true worshipers of the Father.  However, when I glance into the mirror of my life, I too often notice I am praying for change while sitting in silence.  Those of us who believe “the gospel is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes,” (Rom. 1:16) are the very ones who deny its power by never heralding the message.  Dr. John Avant, V.P. of Evangelization at NAMB, shares a testimony reminding us of the need to step out of our comfort zones in order to discover, or rediscover, the greatest joy in life.  May we be those who pray for change and speak of the supreme satisfaction for which the world is hungering.

Mohler On Apologetics in the Postmodern age

Dr. Mohler is running a three part series on Apologetics at his website. The series initially appeared in October of 2005, however; this is of special interest to me as I prepare to teach Apologetics to juniors in High School this upcoming school year. The first part of the series really drives home Dr. Mohler's thought that apologetics are as important now as they have ever been. I think that Dr. Mohler reminds us very clearly that we must “always be prepared to give a reason for the hope that is in us”, and he points out that this need is at an all-time high as truth comes under attack. I know this will be helpful for me and I hope that it will be helpful for all believers in this postmodern age. Part 2 of the series has been released and is entitled “The Beginning of the Apologetic Task.” The final installment has been added entitled "You Are Bringing Strange Things to Our Ears: Christian Apologetics for a Postmodern Age, part 3".

Nathan Akin