>Not the Same As "Blab It Grab It"

>Another gem from MARK BATTERSON

I had a major revelation this weekend as I preached on the Battle of Jericho. The Lord says in Joshua 6:2: “I have delivered Jericho into your hands.”

Did you catch it? It’s not future tense. The Lord doesn’t say “I will deliver.” He says “I have delivered.” The battle has already been won in the spiritual realm. So the Lord proclaims the promise in the past tense. I think there are moments when you need to stop pleading for God to do something and start praising Him for what He has already done. Faith is believing that God has already delivered on the promise. There is a confirmation in your spirit. You sense a breakthrough in your spirit. It is faith that allows us to praise God BEFORE the miracle happens! Why? Because it believes it will happen as much as if it has already happened. It turns the future tense into the past tense.

>GET THIS BOOK! (money back guarantee!)

>I have just concluded one of the best books I’ve ever read.

I urge you to buy it. I ask you to buy it from Amazon by clicking on the link. As I subsist on missionary support if you ever start an Amazon purchase from this blog and buy anything I get a tiny percentage, and you get my gratitude!

But regarding this book…here is my personal money-back guarantee…if you buy it (off this link) and don’t like it I commit to giving you your money back. If you can convince me that you genuinely can’t afford it, I will buy it for you (email me at jack.hager@gmail.com and make your case)

I will be quoting from the book as time allows; but for now let me simply challenge you go get it, read it, apply it.

Here, then, is simply one brief snippet to whet your appetite:

“Success drives pragmatic evangelism. pragmatic evangelism never
asks the question, ‘Who are we to be as an evangelist?’
Pragmatic evangelism only asks the question, ‘What works?’
Pragmatic evangelism is ‘doing’ evangelism in a way that elevates
success and method over anything else. 
It becomes the business of evangelism…
…and sadly, because success sells, 
it’s often unquestioned in the Christian community.”

Here is the link:  UPDATE: apparently some can not see the Amazon link which should follow this; but the title of the book is Marks of the Messenger: Knowing, Living and Speaking the Gospel

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=jacksjots-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0830833501&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr

>They Were (unintentionally) Right!

>

Yes, pagan that I am (at least according to some…who despise the fact that I enjoy the Beatles and profess to follow Christ), those great theologians, the Beatles, unintentionally summarized an important truth in their song, “All You Need is Love.”

Here is J. C. Ryle’s comment on that which unites true believers (which is not the same thing as ecumenicism):

“Love to Christ is the common meeting-point of believers of every branch of Christ’s Church on earth.

Whether Episcopalian or Presbyterian, Baptist or Independent, Calvinist or Arminian, Methodist or Moravian, Lutheran or Reformed, Established or Free, here at least, they are agreed. About forms and ceremonies, about Church government and modes of worship, they often differ widely.

But on one point, at any rate, they are united. They have all one common feeling towards Him on whom they build their hope of salvation. They “love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity.” (Eph. 6:24)

Many of them, perhaps, are ignorant of systematic divinity and could argue but feebly in defense of their creed. But they all know what they feel toward Him who died for their sins. “I cannot speak much for Christ, sir,” said an old, uneducated Christian woman to Dr. Chalmers, “but if I cannot speak for Him, I could die for Him!”


>The Disaster of (typical) Youth "Ministry"

>The front page headline on yesterday’s USA Today read, “Young Adults Less Devoted to Faith” with the subtitle, “Survey shows steady drift from church life.” These statistics mirror countless surveys over the last couple years and should not come as a shock; but they diagnose the reality that something is drastically wrong with typical ministry (which can, at best, only produce typical “Christians”)…

As a three-decade-plus veteran of youth ministry I say, “duh.” Anyone with eyes to see and ears to hear is not shocked by this article, but yet it also is patent evidence that much of what the church and parachurch groups do is simply not working.

If insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results; maybe a lot of our programs and activities can be liked to insane asylum tactics?

Thom Rainer, president of Lifeway Christian Resources that conducted the survey, states that of those surveyed who called themselves Christians, “many are either mushy Christians or Christians in name only…most are just indifferent. The more precisely you try to measure their Christianity, the fewer you find committed to the faith.

Here’s what we should find most disturbing in the study:

Even among those in the new survey who “believe they will go to heaven because they have accepted Jesus as savior”:

  • 65% did not mention faith, religion, or spirituality when asked what was “really important in life”
  • 50% do not attend church at least weekly
  • 36% rarely or never read the Bible. Only 17% read it daily.

Only 40% of professing Christians feel it is their duty to share their faith.

SO WHAT IS THE MAIN PROBLEM? 
Why are we losing youth? 
  • In many (most?) cases because we never “had” them. They may have raised a hand, gone forward, prayed “the prayer” (that is not found anywhere in scripture), filled out a decision form…but the reality is Matthew 7.21-23
  • Most of those who have genuinely been captured by the Spirit of God have been programmed to apathy, had their “felt” needs met without doctrine, been living from big event to big event, but have not been mentored, nurtured, challenged to live out their faith 24/7 rather than anticipating the next concert, missions trip, or camp.
  • The Biblical illiteracy of the church as a whole is deepend (shallowed?) in them. (Amos 8.11)
  • We have not lost most of this generation because we challenged them too little. We’ve lost them because we’ve not challenged (yes, even demanded) more!
  • And we continue to produce baptized pagans because we wimp out and refuse to be fruit inspectors
WHAT IS THE SOLUTION?
Do what Jesus did! When trying to reach people of all ages with the gospel make it easier to say “no” than to say “yes.” Can anyone really imagine Jesus turning to the crowd and saying “Every head bowed, every eye closed”? Why do we who want to see disciples rather than decisions all too often start them out in secret, “No one looking around…”
Please do not misunderstand or misquote me, I am not (totally) against the (very new to church history) invitation “system,” nor am I questioning the hearts of any who are proponents, but any “witnessing”, any “invitation” that does not stress lostness, repentance, surrender, and faith is not biblical and typically produce “decisions” that don’t stand the test of time. (yes, God can still use these to His glory in spite of ourselves…but rarely)
And never should anyone be told…even hinted at…that “now you are a Christian.” Or, in my mind, “based on what I heard you pray (or what you’ve said) you are now a child of God.” That is the job of the Holy Spirit. The book of FIRST JOHN has a MISSION STATEMENT, but this mission statement is not that isolated verse, but “these things” are everything in First John that comes before…Let the Spirit of God, through  the written Word, give “assurance” of salvation in the living Word – The Lord Jesus Christ.

This is already too long…I invite you yell at me, agree with me, call me a works-righteousness dude, or whatever. But, for God’s sake (literally) and for their sake, at least think about this ongoing disaster…