Friday, December 28, 2007
Thursday, December 27, 2007
“…whoever comes to me I will never drive away” (6:37b). Jesus does not reject any of the gift. All who come are accepted by him.
“And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day” (6:39). Their hope is secure; their end is sure.
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day” (6:44).
What are the implications for us as CoJourners, involved in witness?
As we enter into people’s spiritual journeys, we must recognize the greater spiritual realities at work. Certainly they are responsible individuals responding to the gracious offer of eternal life – accepting or rejecting the gift of salvation, the hope of which is found in Jesus. But the ability to “come” is preceded by the Father’s giving to Jesus the person (v. 37) and the Father’s drawing the person to Jesus (v. 44).
The Explorer discovers where a person is on their spiritual journey and discerns their openness to hear the gospel. The Guide leads those who are open to Jesus through communicating the gospel. They are thus brought to the threshold of decision. But behind their response and throughout the process, the Father has been at work. Apart from the Father’s work, no one can lead another to come to Jesus. By the Father’s work, all who are given will come.
What confidence should this give us as we engage in other’s spiritual journeys?
Monday, December 24, 2007
While underscoring the economic forces that drive much of globalization today, Malcom Waters' definition in Globalization (2001) is helpful:
"a social process in which the constraints of geography on economic, political, social and cultural arrangements recede, in which people become increasingly aware that they are receding and in which people act accordingly"
Four interrelated aspects of globalization are explored. The first is:
My exposure to World Migration began in my years of campus ministry. Students (read here adult learners working on upper level graduate degrees) from 10/40 Window countries with little exposure to gospel proclamation in their native country, sojourn for a time on US campuses. While doing my own graduate studies (in seminary), Nanci and I intentionally focused our ministry efforts with international graduate students at a nearby university. We had the privilege of associating and interacting with post-docs and grad students from China, India, and Iraq, as well as Taiwan, Liberia, France, Mexico, Germany, Japan and other countries. Many of these returned to their homeland, of course, and thus are not technically "migrants". But some have stayed behind, for a variety, but mostly, economic reasons.
Beyond the college campuses, our neighborhood is filled with foreign born men and women -- English, Nicaraguan; Colombian; Sri Lankan; Philippine; Ghana; etc.
On a flight earlier this year, I traveled beside a Pakistani medical doctor living and working in a US city. For 2 hours we engaged in a dicussion (fueled by his questions) on the gospel. Four days later, we were together to continue our discussion in a coffee shop in his city. On a flight a few weeks before, I had the opportunity to share life-journeys with a Palestinian-born engineer, living near my home. What was exceptional decades ago--the opportunity to witness to individuals from 10/40 peoples--is commonplace today. On a flight a few weeks ago, Nanci had the privilege of leading a Mexican-born businessman living in Florida to Christ.
These personal examples are mere reflections on the reality that globalization has shrunk the distance (not completely, but substantially) involved in the harvest for which Jesus felt compassion and commanded to "ask the Lord of the Harvest to send out workers into..." (Matt 9:37-38).
It has presented new questions to mission strategists - where do we go to reach the peoples of the world? Their homeland or the land of their migratations? The answer, of course, is both. And today, it may mean going across the street or around the block. A century ago, this would hardly have been a question to contemplate. Globalization is changing the face of missions and evangelism.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
His thoughts reflect upon:
1. Multidirectional nature of missions today
2. Potential opportunities to make God known and unwittingly misrepresent him
3. True lasting benefit of participation in short-term missions
4. Importance of partnerships to make connections last
Monday, December 3, 2007
Friday, November 16, 2007
This provides a summary article of the CoJourner paradigm, along with explanations of the various CoJourner resources now available.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Common negative perceptions of present-day Christianity include:
judgmental (87%), hypocritical (85%), old-fashioned (78%), and too involved in politics (75%)
Those are high numbers for low opinions.
What does it mean for a CoJourner - a believer who engages in the spiritual journeys of others to help them on their way to Jesus? We must demonstrate a genuine concern and relational "safety" that distinguishes ourselves from the common perception the average person has of Christian believers today.
Sunday, November 4, 2007
Note: Muslims who have come to Christ indicate:
1. The most important factor is the lifestyle of Christians (i.e. moral consistency; love among them; etc.)
2. The power of God in answered prayers and healing (including deliverance from demonic powers.)
3. Dissatisfaction with the type of Islam they had experienced.
4. Influence of dreams and visions.
5. The attractiveness of the gospel message and the spiritual truth in the Bible.
6. Bible's teaching on the love of God (particularly the love expressed through the life and teachings of Jesus.)
Interesting list to reflect upon.
Friday, September 28, 2007
Note the issues from the "inside cover" quoted from the amazon reviews...
*Why Christianity explains what modern science tells us about the universe and our origins--that matter was created out of nothing, that light preceded the sun--better than atheism does
*How Christianity created the framework for modern science, so that Christianity and science are not irreconcilable, but science and atheism might be
*Why the alleged sins of Christianity--the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Galileo affair ("an atheist's fable")--are vastly overblown
*Why atheist regimes are responsible for the greatest mass murders of history
*Why evolution does not threaten Christian belief, but actually supports the "argument from design"
*Why atheists fear the Big Bang theory and the "anthropic principle" of the universe, which are keystones of modern astronomy and physics
*How Christianity explains consciousness and free will, which atheists have to deny
*Why ultimately you can't have Western civilization--and all we value from it--without the Christianity that gave it birth.
Interesting issues? Huh?
Monday, July 30, 2007
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Monday, July 2, 2007
For over two decades, Fireseeds has inspired us to pray, to expect the impossible, and to trust God for new works of His Spirit - in our lives and on the campus. Fireseeds is a proven tool for igniting campus wide, student-led prayer. But it is more than a book on prayer. It is a book of stories; stories of great prayer movements, revivals, and the students who gave leadership to them.
That has been our experience with this powerful book. I am so grateful to my good friend and co-worker, Rick James, for having the vision to update and re-release this great tool!
Saturday, June 30, 2007
So, I found Eric Miller’s recent article intriguing: “Who Do Your Books Say that I Am?”
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2007/june/24.38.html Miller states:
There were 17,249 books about Jesus in the Library of Congress as of 2004, and their number… continues to climb.
Reminds me of John 21:25.
Interacting with a number of recent works on Jesus – both evangelical and other – Miller explores scholarly answers to the question, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” This is a significant question for all of us who seek to be a CoJourner with others. We don’t necessarily interact with scholars themselves, but we do seek to lead others to Jesus – the real Jesus, alive and active today speaking through our Viva Vox (that is, our living voice.) Miller writes:
Viva vox was actually a byword for historians in the ancient world. When given a choice, they opted for eyewitnesses over written sources. They strongly preferred relying on those whose hands had touched and ears had heard critical parts of the stories they were intent on preserving.Reminds me of many today who want to hear authentic experience in our witness. We today, of course, rely the (apostolic) eyewitnesses, recorded in our New Testament. But as modern-day Christ-followers, we too witness. We do not claim to be eyewitnesses. But we are experience-witnesses. We have genuine experience of Jesus from which we witness and share. We are among those Peter describes by,
Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.” (1 Peter 1:8)It is this experience that qualifies us to be “guides” in others’ lives. When the witness of our experience aligns with the truth of the apostolic eyewitness, our Viva Vox speaks with power to today’s postmodern generations.
As Miller says,
They fought to get the story right, and so do we.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
As evangelists in the 21st century, we are work between two realities. On one side is the Unchanging Creator God, who at all times in all places is seeking to save the lost. On the other is our rapidly changing culture -- a mosaic of lifestyles, worldviews and values that characterize men and women wandering from God. How do we maintain faithfulness to God's unchanging mission and message while achieving relevance for a moving target culturally? It is this balance that positions us for increased fruitfulness.
The gospel never changes. It is "the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes" (Romans 1:16.) But we, like Paul, are constantly adapting to our audiences in order "…to win as many as possible…by all possible means…" (1 Corinthians 9:19, 22; NIV). Innovation and evangelism is not an option. It is a necessity.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
• The Urban Challenge by Dr. Stephen Beck
• The Social Challenge by Dr. Johannes Reimer
• The Secular Challenge by Dr. Ingrid Eskilt
• The Immigration Challenge by Rev. Krister Gunnarsson
• The Cooperation Challenge by Rev. Darrell Jackson
• International Missions in Europe by Rev. Rick Burke
Okay, we'd have to retitle the last talk here in the US, but the other five sound pretty appropriate.
I am currently reading Jim & Matt Casper's book, Jim & Casper Go to Church.
Fascinating read thus far.
But I have still been reading on the run, interacting with some fascinating initiatives and generally excited about what is ahead.
I have found myself wrestling with how we faithfully and relevantly communicate the Gospel message once again. In part this is being spurred by an attempt to update Life @ Large, a gospel presentation written for the biblical illiterate back in the late 90's. Here is an electronic version that was created back then www.campuscrusadeforchrist.com/lifatlg.swf. For some reason, that is not loading this morning. So if you have the same difficulty, try it here: http://www.whoishe.org/lifeatlarge.html
In the meantime, I recently read Ramsden's article: Understanding the Root of the Gospel http://www.euroleadershipresources.org/resource.php?ID=377 Interesting perspective on Christianity's "ontological root." The gospel and our faith isn't rooted in epistemology (how we think), existentially (what we feel) or pragmatically (what we do). Rather it is rooted in Being. The gospel is rooted, of course, in the person of Jesus! It's worth the read. Go for it.
Friday, April 27, 2007
Lewis has, of course, been a profound influence on evangelism and apologetics for the last 60 years. NT Wright speaks with profound influence today. So this should be good.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Lots of resources highlighted there. Good place to see the latest available.
In the area of personal evangelism, Hybels & Wiersma's Just Walk Across the Room received top honors. It is, of course, a fully developed package (book, training, audio, dvd, etc.). Well done and very useful.
Two friends' books received finalist status - Rick Richardson's ReImaging Evangelism, a book I used in the two classes I taught this term; Randy Newman's Corner Conversations. I haven't read Randy's latest yet, but used his previous book, Questioning Evangelism, in one of the courses on conversational evangelism & apologetics. Great job, men!
The numbers are up 75% for the first three-quarters of this school year.
There could be many factors influencing this, all of which would suggest encouraging progress. But it will be a little while till someone has the time to get to the bottom of what is leading to this significant increase -- the first such increase in many years!
Impact now has 60 fully certified campus chapters and a presence on over 100 campuses. Student involvement has grown over the last two years from more than 1200 students to over 2100 at the present time.
God's hand is upon those who labor and serve to build the body of Christ among African-American students! Congratulations and commendations are in order!
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Notes from our VA Tech staff and related resources:
The staff at Virginia Tech have asked us to specifically pray for the following things:
1. The families of the students who were killed
2. The students who were injured and still in the hospital
3. 4 students that were involved with Campus Crusade were killed. Please pray for their families and friends.
4. Survivors of the shootings who witnessed the horrors of that day. Pray for God¹s grace and comfort
5. Pray for wisdom for the CCC Staff and other campus ministers and pastors as they seek to counsel and love the hurting students
I have so appreciated hearing from each of you. We've also created another way for you to express your love and commitment to pray through messages. We believe that more people than we can even imagine will join with us on Thursday as this opportunity is made available through Facebook. We've created a Facebook group called "Call to Prayer Thursday!" Probably several of you have already received an invitation to join this group.
If you have not yet joined the "Call to Prayer Thursday!" group and God is leading you to join us in praying, please click this
link: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2343330557 to join the group.
If you've not yet joined Facebook, you will need to fill out a very brief form to join Facebook. Once you've completed their process, just do a search for "Call to Prayer Thursday!" and join the group. You can also go to http://www.campuscrusadeforchrist.com/ and visit the Call to Prayer page to read messages from around the world.
Ever wonder why people feel close to God when enjoying creation? Psalm 19:1 says, "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork." Hmm... Perhaps its because people really do hear the voice of God through creation. They should.
“Some people, in order to discover God, read books. But there is a great book: the very appearance of created things. Look above you! Look below you! Read it. God, whom you want to discover, never wrote that book with ink. Instead, He set before your eyes the things that He had made. Can you ask for a louder voice than that?”Luther wrote,
“God writes the Gospel, not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars.”Calvin penned,
“The creation is quite like a spacious and splendid house, provided and filled with the most exquisite and the most abundant furnishings. Everything in it tells us of God.”
What a powerful witness to call to the stand as we engage in spiritual conversations today!
More quotes at: http://www.revision.org/content.asp?pl=482&sl=531&contentid=533
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
His website has other resources, as well.
Monday, April 16, 2007
Feder invites the writings of the atheist perspective, as “the great enemy of belief isn’t disbelief but indifference.” His column broad strokes 200 years of attempts at declaring religion and faith obsolete, including efforts to eradicate it within the communist nations. He muses what the world would look like with God.
He raises interesting questions. Would morality be possible without God? Would society become ego-centric without faith? While evil has been done in the name of religion, has more been done in our modern era through deeds perpetrated under the influence of godless political creeds? His final thoughts reflect on “God’s footprints” left through the Jewish influence on western culture and America’s unique rise to pre-eminence, a greatness that some ascribe to the influence of people of faith.
So what do you think? Is atheism on the rise? Or is it just becoming more vocal? Curious, how many true atheists do you know?
Monday, April 9, 2007
But I left the posting up as it is a good reminder (and a bit humbling one, at that) of how easy it is for us to commit a logical fallacy – in this case, a “hasty generalization,” also known as the “fallacy of a lonely fact” or jumping to conclusion. Reminds me of James’ words, “we all stumble in many ways, and if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man…” (James 3:2.) I know that James didn’t have logic in mind here. He was concerned with more grievous verbal faults (such as, cursing fellow humans.) But I suspect our failings show up in our logic, as well.
But also, this is a curious look at human nature. If, in fact, Darwin remained a life-long supporter of this mission (as claimed) and yet rejected the Christian faith (as chronicled), one must ponder why. Contradictory behavior can be found in lives of both the believing and unbelieving. We are a broken people.
But perhaps the most (personally) profound – I just happen to be at Colossians 1:23 in my personal Bible meditation this morning. Very applicable. “…if indeed you continue in the faith.” To continue implies that one hasn’t left (in the past), won’t leave (in the future) and thus is currently there (in the present.) “stable” that is, not wavering, resistant to change or deterioration. “steadfast” or firmly fixed in a place or position, in this case, “in the faith.” “…not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation…” Comparing the saving faith that Paul describes with the spiritual journey of Darwin (as chronicled on the above site), is sobering, to say the least.
Okay, now I am back to where I was before last week’s post – I am not interested in being “Darwinian,” even in my missiology. But I do wonder, how much common ground (if any) would we have had at the end of his life?
Friday, April 6, 2007
The objective of WorldMap is: To create maps of languages and people groups for each country of the world while linking appropriate missions related data.
Good job for stimulating the conversation, Gilbert!
Thursday, April 5, 2007
Okay, I didn't know this. (At least, until a moment ago.) I guess its because I have never felt compelled to read a biography of Charles Darwin. (I have thought about doing it. Just never got there.) Or maybe its because I am a bit limited in my knowledge of Anglican missions.
But did you know that Charles Darwin not only supported (throughout his lifetime), but helped start a missionary soceity? Here it is...
The South American Missionary Society has been in existence for over 150 years, starting in England during the travels of such explorers as Charles Darwin and Allen Gardiner. Darwin was so shocked at the living conditions of the people he found living in South America that he said “It is hardly believable that they are fellow creatures and inhabitants of the same world”. The explorers returned to England and appealed to the people to help; thus SAMS was born. Darwin became a life long supporter of SAMS when on a later visit he saw the transformation the society had made.
I wonder how popularizers of 21st century "Darwinism" feel about such an association? Maybe I do want to read that biography after all. Who knows, maybe I am more of a 19th century Darwinian than I knew--at least in missiology.
Americans are ignorant of religion. They are very spiritually oriented, but religiously ignorant.
The review states:
In spite of the fact that more than 90 percent of Americans say they believe in
God, only a tiny portion of them knows a thing about religion.
Those of us engaged with the spiritual journeys of ordinary people, are not surprised by this, of course. But it is intriguing to read a scholar's take on it, especially one whose own spiritual journey is revealed in the article. Prothero is, BTW, a Boston University professor.
This is worth five minutes to read… ten more to reflect. Maybe thirty more to have a discussion with co-laborers in the harvest.
Thursday, March 29, 2007
In the meantime, more encouraging Soularium feedback from some Spring tests & early usage:
"I have to say that you guys have done a really great job and I'm proud of you. It is one of the most professional looking tools I've ever seen come out of CCC and I can't remember being more excited about a tool to engage with people about the Gospel. Really good job!!!!"
One of the Campus Directors at my Chicago meeting had participated in the Soularium field test. His students are so excited about it that they will make Soularium one of the "bread & butter" evangelism tools in the toolbox as soon as it becomes available for use (which will be very soon, we trust.)
But perhaps the most encouraging feedback comes from my son. Last Wednesday, he joined the SV director as they used Soularium to engage three fellow HS students in spiritual conversation. As they "explored" their life and spiritual perspective it led into a gospel conversation. The result -- all three prayed to receive Christ as their Savior! Thank you, Lord!!!
Friday, March 23, 2007
It comes from my good friends in Eastern Europe, in particular Hungary. I remember as Dave Robinson, Dan Butts, Zach Anderson and others were birthing the concept. It is working in the European context. It is beginning to have application in the US College Campus environment. I'd suggest you take a good look at it!
Just received notification that Life@Large has now been translated into Croatian. Here is a pic clip of it...
For those who don't read Croatian, you might try reading it here:
In case you need a user's tip, click on the yellow arrows. There are two different tracks -- an upper conversational guide and the lower storyline.
Let's see -- other traslations include Portugese and Italian.
I still get occassional inquiries about it as a result of my chapter ("The Gospel for a New Generation") in DA Carson's Telling the Truth: Evangelizing Postmoderns.
Perhaps the most amazing fact is that over 2 (perhaps 3) million copies of a condensed version of Life@Large were reproduced in mini-magazines following 9/11 and the Tsunami efforts.
I wonder how God has and will really use this in his divine plan! I wonder how many lives have actually been touched by it. Only eternity will reveal the true impact - whether great or small.
1 -- Unleashing the Power of Story
- Sharing the Gospel in Narrative
- Current example: Inside Story Conference
2 -- Visual Story-telling
- The Power of Films
- Underdevelopment with Steve Rodd (JPO & Global Short Film Network) - Mini-Short Film Festival
3 -- Evangelism and the Creative Arts
- Leveraging creativity to reach students in the arts and through the arts
- Current Examples: The Creative Summit and Soularium
4 -- Equipping Conversational Evangelism Virtually
- Deploying e-Learning and Evangelism Training
- Under development: CoJourners training on-line
5 -- The Gospel for the Whole Person
- Finding connections for gospel relevance
- An example out of Europe Evangelism Strategies: EQ Seminars
6 -- Good News & Good Deeds
- Humanitarian efforts as a context for evangelism (with unbelievers, not just to unbelievers)
- Still learning lessons from 9/11, Tsunami & Katrina
7 -- Evangelism and the Web
- Web 2.0 – Social Networking
- Utilizing Facebook, U-tube & other social-networking platforms
Leave a comment on what you think... Thanks.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
E., a sophomore who trusted Christ in October, hosted a showing and four of her “party girls” came with her [these are the gals she used to go out drinking with in September]. She said “B. [the Campus Director], I’ve wanted to tell them about Christ. I just didn’t know how to bring it up. They knew something had changed, even *they* could see a difference! It never would have happened without these short films. Now it’s out there [that I’m a Christian] and we’ll be able to talk about it more and more. I’m so glad that I hosted this. I’m so excited to see what God’s gonna do.”
The power of the short film genre...
Friday, March 16, 2007
You can check out the article: http://outreachmagazine.com/Library/features/MA07ftrILikeJesusNottheChurch.asp
Kimball writes, “For an upcoming message series on evangelism, we decided to go to this college campus to interview students and hear firsthand their thoughts about Christianity. We asked two questions: “What do you think of when you hear the name ‘Jesus’?” and “What do you think of when you hear the word ‘Christian’?”
Now there’s a novel idea – actually talking to the people we are trying to reach, rather than talking about them. Hmm… I wonder what you’d hear if you went out and asked the same questions. For you CoJourners, there's an "Explorer" idea!
Kimball suggests “the six most common perceptions of the Church [my note: notice “Church” not “Christian”] among post-Christian 20- and 30-somethings include:
1) The Church is an organized religion with a political agenda.
2) The Church is judgmental and negative.
3) The Church is dominated by males and oppresses females.
4) The Church is homophobic.
5) The Church arrogantly claims all other religions are wrong.
6) The Church is full of fundamentalists who take the whole Bible literally.”
I am not sure this list would match the answers heard on different campuses in different regions. But there is only one way to find out. Let’s get out there and ask the questions!
Saturday, March 10, 2007
Friday, March 9, 2007
But when is relevance right and when is it merely syncretism (compromising gospel to culture)? Good question! And no easy answers. But if you want a good (academic) primer on the issues, here it is...
I got a nice note from Monte praising your work. He says they’ve had a thousand conversations about Jesus in recent months using co-journers…. Keep up the impactful work!
Thursday, March 8, 2007
There are three emerging evangelism strategies:
- Soularium - An image dialogue
Using 50 photographic images as an Exploring tool for significant spiritual conversations. Though in the "emerging" category (i.e., we have tested it with very positive results, but its not yet passed the test of local usage), this one appears like it will be the quickest to move into the "effective" evangelism resources quickly. Just yesterday we received an e-mail with this quote: "Just thought I'd pass on some encouragement. Someone from Malone College came into our office and said that Soularium is the best thing that has ever happened to Malone." We are hearing lots of similiar things on Soularium.
- Short Films - mini-film festivals
Using short films from Damah Film Festival and other sources, we are working with the Global Short Film Network to create a transferable, reproducible template utilizing short films for small group gatherings (residence halls, living rooms, greek houses, etc.) Short films have a power to engage the mind and emotions, stimulating transparent spiritual conversation.
Illusion is back and in a big way, with two major motion pictures and plenty of illusionists working shows and media. Students love to be "tricked" or so it seems. So now the old and new are teaming up. Andre Kole, who has performed on thousands of college campuses through the last 4 decades, is partnering with Maze, two young illusionists from Boulder. Andre does the full-blown stage show. Maze specializes in street illusion and more crowd participation shows. I saw Maze three weeks ago show their wares and then saw Andre and Maze together two nights ago at UCF. Over 2500 students came out (and this was one day before spring break starts--an amazing crowd.)
Monday, March 5, 2007
We received the 25 books I ordered on “Getting Biblical about Evangelism”. We love them. ...
Our plan is to use this Bible study with all of our Eastern Europe AOA campus staff this fall. This book helps us with two big needs we see for our staff: 1. Spiritual Dependence and 2. Biblical motivation for evangelism.God continues to extend the influence! Thank you, Lord.
Many of our staff speak English as a second language – but for best understanding – we need to have the book translated into several languages. Russian will be the main language (covering several of our countries), but also we will need translations done in Albanian, Polish, Serbian, Czech, Slovak, Hungarian, Romanian, Bulgarian, Macedonian and perhaps Croat.
Here is the web-link for Getting Biblical About Evangelism:
Friday, March 2, 2007
- The Gospel glorifies God, every time it is proclaimed. For the Gospel displays or reveals God's glorious attributes or nature -- His love; his holiness; his justice; his mercy; his grace; etc.
- The salvation work glorifies God, every time one repents and turns in faith. Consider the celebration in among the angels (Luke 15:7, 10).
- The new creation that results from the reception of the gospel (by grace through faith), glorifies God simply by reflecting the ever-increasing image of God (2 Cor. 3:16.)
- In the end, worshippers from every tongue, tribe and nation (the fruit of the gospel power) will gather around the throne and praise him -- declaring his greatness. Again, glorifying God.
So from beginning to end, evangelism glorifies God. He is glorified when the gospel is proclaimed, whether anyone responds or not, for he is revealed through it. But the glory is multiplied in and through the salvation act, from its beginning to the end. Gloria in Excelsis Deo!
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
13015 students and delegates attended CCC winter conferences.
4492 attended ethnic or international student conferences.
That is, 1/3 of all attendees!
Do you know what the current demographics are for all students in US?
1/3 are Ethnic. (5,471,471 of 16,611,711)
The Campus Ministry's now reflects the demographics of the general student population! Praise God!
Friday, February 23, 2007
Here is Tanya's, the project leader, update to one request...
The final version of Soularium (refined after the prototype version used in the field test to include adjusted questions and additional instructions) returns from the printers Friday. After the final assembly we hope to have it available for purchase on the CruPress website by March 7th. Soularium will also have a companion website for entering and viewing people's responses to the images from around the country which is in its final development now. We appreciate you patience and covet your prayers as we wrap up the final pieces of Soularium. As you can imagine, unavoidable delays sometimes just happen, no matter how eager we are to see Soularium completed. Please pray that the rest of the process goes smoothly so we can get it in your hands soon, perhaps even ahead of schedule.
Well, this week I started a new five week CoJourner seminar series with individuals working at CCC headquarters. After a very good introductory session (from my point of view), two different individuals came up to share stories with me. Both had been in previous CoJourner sessions in different contexts. Both had stories to tell of how they saw God open doors for them to witness as a result. One was with a neighbor who has now begun to attend church after years of uninvolvment. (That's progress in the right direction.) The other was with a postman. Here is a snippet of the story, sent to me afterwards...
Well, as I ended up taking a few different trips to the post office to mail the books out to the entirety of my ministry team, each time God had a conversation waiting there or me. Because I had a number of books I was mailing each time, I probably spent about 20 minutes with each postman as he printed off each individual postage label. What better time than the present to strike up a conversation. With each conversation there was a natural opportunity to share what exactly it was that I was mailing, because how many people walk into the post office to mail the exact same thing to 35 - 40 of their closest friends! The first two conversations I had were definitely seed planting conversations; they listened and maybe asked a question or two, but then the conversation moved on to other things. The third opportunity took me a bit off guard… As I was chatting with postman Mike, he asked me about what I was mailing and I shared my story. His next words caught me by surprise… he wanted to know if I had a book that he could have since this was such a great story! I wasn’t prepared with a book on hand, but ended up bringing him one back the following week. Since then I have been back to the post office once and happened to see Mike. He mentioned that he’s only read a chapter or two. Please pray for Mike, as he his obviously seeking God, whether he knows it or not!It's encouraging to hear how God continues to use CoJourner's to spur believers on in engaging in other's spiritual journeys.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Monday, February 19, 2007
I just wanted to write and thank you for coming and teaching that day. It was so helpful to me! I've been to other seminars on sharing the Gospel, but this was the best. I especially liked the tips on listening -- and asking permission to ask another question. You gave me specific ideas and guidelines that I believe God will allow me to use. I have my prayer list, I'm going through the devotional, and I'm praying for the opportunities, expecting to see God work. How exciting!
Thank you, and God bless you and your family in this great ministry he has given you. I was blessed and encouraged by the teaching, and I'll let you know about the resulting fruit. Deb
Isn't it exciting when God works, using his grace-gifts to equip his people for works of service (Eph. 4:11, 12)?
Saturday, February 17, 2007
Here’s a reflection bound to make you uncomfortable (or at least it has me):
The last few morning’s, I’ve been ruminating on Jesus’ interaction with the so-called “rich young man” and the subsequent discussion with his followers (find it in Mark 10:17-31). The passage is rich, overflowing with more insights and implications than I care to write here (or that you would want to read here.) In the end, Jesus promises three things to all who truly leave all to follow him. Followers can expect:
- A hundred times more of all they left now in this time
- Persecution now in this time
- Eternal life in the age to come
It is #2 that has my attention at the moment.
Why are Christ-followers persecuted?
To start with, let me be honest. My experience of persecution has been so light, that should all the persecuted be set in a line—most persecuted at the front, least in the back—I am quite concerned that I would find myself close to the end of the line. So for me to comment on persecution is like a sportswriter who played little league critiquing the skills of major league baseball stars. But ultimately this is a reflection about me. And Jesus’ words are meant to rework our mental models, and thus transform our very beings (Romans 12:2), so here goes.
- As Sovereign Creator, God is the Sovereign Ruler of all people.
- The evil that infects us has produced a humanity operating in willful rebellion to God.
- Humanity is resistant to any challenge to this present order, if the challenge threatens personal status, power or property resulting from this present state.
- Therefore any attempts to restore proper order (i.e. return to God’s rule) are met with hostile resistance.
This was true of the prophets in the Old Testament. This was true of the apostles in the New Testament. This has been true of the missionaries and messengers through the centuries.
So, if it is not true for us, here at this time, I must ask why? Is it because we live in a setting no longer in active rebellion, therefore there is no one being threatened? (The answer is “No”.) Or is it that we pose no serious threat to the present rebellious order, thus we are ignored?
Hmm… Just wondering? (I wonder how my reflection compares with actual historical evidence. Where is that article on "persecution" from the New Bible Dictionary? Ah, interesting. I must read more on this.)
Thursday, February 15, 2007
One gets to the heart of the matter: motivation
Two focus in on the all important role of the Explorer
One that overviews the other three roles: Guide, Builder, and Mentor
These could be valuable for you—either for your own encouragement or possibly as you equip others in the valuable skills of being a spiritual CoJourner. If so, you might try contacting Chris (is that OK, Chris?)…
Thursday, February 8, 2007
Let me know what you think. How do these numbers appear to you?
Wednesday, February 7, 2007
I was reminded of that on Friday when I received an e-mail from Jeff. He wrote:
Last night I spoke at the UNL CCC weekly meeting. That was a joy as well to share a bit of the journey. Their launching some evangelistic efforts and I spoke from Romans 10 encouraging them to just take the next step. I told them about the FIRST time I shared my faith—when you took with you on an appt to the Sig Ep house and I was absolutely scared to death! Then I shared how that first step has led to so many others including all that God is letting me be a part of in India today. Thanks for challenging ME to step out way back then! I so appreciate you friend.
Jeff is a pastor for administration and outreach in largest church in his city. But what is more exciting (to me) is that he has been the catalyst for an amazing church planting movement in India. Take a glance at their website and then think back to the significance of the of our time together, taking the first steps of outreach in a fraternity house:
Makes you want to keep investing in the lives of young Christ-followers, doesn't it?
Sunday, February 4, 2007
In 2002, the top strategic priority for Campus Crusade for Christ’s national evangelism efforts (that is, for the US campus ministry) was student evangelism. What had become apparent to me was that students didn’t like the way we talked about evangelism (and I don’t blame them.) Our training was very “how-to” oriented, which left one with the (mistaken) impression that evangelism was primary what I did and how I did it, rather than what God was doing and how I become a part of it.
After a bunch of research looking at various evangelism models and paradigms, I hadn’t found much that I thought fit the US college student. While on a personal writing retreat (back in Nebraska, a state whose welcome sign rightly identifies it with “The Good Life”), I began to consider the options. A lot of the literature used the biblical analogy of sowing and reaping (often adding other elements like cultivating, even keeping.) This, of course, is biblically sound and can be effective. The only problem is that most of our students aren’t agricultural and none are ancient. Today’s farmers use tractors, planters and combines. (Hmm…not quite the same picture as sowers and reapers.)
So I began to wonder if there was an equally biblical analogy for evangelism that would resonate with the hearts of today’s students. My mind locked onto (I trust with divine inspiration) the idea of spiritual journey. What if you thought of evangelism through the lens of spiritual journey?
Creative juices began to flow and I wrote the first prototype of a training session – one that I would use in a local church a couple of weeks later. I didn’t know what to call it at the time, so I used the title “Traveling Together.” It was later that fall, after the four roles had crystallized (Explorer, Guide, Builder and Mentor) that I realized, English doesn’t have a good word for traveling together (companion maybe be the best, not but a great title for evangelism equipping.) But what if you combined the prefix “co” (together or with) and with the root for journey—“CoJourner”? Hmm… It worked for me. Others seemed to resonate (though one of my sons still hates it.) After trying it out among student groups, it caught on. In fact, one campus bought the domain name to use for their local group before I ever got around to it.
Now you know the rest of the story. Stay tuned. In a few weeks a new CoJourner website will go live where you can get the ever-expanding and improving family of resources.
Friday, February 2, 2007
Or go to:
Thursday, February 1, 2007
[CoJourner - EXPLORER]
I showed Brian our project - Soularium: A Dialogue in Images (see http://cojourner.blogspot.com/2007/01/from-lab-soularium.html). He shared openly his thoughts on life, God and spiritual life. His wife was enjoying their current church affiliation, but for him it was less satisfying. Nor did he have any significant connection with like-minded professors at his university.
[CoJourner - GUIDE]
I shared with him about CLM (http://www.clm.org/) and said I could help get him in contact with this faculty ministry. But I also asked if I could show him Satisfied?, an outline I wrote with Dr. Bill Bright to help others understand and experience God’s gift of his Holy Spirit. (For a flash version, see: http://www.cccdev.org/inter-linc/satisfied/). We were half way through it as we landed in Dallas, so I offered to buy him a cup of coffee in the airport to finish. He readily accepted the offer. But after we deplaned, he declined the coffee (he doesn’t ever drink it), and said he only agreed because he wanted to be able to finish our discussion. So we sat down and completed the outline. It was a delightful discussion and as Brian reflected on his response, he appeared at the threshold of decision. He understood the need to surrender control of his life to the Lord and I am confident will continue to reflect on those possibilities.
[CoJourner – MENTOR]
I am now contacting Rick, my good friend and CLM National Director, to see if we can help make a connection for Brian with others who can encourage him in his spiritual journey.
As we finished, Brian said, “Now I know why I got iced into San Antonio. I was supposed to fly out on Wednesday.” “I was supposed to be in a meeting this morning and on a flight later today myself,” I replied. “I guess all things happen for a purpose,” he concluded. Indeed, God, the Master Designer, was orchestrating the intersections of spiritual journeys once again.
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
It may be helpful to think of the gospel in terms of its essence and the fullness. On one hand, one can distil the gospel to its essential core. We may not say it exactly the same (every time). But the essential elements would always be there. That is why Paul could write 1 Corinthians 15:1-8, a clear statement of his essential message. That complements nicely Jesus words recorded in Luke 24:45-49 (see below.)
But there is a fullness to the gospel, as well. Its truths, themes and implications are so vast that it would take a lifetime to explore. Indeed, we never master the gospel and move on (to some other truth). It is not merely the initial message for the follower of Christ, it is the only message. We are gospel people. And so, we dig deeper and deeper and become richer and richer, always growing in our understanding. For an analogy, think of a gold mine. The deeper you go, the richer you become, not because you are mining something different. Rather you are simply getting more of the same pure gold. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are more full (and narrative) presentations of the same gospel truth as Paul proclaimed. The book of Romans is all gospel truth, unpacked in its theological implications (as is Galatians and the other epistles.) Jesus enabled the disciples to see that the Law of Moses, the prophets and the Psalms (the OT Scriptures) all spoke of him (that is, gospel truth.) The Bible, from beginning to end, is gospel truth!
While I don’t want to press this too far, I would suggest that it is our understanding of the essence of the gospel that enables us to communicate accurately, while it is our growing understanding of the fullness of the gospel that enables us to communicate relevantly. We get the message right if we understand the essence, but we can share that in a wide array of effective ways with its fullness. Thus you can tell the story of redemption (the biblical storyline), or you can explain the gospel thematically (perhaps the theme of the promise of the Spirit – Acts 2 – or using Steps to Peace with God – Billy Graham). You may share it testimonially (as the Samaritan woman) or theologically (as Paul does in Romans. Think of how many have come to faith simply reading the truths of Romans.) It remains the same essence and but the audience or communication context determines what form of presentation is most appropriate.
So what is the essence? Compare Jesus’ summary statement in Luke 24:45-49 with Paul’s in 1 Corinthians 15:1-8. There are common elements:
- Who is Jesus: The Christ
- What has he done: Died and rose again.
- Why: Forgiveness of sins
- How do we know: OT Scriptures and resurrection appearances
- How are we to respond: Repentance (Luke) and Faith (Paul)
If this is accurate, then our witness is always who is Jesus, what he has done and why. But we have an unending array of possibilities as to how we can accurately and relevantly communicate and apply this gospel.
Saturday, January 27, 2007
What do I predict you will see?
There will be significant cultural influence in (many of) the statements of gospel essence. Many (most?) sound (predictably) like contemporary discussions of evangelism. This is not wrong in general, nor necessarily unavoidable.
There will also be a tendency toward making gospel presentations, that is, expressing the gospel as we might in our witness. This is, of course, a necessary task for the “evangelist,” but not the assignment in this case. It’s our natural tendency (reinforced by our contemporary Christian culture) to think of the gospel as a simple presentation.
While all (most?) will reflect “gospel truth,” some will sound quite different from the others. Are they communicating the same gospel? Or how is this phenomenon to be explained?
The exercise can uncover how (culturally) we understand the gospel, and how well we really grasp the essence of it.
So what is the essence of the gospel and what does it matter? Stayed tuned for my next post.
Friday, January 26, 2007
In my reflections, I sense the voice of God’s Spirit, speaking softly but with increasing clarity, through these words (Acts 6:1-7) to me.
- Table-waiting is a God-given assignment, not to be neglected or undervalued.
- Table-waiting’s significance is linked in two effects: enables something more important to be done by others (the primacy of prayer and the ministry of the word) and the satisfaction of real needs (in this case, hunger.)
- Table-waiting meets real needs (not just satisfying someone else’s desires and expectation.) Food is a real need. Most of us are never without an adequate supply of it. But these widows were.
A significant portion of my current “assignment” involves a table-waiting role within the body (servant-leadership). God still grants me plentiful teaching opportunities. And, with my beloved (and others), I continue to participate in the spiritual labor of prayer. But much of what I do, I do so others can do what is more important – devote themselves to prayer and the ministry of the word.
For many years, that was my primary assignment. But for this season, I am serving (perhaps 70% of my time and speaking/teaching perhaps 30%). (BTW - contrast to apostolic ministry in 5:42 where "every day, in the temple and house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ."
Am I clear on my current assignment, before the Lord? Yes, it is clear and I continue to embrace it. Is something more important being done by others because of my service? By the grace of God, yes, and the evidence is often humbling. The number of disciples (Christ-followers) appears to be increasing (and my role apparently contributes). Am I meeting real needs? Hmm… I must think more on this. Or is it, I must listen more closely? The Spirit speaks…
Monday, January 15, 2007
I sat next to K., an engineer in the defense simulation industry. He is originally Muslim, from Palestine. I won't trace all the conversation. But the most profound came after discussing the five tenets of Islam, I asked him what his experience of God has been like -- He is the creator, provider, judge who watches everything, his will is always done, etc. I asked if I could share my experience - how I came to know Jesus as my personal Savior and Lord and how he has changed my life. I don't know if the light of the gospel shone through my life and words. But I know it was a delightful conversation. Since K. lives about five miles from me, its likely that we will visit again. We exchanged contact information, so the door is open.
My next conversation was with L., a gun dealer from Oregon; a member of the Latter Day Saints. We talked about his work and mine. He was intrigued by our ministry - seeing students lives transformed by Christ. I discovered the source of his interest -- his own children are his concern. They are not embracing, nor living the "faith" he has sought to teach them.
My final flight (it was a long day) I sat next to a young couple - followers of Jesus.
Three conversations. Three examples, once again, that everyone is on a spiritual journey. We don't always get to enter into that journey with others. But we can be confident, they are on a journey!
Sunday, January 14, 2007
This movie is a great case study on the life of a leader – ideal for leadership development. Take a group of leaders together to view it and then sit over coffee and talk of leadership insights and lessons.
- Explore the relationships of a leader -- relationship with God (he was a man of faith), with others and his own character.
- Then discuss the roles of a leader – A Direction Setter: How was direction set? A Coach: How was Wilberforce a leader to those within the Abolitionist movement? A Spokesperson: How was he a spokesperson to those outside, eliciting support and alignment? A Change Agent: How did he help bring about change in society?
- There is plenty to discuss about the responsibilities of a leader— vision-casting, aligning, motivating, and strategy formulation.
- And, of course, the results of a leader—History has been etched with the lasting influence of this man and the movement which he led.
This is a very good movie about a great subject. It’s well done; though I’m quite sure it won’t compete for awards nor will be a box office blockbuster. But that is primarily because its subject matter won’t appeal to the masses. But if you want to be inspired by the life of a leader, it’s worth the ticket price. And, if you want to build into your leaders, it’s worth a group outing!
Other possible connections for you:
- Integration of faith and social impact (a man of faith changing society. Hmm…Can you serve God and humankind?)
- Social Justice (after all, this was the cutting edge of the abolition movement)
- Spiritual journey (the title should give this away)
Both of my thumbs are up on this one. BTW - It will be in theaters later in February.
Monday, January 8, 2007
Four years ago we launched an effort to create “evangelistic momentum” on the college campuses. That initiative involved five areas of intentional focus:
- Aligning and providing resources for leaders
- Creating a learning culture focused on evangelism today
- Innovation and resource development
- Solving systemic problems
- Leading national evangelism initiatives
Like an avalanche, we knew it must begin with slow, even imperceptible motion, but movement in the right direction. I said we should begin to see tangible results in the second or third year (that was last year.) While we had seen progress in setting the stage and on certain fronts, there still wasn’t tangible evidence of trueevangelistic momentum. That is, until today.
We have work to do to get to the hard facts, but if what I saw today could be the early evidence that momentum is building.
Stay tuned. More to come.
Sunday, January 7, 2007
Just read Mark 7:37 – They said of Jesus, “He has done all things well.” The people, of course, were “astonished” by what Jesus had done – healing a deaf man. And this was in the region of Decapolis where he had previously delivered the man from a “legion” of demons. That story had also caused people there to marvel (Mark 5:20). As people saw Jesus in action, compassionately meeting needs and transforming individual realities, people recognized, “he has done all things well.”
I am three plus decades into my journey of following Jesus. As far as I know, he has not enabled me to do same astonishing works of power. At least that has not been my experience. But he has “created me… for good works which he prepared beforehand, that I should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). I have had opportunities to compassionately meet need and see lives transformed.
And he is at work in and through me as I do. While not an apostle, I should seek to follow Paul’s model and “not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring (others) to obedience—by word and deed, by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God” (Romans 5:18).
So, my question for myself this morning (and you can reflect on your own experience), as others see me serving in ministry, do they see Jesus at work, the one who “has done all things well”?
Saturday, January 6, 2007
The product of an Art & Evangelism initiative, Soularium was conceived in Western Europe, evolved in campus ministry projects in NYC over the last two summers, and is now being developed for broad use nationally and internationally. Fifty photographic images are used in response to 5 dialogue questions. The field test involved over 25 campus ministry locations in the US and internationally.
So how was the response? The field testers were enthusiastic, ranging from positive to extremely positive. One commented that this was the best evangelistic tool since the Four Spiritual Laws. (Actually it isn’t an evangelistic tool – it’s a pre-evangelistic conversational tool.) But they enjoyed using it for conversation with others and the others enjoyed having it used with them. Most conversations were laden with gospel connections. But one need was exposed – the need for believers to be equipped in how to make the most of the conversational connections to the gospel that arose.
Now Soularium goes into the final stage of development, refinements based on the feedback of the users. Keep in your eyes open. It should be available in March, 2007.