Over the next few weeks, we’ll be having a conversation we’ve named, “The Fireplace.” Here’s the idea: Fire in your fireplace gives light, heat, and it can even cook your food. But when the fire leaves the fireplace, you’re going to get burned. It may not burn down the house completely, but it’s going to cause damage.
Sex is like fire – when boundaries are removed, there is great potential for it to cause harm and damage.
This isn’t a movie review. If you want a movie review you can go somewhere else. That also means I won’t feature any spoilers…
Overall, the much-hated movie was actually decent. Not great. Not terrible. Just decent. There were moments with real potential (I agree with those who said the real winner of Batman v. Superman was Wonder Woman), as well at scenes that were just drawn out too long (building up the hatred between the title characters). But really, c’mon – it’s a movie about Batman and Superman getting into a huge fight. The movie delivers the fighting and action sequences you’d expect. The problem is we expected more…
At our teen guys’ Bible Study last night we were talking about evangelism, and about the importance of sharing the gospel with those who haven’t heard before. They were shocked to hear that almost half the population of the world has never had the opportunity to hear about Jesus. If we believe the gospel is necessary for salvation and eternal hope, this is utterly tragic! And this is why our church is so emphatic about the importance of global missions.
What is the Story of the Bible all about? The Bible is the story of God’s work to rescue creation from the judgment she has fallen under because of sin. The Bible is not a “rule book” or “instruction manual,” but instead, it’s the story of Good News that we can live with eternal hope and security because of what God has done for us through Jesus Christ! This is the message of Christianity.
Check out this video, which gives an excellent summary of the whole Bible in only 6:30.
What is an Unreached People Group? A People Group is a group of people with a distinct culture (think about all the tribes of Native Americans, who had their own customs, histories, and languages, even though the different tribes were all considered “Native Americans”). An Unreached People Group (UPG) is a group who has no access to the gospel of Jesus Christ. If they heard you talk about Jesus, they’d respond with, “Who’s he? Does he live down the road? I’ve never heard of him.” The three-minute video below gives a compelling vision for why Christians need to care about UPG’s in our world.
More info about UPG’s
There are roughly 16,400 people groups in the world. 6,648 of them are considered UPG’s (according to The Joshua Project, a ministry devoted to promoting information about UPG’s). That’s roughly 40.5%.
The global population is estimated at 7.28 Billion people, with 42.2% of them being people who have no access to the gospel (3.07 Billion people).
Once a people group reaches 2% who are Christians, that people group is no longer considered “unreached.” Those 2% are then a viable Church who is further equipped take the gospel to their people.
95% of these people live in the “10/40 Window” (10 & 40 degrees north of the equator). Less than 10% of missionaries are serving among these UPG’s in the 10/40 Window.
Finishing the Task estimates there are 506 people groups who have still never been engaged by anyone attempting to share the Good News of Jesus Christ
Over the last few weeks I’ve really been chewing on tolerance – what it is, and how to practice it as a gospel-centered Christian. Last week we looked at the question, “Is Evangelism Intolerant?”
1 Peter 3:15 says this, “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.”
The center of evangelism is this: honoring Christ. Honoring him by telling others what he has done to give them hope and salvation. Honoring him by receiving his grace and responding to the call to live a life of honoring Christ with what we think, what we say, what we feel, and how we treat others. Faith brings new life and new hope.
With this foundation for evangelism in mind, I want to offer a few “Rules of Engagement” for how Christians can evangelize while demonstrating tolerance (“respect despite disagreement“).
I’ve been thinking about tolerance quite a bit over the last few weeks. Last week I attempted to provide a clear definition of What Tolerance Is (and Isn’t). My hope was to simply clarify what tolerance is without getting into what it looks like for the Christian to be tolerant in an unChristian world. I believe tolerance is a good thing and we need more of it.
In a tolerant world, would Christians still evangelize and send missionaries? Is evangelism inherently intolerant?
Some people believe evangelism is inherently anti-tolerant. Here are a few reasons I answer, “No, evangelism is not inherently intolerant.”
One of the things that is so great about America is our diversity. Like the states who form the United States of America, the American people have different cultural backgrounds but come together united. That can cause some problems, because we so easily slip into a mentality that says, “Different = Wrong.” How do we learn to get along and respect others who are so different from us?
Tolerance… it’s practically the religion of today. Unfortunately, what often gets called “tolerance” is anything but. It’s become a word that gets thrown around but never defined.
What Tolerance Is Not
Tolerance doesn’t overlook differences. It’s not tolerant to tell people, “You think you disagree, but you really don’t.” Telling Christians and Muslims and Buddhists they all believe the same thing and worship the same God isn’t tolerance, it’s disrespecting their religious beliefs.
When tolerance becomes intolerant of differences, we are not practicing tolerance… we’re practicing uniformity. Doing that is like cutting down all the trees so they get the same amount of sunlight.
Justin Bieber’s song “Sorry” has been hanging around the top of the charts for weeks and keeps growing in popularity. I gotta say, although I’m no Bieber fan, it’s definitely catchy and this video is fantastic!
Besides… who hasn’t needed to plead with someone to forgive them?! We’ve all felt like we lost someone we cared about because of something we’ve said or done – friend, a boyfriend/girlfriend, a potential boyfriend/girlfriend. But what needs to come after “I’m sorry” in order to regain trust?
It would seem like time to rejoice: Playboy will no longer be publishing pictures of nude women in their magazine. Instead, I think it’s time to mourn.
Their decision isn’t based on a change-of-heart towards the dignity of women. Instead, it’s their way of admitting that pornography is so easily accessible today (in large part because of the sexual revolution Playboy fueled) and it’s all free. They lose $3million every year in America because porn is so easy to find for free.
“That battle has been fought and won,” said Scott Flanders, the company’s chief executive. “You’re now one click away from every sex act imaginable for free. And so it’s just passé at this juncture.”
When I was a teenager the “What would Jesus Do?” (WWJD) bracelets were all the rage. If you went to youth group you were pretty much required to wear one. These were meant to encourage us to always ask the WWJD question, and to do what Jesus would do in that situation. What music would Jesus listen to? What TV shows or movies would Jesus watch? Who would Jesus choose to be friends with? etc.
It’s a great question to ask, WWJD? But that type of question can easily encourage us to think about “Christian” as an adjective rather than a noun. There was a Buzzfeed video (which I wrote about here) last week which was titled, “I’m Christian, But I’m Not….” One of my biggest frustrations with the video is how it reflects this thinking that Christian is an adjective more than it is a noun.