God gives different gifts to different people. The important thing is not the gifts we’re given, but what we do with them. Being a godly man, Chappo always used his gifts for the gospel, and always for other people. He could have used them for himself, but he never did. That was his godliness on display. (more…)
When John Chapman came to your church in the 1970s, it was like the evangelical circus had come to town. I don’t mean that it was entertainment (though he was gripping) or that there were clowns (though he was hilarious) or even that it was a spectacle (though he was larger than life). I mean that it was the best day of the year. (more…)
While not exactly Chappo’s words, “The first 50 lessons are the hardest” is more than a faint echo of something we often heard him say. I’m going to share with you something of Chappo’s legacy in the area of evangelistic practice. He taught me at least 50 lessons. Here are my top ten.
You’ve probably heard of the Gideons. Even if you haven’t, you’ve probably at least seen one of the Bibles they’ve placed in hotel rooms, doctors’ waiting rooms and elsewhere. An evangelistic organization with a particular goal of personal evangelism coupled with getting Bibles into the reach of as many people as possible (and especially at times and places they might be inclined to read it), they’ve placed over 10 billion copies of the word of God in a variety of places around the world. (more…)
On any given Sunday, my church has four non-English services. Furthermore, 54% of people from one of our English services are not from Anglo-Saxon or Celtic backgrounds. So while the Sunday school I attended was 100% Anglo, my daughter will most likely go to Sunday school with children from just about every continent of the world. And this trend is not restricted to our churches; it reflects our wider society. In fact, it seems to me that while in the past we had to get on a plane, the ends of the earth have now arrived in Sydney! (more…)
Thabiti Anyabwile, on lessons he’s learning having committed himself to doing the work of an evangelist, along with a story of the same:
Second, I’m learning again that faithful evangelism requires putting to death the fear of man. Will I ever stop having that halting tightness in my chest? Will those hesitation-inducing thoughts of rejection and offense ever fade away? You know, probably not. I’m likely to always feel some hesitation and some fear of man when it comes to evangelism. But what am I going to do? Not share the greatest news the world has ever received? No. I’m going to remember Romans 1:16, Philemon 6, and Hebrews 10:38-39, and other such texts which encourage, admonish, promise, and guide.
Just like every time I hear about personal evangelism, I’m equal parts encouraged and challenged.
What is so special about Wayne Bennett? Wayne Bennett, for the uninitiated, is one of the most successful rugby league coaches of all time. Before Bennett, St George were a talented collection of chronic under-achievers. With Bennett, they became a team, won the minor premiership in the first year, and won everything the year after that. (more…)
There is no longer any Christian bookshop in the city I live in. But not everyone can, let alone will purchase books online. To generalise, this is particularly true of older generations and of the non-tertiary-educated. (more…)
My experience of Christians is that many of them – including me – are really quite clumsy. Not literally stumbling or falling over ourselves, but often doing the social equivalent. We put our feet in our mouths, we make others feel uncomfortable, we have a knack of saying the right thing at the wrong time, and vice versa.
Let me say this. I hope that none of my friends dismiss the Christian message simply because of my clumsiness. I pray they’ll put up with some of my mistakes, my awkwardness, even my selfishness, and hypocrisy… and look beyond me to Jesus.
I also appreciate his reflections on dealing with his lung cancer, such as this post on body image.
This time last year I was enjoying the Geneva Push In the Chute conference in Melbourne. I gathered with others from all over Australia, young and old, from a range of denominations, to encourage each other in the work of planting new churches. In some ways, I was the middle-aged pinup boy, heading to the Top End to begin all over. It was exhilarating to feel the energy, especially from those who were moving to new places to reach out with the message of Jesus. I had the privilege of teaching on why we need to keep planting new churches, how to build ministry teams, as well as sharing our specific dreams and plans for outreach in the Darwin area. (more…)
In my last post, The joy of service, I wrote about the need to serve practically when all you want to do is teach. Karen asked a great question: “Does it work the other way, Jean–when you’re good at (and often prefer) to stuff envelopes, stack chairs and wash dishes, but the thought of leading Bible study fills you with extreme terror?” Here’s The joy of service re-written (with apologies) for such a person. Because, yes, I have friends who lead Bible studies even though it terrifies them. And, yes, it works both ways. (more…)
Carl Trueman reflecting on how the English Anglican Synod’s rejection of women bishops is being cast as cultural suicide:
One of the key failures of the currently trendy Christian cultural engagement movement is that it takes the questions which the culture is asking too seriously. We often assume that it is the answers which the world gives which are its means of avoiding the truth. In actual fact, there is no reason to assume that the very questions it asks are not also part of the cover-up. ‘Answer my question about women’s rights or saving the whale’ might simply be another way of saying, ‘I don’t want you to tell me that my neglect of my wife and children is an offence to God.’
I’m no behind-the-scenes servant. My love is given to wordy ministries: the nervous plunge when I teach a group of women, the energy that sparkles in a small group, the light in a friend’s eyes when God’s truth sinks in. If I’m honest, I also love the recognition that comes with this kind of ministry. There: I’ve said it.
The humble roles, the practical roles, the self-effacing roles: they don’t come naturally to me. Setting up for a meeting, cooking for an event, serving food, running crèche, stuffing envelopes: these mundane tasks aren’t on my bucket list. I have to fight my inner whinger as I do them. I don’t like this about myself, but it’s true.
I know this isn’t good enough. (more…)
When I first arrived in Sydney in 1981 as a keen young curly-haired Christian from country NSW, I knew nothing about expository preaching or house-parties or quiet times or the importance of things being ‘helpful’, or any of the other commonplaces of modern evangelicalism. (more…)