Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Gospel Centered Life

The leaders I am working with are captured by the vision of "every man, woman, and child having repeated opportunities to hear and respond to the gospel." I share that vision. However, this past year I've been thinking more deeply about what the gospel is. I fear that my generation of baby boomers has tended to reduce the gospel to a verbal commitment or a prayer, missing the deep and rich implications of it. I have come to believe that we are not only saved by the gospel but we are sanctified by it as well.

A resource that has helped me is "The Gospel Centered Life" curriculum published by World Harvest Mission. I have also enjoyed working the larger study they published entitled "Gospel Transformation." One more resource that has blessed me this year is Milton Vincent's devotional book "A Gospel Primer for Christians."

For any united city reaching effort to take root, I think we must be in agreement about the gospel. As we understand and apply the gospel more deeply we are truly able to become "partners in the gospel" as Paul writes about in Philippians 1:3.

Living and working with the great ministry leaders in Houston over the past 16 years has been an enriching educational experience for me. What brings transformation to a city? We have studied the work of George Otis and followed transformation stories from around the world. I have been deeply impacted by Tim Keller and the work that Redeemer Presbyterian Church is catalyzing in New York City. I'm very encouraged by what I see in cities like Austin, TX and Columbia, SC.

But what will it take for us to move to a new level? How can Christian leaders become more effective at engaging and impacting a city for Christ? I think it begins with a deep and passionate understanding of and appreciation for the gospel. That's the good news. That's the power of God released through us (Romans 1:16).

I close for now with this verse: "I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now." (Philippians 1:3)

What would it look like for us to embrace the gospel more deeply and more fully become partners in the gospel?

Coming Back

I have taken a break from my blog for a few months to think and reflect about where God is moving and what He wants my part in that to be. My heart and mind is being captured by the idea that the church can and should have much more of a transformational impact in the community, city, and world. That's really nothing new, but I'm burdened by the ongoing conversations and activities that are suppose to lead to more transformation with seemingly minimal impact.

I want to start a conversation to hopefully take this to a deeper level. I do not want to criticize the church, the Bride of Christ. I want to uplift and encourage the church. I want to bless the church, and I want to empower the Body of Christ to dramatically increase their missional impact in the world. I hope you will follow and give me comments and feedback.