I’ve read several reviews of the upcoming movie ‘Noah.’ All I have read confirms exactly what I thought would be the case, that is that the movie does not at all convey the Scriptural story of the historical Noah, the story of the Ark God commanded him to build, or the story of the flood that occurred in his day. This news has not shocked me one bit. I have seen knee-jerk Christian reactions, bashing Hollywood and the film’s writers, producers, directors, actors, etc, angrily calling for Christians to boycott the film. I have also read more level-headed Christian leaders who present the film with the reality that it is, namely a piece of fiction adapted from a story from the Bible. So far, I have not read anyone associated with the film even suggest that the film depicts the Scriptural story of Noah. In fact, I have read where the director has stated that the film is absolutely not
My daily reading/journaling included the narrative of Noah and the Flood from Genesis 6-7 recently. As I read through that passage for what has to be the hundredth time, something stuck out to me that I had never really paid attention to before. I noticed that the phrase, …[Noah] did all that God commanded him… is repeated 4 times in those verses. It is stated in verse 22 of chapter 6, as well as in verses 5, 9, and 16 of chapter 7. For the first time I realized how powerful this simple statement reads in the context of Noah. I realized that the faithfulness to which God called Noah is the same faithfulness that he calls his people to today.
5. We must replace cultural pessimism with gospel confidence. I am a baseball player. At least I used to be. I grew up playing the sport and still miss playing the game. Because of this, one old adage that has always rung true with me goes, “Don’t take your eye off the ball.” A good hitter must maintain insane focus while batting. This is especially true as he faces harder and more effective pitching. The hitter must be able to process a lot of information in a very short amount of time. What type of pitch is it? Where will the pitch settle as it passes by? Should I swing or should I hold? Should I swing with power, or should I swing with more finesse and ‘go with the pitch?’ You will notice that all of these questions center upon the ball. When a batter takes his eyes off the ball, he swings aimlessly, and ultimately, with poor result
4. Understand how the gospel speaks to every area of our life. Simply put, we must practice what we preach. Our culture recognizes hypocrisy like no other. I am certain that today’s believer must attain a more robust understanding of the gospel when it comes to life. The gospel has something to say about every single area of our life. The gospel is not to be compartmentalized to the ‘religious’ portions of our lives, whatever we deem those to be. The gospel, when truly implanted into our lives, radically transforms the way we approach our work, our interactions with our families, the way we handle our finances, the way we steward our time and resources, the way we handle difficult news, the way we treat others, the way we approach our hobbies, etc. One of the greatest ways we can show the world how the gospel has relevancy to their lives is to simply display how it is relevant to
3. Put evangelistic outlines & presentations in their rightful place. Please don’t get me wrong…I love evangelistic outlines. I actually think they are getting better with time. One that has been offered recently, The Story, is the best one ever written, in my opinion, and I have used it in large group and one-on-one settings. As a matter of fact, you will find a link to it when you click on “What is the Gospel” at the top of this page! I have memorized several evangelistic outlines and I would urge anyone to do the same. My primary reason for this is that evangelistic outlines help me to be able to articulate well the central aspects of the gospel message. Here is my disclaimer with that, though. The ability to walk someone through a complete evangelistic outline has become a quite difficult and rare occasion in our postmodern culture. What I continue to find is that most people want to
*I began to write this post several days ago, planning to post it sometime in the near future. However, after reading this article this morning about the decision by the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. to reject the hymn “In Christ Alone,” I had to go ahead and get it out. If you haven’t read this short article yet, please do so before you read what I have written below. What does it mean that God ‘forgives?’ As believers we must be able to articulate this very important aspect of the Gospel. We must also understand it for ourselves if we are to experience gospel growth in our own lives.
As we think about discipleship differently in light of a redeemed self-discovery and self-expression, a necessary mind shift must take place in the way we think about evangelism. Much of this change deals with the way we approach it to begin with. Over the next week or so I will offer some of these mind shifts. I will offer both #1 and #2 here, as they go hand in hand. 1. Evangelism must not be presented (and viewed) as an add-on to anyone’s life. I think many people do not even consider participating in ‘evangelism’ because they view it as an add-on to their already overflowing schedule. They fear what they would have to give up in order to find time to “go visiting” or “share the gospel” with people. They feel as if they just simply do not have any more time to spare in order to be a part of such things. This is partly a result, I