Category Archives: Evangelism/Missions

Great Prayer… Wrong Verse?

In that classic film The Princess Bride, Inigo Montoya says to Vizzini, in regard to his frequent use of the word “inconceivable”:

“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

I’ve increasingly been hearing evangelical Christians, in prayer, say something like this: “Lord, you told us to ask for the nations and You will give them to us as an inheritance, to the ends of the earth. Lord, we’re asking.” The point of the prayer is great: petitioning for global evangelization. Far be it for any reader to read into this post that I am not excited about this emphasis!

My point is that the verse referenced, Psalm 2:8, is the wrong verse for this prayer.

Psalm 2 is a prophetic Psalm that makes perfect sense when you see it in the light of God the Father and His Anointed, God the Son. When you read the whole Psalm you soon realize that God the Father’s offer to give all the nations to His Son is so that He might pour out His wrath upon them. Verse 9 is clear: “You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.”

This is a prophetic Psalm of the coming judgment of the Son of God when He returns in glory. Only those who fear the Lord and bow their knee to him now will escape His wrath, as verses 11 and 12 reveal:

“Serve the Lord with fear,
And rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son, lest He be angry,
And you perish in the way,
When His wrath is kindled but a little.
Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.”

So, as much as I love the spirit of this prayer I’m increasingly hearing, I must say to those who are quoting Psalm 2:8 in reference to global evangelization…

You keep quoting that verse. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Great Risk, Great Reward

I have previously recommended David Platt’s outstanding book, Radical. Below is a brief clip from Dr. Platt speaking (as a guest) at Cross Church of Springdale, Arkansas. It’s a good summary of his book.

Dear American Christian, how you respond to Platt’s message, either through the book or this video, reveals a lot about your brand of Christianity. Is your Christianity too influenced by the American materialistic mindset? How you respond to this critical message reveals a lot about the condition of your heart (Matthew 6:19-21).

You may actually be a Christian who claims to not to embrace the Health/Wealth gospel (aka prosperity gospel). But if you find yourself offended by Platt’s message or making excuses to get around it, you may need to probe your heart a little deeper…you may be more prosperity gospel than you care to admit.

You can watch the whole message HERE and you can order the book HERE.

On a side note, during David Platt’s message at this summer’s Pastor’s Conference, Matt Chandler (also on the program) tweeted that David Platt “preaches like he’s in pain and I’m grateful to God for him.” That’s funny. And true.

What Kind of Convert?

Part of the problem with the American church today is our desire to make other Christians like us rather than convert non-Christians.  In other words, we sometimes spend more energy trying to convince other Christians to identify with our particular preferences rather than actually reach the lost with the Gospel. My friend Dr. Ed Stetzer (who is friends with 3.7 million people, so don’t be impressed that he is my friend) wrote a timely article titled “Converts to What?” for last year. Here is a great quote from that article:

So, my Reformed friends, let’s not only read 1st, 2nd, and 3rd John (that is, John Calvin, John MacArthur, and John Piper), let’s go plant some more churches. My emerging church friends, let’s take a pause from the theological rethink and head into the neighborhood and to tell someone about Jesus. My missional friends, let’s speak of justice, but always tell others how God can be both “just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” My house church friends, let’s have community, but let’s be sure it is focused on redemption. My Baptist friends, let’s focus more on convincing pagans than Presbyterians. And, my charismatic friends, let’s focus less on getting existing believers to speak in tongues and more on using our tongue to tell others about Jesus.

Now, I know the preceding paragraph will tick some of you off—and, I am trying to be a bit edgy while making a point. But, let me suggest you be less offended at my words and more focused on Jesus’ words: Go therefore and make disciples of nations.”

Wycliffe Bible Translators

A couple of weeks ago, we did something we had been talking about doing for a couple of years now. We took the kids to the WordSpring Discovery Center in Orlando. Located on the campus of the Wycliffe Bible Translators headquarters, WordSpring is basically an interactive museum designed to educate young and old about the history and need for Bible translation.

Continue reading Wycliffe Bible Translators

Michael Guido: Man of Faith

This past Sunday, I told a story about Michael Guido, who went to be with the Lord earlier this year at the age of 94. Dr. Guido served the Lord diligently for decades, never asking anyone for a penny. Yet God more than provided for his needs, raising up an international ministry that continues today by the leadership of his son. You may not recognize Dr. Michael Guido by name but you may recognize him from television. For many years he produced television PSAs (Public Service Announcements) titled “Seeds from the Sower” in which he shared the Good News of Christ. These television spots, filmed from the Guido Gardens (“a seed for the garden of your heart”) in Metter, Georgia brought hope to millions.

Here is a well-written story about Mr. Guido from a few years ago by J. Gerald Harris of the Christian Index.

Here is a sample of one of his later PSAs:

Are you ready to talk about Jesus?

“…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…” – 1 Peter 3.15

“In the midst of a generation screaming for answers, Christians are stuttering.” – Howard Hendricks

How prepared are you to talk to others about Jesus?  In our small groups at Harvest, we have started a DVD series from Way of the Master. I’ve seen the first two episodes and am very impressed. If you’d like to know more about becoming equipped to share your faith, check out the Way of the Master website.

Regarding St. Patrick

Few people are aware that I am actually more Irish than I am Italian. I’m at least 1/4, and possibly 3/8, Irish. Which makes me more Irish than St. Patrick himself! That’s right, St. Patrick was not Irish at all. He was born in Scotland and then at a young age moved with his family to England where, still relatively young, was captured and kidnapped by Irish pirates and sold into slavery in Ireland. He later escaped and returned to his parents in England, eventually being called by God to return to the land of his slavery to deliver the message of Christ. He planted 700 new churches and trained 1,000 pastors.  Read more about him HERE and HERE.