Friday, January 22, 2016

Contemplative Evangelism



“What if prayer was the central component of evangelism?”  This question spoke to my heart as I read Fuller Theological Seminary Professor Dr. Richard Peace’s essay Prayer, Evangelism, and Spiritual Formation.  Dr. Peace adds, “By this I mean, what if the very desire to reach out to others was born in the fire of contemplative prayer where the presence of God was so palpable that one could not help but want to share this reality with others?  What if prayer then became the very vehicle of evangelism, as we invite others to pray?”

Dr. Peace’s essay brought to mind a recent sermon by David Platt, President of the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, Relenting Wrath: The Role of Desperate Prayer in the Mystery of Divine Providence. Platt begins this sermon with, “The greatest barrier to the spread of the Gospel may not be the self-indulgent immorality of our culture but the self-sufficient mentality in the church evident in our prayerlessness.”

Both of these good doctors seem to agree that, while giving prayer ‘lip service’ and talking about its importance, we have mostly programmed God out of our evangelism.  We tend to develop our plans and procedures then quickly ask God to bless them as we rush out the door to implement our strategies.

What if, instead, we actually took time to slow down, quieten our hearts and minds, and really listen for what God has for us and for the unreached?  As Dr. Peace wrote, “…what if the very desire to reach out to others was born in the fire of contemplative prayer where the presence of God was so palpable that one could not help but want to share this reality with others?  What if prayer then became the very vehicle of evangelism…”

Does this idea of contemplative evangelism ring true to you as it did with me?  If so, I encourage you to read Dr. Peace’s essay Prayer, Evangelism, and Spiritual Formation.  Then perhaps you may want to hear David Platt speak on the importance of prayer in making Christ known among the unreached.  Both of these resources are available under the Other Voices tab at PrayerReach.org

At PrayerReach.org you can also hear how XMA volunteer teams are incorporating prayer into our mission to bring the Gospel to the unreached.  While there you can pick up a free copy of my book PrayerReach–‘Withnessing’ Among the Unreached and enroll in our free Deepen Your Prayer Life online contemplative prayer course.  With an investment of just 20 minutes a day for 5 days the Deepen Your Prayer Life course teaches you a contemplative prayer method that Christians have been using for centuries to draw closer to God and to truly hear His voice.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Touching Death


Soon afterward He was on His way to a town called Nain. His disciples and a large crowd were traveling with Him.  Just as He neared the gate of the town, a dead man was being carried out. He was his mother’s only son, and she was a widow. A large crowd from the city was also with her.  When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said, “Don’t cry.” Then He came up and touched the open coffin, and the pallbearers stopped. And He said, “Young man, I tell you, get up!”
               -Luke 7:11-14

In this story we see Jesus, along with his disciples and a large crowd, once more traveling through the countryside. Upon entering the town of Nain they encounter the funeral procession of a widow’s only son. This death not only grieves the widow to the core but also leaves her destitute. With no man in her life she is hopeless and heartbroken. Jesus feels her pain and has compassion for her.

Then we have the short sentence that is the heart of the story but easily overlooked in our day and culture, Then He came up and touched the open coffin. It is common, perhaps expected, of us to touch the coffin and even the body of our deceased loved ones. We reach out for one last touch before their bodies are gone forever. But in Jewish culture Jesus’s touch is verboten, forbidden, unexpected and unimaginable. Whoever touches the dead or anything they are touching is ritually unclean until they go through a cleansing ceremony. Jesus’ spontaneous, compassionate response stops the pallbearers in their tracks.

As you meditate on this passage today ask God to fill you with this compassion for the lost and hurting around you. Ask God to show you how you might follow Jesus’ example by responding in unexpected ways to show God’s compassion for the people around you. Ask him to show you how you might reach out in compassion and touch death.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

A Little More Light

  • If there was a little more light and truth in the world through one human being, his life has had meaning.
    -Alfred Delp

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Servants of the Word




The past few weeks I’ve been reading and rereading, praying, and meditating on the Christmas story in the Gospel of Luke. There are so many wonderful things in these first few chapters. The Holy Spirit keeps calling me back to a couple of short, poignant phrases which He led the good Dr. Luke to write for us. One of these is at the very beginning in Luke 1:2

As Luke is naming his sources and establishing the veracity of his gospel he refers to those who followed the Lord as ‘servants of the word’. What a wonderful, powerfully evocative phrase – servants of the word. Of course, it reflects the words and obedience of the original follower of the incarnate Christ, Mary, as she humbly accepts the impossible news that she will be the mother of God, “I am the servant of the Lord”.

In these opening days of the year of our Lord 2016 I pray this phrase, servant of the word, will be descriptive of my life as I seek to serve Christ. I pray it will be prescriptive to my ministry as I seek to ‘go and make disciples among all nations’.

I also pray that you will join us as a fellow ‘servant of the word’ on an extreme missionary adventure this year. Email or call today to begin your adventure with a purpose.