The Paperless Gospel

I’m going to cheat a little today on my blog post because I think this story is awesome and it happened to one of the people I will be working with in Germany so I took this story from GEM’s story page. You should check out the stories they post there on a regular basis!

Here is the story:

One of our workers serving in Germany tells the story of an opportunity that he had to explain the Gospel to an Irishman in Amsterdam. It’s a great example of being ready and watchful for open doors!

I was sitting in a conference room in Amsterdam waiting for some specialized training on smartphone app development to begin when I heard a familiar accent. I’d been to Dublin several times and I recognized that familiar Irish lilt coming from a man nearby.  I quickly introduced myself to this other native English speaker amidst the Dutch, German, and French speakers surrounding us.

C2CDisobeyHis name was “Alan” [not his actual name]. Over the two days of the conference, we hung out together at breaks and lunches talking about all sorts of things. His fiancé and my wife. The iPhone 5 release. Irish tea. Guinness. What we do for a living, etc.

The subject came around to an app I am developing and I wanted to use the opportunity to steer the conversation toward spiritual things. The app is called “C2C Story” and it’s based on an evangelism tool that we use in our Discipleship Multiplication Training whereby we explain the story of God, from creation to the resurrection of Christ. The app provides a series of pictures that you can flip through on your device as you explain the story.

As I was describing the technical aspects of the app with Alan, it also gave me the opportunity to tell him the actual “Creation to Christ” story. Alan listened and had some questions about both the app and the story. He gave some solid suggestions for improving the app and told me that he would like to talk more about the story.

My hope and prayer for Alan is that his story might intersect with God’s story so that he will be forever transformed and then inspired to invite others into the redemptive story of God’s love.C2CMiracles

[Have a look at the app’s website by CLICKING HERE. It’s currently only available for Android devices, but the pictures can be used on Apple/iOS devices by using the web app version on the website or downloading the PDF images into iBook, Kindle, or other PDF applications.]



I wrote a blog about reading a blog about how I should write

I subscribe to Jon Acuff’s blog (If you are not familiar with Jon Acuff’s work, he has written several books, one of which is “Stuff Christians Like” and I highly recommend it) and every time he writes a new blog I see it on my homepage. About two months ago I saw a post by him that I told myself I should read, partially so I could do a better job at writing this blog. It was about finding your writing voice.

I have read a bunch of blogs and most of them seem so much more well-developed than mine. They are funnier, more thoughtful, more insightful and many other things too. I have been told that I don’t write like I am. When I talk I try to add humor to most conversations. When I write, I’m just not funny. Not at all and that bothers me. That’s where Jon’s blog comes in. I was hoping for some amazing insight, technique or steps to writing better blogs. I didn’t get that, but what I did get was just as good. He said that in order to find my voice I need to write more. Duh! Of course, it’s so simple and yet why was I thinking it needed to be complicated? How do you get better at anything? You do it more. Plain and simple. What a cool blog to actually read right after deciding to write every day for the month of June. If you all bear with me, I will be finding my voice this month while trying to provide some interesting information for you this month.

Jon didn’t stop there though, he said to find your voice in anything you just have to do it more and that made me think about how I have noticed that I don’t speak like other missionaries do. I listen to other missionaries and people in ministry and I am amazed at how they look at life in general. They impress me and I want to get to that point. I want my heart to be geared towards God in such a way that my words never fail to lift Him up. Thanks to Jon I now realize that it is going to take practice and time for me to get there.

Relationship, religion and youtube!

By now, just about everyone and their mother and in some cases grandmother have seen the video on youtube that has been floating around people’s Facebook wall about one man’s commentary on the difference of relationship and religion when it comes to the Christian faith. Well, I finally decided to watch it today after seeing my old church showed it yesterday. I also looked up a website that was in response to this video that my friend posted on facebook as well. I wanted to see what people thought about the video after I had a chance to view it. I found two more sites with commentary on the video and I am sure if I had spent more time I would have seen a plethora more sites as well. Before I speak on this issue I want anyone who has not had a chance to check the video out, to watch it right now. Here you go:

My first response was mainly, nice job! There were a few parts that stuck out to me in a good way and a not-so-good way, but honestly I don’t want to discuss what he got right and what he got wrong except for one thing. He did get one thing very right, he got people discussing their beliefs about Jesus and religion. A quick search on Youtube of the video’s title and you get over 3500 results, including a Catholic, Muslim (even one that claims to hate religion, love Jesus and be Muslim) and atheist viewpoint. Simply put this video got people to think about their own beliefs and that is never a bad thing.

What I do want to write about today is religion and relationship and what they mean to me. In all of my theological studies (absolutely none) I have heard a lot about Christianity as a relationship with Christ and that we should be thinking about Jesus in that light rather than in a religious mindset. I’m not quite sure how that works.

Religion itself is a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature and purpose of the universe. Without religion we have nothing to believe. Now I think what was meant by the word religion was more of the beliefs that certain people are ascribing to Jesus. How we go about interpreting the Bible and applying it to our lives. Over the years different beliefs on topics such as communion have resulted in different denominations within the Christian faith. If they are still Biblically sound than they are a part of the Christian religion community. Some people have been misusing the religion of Christianity to justify racism, hatred, and countless other things. That is not religion. That is someone misusing religion to justify their own agenda.

A relationship can fit nicely within the definition of religion. A relationship is an emotional connection between two people (for religion sake this can be applied to an emotional connection between humans and God). How does this stray from religion itself? In my opinion, it doesn’t. Can’t our beliefs cause us to have an emotional connection with God? Don’t we have a desire to talk to God (pray)? Look how David cries out to God in pretty much every Psalm that he wrote. If you have a set of beliefs that include a Father in heaven who sent His only Son to die for us even though we suck, how can you not have an emotional connection?

Let’s live life as if our religious beliefs cause an emotional reaction in us so strong that we can’t help but be in a relationship with the God of the universe. That should drive us in everything we do and if something else is causing us to do something then that’s when Jesus would call us a “brood of vipers” for being hypocrites.