Thursday, April 29, 2010

Gospel in Life: Three Ways to Live

Yesterday I finally got my awaited book Gospel in Life Study Guide, I starting flipping through the pages right away and stopped at the first Home Study, on page sixteen, titled Three ways to live.
In this first home study Timothy Keller begins by talking about the ways people think we can relate to God, he says people tend to think there are only two ways but he comes to the conclusion that in fact there are three: religion, irreligion and the gospel. He describes all three ways, one falls in the range of legalism/moralism, another in the range of secular/irreligious relativism and the last one through Christ.
Keller states that most Christians have been through their share of each of these ways and that while the differences between irreligion and the gopsel are evident, it is harder to discern the difference between religion and the gospel. And so on the next page we find a table stating the differences between the Gospel and Religion:

Taken from Gospel in Life Study Guide: Grace Changes Everything by Timothy Keller. Copyright © 2010 by Reedemer City to City and Reedemer Presbyterian Church. Used by permission of Zondervan,

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Gospel In Life Study Guide

I just got in the mail The Gospel in Life Study Guide by Tim Keller, and currently am awaiting the DVD of said Study Guide. Here's the trailer:

Trailer for Gospel in Life from Redeemer City to City on Vimeo.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Seven Characteristics of Highly Evangelistic Christians


A convicting post that compels us to pray more and be bolder when it comes to proclaiming the gospel. I know quite a few of those highly evangelistic Christians, one particular young man at my church called Martin, his passion for the gospel and love for the lost is contagious and convicting at the same time. Let us pray the Lord will fill us with passion for His gospel and the expansion of His kingdom and a love for the lost.

It is so obvious. Indeed it is so clear that I am surprised at my neglect of this factor. Stated simply, the evangelistic churches that I have researched for the past twenty years have one or more highly evangelistic Christians.

I know. The previous statement is no great revelation. It is almost stating the obvious. But, if it is reality, why are we not hearing more about these Christians who seem to have a passion for evangelism? Why are we not doing a better job of telling their stories?

In this short article I hope to address this great omission.

Seven Characteristics

It is inevitable that, when we do research on evangelistic churches, we learn about one or more members in the church who, to use the book title by Charles H. Spurgeon, embody the traits of "The Soul Winner." Oftentimes one of those members is the pastor. But we have also seen many laypersons who are themselves soul winners.

In our interviews with these people, or with those who tell us about the soul winners, we began to discern some clear patterns. We called those patterns “the seven characteristics of highly evangelistic Christians.”

1. They are people of prayer. They realize that only God can convict and convert, and they are totally dependent upon Him in prayer. Most of the highly evangelistic Christians spend at least an hour in prayer each day.

2. They have a theology that compels them to evangelize. They believe in the urgency of the gospel message. They believe that Christ is the only way of salvation. They believe that anyone without Christ is doomed for a literal hell.

3. They are people who spend time in the Word. The more time they spend in the Bible, the more likely they are to see the lostness of humanity and the love of God in Christ to save those who are lost.

4. They are compassionate people. Their hearts break for those who don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. They have learned to love the world by becoming more like Christ who has the greatest love for the world.

5. They love the communities where God has placed them. They are immersed in the culture because they desire for the light of Christ to shine through them in their communities.

6. They are intentional about evangelism. They pray for opportunities to share the gospel. They look for those opportunities. And they see many so-called casual encounters as appointments set by God.

7. They are accountable to someone for their evangelistic activities. They know that many good activities can replace Great Commission activities if they are not careful. Good can replace the best. So they make certain that someone holds them accountable each week, either formally or informally, for their evangelistic efforts.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Turning the World Upside Down

So it's apparent I haven't been blogging much lately but I haven't completely stopped blogging, I've just been doing it elsewhere. A few weeks ago I joined some dear brothers in Christ from my local church in an effort to begin a blog, in spanish, with the purpose to help other brothers and sisters out there learn to defend the faith. For the past weeks we've been writing on different subjects, I have focused on defending the faith from other false religions like the Jehovah Witnesses by dealing with the articles they've published in their well known magazine "The Watchtower" also known in spanish as "La Atalaya". Our blog is called Trastornando al Mundo (Disturbing the World), although the word trastornando doesn't quite catch our idea when translated to the English language, my friend Abraham sort of came up with the name from a verse in the book of acts, Acts 17:6
"And when they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities, shouting, "These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also,"
The context of the text takes place in Thessalonica when Paul and Silas went there to preach the gospel and reason with the jews in the synagogues. Some were persuaded, even the devout Greeks but soon the Jews became jealous and began to persecute them. So we get to verse 6 and read that they went into a man's house, Jason, dragged him and those who were there out and took them to the authorities saying that these men who were reasoning and preaching the gospel and have turned the world upside down by doing so, and have now arrived there.
So that is our idea with this blog, to help others do what Paul and Silas were doing by preaching the gospel and defending the faith, in hopes of turning the world upside down and leading people by God's grace to the foot of the cross.
Please pray for us in this great endeavor and also pray that we can take what we have written and use it everywhere we go, in our work place, in our homes, in our universities, on the streets, in airplanes and that we may do so for God's glory.

Become a Friend!

Grace Gems: Affliction prepared for and improved

Affliction prepared for and improved
(Thomas Sherman, "Aids to the Divine Life--A Series of Practical Christian Contemplations" 1680)

"It was good for me to be afflicted--so that I might learn your decrees." Psalm 119:71

As it is the duty of God's children to prepare for affliction before it comes; so it is also their duty to improve affliction when it does come.

If we do not prepare for affliction--we shall be surprised by it;
and, if we do not improve it--we are likely to increase it.

He who would prepare for affliction, must beforehand:
(1.) resign all to God,
(2.) strengthen his graces,
(3.) store up divine promises,
(4.) and search out secret sins.

And he who would improve affliction when it does come, must labor to see:
sin more and more in its filthiness--so as to mortify it;
his heart in its deceitfulness--so as to watch over it;
the world in its emptiness--so as to be crucified to it;
grace in its amiableness--so as to prize it;
God in His holiness--so as to revere Him; and
heaven in its desirableness--so as to long after it.

He who takes more care to avoid afflictions--than to be fitted for them; or is more solicitous to be delivered from them--than to be bettered by them; is likely to come soonest into them--and to live longest under them!

"God disciplines us for our good--that we may share in His holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." Hebrews 12:10-11

Saturday, April 10, 2010


"Then the LORD God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him."

In my 24 years of life on this earth I have come to know about myself that I'm not good at making and keeping friends. And as if having had some sort of epiphany, I realized today where the problem began and perhaps even the reason why, but I know that only the Lord truly knows why. Over 7 years ago I was writing a goodbye letter to one of my favorite group of teachers in high school, Mr. H, Mr. Nunn and Mr. Fischer, my U.S. History, Journalism and U.S Lit professors respectively. In my letter I wrote about a song, if I remember correctly, by Carole King titled So Far Away, a song about long distance relationships. In my letter I described how hard it was for me to accept that everyone I ever cared for, as far as family and friends goes, either moved away to another country or changed schools or moved to another, farther, part of town. I thought perhaps, during that time, God was trying to teach me a lesson of some sort, now I know He was, but I couldn't understand what at the time.
Well during my epiphany-esc experience on my way home in a cab tonight, i recurred to a season in my life and it all made sense. My best friend since I was born, who was my next door neighbor, whom I was extremely close to, moved away to another part of town far far away from where I live and have lived my whole life. My godmother moved to Miami, my godfather to New York and I never heard from him again. My favorite teachers in middle school and high school all went back to their homeland in the US. My best friend in middle school changed to another school, my second best friend in high school moved to Miami; and finally my best friends in high school all went to NY for college and left me behind. I was left alone in this city when all my life I had longed to move away to another country, the friends I loved most left me and that left a scar.
Ever since then through college and even now after having been a Christian for over 4 years, making and keeping friends has been hard. At first I thought it was the other person's fault but then I realized I was the one at fault, it seemed as though I would push people away when we became too close, perhaps in fear that once again I would be left behind or abandoned. But the Lord did not make humans to roam the earth alone(Genesis 2:18), like the famous phrase says: "no man is an island", the Bible even gives us great advice on making(Proverbs 22:4, 28:7, 1Corinthians 15:33, Ecclesiastes 4:9-12), loving(Job 6:14, John 15:13, Proverbs 17:17, 18:24, 27:6; Romans 12:19-21) and keeping (Proverbs 16:28, 17:9, 29:5; Proverbs 27:10) friends and more importantly it teaches us about the ultimate friendship, with God(James 2:23, James 4:4, John 15:14-15).
My prayer is that the Lord will heal my wounds and through His word and the Holy Spirit teach me to love the friends and family He has given me.