Thursday, May 5, 2011

What Is Evangelism? A Short Summary


“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.” -John 16:13, 14 (ESV)

“But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.” -John 15:26, 27

In attempt to define what evangelism actually is, it is necessary to begin with the most basic assumption: the truth of Jesus is given by the Holy Spirit. It is impossible to fully know this truth without the Helper’s guidance (John 16:13). These two verses above indicate two things while attempting to define evangelism. First, all truth is given by the Holy Spirit for the glorification of God the Father. This truth is the truth about God, not necessarily temporal knowledge of every kind. Second, the Holy Spirit through his apostles and now through us will bear witness to the truth. The apostles were eyewitnesses and through the operation of the Holy Spirit were able to provide the foundational and authoritative witness to Christ for the church. As the church now, this basic assumption is imperative for growth and expanding the kingdom of God, for it begins and ends with the operation of the Holy Spirit.

Establishing the Imperatives

In the gospel of John, the imperative is to bear witness to the truth of Jesus given by the Holy Spirit, knowing that He proceeds for us. Likewise, in what is called the “Great Commission,” in Matthew 28, Jesus tells those who worshiped him and who doubted that all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to him (v. 18). His reason for telling them this is clear: as you go – on behalf of his authority – make disciples, baptize them and teach them to observe all the he has commanded. Mark’s gospel additionally corresponds with the command to “go into the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation (Mark 16:15).”

John’s gospel indicates to “bear witness,” and Matthew and Mark’s gospel tell believers to “go.” Luke additionally has Jesus telling the apostles to “proclaim” and to be “witnesses” (Luke 24:47, 48). These scriptures help give a preliminary definition for the imperatives that are given through Jesus to his apostles and ultimately to today’s believers.

Grounded in the Indicative

After establishing what is commanded – the imperatives – one cannot go further without understanding why one must “go” or “bear witness” or proclaim” what Jesus has done and said. One must understand what has been done through and in Christ – the indicative – in order to fully understand the mission of the Christ-follower. Michael Horton suggests that too many people begin with the Great Commission with the words, “Therefore go…” However, he emphasizes that it leaves out a great deal. He then adds, “To begin with, it leaves out the whole rationale for the commission in the first place. […] When we see an imperative such as ‘Go therefore,’ we need to go back and look at what has already been said leading up to it. There is no reason for us to go into all the world as Christ’s ambassadors apart from the work that he has already accomplished.”[1] What is gleaned from Horton’s statement is the absolute necessity to understand that it is because of Christ’s ultimate authority in heaven and on earth that we are able to “go” anywhere. The ultimate authority is the gospel. The gospel ultimately is what Christ has done.

To evangelize it is obvious one must first have knowledge of what the gospel is. Donald S. Whitney remarks, “the gospel must be clear to believers before they can share it clearly with unbelievers.”[2] Additionally if people have a misunderstanding or “doubtful grasp” of the essential Christian message, how can they be expected to share that message?

What essentially is the message? What is the gospel? The apostle Paul tells his beloved church in Corinth what should be of “first importance.” He declares the gospel to be: “that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures (1 Cor. 15:3).” This should be the plumb line for believers because it centers upon Jesus Christ and what God has done through him. D.A. Carson wrote: “The essential points of the gospel are Jesus Christ’s status as the Son of God, his genuine humanity, his death for our sins, his burial, resurrection, subsequent appearances, and future coming in judgment.”[3] As Carson points out, all essentials of the gospel are packed into 1 Corinthians 15:3. The gospel is what has been done in Jesus Christ – that which is the indicative and grounds the imperative to “Go therefore.”

The Good News

In William J. Abraham’s book on evangelism, he points out that when asked what the definition of evangelism is, most Christians naturally construe it to be the “announcing or communicating or proclaiming of the Christian message to those outside the Christian faith.”[4] Dictionaries define evangelism as “the proclamation of the gospel, especially to...individuals, but means of preaching [or] teaching” or it is the “promulgation of the gospel.”[5] The gospel is central as affirmed earlier and is equated with “good news” deriving its name from the Greek word euangelion. It is exactly this euangelion that captivated the hearts of the apostles. They were witnesses of the God-man or “God on the ground” and it is precisely his good news to the world that the apostles were not only instructed to but inspired to share. The good news of Jesus cannot be without His kingdom coming to earth. It is the incarnation that gives evidence of this most fervently. Not too mention Jesus’ public ministry begins with, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Mat. 4:17).” There is an eschatological element in Jesus’ words. Thus, there is an element of eschatology in evangelism because it is rooted in the gospel of Jesus. Abraham says it this way: “Evangelism [is] related to the gospel of the reign of God that was inaugurated in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.”[6] Just as John the Baptist was the forerunner for Jesus, his apostles were to be the successors of his message and ministry. Therefore, evangelism is the succession of Jesus’ good news.

Proclaiming the Good News

The apostles were commissioned and inspired to tell the story of Jesus to other people. They did not deduce their communication to merely being good examples of Jesus, doing as he did. They had to communicate through words. After all, as Donald Whitney notes, “no one is saved by watching a good example.”[7] He adds that one must not forget that the gospel message is most clearly communicated through words, words about the person and work of Jesus Christ. The discipline of evangelism is about being intentional to speak those words.[8] The question is how does one speak those words? It is the question of the methodology in evangelism. One could look to the life of Jesus himself, having all authority given to him. D. Martyn Lloyd Jones points out that Jesus “clearly differentiated between person and person and type and type. […] He does not handle any two people in exactly the same way. [Jesus] when dealing with people in terms of the same truth, dealt with them in different ways and accommodated His way of teaching to the person. He did not vary the truth, but varied the particular method of presentation.”[9] There is no one formula to evangelism. So how does one know the right method? It is imperative not to focus too earnestly on methods because there must be room for the Holy Spirit and His enabling power. It is by this power the believer needs seek in evangelism. R.C. Sproul comments, “The true power, the power that will change [one’s] life, is the power of God the Holy Spirit, and God promises to attend the preaching of His Word with that power. Preaching has no power unless God the Holy Spirit takes His Word and penetrates hearts with it.”[10]


It begins with the Spirit of truth illuminating the believer’s heart, mind and body to be a light in a dark world. As the light, our imperative to “go” is embedded so deeply in the indicative of what Christ has done and will do. This is euangelion! This is good news to the world. Evangelism is not incidental or accidental because the gospel of Jesus is neither. Evangelism is being intentional with the supreme task of communicating – from the outflow of holy joy – the gospel of Jesus Christ to the ends of the world.

[1] Michael Horton, “The Great Announcement” Modern Reformation, Vol. 20, No. 1 2011, pgs 12-19.

[2] Donald S. Whitney, “Evangelism & the Gospel,” TableTalk, May 2011, pg. 62.

[3] D.A. Carson, “The Gospel of Jesus Christ,” The Spurgeon Fellowship Journal, Spring 2008, pgs 1-11.

[4] William J. Abraham, The Logic of Evangelism, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1989), 41.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Abraham, 17.

[7] Whitney, 63.

[8] Ibid.

[9] D.Martyn Lloyd Jones, Studies In The Sermon On The Mount (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1976), 448-449.

[10] R.C. Sproul, “John,” St. Andrew’s Expositional Commentary, (Grand Rapids: Reformation Trust, 2009), 304.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Response to Rob Bell at PLNU Chapel

A Response to Rob Bell at PLNU Chapel

It was Pastor's Day at Point Loma Nazarene University this last Friday, the well-known emergent pastor Rob Bell was the guest speaker. Bell, the founding pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids is also known for his teaching series called Nooma which are short films promoting spiritual perspectives on individual life experiences. With his popularity rapidly growing in the last few years and a book called Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith that shook up Christians nationwide, I was very intrigued with what he was to say to my alma mater, PLNU.

In essence I wish to expose his message and his theology and paint you a picture by using his words. It’s important these days to be careful with our language because every word we utter matters especially when speaking of the Holy Scriptures and of our Holy God. Being aware of our biases and our interpretation is crucial. Like D.A. Carson writes: “We need theologians who will perceive the biases they bring to the biblical text and test them, as much as possible, by the text.”

Therefore, I wish to give to you what Rob Bell is preaching to our generation. While many friends of mine think very highly of him, I wish to test his teaching, because I believe it to be in error. For this paper, I wish to only show his words, with hope to expose his false doctrines and teachings and to shed light on this phenomenal speaker and brilliant communicator, with all his rhetoric, who – in my opinion – is teaching not only a false gospel but really no good news at all.

After a fun introduction of himself and how he became a pastor he launches in to a his mysterious message… Read along…

Bell: “There is a mystery to how the world works. It is a mystery woven into the fabric of the universe. And the sooner you stumble across this mystery and it grabs hold of you, the greater and sooner you will experience joy that you cannot put into words. There is…(as he holds up a plate and cup) the Eucharist. Also called the mass, the Lord’s supper or common table.” He explains the ‘eu’ is good and the ‘charist’ is grace or gift in Greek.

He continues: “At the heart of the Jesus story is this announcement that Jesus is God’s good gift to us for the healing and salvation of the world. God has not abandoned the world, he sent Jesus to put it all back together.”

“Now this Jesus, how does this gift work? In that he gives himself for the salvation, healing and reconciliation of everybody.”

Bell then goes to describe Jesus’ shedding of blood as the ultimate “cost” for us. He tells his audience to think of the most moving, captivating movie one had ever seen. Or perhaps a piece of literature or painting. Your enjoyment cost something from someone else, he says, “if you receive, somebody else gave, it cost somebody something. It is how the universe works.”

“For someone to say, ‘Oh! That meant so much to me,’ somebody, somewhere had to break themselves open and pour themselves out so that you could receive that life.”

Bell continues: “That’s how the Eucharist works, it’s built into the universe.”

Ok, that was a bit odd to hear but then he says…

“At the heart of the Christian faith is this understanding that Jesus is the Eucharist. He’s God’s good gift to us. And that what Jesus does is invite each of us to be a living, breathing Eucharist to a world that’s desperately in need of redemption and healing.” (Jesus says that? Where?)

It gets better…

“So what Jesus is looking for is followers who will allow themselves to be broken and open and their blood to be poured out.”

Bell finishes up by encouraging 2000 college students to find their Eucharist, the thing that wakes them up out of bed every morning…

“There lurks within you somewhere desire, passion. There lurks within you some Eucharistic calling. There is something that you were made to do that the world desperately needs. It is where you will find your joy.”

After explaining how certain religious circles teach you to suppress your desires, Bell says, “No. You go into the heart of that desire because somewhere in there you will find your Eucharist. And we need you to find your Eucharist.”

“Sometimes to understand your Eucharist, simply ask: what really, really, really pisses you off.”

“And when you find this, your joy…God is a pleasure-seeker. God sends this Jesus because it brings God great pleasure. It brings God great pleasure when you are being broken open and poured out for the healing of the world. And when we see you do this, something in us says, “Yes! You were made to do that.”

“Who are you? And what are you doing here?” These two questions he poses to these college students. To Bell, they are pivotal questions. One must find the answers – apparently within themselves – in order to wake up every morning. And the reason…

“It is the path to joy. It is the path to life. It is what the world desperately needs.”

(Really? I thought the world needs the Gospel of Jesus)

The challenge then is to find our Eucharist. Why?

“Because it is in you. Somewhere. And your joyous, counterintuitive exuberant task is simply to explore, and discover and experiment and try things until you stumble on that thing. And this is the joy set before.”


“May you, my brothers and sisters, become hyper-aware of the passions and desires that lurk in you. When you find yourself offended by some injustice may you listen all the more closely in case it is the Divine voice saying: ‘you need to give your life to this.’

May you come to believe that God is not a slave-driver but a pleasure-seeker who wants your joy more than anything. And may you come to see your joy will be found in the body broken and the blood poured out of being a living, breathing Eucharist. Grace and peace be with you.”

If you’ve never heard Rob Bell before or have many times – I hope these words of his explain his version of Christianity. I do not believe it is Biblical Christianity in the slightest realm. It is far from it. There are so many doctrinal errors in this small 20-minute message. I plan to display them another time. For now, judge yourself. Does this man Rob Bell speak the truth from the Bible? Or does he err on the side of false interpretation?

Hint: It’s not from the Bible I read everyday.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Anno Coram Deo

We don’t live here

We don’t live here

We don’t live here anymore

Singer and songwriter Jakob Dylan has some truth in these lyrics for the Christian. I find them reassuring and encouraging for the fact that we are born-again and no longer living in this earthy kingdom. We are in fact now living in a spiritual kingdom, not of this world (John 18:36). Jesus told Nicodemus by night that in order to see the kingdom of God we have to be born of water and Spirit (John 3:5). We are now children of God (1 John 3:10), no longer living under the rule of the devil but under the rule of Christ Jesus, our King. This is the year for us to know this and to live this.

In my studies this past year I have come to admit that I can do nothing good apart from God. God alone initiates anything glorifying to Him. Again, I can do nothing good in and of myself (Rom. 7:18.) The Apostle Paul says, “No one is righteous…no one understands, no one seeks for God (Rom. 3:10-11).” This, to me is good news. It may seem harsh to the reader, but it is reality in the Kingdom of God. God alone gives. God alone initiates. Jesus says that apart from Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5). John the Baptist even said, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven (John 3:27).” Praise God for this!

With these few verses, can you see the pattern of Scripture? This doctrine - the set of beliefs we have to hold to - is there. This doctrine we cannot run away from or reject. We need to face it, read it, and live it. Apart from God we can do nothing. Therefore, it is in the presence of God, I want to live.Coram Deo. R.C. Sproul describes it best:

The big idea of the Christian life is coram Deo. Coram Deo captures the essence of the Christian life. This phrase literally refers to something that takes place in the presence of, or before the face of, God. To live coram Deo is to live one’s entire life in the presence of God, under the authority of God, to the glory of God.

To be aware of the presence of God is to understand that whatever we are doing and wherever we are doing it, we are acting under the gaze of God….To be aware of the presence of God is also to be acutely aware of His sovereignty. The uniform experience of the saints is to recognize that if God is God, then He indeed is sovereign.

I absolutely love this. This year is a year for me to live wholly in the presence of God. To take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ (2 Cor. 10:5). To live this year and every day with integrity. I do not want to compartmentalize my life, but live all under the gaze of God. I want it to be lived soli Deo gloria, for the glory of God alone.

Why? Because we don’t live here anymore. We don’t live for our jobs, our houses, our friends or families, even our ministries in church.

Why? Because we are a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17), his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works (Eph. 2:10). We live under the rule of the King of Heaven. Hallelujah! This is my prayer for this year. Let it be yours as well.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

On Christ the Solid Rock

Let's face it, our world is crumbling. Is it not? With all the earthquakes and tsunami's that are cracking our earth - I am finding a numbness about myself. What hope do these people have? How do I give hope to those in need? I see the images and hear the stories of Haiti and now Chile and I can't relate because I don't understand. Why all this suffering? What am I or you to do with all this information of other people suffering?

I know living in these days I am not blind to the suffering - I will or can not wish it away. There is true despair out there. What hope can we offer? I love the words of Chuck Smith when he said:

"Reality would bring me to despair if I didn't know the hope of Jesus Christ. Because I have a hope in Jesus Christ, I can face the reality of life, but still rejoice in the hope because I know that when He comes we are going to live in a world of peace."

Today I read Romans 5. When I read it I could tell how excited Paul was in this chapter. His tone changes and he can't wait to say what he says:

"We boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame (or 'disappoint us' in the NIV), because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us." (5:2b-5).

I feel if I just gave this verse to those who were suffering it would only be a spiritual band-aid to them. It would only cover up the cut temporarily and then what? How do we help others have the hope we do? First of all, do we believe in the hope that we have in Christ Jesus? And that is where I am stuck at. I desperately need to believe that if I were faced with true suffering, I would stick to my hope in Jesus and not waiver. Do you believe this too? I told the kids at my youth group today that the Bible is a book of HOPE. It is a book we can trust through-and-through to give us light in dark places. But it is also a book that tells us that we who believe and follow Jesus will also endure hard times, we will suffer. Maybe not like other people in the world (i.e. visit to find out) but we will suffer. Jesus tells us this in his Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5. We are to be blessed when we suffer for the sake of His Name. Sometimes in this world - it seems we are made to suffer. Doesn't it? I think of Joey Belville's lyrics:

"Isn't this world something beautiful
that we were made to suffer both its majesty and cruelty?
And is grace not something beautiful that we were made to suffer?
the lucid touch of clemency

And our tears become a sanctuary
we are made to suffer
with tenderness and empathy"

I love how Joey answers his own question: with tenderness and empathy. That is quite biblical too. Paul tells the church at Corinth that God comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in trouble with the comfort we receive from God (2 Cor. 1:4).

All I know is - that how I cope with all this suffering is a direct correlation with where my anchor is grounded. If I am anchored in my financial successes or my career or my relationships it is not going to help me through my sufferings or even that of others. What helps us cope is the Grace given and the simple fact that Jesus died and has risen and has rescued us already. In Him we have hope. We are not abandoned even though we are suffering (2 Cor 4:9). My hope cannot be built on any else than on Jesus' blood and his righteousness. Thus I think of this glorious song Solid Rock:

My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus' blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
but wholly lean on Jesus' name

When darkness veils his lovely face
I rest on his unchanging grace
In every high and stormy gale
my anchor holds within the veil

On Christ the solid rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking sand

His oath, this covenant, his blood
supports me in the whelming flood
When all around my soul gives way
He then is all my hope and stay

When he shall come with trumpet sound
Oh may I then in him be found
Dressed in his righteousness alone
Faultless to stand before the throne.

Are these not the perfect words for today? Read them over and over again. Download the song and listen to it today. Meditate on the fact that it is only on Christ the solid rock we can stand - to get us through these days...

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Forget the Past

In certain Christian circles we hear the words "born again," "rebirth," "regeneration," etc. But honestly, it's pretty tough to incorporate these ideas in our everyday life as a believer. Do we actually understand what these mean when we wake up and do we manifest them daily? I highly doubt it. I don't. But honestly, how many times do we wish we could just start over? Seriously, I pray that the night would come so that the morning would be here quicker. Just like the Psalmist said: "Weeping is cast for the night, but Joy comes in the morning." This idea that we need to start over is prominent in our lives, is it not? This leads me to the idea of a new year. Though many of us count our days according to the school schedule or something like that, we are on the dawn of a new year. A new year is a chance to start over, is it not?

Some of us need to forget what happened in 2009. I fortunately am not one of them. I am proud of what has happened this past year. But I am still thirsty for more of Jesus. I have felt his grace and love but I still am unhappy with how I treated my God. I know the Holy Spirit has worked me and given me the attitude of thankfulness but juxtaposed with discontent. Discontent with myself. I have taken hold of the prize - that of Jesus - but yet act as if I have nothing to run for. This is where I am left: wanting more for 2010.

I can't help but fall into the words of dear Apostle Paul. His letter to the Philippians is one of my favorites. I am drawn to his attitude here in chapter 3:

"Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because of Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead. I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call in Christ Jesus." (3:12-14)

Do we not need to hear this going into the new year? We realize we have not been made "perfect" in 2009 but Jesus has made us HIS OWN. You know what that means? We now are able to forget what is behind and strain forward to lies ahead. We are continually "owned" by God through Jesus' death on the cross and resurrection. Do we realize this? This is encouraging. And honestly, how many of us need to hear this right now? I do. I need to forget what lies behind (not the good, but the bad) and strain forward to the future. I need to press on. The goal is our calling. What is your calling this year? What are your goals this year? That is what we need to press on towards.

I love the words of Jon Foreman in his song Mess of Me:

"I've made a mess of me
I wanna get back the rest of me
I've made a mess of me
I wanna spend the rest of my life alive."

Let's do this. Take back the part that Jesus owns and give it over to Him. Take it and spend the rest of our lives ALIVE in Christ.

Forget what lies behind but strain forward into the new year.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Lesson From A Leper

I'm trying this Thanksgiving and every Thanksgiving to not just take this one day to openly be thankful, but rather condition my heart to be thankful. When this day comes around don't we all of a sudden begin to think about our lives in relation to being thankful? And don't we often openly admit we are not thankful enough? I am one of those people. I wish my thankfulness were more evident. To me, it's a matter of heart. It's a matter of realizing what we have in comparison to what we should have. I immediately realize I am given way more grace than I deserve because I have way more than I need.

This weekend I encouraged my youth group to learn the lesson of the leper. The one leper who stopped, realized what Jesus had done by healing him, turned back and fell at his feet with thanksgiving. I'm speaking of course of the story in Luke 17: 11-19...

"Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, 'Jesus, Master, have pity on us!'

When he saw them, he said, 'Go, show yourselves to the priests.' And as they went, they were cleansed.

One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him - and he was a Samaritan.
Jesus asked, 'Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?' Then he said to him, 'Rise and go; your faith has made you well.'"

I look at these lepers who were unclean outcasts, filthy "foreigners" who stood at a distance begging Jesus to pity them - or show mercy towards them. My first question to myself is "How often do I beg for mercy?" The lepers had physical ailments - very visible ones - and I certainly have some spiritual ailments - not so visible. I look at these ten lepers and say: "I am spiritually unclean, rich with sin, but do I beg to be cleansed?" Do we beg to be cleansed?

As Jesus tells them to show themselves to the priests - to validate their cleansing - they all walk away and rejoice at what had just happened. Yet, one stops and had a moment. He had a moment that I want to have all the time. A moment of realization - as he looked at his hands and saw the renewal in his pores and the pigment in his skin, he is overwhelmed with thanksgiving. Underserved grace shown. While the other nine got a "freebie" and took advantage of Jesus - the miracle-worker - this one leper had his heart changed.

Am I one of the nine? Taking freebies from Jesus? Or Am I the one. Am I the one who stops, sees the grace, the restoration and falls down in thanksgiving. Do I have a heart ripe with thanksgiving? I am convinced this one leper did. It was his faith that made him well. His realization of who he was in comparison to God. I want to have that.

As we approach this one day to give thanks, let us remember this story of the one leper who stopped and wholeheartedly thanked Jesus for being made well. If we think about what Jesus has really done for us, I am convinced we will be like the one leper, not one of the nine. Let's stop, look our hands and see what God has really done for us...then fall at His feet with thanksgiving.

photo from neatnik2009

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Art of Losing Myself

Have you ever heard a worship song and one lyric just stuck with you? That one line just wouldn't leave your mind? For me, it's been the lyric "the art of losing myself" from the song Inside Out written by Joel Houston. Here's what I'm talking about:

A thousand times I've failed

Still your mercy remains

And should I stumble again

Still I'm caught in your grace

Everlasting, Your light will shine when all else fades

Never ending, Your glory goes beyond all fame

my heart and my soul, Lord I give you control

Consume me from the inside out Lord

Let justice and praise become my embrace

To love You from the inside out

Your will above all else, my purpose remains

The art of losing myself in bringing you praise

I've been mulling over this idea for the last several months. What does this mean? Is there really an "art" to losing myself? I mean, how can I really begin to have less of me and more of Jesus? How can I put myself away and only allow Jesus to act in me? These are valid questions aren't they?

But the "art" of losing myself is something that must be practiced. Am I right? The art of something is an act that needs repetition and thus we need to practice losing ourselves. This is where I've been stopped. This is where I have trouble. I have a hard time with this because I focus so much time on myself. And lately I've been trying to change my focus. It's with my mind. To change my focus with my mind is to change my action and thus giving over to the Spirit that enables me to change. Am I right? This makes sense. Doesn't it? But, "the how..."

I am so happy to find all the answers to these questions in the Bible. I mean, seriously, it's amazing that I can go to this single book and know that God has put the answer there and that I can bank on it.

The apostle Paul knows about changing your mind to find right action through the Spirit. I am drawn to his letter to Philipi, in the last chapter he tells the church what to think about:

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." 4:8

But read the next verse, it's the clincher (for me):

"What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me - practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you." 4:9

Practice these things Paul says. Change your thinking and think about those things and you'll find yourself being less. This is what I need to being doing.

I'm also drawn to Paul's letter to the Colossians where we are shown once again the how to become less and be more like Christ:

"Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and patience." 3:12

Man, those don't describe me very much. But I know the "how to," the ways of changing my mind to lose myself. Know that I am holy and beloved through Jesus and put on compassion for others, being kind and not thinking too highly of myself and being meek and being patient. That is what I am to do to put away with myself. And that is how Jesus will become greater and I will become lesser (John 3:30).

One the most amazing ways of losing yourself is by singing praise to God. In another worship song, this one written by Matt Redman, I believe what when we truly sing these lyrics and believe them and live them out we will see our lives becoming more like Jesus and less like ourselves.

Blessed be Your name

In the land that is plentiful

Where Your streams of abundance flow

Blessed be Your name

And blessed be Your name

When I'm found in the desert place

Though I walk through the wilderness

Blessed be your name

Every blessing You pour out I'll

Turn back to praise

And when the darkness closes in, Lord

Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord

Blessed be Your name

Blessed be the name of the Lord

Blessed be Your glorious name

Blessed be Your name

When the sun's shining down on me

When the world's "all as it should be"

Blessed be You name

And blessed be Your name

On the road marked with suffering

Though there's pain in the offering

Blessed be Your name

You give and take away

You give and take away

My heart will choose to say

Lord, blessed be Your name

I will bless Your name