Speaking of Jesus 02: Baby Steps

Speaking of Jesus 02: Baby Steps


I talk about Jesus in,
like normal words He loves us and is present in those challenging things too. – In the historical, particular sense of who he was. – Compassion, forgiveness,
other-centredness, love. – There’s something behind all of this and we want to know what it is. He loves us. He is God with us. Welcome to our second week of our series on evangelism. This is our chance to enter into a season of training and exercising together, as we take practical steps in learning how to share our faith with others. It’s time to take our Bibles and notes and get ready to dive in. We’ve got lots to learn! The Church exists for nothing else but to draw men into Christ, to make them little Christs. If they are not doing that, all the cathedrals, clergy, missions, sermons, even the Bible itself, are simply a waste of time. God became Man for no other purpose.
– C.S. Lewis (Mere Christianity) Here is the principle – adapt your measures to the necessity of the people to whom you minister. You are to take the Gospel to them in such modes and circumstances as will gain for it from them a hearing.
– Catherine Booth (Aggressive Christianity) The Great Commission is not an option to be considered; it is a command to be obeyed.
– Hudson Taylor, (Christian Missionary) “I am a Christian,” I concluded, “because the story of Jesus is still the story I’m willing to risk being wrong about.”
– Rachel Held Evans, (Author, Blogger and Christian Theologian) Every church needs to be able to answer two questions. First, what is our plan for making disciples? And second, does our plan work?
– Dallas Willard, (Christian Theologian) Rather, ten times, die in the surf, heralding the way to a new world, than stand idly on the shore.
– Florence Nightingale, (Founder of Modern Nursing) Do whatever he tells you.
– Mary, (Mother of Jesus) Go.
– Jesus – Hello, friends. Welcome to Week Two of our
series, Speaking of Jesus. We are talking about how to talk about our faith in Jesus. So obviously this is a series for people who believe in Jesus, follow
Jesus, trust in Jesus. It’s a series for Christians,
but we always have some people at different
stages of spiritual faith, Christian, not Christian,
at The Meeting House, and if you’re one of
those people that says, well, I’m not a Christian,
well you’ve picked a perfect series to come,
because you get to hear how we talk about you behind your back. So this is a series where, I mean, it’s part of our faith
that we actually believe Jesus is so amazing
that we want more people to know about him, and so every so often we talk about how we can talk about Jesus better, in a more respectful and authentic way. This is not about us
putting on a show or an act. It is about us though genuinely wanting more people to hear this message in a way that allows us to be more
fully and freely ourselves while we invite other
people to be more fully and freely themselves
and to agree, disagree, and have robust and
beautiful conversation. You know there’s nothing more interesting on this planet, there’s
nothing more interesting than a human being. I mean, I know there
are many amazing things we could be studying on the planet. There’s nothing more
interesting than a human being, and when it comes to a human being, there’s nothing more interesting
about that human being than what they believe about
the reason that they’re here and the nature of the universe. People’s beliefs are fascinating, and so we want to become
genuinely spiritually curious about that and engage in authentic ways, and we’ll always be the
better for it when we do that, and I think if we’re being
authentic with other people, they’ll be the better for it too. It is a win-win scenario
for everybody involved. I’m glad you’re here
no matter where you are on the spiritual spectrum as we talk about Speaking of Jesus,
this week’s message is called Baby Steps. Now, let’s just review last week. We started the series last week and we’re going to take this series right up till Easter, and
then there’s Easter Sunday and Easter weekend. It’s a great opportunity
to invite your friends to, and then we’ve got a series after Easter where we’re gonna try and model just what we’ve been talking about. It’s a great series to
invite your friends to as we just talk about
the teachings of Jesus, and I’m gonna just do my best to talk to Christians and non-Christians together about Jesus in a natural and open way. Now having said that,
quick review of last week. We said that our talking about Jesus should be more of a release
of who we authentically are. Jesus said when the Holy
Spirit comes upon you, you will be my witnesses, not,
you’ll learn how to witness like a task, but you’ll
be, this is who you are, and this should be something that is just us being ourselves. And we also pointed out that
Jesus said in John 12:32, he said, when I am
lifted up from the earth, I will draw all people to myself. And we drew two lessons out of this. Number one, we’re never alone, because Jesus is partnered with us, when we talk about Jesus. He says, I will do the drawing. So we’re partnered with Jesus when we have Jesus conversations. We don’t have to do the
drawing or the pulling, but we just need to be ourselves and let them be themselves, and Jesus is the one
pulling people toward him, so we’re in partnership with Jesus. That was the first thing. The other thing we drew out of this is that Jesus says, I will
draw all people to myself, to myself. He doesn’t say, I’m gonna
draw them to the Bible in general or to God in general or to the Christian religion in general, but I’m gonna draw them to me. So we’re really partnering with Jesus when we are having a
Jesus-centred conversation, not just a conversation with the Bible, or about God, or about religion, but about Jesus, and then
we’re really in the flow of the Spirit, ’cause Jesus is pulling people toward himself. We talked about different
kinds, different categories of evangelism, and we also last week talked about our vision
statement, which is this. It is, to introduce
spiritually curious people to the Jesus-centred
life through a movement of Jesus-centred churches. And before in other messages, we’ve talked about what it means to be Jesus-centred, but in this series we’re talking about spiritually curious people. What does it mean to
be spiritually curious and how do we reach them? And last week we said one of the best ways to connect with a
spiritually curious person is to become one, because we get along with people who are similar to us and we really should be
genuinely spiritually curious. So that pretty much gets you up to speed, except for one last thing
we talked about last week to prepare us for moving forward, and that is we talked about
the power of asking questions. If you’re going to be
genuinely spiritually curious, then you should be a person
who asks good questions, who cares about people
enough to ask questions. Questions are a way of
showing honour, respect, and really learning what
someone else believes is important to you, because
that person’s important to you. And so we had this statement. We said this. Never make a statement when
a question will do the job. Never make a statement when
a question will do the job. Before you go to ask a question, just pause for a moment and think, can I rephrase, sorry, before
you go to make a statement, pause and ask the question, is there a way to phrase this in the form of a question instead of just making a
statement, and then shift up. And of course many of you had fun pointing out to me afterwards that this is actually a statement. You’re right. A statement about not making statements. So, thank you for the pushback. I went home and did my homework this week. Let me rephrase this in
the form of a question. Have you ever tried sharing questions instead of making statements? Why do you think questions are sometimes more
powerful than statements? What would our conversations look like if we tried say a two-to-one ratio of questions to statements? Thank you, and you’re welcome. (laughter) Now, let’s move on by
opening up our Bibles to Matthew, the Book of
Matthew chapter nine. That’s where we’re headed,
Matthew chapter nine. After that we’ll skip
back to Matthew five, but we’re gonna start
in Matthew chapter nine. And then after this we’re
gonna talk about more very practical suggestions,
which is the emphasis of this series, making it
as practical as possible. Matthew chapter nine,
if we could just start around verse 35 of Matthew
nine we would read this. Jesus went through all
the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming, what’s he proclaiming? The good news of the kingdom. The good news there is the
gospel, the word gospel. The gospel or good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. He’s practically helping people, and he’s proclaiming the message, and the message he’s proclaiming, you know, it’s not enough
just to do good deeds and help people or just to talk about it. Jesus is doing both. He’s helping people practically and he’s proclaiming a message. We want to focus now for a second. What’s the message he would proclaim, when he had the chance to
talk about his core mission and message, what was it? It was the message of the kingdom of God. And when Jesus would
speak about this good news of the kingdom, good news of the kingdom, the gospel of the kingdom,
we realize that the kingdom is an invitational message. The kingdom is a relational concept. It defines our relationship with the king and then it defines our relationship with other subjects within the kingdom, and then as a kingdom our
relationship with other kingdoms. But it’s a relational framework. A kingdom is a way of
living under one will and one way that holds sway. There’s one will and there’s
one way that holds sway. That’s the way of the
king, and in the kingdom it’s about a relational connection to that king and to one another. It has its own culture. That’s the fruit of the spirit. Its own way of doing things. And so the gospel, the
good news of the kingdom is a very inclusive message. It’s saying to people,
there’s a place for you. Come and join us in this new way of living that starts here right now. You can come and join us. Very invitational. It’s not just telling
people, repent or perish. If you want to go to heaven
instead of burn in hell, this is what you have to do. It’s saying, come and be
part of how we are doing life together right now in this
thing we call the kingdom. And so, his gospel is invitational, and who does Jesus focus on? Look at verse 36. We want to learn from
Jesus as our example. Verse 36, when he saw the crowds
he had compassion on them. He had compassion on them. It doesn’t say, when he
looked at all the sinners he was judgmental and so he
started shouting turn or burn. He sees the crowds, he
has compassion on them, and says, because they
were harassed and helpless like sheep without a shepherd. They were harassed and helpless. Now, we know that in any crowd there’s gonna be people who are powerful, who are famous, who are popular, and who want to hold onto their power and their fame and whatever. That’s in every crowd, but Jesus
doesn’t have eyes for them. He’s looking for the people
who are on the margins. Remember we talked about weeks ago about everting the circle. Inverting, turning upside down. Everting, turning inside out. And it’s the people on the margins that he turns inside out
and brings into the centre. That’s everting the circle,
and these are the people Jesus notices, the people who are harassed and helpless like sheep
without a shepherd. He’s got eyes for them. And the Greek words behind the harassed or the helpless are a
little more aggressive than they sound in English. The word for harassed is (speaks in Greek) which means actually to skin alive. It’s a horribly aggressive word. It means to be torn or flayed. And so these harassed
people are like people who feel just beaten up by life. They feel attacked. They feel oppressed. They feel downtrodden. Maybe this was primarily
the slave class that he saw, but all of this could feel this. We can all feel this at
different times in our lives. We just feel completely beaten up by life. He says there’s the
harassed and the helpless, and the word for helpless
here, (speaks in Greek ) means to be discarded or thrown out. And some of us feel that way. We know what that’s like,
to feel like we’re just, they’re the people who feel attacked, and then there’s the people who just don’t feel like
they’re even worth attacking. Nobody notices them. They just hang around on the margins. They’re just not invited into anything. They’re the disposables of
any society, the unnoticables. So Jesus has eyes for the people and compassion for the
people who are going through a particularly difficult time, and also those people who are just going through a life of being
unnoticed, who are on the margins, and these are the people
he has compassion for. We want to learn from that example, because these people especially would probably have ears to hear and respond to the gospel of the kingdom, which is about inclusion, inviting in to join us together. It would immediately beautify their life to have a place of belonging. I understand that all of us, we tend, it’s been true ever since
our junior high days, we want to be invited to hang out with the cool kids, don’t we? And we still are all
insecure to some degree and we wish the cool
kids would invite us in. Who are the cool kids? We have a radar. (scanning noises) where are the cool kids? Now won’t they invite me in? And Jesus says, just give up on that. There’s a new kind of cool, and that’s the people on the margins, and the thing is, the
cool kids have their group and their clique, and we don’t judge them. We just don’t make that our focus anymore. We just go and look for them. It’s not usually a separate circle of the marginalized. Often the people on the
margins are just by themselves. Just they don’t have a
connection with anybody. And so, Jesus has compassion for them. He wants to go to them with
the message of the kingdom, here and now inclusion. And then he turns to his
disciples and he says this. Verse 37, the harvest is
plentiful but the workers are few. The harvest is plentiful. If you realize that you’re not trying to arm wrestle the cool
kids into the kingdom, the people who think they
have it all together, trying to tell them, no
you don’t, you’re a sinner. Instead, if you realize
that there are other people on the margins who would
respond to the gospel of the kingdom who want to be included, and you go to them, the
harvest is always plentiful if you understand who the message is for. There’s always going to be someone who will resonate with this message. The harvest is plentiful. It’s the workers who are few. So ask the Lord of the harvest, verse 38. Ask the Lord of the
harvest to send out workers into his harvest field. So that’s interesting. He teaches us how to pray evangelistically and the way we pray is not to pray, God, bring in a harvest. Oh, we pray Lord, you
will bring in a harvest. And God’s response to that is, no. Stop passing the buck. That’s your job. If you want to pray, don’t
pray, God, save people. Save my friends. Save my family. Save strangers. Save the world. Just save people. He said, no, if you want to pray, I’ve already, ’cause what’s
Jesus already promised? When I’m lifted up I’ll
draw everybody to myself through the Holy Spirit. He’s already drawing,
he’s already drawing, but now he wants to connect
the people he’s drawing with the good news, the
gospel of the kingdom. And so he says, if you’re
gonna pray, pray this. Pray that more workers go
out into the harvest field, is the image. In other words, more
people go out and share the good news of the kingdom. Who’s that? That’s us. Jesus has tricked us into
praying for ourselves. So if you want to pray something, pray for more laborers to go out. So we pray, okay, pray for
more, oh, I guess that’s me. I should be part of the
answer to my own prayer and get out there and start
talking to more people, again in a genuine and
non-coercive fashion, we want to give more
people the opportunity to say yes or no to Jesus, but we at least want to
give them the choice. If you turn back a few pages
in the Gospel of Matthew, back to Matthew chapter
five, Matthew chapter five in the Sermon on the Mount, and look at one more
passage and then we’ll talk about some practical examples
of what we can do next. Matthew chapter five, hmm,
starting around verse 13. He’s giving us our identity. He says, you are the salt of the Earth. You are the salt of the Earth. It’s your job to make life, mm, tasty. You’re the salt of the Earth, but if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again if it’s no longer good for anything except to be throw out
and trampled underfoot? In other words, that your
identity is to be salt. If you’re not actually going out there and making things salty, why are you here? Why are you here another day? You should be out there making
the world a better place. Salt we use for a variety of
things within that context, and it could be to make something tasty. It could be a purifying
agent or a preservative. And so, salt can
stabilize, it can preserve, it can have a positive
influence in a variety of ways. He says, well you should be out there being that influence. Go be the salt of the Earth. That’s who you’re designed to be. You shouldn’t be anything else. And look at verse 14. He says, you are the light of the world. This is who you are. Now what’s interesting here
is that the you is plural, light is singular. You, all of you, are the light singular. He doesn’t say, you are all little lights. Thousands of people being
thousands of little lights. That’s not what he says. You, plural, are the light
singular of the world. We don’t have to do this alone. We do this together. It’s a cumulative effect of us together preaching the gospel of the kingdom, inclusion, relationship,
inviting people to join us. That becomes this light,
that we can do more together than when we are just single
individuals by ourselves. You plural are the light
singular of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on a stand, and it gives light to
everyone in the house. In the same way, let your
plural light singular shine before others, that
they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. So together we do things
that serve others, and serve one another
within our community, and we invite others to come and join us, and they see this, they
come alongside this. This is a beautiful entrance point for someone to get to know Jesus better, is get to see and partner with us in loving others well. I mean, there are many people
along the spiritual spectrum of different forms of
belief and non-belief who would gladly come
alongside for charitable work in helping out with different things. Would say, yeah, that we can resonate. We can at least do that together. And we come shoulder
to shoulder alongside. We invite them to join us,
and that can become also an opportunity for people to be included even while they are sorting
out what they believe. All right, looking at these
two passes of scripture, how can we apply this
specifically to our lives? A few different things. We talked about evangelism
approach number one, which is, get curious and ask questions. So we’ve reviewed that. That was last week. Evangelism approach number two, be other-centred, serving
needs and loving well. So that’s what we’ve just
seen in Matthew chapter five. Evangelism approach number three. Introduce Jesus into the conversation. So you’re asked questions. You’re serving alongside people. Now how does Jesus actually get started in a conversation? What about that moment? You say, yeah but Bruxy,
that moment, you know, it’s just so awkward. Do I talk about Jesus now? Do I not? Do you want to talk? And you’ve got this track
playing inside of your head, and it seems so artificial and so strange, but there’s very natural ways. First of all, if you’re
spiritually curious people asking questions, if they
are also spiritually curious, they will return the favour. They will ask you questions. And even if they don’t, if
the conversation’s heading in a certain direction,
there are natural ways to just interject Jesus
into the conversation like you would talking about
anything that you love. Any hobby or a movie you’ve seen recently or a person in your life that’s special, they’re going to get injected
into the conversation. Just don’t rule Jesus out either. Let it happen naturally. Here are some specific things. If someone asks you a question, the answer to any meaningful
spiritual question will always be Jesus. I’m convinced of this. In Jesus, we see the
fullness of who God is. The answers to the
meaning of the universe, and in Jesus we see the fullness of who humans can be and should be, the meaning to our own purpose in life. Anything about the meaning of life, the meaning of the universe, the invisible world,
anything about who I am and I’m called to be and should be and why I’m here, the answers to all of the big questions are found in Jesus. And so, when someone asks me a question of any spiritual weight,
I have trained myself to always answer Jesus immediately before I have time to think. ‘Cause sometimes I could impress myself with all kinds of other information, but I realize all of that
is infinitely secondary no matter how much I think
I’m gonna impress them and impress myself by going, the answer, Jesus is the best answer I could offer. So I’ve trained myself over the years and I would call it sneezing Jesus. I just want the first
thing come out of my mouth to be, Jesus, before I have a
chance to say anything else. And then, I will figure
out why I just said that. And so I started training myself for doing that years ago. Someone might say, well,
how can you believe in a good God when there’s so much pain in this world and so much suffering? And I just say, Jesus. And then I stop for a moment and say, why’d I just say that. I don’t know, why do I think Jesus? Yes, well, here’s why. Because in a world of so
much pain and suffering, I don’t know why I would believe in God. There’s evidence that
there’s God’s creativity and there’s evidence
for pain and suffering, oh but Jesus, you see,
he at least tells me that if there is a God, he’s the God who doesn’t run from but enters
into our pain and suffering, that he is the one who
suffers more than all. He carries our suffering with him. And now that’s a God, in a
world of pain and suffering, it’s specifically the
God revealed in Jesus that I could believe in,
that I want to get close to, who understands my pain and suffering. Jesus is why. If someone says, well how
do you believe in the Bible when there’s so much violence and killing? I sneeze Jesus. Jesus. Why, why Jesus? Oh, you’re right, because
I wouldn’t just believe in a book of violence. What I see here is that Jesus
actually flips the script. He changes the plot twist. You have the before and the after picture. Jesus comes and he teaches peace even in the history that’s
filled with violence. If you can turn that history
around, that’s amazing. And so, while I might not know the answer to every question of why
there’s violence here, why there’s violence there,
one thing I can tell you is that Jesus, if Jesus
shows me who God is like nobody else, and
he’s the one who says, love everybody including your enemy, it’s okay to die for a cause, it’s not okay to kill for a cause, I think, okay now, that’s
something I can get behind. That’s the God that I meet in Jesus and the Bible just sets me up for that and gets me ready for it. Of course without Jesus,
sometimes my friends will say, yeah all right, sure
sure, you’re a pastor. You would say Jesus, but take
Jesus out of the equation, would ya? How about all of the violence
in the Old Testament? And I’ll say, well if you want me to talk about the violence in the Old Testament, without talking about Jesus,
you’re asking the wrong person. You want to talk to a rabbi. That’s their job. Talk about the Old Covenant
without reference to Jesus. But I can’t. Jesus is my way in. I didn’t get in any other way. All I’ve got is Jesus. He’s the one who invited me to the party. I’m not gonna leave him
by himself in the corner. That’s all I’ve got. And so, I don’t have an
answer to every question, but I do have Jesus. Do you think you can sneeze Jesus? I realize that’s a
weird analogy, isn’t it, especially during this time
in our world’s history. (laughter) But I’m gonna go with it and just, I really want to plant this in our minds that Jesus is the first
thing we just blurt out like a sneeze. Let’s look at some pictures
just to drive it home. We are going to sneeze Jesus. Okay, that’s disgusting
but beautiful, isn’t it. Wow. Let’s look at some more. You know that moment when
it’s just about to come. How about this one? There we go. That’s got both phases. That’s the ah and the choo
happening right there. Ah, you kind of think for a moment, then you blurt it out. Next. Oh yeah. Yeah, that’s gonna feel
good when it comes out. And your next last one my favourite. There it is, there it is. You can’t help it, and
that’s where I want to train myself to get to that point
where I can’t help it, where someone’s gonna ask me a question and I’ve just got to tell them about Jesus ’cause he is gonna be the
most true answer to any meaningful spiritual question. The other way to talk about
Jesus, to sneeze Jesus, is when it’s not a response to a question. It’s to interject a
thought in a conversation. And if you’re wondering how to do that, here are some very baby step examples. That’s the name of this message. We want to give you
some baby step examples. You can try this. Here are some. For instance, someone says something, leads down a certain path. They haven’t asked a question but they’re talking about something that seems to have meaning. You could respond by saying, hey, that reminds me of a story Jesus told. And then you talk about
one of his parables. Now, what do you need to know in order to use this technique? Oh, the stories Jesus told. (laughs) There’s that. So yes, so we are going
to have to actually just do better getting
to know the teachings of the one we say we follow. Well, that’s not such a bad thing. So your evangelism training
is not in contradistinction to your discipleship. It’s actually your discipleship and getting to know Jesus better is your evangelism training. Just get to know Jesus better, and then keep it top of mind. Well that reminds me
of a story Jesus told, or here’s another one. That reminds me of a teaching of Jesus. Not everything Jesus
taught was in story form. Or, that reminds me of
something Jesus did. Or, that reminds me of
something the Bible says about Jesus. Well that reminds me of,
Jesus is top of mind, it just comes out. That reminds me of. And ’cause your mind will then always be making associations and connections. Now, there could be even
a baby steps version and that’s, well that
reminds me of something I heard at church on Sunday. ‘Cause we know you talk about
church all week, don’t you? How about this even babier steps version? That reminds me of something I just read in this new book, or this
podcast I’m listening to, or in this conversation I just had. But it’s always top of mind and so it just leaks
out in different ways. We could all do this, very
simple and straightforward. Now you see in your notes a picture of a conversational aikido. I’m gonna talk about that I
think for the sake of time in our Home Church
Hangout video this week. We have started the Church Hangout video. That’s live. We started it last week in Home Church. It’s a good time for you
to be in Home Church. There’s going to be some extra content throughout this series that we’re just going to be talking about in Home Church, so I hope that you’re there, and we’ll talk about aikido
in Home Church this week. But let’s throw it open to Q & Eh. I have a couple of other
kind of homework assignments and practical suggestions to close off, but we’ll do that after Q & Eh. What are your questions? Anyone here have a question,
just raise your hand and we’ve got someone with a microphone who will find you
whether I see you or not. Hopefully they will see you and they will make their way to you. Just wave your hand around
if you’re near the back and make sure that they see you. Far side, all right. Exercise is happening, good. Did anyone send in a text question? Well, while they’re running, okay. As a student in high
school, it is very hard to talk about Jesus to my peers. How would you suggest bringing Jesus into the conversation in an environment where being a Christian is
often seen as a negative thing? Yes, I understand that. You know, they say in the first century, the Christian religion
was an unknown religion, but in the 21st century
the Christian religion is a failed religion. We’re working from a negative deficit. We’re not even working from zero up. We’re working from a negative deficit. We’ve been in charge of Western culture for a few centuries and we blew it. We were violent, we were
judgmental, and we overtook. We supported empire and the overtaking of other people groups and countries and we spread the gospel by the sword. We did a horrible, horrible job with it. When Christians have power
they do a terrible job, which is always fascinating to me why people think we’ve got to make sure we get a Christian in government. I think, really? We have the worst track
record on the planet frankly of having power. Why? Because the teachings of Jesus don’t really teach you
how to use power well, ’cause the teachings of Jesus tell you to lay down your power. Always put down the sword. Lay down your power, and
serve from the bottom up. Don’t try and control and
convert from the top down. Serve from the bottom up. They always have it. So when we say, well
how does Jesus teach us how to steward our power well, there’s actually no teaching there. Just lay it down. So, we’ve failed as a religion
in many different ways, and so both for students,
especially for students, but for all of us, this is an honest thing we have to wrestle through. Christianity is seen, I say at the end, as a negative thing, being a Christian is, and that’s why I would
just love to remind you that what we’ve been talking about here can apply in this context as well. You become a spiritually curious person and you ask lots of questions. Nine out of 10 people may
not want to talk about it. Or they might tell you what they believe and not return the favour
and not care about you. That’s fine. You’ve still met some lovely people, learned some things about the
core of what defines them. And that doesn’t have
to turn into a debate. You can just move on
if they’re not curious enough to ask you any questions back. That’s up to them, but that’s okay. That’s not failure. But you may also, see that’s something you can’t complain about, and
that’s actually Christians serving from the bottom
up, caring about others, practically serving
needs, being respectful, and also being interested
in what they believe. I would suggest that is a season for us as a faith that we need to enter into, and I think that’ll apply both at school and other places as well. And then you’re ready to respond if they are asking you questions back. No pressure, pressure’s off. Great question. We had somebody else over here. – [Woman] Hi, Bruxy. – Hi. – [Woman] First I just want to say you were amazing yesterday. I was able to go to the
Fluid Conference yesterday. – Oh at the Fluid Conference
yesterday, you were there. – [Woman] Yes, amazing. – Thanks, sorry, what was the first thing? I was what? Sorry, what was that? I didn’t hear. – [Woman] You’re amazing. (laughs) – Oh no, please stop. Anyway, sorry, what were you saying? – [Woman] It’s okay. When you were talking about
like sneezing out Jesus and kind of it’s like a sneeze, like you just can’t help talking about it. I feel that I’m kind of the same way. I’m very outspoken about my faith and I never used to be that way. But I’m trying to figure
out how it’s a good way, because when people ask me about my faith, the first thing I say is
like, God is the centre of my life, and then he declares, because there’s so many different gods in the world today, they always go, okay, well which God? So it’s like, it’s hard for me to, I don’t immediately talk about Jesus. I talk about God first. – Yeah, that’s interesting. – [Woman] And then I implicate Jesus in after, so how would be a better way to be able to speak to people– – I’m glad you asked that. – [Woman] About Christianity and Jesus? – And here we can save you
one step in the conversation. Rather than start with God
and eventually get to Jesus, start with Jesus and then you
can eventually get to God. In fact, I know for me, this is different for different people I realize, for me, the only reason I believe in God is because of Jesus. If it wasn’t for Jesus I would
be an atheist, absolutely. There’s too much pain and
suffering in this world. There’s too much mixed evidence. There’s a lot of creativity and beauty and there’s a lot of pain and suffering, and I could just go either way, and because I tend toward the negative, I could go, eh, atheism. Or at least a strong agnostic. I don’t start with God and say, oh there must be a God. I wonder which God it is. I start with nothing and
then I discovered Jesus. His teachings fit with
my life so perfectly and call me into an
alternative way of living as a human being that I don’t find anywhere else in any secular
or religious philosophy. I fall in love with Jesus. I want to follow him. And I would be an atheistic
follower of Jesus, except one of the things
Jesus tells me, he says, oh and by the way, there’s a God. And I trust Jesus because on
everything I can test him, his psychology, his
sociology, how he highlights forgiveness as being necessary
for all relationships to thrive, love, belonging,
that sense of kingdom, and even the irreligious
edge of his message. It says not about just
the letter of the law, which weighs people down. It’s about the spirit of love. I look at all of that and I say, there’s nothing like that in religious or secular history. That frees me up. I’m compelled. I say, yes, I want to follow Jesus. So I can test him on all
those things and say, yes, that’s a message that fits with the human psyche and
the human sociological need in all ways, so I trust Jesus ’cause what I can test him on, he passes the test. And so I can trust him on
what I can’t test him on, like the nature of the invisible universe. I can’t really test him on that, but now I trust him, and
he says there’s a God. And so for me, I think
it skips a step for you, so it makes it easier, and
I think it’s more compelling to just start with Jesus. Say, look, you may not
believe in God or you may, but let’s talk about the radical nature of the teaching and the message, the mission of this guy Jesus of Nazareth and how he changed history. That’s an interesting conversation even to have with an atheist. And eventually if someone
falls in love with Jesus, they can trust him on the whole issue of whether God exists or not. Anyway, that’s my approach. I don’t know if that’s helpful or not but I share it with you. All right, thank you for
your question, fantastic. Let me share some final thoughts. It’s homework. Let’s review our homework for last week. Find out how we’re doing. Class, class, how’d you do
with your homework last week? Well let’s just review and
then look at some new ideas. Last week we said, here are
some things you could do. You don’t have to do all of this, but here are some things. You’re saying, what can I do next? Here are some possibilities. Read the book (re)union. Become familiar with
the good news of Jesus. If you haven’t read it
or reread it recently, go back there. Familiarize yourself with Jesus’ message. Number two, post or repost on social media about something you’re learning. If you say, I’m not sure what I can say in my own words, then
just repost something from some source that you’re learning. Follow The Meeting House on social media and The Meeting House is
always posting things, and I try and repost what I see there and I don’t have to do all the thinking. I can just repost. You can do the same thing,
just to get the word out. Number three, include church as part of your Monday weekend
update with friends. Monday morning, how was your weekend? It was great. Talk about everything including church. Four, try some street evangelism. How’d that go for you this week? Well, all right. I know it’s gonna take some
time to warm up to this, but you know what? Some of you have already talked to me. Some home churches, the
signs are being made. We are getting ready, and I think we’re gonna be going out
on the street together. Thank you for the invitation. Some time over the next couple of weeks, we’re gonna have some stories to tell. So it’s gonna happen. Thank you for taking that seriously. Number five, ask a friend
about what they believe, and keep asking followup questions. So just become that
person who asks, who asks. That’s a review of what we
talked about here today. Number six, in conversations,
let your thoughts connect to Jesus and then don’t
be afraid to verbalize it. That’s also what we’ve been talking today. Sneezing Jesus in response to a question or sneezing Jesus is
interjecting a thought. “That kind of reminds me of…” Number seven, keep your
Gospel Cheat Sheet with you at all times and then whenever
you have some down time, look at it. What do I mean by that? If you just came recently,
you might not know about our Gospel Cheat Sheet. A couple of years ago we
put this together for you. We have an overview of the gospel and it’s not designed for
you to in a conversation take out and say, well let me tell you what the Bible says. It’s also not designed
for you to give someone and say, here, read this. It’ll save your life. It’s designed for you, when
you have your down time, to just read, study, and meditate so you get the message that comes out through scripture inside you. Whether you memorize it or not, you’ve kind of got the points. The bullet points, the
paraphrase in your own words. And so, we have a couple
different versions. We have a printed out
version that’s available across all of our sites. You can pick it up at
information tables afterwards. We also have an online version, and to get the online version, you would go to
themeetinghouse.com/gospel. Pretty straightforward,
themeetinghouse.com/gospel. And when you go there, you can just, I would make a shortcut on your phone so you can just go there regularly. You’ve always got your phone with you. And some of us tend to relate
to the paper version better. Great. But if you can, highlight
it on your phone. Someone was asking me between
services how to do this. So you go to themeetinghouse.com/gospel, and then you go to your little
menu thing on your browser, and there will be a
create shortcut option, and you create a shortcut
and it’ll put a little icon of that specific page on
the front of your phone, and then you just push
that and it takes you right to that page every time. You won’t have to go to
themeetinghouse slash com dot dot slash dot, you
know, whatever, gospel, well you know what I’m saying. Third service. I’m just ready for my afternoon
nap just a little early I think ’cause of the time change. So, you go to
themeetinghouse.com/gospel only once, create a shortcut, put it on your phone. You just have to press that. Come back to it regularly. Just let it sink in. This is just good
discipleship for us, isn’t it, to get to know it better
and better and better, and then it’ll start to
come out more naturally in conversation. Hey, don’t be afraid,
whether it’s in conversation or on social media or
letting your good work shine so people praise God. Don’t be afraid to draw
attention to yourself as long as then you deflect
that attention to Jesus. Do you know what I’m saying? Some of us are so bashful. We’re like, well, I don’t know to draw any attention to myself. I just want to disappear. Disappearing is not how we
change the world for the better. That’s not love. But neither is grandstanding
and saying it’s all about me, but it’s okay to attract
attention to yourself as long as you deflect it. When John the Baptist said, behold, who do people look at first? John the Baptist, ’cause
he’s the one screaming. When he said, behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, of course people first
look at John the Baptist. What what what what? And then you say, oh he’s
pointing at somebody. And then they look at Jesus. And so, when you go online
or you’re in conversations, you’ll have those moments
where you say, behold, but you want to do with that behold, with that attracting
attention in a conversation, interjecting a thought,
asking good questions, posting something online,
is you want to deflect the attention then to Jesus, and if people want to
argue, you can just say, I’m not up for that. I’m not here to argue. I’m just giving more and
more people the choice to hear the message of
Jesus and make a decision. That’s all. We can do this, we can. Let me pray. Heavenly Father, thank you
for giving us this beautiful focal point for our faith. The person of Jesus. Thank you that through
Jesus we see your character, we see clearly who you
are, and I thank you through Jesus we see who
we can be and should be. We see the answer to
every meaningful question. Heavenly Father, I pray that this week we will have the courage
to let our delight in Jesus spill out into more
and more conversations, and to know that as we do this, we’re doing this with
you, with your Spirit, and with our brothers and
sisters in the kingdom. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

1 thought on “Speaking of Jesus 02: Baby Steps”

  1. I loved the part about everting the Circle. Which verse was that mentioned in? Are there other follow up passages I should be reading regarding everting the circle?

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