Monday, July 23, 2012

A Mark on Your Hand and a Band on Your Forehead

When I was a teenager, I liked wearing Christian tee-shirts. My cousin had the one I admired most. It said simply, “I’m a fool for Jesus. Whose fool are you?”

Most of my shirts were similar. They were bold, quickly evangelistic, and perhaps a bit offensive. They employed a billboard effect and used simple messages.

“Be cool. Meet Jesus,” said the front of one. “Or fry in hell,” on the back.

Going further back, there was another fashion trend that was popularized among the kids in vacation bible school. They were little bracelets with five colored beads which were reminders of the basic truths of the gospel. We called them power bands.

Their purpose was mostly to serve as evangelistic tools. To that end, the bands were probably better than the T-shirts. There are more poorly conceived Christian t-shirts in the world than effective ones.

Still, there is something deeply scriptural about wearing clothing items that point to Jesus. Consider the command in Deuteronomy 6.

Listen, Israel: The LORD is our God. The LORD is the only God. Love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. Take to heart these words that I give you today. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you're at home or away, when you lie down or get up. Write them down, and tie them around your wrist, and wear them as headbands as a reminder. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

The Biblical purpose is not so much to be a walking gospel billboard (Eat at Joe’s), but to create a daily reminder of our identity, both for ourselves and for others to see. We become targets for both seekers and antagonists. We also remind ourselves moment by moment the necessity of dying to self and living for Jesus.

One more thought. There are some who wear religious items, carry rosaries, or even get religious symbols tattooed on their skin, but neither as a commercial nor a personal reminder. They hope that by doing so, they will receive some mystical power or spiritual blessing or protection. There is nothing biblical about that at all.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Best Overlooked Posts on Beyond Outreach

On Blogger there is a tool that give statistics for how many times each post was viewed. I noticed that most posts have a number around 30 with some much higher and some much lower. There are some post with five views or less, so I thought I would highlight those today:

Net-Drawing Stories

There are a number of short little proverbs, parables, and sermons in the first five books of the New Testament. Each one takes less than two minutes to tell. They are great tools in the repertoire of a soul-winner. More than that they are broadly applicable and often serve as encouragement at the right time. Here are a few that are worth learning by heart in your own words and telling often… read more

Downward Mobility

I guess 8 years on the mission field gives a person a better perspective on the problems of clinging affluence while trying to effectively live out the gospel. It is very very hard to do, and probably more than 99% of the people that try to do both end up letting go of either a life fully lived for Jesus or the comforts and securities that affluence provides… read more

Bringing the Gospel through the Gates of Hell.

My cousin is working on the set of a new Nicholas Cage movie called Drive Angry. She forewarned us that this movie is a movie that contains gratuitous violence, sex, and nudity, has satanic spiritual themes and foul language. Obviously, these things dishonor God and are counter to his kingdom. So, why would she choose to work there if she is a professing follower of Jesus? Would Christ approve? read more

Out of sight, out of mind.

It was the Sabbath day and Jesus took his disciples to the synagogue in Capernaum, where he taught the people. All the people that heard him were amazed at his teaching. They were even more amazed when a man overcome by an evil spirit began to shout at Jesus, because just as soon as he started, Jesus silenced the demon and freed the man. The whole city began to talk… read more

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