Month: May 2011

Is Jesus the Only Way to God? (Pt 1)

This is the perennial question of our generation: “Is Jesus the only way to God?” Some ask it with disdain: How could anyone assert that Jesus is the only way to God? Others ask it with genuine sense of doubt. Is Jesus the only way to God? Only in books do we find this question asked and addressed so explicitly. So while the question may mark our generation, we are loathe to discuss the answer. Why is this question so besetting for our generation? Over the next few posts, I will address this question with honesty and sincerity.

Answering the Question Socially

If the question is: “Yes, Jesus is the only way to God” a line is drawn where we would rather things remain fuzzy. Why would we prefer this particular claim to remain fuzzy? In many cities there are an array of religious beliefs: Mysticism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Christianity, to name a few. The presence of so many different religions in cities leads many people (Christians included) to the conclusion that all religious paths lead to God. Why? When we meet people from various religions who are kind and sincere because of their religious beliefs, it seems arrogant to insist they are wrong. After all, their religion appears to have made them very likable, respectable people. I, for one, have met many people I would consider more generous and sacrificial than some Christians I know.

We make a theological decision based on social experience.

When people of other faiths rival Christian character, we face a tendency to affirm all religions as valid ways to God. We make a theological decision based on social experience. Rather than investigate the answer to one of the most important questions, we prefer to glaze the question with inch-deep reflections upon the character of people we meet. Understandable but not wise.

What if our generation became known for not only posing great questions but also grappling deeply and sincerely with their answers? Many Christians claim that belief in Jesus is the only way to God. Others insist there are many ways to God. In the next post, I will explore why some people insist there are many paths to God.

For more resources on this topic see:


Should Pastors Lead Missional Communties?

Should Pastors Lead Missional Communties? I recently responded to this question on the discussion threads (register free).

Why Pastors Should Lead MCs

The short answer is “Yes.” A pastor is an elder-shepherd who should be in regular pastoral contact with communities not just individuals in his church. If not, you are leading people to do something you have never done at a very foundational level of church. It’s not like leading a deacon to do A/V. This is the flesh and blood of church. In order to breath gospel life into the body, we need to be in community and on mission with them. Here are a few other reasons why I think pastors should lead MCs:

  • Christological – identifying with your people’s struggles and joys so that you can minister to your leaders effectively is being like Jesus who identifies with us in our struggles and joys. Leading MCs is a powerful way to show people Christ.
  • Experiential – you gather wisdom through experienced MC leadership that cannot be found in books. This helps you disciple your leaders with greater wisdom.
  • Credibility – you probably have never lead MCs before, so you need the experience to gain credibility
  • Discipleship – leaders catch more than they are taught. If you are leading, you are also modeling what it is like to lead, not from the armchair but from the living room and the streets. We need to give our leaders every opportunity to succeed. Begin, not with teaching and training, but modeling MC leadership for them.
  • Apostolic/Missional – you should also consider starting new MCs out of nothing, not from Sunday people, but from the missionfield.

Ive lead MCs for 3 years. This has proved invaluable for my growth, insight, and leadership in missional community. I am always learning; never arriving in this. It is inspiring, challenging, messy, hard, painful, grace-giving, transforming, and gospel promoting.

Pastors Don’t Have to Lead MCs All the Time

Now, when I say pastors should lead MCs I am not saying that all pastors should lead MCs all the time. For instance, I recently took a break from leading an MC to invest more time in training elders, MC leaders, and helping my pregnant wife and with our third child. Pastors go through seasons just like everyone else. There will be times when your time should be refocused in other areas for the greater good and health of the church. I recently resumed leading a Pilot MC which has been so good! There’s nothing like spending time with the church to lead the church. It is essential to pastoral and missional ministry. I even think it would be good for pastors of big staff churches who specialized to lead MCs, for all the same reasons. It will keep their niche ministry informed by the basic unit of church–Jesus centered communities on mission. You dont have to always lead, but substantial MC leadership is a must if you are going to lead a church of missional communities.

Click the 10 Tips for MCs for more

Will There Be Business in Heaven?

Just think, if you knew the future, if you knew what would happen 10, 20, 100 years from now, wouldn’t you live differently? Wouldn’t you alter your actions in reaction to the future, to make the best of your life?

In Revelation 21 (and Isaiah 60) we witness the future, when people from all over the earth will stream to see the city that is to come! Notice that the City of God is not a lazy city; it’s not filled with cherubim on clouds popping grapes into the mouths of the elect. Zion contains the domains of a normal city.

Read the rest

3 Objections to Making Disciples

When we’re told to make disciples, to share our lives and the gospel with other people, very often objections spring to mind. Here are three possible objections, along with brief responses to why you might not be making disciples.

Objection #1: I don’t have time.

To this objection, Jesus would say: “How can you not have time?” This is why I gave you the gospel, to multiply disciples. Remember the Great Commission? Go therefore and make disciples? We all have time to disciple others. The problem isn’t time; it is value. If we are resisting discipleship, then its because we simply value something else more. We value our free time, our comfort, our work. Also, the value of discipleship is easily worked into things we already do—Celebrating, Recreating, Eating, Serving. It’s not that you don’t have time; its that you don’t have the value.

Objection #2: I don’t know enough.

That simply isn’t true. Most Americans have more theological education than most Christians in the world, and yet African and Asian Christians are multiplying disciples like crazy. Discipleship isn’t knowledge-based; it’s gospel and life based. Don’t put your faith in knowledge; put your faith in the gospel, which bears fruit when we share it and share our lives. It’s putting others first and encouraging, exhorting, and charging them to make disciples. There are people in your neighborhood, workplace, and church that need you. It’s not that you don’t know enough; if you know Jesus then you know more than enough!

Objection #3: I don’t want to.

Two brief responses. First, your wants need to change. You are too easily satisfied. Second, you need to boast more or you need more to boast in. Paul writes: “But since we were torn away from you, brothers, for a short time, in person not in heart, we endeavored the more eagerly and with great desire to see you face to face…For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? For you are our glory and joy” (2:17–20).

Why did Paul make disciples? Hope, joy, and pride. Notice that his motivation comes from looking to the future and to the present. He has a hope for when he stands before the Lord Jesus at his coming. What is his hope? His hope is his joy and crown. He’s looking forward to the day he stands before Christ, and hoping to say to Jesus: “Here’s what I have for you—my joy and my crown—my disciples, Lord. They are my “pride and joy.” The best of the best I can give.

What’s your pride and joy? A book, record, or movie collection, your dog, your house, your bikes, clothes? Is that really what you want to parade before King Jesus when he comes back? “Look I was faithful, I have a great DVD collection.” And is your collection going to motivate you to make disciples? Paul had found a deeper motivation than duty in making disciples. The reason he made disciples is because they were his pride and joy.

Watching my daughter take her first breath was amazing, and so is watching others take their first spiritual breath. They bring you joy before the Lord. Watching my children grow into walking, talking, drawing, reasoning, dancing, loving people brings me so much joy, and so is watching disciples grow into the image of Christ. Pride and joy? Certainly. There’s no such thing as disinterested, joyless boasting. When someone boasts in their collection or children, they take joy in it, show it off. Pride and joy. Paul says of his disciples: “you are my glory and my joy.” Why should you want to make disciples? Because they can be your deep pride and joy before the Lord Jesus.