THE INTROVERTED EVANGELIST

Seth McBee March 25, 2013

introverted-evangelist
In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said,

“The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord;
make his paths straight.’ ”

Now John wore a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. – Matthew 3:1–6

For most of us this is what we think of when we think of an evangelist: the semi-crazy person that we admire for their zeal. We are impressed with their courage, but we know that if that is what we are called to do, we could never pull it off.

When we train in evangelism, this is the picture most either point to or think of. Which is one of the major reasons evangelism and evangelist have such a negative connotation for both the believer and non-believer. Essentially, we train folks to fit into a specific personality type and call it evangelism training. We are training people to be extrovert evangelists.

THE EXTROVERTED EVANGELIST

Extrovert evangelists are the people we see constantly interacting with strangers. They are the life of the party, and they love being around people in general. We’ve seen them doing everything from street evangelism to getting into gospel conversations with someone while riding in an elevator with them. This is not only a joy for them, but comes very natural to them. These folks are the “evangelists.”

When I felt the call to tell others about Jesus, I thought this is who I was supposed to be so I went out door to door, handing out bibles, went to community events and handed out tracts, etc. thinking that this is how one is deemed an evangelist and “have beautiful feet by preaching good news.”

The issue for me was this never seemed natural for me. It never felt like this is how God made me. I chalked it up as this was what it meant for me to be a living sacrifice. The problem was it didn’t stop at me, but I preached that others should be doing the same, or they didn’t understand the call to be an evangelist.

However, in the body of Christ, not everyone fits this extrovert mold, yet people think this is how all followers of Jesus must be and live. We must stop calling everyone to be an extrovert evangelist and allow people, specifically introverts, to live out the identity of evangelist and missionary in the way God has made them.

ROUND PEG, SQUARE HOLE

I find it interesting that we have looked past how God has made us, and gone directly to our actions to prove who we are. We should always start with who God has made us to be and out of that find direction for our actions. Even biologically this makes sense. We don’t ask a dude to get pregnant. But, sadly, this is as silly as asking an introvert to be a John the Baptist.

We need to go back to see how the Scriptures speak to us, found in Psalm 139:12-15:

For you formed my inward parts;

you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Wonderful are your works;

my soul knows it very well.

My frame was not hidden from you,

when I was being made in secret,

intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes saw my unformed substance;

in your book were written, every one of them,

the days that were formed for me,

when as yet there was none of them.

God has designed each one of us exactly how he wants us. Not only that, but he will use his design of us to reach out and show his glory to the ends of the earth.

Once I realized who God made me, and how he was going to use me, it transformed my thought process on my life and how I lead others on mission.

What I have come to realize is that I am a functional extrovert. Many see me and think I am an extrovert, but in reality, my wife used to call me a hermit because of how much I avoided people.

 What this means for me is that I will force myself into situations to meet new people and share stories, but it is not natural for me. I am basically in the middle of the introvert and the extrovert. Because of this, I think I have a unique perspective on how to lead and be an introverted evangelist.

SOME THINGS TO THINK THROUGH

  • Being an introvert and staying an introvert is not a sin. Many put this on others and in return introverts can feel very alienated and burdened to do what others (read extroverts or functional extroverts) are doing. Allow the introvert to be exactly who God has made them to be, an introvert.
  • Do not try to make an introvert an extrovert. This is not your calling. Your calling is not to make everyone in your church look like you or act like you. If this was the case, everyone else on the planet could die and you could take over as king of the world. God has made his body different on purpose, including introverts and extroverts.
  • Having introverts in your church is not the same as having immature believers or wolves in sheep’s clothing. It seems as though most of us have treated introverts as though they were a disease that needed a cure, instead of image bearers of God created by him for his purpose. Know God’s creation is beautiful, purposeful, and should be celebrated not degraded.
  • Being an introvert does not exclude them from the mission. Do not allow introverts to use their design as a crutch. Instead, shed light into how God is going to use them. Allow them to, and lead them into, what it might look like to be on mission as an introvert.

WHAT DOES MISSION LOOK LIKE AS AN INTROVERTED EVANGELIST?

  • Introverts, by nature, have a tough time being around people they do not know. So, find an extrovert, or functional extrovert, that loves Jesus and understands introverts. Have the extrovert invite the introvert into their daily lives and functions. This will allow the introvert to be with those they know, yet still be with those they don’t know.
  • Allow the introvert to serve at events, parties, activities, etc. in a way in which they are comfortable. We have an introvert in our missional community who started by taking out the garbage, cleaning, and making the food at our BBQs and breakfasts. It was pretty funny because he was like a silent cleaning assassin. People would ask, “who is that?” I’d let them know he was a friend of mine who was here to help, so I could spend more time getting to know my neighbors. Please tell me how that doesn’t speak to kingdom living! After a while, he started to build friendships and started to speak into them and felt very comfortable at our large events, because he knew everyone now. I wasn’t patient at first, but when I started to realize how God had made him and his love for Jesus, I allowed him to live out his identity. When we do this, we become a beautiful picture of the diverse body of Christ.
  • Know that because introverts do not like being around people they don’t know or large groups, they will not be the ones who are planning parties, or are the life of the parties. Allow this; it’s okay! Do not force them to do things that they are not made to be. Of course, there is a balance to the call of mission, but at the same time, be patient. I’ve found that the more you allow the introvert time to be around extroverts, or just strangers in general…the more they get to know them and then desire to be around them.
  • When an introvert speaks, listen. Introverts don’t want to bother people, because they don’t like to be bothered. But, after they get to know people, they will speak into their lives and their wisdom is usually spot on. First, they listen and watch. When they finally feel the need to speak, they usually hit the heart of the issues at hand. Do not gloss over what they say, but listen and encourage. If you ignore or talk over them, they are stubborn buggers and might never talk again.
  • Introverts desire community, they just don’t know it. Most introverts think they want to be by themselves. The fact is, they just don’t want to be around others they don’t know. And it’s not something they need to just “get over”; it’s as real as trying to get an artist to put on a suit and sit behind a desk all day. It just isn’t going to work. So, you can tell when you have an introvert who is an evangelist because they start to gather with those they’ve developed relationships with. My wife is like this. She hates meeting new people; however, once she has developed relationships, she not only makes space for them, they make space for her.
  • What is an evangelist anyways? An evangelist isn’t a personality type or a personality disorder, but an evangelist is one who brings good news, both in the proclamation with the mouth and their actions. If this is the case, where does it say that an evangelist is going to be an extrovert or introvert? What if God’s plan was for everyone to do the work of an evangelist? (2 Tim 4:5). Think of the power of the church if we empower both the extrovert and the introvert to be the representation of the good news in the way that God has made them? How many more people would be reached for the sake of Jesus?

A FINAL WARNING

  1. Don’t let the introvert use their design as a crutch for mission. “God didn’t make me that way” is a crutch. Instead, show them what mission could look like. Find another introvert, or functional extrovert, that can aid them in steps of what mission might look like for them. Don’t just tell them; have someone model it. The introvert is an image bearer and desires to see disciples made; they just don’t know what it looks like for them. It’s not because they’re stupid, but because the church has historically modeled what it looks like to be an extrovert evangelist.
  2. Don’t give up on the introvert. Just because they don’t live out the mission as you might, does not make them any less a child of God, nor does it make them any less of an evangelist. You’ll have to be patient with them, that’s okay, God has been patient with you your entire life and you still suck.
  3. The point of this short article is that the introvert is designed by God, not by the lies of Satan. The lie of Satan is that we need to make other people like us, whomever “us” ends up being.
  4. If you have introverts in your church, empower them in the ways God has made them.
  5. If you are an introvert, live out the mission to make disciples in the way that God calls you based on who you are. Don’t use your design as a crutch, and don’t let anyone else use your design as a crutch.

Start small. Ask the Spirit “what’s next?” and he’ll give you exactly what you need to do in the way that he has designed you. It might be the smallest and dumbest thing you’ve heard of, but it’s a step. It could be to help pick up garbage at the next party–you could be the next cleaning assassin for Jesus.

 

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Cheap Law

TULLIAN TCHIVIDJIAN| In Matthew 5, Jesus shows unambiguously that the greatest obstacle to getting the gospel is not “cheap grace” but “cheap law”–the idea that God accepts anything less than the perfect righteousness of Jesus. (By the way, the proper response to the charge of “cheap grace” is not to make grace expensive by adding a thousand qualifications and footnotes, but rather to declare that grace is free!)

Jesus shows that because God’s demands are unqualified and undiluted, the grace we desperately need must be unqualified and undiluted. In fact, the way of God’s grace becomes absolutely indispensable only when we finally see that the way of God’s law is absolutely inflexible.

John Dink strikes gold again, showing how the great problem in the church today is the same problem Jesus addressed in Matthew 5–cheap law, not cheap grace:

The compassion of our heavenly Father is the gift of his only Son. I am nothing. And in my nothingness, I have come to know that the gift is fearfully and wonderfully near. In the words of Augustine, the Son “is more intimate with us than we are with ourselves.” He tabernacles among the brokenhearted. Without a shred of ignorance, he can call every skeleton in your closet by name. Yet, Jesus is not ashamed to prepare a room for you in his Father’s house. He loves to share his reward with sinners. But, I must warn you. To those who think they deserve a place at my Father’s table… not even a stale crumb is reserved for you. If you trust in some personal display of good fruit to save your seat, you have received your reward and my Christ will not vouch for you. I beg you to listen to the voice of your first love: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” But, there are some who seek to escape their need for grace and deceive us by lowering the cost of God’s righteousness. They preach a cheap law that sells indulgences to those who pay with the appearance of sanctification. But God’s law – costly law – never negotiates with sinners. It is holy and righteous and good – but it is not patient with law-breakers, it is not kind to the ungodly, it keeps every record of wrongdoing. However, we need not fear costly law because Jesus has proclaimed that he will pay our way through the flood of demands with himself. Nor should we fear the liberty of justification, and sanctification, by grace alone through faith alone (the children of the gift work harder because they don’t have to work at all). What we must fear is the baptism of shallow, luke-warm water: “cheap law.”

Cheap law weakens God’s demand for perfection, and in doing so, breaths life into the old creature and his quest for a righteousness of his own making. And what I’m telling you is this: what doesn’t kill him, makes him stronger. Lowering the bar lets the Old Adam peek into the Promised Land. It allows the flesh to survive by rebelling in a form of external piety. And – it’s a perfect hiding place for the Old Being. We don’t think to rebuke such a moral, well-mannered creature. But cheap law offers mercy in the wrong place. It offers mercy to those who are offended by the gift. It creates a people of great zeal, but they lack knowledge concerning the question “What Would Jesus Do?” Here is the costly answer: Jesus would do it all perfectly. And that’s game over for you. The Father is not grooming you to be a replacement for his Beloved Son. He is announcing that there is blessing for those who take shelter in his Beloved Son. Cheap law tells us that we’ve fallen, but there’s good news, you can get back up again. Therein lies the great heresy of cheap law: it is a false gospel. And it cheapens – no – it nullifies grace. It is a sacrifice of God’s law replacing the sacrifice of God’s Son. And when we make sacrifices regarding God’s law, we create something that is not strong enough to stop the mouths of self-sanctifying little sovereigns. It simply teaches us to exchange true godliness for a pursuit of godness. And as long as we cheapen the price of righteousness, the Old Adam will never cease in his bidding war against the freeness of the gift. As time goes on, he may even be willing to accept that “it is God who justifies” if we allow him to change the subject soon after – then, he’ll simply use that as his ticket back to Egypt. In other words, cheap law will always let the flesh pervert sanctification into the process of needing grace less and less. Don’t you see? The Old Being will stop at nothing to get back to the old system. He will not mend his ways – the third time is not the charm! The demands cannot be used to sanctify any more than they could be used to save. They’re meant to reveal your nothingness and corner you before the Christ “who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification.”

Cheap law will never quiet the self-righteous being because it invites him to keep haggling over what he can do apart from Jesus. And that is why law must be costly. It must always get to the heart of the matter. It’s not only murder that deserves death, but hate. It’s not only adultery that condemns, but lust. Not only theft, but coveting. It’s not only what is done with your hands that is judged, but what is done in your heart. And so – it should be clear – this is not “let’s make a deal.” The deals have been cut. The law of Moses is more than you can afford. The Son that God did not spare is priceless. The grace Jesus gives is free. That’s all there is. But cheap law keeps us searching for something to leverage against our poverty. Only costly law will bring that search to an end. It empties our pockets and opens our hands – revealing this: unless the religious expert becomes a beggar, he will not be given the kingdom. Costly law closes in on us and puts this prayer in our mouth: “Be merciful to me, a sinner.” Don’t you know, it’s only those who have been bankrupted by God’s costly law that are eligible for the riches of His grace? Don’t you know, it’s only those who have been silenced by the demands of the law that become hearers of the promise? And so, here we are. Trapped by unmet legal demands on every side. Who will rescue us from this sentence of death? On trembling knees we hear the power of sin accusing us from every angle… until we become still and finally know we aren’t God. The Old Adam is held captive as he waits for the arrival of the master… the master that he expects will be a hard man who reaps, but never sows. His conditional heart races on… “what do I do, what do I do, what do I do.” Then, suddenly – the announcement. And we’re all ears. But the Master – the Last Adam – speaks the unexpected: “There is nothing left for you to do. I’ve done it all for you. It is finished.” Jesus has finished the job and rendered the Old Adam permanently unemployed. And that fact, as Forde says, “is the death of self and the birth of the new creature.” Nothing in our hands we bring and Jesus gives us everything. The Gospel kills us with kindness and raises us anew, to a life of self-forgetful love. And all this, by speaking something the Old Being fears worse than punishment… charity. A hand-out from a nail-pierced hand. A word of surprising grace.

2 Corinthians 3:7-18

The Kind of Revival We Need

IT IS GOOD for us to draw nigh unto God in prayer. Our minds are grieved to see so little attention given to united prayer by many churches.
How can we expect a blessing if we are too idle to ask for it? How can we look for a Pentecost if we never meet with one another, in one place, to wait upon the Lord? Brethren, we shall never see much change for the better in our churches till the prayer meeting occupies a higher place in the esteem of Christians.
But now that we have come together, how shall we pray? Let us not degenerate into formality, or we shall be dead while we think we live. Let us not waiver through unbelief, or we shall pray in vain. Oh, for great faith with which to offer great prayers!
We have been mingling praise and prayer together as a delicious compound of spices, fit to be presented upon the altar of incense through Christ our Lord; may we not at this time offer some special far-reaching petition? It is suggested to me that we pray for a true and genuine revival of religion throughout the world.

 A Real and Lasting Revival

I am glad of any signs of life, even if they should be feverish and transient, and I am slow to judge any well intended movement, but I am very fearful that many so called revivals in the long run wrought more harm than good. A species of religious gambling has fascinated many men, and given them a distaste for the sober business of true godliness.
But if I would nail down counterfeits upon the counter, I do not therefore undervalue true gold. Far from it. It is to be desired beyond measure that the Lord would send a real and lasting revival of spiritual life.
We need a work of the Holy Spirit of a supernatural kind, putting power into the preaching of the Word, inspiring all believers with heavenly energy, and solemnly affecting the hearts of the careless, so that they turn to God and live. We would not be drunk with the wine of carnal excitement, but we would be filled with the Spirit. We would behold the fire descending from heaven in answer to the effectual fervent prayers of righteous men. Can we not entreat the Lord our God to make bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the people in this day of declension and vanity?

Old-fashioned Doctrine

We want a revival of old-fashioned doctrine. I know not a single doctrine which is not at this hour studiously undermined by those who ought to be its defenders. There is not a truth that is precious to the soul which is not now denied by those whose profession it is to proclaim it. To me it is clear that we need a revival of old-fashioned gospel preaching like that of Whitefield and Wesley.
The Scriptures must be made the infallible foundation of all teaching; the ruin, redemption and regeneration of mankind must be set forth in unmistakable terms.

Personal Godliness

Urgently do we need a revival of personal godliness. This is, indeed, the secret of church prosperity. When individuals fall from their steadfastness, the church is tossed to and fro; when personal faith is steadfast, the church abides true to her Lord.
It is upon the truly godly and spiritual that the future of religion depends in the hand of God. Oh, for more truly holy men, quickened and filled with the Holy Spirit, consecrated to the Lord and sanctified by His truth.
Brethren, we must each one live if the church is to be alive; we must live unto God if we expect to see the pleasure of the Lord prospering in our hands. Sanctified men are the salt of society and the saviours of the race.

Domestic Religion

We deeply want a revival of domestic religion. The Christian family was the bulwark of godliness in the days of the puritans, but in these evil times hundreds of families of so-called Christians have no family worship, no restraint upon growing sons, and no wholesome instruction or discipline. How can we hope to see the kingdom of our Lord advance when His own disciples do not teach His gospel to their own children?
Oh, Christian men and women, be thorough in what you do and know and teach! Let your families be trained in the fear of God and be yourselves “holiness unto the Lord”; so shall you stand like a rock amid the surging waves of error and ungodliness which rage around us.

Vigorous, Consecrated Strength

We want also a revival of vigorous, consecrated strength. I have pleaded for true piety; I now beg for one of the highest results of it. We need saints. We need gracious minds trained to a high form of spiritual life by much converse with God in solitude.
Saints acquire nobility from their constant resort to the place where the Lord meets with them. There they also acquire that power in prayer which we so greatly need. Oh, that we had more men like John Knox, whose prayers were more terrible to Queen Mary than 10,000 men! Oh, that we had more Elijahs by whose faith the windows of heavens should be shut or opened!
This power comes not by a sudden effort; it is the outcome of a life devoted to the God of Israel! If our life is all in public, it will be a frothy, vapoury ineffectual existence; but if we hold high converse with God in secret, we shall be mighty for good. He that is a prince with God will take high rank with men, after the true measure of nobility.
Beware of being a lean-to; endeavour to rest on your own walls of real faith in the Lord Jesus. May none of us fall into a mean, poverty-stricken dependence on man! We want among us believers like those solid, substantial family mansions which stand from generation to generation as landmarks of the country; no lath-and-plaster fabrics, but edifices solidly constructed to bear all weathers, and defy time itself.
Given a host of men who are steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, the glory of God’s grace will be clearly manifested, not only in them, but in those round about them. The Lord send us a revival of consecrated strength, and heavenly energy!
Preach by your hands if you cannot preach by your tongues. When our church members show the fruits of true godliness, we shall soon have inquiries for the tree which bears such a crop.
Oh the coming together of the saints is the first part of Pentecost, and the ingathering of sinners is the second. It began with “only a prayer meeting”, but it ended with a grand baptism of thousands of converts. Oh that the prayers of believers may act as lode stones to sinners! Oh that every gathering of faithful men might be a lure to attract others to Jesus! May many souls fly to Him because they see others speeding in that direction.
“Lord, we turn from these poor foolish procrastinators to thyself, and we plead for them with thine all-wise and gracious spirit! Lord, turn them and they shall be turned! By their conversion, pray that a true revival has commenced tonight! Let it spread through all our households, and then run from church to church till the whole of christendom shall be ablaze with a heaven-descended fire!”

The Gift Of Self-Forgetfulness

TULLIAN TCHIVIDJIAN|

“Many pulpits across the land consistently preach the Christian and not the Christ.” Todd Wilken

As I said in Ed Stetzer’s interview of me a couple weeks ago, the way many of us think about sanctification is, well…not very sanctified. In fact, it’s terribly narcissistic. We spend too much time thinking about how we’re doing, if we’re growing, whether we’re doing it right or not. We spend too much time pondering our spiritual failures and brooding over our spiritual successes. Somewhere along the way we’ve come to believe that the focus of the Christian faith is the life of the Christian.

Reflecting this common assumption, someone who was frustrated with something I had written said to me not long ago, “Don’t you know that the focus of the New Testament is the personal holiness of the Christian?” What? Seriously? I heard Mr. Miyagi’s voice in my head, “Breathe in, breathe out; breathe in, breathe out.” The truth is, we spend way too much time thinking about ourselves, and we justify this spiritualized navel-gazing by reasoning that this is what God wants us to be doing.

I’ve said this before but let me say it again: there is nothing in the gospel or about the gospel that encourages me to focus on me. Nothing! It’s never honoring to God when we take our eyes off of Christ “the author and finisher of our faith” and center our eyes on ourselves. Never! In fact, the whole point of the gospel is to get us out of ourselves and to “fix our eyes on Christ” (Hebrews 12:2). The truest measure of Christian growth, therefore, is when we stop spiritually rationalizing the reasons why we’re taking our eyes off of Jesus to focus on ourselves.

The biggest difference between the practical effect of sin and the practical effect of the gospel is that sin turns us inward and the gospel turns us outward. Martin Luther picked up on this problem in the Reformation, arguing that sin actually bends or curves us in on ourselves (homo incurvatus in se). Any version of “the gospel”, therefore, that encourages you to think about yourself is detrimental to your faith-whether it’s your failures or your successes; your good works or your bad works; your strengths or your weaknesses; your obedience or your disobedience.

Ironically, what I’ve discovered is that the more I focus on my need to get better the worse I actually get–I become neurotic and self-absorbed. Preoccupation with my performance over Christ’s performance for me actually hinders my growth because it makes me increasingly self-centered and morbidly introspective–the exactopposite of how the Bible describes what it means to be sanctified. Sanctification is forgetting about yourself. “He must increase but I must decrease” (John 3:30) properly describes the painful sanctification process. “Decreasing” is impossible for the one who keeps thinking about himself. In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis reminded us that we’ll know a truly humble man when we meet him because “He will not be thinking about humility: he will not, in fact, be thinking about himself at all.” When we spend more time thinking about ourselves and how we’re doing then we do about Jesus and what he’s done, we shrink. As J.C. Kromsigt said, “The good seed cannot flourish when it is repeatedly dug up for the purpose of examining its growth.”

But what about those passages which seem to encourage us to “examine ourselves”? Isn’t there a proper time and place for self-evaluation?

Yes.

In fact, this is what the law of God (not the gospel of God) does. The law forces us to look inside ourselves so we can clearly see that what we need most has happened outside ourselves. This is what Paul means in 2 Corinthians 13:5 when he says, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize that Jesus Christ is in you?” In other words, the goal of self-examination is not to discover my worthiness, strength, or sufficiency. The goal is to discover my unworthiness and Christ’s worthiness; my weakness and Christ’s strength; my deficiency and Christ’s sufficiency. Confidence in my transformation is not the source of my assurance and growth. Confidence in Christ’s substitution is. As Matt Richard has rightly noted, “Looking to self for assurance shifts the foundation from Jesus to us.” Christian growth is defined in the Bible as movement in the exact opposite direction (how do we keep missing this obvious point ??). By his Spirit, Christ’s continuing subjective work inside me consists of him driving me back constantly to his completed objective work outside me (John 15:26). “True faith”, said Sinclair Ferguson, “gets a man out of himself and into Christ.”

Oswald Bayer makes the great point that, far from being a “deadening of self”,  forgetting yourself leads to life and freedom:

Those who are born anew are no longer entangled with themselves. They are solidly freed from this entanglement, from the self-reflection that always seeks what belongs to itself. This is not a deadening of self. It does not flee from thought and responsibility. No, it is the gift of self-forgetfulness. The passive righteousness of faith tells us: You do not concern yourself at all! In that God does what is decisive in us, we may live outside ourselves and solely in him. Thus, we are hidden from ourselves, and removed from the judgment of others or the judgment of ourselves about ourselves as a final judgment. “Who am I?” Such self-reflection never finds peace in itself.

Contrary to what we have typically heard (and been enslaved by), Christian growth is not becoming stronger and stronger, more and more competent. Christian growth and progress is marked by a growing realization of just how weak and incompetent we are and how strong and competent Jesus continues to be for us. Spiritual maturity is not marked by our growing, independent fitness. Rather, it’s marked by our growing dependence on Christ’s fitness for us. Remember, the Apostle Paul (who was more spiritually mature and “sanctified” than all of us put together) referred to himself as the “least of all the saints” (Eph. 3:8) and the “chief of sinners” (1 Tim. 1:15)at the end of his life. For Paul, spiritual growth is realizing how utterly dependent we are on Christ’s cross and mercy. It’s not arriving at some point where we need Jesus less because we’re getting better and better. It was, paradoxically, Paul’s ability to freely admit his lack of sanctification which demonstrated just how sanctified he was.

This is the point: When we stop narcissistically focusing on our need to get better, that is what it means to get better. When we stop obsessing over our need to improve, that is what it means to improve!

Thankfully, the focus of the Bible is not the work of the redeemed but the work of the Redeemer. The gospel frees us from ourselves. It announces that this whole thing is about Jesus and dependent on Jesus. The good news is the announcement of his victory for us, not our “victorious Christian life.” The gospel declares that God’s final word over Christian’s has already been spoken: “Paid in full.” Therefore, Christians can now live in a posture of perpetual confidence “that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1).

I love the story of the old pastor who, on his deathbed, told his wife that he was certain he was going to heaven because he couldn’t remember one truly good work he had ever done.

He got it.

Blessed self-forgetfulness!

Getting to Know You – JJ Pyche

The Getting to Know You series is a series that we will be starting on the blog to help the church get to know our faithful interns that support M28, the college ministry here at CrossWay. On our first post, we have the privilege to introduce you to JJ Pyche.

Who we are

Hello CrossWay! JJ Pyche here and I am excited to tell you a little bit about myself and what God has in store for my wife and I this year. Bethany (formerly Bussell as many of you know) and I moved down to Charlotte last summer in order for me to continue my seminary education at RTS. Previously, Bethany and I had met while teaching middle and high school in Maryland where we attended Covenant Life Church. After we were married I began pursuing pastoral ministry through seminary education at the encouragement of family, friends, and our church. This led us to Charlotte to go to RTS and attend CrossWay. We had considered other seminaries but were excited to partner with CrossWay here in Charlotte through our time in seminary and so chose RTS Charlotte. God graciously provided a job for Bethany at SouthLake Christian Academy right away and I substituted and tutored while going to school full-time.

What we are doing

Once here we began working with Jon and M28 right away and have loved it. Last year we had the privilege of leading a small group, discipling some college students, and I even had the privilege of teaching in one of our campus wide meetings. This year Jon has graciously asked us to partner with him and M28 and we couldn’t be happier to do so. Bethany will continue to teach middle school at SouthLake and I will be continuing at RTS full-time, but will also be interning with Jon to disciple and train the men of M28 to be equipped to do the work of the saints.

Please join us in praying

1) Raising Support this summer: Lord-willing we will be raising support this summer in order to devote my time fully to M28 and seminary training

2) Making Disciples this fall: Lord-willing Bethany and I will be investing much labor into the harvest that God has prepared for us; may God open many hearts to hear, respond, and then proclaim the gospel

Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hand: How to Help Others Change

August 7 – November 13 

(13 meetings; no class on Sep. 4 and Oct. 30) 

Tuesday evenings, 7:00-9:00

Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands (IRH) by Paul Tripp is a companion course to How People Change, a course on personal growth we offer every spring. IRH is a 12-lesson, comprehensive, hands-on overview of the process of biblical change that will equip Christians for personal ministry, to better care, counsel, and disciple others.  In short, this class is a practical theology of care and discipleship.

The course has been designed to teach people:

  • How God changes hearts and lives.
  • How they can be instruments of change in his redemptive hands.

The course will include small group participation to help facilitate discussion and application of the material.

  • Registration ends on August 1.
  • Please purchase your Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hand workbook at the bookstore for $20.
  • Free childcare will be provided.

If you have any questions, please contact Jeremy Oddy at jeremy.oddy@crosswaync.org.

Lord Over All – Defined

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Here is the definition from this past Sunday’s message on God‘s Sovereignty as apart of our “How Great Thou Art” series on the attributes of God

SOVEREIGNTY

Sovereignty is the supreme authority of God, his absolute right to rule over creation. He is not subject to any power or law outside of himself.

God has planned, has a purpose for, and is in complete control of every aspect of His creation, both good and bad, including our individual lives. He does this in such a way that He never authors or approves of sin or relieves man of his responsibility by violating his will. He does all for His glory and all He does in relation to those whom He chooses and loves is for their good.