Posted on 4 Comments

The Practice of Evangelism (2) – The How To?

To listen to the audio teaching of these notes click on:
http://followingjesus.org.za/sermons/being-the-beloved-the-how-to-of-evangelism-part-38-2/

We practice ‘Fishing the World’ by living out our Kingdom vocation (calling) via our daily occupation (work). This naturally leads to EVANGELISM: sharing the good news of Jesus, who saves us through his life, death and resurrection. I’ve repeatedly said, however, who you are, how you behave, communicates much louder than what you say about Jesus. Last week I taught on the What? and Why? of evangelism; now we look at the How?

The Wisdom of Every Believer Evangelism

To be a follower of Jesus is to be his witness (evangelist). Every believer is his messenger of joy sharing The Gospel, ‘fishing’ people into his Kingdom. While some are gifted as evangelists (Eph 4:11), every believer is called to do evangelism… right where we are, and further afield, to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). Therefore, we must “always be ready to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have… with gentleness and respect” (1 Pet 3:15, cf. Eph 6:15 & Is 52:7).

To ‘win’ people requires wisdom as Solomon says: “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and those who win souls are wise” (Prov 11:30). Those who are wise will lead many to righteousness, shining like bright stars in a darkening world (Dan 12:3). This applies to Jesus’ fishing image: to catch fish you need to be clever, knowing what fish you’re trying to catch, the season, the time and tide, and what bait to use! Because we ignore these factors we often don’t catch fish (people) – besides our lack of motivation and practice. Jesus used other images to teach the same regarding his disciples’ mission and witness in the world: “I’m sending you out like sheep among wolves, therefore be as shrewd as snakes and innocent as doves” (Matt 10:16) – be cunning and clever, yet pure and innocent! To be “the salt of the earth” is to make people thirsty for God’s goodness, while stinging their corrupt conscience; and to be “the light of the world” is to show people the way to God by your good deeds, while confronting and driving back their darkness (Matt 5:13-16). Continue reading The Practice of Evangelism (2) – The How To?

Posted on 8 Comments

Forming (in) Community: Practicing Servant Gifts (2)

To listen to the audio teaching of these notes, click on this link
http://followingjesus.org.za/sermons/being-the-beloved-servant-gifts-2-part-29/

Recap on Servant Gifts (1): I made three basic points regarding the practice of servant gifts to form – and be formed in – Jesus’ community: 1) The local church is Christ’s Body, that operates organically by spiritual gifts (charisma, “enabling graces”) given through each member. 2) The right motivation (heart) and context (attitude) for the operation of the gifts is servanthood. The gifts are service (“ministry”) in Jesus’ name to one another; thus we speak of servant gifts. 3) The model of servanthood is Jesus, the Servant of YHWH who, in his service, suffers our sin and brokenness in love, to cleanse, enfold and heal us into his life and community (as he dramatically enacted in John 13).

Peter summarises this well: “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms” (1 Pet 4:10). God’s graces fall into two categories: supernatural gifts (by direct Spirit inspiration) and natural talents (by birth and training). Both are spiritual gifts because they are all God-given. The challenge is: are we faithful stewards of God’s multiple enabling graces, that come through each other in all their rich diverse forms, to heal and grow us to maturity in Christ?

Paul on Servant Gifts in the Body of Christ (1 Cor 12:1-31)

Paul gives specific teaching on spiritual gifts in 1 Cor 12 (“manifestation gifts”, written in 54 AD), Rom 12:1-8 (“motivational gifts”, in 57 AD), and Eph 4:7-12 (“ministry-gifts”, in 60 AD). I examine each of these passages in that order to reflect Paul’s developing thinking.

The context of 1 Cor 12 is Paul’s teaching on public worship services – when the church gathers together (see 11:33, 14:26) – from chapter 10 to 14. It’s essentially about the local Body of Christ functioning organically in relational harmony through spiritual gifts. Continue reading Forming (in) Community: Practicing Servant Gifts (2)

Posted on Leave a comment

New Book Release – Praying the Psalms

Praying the Psalms Volume One FlyerI’m so happy to say my new book has come from the publishers hot off the press!

Praying the Psalms is the first volume of a new series by Alexander Venter. Learning to Pray will enable you to not only practice daily prayer, but also to develop a life of prayer. It’s a personal prayer journal for spiritual growth. Designed for individuals and small groups, this twelve-week program imparts the tried and tested wisdom of the most ancient of prayer books: the Hebrew Psalter. The meditation exercises will uncover the rich treasures hidden in David’s prayers, making the psalms alive, relevant and personal. As you work the psalm-prayers they will work you, transforming you into a living prayer of relational intimacy with God.

“Learning to Pray is a thoughtful and practical aid to assist you to enter the rich and wonder-filled world of praying the Psalms. No practice contributes to the spiritual development of the disciple of Jesus more than praying the Psalms – a practice that was central in the life of our Lord and has strengthened God’s people throughout the centuries.”

Bert Waggoner, National Director of The Association of Vineyard Churches, USA.

“Attentive to the Holy Spirit, Venter invites us to learn, pray and live the Psalms in authentic, life-orienting ways. With care and kindness, we are guided into a life of listening, responsive prayer that shapes our liturgos, our embodied practices in conversation with God. Venter reminds us that praying and enacting the Psalms takes practice, and he provides practical help to do just this.”

Cherith Fee Nordling, Professor of Biblical Theology at Regent College, Canada.

“You will undoubtedly benefit enormously from these meditations on the Psalms. Use it on your own, or equally, use it in home groups – either way, I think you’ll find Alexander has given us a wonderful resource for spiritual growth that will enrich your daily interactions with Jesus.”

John Mumford, Leader of the Vineyard Churches in the United Kingdom

To get a copy you can visit the Kingdom Treasures shop at http://www.kingdomtreasures.co.za/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=146&category_id=31&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=1

Or you are welcome to contact me by email on contact_me@alexanderventer.com