PREACHING & Preach to a procession… in a way that will be an initial invitation to those who don’t know Christ and an encouragement to those who do. #Remembering #LloydJohnOgilvie

In a 1989 interview with Leadership Journal, Lloyd John Ogilvie said:

I preach to a procession: church members who need a fresh touch of the power of God, people who don’t know God and aren’t part of any church, Christians who’ve just come to visit, and others who are facing perplexing problems. … My big challenge is to present the gospel in a way that will be an initial invitation to those who don’t know Christ and an encouragement to those who do and who need to get on with the responsibilities of discipleship.

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THEOLOGY & Most Americans Believe personal salvation takes work

by Bob Smietana, Facts and Trends, LifeWay, 9/28/16.

Findings of a new survey of American views on Christian theology from Nashville-based LifeWay Research (include) …

Personal salvation takes work.

Three-quarters of Americans (77 percent) say people must contribute their own effort for personal salvation. Half of Americans (52 percent) say good deeds help them earn a spot in heaven. Sixty percent agree that Jesus Christ’s death on the cross is the only sacrifice that could remove the penalty of their sin…

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CONVERSION & Ways to Share the Plan of Salvation

by Bob Whitesel, Cure for the Common Church, 4/15/12.

(Download this chapter for various ways to share the Good News, including The 4 Spiritual Laws, Steps to Peace with God, etc.: BOOK ©Whitesel EXCERPT – CURE Chpt 2 HOW OUT.

This chapter we will look at “how” an uncommon church fosters newness. In the previous chapter we looked at “why” this newness is important, discovering that:

  • God:
    • loves his offspring,
    • wants to restore his relationship with them
    • and desires to meet their physical and spiritual needs.
  • One of humanity’s most widespread needs is for a physical and spiritual change (this has been described as conversion, being born again, being saved spiritual/physical transformation and.or emergence of new people).
  • God has made it clear that only through Jesus Christ can such a complete transformation take place.
  • Turning from our wrong actions (repentance), knowing that with Jesus Christ’s power we can change (faith) and then going in a new direction with God’s help (spiritual/physical transformation) is God’s desire for every person.
  • God designed the church to explain this Good News.
  • God designed the church to welcome this transformation.
  • Spiritual and physical transformation is the pivot point for the uncommon church (balancing the other three cures).

Therefore, let us look at “how” an uncommon church fosters spiritual and physical transformation.


Sittin’ on the Doorstep with Jerry


“I know how to survive in the streets,” Jerry told me. “It’s here among Christians that I was not at home.” Jerry had been the manager of a local grocery until the store was purchased by a large chain and Jerry’s job eliminated. Financial problems and a divorce soon sent Jerry from the church he had attended since a youth. “I grew up in that church,” Jerry recalled. “But my ex-wife and kids go there, and I wanted to give them some space.” And so began Jerry’s church shopping that now was at an end.

As we sat on a doorstep on a gritty urban street Jerry opened up about the spiritual journey that brought him there. “When I left that church I grew up in,” Jerry continued, “I started attending Main Street Church a few blocks north. It was an old, established church and I figured they would have ministries that could help me deal with my marital problems and get me a job too. It sure didn’t happen.” Jerry continued to tell of a church that seemed more concerned about his bad habits than his soul. “I always felt guilty around them. And, they were pretty good about reminding me of my faults. I guess they had a reason for treating me that way. I was still doing some pretty bad things and that really riled them up. I’m not even sure I was a Christian back then. I guess I needed to change, really change like I’d never changed before. I was just trying to find people that would give me the time and the help to make it happen.”

Jerry’s next stop was Trinity Church. “At Trinity, they helped me find housing, got me a job interview and even gave me a suit to wear to it. I’d say they helped up to a point.” “Up to what point?” I asked. “The point to where I needed to change more than just on the outside. I had a part-time job, an acceptable place to live, but I really needed a whole new start. I needed to understand my relationship with God. I needed to ask Him to forgive me. Ask him what he wanted me to do with my life. Ask him to help me overcome the addictions that I couldn’t overcome myself.” “Did you ask Him?” I interjected. “I asked them, the church leaders, but they said that was really between me and God. I remember the pastor saying, ‘Jerry, you’ve got to decide for yourself what you believe about God. What I believe may not be what you need to believe.’ I was more confused than ever,” summarized Jerry.

“So, I kept visiting churches, because I needed to find people that were reconnecting to God and who could show me the way.” Jerry visited church after church, until at last he found a Christian community that seemed balanced in its focus on helping him physically and spiritually.

“They told me they understood where I was coming from. They didn’t rush me, but made me feel like I could be a part of their fellowship as long as I continued to grow in my understanding. It really came together when they told me about a road to Jesus. A ‘Roman Road’ they called it. I became a new Jerry not long after. And, people say they can see it, too. But, it didn’t stop there, those people stuck with me. I had some setbacks, but a group of them kept helping me get my life back on course. I guess they traveled the road with me.”

With that, Jerry disappeared up the steps into the front door of a fellowship that had become his new spiritual family. This community of Christians had helped him get back on his feet financially and spiritually. I looked up at the sign above the door and realized that the Salvation Army continues to provide a good example for the uncommon church, for the Salvation Army does good work the common church misses or overlooks. As Jerry disappeared up the stairs, I whispered a prayer “Lord, please make more churches like the Salvation Army, ready to stick with people like Jerry so they can become healthy physically and spiritually.”

(Excerpted from ©Bob Whitesel, Cure for the Common Church)

Download the rest of the chapter here … BOOK ©Whitesel EXCERPT – CURE Chpt 2 HOW OUT


SPIRITUAL TRANSFORMATION & UK Archbishop Welby says “The best decision anyone can ever make is to be a follower of Jesus Christ”

Revolutionary love: Archbishop Justin’s lecture on evangelism.

A transcript and an introduction, 3/5/15.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has set out his vision for a Church in which every Christian shares “the revolutionary love” of Jesus Christ.

“The best decision anyone can ever make is to be a follower of Jesus Christ.” Archbishop Justin Welby, Lambeth Palace, 5 March 2015. (Photo: Lambeth Palace)

The Archbishop was giving the inaugural Lambeth Lecture, a new series of talks which will feature guest speakers addressing key issues for the Church.

Video of the Archbishop’s lecture will be available shortly. The full text follows below.

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lambeth Lecture:

I want to start by saying just two simple sentences about the church. First, the church exists to worship God in Jesus Christ.

Second, the Church exists to make new disciples of Jesus Christ. Everything else is decoration. Some of it may be very necessary, useful, or wonderful decoration – but it’s decoration.

When I talk about making disciples as we go through, of course I’m not only talking about words; I’m also talking about actions, and we’ll come back to that in a little while.

The best decision anyone can ever make, at any point in life, in any circumstances, whoever they are, wherever they are, whatever they are, is to become a disciple of Jesus Christ. There is no better decision for a human being in this life, any human being…

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WESLEY & His Oxford Sermon on His Pre-conversion Journey: “I Was Almost a Christian”

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “I recently spoke at a conference in Orlando, and described John Wesley’s conversion this way: Wesley decided that rather than live a fair-weather, ‘summer region’ … he was now: all in. Afterwords two pastors told me they had recently preached sermon series on the theme ‘all in,’ and wished they had known this about Wesley. To help pastors preach such sermons, here is my colleague’s analysis of Wesley’s Oxford sermon, where Wesley explains to his colleagues that though he was once an Oxford student and instructor, he was really only “almost” a Christian. Now Wesley realizes an ‘almost Christian’ (or what some today call a ‘cultural Christian’) is insufficient to attain eternal life, but an ‘all together Christian’ (or as might be described in modern language as being all in) is what God expects.”

The Almost Christian by John Wesley, Oxford, 1741 (click link for entire sermon)

Analysis by Ken Schenck Ph.D., Wesley Seminary, 2/12/15.

This is a masterful little sermon. Wesley preached it at Oxford in 1741. It is masterful for the way it fits its context and for the way it builds its rhetoric.

The text is incredibly clever, Herod tells this to Paul in Acts 26, that Paul almost convinces him to be a Christian.

What Wesley does is he describes a very religious person, a very pious person. Indeed, he is describing himself as a “methodist” in the Holy Club when we was at Oxford before. How wonderful if we had lots of people in our churches who were “almost Christian” like he describes!

He builds to the “altogether Christian.” This is the person who loves God and neighbor truly. And at the climax of the letter he gets to the main point. This is the person who is justified by faith.

I wonder if today we should almost preach the sermon backward, since we have plenty who are justified but are hardly as dedicated as the almost Christian he describes.

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EVIL & Why John Wesley said the Devil Fears the Message of Salvation by Faith

“For this reason the adversary so rages whenever ‘salvation by faith’ is declared to the world: for this reason did he stir up earth and hell, to destroy those who first preached it. And for the same reason, knowing that faith alone could overturn the foundations of his kingdom, did he call forth all his forces, and employ all his arts of lies and calumny, to affright Martin Luther from reviving it.”

John Wesley, from his sermon “Salvation by Faith” which he preached shortly after his conversion to the students and faculty of Oxford University in St. Mary’s Church, Oxford. Read the entire sermon at

WESLEY & Why Salvation Must Be Preached First & Is the Foundation of Our Preaching

“So then, that ‘whosoever believeth on him shall be saved,’ is, and must be, the foundation of all our preaching; that is, must be preached first.”

John Wesley, from his sermon “Salvation by Faith” which he preached shortly after his conversion to the students and faculty of Oxford University in St. Mary’s Church, Oxford. Read the entire sermon at

Speaking hashtags: #BetterTogether

WESLEY & You Won’t Find God Until You Realize You Can’t Save Yourself

“A quite contrary objection is made: ‘If a man cannot be saved by all that he can do, this will drive men to despair.’ True, to despair of being saved by their own works, their own merits, or righteousness. And so it ought; for none can trust in the merits of Christ, till he has utterly renounced his own.”

John Wesley, from his sermon “Salvation by Faith” which he preached shortly after his conversion to the students and faculty of Oxford University in St. Mary’s Church, Oxford. Read the entire sermon at

WESLEY & a Quote From His Sermon in Oxford on Being Born Again

“So that he who is thus justified, or saved by faith, is indeed born again. He is born again of the Spirit unto a new life, which ‘is hid with Christ in God’.”

John Wesley, from his sermon “Salvation by Faith” which he preached shortly after his conversion to the students and faculty of Oxford University in St. Mary’s Church, Oxford. Read the entire sermon at

APOLOGETICS & Why We Must Teach Apologetics Unapologetically

by Dan Kimball

“I spoke recently about Jesus as the only way of salvation. I explained that it can’t be true that all paths lead to God.

Now, this is a very anti-PC thing to be teaching. I didn’t want to just jump to a single Bible verse to say it.

Instead, I walked through the biblical narrative of creation, explaining how in the beginning people worshiped one God. Over time, other faiths developed, and I showed how Jesus was the fulfillment of prophesy going back to the Garden of Eden.

I stressed that it was not logical that all faiths could be right, since they contradict one another in major ways. I shared why I trust the Bible as the source of truth and put my confidence in Jesus as the One Way.

Afterward, a young woman told me she trusted in Jesus that night because she hadn’t ever heard a pressing argument that showed why the statement of Jesus as the One Way made sense.

Obviously, there were many things leading up to that night, and God had been working in her heart for months beforehand. But it was having a “reason for the hope” laid out and explained that ended up moving her heart to full faith.

I have been in ministry for more than 20 years, much of it focused on youth and college-age, and I don’t think there ever has been a more urgent need to teach apologetics than there is today. Here’s why.”

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Was Paul Converted? NT Wright on the “Conversion” of Paul
by scotmcknight 

“The standard reading of the apostle Paul’s life is the story of conversion, and at work in that story is religion and hence of Paul ‘finding religion’ or ‘leaving religion for faith.’ In the altogether exciting 15th chp of NT Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God, Wright pitches his tent in a way that he gets a good angle on this very topic (though I shall suggest another angle might provoke a more refined perspective on the question if Paul was a convert).

He sees three definitions often at work: (1) those who see Paul abandoning one religion (Judaism) for another (Christianity) — which is not how Paul saw it; (2) an inner renewal on the part of those who had no faith — again not the best way to see Paul; and (3) the move from ‘religion’ (externality kind of thing) to “faith” (inner reality). Again, NT Wright says this too is not how Paul saw things. He says more about this third view, because he’s right in saying this is the core orientation in the ‘old’ perspective on Paul…”

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