An oldie, but a goodie. I wrote this post over five years ago and it’s still one of my favorite (and most popular) posts of all time! Enjoy!
Every now and then I read a passage in the Bible that just clicks. One sentence will speak volumes and resonate on so many levels. Today was one of those days. This morning I was reading John 12 – the story of when Jesus went to visit the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus just after raising Lazarus from the dead in chapter 11 (see John 11:38-45). The part that struck me was this:
“But the chief priests plotted to put Lazarus to death also, because on account of him many of the Jews went away and believed in Jesus.” John 12:10-11
Lazarus had a great miracle happen to him. He was raised from the dead by Jesus after being dead for 4 days in the tomb. That isn’t the kind of thing that happens every day – even Jesus was alive on the earth. And now that he was alive, he was a living testimony to the power of Jesus. The chief priests were trying to tell everyone that Jesus was a bad guy or at least a normal guy at best. Their message was “don’t follow Him. He is nothing special. Keep living your life as usual and don’t pay too much attention to what He is saying.”
But when Lazarus walked into the room, their message became much less effective. Lazarus was a walking billboard – shouting out JESUS IS THE REAL DEAL! JESUS IS ALL-POWERFUL! JESUS IS GOD! You couldn’t escape it as long as Lazarus was alive. Read More
Dear Mr. Christian,
Hi...I'm not like you. I'm no "believer" but I wanted to have a little heart to heart with you since you seem to be interested in wearing your God on your sleeve. I'll be candid so don't be offended. I'll try not to make fun of your Jesus fish or your cool Christian gear. This is just my open letter.
First, can you stop treating Christianity like an STD? I'm not scared of catching it from you. I know that sometimes you're so afraid to offend me that you sort of get paranoid and weird. Relax dude. There are times when I'm even a little curious by things you do (like why you practically live at church or have the weirdest & most fluctuating diet ever) but why do you get so awkward about it? Read More
Today's guest post comes from Uwe Bower, a core member of the STSA Church family and a dear friend of mine as well. In today's post, Uwe inspires us to think beyond what our eyes might see and our ears might here. God might be calling you into action in ways you might not notice if you don't pay attention. And you don't want to miss out on that! Read More
"My prayer is, when I die, all of hell rejoices that I am out of the fight." harles Studd
Every now and then I read a passage in the Bible that just clicks. One sentence will speak volumes and resonate on so many levels. Yesterday was one of those days. I read John 12 – the story of when Jesus went to visit the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus just after raising Lazarus from the dead in chapter 11 (see John 11:38-45). The part that struck me was this:
“But the chief priests plotted to put Lazarus to death also, because on account of him many of the Jews went away and believed in Jesus.” John 12:10-11 Read More
"When we lose something of value, we focus on what’s LOST to neglect of what’s UNLOST."
As we celebrated Pentecost yesterday - aka "the birthday of the Church" - I wanted to reflect on what it means to be the Church and how that identity translates into my life today.
We looked at three parables of Jesus and saw that being the Body of Christ is all about PEOPLE and making sure you have the right "PEOPLE CATEGORIES."
Check out the message above to see what I mean. Read More
"We are not here on a vacation. We are here on a mission."
That was the takeaway from yesterday's finale in the Mission: Witness series. We looked at the life of the first ever American saint canonized by the Orthodox church and saw how his life could hopefully inspire us GO...
...beyond our comfort zones... out of our little bubbles... away from our self-centered way of thinking.
We were sent in order to GO! Read More
A recent sermon by Fr. Anthony talked about evangelism. How do we go around and talk about Jesus, and how do we bring Jesus to the people around us. I am surrounded by friends who are atheists. They are aware of my belief and respect my religion and are aware of my fasting time and have seen the many pictures of St. Mary and Jesus Christ in my room.
Despite that I always feel the need to be cautious when we talk because of fear of being teased and embarrassment, and sometimes because I think I will be offending them. Read More
If you think you know what LOVE means, you ain't seen nothing yet!
In this week's message, we take a look at two people - Jim and Elisabeth Elliot - whose genuine love and limitless acceptance was taken to an unfathomable level.
It's a story that everyone needs to hear. It's a reminder about the greatest and most powerful element in the entire universe... that is, LOVE. And where love is, God is as well. Read More
Week 3 in our latest series MISSION: WITNESS and this week we're looking at a third manner of preaching the gospel: SERVICE.
And our example for this week is one of my all-time favorite men in Christian history - George Mueller, a 19th century German who provided education and care for thousands of orphaned street children in England at a time when society didn't care about them.
As as much as WHAT he did was truly inspirational, HOW he did it is absolutely incredible! A true man of faith and man of prayer who witnessed to the goodness and kindness of our God.
May his story inspire you just as it did to me. Read More
“But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, DO THE WORK OF AN EVANGELIST, fulfill your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:5
Anyone who calls themselves a Christian/follower of Christ is called to do the work of an evangelist. Actually... let me say that more bluntly....if YOU call yourself a Christian/follower of Christ, then YOU are called to do the work of an evangelist. No wiggle room there.
But evangelism doesn’t mean standing on a corner and yelling at people to repent before they go to hell (see video above). Read More
Can fighting for social justice and change in our society be a form of witnessing and evangelism?
In this week's message - part 2 of MISSION: WITNESS - we answer that question by looking at the life of a 20th century German pastor who fought against the Nazi regime of Adolf Hitler - Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
And what we discover - as Bonhoeffer once said - is that "Silence in the face of evil is itself evil. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act." Read More
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “Preach the gospel at all times; and if necessary, use words.” It’s become a popular cliché amongst Christians today. We use it with regards to the idea of doing evangelism in our workplaces, schools, communities, etc. The principle behind it is that we should let our actions speak louder than our words.
So don’t tell people to be honest; be honest yourself. Don’t tell people to be kind-hearted; be kind-hearted yourself. Don’t tell people that you are a Christian…show them that you are one! Let people “see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
Very nice…very spiritual-sounding…very true indeed. No one can disagree with the concept.
But the question is this: is that enough? Or do we sometimes need to do more? We all agree that our witness should BEGIN with our actions, but should it END there as well? Read More
We kicked off a new series yesterday called MISSION: WITNESS. In it, we're talking about different ways that we can be witnesses/evangelists in the world today.
Each week in this series, we'll look at one of the "lesser-known" heroes of Christianity - someone who has witnessed to Christ in their own unique way - and we'll see that there's more than one way to be an evangelist.
Our hero for week one? St. Photini, the greatest preacher that you know nothing about. Read More
I believe our Orthodox church is not for everyone.
I know that sounds arrogant, intolerant and insensitive of me, but just hear me out. Believe it or not, I am actually making that statement for the purpose of bringing people TO the Church, not to push people away.
The Orthodox Church is not for everyone. It isn’t for people who are just looking for entertainment. It isn’t for people who are lonely and just looking for some soothing words to make them feel good again. It isn’t for people who are looking for an emotional high to just make them feel close to God.
It just isn’t.
So who is it for then?
What a strange day! Talk about going from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows. That’s exactly how I felt just two days ago after returning from Momentum 2015 (most uplifting, inspirational, exhilarating weekend of my life!) and coming back to hear the news of the 21 Coptic Orthodox Christian men who were executed in Libya.
Highest of highs = Momentum 2015: 300 people on fire for God, embracing our role as ambassadors for God, ready to influence the world for Christ and now equipped with three tier strategy of how to accomplish it. BEST WEEKEND EVER!
I couldn’t have been more full of hope and joy and enthusiasm than I was on Sunday afternoon when we wrapped up Momentum. But by Sunday evening, things changed... Read More
Hero: ‘a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities’
I grew up loving action movies – but not the comic book, superhero kind of movies that are popular now. I grew up watching real heroes, guys without any superhuman powers but who fought with superhuman courage and bravery. Guys like Bruce Willis in Die Hard – who saved the world from terrorists without a weapon or even a pair of shoes. Or like Rambo who could take out an entire city alone and never had to call for backup. Or my personal favorite – this is really going to test your knowledge of the 80s – The Greatest American Hero (listen to the theme song and see if it rings a bell).
Today I want to celebrate one of my real-life heroes – not a fictional character but a real person who really did save the world from evil and without whom only God knows where we’d all be today. And in addition to all that, he’s got a really cool hero name too! Read More
Happy New Year! I hope that 2014 has been good to you thus far and that you’re still going strong on those new year’s resolutions (only 364 more days to go!).
We started a New Year’s tradition at STSA last year and it has quickly become one of my favorites. What started as “it might be a cool thing to try this year” has quickly turned into “it just wouldn’t be New Year’s without it.”
What is “it”? RECEIVING OUR NEW YEAR’S PROMISES! Read More
“But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:5
We are called to do the work of an evangelist. Actually, let me say that more bluntly: YOU ARE CALLED TO DO THE WORK OF AN EVANGELIST.
All week I’ve been talking about evangelism and what it is and what it isn’t. I’ve already made it clear that evangelism doesn’t mean standing on a corner and yelling at people to repent before they go to hell (see video above for many ways to NOT do the work of evangelist).
But the issue still remains that I have to do something. I cannot sit back and do nothing and claim that evangelism isn’t for me. I am called to be evangelist and to do the work of an evangelist. Whatever talents and gifts God has given me, I have to somehow figure out how to use those in a way for the purpose of witnessing for God. And as I said yesterday, that can take many different shapes and forms, but the inescapable point is this: I AM CALLED TO DO THE WORK OF AN EVANGELIST.
But the major question is this: How should I start?