Resurgence roundup, 5/24/13
Fri May 24, 2013
The places grace empowers us
Thu May 23, 2013
by Justin Holcomb
‘Each next risk is the biggest one’: James MacDonald talks with Mark Driscoll
Wed May 22, 2013
by Mark Driscoll
Tue May 21, 2013
by Amanda Edmondson
From prison to ReTrain: Russell’s story
Mon May 20, 2013
Delving Deeper in Gospel Conversations
Listening to others by asking good questions, empathizing with their struggle, and discerning their heart’s desires and beliefs only gets us half-way to good gospel conversation. To bless one another with true, Christ-shaped counsel, we need to reveal the gospel in each other's story. Here are a few ways to lovingly make the gospel-turn in conversation.
Apply the Gospel to your own story
It is important that the conversation-leader be a “lead repenter” when answering heart-penetrating questions. This does not mean you are the first to answer the question; however, you must come to the gathering prepared to share how the Spirit has led you to repentance in your own life. Lead-repenting begins at home in your heart and naturally carries over into how you lead during gatherings. Be bold with your brokenness and invite words of correction and encouragement.
- Confess your own sin & idolatry. Ask for prayer, help, and encouragement in your own life.
- Apply the gospel to yourself. We often become focused on discerning the wounds and cracks in others' hearts and forget to apply the gospel to our own hearts first. Let your community see you applying the healing balm of the gospel to your own wounds. This will dissolve a self-righteous hierarchy, as well as show them how to apply the gospel to their own lives.
- Lead with grace. When revealing the gospel in other people’s story, the goal is not to rebuke publicly, but rather to graciously point them through their circumstances to Christ who is present in their struggle.
Listen to a person’s story and re-tell it back to them, but with the gospel of grace in the middle. Your goal is to show how Jesus is better than what their fear, desire, or feelings are about their circumstance. Do it in a way that reveals that Jesus is not a miracle drug, but a crucial and concrete component of their lives. Demonstrate that Jesus is the only key to fit the lock of their problems.
- Say nothing. At times, no words are needed. While talking, a person will often verbally correct his wrong motives and actions. Affirm him in his conclusions and point him to Jesus, who is sufficient for his failures and strong for his successes.
- Graciously expose lies. Ask if there is a lie they are tempted to believe. As sin surfaces, it is very tempting to either shift the blame or dismiss anger, despair, or lust because of difficult circumstances. It is loving to reveal blame-shifting and sin-skirting to guide one another into the joy of the Lord.
Let your community see you applying the healing balm of the gospel to your own wounds.
- Blame-shifting. We are often tempted to lay blame on our circumstances. For instance, we might blame our sexual sin or overeating on the absence of a girlfriend, boyfriend, or spouse. We might explain our anger by saying, “It’s the kids’ fault.” You may be angry or depressed because you aren’t married, so you say: “There are too many married people in this group or church.”
- Sin-skirting. As a community that speaks the truth in love, we have an obligation to not allow one another to skirt sin with moralism or indifference. For example, “Yeah, I’d be angry too,” “It will get better,” or “Don’t be a doormat!”
Delve deeper by asking good questions
Prompt a more meaningful conversation with questions that illicit thoughtful answers:
- How does our passage address your heart issues?
- What alternative promise does Scripture offer us?
- Can you think of any Bible stories, parables, promises, or truths that would help us here?
- How does the gospel address this?
- How does Jesus supplant and replace our idol of success? We know Jesus is better, but how?
Encouragement is key
It is important to acknowledge the work people do in sharing their insights. What grace can you affirm in their life? What victory can you celebrate? What progress have you seen in their faith? By following up with a few encouraging statements, a person is more likely to keep sharing, searching, and seeking God out.