Real Church in a Social Network World

Classic Sweet, beautifully written and relevant. Real Church in a Social Network World should be read by every pastor and or church leader who is ready to use social media and online communications of the 21st Century to reach people for Christ, especially the digital generationImage

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Jesus A Theography

Frank Viola and Leonard Sweet’s words are just as poetically powerful as they are prophetic. In their new book, Jesus A Theography (2012) the authors articulate how the entire Biblical narrative is the story of Jesus Christ. Just as Elijah, Isaiah, and Jesus for that matter, called people back to the heart of God, Viola and Sweet have written a sequel to their first Jesus Manifesto, once again calling people to fix their attention on the heart of God, the person of Jesus.

Not striving to write a biography, they have instead chosen to convey Christ through the story of God’s interactions with humanity from the First Covenant all the way through the Second. From Genesis and the Garden of Eden, to Golgotha, and into the New Jerusalem of eternity to come, every written word we have in Scripture points to the Living Word, the Logos, God Incarnate.

As Augustine said, “In the Old Testament, the New is concealed, in the New, the Old is revealed.” Separating the two Testaments is like cutting Jesus in half. As our Lord confidently, and scandalously, declared, “All Scripture points to me” (John 5:39). Jesus is the fulfillment of the law and prophets. The law has been completed in a life laid down with love on the cross. Viola and Sweet beautifully illustrate the majesty of Christ’ prophetic and divine, self-actualization of the Bible’s first 39 books, including His reenactments of the creation account, Israel’s desert trial, and the Davidic lineage proving his Messianic title.

The authors also review Jesus’ “mission statement”, his question based and parable style teaching, and healing ministry. Though every chapter portrays the biblical and living King of Kings, perhaps my favorites are the last four on Jesus’s crucifixion, atonement, resurrection, ascension and future return. I also really appreciated the appendix on Post-Apostolic Witness, including pronouncements by Aquinas, Wesley, Bonhoeffer, and Wright among many others.

I highly recommend Jesus a Theography. It is a testimony of Truth. This revealing of Jesus will benefit new and old Christians alike.

Being Invested In and Investing Into Others

The Invested Life, a new book on discipleship by Joel C. Rosenberg and Dr. T.E. Koshy is a great biblical and practical tool for Christians to learn from, grow in, and use with others. By implementing the Scriptural advice in this book, you can partner with God’s Spirit in turning believers into disciples, which of course is our Lord’s commission to His church.

The objective of The Invested Life is pretty straight forward. The authors advocate that every Christ follower should be able to answer two simple, yet profound questions: 1.) Who is investing in me? and 2.) Whom and I investing in?

As a church consultant and ministry partner who serves churches and young adults by helping them create a biblical model of discipleship, I consider this new work was a fantastic introductory. There is a growing awareness for the need of intentional discipleship in Western Churches. The evangelistic crusades of the 1950’s placed a high emphasis on conversion, but many believers were left at the altar as spiritual infants. Rosenberg and Koshy are determined to change that tide among this generation. They define the three characteristics of a Disciple as 1.) having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ 2.) a personal relationship with an older, wiser believer, and 3.) relationships with younger believers.

Grounded in Scripture, The Invested Life teaches that disciplers should look for F.A.T people to disciple. The acronym stands for potential disciples who are faithful, available, and teachable. These themes are fleshed out by showing how Jesus modeled discipleship in the calling and making of the twelve.

Though the authors and I differ slightly in our theology of spiritual gifts and the purpose of the church as discussed in chapter 7 “Go Deeper”, The Invested Life, no less offers a Scriptural mandate for relational discipleship.

I received my copy of The Invested Life free from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.