Thursday, December 31, 2015

Christianity 101 Series


            This Sunday I am starting a new sermon series titled “Christianity 101.”  This series is designed to introduce Christianity to those who are not believers, who may be inquiring or seeking spiritual answers to life.  In fact, this Sunday's message title is “Is There More to Life than This?”  However, the series is also helpful for new believers to consider some of the basics of following Jesus, for long-time Christians to be refreshed about the validity and vitality of their faith, and for mature disciples who are looking for ways to share their faith with others.

            I encourage you to bring your friends, family and neighbors for this four-month series.  Pray, invite them, bring them, keep praying and watch God work in their hearts.  You will notice that sometimes the approach of the message will be directed toward non-believers or those who are very new to the faith.  Often it won’t feel like I am talking to church-going people.  This is intentional.  On the one side, we want to communicate clearly to seekers who may not have any Bible or church background.  On the other side, we want to model for disciple-makers how they can communicate with those they attempt to reach, who may also not have a Christian background.

           If you bring unchurched or unbelieving guests with you, I would encourage you to make lunch plans with them after church and discuss the morning's message.  Since they would've heard my preaching already, you don't need to preach any more.  The discussion time should consist of your guests' questions and opinions.  He/she should be able to express him/herself with freedom without being "pounced" on or judged.  This is where we trust the Holy Spirit to do the work in the hearts of people.

            This series will be recorded and edited to be used in Calvary’s Alpha course this semester.  Please note this series is NOT the Alpha course.  While it may share the same topics, Alpha consists of three essential ingredients: (1) food/fellowship; (2) the message; (3) small group discussion.  The topics and main ideas for this series are taken from the Alpha course but each message is personally prepared, personalized and customized for Calvary’s Sunday morning congregation by me.  I will work with the Bible text(s) and develop the messages from the text(s), occasionally borrowing some supporting material from the Alpha course.

          The video files will also be available for anyone who wishes to use them in sharing their faith with friends, co-workers, neighbors or family.  When doing so, I also suggest following the message with a discussion over a meal.  A third alternative for using this series to share your faith with others is to bring them to the Alpha course at church this semester.  CBC Alpha 2 will begin on Wednesday, February 3 at 6:30 PM in the church parlor.  More information coming soon.

          A fourth and final option for utilizing this series is to conduct your own Alpha course at your home or as an ABF.  We would be glad to train you how to do this.  Please contact me or Pastor Paulo Gatan for more information on how to do this.

          We have been praying for an evangelism strategy that we can implement at Calvary.  I believe this approach can help us make disciples.  I believe this approach is helpful when sharing the gospel with people who have very little spiritual, biblical or church background.  The content of the messages are extremely important.  After all, it is the gospel that has the power to save (Romans 1:16).  The other important elements of a good evangelism strategy for our time and for this generation are lots of prayer, food and fellowship, loving people, listening and discussing the topics in a non-threatening manner.

          Let us pray that God brings many people to faith and to become mature disciples through this series and through the upcoming Alpha course.

*The hashtag #cbc101 may be used for those who would like to engage in dialogue through Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.