What is the “Gospel” and what practical implications does the Gospel make in my everyday life?
The Gospel is the good news that God, the sovereign creator of all, sent his Son Jesus to die and rise again, to destroy sin and all its effects. God has ordained that those who trust Jesus will enjoy new life here on earth and the blessings of the new heavens and new earth to come.
What is “sin” and what is so terrible about it when I do sin? And what is my motivation to not sin?
Sin is any transgression of or lack of conformity to God’s law. It is terrible, because it is rebellion against the highest authority and because it is a betrayal of the greatest love we can imagine. Sin destroys everything good in our lives and in the world. My motivation not to sin is that God’s Spirit has given me a new heart that understands this and desires to love him as he has loved me.
What is God’s end goal for this world, all humans of this world, and me personally? Where is He taking it and what does it look like for me to be a part of that goal, and how can I have a role and purpose in that goal, and find meaning, and value, and my joy in that goal?
God’s goal for creation is his own glory. Everything and every person in creation contributes to this goal, either by voluntarily serving him, or by rebelling against him and displaying the justice of his condemnation. I find my role by asking him to show how he has called me to glorify him, and by seeking strength from him to carry out my calling. Trusting him and pursuing that calling give my life purpose, meaning, value, and joy. That joy persists even as I endure difficulties, the lingering effects of the fall.
How can I, as a Christian who believes the Gospel and affirms orthodoxy, be compelled to genuinely desire God and the kingdom of God enough to become a true disciple, one who is willing to consider all things loss in comparison with knowing and loving Jesus?
The same Holy Spirit who renewed my heart and assured me of his calling gives me the desire to seek God, his kingdom, and his righteousness. This desire prevails over conflicting desires, so that I am able to consider all things loss for the sake of Christ.
As a Christian, at the end of a long day (when I have done what I ought not to have done – and not done what I ought to have done) what are God’s thoughts of me when I lay down my head at at night and fall asleep?
God loves me as much as ever, as a good human father loves his child even when he goes astray. But, again, like a good human father, he is displeased with my sin, and he prepares to administer loving discipline for my good and for his glory.
What is God’s mission given to us and how do I fulfill it without it becoming a feeling of another thing I have to do for God? And based upon that, What is needed at the personal, and church level to shape culture and to be on strategic mission?
Well, it is certainly “another thing I have to do.” It is something God commands, among others. But I don’t think I should ever look at his commands as burdensome. The mission, particularly, is at the center of God’s plan for the world, and it is a great privilege for us to be a part of it. What is needed is for each believer to do all things to the glory of God, to take the gifts and abilities God has given and to find out how these gifts can be used to bring godly change in his environment. When we seek to do our daily work to God’s glory, we will inevitably shape that part of culture in which God has placed us. And we will at the same time be drawing other people to see Christ in us and themselves to come into his kingdom.
As you are living your day-to-day life, and then life gets hard/lonely/scary/etc., what truth do you rehearse in your mind, or what action do you take, that sort of recalibrates you and causes you to rest? We all need to be reminded, what then do you remind yourself?
I remember that God is King and that all his enemies are the dust of his feet.
What is the Christian life consist of when we’re not reading the Bible, and we’re not singing worship songs, and we’re not engaged in any sort of “Christian activity”, and how do you view and categorize those times for you in your own life?
In a larger sense, I see all of life as “Christian activity.” But there are of course stretches of time when I am not in church, reading the Bible, etc. In those times, I carry out my calling in the workplace as I mentioned above, seeking to be like Jesus, seeking to obey his commands, seeking to glorify him in everything I do.
Many Christians don’t really love Jesus, but they desire to. How can we increase our affections for Him?
I don’t think you can be a Christian without loving him. But we can increase our love for him through the Word, worship, fellowship with other Christians, watching him work his way in the world, and especially through the intimate fellowship of prayer.
If you had the ear of every Christian in the World what would you say to them?
Love God and love one another. Set aside all pride in your religious and secular achievements.
For you personally, what has been the most compelling or powerful aspect of the story of the Bible that you delight in, has come to you fresh, and resulted in you loving God more and being excited to be a part of God’s story?
The growing conviction that God is Lord of all: the highest authority, the controller of all things, and the one who is present to my heart and my daily life. So he is the source of all knowledge, power, and love, these being woven together in an astonishingly complex and beautiful revelation.
For those who read this interview and get pricked of mind and heart; what can I do today, right now at this very moment (and beyond), that can result in the story of the Bible taking root in my own heart and shaping me as it has you?
If you are pricked of mind and heart, you know that you can no longer live out of your own resources. Say to God, “Lord, be merciful to me, a sinner,” and receive Jesus as your Lord (whom you obey without question) and Savior (who died and rose again as the only way for you to have eternal fellowship with God).