Posts in "Equipping"
What Jesus Demands from the World
"What does God really want from me?" That is the question that born-again believers ask after they have trusted in Jesus. "What am I supposed to do with my life now?" Jesus doesn't leave that a mystery. In fact, Jesus is very clear about He expects from the whole world.

In the Great Commission Jesus said, "Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you." A disciple of Jesus is someone who is seeking to obey everything that Jesus has commanded us.

Today I want to commend to you John Piper's book, What Jesus Demands from the World*. In the book, Piper takes 50 commands of Jesus and talks about what it looks like to obey those commands. The chapters are very short (usually 3-5 pages). In 5-10 minutes you can really think deeply about the words of Jesus and find answers to that question, "What does Jesus want from me now?"

Several of the Men at New Life Robinwood are meeting together in pairs to discuss and pray about what they are reading in this book. The women's Thursday Morning Bible Study has worked through this book and really enjoyed it. How about you? Would you be willing to meet with one other person or a small group to read through this book, discuss, and grow as a disciple of Jesus?

*I have several copies of this book in my office that can be purchased from the church for $10. Reply to this post or call the church office if you would like a copy.
Mission Connexion 2012
On Friday and Saturday January 20-21 you have an opportunity to attend a conference that will inspire you and equip you to be involved in fulfilling God's call on your life to take the good news about Jesus Christ to the nations.

Mission ConneXion Northwest 2012 will be
held right here in the Portland area at Crossroads Community Church in Vancouver. There will be powerful times of worship, compelling speakers, and lots of informative breakout workshops to equip you for your role in God's Great Commission.

The conference schedule and other conference details are available at
. If you would like to carpool to the event on Friday night or Saturday evening, please contact the church office at 503-656-8600.

To watch a promotional video about the conference, click below:

Family Discipleship Class at Riverfalls
Discipleship occurs best in community. That’s true particularly with Family Discipleship, where we learn with one another how to follow Christ in the midst of our most important relationships—our family!

Family can be the most rewarding relationship, but also the most difficult. Indeed, we live in a time when the idea of family seems in decline and when marriages are in trouble.

As we learn together to how to live in the midst of “the drama of sin and grace” with our spouses and children, we will discover the power of the gospel to transform our families, and ourselves. We’ll learn how to build a godly family.

So join us Sunday mornings at 10:45 in the Chapel beginning October 17th for the Family Discipleship community, where we will explore applying the gospel to our families. We’ll begin with the six-session video, Sacred Marriage, where we’ll learn how God designed marriage to make us holy. Class is led by Michael Lewis.

Financial Peace
Financial Peace is returning January 6th 6:30-8:00pm.  Mark Hanson will be leading this class on Wednesday evenings at New Life Riverfalls.  Financial Peace University (FPU) consists of a 13-week video curriculum—taught by financial expert Dave Ramsey—that incorporates small-group discussions to encourage accountability and discipleship.
If you are interested in participating in this class please contact Mark Hanson 503.803.4099.
Biblical Training
Interested in making a significant investment in Biblical Training, but don't want to pick up and go back to school? Here is a resource that will give you an in-depth start to a Biblical education. And, best of all, it's online and free! The developer of this site is a part-time faculty member at Western Seminary and received and honorary doctorate from them last year.Enjoy!
New Life Church @ Luis Palau Festival
Several folks from New Life Church attended the Luis Palau Festival at Waterfront Park in Portland last Friday and Saturday. They heard some great music, saw the VeggieTales, played Guitar Hero, and heard a powerful gospel presentation by Luis Palau. Some of our church members served as volunteers and helped people who were making decisions to follow Jesus Christ.

In all, it was a great experience to see the body of Christ from around the Portland area come together for this exciting campaign. To find out more about what happened at the event go to and click on the link to the Portland Festival Blog.

Present the Good News

We use the simplest gospel presentation I've ever seen. It is easy to remember and use. I made this video during the first "Don't Waste Your Summer" training meeting, the low production costs will be obvious. But, if you are wondering how you might share the gospel wherever you have a pen and paper, I've found no better way than this.

The One Verse Bridge

Personalize the Gospel

There is no better way to present the gospel, to make it interesting and memorable than to weave your own story into it. How has the gospel changed you? If someone is interested in what a difference Jesus has made in your life, what would you say? Answering those questions can give you a ton of confidence sharing your faith.

A typical pattern for your story is a before and after outline. Begin by answering, "What was life like before Christ?" In other words, "What was going on in my life that made me realize I needed Christ?" or, looking back, "Now that Christ has changed me, what did He change?" If you couldn't put your finger on it then, maybe you can now.

Then, answer the question, "How has Jesus helped me with that problem?" What has He done to make you a different person with regard to the problem you mentioned above?

The before/after pattern is simple and clear. . . and that's important. It will require little more embellishment than, "Once I was insecure, now I have peace," or, "Once I was angry, now I've experienced forgiveness and can forgive much more easily."
Bill Hybles in Just Walk Across The Room suggests working on your story and then trimming it to 100 words. That's right, 100 words or less. He suggests you solve four common problems with as you prepare your personal story of conversion:
  1. Long-Windedness: The 100 word limit will keep both you and the person listening from getting bored. It will also keep you from going into prehistoric detail. "When I was in kindergarten. . . (yawn)."
  2. Fuzziness: Trim out extra details. Is it something someone else can relate to? You don't need to relay every dream, thought, vision, verse, need, crisis, sermon, etc. that was important in your turn to Christ. Draw a straight line from before to after and don't deviate. Everyone who listens to you will thank you!
  3. Religionese: Words like "asking Jesus into my heart," "walking the aisle," "born-again," "personal testimony," and many, many more sound more religious than genuine. Say what you mean and mean what you say in words that every person can understand. If you can explain what you mean (in your 100 words or less), please do. Otherwise, don't talk about it.
  4. Superiority: This can be tricky. Pride, spiritual or otherwise, is deceptive. You can come off as holier-than-thou without really meaning to. You can talk as though you every problem is completely solved and anyone who still has problems is stupid. . . that wouldn't be good. God saves people who humble themselves and trust Christ, stay humble when you talk about it. That's all.
If you'll do a little homework, you can be confident in telling people the difference Jesus makes in your own life. Nothing is more beautiful or interesting to listen to that than. In the comments below is one example of a 100 word testimony. Maybe you can add yours. . .
How to Talk to People About Important Things

It is one thing to talk to people about, well, nothing. . . to make small talk. It is another thing all together to talk about important things. How do you go about finding out what other people really think? How do you go about surfacing opportunities where the Good News might not only be heard, but be appreciated?

Again, there may be countless ways, but I am going to share only the easiest: QUESTIONS! That's right, questions. Simply ask more questions. Follow up the questions you ask when getting to know them (see yesterday) with better questions. These questions fall into three basic categories:
  • Permission Questions: If you are going beyond finding where someone is F.R.O.M. you will want to tread lightly. You can tread lightly by simply asking permission to go farther. "Do you mind if I ask you what you like about that?" or "Would it be alright if I told you what that has meant to me?" or "If you don't mind my asking, why do you believe that?" Permission questions simply make you a polite and respectful sharer of good news.
  • Poisonous Questions: Poisonous questions are not designed to create a crisis immediately. They are not designed to be confrontive. A poisonous question is one which lodges in someone's mind and give them reason to consider eternal and important things. It might be something like, "Yes, but is that really what you want out of life?" or "Don't you have to sell your soul for that kind of job? Will it really make you happy?" or "Is your hope that you won't have to give an account to God really worth the risk?" Poisonous questions don't preach, but as they say in Montana, they simply 'salt the oats.'
  • Progress Questions: A progress question comes when someone raises a serious question about your faith. Say, they can't go farther in your discussion because they believe in Evolution, or can't swallow the fact that 'a loving God would send people to hell.' You can stop all together, go home and cry, or you can ask a progress question. There are only a few varieties of this. You can ask, "What is it about this that makes you hesitate?" That will lead you to more substantial things to talk about. Or you can ask, "If I could provide an answer or solution to your problem that satisfied you, would you be willing to follow Christ?" This will tell whether it is a legitimate objection or one unconsciously designed to through you off track. If you need to find an answer you don't know, admit you don't know and make a plan to get back, but ask one more question first, "What would you consider an adequate solution?" This will help you know how to approach the solution.
These three types of questions are some of the best ways to not be preachy, but not be a coward about your faith either. Have fun!
How to Talk to Anyone!

It is one thing to identify and to initiate, but how do you know your attempt at initiation won't be a complete disaster? The simplest, and the best, way to plan a conversation with people you don't know is this little acronym. Find out where they are F.R.O.M. by asking questions in the following areas:
  • FAMILY: Are you married? Any kids? Do you live with parents? How did you meet? Do you all get really busy or is this a quieter time of year?
  • RECREATION: What do you like to do in your spare time? Where did you learn to play (quilt, ride, garden, etc.)? Where do you go for vacation? What do you like to do then?
  • OCCUPATION: What do you do to pay the bills? Do you like it? Why did you chose that? What do you like best about your job? Do you have a commute? What do you do to fill the time when you're commuting? What are you studying in school?
  • MEMORIES: Where did you grow up? (Whether I like it or not, it is easy to talk with someone about Montana!) What brought you to Oregon? What do you like best about living here? Did you have brothers and sisters?
You are bound to find some common ground by being friendly and using these questions. One thing always happens. You make it easy for someone else to ask, "What about you?" While there are countless other ways to connect with someone, this simple acronym forms a platform for most of my conversations with people I don't know very well.