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Citizens Conference Recap – Afternoon Sessions

April 13, 2014 | In Church, Life

Note: This post follows on from my Citizens morning session recap.

Both the sessions I attended in the afternoon at Citizens were presented by Tim Chaddick. As someone who is only a couple of years older than myself, I was greatly encouraged by his heart for the Gospel, for his passion for bringing it to people in his context, and his knowledge of the scriptures.

Workshop – Reaching a City

Tim’s workshop started with a short talk based from his experience planting Reality LA. This was followed by a Q&A panel with John Dickson, Mike Paget and Julie-Anne Laird.

1. We need to listen to our City

Listening to the city will point us to identifying the idols of the city, which blind non christians to the truth of the Gospel. When we understand the idols, we’ll be able to reason with people (like Paul in Acts), identify road blocks to the Gospel, and be moved with compassion for the city.

Tim identified common idols as career and acceptance among peers in his context in LA. In the context of the workshop, idols were defined as things that people find their ultimate significance and identity in, and in turn stop people seeing the reality of who Jesus is, and the work he’s done for them on the cross.

2. Ask Hard Questions

Once we’ve got a grasp of the idols our cities hold high, we need to help people see the idols for themselves. Christians need to challenge people to think about their idols and why they put their hope in them. The Gospel exposes our hearts, and changes us, and so helping people question if their hope is in the right place will provoke them to consider the Gospel truths.

We need to avoid superficial questions that dance around the idols of our cities and instead, confront them head on.

3. Provide a Framework

Evangelism isn’t about changing the topic, away from the idols we see around us. It’s about bringing the Gospel to the topic, showing how it comes to bear on the topic.

Tim used an example from Acts 17 where Paul spoke at the Areopagus as they were worshiping idols and false gods and showed people that:

  • They’re dependant on God
  • They’re accountable to God and;
  • We’re alienated from God

and then provided clarity of the problem that sin isn’t just the actions of our hands, but that it’s the motives of our hearts.

4. Share the Gospel

We need to remember that the Gospel is a gift of grace and Jesus is the solution for sin and the effects of it! If we are moved to compassion for our city, we should want to share the solution to the cities real problems.

5. What Should We do?

Just believe that God will transform our cities! Jesus’ tomb is empty and so we have news to tell!

Talk 3 – Why Would Anyone Listen?

In the final session of the day, Tim spoke from Ezekiel 37, where God tells Ezekiel to prophesy over a valley of dry bones.

1. We need God’s Perspective

“When we see the Spiritual reality of our cities, it moves us to a place that says, ‘God, only You know’”.

We can’t do evangelism without Him

2. We need God’s Promise

“The cure can’t come from mere human words”

We need to remember that people need to hear God speaking, and that as his word goes out, he changes hearts. We need to keep telling the Truth to people.

3. We need God’s Power

Nothing will happen without God’s power. Renewal, resurrection and life all come from God, through us, speaking his Word.

The simplicity of the Gospel breaks people.

Through the Gospel, the power that raised Jesus from the dead works in us! We have hope where there only seems to be despair. We can see where people need the Gospel even when we don’t think they’ll come to Jesus. We are visionaries – seeing where life can be found. We are pioneers, compelled by the Gospel to take the good news to the people.

We need to root our confidence in the Gospel, not in ourselves, or our ministry results. Doing the latter, if we are successful, only will make us proud and when we fail, we’ll be discouraged. We’re already accepted by God, because of the work done by Jesus on the cross!

We are secure in Christ, so go take some risks!

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