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Home Church Planting/Missional Making sense of our mates stories with the Gospel

Making sense of our mates stories with the Gospel

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 Making sense of our mates stories with the Gospel


 Tim Keller, Jeff Vanderstalt and Paul Thompson


  1. How do I share the gospel with a mate that helps them make sense of their life story without appearing self-righteous?
  2. Do I come across as merely religious or can I showcase my faith by love but also with gospel bits that show the folly of life outside of Christ?
  3. Am I afraid to share my struggles with sin but also ready to share my hope of sins forgiven & new life in God through Jesus’ life, death and resurrection?

Answers :

Link God’s Story to their individual Story – show how the gospel themes address their hopes, fears, tensions?

i.e Separation, death of child, spouse, unemployment, chronic illness, abuse

(1) Begin with familiar and show how the gospel confirms what is strong and good in the culture. Know their story extremely well. Show your sympathy with it.

(2) But use the gospel to challenge and destabilize common cultural assumptions at points that they are weak or inadequate.

i.e functional saviours – our idols Food, material possessions, relationships, acceptance, career, sex, & pleasure.

Note: none of these are wrong per say but when they become functional saviours i.e idols we worship then they are sinful

(3) Finally, comfort and galvanize with the promises of the gospel. Show them that they can't finish their own story without God in Christ.

Taken from Contextualization of the Gospel by Jeff Vanderstelt

Connect the gospel to questions people are asking in their culture

The doctrines of creation, sin, grace, and faith must be presented in connection with 'baseline cultural narratives' – Jesus must be the answer to the questions they are asking. Don't forget – every gospel presentation presents Jesus as the answer to some set of human-cultural questions, like 'how can I be forgiven?' (Western moral individualism) 'how can I be free?' (post-modern expressive individualism) gospel presentation has to be culturally incarnated, it must assume some over-riding cultural concern, so we may as well be engaged with the ones that we face!

Christianity must be presented as answers to the main questions and aspirations of our culture.

Taken from; '.Deconstructing Defeater Beliefs by Tim Keller

Gospel Summary – Tim Keller

Why we are here?

The one God is a community – a Trinity of three persons who each perfectly know and defer to one another and love one another and therefore have infinite joy and glory and peace. God made a good, beautiful world filled with beings who share in this life of joy and peace by knowing, serving, and loving God and one another.

What went wrong.

Instead, we chose to center our lives on ourselves and on the pursuit of things rather than on God and others. This has led to the disintegration of creation and the loss of peace – within ourselves, between ourselves, and in nature itself. War, hunger, poverty, injustice, racism, bitterness, meaninglessness, despair, sickness, and death all are symptoms.

What puts the world right.

But though God lost us he determined to win us back. He entered history in the person of Jesus in order to deal with all the causes and results of our broken relationship with him. By his sacrificial life and death he both exemplifies the life we must live and rescues us from the life we have lived. By his resurrection he proved who he was and showed us the future — new bodies and a completely renewed and restored new heavens and new earth in which the world is restored to full joy, justice, peace, and glory.

How we can be part of putting the world right.

Between his first coming to win us and his last coming to restore us we live by faith in him. When we believe and rely on Jesus' work and record (rather than ours) for our relationship to God, his healing kingdom power comes upon us and begins to work through us. Christ gives us a radically new identity, freeing us from both self-righteousness and self-condemnation.

This liberates us to accept people we once excluded, and to break the bondage of things (even good things) that once drove us. He puts us into a new community of people which gives a partial, but real, foretaste of the healing of the world that God will accomplish when Jesus returns


Important note;

Like to learn more about how to make sense of people's stories with God's big story in the Bible? Here is a free course to help you learn and if you are a pastor or church planter teach others how to do it too.


Last Updated on Saturday, 21 March 2015 17:37  

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