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Gathering

If you were part of the Multiply Gathering in Austin last month, you may remember an analogy that Francis used to illustrate what happens when we add to the gospel. What he ended up with was the drink pictured blow.

It’s an ugly concoction that’s hard to look at and even harder to drink. It used to be juice, made solely of fruits and vegetables. But simply by adding stuff that we find appealing – whipped cream, chocolate syrup, and Skittles – what began as healthy and refreshing quickly became unappetizing and impure. The juice in the picture to the left is now unrecognizable, if it even qualifies as juice at all.

This is what becomes of the gospel when we try to spice it up with our own “words of eloquent wisdom.” 1 Corinthians 1:17 tells us that when we do this, we can actually empty the cross of its power. That’s why, in 1 Corinthians 2:1-5, Paul resolved to preach nothing but the simple gospel: Jesus’ death on the cross.

The death of Jesus hardly seems appealing to fleshly eyes. In fact, reading 1 Corinthians 1:22-25 makes it clear that, like a child who hates healthy vegetable juice, the lost will naturally see our gospel message as foolishness. So it’s okay if preaching it makes us feel uncomfortable. But we must preach it. And though people may like Skittles, throwing some in a glass of vegetable juice actually ruins the once healthy and refreshing drink. Likewise, adding to the gospel in an attempt to make the cross more appealing actually serves to empty the cross of its inherent power. For we know that this gospel, and this gospel alone, is “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Rm 1:16).

To watch this illustration from the November Gathering, begin listening here at time marker 1:14:33.

Ladies, if you are looking for a good additional resource to help you has you make disciples, check out Lisa Chan’s True Beauty, a series of films in which biblical teaching is woven together with the personal testimonies of women. In Not of This World,” as you hear about having an eternal perspective on things, you’ll get a glimpse of how Shawn’s wife, Carolyn, learned to do this through her struggles as a wife and mother. You may remember Shawn from the most recent Multiply Gathering (the man Francis discipled).

The first video below gives you a look behind the scenes of the short film and includes Shawn telling his side of the story. The second is a short “Not of This World” trailer.

The following is a summary of the main teaching session (Session 1) of the Multiply Gathering 2013 in Austin, Texas. David Platt and Francis Chan spoke alternately in short increments on a variety of biblical passages. Here are some common themes that emerged:

As we move out to make disciples, we have to keep in mind some foundational, yet often-neglected truths. Sharing the gospel is not something we engage in on our own. We don’t have to manufacture anything. God is at work, and according to John 5:17, the Son is working too. And He has sent His Spirit to live in us in order to do the work of spreading the gospel.

In light of the fact that the Spirit lives in us, we ought to expect that our lives would be different from unbelievers, that we would manifest things that we can’t produce on our own. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead is alive in you. He involves us in His mission not because He needs us, but because He loves us.

As we proclaim the message of the gospel, one of the temptations we face is to add to the gospel. This may seem like a good idea, but Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1:17 that adding to the word of the cross is actually to empty the cross of its power. God has chosen to use the foolish and weak. We simply, speak, obey, and trust in Him.

One comforting thought as we move out to make disciples is the reality that God is already at work in people’s lives. We ought to trust that as we seek to engage people. However, there will be rejection. But when we are rejected, we ought not be discouraged. This is expected; we’re not failures. A failure is the person who doesn’t speak the gospel, not the person who speaks and is rejected. Like Isaiah in Isaiah 6, we may be called to a work where there is only rejection. Like Amos, we ought to be in awe that we would be used to speak God’s Word to others. Therefore, we should not be discouraged when we are told not to speak. We didn’t come up with this in the first place.

Picture people you know who are unsaved and trust that God is at work in some of their lives. Trust that He has put you in their life. And He wants some of them to come to have life in Him. Do not let the Adversary cause you not to believe in God.

Move out toward unbelievers you know while trusting in God’s power.

 

_V1A3097For those of you who have registered for the Multiply live stream this Friday, you may be wondering what exactly that evening will look like. We’ll see if we can enlighten you a little bit.

This Week
Let’s assume you’ve already registered (if not, don’t wait anymore!). Between now and Friday, if you haven’t already tested your internet connection to make sure you have enough bandwidth, you should go ahead and do so. Also before Friday, you may want to print off a program for each person that will be participating with you.

Friday
Then on Friday, we’d encourage you to log in to watch at 5pm Central or shortly thereafter. At that time, we’ll have some videos and announcements up and running so you can make sure your connection is working well and all your technical bases are covered. The program will start at 6pm. The schedule, according to the Central time zone, is as follows:

6:00pm – Welcome
6:05pm – Call to Prayer
6:35pm – Session 1
7:40pm – Break
7:50pm – Session 2
8:45pm – Call to Action
9:00pm – Gathering Concludes

This breakdown is tentative and subject to change, but it does give you a good feel for how the night will look. Keep your eye on our Twitter account, our Facebook page, and this blog for important updates and information leading up to Friday and then throughout the live stream that evening.

Time Zones

Live on the West Coast? Mountain time? Who cares?

Well, we do. But for the Multiply live stream this Friday, it doesn’t matter what time zone you’re in. With our delayed streaming option, you can postpone the start of the simulcast until your crew gets off work, done with practice, and dinner in their bellies.

As you know, the live stream will begin on Friday at 6pm CENTRAL time and is set to go until about 9pm. As long as you log in before 9pm central, you can pause and rewind the live stream just like you would a DVR. So if you live in California and watching “live” would mean getting off work early, no sweat! You can start watching it when you get home. (If you’re really bad a figuring out time differences, don’t despair! Here’s a handy time zone calculator.)

More details on this and a host of other technical information related to the live stream can be found in our Technical FAQs page. Make sure you check it out if you have a question about the technical side of things. And make sure you register for the live stream ahead of time. See you Friday!

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Discouraged MultiplierIf, since the last Gathering, you can echo that sentiment, there are at least two ways of handling it. 1) Give up, or 2) learn from your shortcomings and recommit. Of course, we would urge you to embrace this latter response and be all the more diligent in your calling to make disciples this year. *

We don’t want your discouragement to lead to you not participating in the Multiply Gathering. Whether you are being tempted to give up or have already resolved to get back on your horse, the Gathering this Friday is sure to help. We don’t want to give you a guilt trip or discourage you further. In fact, you should know that you’re not alone. Take it from Mary in Alabama:

At work, I haven’t seen someone actually come to faith. They seem to be interested in what I believe, but aren’t willing to follow Christ… I wish I had more time for them.

Here are a couple others:

Not seeing fruit is really discouraging, but it’s probably because I don’t get on my knees as often as I should for my disciple. – Gabriella, NJ

I cry sometimes because I don’t know how to help some people. I feel guilt over missed opportunities and ways that I see I didn’t use the wisdom of Gd and relied on my own instead. – Bradley, GA

Our goal this Friday is to encourage you if you’re discouraged. So don’t let the fact that you haven’t made a disciple since the last Gathering keep you from participating in this one. It’s free, and you have only to gain from it. Although the registration process is super easy, don’t wait until Friday afternoon. We’d encourage you to take 60 seconds and REGISTER NOW.

* Note: We realize that even when faithful, there can be cases in which the people you have been sharing with reject the gospel. Not all cases in which there is little or no fruit are a result of personal shortcomings or unfaithfulness in disciple-making.

Energizer BunnyWe hope you’ve seen the Lord work in and through you in this past year as you’ve sought to teach someone else what it means to follow Christ. As you’ve probably noticed, making disciples is both rewarding and challenging. You may even feel like you need to recharge your batteries in this important area. If so, we’ve got good news: the next Multiply live stream is quickly approaching!

We’re coming together on November 8 to encourage one another to continue to obey Christ’s command to His church to make disciples. While the purpose of the night is the same as last year’s Gathering, the content will be different this year, so be sure you make plans to participate again. If you’ve led someone to the Lord in this past year, or if you’ve been building up a new believer in the faith, then invite that person to join in the live stream on Friday, November 8. Once again, it’s free, so make plans now and register.

Remember, the goal of Multiply is to make disciples who make disciples. Use this upcoming live stream as an encouragement and a challenge to continue making the gospel known. Also, if you know other believers who need to hear about the importance of making disciples, invite them to join you. We want as many people as possible leading others to follow Christ.

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…”

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