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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.

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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.

 

0 Grams Trans FatRecently I saw a bag of potato chips with a bold declaration splashed across the front: “Zero grams of trans fat.” I was glad to know that I wouldn’t be consuming any trans fat, which research has shown is detrimental to my health. But then I flipped the bag over and read the ingredients list, which included things like “yellow #6″ and other artificial colors, and partially hydrogenated oil (which is trans fat, just a small enough amount that they can legally call it “0 grams”). I thought it was incredibly ironic that these chips were being advertised in a way that makes me think they are not harmful yet were really full of empty calories, weird chemicals, and, ironically, trans fat.

It struck me that many Christians flash around their “no trans fat” label, trying to convince everyone they are healthy and good. Yet they have no substantive or healthful elements to their faith. It’s like the Laodiceans, who thought they had everything until Christ told them they were poor and wretched. They were all about declaring, “Look, we have no trans fat. We are wealthy, or we have good families, or we go to church every week.” Obviously, it’s not what you advertise that counts; it’s what you are really made of.

But Paul writes that even if “I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing” (1 Cor. 13:2-3 ESV). Wow. Those are strong and unmistakable words. According to God, we are here to love. Not much else really matters.

From Crazy Love, pp. 93-94

Photo credit

Screen Shot 2013-10-18 at 11.27.43 AMYou may be asking yourself, “If I participated in the Multiply Gathering live stream last year, what’s the point in signing up this year? Won’t it just be the same stuff?”

We know your time is in high demand, and you can trust us when we say that we don’t want to waste it. We believe that participating in Multiply 2013 will not only benefit those of you who participated last year, but have even more to offer you the second time around!

To flesh out the night’s content a little bit more, here is a top ten list of why you should sign up… again.

  1. Encouragement – You have been trying to make disciples for the past year. Hopefully you’ve had many victories, but if you’re like us, we know that you’ve also had some struggles and failures. One of the big aims of the 2013 Gathering is that we’re all encouraged to endure.
  2. The Word – Our foundation for making disciples will be the foundation for the upcoming Gathering. Francis and David will share from the Word again – motivating, empowering, and equipping us in this journey.
  3. Prayer – Together, we’ll spend some intentional time petitioning our heavenly Father for help and success as we seek to make His name famous.
  4. Their Journey – Francis and David will share some of their personal disciple-making journey over the past year in hopes of encouraging others with both their “highs” and their “lows.”
  5. Our Journey – We’ve heard about some of your disciple-making experiences, and we’ll be sharing some of these stories at the 2013 Gathering. None of us are alone. Come hear how others are doing.
  6. Recommitting – Some of you have been galloping along all year, and we want to make sure it stays that way. Some of you have fallen completely off the horse and need to get back in the saddle. So together, we’ll commit to another year of following Christ and leading others to do the same.
  7. Bring Your Friend(s) – Part of last year’s charge was that this year, you’d participate in the live stream with the person you’ve led to Christ and poured into. Bring them with you!
  8. Bring Others – Don’t stop with your one person though. Bring other believers so they can be encouraged to make disciples too.
  9. Newbies Welcome - Don’t be afraid to pick up with the second Multiply Gathering if you missed the first. You’ll be up to speed in no time!
  10. The Process Continues – Making disciples who make disciples who make disciples is an ongoing process for every follower of Christ. Disciple-making isn’t something you can just “check-off.” We all know that. Multiply 2013 will be a tool to help you resist just such a temptation and continue your disciple-making journey.

Register for the FREE 2013 Multiply Gathering live stream HERE.

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