Tag Archives: Trinity

Making Disciples by Being Disciples

There are a variety of academic ways to define evangelism, but at its heart it is about making disciples of Jesus Christ. And yet, if we are to make disciples, we ourselves must be disciples. And that takes work. How are you attending to your soul in these days?

Here are some ways  to get you thinking… 

1) As Christians, we believe in a Triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This means that there are a variety of ways to think more deeply about God. God can be known in the beauty of creation. God can be known in the faithful covenants we discover in Scripture – in the journeys of Abraham and Sarah, in the great escape from slavery in Egypt, in the experiences of judges, monarchs, and mighty prophets. Of course, God is most fully revealed in Jesus, God’s anointed one. And God’s presence is continually with us through the power of the Holy Spirit – God’s sacred breath within us.

Reflect on the ways you know God:

  • What are some passages of Scripture that speak to you most powerfully about the nature and work of God? 
  • What long-standing convictions about God do Christians pass on to the next generation? What are the core values of the faith we are handing down? 
  • Reflect on an experience where God has been a significant personal presence in your own life. 

2) At WME, we like to remind people that Christian faith is not faith in general. It has a very specific object – the living God, revealed in Jesus Christ. Jesus is not a spiritualized, mythic teacher, but was a real person. He lived in a particular place and time, and he is alive by the power of the Holy Spirit. In him, we are able to see the clearest, most complete image of what the eternal God is like that humans are capable of seeing. This is remarkable because Jesus is God among us in human form – God in skin and bones. It is remarkable as well because in Jesus we see just how far God is willing to go to redeem and restore humanity and all of creation. 

Reflect on your response to God’s work in Jesus Christ:

  • If Jesus had never lived, how would your ways of understanding God be different? 
  • How would your motivation for doing good be different? 
  • How does gratitude for the gift of Christ fill you with joy? 

3) When my youngest daughter was small, she mastered the skill of throwing a peanut into the air and catching it in her mouth. She was excited to show me her newfound talent; however, the moment I began watching, she began missing. I told her I was going to leave the room so she could practice a bit more, but that I would be close by. As soon as I left, she was once again able to consistently catch the peanut. 

The disciples were never able to perform a miracle in Jesus’ presence; yet, after he left and they received the Holy Spirit, these same frightened and timid followers were transformed into powerful agents of the gospel. That transformative power was unleashed at Pentecost and the Holy Spirit has been remaking and restoring lives ever since. 

Reflect on your understanding of the Holy Spirit:

  • What works of the Holy Spirit can you identify in your own life? 
  • In your community? 
  • Around the world? 

Our witness for Christ is always strengthened when we become keenly aware of our journey in Christ. I pray that you will attend to your journey in Christ, so that others might be able to more clearly see him in you. 


Embracing Holy Spirit Power

From the Wesleyan perspective, the transcendent Creator God, the one who at times seems larger than our ability to understand, is also the ever-present, enabling God, the one who at other times seems closer to us than our breath. It is only through the power of the Holy Spirit that we are able to continue Jesus’ mission of self-sacrificing love in the world. Without Holy Spirit power, we lack the boldness and courage necessary to live in the “not yet” of the kingdom.

That enabling God – the Holy Spirit – inspires our prophetic witness to Jesus Christ (Luke/Acts), and resides within each of us (John). Yet the Holy Spirit, though focused in Jesus Christ and concentrated in those who follow him, is not contained solely within the church. The Holy Spirit is present, active, and involved with all of creation in a life-giving way. (Psalm 139.7; 2 Corinthians 3.6; Romans 8.1-27). The Holy Spirit is the Person of the Trinity through whom God gives Godself away to us, sharing our sufferings, joining us in our misery, binding Godself to us in joy and sorrow, conforming us into the image of Christ.

The grace of the indwelling Spirit allows us to participate in and gives us power through the life of God. This grace is our saving strength. When we ground evangelism in the Trinity, we open ourselves to being both transformed by the indwelling of the Spirit of God, and to becoming vehicles for that transformative power in others. In the space created within us, and between us and others, the Holy Spirit is invited to act for the transformation, not only of the other, but of us as well.

Because God’s kingdom has not yet been made fully known, our experiences of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit are presently incomplete. Yet, these experiences lead to our hope for the future, when God will indeed live completely and fully in God’s creation. As we are enlivened by the Spirit, we have hope that everything God created – human beings, nature, all creation – will be able to share in the fullness of God’s eternal life. The presence of the Holy Spirit, then, gives evangelism its future focus. We look forward to the future, already begun in Jesus Christ, when God will be all in all.

Adapted from Dr. Kim Reisman’s “Embrace” faith-sharing study.

The Embrace of the Self-Giving Christ

A Trinitarian foundation for evangelism begins with God’s initial self-giving in creation, and extends to God’s self-giving in Jesus Christ. At the heart of our faith is the belief that God became human in Jesus, and in Jesus, the redemption of all creation has begun. This is important for evangelism because it highlights God’s faithfulness, not just to humanity, but to the entire physical universe. The destiny of the whole world is tied up in Jesus Christ. Thus, redemption is not the process of being redeemed from creation. Creation is not something that needs to be escaped or destroyed for a new creation to come into existence. What God created, God called very good. Our Wesleyan tradition emphasizes this. Therefore, redemption is the redeeming of creation, where all of creation (not only human beings) is perfected and restored to its intended integrity and wholeness and where God’s holy love is in all and over all.

God’s self-giving in Jesus Christ becomes an even clearer model to ground evangelism when we recognize the dual themes made evident in the cross. As our crucified Lord, Jesus stands in solidarity with all who have suffered, while at the same time offering atonement to all who have sinned and fallen short. In other words, God’s self-donation is for both the oppressed and the oppressor, the perpetrator and the victim. It is impossible to understand the fullness of God’s self-giving love without both aspects. It is impossible as well to understand the holistic nature of evangelism without these twin themes. Christ’s self-giving love overcomes human hatred while at the same time creating space within Christ to receive estranged humanity. These two dimensions, the giving of self and the receiving of the other, are intrinsic to the internal life of the Trinity and, therefore, form the foundation for authentic evangelism.

The life and death of Jesus Christ reveal a crucial pattern for us: radical obedience to God and selfless love toward other people. As we explore the essential values of evangelism, we will not discover a mandate to perform certain deeds or learn particular doctrines. We will discover a pattern laid out for us in the life and death of Jesus.


Embracing God Who Creates


Creation is never an extra in Christian faith; it is foundational. All else moves outward from there. That idea is not always as obvious as it should be. It is easy to flip things around and think of God as the Redeemer who also creates, rather than as the Creator who also redeems. But that would be a mistake borne of placing ourselves at the center of the universe, rather than the one who truly belongs there – God.

God creates.

God redeems.

Christian faith is deepened and enriched when we get the order right. This is especially true in the arena of evangelism, where our focus is often on individuals and our fervent hope that they might come into relationship with Jesus Christ. There is no doubt this is an extremely important focus. Yet, where we begin a journey often has a significant impact on where we find ourselves at the end. Thus, where we begin our thinking about evangelism is very important.

The faith we receive when we encounter Jesus Christ is faith in a Triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Of course, the second person of the Trinity is vital; but our creeds remind us of the order: we believe in the Father, Almighty, maker of heaven and earth. Starting there widens the scope of redemption considerably – it is indeed good news for all creation.

When the essence of evangelism, those values that lie beneath our practices, rests firmly on an understanding of our Triune God, there will be a consistent ethos, a “way of being in the world,” that colors all our efforts, regardless of where we live or the distinctive aspects of our culture.

As Christians, we worship a creating, redeeming, sustaining God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – the God who redeems not only human beings, but the entirety of creation, which Paul tells us is even now groaning as God continues to work within it for God’s redemptive purposes.

We worship a creating, redeeming, sustaining God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – the God who is working, even now, to eliminate evil and bring to fruition the justice and peace of the kingdom inaugurated in Jesus of Nazareth. It is this God who creates. It is this God who redeems.


Adapted from Dr. Kim Reisman’s “Embrace” faith-sharing study.