The Mission Exchange and CrossGlobal Link have merged, forming Missio Nexus. You can visit their website here. Access for individuals starts at under $30. The services include:

  • 52 book reviews (electronically delivered – 1 per week)
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Accessing their services just for the book summaries is well worth the cost. Below is a sample from the July edition of Leader’s Edge Book Summary of Dan Meyer’s recent book Witness Essentials. Each book summary includes the content of the book by category of:

  • Best chapter
  • Best quotes
  • Best illustration
  • Best idea
  • Best take away
  • Recommendation

Witness Essentials

Evangelism That Makes Disciples

Authors: Daniel Meyer

Publisher: IVP Connect, Downers Grove, IL. 2012.
ISBN: 978-0830810895

Summary

Daniel Meyer is senior pastor of Christ Community Church of Oak Brook, IL – a western suburb of Chicago. Meyer has written Witness Essentials as a fresh, new practical “how to” guide for believers in sharing their faith. This well-written book shows that Meyer is a scholar but relates on a down to earth level to the reader on the topic of personal evangelism.

The book is excellent for personal study or small groups, Sunday school classes, etc. Each chapter begins with an exercise considering a “core truth” of that chapter, but then before the content of the chapter is engaged, there is also a full page consisting of a “memory verse study guide,” followed by a two page inductive Bible study guide. It fully engages the reader on the topic of the chapter.

 Best chapter

Chapter 7: Testify to the Truth You Know.

Meyer’s core truth for this chapter is, “We can help renew the thoughts and feelings of people toward Christ and Christianity by testifying to the truth we know through three major types of testimony: a prosecutorial style that respectfully confronts people with tough questions; a defensive style that supplies reasoned answers to intellectual barriers to faith; and a personal style which gently leads people into the story of God’s work of grace in our life.” (p. 123). He then goes on to explain how to effectively use these three types of testimony.

Best quotes

“No less than the first disciples, we are called by Jesus and empowered by his Spirit to play a personally active role in the ultimately unstoppable expansion of Christ’s life-redeeming influence, until that coming day when God completes the renewal of his creation. There is no vocation more significant and satisfying than being a witness to the life-changing love of Jesus Christ.” (p. 21)

“We are called to proclaim the good news of Christ’s life-giving victory over the sinful separation from God that disfigures human character, blinds people to truth, and leaves them without reliable power to overcome the brokenness of creation, the darkness of death, and the limits of human love. This gospel is God’s wonderful invitation to be saved from sin for a beautiful new life through him.” (p. 36)

“Jesus has both called and empowered us to take our place among the great cloud of witnesses God is using to advance his redemptive purposes in history. The question that naturally arises is How? How do we go about being these witnesses of whom Jesus speaks? The short answer to this question is, “by proclaiming the gospel message.”
(p. 41)

“Many disciples today find themselves in a period of glorious insecurity. While we may grieve the death of all the apparently advantageous arrangements that “Christendom” brought us, we are being compelled toward that state of blessed dependence upon God out of which can be born a new first-century faith.” (p. 52)

“God wants his disciples to be dramatically different from the representatives of religion who have increased the resistance of many to the claims of the Christian faith. He calls us to be filled with his good heart toward people, to yearn relentlessly to see lost people found by his love, and to help others discover the multiple blessings that a relationship with Christ alone can give.” (p. 71)

“The ancient commandments have been replaced by ten new ones: (1) Thou shalt have a good day. (2) Thou shalt shop. (3) Thou shalt eliminate pain. (4) Thou shalt be up-to-date. (5) Thou shalt relax and not feel guilty. (6) Thou shalt express thyself. (7) Thou shalt have a happy family. And the three final ones? (8) Thou shalt be entertaining, (9) be entertained, and (10) buy entertainment.” (p. 82)

“Following Jesus, we move from our foundational communion with God into the mission field of an ill and injured world. Focusing on building redemptive relationships, we invest substantial time in people, express authentic affection for them, and gaze with both compassion and humility upon the damage done by sin to human health. These genuine friendships create the indispensable context for further influence.” (p. 88)

“To advance the work of witness, we must carefully investigate and invest in the spiritual soil of nondisciples’ lives. Doing this requires clarity about who brings the harvest, an understanding of the types of ground on which the gospel seed is sown, and the loving boldness to ask the cultivating questions out of which life-changing spiritual conversations eventually arise.” (p. 104)

“Strengthening our credibility with others requires an honest awareness and open confession of our own untransformed character and a purposeful commitment to seeking the help of God and others in repairing these sins. As people see us clearly naming and sincerely crucifying the sins that limit our lives, they will become more interested in pursuing this pathway to authentic life-change for themselves.” (p. 141)

“Our witness becomes dramatically more attractive and credible to nondisciples as they see us expressing unusual grace in the face of the crushing circumstances that often bring out the worst in people. If we can display a truly Christ-like character when we are under pressure, it will create curiosity and conversation about our faith and values.” (p. 157)

“Many will be unwilling to consider the truth of the gospel until they experience proof of the love of Christ. We will spur newfound interest in the Christian message and life among hardened people only to the extent that our words are preceded or accompanied by Christ-like acts of service that address the felt needs of people where they are under pressure.” (p. 173)

“Recognizing the resistance some people have to Christianity and spiritual commitment, we need to invite others toward God in the way modeled by Jesus. When the Holy Spirit instructs us that someone may be ready to take the most essential step of faith, we can ask several commitment-advancing questions that may lead them across the line of decision into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.” (p. 194)

“Our final work as a witness is not leading someone to make the decision to ask Christ into his or her heart, but guiding that person into the life of Christian discipleship. This way of living involves an ongoing journey toward maturity that is marked by several basic commitments needed to discover more of God, to nurture a more Christlike character and to act in the power of the Holy Spirit.” (p. 209)

Best illustration

“My friend George travels a lot on business and meets all kinds of people. When they ask, “What do you do?” he often replies, “I’m a secret agent.” People usually laugh and then say, “No, really, what’s your job?” He follows up by saying, “Well, actually, my cover is working as a furniture salesman, but my real job is trying to help people fulfill their spiritual potential.” At this point, the conversation hits a crucial pause. The word “spiritual” is a “glowing doorknob.” It is a conversational invitation to engage in a discussion of spiritual matters, presented in such a way as to be nonconfrontational. The one invited to grasp the doorknob and walk through the door is free to walk away, and free to continue to converse. Other similarly charged words include God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, Bible, ministry, church, conversion, life-changing, prayer, religion and faith. ” (p. 133)

 Best idea

“Don’t confuse your foundation (the church) with your mission field (those outside of the church). Don’t let the good you experience in the life of the community of faith distract you from the Great Commission Christ has given all believers, including you. It’s fine to pray for more people to come into our fellowships, but Jesus suggests that the bulk of our prayer ought to be for more of the church to go out walking, as he did, in the fields of this world.” (p. 96)

 Best take away

A very practical take-away is Meyer’s summary of the essence of the gospel message (with theological themes) using the acrostic “GOSPEL.”

G Get right with God (Justification)
O Overcome your character flaws (Sanctification)
S Set your course by reliable truth (Revelation)
P Participate in renewing this world (Redemption)
E Enjoy life beyond death (Resurrection)
L Love with the greatest love of all (Glorification)

Recommendation

If you are looking for a new, up-to-date book on personal evangelism that is current with today’s issues and realities as you conform the non-believer, this book is for you. It is gospel centered and world focused. You will be pleased with its balance.

Visit Missio Nexus to learn more about their Leader’s Edge Book Summaries and their other resources.

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