Christianity 201

June 18, 2018

Christianity 201: Post #3,000

2 Timothy 2:2

You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.  (NLT)

You have often heard me teach. Now I want you to tell these same things to followers who can be trusted to tell others. (CEV)

2 Corinthians 3:5

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.  (NIV)

By ourselves we are not qualified to claim that anything comes from us. Rather, our credentials come from God (ISV)

I am always surprised when it will occur to me to mention something which I value of prime importance that I wrote about earlier at Thinking Out Loud and then I go there and discover I’ve never put that into print. I’ve spoken about it many, many times, but it never quite made it into writing on that blog, or for that matter, this one.

I think that each of us have what I would call prime spiritual values, things which perhaps aren’t the most important thing — that would be Christ’s death and resurrection — but things that are distinctives or things we feel that God has given us as primary mission or perhaps our primary legacy.

For me, the first scripture above demonstrates what I call the chain of grace. I didn’t invent this term, but it describes the situation whereby person A shares the truth about Jesus with person B, who then accepts that message and passes it on to person C, who then joyfully receives Christ and immediately tells person D.

I got to see this firsthand once, though the story was told backwards. It was a testimony of four high school students. It started with person D, who was so thankful for the influence of person C in their conversion; followed by person C who thanked God for the witness of person B who led them in a prayer of confession and faith; followed by person B who explained to us how they were moved to become a Christian by the care and concern of person A; and then we met person A who shared her story.

It was an electric moment. Decades later, I still wish I had a recording of that.

But that’s how it’s supposed to work. I am entrusting a message to you — the God story — but embedded in that message is the mandate that you will then entrust this message to others. (Who will then pass this message on to others. And so on.)

The second verse above is a reminder that we do this under God’s authority, not our own. We’re not trying to build our empire, but his. We don’t speak what we’ve reasoned, rationalized or otherwise deduced, but what has been given to us. 

We did not make this up.

…Every day at C201 — with the exception of the articles I write myself, and those of our two regular contributors — I go on a mission of hunting and gathering. About half the time it’s triggered by revisiting people whose writings I have found encouraging before, and the other half is a voyage of discovery.

I’m looking for people who have something valid to say to the wide variety of readers we have here which is rooted in scripture and goes beyond the superficial. At the same time, I’ve often included something very straightforward for that reader who lands here and is investigating Christianity for the first time.

There is so much great writing online, and I’m so happy to be in a position to celebrate those gifts and share the fruit of their writing with you here. I know that from one day to the next it might seem rather random — our writers have included Messianic Jews, Catholics, Charismatics, Quakers, Orthodox and ultra-Conservatives — but I hope you’ve found the mix enriching. I also try to break away from North American writers as much as possible to present a broader Christian worldview.

Would it be better to just stay with a single writer or a single theme or a single passage of scripture? Yes. Absolutely. That’s how I started my own devotional life, reading the works of the late Selwyn Hughes from the UK who would spend 60 days on a single theme.

Our mandate here is different. It’s a showcase of what God is doing in the lives of Christians across the internet spectrum.

In that, I hope you also can rejoice. Many of these writers normally get a half-dozen readers per day, but on one day, we can share their thoughts with a much greater readership. Some have far more readers than we do, but there might that one person who has never tapped into their books, podcast or online writing.

God’s family is so much bigger than we can imagine, and he is so active in the lives of his people.

Today, with this our 3,000th post, let’s celebrate that.


January 11, 2011

What is your “Word” for 2011?

It’s been a busy couple of days, and I knew that if there was going to be a post here today at C201, it was going to be a repost from the blogosphere as opposed to an original piece.   But nothing was waiting in the wings.   As I scanned the list of some 300 blogs I monitor, I knew I had to turn to someone who would have something solid to say.

What about you? Are you someone that people know they can turn to for solid, Biblical counsel? Are you known as a person of spiritual depth? Each one of us building a reputation including a spiritual reputation…

…Well, with the awesome weight of that introduction on his shoulders, I now introduce the blog post where I ended up, Jon Swanson’s 300 Words a Day – Following Jesus for this post…

For the past three years, I have chosen three words to provide some direction. It has been a great exercise. And for the first two years, it was very helpful. This last year, however,  I realized that three words are two too many for me. I am too easily confused. I forget them. And, in retrospect, there was a gap between the three words – attuned, Jamaica, product – and what I my responsibilities are.

So for 2011 I have one word. Disciple.

Once, I defined a disciple as a person who chooses to allow the life and teaching of someone to shape his/her own life. People shaped by life-changing relationships. I’m still comfortable with that definition. And I know that I have written a lot about the disciples, about being a disciple or follower of Jesus.

What I’m wondering, though, as I begin this new year, is what would happen if I made disciple the centerpiece of what I do? What if I did everything I could to allow my life to be shaped by following Jesus? What if I spent my writing time and thinking time and teaching time helping myself and other people clearly and simply understand what following Jesus could and does look like?

Over the weekend, for example, I wrote two posts about how to follow better. (Here’s a one-page version of 8 ways to follow better.) What I realized (after the fact) is that those eight things would make great themes to explore this year. So I’ll be doing that. In as practical ways as I can. Because if we together  (assuming I can count on your interaction) were to put those eight processes into practice, this would be a remarkable year.

Disciple is, I know, both a noun and a verb. This year, I’ll work on both.

~Jon Swanson


I encourage you to follow Jon’s blog to see where these themes lead.  It’s currently one of only five devotional blogs listed here…

So what’s your word for 2011?