Equipping God's People to Create Missional Culture

Alistair Johnson on The Good News

Illustration by Nidhi Balwada from India

Illustration by Nidhi Balwada from India

This entry is a part of an on-going blog series called The Good News, which is taking place throughout the Easter Season, from Easter to Pentecost. A full list of the contributors can be found here. Ali’s local newspaper is The Star serving Sheffield and South Yorkshire. Here is Ali Johnson on the Good News. The title of his entry is: What is Good News to Sheffield?

“Who do people say that I am?” Peter was asked this question some 2,000 years ago and I have always wondered what his internal response would have been. In some of my dialogue with the people of Sheffield over the question “Who is Jesus?” I have had some positive responses, other times some hostile responses to that question; but I believe that here in England we are lost. We live in the shadow of large empty churches and we can’t catch the sun.

Whispers are coming from all over the world proclaiming the good news of this guy some call redeemer, some call saviour, some call prophet, some call a fake but what is he here in Sheffield? This was the start to a conversation I had on the tram the other day. This may not have been the greatest moment in my life as an evangelist. However the bewildered looking guy I was chatting with, did respond with, “what is good news about this Jesus guy anyway?” This started me thinking about what the whispers of
Jesus’ love and grace grow into in our lives?

The most critical issue facing Christians today is dullness. We have lost our astonishment. Robert Capon-Farrar wrote, “The Good News is no longer good news, it is okay news. Christianity is no longer life changing, it is life enhancing. Jesus doesn’t change people into wild-eyed radicals anymore; He changes them into nice people.” In our world today we have a problem with the understanding of the good news; nothing about the good news of Jesus is considered good news outside of the four walls of our life.

Sheffield is a product of a lost generation, a generation that in one swoop of Marget Thatcher’s pen lost the very heart of its city (Margaret Thatcher closed many of the mines in Sheffield which were the main source of employment). The good news here can’t be just good news, it can’t be okay news; it has to be great news. Great to the lives of the hearers, as it is to mine, to Paul’s and to yours. The only way we recapture the good news is by living out that which is good.

The answer is recapturing the transformational nature of the good news. The news that turned Saul from a Jewish jihadist into, Paul, one of the most life giving, grace dispensing, great souls of his day. If we recapture the power, we will see lost generations all over the world come out from behind the empty churches and began to live in the light.

Ali Johnson is a third year student at Cliff College, a bible college in Derbyshire, England. He is about to graduate this summer and go into the big wide world. Ali blogs at costly grace. He is a young fresh thinker; he loves to watch football (both types), reading, people and smoking cigars.

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