Equipping God's People to Create Missional Culture

Greg Larson 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. Greg’s local newspaper is the Los Angeles Times. Here is Greg Larson on the Good News.

THE GOOD NEWS

I had a professor in college who from time to time would state the following in response to a student’s question (oftentimes me) – “you cannot see the forest for the trees”. I am not sure if I always fully understood what he meant, but I think that it was along the lines of communicating that the student did not see the big picture, or all of the nuances of what they were looking at because their perspective was limited and coming from the very middle of the situation (or forest if you will). All they saw were the trees immediately around them so therefore, they needed somehow to add to that perspective by looking from beyond the forest — so that they could see everything as a whole.

I look at the Good News that way. For far too many years, I was in the middle of the forest (spiritually) and did not see how vast and large and inclusive the Good News was. The total, summation of the good news in my mind was – ’believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved’. Now there is much truth to that as I believe in the saving power of Jesus – over and above everything else. What I did not see was that there were possibly more robust, deeper and nuanced aspects of the Gospel that I had never discovered. Now, as my mom would say, you don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. I would never, ever jettison the simpler aspects of the gospel. However, as Tim Keller has said – “we must admit that so many of us who revel in the classic gospel of ’grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone’ largely ignore the eschatological implications of the gospel…”

The eschatological implications of the gospel that were missing has to with the ’renewal of all things’. God promises nothing short of total cosmic renewal, and our anticipation of that renewal, actually gives us passion and excitement in making a difference. In the here and now.

As Plantinga has said “If all has been created good and all has been corrupted, then all must be redeemed. God isn’t content to save souls; God wants to save bodies too. God isn’t content to save human beings in their individual activities; God wants to save social systems and economic structures too…”

To me, that is Good News! That God is in the business of saving souls and of cosmic renewal. That is exactly the reason why Christ taught us to pray, “Thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven” and that is exactly why Christ gave us the Great Commission to make disciples of all nations – because this has great implications for reforming the fabric of the culture of those nations!!

Greg was born and raised in Minnesota. He got an undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Minnesota, and is currently pursuing a Masters of Art in Global Leadership at Fuller Seminary in Pasadena. He helped found the Rock church in Minneapolis, before moving out to LA to help with planting Kairos churches in LA. He is married to the incredibly talented artist Michelle, and has two phenomenal kids; Caleb – who wants to play professional soccer in the English Premier league, and Elisabeth – who wants to go to an Ivy League college someday. He loves to watch films with his wife, explore new neighborhoods in Los Angeles, hang out with his kids, and watch, play or have anything to do with soccer. He also loves to communicate the reality of god’s kingdom to people in LA, and be involved in helping mobilize and equip people in Hollywood to contribute their time and resources to the cause of mercy and justice in the city. He blogs at Sacred Journeys in LA and resides in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles.


3 Responses to Greg Larson on The Good News

  1. Great post Greg, I too am slowly seeing how all encompassing and inclusive this gospel really is. It’s definitely getting bigger, not smaller

  2. jrwoodward says:

    Greg, thanks for a holistic picture of the good news. Well put. It’s nice to labor with you. Peace.

  3. Sonja says:

    Greg,
    I do remember that picture being used by teachers to tell students about the trees and the forest ,
    only to me it was used during an indentity crisis.lol
    I liked the message of the good news you quoted of ‘plantinga’.It create a balance.

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