Equipping God's People to Create Missional Culture

Todd Hiestand 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. Todd’s local newspaper is Bucks County Courier Times. Here is Todd Hiestand on the Good News.

THE GOOD NEWS

What is the “good news?” First and foremost I think we can say that it quite literally needs to be “news that is good.”

Two years ago I found myself standing in front of about 300 people from the local Feasterville. As a pastor, this is usually something about which I would be pretty excited. But on that night, it was the last place I wanted to be. You see, I was standing in front of the friends and family of a young man, merely 23 years old, who had just taken his own life. I stood there as “pastor” and it was apparently my job to bring comfort or some sense of hope to the situation. I have no doubt that many of those people did not expect much from a pastor, let alone one that looked like he was barely out of college, but even those who were most skeptical seemed to be asking me this question, “Pastor, what is the good news?

About six months ago my son and I were playing with his matchbox cars. Randomly, without being provoked, he looked up and asked me, “Daddy, why did Jesus have to die?” Now, I was in the midst of trying to get my Porsche to out run his Jeep so I wasn’t completely ready for his question. But I stopped myself before giving the answer. How do I want my son understanding the answer to this question? Why did Jesus have to die? What really happened at the cross? In essence, he was asking me this question, “Daddy, what’s the good news?

How do you answer this question for a 5 year old? How do you answer this question when you are standing in front of 300 people who are in one of the darkest moments of their lives? To again state the obvious, in both situations the answer needs to actually be news that is good.

It needs to be good to a five year old playing with his matchbox cars as well as someone who has just lost their friend or family member to suicide.

Through these and many other experiences I have found that the best way I can answer this question is to say that the good news is that Jesus came, died and rose again to fix the problems of the world.

I believe that its important we start there.

Far too often we Christians have addressed the “good news” from too narrow a scope. The heart of the good news is the reality that God makes all things new. The Bible talks about the day when there will be no more mourning, not more crying, no more death, no more pain. All the problems of the world will be fixed.

This good news Christians carry is a belief that is global in scale. From this starting point it moves down into all other spheres of life.

We believe that Jesus came to bring peace and justice to a broken world.

We believe that Jesus came to bring peace and justice to a broken Bucks county.

We believe that Jesus came to bring peace and justice to my neighborhood.

We believe that Jesus came to bring peace and justice to my home.

And, yes, we even believe that Jesus came to bring peace and justice to my (and your) broken life.

My hope here is that you’ll realize that the good news that Christians profess is global in scale. All of our deepest longings are met in the words of Jesus himself, “I am making all things new…”

Todd Hiestand is lead pastor at The Well, a church in Suburban Philadelphia. He also works as a freelance web designer at 343design. He is the husband of one wife and the father of three boys. Cole is 5 years, Mason is 2 years and Elliot is 5 days. Todd blogs here at Missional Living in Suburban America, and you can follow him on twitter as well. His local paper is the Bucks County Courier Times.


4 Responses to Todd Hiestand on The Good News

  1. Sonja says:

    Todd,
    I found these phrases powerful:
    ‘The heart of the good news is the reality that God makes all things new, the day when there will be no mouring,crying,death,no more pain…we believe that Jesus came to bring peace and justice to a broken world,and our broken life…All the problems of the world will be fixed’.

    I’ve been dwelling on these parables for a while now. luke 16:19-31 and luke 18:1-8
    The parable of the rich man and Lazarus and the parable of the persistent widow.
    A message of comfort after Lazarus died..What strucked me in that story was how Lazarus longed for these riches and care he was not capable to get hold to himself during his life: “laid at this rich men’s gate,covered with sores,longing to eat
    what fell from the rich man’s table, even the dogs came and licked his sores”

    and a message where the widow found justice in the end.”will not God bring about justice for His chosen ones, who cry out to Him day and night?”

    I’m looking forwards to that day!

  2. Dustin James says:

    Todd, the way you wrote about your son asking about the Good News made me consider how I would answer a 5 year old also. I wondered how different the answer we give to children is from the one we give our peers and our elders? But like you said that gospel is in no way narrow – only our responses to the gospel can be at times. So let’s embrace the fullness of Christ’s Good News, our world sorely needs it.

  3. jrwoodward says:

    Todd, thanks for sharing how deep, wide, long and high the good news is, from cosmic to very personal. Peace.

  4. Tony Stiff says:

    Great post Todd I loved how you connected the good news with both personal questions each of us raise from our own context as well as the needs of a broken creation. As always brother you give your readers much to consider.

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