The Micah Mandate: What is Christian Witness?

Christians have often truncated the scope of Christian witness one way or the other, depending on the person or group about whom you are speaking. For example, sometimes witness is understood purely in terms of evangelism and missions. Other times, bearing witness for Christ is framed exclusively in terms of social action.

Instead, the church is at her best when she views and practices her witness as a both/and… not an either/or paradigm. It’s what George Grant called in his book by the same name, The Micah Mandate (a very, very important book in my life that did much to shape me).

Bearing a faithful witness for our King and his Kingdom involves introducing folks to our King and helping them come to know him in a meaningful, transforming, personal, and saving way. Yet it also involves representing our King in the midst of the lesser kingdoms of this world. He desires to rule and reign in every sphere of life and we must go out into the highways and byways to stand for… and even fight for… his mercy, justice, and peace, according to his way of doing things. Of course, all of this is to be done with great humility, and always in the context of loving our neighbors by serving them and sharing his truth with them.

At all times we are under his authority and are not at liberty to pursue our own agendas and preferences. This means we must dig into what his Word says. The Great Commandment, Great Commission, and Cultural Mandate all require loving, serving, and obeying our King for his glory and for the good of our neighbors. This is our Christian witness. It’s what I’ve elsewhere referred to as Kingdom Discipleship.

May God help us clarify our focus and strengthen our faithfulness as we seek to bear witness to our King and for his Kingdom.


A Christian Worldview

2 Corinthians 10:5 – We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,

Puzzle Pieces and Movie Scripts

Everyone has a worldview. It may be well thought-out, logical, and coherent or it may be loosely thrown together and disorganized, but everyone has one. Quite simply, a worldview is your philosophy or view of life – a way of looking at the world around you.

Think of the cover of a puzzle box. If you were to dump all the puzzle pieces on the ground without seeing what the picture on the cover looked like, you would have a pretty hard time putting the puzzle together. Similarly, life presents us with thousands of questions and issues which are like pieces to a puzzle. Without the right worldview to follow, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to know where and how all the pieces fit.

Or, think of a worldview as a movie script. The late Francis Schaeffer said that life is like entering a very long movie that has already started and then learning you have to leave before it ends. In such a situation we would be significantly lost without some outside help. Schaeffer suggested that the Bible gives us the script of the whole movie. Therefore, even if we have missed the first part of it, and even though we will have to leave before it is over, we can still see how we fit into the big picture. A faithful Christian will want to have a biblical worldview because that will be the view of life that will most closely correspond to reality.

Elements of a Worldview

What are the key components that comprise a person’s worldview? Let me briefly mention five of the most important elements that shape a person’s view of life.

1.) The first aspect of a worldview is one’s view of God: Does God exist? Is God personal or impersonal? Is there only one God or many? Does God require anything from us? What is the nature of God? It has been rightly observed that a person’s answers to these questions will be the greatest influence on the way a person thinks and lives.

2.) Secondly, a worldview focuses on the issues of purpose, value, and ultimate questions, such as: Are miracles possible? Is the universe all there is? What is the purpose of our existence? Why does something exist rather than nothing? Is there objective meaning to life?

3.) The third area a worldview addresses is the question of knowledge. It seeks to answer how we know what we know. What is the authority upon which a person should base his claim to truth or morality? Is each individual the measure for right and wrong or is there an objective standard? A person lives each day according to the way they view knowledge – whether they recognize it or not.

4.) Fourth is the issue of ethics. How do you make moral decisions? Are you bound by what God has revealed or by cultural convention or laws? Are some acts really wrong or merely based on personal preferences and issues of convenience?

5.) The last major element of a worldview has to do with the nature of humankind. How do you view human beings? Are we basically good? Are we basically sinful? Is there such a thing as sin? Are we grown-up germs caused by evolution or do we have real purpose and design? What happens when we die?

These are the significant elements which make up one’s worldview – and again – we all have a worldview whether or not we are conscious of it.

So What?

A Christian ought to prayerfully and intentionally put together a biblical world and life view. To live a life of love for God and neighbor will require a life that is lived in faithful accordance to that worldview. Furthermore, a follower of Christ will also want to pass that view of life on to the members of their family, as well as to those they are discipling.

I once read that a Christian’s worldview is as practical as potatoes. Far from being purely an academic or philosophical pursuit, a Christian’s view of life has a “real life” shaping effect. Only as a Christian interprets the world around them through the lens of their Christian worldview, will they be better able to see how they ought to live and bear a faithful witness to it. Writer George Barna has written for years on the sad news that there is virtually no difference between Christians and unbelievers in what they believe and how they live their lives. The one exception, he notes, are those believers who consciously hold a biblical worldview. Do you hold such a worldview?

Walking Points

  • Have you ever thought thoroughly about what you believe as a Christian and how it plays out in your daily life?
  • Of the five elements of a Christian’s worldview, which one are you most familiar with? Least familiar with?
  • Talk with one or two fellow Christians this week about the five key elements of a worldview to discover more about how you view life.
  • Then, pray about getting together regularly with these fellow pilgrims so you may grow in your understanding and application of God’s Wordfor it really does apply to every sphere of life.


All-wise and all-knowing God, you are the Lord of heaven and earth. Nothing truly makes sense apart from you. Forgive me when I try to live in your world as though you don’t exist. Whether it’s the way I view the universe and my place in it, the moral decisions I make every day, my values that I pass on to others, how I understand where I came from, why I’m here, and where I’m going after death, please help me have your true and eternal perspective on all such matters and not that of the world around me. Let my thinking, speaking, and living be radically out of step with the prevailing culture that surrounds me, but give me greater love for those who are a part of it, so I may reach them with the grace and truth of your Gospel. And Lord, I pray that the things I believe will make a genuine difference in the way I live my life, so that I may be holy, even as you are holy. In Christ’s name I pray. Amen.

Kingdom Discipleship

Luke 13:20-21 – And again he said, “To what shall I compare the kingdom of God? 21 It is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, until it was all leavened.

A Definition

A Kingdom Disciple is a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. The phrase, Kingdom Disciple, is my shorthand way of communicating what it means to live faithfully as Christ’s follower, under his Lordship, and for his Kingdom. This distinctive is not mine. It’s neither innovative nor original. However, my goal in emphasizing Kingdom Discipleship is to help men see more fully what God has revealed in and through his Word about following Christ.

Jesus Christ is Lord

By using the phrase, Kingdom Discipleship, I wish to remind disciples of Jesus Christ that our calling is to faithfully and obediently follow Christ in everysphere of life. This is imperative because Jesus Christ is Lord over every sphere of life. It was God who granted Jesus authority over heaven and earth (Matt. 28:18) and gave him the name above every name (Phil. 2:9). It would, therefore, run counter to the biblical witness regarding our Lord’s authority, for men to live compartmentalized lives as his followers. God doesn’t want us to submit to Christ for just 70 or even 95 percent of our lives. He wants all of us. To paraphrase Abraham Kuyper, there is not a square inch in all the universe Christ has not claimed for himself.

Therefore, our calling as his followers is to intentionally, faithfully, obediently, and joyfully extend his Kingdom – his rule, reign, will, and influence – into every sphere of our lives (in every area of responsibility, interest, relationship, and authority). Everything, the common and the uncommon, the sacred and the secular, is to be done for God’s glory (1 Corinthians 10:31) and according to his will.

God’s Kingly Influence

The influence of the Kingdom of God and of his Christ must come through gracious, loving, and truthful persuasion, modeling, and witness, never through coercion or manipulation. The kind of transformed individual, family, church, state, society, and world God desires will not, indeed, must not, come through violent political revolution or rebellion but by the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit and the subsequent “salt and light influence” of God’s people.

The Local Church

The primary means, humanly speaking, by which God’s Kingdom is extended in this way is through local assemblies of God’s people. It is in and through the life of the local church that the life-giving, life-transforming Gospel of the Kingdom is proclaimed, taught, and lived out. It is only as men, women, boys, and girls are reborn by the Spirit of God that they can enter the Kingdom of God (John 3:3-8). Then, as they grow in their faith, having their minds continually renewed and lives transformed, they become better educated, equipped, and encouraged to take this good news of the Kingdom into every sphere of their lives. And just as the woman’s yeast is mixed into the dough and worked until it permeates all of it (Luke 13:20-21), so too is the Kingdom of God extended into every sphere of life by his disciples.

Walking Points

  • Based on this devotional, how would you explain what it means to “extend your faith into every sphere of life?”
  • Have you tended to compartmentalize your faith or does it permeate and influence the different areas of your life?
  • What are some ways your faith ought to influence your home, workplace, and community?
  • What are you presently doing to be such an influence?
  • How can you help other Christians gain a larger vision of the Christian life?
  • Meet with two or three Christian brothers and pray for such a “kingdom expanding” revival among God’s men to begin today.


My great God and King, Lord of all, I ask you to forgive me for not submitting all my life to you and, therefore, not seeking to advance your rule and reign into every sphere of my life. Awaken me with your Spirit and enable me to see and hear more clearly the needs of the world around me. As your ambassador of salt and light, use me how you will to hold back the darkness and slow the decay of this world. Let my life be a shining city on a hill that cannot be hidden so that, upon seeing my good works, you will receive all the praise and glory in heaven. In Christ’s name I pray. Amen.

Every Sphere of Life

Matthew 28:18 – And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

Philippians 2:9-11 – Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Compartmentalized Living Won’t Do

I remember when I first started using the phrase, “faith for every sphere of life.” It began as I started studying the Lordship of Jesus Christ. It just made sense that if Jesus Christ is the Lord of heaven and earth, then he is Lord of everything. And if he is the Lord of all there is, then I must submit to him in every sphere of my life, or else I should stop calling him Lord. Jesus said as much in Luke 6:46,

Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I tell you? (NRSV)

This notion is in marked contrast to the way many people think and live, including myself in the early days of my faith. I, like plenty of others, had long been an adherent of a compartmentalized faith. Men, you especially know the drill: the Christian faith is fine for Sunday mornings, but it has nothing to do with the rest of your life. It’s embarrassing to admit, but that’s where I was.

Personal, Not Private

Instead, the Christian faith should be understood as a comprehensive view of life. The secular world around us, however, still prefers the church to remain silent about anything not having to do with personal prayers and worship on Sunday mornings. Faith, they say, is private. Sure, you can practice it at home, or even with other Christians on Sunday mornings, but don’t dare bring it into the public square. Jesus, however, doesn’t give us that option. The Christian faith certainly ought to be personal, but it should never be private. To paraphrase the Dutch theologian and statesman, Abraham Kuyper, “there is not a square inch in all the universe about which the Lord Jesus Christ does not declare his own.”

As a United Methodist, I have rejoiced that John Wesley took just such a view of the Christian faith. He called it Scriptural Holiness and said it was his purpose in life to spread such Scriptural Holiness over the land. For Wesley, holiness was inward but also outward. It was personal and it was social. There was no picking and choosing. Faith must permeate every aspect of a Christian’s life – prayer, personal devotions, worship, marriage, parenting, work, economics, politics, education, the arts, personal morality, relationships, civic duty, and serving the community, just to name a few spheres of life.

This Includes Your Life

I encourage you to prayerfully ask yourself what it would mean for you to understand there is not even the smallest corner of your life about which Jesus Christ, as Lord, is unconcerned. How would acknowledging and submitting to that truth change your life? How would it bless your relationship with your family and friends? What consequences would it have for you in your workplace? Can you imagine the possibilities? Christ is calling you to follow him in every sphere of your lives. Do you hear his voice? Will you follow him?

Walking Points

  • Look again at those questions in the last paragraph. They are not rhetorical. They are questions Christ requires we ask ourselves, as well as answer. More than that, we must live out those answers before a world in desperate need of godly men and women.
  • Write down as many “spheres” of your life as you can think of. Which of those spheres are you submitting to the Lord? Which ones are you keeping from him? Why?
  • How would submitting to Christ’s lordship in those spheres of life change the way you are living your life in those areas? Be as specific as possible.
  • Write your answers to each of those questions down in a journal or on an index card. Then pray over them, asking God to lead you to greater faithfulness. Meet with some accountability partners and discuss the questions and your answers and then pray about how each of you can help one another in this pursuit.


Lord of heaven and earth, remind me this day that there is not a square inch in all the universe about which you are unconcerned. While I rejoice that I have seen changes in my life through the gracious work of your Spirit, please show me those areas I am attempting to keep from you. Convict me of my sin and rebellion in those areas and turn my hard heart to flesh and joyful obedience. Please let my life faithfully bear witness to you as I serve as your ambassador to other men who are struggling with handing you the reigns in their lives. Together, may we extend your glorious Kingdom into every sphere of life here on earth, as it already is in heaven. In the name of the King of kings and Lord of lords I pray. Amen.

Kingdom Reformation

Matthew 6:10 – Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

God, Grant Us Reformation

In his book, Hot Tub Religion, J.I. Packer makes this observation,

“…we look at the church of our day and say, ‘We need another reformation.’ But do we know what we are saying? …We are in danger of settling for too narrow a perspective of what reformation is – too narrow a notion of what it was in the past and too narrow a notion of what it will be in the future if God visits us once more.”

Packer asks a good question. Do we indeed know what we are saying when we cry out for reformation? I was awakened to how little I comprehended the word when I began to study what reformation, biblically understood, truly means. I have discovered that this simple word is filled with great meaning. Contained within the word reformation are the ideas of revival, renewal, awakening, restoration, and even overhaul.

As I have considered these words, I have come to realize that the coming of the Kingdom of God was and is a reformation. As our Lord Jesus ushered in the Kingdom of God, he brought forth revival and renewal to people’s hearts, minds, and spirits. He awakened them to their great need for the living God. He brought forth restoration where only brokenness existed before. He turned existing ideas about God and humanity upside-down as he revealed God and his good news. He exchanged the temporal perspectives of man for God’s eternal perspective for every sphere of life. Because of this, I have come to see the need for reformation, biblical reformation, in three essential areas of life.

Reformation and the Individual

God uses individuals to touch and transform the church and the world. A.W. Tozer writes,

“It is mere common place to sing or pray, ‘Lord, send a revival, and let it begin with me.’ Where else can a spiritual quickening take place but in the individual life? There is no abstract ‘church’ which can be revivified apart from the men and women who compose it.”

Tozer points out that which should be obvious; that the church and world will not be reformed until faithful men and women begin chasing after God and his ways. Individuals do not have to wait for the church before they can be renewed to newness of life and the things of God. Our own faith must be real and personal before it can be social and corporate. Tozer adds,

“Every prophet, every reformer, every revivalist had to meet God alone before he could help the multitudes. The great leaders who went on to turn thousands to Christ had to begin with God and their own soul. The plain Christian of today must experience personal revival before he can hope to bring renewed spiritual life to his church.”

It is true, or course, Christianity is about community and relationships. No Christian is called to live alone on an island. However, this community is a community of men and women who have been personally and individually touched by the Holy Spirit and brought forth from death to life.

Reformation and the Church

One aspect that unites great leaders from Christian history, such as the Apostle Paul, Martin Luther, and John Wesley, was their prophetic word to the church in their day. Sadly, they were sometimes viewed as John the Baptist – as lone voices crying in the wilderness. However, the Holy Spirit moved through these faithful men to bring about reformation in the church in their day. God is still using people the same way in our day. In my own denomination, the United Methodist Church, I see faithful men and women standing up for the true and living God and his Word.  I also see God renewing lives in his church through a variety of renewal groups.  And I know it is through the prayer of these men and women that God will bring a mighty reformation to our denomination. This is true for churches in every denomination or no denomination at all. However, we need to be guided by a proper understanding of reformation, so we might know what direction to take, and therefore, what path not to take.

The puritan pastor and writer, Richard Baxter, has helped provide clarity concerning the notion of reformation. In his book, The Reformed Pastor, Baxter showed that the idea of reformation, biblically understood, combines the heart and mind. In other words, we are not experiencing true reformation in the church when only one aspect is emphasized. Baxter points out that there must be inward spiritual renewal as well as outward correction of doctrine in Christ’s church. It does the church little good if she is only emphasizing correct doctrinal adherence and ignoring inward spiritual vitality. So too, a church that cares little for doctrinal faithfulness and only concerns herself with “religious feelings” cannot rightly be called faithful either. Instead, genuine reformation will reflect these two sides of the same coin. J.I. Packer comments,

“The Bible records many striking movements that textbooks usually call reformations. In every case this same two sidedness applies. These movements had an outward aspect; immorality and idolatry were put away. But they also had an inward side; men and women were stirred to seek God and renew their covenant with him.”

This is true reformation experienced in the Bible and in Church history. These two works, the inward and outward works of God, are really one work seen from two points of view. We cannot have one without the other. Prophetic voices must call Christ’s Church back to both emphases if we are going to experience real reformation. Martyn Lloyd-Jones declared that we have no reason to expect God to usher in reformation and revival if we are not being faithful to God in our present situation.

Reformation and the World

The Lord Jesus Christ came to a dark and lost world with the good and transforming news of the Kingdom of God. Individual believers, and the church, are called out of the world to bear witness to the Light of the world. We are called Christ’s ambassadors as we proclaim God’s message of reconciliation. Along with that beautiful, life-transforming message, God calls us to love our neighbors by serving them and standing up for them. We are called to be who we are in Christ – salt and light to a dark and decaying world. We live in the world though we are not of it.

Our faithfulness in our little part of the world will help bring about the reformation God desires. The Kingdom Jesus ushered in and proclaimed was not about slight adjustments here and there. It was about a complete overhaul – in our thinking, speaking, attitudes, values, priorities, beliefs, and behaviors. As God’s will is done in our lives as it is in heaven, God’s Kingdom-influence will be extended to the various spheres of our lives.

So, let us pray that God will bring biblical reformation into our lives for his greater glory and the blessing of our families, churches, workplaces, communities, and world.

Walking Points

Meet with some fellow Christians to discuss the following questions.

  • What areas of your life do you need biblical reformation? Explain each.
  • What are you presently doing to grow more faithful in these areas?
  • Do you regularly pray for God to bring reformation and revival into your life? Why or why not?
  • If you are part of a group of Christian men, watch the video and read the material, “If Men Will Pray.” (Click here for link) Discuss your thoughts with your group.
  • For one month, commit to regularly praying for reformation and revival for yourself and your group of men. At the end of the month, discuss what insights the Lord revealed to you.

A Model of Pastoral Ministry

A Role Model

Question: Who has been a leadership role model for you (outside of Biblical characters) and what have you learned from him/her?

Answer: The leadership role model who has done the most to shape my ministry is Richard Baxter. Richard Baxter was a pastor in the 1600’s who served a local church in Kidderminster, England. He was much admired as a pastor by the Wesleys.

“John Wesley’s father Samuel, once a nonconformist wrote: ‘I wish I had [The Reformed Pastor] again: Directions to the clergy for the management of their people which I lost when my house was last burnt… [Baxter] had a strange pathos and fire.’”

“John [Wesley] himself told the Methodist Conference: ‘Every travelling preacher must instruct them from house to house… Can we find a better method of doing this than Mr. Baxter’s? If not, let us adopt it without delay. His whole tract entitled The Reformed Pastor, is well worth a capable perusal.’ On another occasion he challenged his preachers: ‘Who visits the people on Mr. Baxter’s method?’”

“Charles Wesley and William Grimshaw of Haworth conversing together agreed that preachers should ‘visit from house to house, after Mr. Baxter’s manner.’”[1]

A Living Example

Baxter was a living example of all he wrote in his book, The Reformed Pastor. By “reformed,” Baxter meant “revived.” His book was originally written to clergy in his area and appealed to them to rediscover their calling as shepherds of souls – to really care for their flocks as Christ loved the church. The book is moving and was used of God to pour conviction on my soul as a pastor. However, mere words often fall flat. There must be a life behind those words that matches their eloquence. His was such a life.

Baxter was known throughout England as a godly man. He sought to live a life that was above reproach and one that could never be attacked as hypocritical. Like Wesley would a century later, Baxter lived a modest life because it was more important for him to give his money to the poor, as well as to purchase books and Bibles for them.

Loving Pastor

He truly loved his flock at Kidderminster. He developed the practice of visiting every family in his church at least once a year at their home (over 2,000 people). There he would pray with them, make sure they knew the life-transforming truths of the faith, and see about any areas of their lives in which they needed help. He did not then leave them, go home, and forget about them. They were continually on his heart.

His preaching and teaching concentrated on the essentials of Christian doctrine and holy living. He did not have time for those who focused only on divisive and nonessential matters. His view was that life was too short for such things.

His Impact on My Ministry

These are some aspects of his life and teaching that have impacted mine. Though my ministry falls short of his, humanly speaking, it is my goal. I have tried to develop a ministry that ministers to the deepest needs of those entrusted to my care. I want to create a warm and friendly environment where folks can share their hopes, joys, fears and struggles with me. Throughout my years of teaching, I have attempted to concentrate on those things that matter most, those things of eternal significance, such as knowing God and his Word, living holy lives, and bearing witness to Christ as salt and light in every sphere of life. Baxter has helped me expand my view of ministry.

How does this relate to leadership? Well, Baxter modeled what he taught. God has been unfolding before me the idea that our lives must be lived with profound consistency. If I say something from the pulpit, in a Bible study, or in a one-on-one discipleship experience, and then live in a way that is inconsistent with what I’ve said, then I have demonstrated poor leadership indeed. Why? Because my hypocritical words will soon begin to fall on deaf ears, and rightly so. Leadership must be regularly and consistently lived and modeled before those one is leading, and that is one of the most important things I have learned from Richard Baxter.

[1] From J.I. Packer’s Introduction to The Reformed Pastor by Richard Baxter. Page 15.

Meet Richard Baxter

A Renaissance Man

I describe Richard Baxter as a 17th century Renaissance man. Less dramatically, and more accurately, he was an English puritan pastor and writer. But that description doesn’t do him justice. According to Baxter scholars, J.I. Packer and Timothy Beougher,

Baxter has been called the greatest of all English preachers, the virtual creator of popular Christian literature, and the most successful preacher and winner of souls and nurturer of won souls that England has ever had.”

 They continue,

As Puritanism’s leading writer on practical, devotional, moral, and apologetic themes, Baxter produced over 140 books marking out various aspects of the path of truth and holiness.”

I call Baxter a Renaissance man because of the wide interests about which he wrote. “Baxter penned treatises on grace and salvation, apologetics, …antinomianism, the sacraments, millenarianism, ethics, nonconformity, devotion, conversion, politics, and history, not to mention systematic theology.” In fact, Ian Murray points out that,

Baxter was a many-faceted man. He was both an evangelist and scholar; a speaker and an author, a poet and a possessor of a keen analytical mind.”

Relevance for Today

How important was Baxter in his day? John Wilkins, Bishop of Chester concluded, “If [Baxter] had lived in the primitive time he would have been one of the fathers of the church.” A biographer of Baxter says about him, “he came nearer the apostolical writings than any man in the age.” How important is he for today? Packer and Beougher tell us,

As two students of Baxter who cannot be sufficiently thankful for the impact [Baxter] has made in our lives, we would say to every believer, get to know Baxter, and stay with Baxter. He will always do you good.”

Read Good Mr. Baxter

Why would I choose Richard Baxter as my “patron saint?” Because he captured better than most, the worldview-focus (or the “every sphere, kingdom-mindedness”) of Christian discipleship. He understood that all of life (every sphere) must be faithfully integrated because Jesus Christ is the Lord of every sphere of life. Packer writes,

The sheer brilliance of Baxter’s achievement in crystallizing a proper form for the life of faith on a canvass as broad as life at a very high level of intelligent, Bible-based, theologically-integrated wisdom, and with unfailing compressed clarity, is dazzling to the mind. Baxter had a high view of “the unity of human life before the Lord.”

Packer says there is no world-denial with Baxter. Instead, what Baxter calls for “is the sanctification of all life through bringing all its manifold activities into the unity of a single overmastering purpose – loving God, and laying hold of eternal life in its fullness. That can be put the other way round, by saying that what Baxter calls for is a branching out of the converted Christian’s heart’s desire, to know and love and please God, into biblically informed and situationally appropriate action in every department of life.”

Richard Baxter has shaped my faith and ministry in many ways. I give thanks to God for his faithful witness. Read Baxter… he really will do you good.