Category Archives: Mission

don’t convert culture

In both West and East it is vital for us to learn to distinguish between Scripture and culture, and between those things in culture which are inherently evil and must therefore be renounced for Christ’s sake and those things which are good or indifferent and may therefore be retained, even transformed and enriched.

In the West, according to the authors of God’s Lively People (Fontana 1971),
‘our congregations demand from every new member not only a conversion but also a change in culture. He has to abandon some of his contemporary beliefs and to accept the older patterns prevalent among the majority of the congregation. The new Christian has to learn the old hymns and to appreciate them. He has to learn the language of the pulpit. He has to share in some conservative political opinions. He has to dress a bit oldfashioned… In brief, he has to step back two generations and undergo what one may call a painful cultural circumcision’ (p.206).

Similarly Bishop David Sheppard writes that ‘few are able to be as objective as the shop steward who said that churches require you to do a crash course in middle-class behaviour, rather than to learn Christian maturity’ (Built as a City, p. 50).

John Stott, Christian Mission in the Modern World, p. 122-123.

Advertisements

faith determines all life choices

Even if you are not a secular person, the secular age can “thin out” (secularize) faith until it is seen as simply one more choice in life – along with job, recreation, hobbies, politics – rather than as the comprehensive framework that determines all life choices.

Timothy Keller, Making Sense of God, page 3


how do you follow jesus

The people in your life aren’t expecting you to articulate every nuance of what you believe. In fact, most of them aren’t even asking, “How do you follow Jesus?” Rather, they are asking, “How do you follow Jesus?’

You can answer the first question in an e-mail. Or in a book. But you can only answer the second question by living your life in front of them. By waking up again tomorrow and making choice after gritty choice to take Jesus up on his invitation to follow him.

Jason Mitchell, No Easy Jesus, p.199


when we practice, we change

As we have explored these tough choices (earlier chapters in this book, the purpose hasn’t been to convince you to agree in principle with any of them. The purpose is to promote action. Agreeing in principle allows us to remain as passive spectators to the life that Jesus is inviting us into. The call of the real Jesus is for us to move and participate in these new ways of living.

Jason Mitchell, No Easy Jesus, p.184

In a 2004 article titled “Live More Musically,” journalist Andy Crouch explores the differences between purchasing music and practicing music, which he compares to “playing a CD [or] playing a fugue.” One of his main points is that we experience different levels of satisfaction with music we’ve learned to play through long hours of sacrifice than with music we’ve merely purchased.

[T]he music we purchase delivers almost all of its satisfaction up front. In other words, we’ll never be happier with a product we’ve purchased than when we use it for the first time. After that, our satisfaction level tends to go down.

But when we learn to play a musical instrument, the satisfaction curve moves in the opposite direction. During the early stages, there is little enjoyment. (Not just for us, but even more so for those who have to endure our attempts to blow air through a brass instrument or draw a bow across strings.) But if we make the choice to grit it out and keep practicing, in time something beautiful will happen. What at first were discordant noises will eventually become distinguishable notes. And those notes will eventually become phrases, melody, music.

“But when we practice, we change.”

Jason Mitchell, No Easy Jesus, p.188-9


go ye and make subscribers

If gospel messengers were meant to merely blast out information, Jesus would have told his followers to go make subscribers, not disciples (Matthew 28:18-20). But because the Christian story is a message about Jesus, the real person, our response is not about what we do with the data but what we do with him.

Jonathan Parnell, Never Settle For Normal, p. 93

 


don’t skip steps

To further illustrate faith-sized requests, I’d like to give you the experience of a married couple who moved into a new neighborhood. One of the first requests Mary and Jack made was, “Lord, we’d like to get acquainted with our neighbors, and if they don’t know You personally as their Saviour, we’d like to introduce them to You.”

That was a fine request and right in line with what Cod wanted to do. But it was the description of a goal to be reached, not a step to take. They got down to business then, and took the first step.

“Lord,” prayed Jack, “I’d like to meet the fellow living next door in some casual way and begin to get acquainted with him. I’d like to begin today, and I believe You can arrange it for me. Thank you, Lord.” Mary agreed with Jack in her prayer, and gave thanks with Him.

The morning had scarcely turned to afternoon when the answer came. Their children got into a quarrel over a tricycle with the neighbor’s children. Both fathers rushed to the scene. Jack took all the blame for his children, and put out his hand, “I’m Jack M., just moved in, glad to meet you.” The first request had been answered. The first step had been taken.

The second step: “Lord, I’d like to know what that man is interested in, so we could become friends.” The answer came within two days. He was interested in football.

The third step: “Lord, I need two complimentary football tickets, and could I have them by this weekend, please.” The tickets came. The friendship grew.

The fourth step: “Lord, I’d like to invite this new friend to the Bible class I teach a few miles from here. Would You put it in his heart to accept when I ask him to go with me tonight?” He accepted. All the way over as they drove, they talked about football. All the way home they talked about Jesus Christ, and what it meant for Him to become one of us . . . God became a Man.

The fifth step: “Lord, Mary and I would like to invite my friend and his wife to our home some evening this week and have a little talk and Bible reading together.” The friends came, and they read and talked quietly together.

The sixth step, “Lord, next week when I ask them over again, will You prepare their hearts, so that they will be ready to accept You as their Saviour? I believe this is the time to ask for this, and I thank you for all You’ll be doing in the meantime to draw them to Yourself.” When the next week came, the neighbors willingly and gladly accepted Jesus Christ.

This method also works in matters of guidance about getting a job, taking a trip, buying or selling a house, getting married, writing a book, or anything you may think of yourself, large or small.

Rosalind Rinker, Prayer – Conversing with God, page 71-72.


disciple making defined

I offer my personal definition of disciple-making. It is simply this: “Out of my love for God, using my gifts and talents, to multiply the character and priorities of Christ in as many people as possible.”

Dann Spader, 4 Chair Discipling, pp. 126


sacrifice clearer than worship and prayer

The extent of our sacrifice coupled with the depth of our joy displays the worth we put on the reward of God. Loss and suffering, joyfully accepted for the kingdom of God, show the supremacy of God’s glory more clearly in the world than all worship and prayer.

John Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad, p. 232


the ultimate outrage

Missions exists because worship doesn’t. The ultimate issue addressed by missions is that God’s glory is dishonored among the peoples of the world. When Paul brought his indictment of his own people to a climax in Romans 2:24, he said, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” That is the ultimate problem in the world. That is the ultimate outrage.

The glory of God is not honored.
The holiness of God is not reverenced.
The greatness of God is not admired.
The power of God is not praised.
The truth of God is not sought.
The wisdom of God is not esteemed.
The beauty of God is not treasured.
The goodness of God is not savored.
The faithfulness of God is not trusted.
The commandments of God are not obeyed.
The justice of God is not respected.
The wrath of God is not feared.
The grace of God is not cherished.
The presence of God is not prized.
The person of God is not loved.

The infinite, all-glorious Creator of the universe, by whom and for whom all things exist-who holds every person’s life in being at every moment (Acts 17:25)-is disregarded, disbelieved, disobeyed, and dishonored among the peoples of the world. That is the ultimate reason for missions.

John Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad, p. 206


you, too, can preach like Wesley

Sunday, A.M., May 5
Preached in St. Anne’s. Was asked not to come back anymore.

Sunday, P.M., May 5
Preached in St. John’s. Deacons said “Get out and stay out.”

Sunday, A.M., May 12
Preached in St. Jude’s. Can’t go back there, either.

Sunday, A.M., May 19
Preached in St. Somebody Else’s. Deacons called special meeting and said I couldn’t return.

Sunday, P.M., May 19
Preached on street. Kicked off street.

Sunday, A.M., May 26
Preached in meadow. Chased out of meadow as bull was turned loose during service.

Sunday, A.M., June 2
Preached out at the edge of town. Kicked off the highway.

Sunday, P.M., June 2
Afternoon, preached in a pasture. Ten thousand people came out to hear me.

From John Wesley’s journal