Friday, January 15, 2010
I wanted to pass on to you this link through our family of churches as they have set up a relief fund to channel resources through some of our contacts already in Haiti and in the Dominican Republic. Here is a clip from their website:
"In response to the devastating earthquake that occurred in Haiti on Tuesday, Sovereign Grace Ministries has activated our Disaster Relief fund to help deliver food, medicine, and other needed aid there. We will distribute the funds we raise primarily through existing ministry contacts we have on the island—both in Haiti and the Dominican Republic—who are already involved in relief efforts."
Please pray for the people of Haiti and the ministry relief workers there. If you are able to help financially you can click here: http://www.sovereigngraceministries.org/About/FinancialSupport/DisasterRelief.aspx
Thank you so very much!
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
If you could buy stock in church planting, this would be a bull market. I’m serious. Church planting is white-hot right now. I think that’s terrific. But to keep it from simply becoming trendy, we must anchor it in something eternal. That’s where the Great Commission comes in.
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:16-20)What makes the Great Commission so great? Is it the great sacrifices it calls for…or the great places we’re called to go? How about the great people it calls into action? I don’t think so. Our commission is great because it ignites church planting. But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself. The Great Commission is not great simply because it results in the church. It’s great, first and foremost, because it originates from the finished work of Christ.The Gospel: The Point and Power behind Church PlantingRead it again. The Great Commission starts with the gospel. It fixes us on what the cross secured for Christ —“all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (v. 18). Right out of the gate, God invites us to look at the fields of our community, the United States, the United Kingdom, Europe, Africa, and Asia with a new sense of confidence. Why? Because…and get ready for this…the contract is inked, the rights reserved, the deal sealed. The authority to put the gospel into circulation is secured by the substitutionary death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Think about it. The reality of that authority now forms the foundation for all local evangelism, church planting, and missions. Authorized for action, Christians can now serve God’s warrant to the world. We get to tell lost souls they are loved…and wanted by the Savior. That’s a jaw-dropper. That’s why we can’t get all hyped up on the latest way to do missions, the latest research, the latest means and methods of doing ministry. Because nothing we can concoct will ever prepackage the power of the gospel. Church planting shouldn’t start with techniques, technology or talking to territorial spirits, often the launching point for church planting in certain parts of the world. It must begin with our confidence in the explosive message embodied in Christ and entrusted to us in Matthew 28. It’s the one message that makes all the difference. And we’re the megaphone. But we have to remember that it’s not a static message that we just share when we have time. It’s not content we load into our cutting-edge curriculum. The gospel is a dynamic, unstoppable force that God has unleashed in creation through the cross. Dwight Moody once likened the gospel to a lion. Just pop open the cage and stand clear!The apostle Paul was supremely confident in the power of the gospel. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16). “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18).Guaranteed SuccessAre you starting to see it? Our commission is great because the founder guarantees the fruit (Ephesians 2:10). Yep, the Great Commission is stamped with “results guaranteed!” How cool is that? And we know that a king’s edict, closed countries, recessions, wars, natural disasters, cultural opposition or indifference, even the failures of the workers, won’t stall the commission. Going forth with the message of God in the power of God means we are entrusted with a message that never stops. It is an unstoppable commission.If you’re like me, just thinking about this stuff gets the blood pumping. To think that we have a job to do and success is guaranteed because of the finished work of Christ is thrilling. We serve a great Savior who has established our call upon his great work—it must be a Great Commission!Tune in next time, when we’ll discover how the church and church planting are embedded in the Great Commission.
Friday, January 8, 2010
If, If, If…
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other...Ephesians 4:32
The best way to ruin a confession is to use words that shift the blame to others or that appear to minimize or excuse your guilt. The most common way to do this is to say, "I'm sorry if I've done something to upset you." The word if ruins this confession, because it implies that you do not know whether or not you did wrong. The message you are communicating is this: "Obviously you're upset about something. I don't know that I have done anything wrong, but just to get you off my back I'll give you a token apology."
Here's some "Food for Thought"
How often does if show up in your confessions? A great way to ruin your engine on your car? Never, ever change the oil. A sure-fire way to ruin your credit rating? Never, ever pay your bills on time. What about ruining your reputation at work? Never, ever keep your appointments. And the best way to ruin a confession? Each and every time, use the word "if."
Ken Sande in his book "Peacemakers," reminds us of the power of this little two-letter word. Too many times, it leads to an empty confession. All the words may be right and proper (I'm sorry), but the heart is missing. And anything without a heart is usually dead, good for nothing. The word "confess" means "to agree with" -- you're agreeing that you've done something wrong. If you're not ready to agree, then don't confess. Because that ruins everything.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Sunday, January 3, 2010
So with this said - this begins a series of blog entries I am starting on "Barnabas - Son of Encouragement." I do hope you find it beneficial for your own soul, as I am also praying that the testimony of this great man's story will have a greater impact on my own life and character.
With this said, we begin. The very first time we hear of Barnabas is in Acts 4:
"34 There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were
owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold
35 and laid it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to
each as any had need. 36 Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles
Barnabas (which means son of encouragement) a Levite, a native of Cyprus, 37 sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles' feet." (ESV)
The very first characteristic we can see coming from Barnabas' life was this was a man who was concerned for the poor and to those who had need. He was so concerned that he took what he had and sold it and gave it to the apostles for them to distribute as there was need among the people of God. Barnabas was a man whose orientation was not towards himself nor his worldly goods, but instead towards those who are without. In a word - Barnabas was a man of "mercy." He had compassion in his heart towards his fellowman desiring that they be cared for.