When people ask about how we are progressing with being equipped for mission, are we bold enough to return the question with “How is your mission work going?” You are the epicentre of what God is doing in your life, but there is an outward ripple effect. As Sharon Sampson says, “As a stone dropped into water makes rings which move outward, so Jesus moves us outward”.
When I was making a career decision a few years ago I needed to make a choice which had monetary implications. When I asked a friend for advice, he said to me, “Brad, don’t worry about the money, always chase value”.
Sometimes we look at what we’re giving up instead of what will be replaced by what we’ve given up. We’ll never know what God will replace those things with until we are willing to give up the things we hold onto. So, chase value. Where is the real value found? It’s in what God replaces those other things with. But you’ll never know if you don’t give up the things that might stop you seeking first His Kingdom.
In this article, Tim Chester, writes about Jim Elliot and his co-workers who chased real value.
It doesn’t matter what your goal is, what strategy you have, how gifted you are or how impressively resourced you are; if you don’t have both the humility to learn and the humility to invite others to help you do that, you will always struggle in cross-cultural ministry.
If you’re interested in learning about church planting in hard places, 20Schemes is a great resource from a team of people seeking to plant churches in the housing schemes of Scotland. Read how a 20Schemes worker learnt the importance of adopting a posture of humility.
I appreciate resources such as Radical.net and the books which started these kinds of blogs like David Platt’s “Radical”. They give us a kick in the pants and from time to time, we all need that. But what resources and books like these do, even if unintentionally, is discount the ordinary.
Ordinary! Just writing and saying that word in my head, almost feels less than ordinary. It feels sub-ordinary. But it’s not. In fact, it is normal and good. I mean let’s face it, we all wish we were much more “excellent” and “radical” than we really are. But for most of us, wearing that mantle leads to comparitive living and striving. To illustrate a better way, can I talk about a cricketer? (Sorry ladies, please stay with me).
Glen McGrath is one of Australias finest fast bowlers. He has taken more wickets than any other fast bowler in Australian cricket history. Why was he so good? Was he the fastest? No. Was he unplayable? No. Did he have a trick ball that mesmerised the batsman? No. Glen McGrath gift was that he was very good at being ordinary. He would consistently land the ball in the right spot on the pitch that stood the best chance of getting the bastman out if he continued to keep landing the ball in the same spot, time after time after time.
As we seek to equip ourselves for cross-cultural ministry, let’s focus less on being “radical” or “excellent”, but rather let’s seek to do the ordinary things well, time after time with consistency, believeing that God will sustain us to endure and be effective in long-term minsitry and extending His Glory among the Nations.
In closing, here is a recent article from Radical.net, calling for less “radicalness” but rather, “faithfulness”.
We have more than a few Connect participants who are studying full time. So here’s a helpful article about how to belong and thrive in a local church while living student life.
People are on the move all around the world. Many of the 1 million refugees entering Europe intially arrive in Greece. Jesus in Athens is the compelling story of the ways Christians are serving migrants, and how Muslims are encountering the love of God and Christians, believing the gospel, and forming churches. You can watch it on Amazon Prime for free by registering for a free 30 day trial.
On December 11-14th, we’ll gather together at Lakewood for our end-of-year Connect Open Weekend. This year, we’ll have Samuel Green, author of “Where to start with Islam” as our guest speaker. If you haven’t already, please “Save The Date”.
As the Connect Open Weekend get’s closer, from time to time we’ll post articles here to help us engage with how we can be equipped to communicate Truth to our muslim friends.
Whatever you’re up to today, remember that your bigger goal of reaching out to the Unreached is an awesome thing. Be encouraged by this great clip and song from Matt Papa as he tells the story of John Leonard Dober & David Nitschman.
He’s worth it! Extend His Glory.
Someone who is learning to make use of God’s Word is able to feed themselves; they are in a position of being able to find nourishment from the Word. We know that God wants us to move beyond being only fed by others. Peter used the image of a baby craving milk (1 Peter 2:2).
Paul puts the responsibility on the Colossians (Colossians 1:23) to continue to believe the Good News they’ve been taught and to stand firmly in it. To let their “roots grow down into Christ” and for their “lives to be built in Him” (Colossians 2:7).... read more
A clear sign of growing to maturity is when individuals within the Body are learning to use God’s Word for their own nourishment and growth. But most plants or trees don’t grow in a laboratory, or even a greenhouse. They’re trying to make it out in the real world where they’re vulnerable to the extremes of weather and attacks from disease and pests.
Most healthy plants don’t grow indoors, but are able to handle heat, cold, insect infestation, cold weather etc. But even healthy plants often need some protection from bugs and weather. Careful farmers are aware of what is most likely to harm their crops and take measures to protect it. God wants His people to be able to find their own protection and to be able to feed themselves and also to protect against attack.
Paul used two pictures to teach this to the church in Ephesus. The first, pictures immature believers as small boats without a rudder, on a stormy ocean, being pushed around by strong winds (Ephesians 4:14). Paul tells them that they don’t need to be like that. They can apply Truth to everyday life, in conversations, in relationships, when faced by temptation.
Another picture Paul gives the Ephesians is to describe believers as defending themselves in warfare (Ephesians 6:10-17). We use these weapons as we share Truth in the Body, but every believer is told to put the armour on, to pick up the shield, to know how to wield the sword. No one can hope to stay safe for too long if they always have to hide behind someone else’s shield and sword and never join the battle themselves.
We’ll talk more about the Nurture of God’s people at our upcoming workshop on Saturday, 10 October. Please “Save The Date” if you haven’t already.
The book of Acts in many ways is a story of identity. It starts out with a small group of people, mostly from a Jewish background, who lived in Galilee. But this small group saw themselves as followers of a Teacher, who they were sure was the long-awaited Messiah, the Son of God.
After His return to Heaven, this small band stayed on in Jerusalem, as He’d instructed. Galilean, together with Judean followers, these followers did have some sense of common identity, but it wasn’t until after the Holy Spirit arrived on the day of the Pentecost that they really began to have a presence in the community as a distinct group.... read more
They are immediately forced to deal with the reality of being a minority group within a larger unbelieving and increasingly hostile community. As they continued to think about their new identity, God continued to reveal Truth and unfold His Story for them. As Jesus promised, the Holy Spirit was with each of them, and with them as a Group, a Church.
Just as the writings of Moses and the prophets defined God’s people under the Old Covenant, access to the Apostles teaching, defined the Church at its beginning. God, through the Apostles teaching, made very specific declarations to these believers about who they are.
We’ll discuss this more during our upcoming workshop, but Identity is strongly linked to Purpose. The purpose of living and working in partnership with His Son, Jesus Christ. To the Ephesians, the Apostle writes that they are members of the Body of Christ with the goal of reaching maturity (Ephesians 4:13-16).
As we saw yesterday, the early churches are told they are God’s temple, a place for His Spirit to live on earth. The Church is a living letter from God through which He communicates to the community. They are witnesses, light, salt, living sacrifices. There’s also a future part to their identity and purpose as well. They are the Bride of God’s Son, made to be His perfect companion, to give glory to their Redeemer and Lord for all eternity.