Your Essential Posture – Humility

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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.

Radically ordinary

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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”.

Praying God’s Word for the Unreached

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Have you ever wanted to use God’s Word to pray for some of the neediest people in the world who have no access to His Word or the knowledge of His Son, Jesus? Here are a few verses that will help you do that. Couple these verses with a tool like the “Unreached of The Day” App, or The Joshua Project. Just fill in the name of the people group you are praying for.

Psalm 86:9 “Lord I pray that all the _____________ people you have made will come and worship before you, O Lord; I pray the _____________ people will bring glory to your name.”

Psalm 113:4 “Lord, may you be exalted over all the _____________ people, your glory over the heavens.”

Isaiah 42:8 “You are the Lord and this your name! I pray your glory will not be given to another. I pray the _____________ people will not give your praise to idols.”

Psalm 96:3 “Lord send workers to declare your glory among the _____________ people, your marvelous deeds among all the _____________ people.”

“Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” Matt 6:10

Jesus In Athens

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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.

Inspecting the Bridges We Use to Evangelise Muslims

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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.

He is worth it!

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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.

Day 8: G = God’s Global Plan

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God’s intention for Israel as a people was always clear. He told Abraham that he’d be the father of a nation through which all other nations would be blessed (Genesis 12:3). Later, He told Moses that through Israel He’d demonstrate His power to the surrounding nations (Exodus 34:10). They were intended to be His witnesses (Isaiah 43:10). To demonstrate the incredible blessing of having access to God’s Word (Deut. 4:6,33).

Although Israel failed, God wanted His people to be a light and a witness, to communicate His blessing to others. It was part of who they were as a people, whether they recognized it or not.... read more

We mentioned in Wednesay’s post about identity and purpose being closely linked together. What was true of God’s people under the Old Covenant is also true for those in the New Covenant. The command and commission these New Covenant believers received was directly from Him and they were to pass it on to others, to go out, and to be His witnesses everywhere.

The pattern He described was of His people moving out with Truth from a local base and then out to the nations. From its beginning on the day of Pentecost, God’s Spirit empowered the early Church to move out geographically, but also across boundaries of language, culture, worldview, and ethnicity.

The Narrative of the early Church and in the centuries that followed was one of spreading out, of taking God’s Truth into new areas, both locally and globally.

Day 7: N = Nurture

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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.

Day 6: I = Identity

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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.