Friday, May 21, 2010

very cinematic!

the story of hushai, ahithophel, and absalom -- o man, very cinematic! civil war, intrigue, espionage, and suicide. but the real story transcends these mere details for the purpose of telling us of God: "For the LORD had ordained to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, so that the LORD might bring harm upon Absalom" ...[II Samuel 17:14]. How do we read the OT?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

praying in Philadelphia for this morning's outreach in Dalton

Connie and I are in Philadelphia for one of my student's wedding this afternoon, and I know that in a little more than an hour some of you will be inviting our neighbors to GBC and perhaps telling them the gospel story of Jesus and His love.

So I want you to know that I'm praying for you -- praying that our gospel boldness will increase and that more and more others will become a part of the body God is building at Grace!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A note to a friend

Today I sent this note along to a friend. I thought it might be helpful for us as it relates to the texts we sing together:

"Thanks! It is easy to love a song [nothing wrong with that necessarily] or love a style [and that’s ok] too much – so much that the listener becomes lulled into suspending judgment [critical discernment] of the text.

And there are instances where there’s nothing wrong with a text, but because it’s not placed as an anthem of praise after strong teaching texts [like a dessert], or it’s what’s become a steady diet for the people, the song, without containing error, becomes unhelpful – not for what it says, but rather for what it doesn’t."

Saturday, May 8, 2010

undoing the "ministry" mindset

1. This is how Colin taught us to think about ministry.
2. Marshall and Payne [The Trellis and the Vine] have written it down.
3. Our people at GBC are being changed by it.
4. I read this and rejoiced!

“Imagine a reasonably solid Christian said to you after church one Sunday morning, 'Look, I'd like to get more involved here and make a contribution, but I feel like there's nothing for me to do. I'm not on the ‘inside’; I don't get asked to be on committees or lead Bible studies. What can I do?’

What would you immediately think or say? Would you start thinking of some event or program about to start that they could help with? Some job that needed doing? Some ministry that they could join or support?

This is how we are used to thinking about the involvement of church members in congregational life--in terms of jobs and roles: usher, Bible study leader, Sunday School teacher, treasurer, elder, musician, song leader, money counter, and so on. The implication of this way of thinking for congregational members is clear: if all the jobs and roles are taken, then there's really nothing for me to do in this church. I'm reduced to being a passenger. I'll just wait until I'm asked to ‘do something’. The implication for the pastoral staff is similar: getting people involved and active means finding a job for them to do. In fact, church growth gurus say that giving someone a job to do within the first six months of their joining your church is vital for them to feel like they belong.

However, if the real work of God is people work--the prayerful speaking of his word by one person to another--then the jobs are never all taken. The opportunities for Christians to minister personally to others are limitless.

So you could pause, and reply to your friend, ‘See that guy sitting over there on his own? That’s Julie’s husband. He’s on the fringe of things here; in fact, I’m not sure whether he’s crossed the line yet and become a Christian. How about I introduce you to him, and you arrange to have breakfast with him once a fortnight [14 days] and read the Bible together? Or see that couple over there? They are both fairly recently converted, and really in need of encouragement and mentoring. Why don’t you and your wife have them over, get to know them, and read and pray together once a month? And if you still have time, and want to contribute some more, start praying for the people in your street, and then invite them all to a barbeque at your place. That’s the first step towards talking with them about the gospel, or inviting them along to something.’

Of course there’s every chance that the person will then say, ‘But I don’t know how to do those things! I’m not sure I’d know what to say or where to start.’

To which you reply, ‘Oh that’s okay. Let’s start meeting together, and I can train you.’”
Colin Marshall and Tony Payne, The Trellis and the Vine, pp. 26-27

Thursday, May 6, 2010