Archive for February 2010

The Next Five Minutes

February 25, 2010

What took place in your life during the last five minutes? What do you expect to happen to you during the next five minutes?

Watch this video that tells us what will happen, and in what numbers, to people around the world over the course of the next five minutes, and is happening to people every five minutes of every day. Inhumanity, injustice, and tragedy.

Perhaps, after watching this video, you will agree that “the greatest tragedy is none of these (the tragedies documented in the video),  but instead, allowing the next five minutes to be like the last five minutes.”

Tears of the Saints

February 23, 2010

This is a very heart stirring video about the great needs of people around the world.

It is also a video about the greatest need in the lives of men, women, boys, and girls around the world –  the need for a personal relationship with Holy God through personal faith in His Son, Jesus Christ.

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” … to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.” (Matthew 25:40)

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“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

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“And this gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a witness to all the nations, and then the end shall come.” (Matthew 24:14)

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(“Tears of the Saints” is sung by Leeland.)

In The Name Of Missional

February 23, 2010

A couple of days ago I shared with you a post entitled “How To Be Missional.” It was written by Jonathan Dodson of Austin City Life church in Austin, Texas.

Today, I’d like to share a series of three posts that Jonathan wrote and posted on his blog this past fall. The series is entitled “How Not To Be Missional.” The links below are to the Resurgence blog publication of the articles.

Dodson begins the series by saying that, “The missional church movement has been good and bad. On a positive note, let’s focus on the bad.”

He then writes about three approaches to ministry that churches emphasize in an effort to be missional, or to be what they think is missional. According to Dodson, these approaches do not necessarily accomplish their intended goal for a number of reasons. They may, in fact, actually have the opposite or a negative effect.

The three approaches are to be strictly:

The ministry approach that I was particularly interested in reading about was the “event-driven” approach. One point that Dodson makes in this article is that “event-driven mission is very often consumerist,” that it appeals to the “consumer-in-want-of-stuff, not the sinner-in-need-of-grace.”

I agree completely with Jonathan on this point.

As churches seek to reach people for Christ, we must be careful that we do not feed people’s consumerist appetites by planning and providing bigger and better, more inticing events, in an effort to draw and gain people’s attention and their attendance. To do so only feeds the raging sin of middle class consumerism (Alan Hirsch, The Forgotten Ways, p.43).

If events, as good as they may be, drive our ministries, we are sending a wrong message to people about what is most important in their lives and in our ministries. The medium becomes the message and that can quickly obscure the real message that people need to hear – the Good News of God’s love in Christ for sinful humanity and His call on our lives to be His disciples and makers of disciples.

Life On Purpose

February 19, 2010

Jonathan Dodson is the pastor of of Austin City Life (ACL), a missional congregation in Austin, Texas. Jonathan writes a blog called Creation Project (formerly, churchplantingnovice) and is the author of Fight Clubs, a booklet about Gospel-centered discipleship.

Jonathan is on the leading edge of missional thinking and practice and I have found his blog posts to be very thought provoking.

I was going through some his archives the other day and found a couple of posts that I want to refer you to if you are interested in things missional. I plan to share these with you over the next couple of posts at tangiblethoughts.

The first post is entitled “8 Ways To Be Missional (Without Overloading Your Schedule).” It was originally written and posted by Jonathan in April 2009.

Dodson begins the post by saying that:

Missional is not an event we tack onto our already busy lives. It is our life. Mission should be the way we live, not something we add onto life: ‘As you go, make disciples….’; ‘Walk wisely towards outsiders’; ‘Let your speech always be seasoned with salt’; ‘be prepared to give a defense for your hope’. We can be missional in everyday ways without even overloading our schedules. Here are a few suggestions:”

He continues by listing and elaborating on eight ways that we as Christ-followers can live with Gospel-intentionality every day, every where we go, in every thing we do. 

The eight ways are:

  1. Eat with Non-Christians.
  2. Walk, Don’t Drive
  3. Be a Regular
  4. Hobby with Non-Christians
  5. Talk to Your Co-workers
  6. Volunteer with Non-Profits
  7. Participate in City Events
  8. Serve Your Neighbors

The eight suggestions to being more missional are profound, yet so simple, aren’t they? We need to think about our lives, routines, and relationships at home and work and begin to look at them through the lens of Gospel-intentionally, with a view and commitment to being a Kingdom representative “as we go” about our daily lives.

You can read Dodson’s complete post here.

I have written a couple of posts about missional living. One that I’d like to share with you here is Mission: Neighborhood.

Vanderstelt On Being Sent

February 15, 2010

 Jeff Vanderstelt, one of the lead pastor-elders at Soma Communities in Tacoma, Washington, was one of two speakers who facilitated a break-out I attended at Verge 2010. I was very impressed with his, and Caesar’s, presentation on Gospel-centered missional communities.

Here is a brief video of Jeff speaking during one of Verge’s general sessions.

 In this clip, Jeff reminds us that we are saved by God’s for His work

Milfred Minatrea wrote a great post on the On the Journey blog about the clip above as well Jeff and Caesar’s break-out sessions. Please view it here.

“Buckets of Hope” For Haiti

February 14, 2010

If you are looking for a way to contribute to the relief of the victims of the Haiti earthquake, check out the Buckets of Hope ministry of the North American Mission Board (Southern Baptist Convention). This is an opportunity for you and your family to contribute enough food to feed a family for a week.

If you decide to participate in this relief effort, you can contact a local Southern Baptist church or the Southern Baptist associational missionary in your area for information about where to take your contribution.

My family and I are going to make this a family missions effort. We will be purchasing the  five-gallon bucket and food and packing it in the morning. On Monday we will take the to the collection point in our area.

May the Lord use the Buckets of Hope, along with the many relief efforts currently underway, to minister to and bless the people of Haiti. May the Lord receive glory.

You can learn about Buckets of Hope here.

Kingdom vs. Empire

February 13, 2010

Yesterday morning I came across a post written by Brad Brisco over at the Missional Church Network blog. In it, Brad writes about an interview he had with Alan Hirsch, author of  The Forgotten Ways, back in the summer of 2008.

The topic of the interview was the missional mind-set and the state of discipleship in existing, traditional churches in the West. That would include the United States. 

 In the concluding paragraph of the post Brad writes that …

” … a topic surrounding most of the conversation over the two days was recognizing that the lowest common denominator in all of the missional-incarnational practices is discipleship and the difficulty of discipling people in the midst of a consumerist culture. The story of the middle class in America is one of safety, security, comfort and convenience. In other words, American Christians have overwhelmingly chosen the story of the American way rather than the way of Jesus. Hirsch refers to this as living the story of the Kingdom as opposed to the story of the Empire.”

Pretty indicting, eh?

I heard Alan speak several times at the Verge 2010 conference in Austin last week. His presentations, both in person and on video, were convicting, insightful, and prophetic.

I do remember him talking about the consumerist sin of the Western, Christian middle class during the course of the conference.

Before I left Verge I purchased his book, The Forgotten Ways. I’ve only been able to read about 50 pages of the book thus far, but have already been struck by several statements that resonant with me. I am looking forward to reading the book and suspect that I’ll try to read more of Alan wherever I can find him.

Read Brad’s post here.