→ Deliver us from inconsequential successes

Link

Tim Brister has written a great post about responses churches make to the Great Commission:

When it comes to the Great Commission, there are basically three responses a church can have. A church can do nothing, something, or one thing.

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This is where we need to be brutally honest with ourselves. As a church, are we hitting the target? Are we making disciples of Jesus? More pointedly, are we making disciples who make disciples of Jesus? The sobering fact is that I don’t know of a single church who does not struggle with this. The difference is there are those who want to grow through their struggles while there are others who, unfortunately, are happy to substitute some other target other than the Great Commission that is easier to hit. A proper handling, or stewardship, of the struggle means that we deal honestly with our challenges that recognize our dependence on Christ and our determination to keep the main thing the main thing, even when we are not that great at it.

Where do you (and your church) land?

→ Children’s Bibles

Link

Jean Williams has investigated and briefly reviewed a whole host of children’s Bibles over at her blog:

“Of the making of many children’s Bibles there is no end, and much study wearies the body” (Eccles. 12:12, paraphrase). That’s pretty much how I feel after investigating lots of children’s Bibles for this post.

It’s a far cry from my childhood, when the only children’s Bible we had was an enormous tome written in old-fashioned prose. (I suspect it might have beenThe Golden Children’s Bible, still a decent choice for a kids’ Bible.) Apart from that we read adult’s Bibles and discussed them with our parents during family Bible time. I don’t think it did us any harm.

That said, modern parents should be very grateful for the huge number of excellent resources available to us. Obviously we want to expose our kids to the Bible. We want them to get to know the Bible stories. We want to read them Bible stories in a format they can understand and relate to.

She has some recommendations for different age groups, and some personal favourites. It’s really worth reading through.

→ The world’s most liveable city

Link

Pete Sholl, a missionary in Mexico and Latin America, writes a thoughtful piece on the trap that comes with the good things about living in a wonderful city:

The trap is, that living in one of the most liveable cities in the world can lull us into thinking, we’ve got it all. Heaven is here for us now. We’re living in “God’s country.”

That has a lot of implications for us – including where we put our hope and what we think is important. But it also makes it difficult to leave.

Worth reading and pondering the questions he raises.

What a Muslim teaches us

Everyday Ministry

Back in 1981, Christian hearts thrilled to see a mainstream popular film treat Christian conscience positively. The film was Chariots of Fire and the Christian conscience was that of Eric Liddell, the man who refused to run in the Olympics on a Sunday. It was just so different to see a man of genuine faith presented in a film as a hero instead of a moral failure or a narrow-minded hypocrite.

Yet there was something odd about the insistence on the Lord’s Day Observance. If we were going to stand for principle somewhere should it really be about not running on a Sunday? It was not like having sport organized for every Sunday in opposition to Church as we have it today. It was the once every four years Olympics drawing people from all over the world to Paris in 1924 for a short period of competition. Is it really forbidden in Scripture to run on a Sunday in such a circumstance? (more…)

Challenging the rushed ministry decision

Everyday Ministry, Sola Panel

Every person involved in leading or organising a church or Christian ministry activity will have had the experience of a member dropping out at short notice, leaving sudden gaps to fill, even gaping holes at times. (more…)

→ The disgrace of Christian outreach

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Chris Little, minister out at Albury Bible Church, writes about the perfect disgrace of our Lord, and what that disgrace means for our evangelism.

The whole Bible shows God’s concern for the whole world.

The first three quarters of the Bible maintain focus on one people: Israel. The final one quarter is where God’s word goes out to all, freely offered to all cultures, languages and people.

Why the difference? And what made the change? A short passage in Hebrews powerfully captures the switch. It tells me that God spent great effort establishing a system of imperfect honour so that he could trump this system with perfect disgrace.

Good stuff. Go read the whole thing.

Isaiah’s discipleship masterclass

Everyday Ministry

I had the privilege of preaching Isaiah 50 on a weekend away not long ago. It contains the third of the servant songs, and what particularly struck me was the way in which the Servant describes himself. (more…)

→ Persevering in Evangelism: Reflections on a godly stranger

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Geoff Robson has just written about the contact he had with a man called Russel that changed his life:

The Russell I’ve been thinking about is a man who changed my life. But I don’t even know his last name, and I met him just once more than 15 years ago.

I met Russell in the food court at Westfield Miranda – not usually a venue for life-changing encounters. I’d just finished lunch and was heading for the escalator when Russell politely stopped me and asked if we could chat. Russell was a Christian, and he wanted to talk to me about Jesus.

But I wasn’t interested.

Go read the whole story. It’s a really encouraging read.

Pep and power, straight from the source

Everyday Ministry

Discipling my four children is possibly the most challenging (and certainly the most humbling) experience that I have ever had. Because they share a house and most of the day with me, they know me and my faults better than anyone else. How many times have I questioned the wisdom of this arrangement? Did God factor in who I really was when he put these little disciples in my home? Yet there they are, day after day, with no place else to be but under my care and discipleship… watching, watching, watching me. And (gulp) imitating. (more…)

photo | thinkstockphotos.coma.au

The boat and the anchor

Everyday Ministry

Something really significant is going on beneath the surface of conversations that are properly anchored in Christ. Not just the content is different. Much more significantly, the attitude we bring with us is different as well. You see, if our lives are anchored in Christ then we’re free to respond to hostile questions without either striking back (one of the most common fear responses) or checking out (physically or emotionally). (more…)

Teapot

Interview: Majoring on the majors

Everyday Ministry, Pastoral Ministry

God gives different gifts to different people. The important thing is not the gifts we’re given, but what we do with them. Being a godly man, Chappo always used his gifts for the gospel, and always for other people. (more…)

frozenchipmunk, via flickr

The preaching of John Chapman

Everyday Ministry, Pastoral Ministry

When John Chapman came to your church in the 1970s, it was like the evangelical circus had come to town. I don’t mean that it was entertainment (though he was gripping) or that there were clowns (though he was hilarious) or even that it was a spectacle (though he was larger than life). I mean that it was the best day of the year. (more…)

Blackboard

The first 50 lessons are the hardest

Everyday Ministry, Pastoral Ministry

While not exactly Chappo’s words, “The first 50 lessons are the hardest” is more than a faint echo of something we often heard him say. I’m going to share with you something of Chappo’s legacy in the area of evangelistic practice. He taught me at least 50 lessons. Here are my top ten.
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Reprinting Bibles

Everyday Ministry

You’ve probably heard of the Gideons. Even if you haven’t, you’ve probably at least seen one of the Bibles they’ve placed in hotel rooms, doctors’ waiting rooms and elsewhere. An evangelistic organization with a particular goal of personal evangelism coupled with getting Bibles into the reach of as many people as possible (and especially at times and places they might be inclined to read it), they’ve placed over 10 billion copies of the word of God in a variety of places around the world. (more…)