I don’t have all the answers but I do think we ought to seriously visit this topic as Bible believing Christians without having knee jerk reactions. I am not calling for an end to mercy ministries. I am calling for them to be made better. I am calling for them to be more reciprocal, less one sided and thought of more as a stepping stone on the road to serious Christian discipleship within the local church. My contention is that generous justice and mercy ministry is not enough on its own. It doesn’t go far enough. I was reached by a mercy ministry to the streets. That was 20 years ago. We need to move on. We need to help people in my position move on. We need to ask whether what we are doing is really helping people move forward or merely servicing ourselves and our programmes.
We all want ministries that bring spiritual life to souls walking the cruel pathway to eternal death. Maybe a helping hand is our first point of engagement. But for too many churches it also seems to be our last.
Sunday, February 02, 2014
Mez McConnell at 20Schemes examines whether mercy ministries are really a slow death of the soul. He concludes:
Sunday, December 08, 2013
Andy Naselli provides 12 reasons you should prayer Scriptures:
- Because God's people in the OT and NT did.
- Because Jesus did.
- Because it glories God the Father.
- Because it helps you focus on what is most important.
- Because it helps you focus on praying.
- Because it is entirely truthful.
- Because it helps you pray confidently.
- Because it kindles your affections.
- Because it helps you express yourself appropriately.
- Because it keeps your prayers fresh and specific.
- Because it keeps your prayers in scriptural proportion.
- Because it helps you understand Scripture better.
Saturday, December 07, 2013
Summary of and links to the posts in Jeremy Walker's series on effective personal evangelism.
If we as individual Christians and members of gospel churches are to be effective personal evangelists, these are qualities that I think we must prayerfully pursue if we are to declare the gospel profitably and fruitfully. Not all Christians will be on the streets of our towns and at the doors of our communities. Some of us will do it sitting down over a cup of tea (other beverages are available) with a friend; some of us will do it around the dinner table or at the bedside, night after night, with our children; some of us will do it over a lunch time snack with a colleague; some of us will do it in a Bible study with our peers. However we do it, all of us have opportunities to make Christ known.
Sunday, November 17, 2013
David Murray issues 10 Love Challenges for believers to practice in the context of their local church:
- Pray for one family
- Speak to one person
- Encourage one person
- Carry one burden
- Visit one person
- Give one gift
- Forgive one person
- Welcome one person
- Share one meal
- Relegate one preference
There are some things in church life and the Christian life that are a matter of biblical principle. These things we cannot let go of, we cannot demote, we cannot dismiss. Other things are a matter of personal preference – clothing, hobbies, sports, education choices, etc. When we make our preference equivalent to principles we inevitably erect barriers between us and others, we put others down and puff ourselves up. Search your life for one preference that you’ve turned into a principle, relegate it, let it go, and watch your relationships improve.
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
John Knight offers some thoughts on how the church can serve families with disabilities. He begins with an important foundation:
If we areRead the rest.
then you can trust God to equip you to serve families that experience disability.
- truly uncondemned and set free (Romans 8:1–2),
- with the full knowledge that all things work together for good (Romans 8:28),
- in a relationship with someone God has intimately created (Psalm 139:13),
- even with disabilities (Exodus 4:11),
- which is for his glory (John 9:3),
- and he has chosen that person for the good of his church (1 Corinthians 1:27),
- even calling them central to his purposes (1 Corinthians 12:22),
Sunday, October 06, 2013
An outline of what one English Conversation Club does (see the link for each point "fleshed out"):
1. We choose a conversational topic.
2. We take a break and mix over drinks and a snack.
3. We do Discovery Bible study.
4. We pray for needs in each small group at the end.
5. We follow up the people who want to learn more about Jesus.
Sunday, September 08, 2013
Sunday, September 01, 2013
David Fitch on Project versus Presence for churches seeking to engage their communities:
Often a church seeks to engage the community by “looking for the Next Project.” We seek a “need” in the community where we can help, bring resources and the love of Christ. What can happen though with this mentality is we A.) come to the project out of a posture of “pretending not to need.” We come with resources from a distance, not listening to the lives of people very well. We come out of a posture of power, control. B.) We thereby unintentionally make the people/issue we are helping into a client/object. These dynamics work against the Kingdom. C.) We often turn this into a volunteer effort/program where we contribute a few hours a week and it is separated from our everyday lives. D.) Since it is mainly “us” doing something, this approach eventually leads to church burnout. It leads to a continual diet of “projects” and we never get to developing a “presence.”
“Developing a Presence” on the other hand, A.) enters a space out of one’s own needs. We come to be “with” the people in our context. Think of how different the dynamics (to use a suburban example) are when a new parent joins a parents group in need of a place to share the loneliness/ tediousness of caring for a new born child versus a church that sets up a day care center, B.) We come out of a “mutual” relationship sharing in what God is doing, C.) We do not come into a context as “volunteers” offering a few hours a week. Instead, the hours we spend with people, working for justice, come from places we inhabit regularly as part of our everyday life. We hope to spend years together living life in the Kingdom, D.) We become conduits of God’s work, pointing out what God is already doing, or where there are already resources right here to help.
Sunday, July 28, 2013
An admonishment by Paul Tripp for pastors and other ministry leaders about Success and Endorsements:
Without knowing that I was doing it, I took God's faithfulness to me, to his people, to the work of his kingdom, to his plan of redemption, and to his church as an endorsement of me. My perspective said, "I'm one of the good guys, and God is behind me all the way." In fact, I would say to Luella (this is embarrassing but important to admit), "If I'm such a bad guy, why is God blessing everything I put my hands to?"
God did not act because he endorsed my manner of living, but because of his zeal for his own glory and his faithfulness to his promises of grace for his people. God has the authority and power to use whatever instruments he chooses in whatever way he chooses. Ministry success is always more a statement about God than about the people he uses for his purpose. I had it all wrong. I took credit that I did not deserve for what I could not do. I made it about me.