Story One. Chan talked about a gang member who got saved and then baptized in his church yet disappeared a year later. A leader in the congregation noticed and sought him out and asked “What happened?” He said “I had the wrong idea about what I thought church would be. I thought it would be like family, a different kind of family. See, when I was in the gangs, we hung together, watched each other’s backs, took care of each other, we committed to each other 24-7, not just two meetings a week. When I got here, it was like each one was on his own. There was just no reason for me to be here with these people.” Chan said this broke his heart. The gang was better at being the church than the church was at being the church.
Story Two: Chan met with the elders over this (I presume). They talked about their commitments to each other. They talked about the ways they were so radically independent of each other and tried so hard to maintain that independence. Each had their own insurance policies to take care of their families if they died. Each sought hard to take care of their own needs and never ask each other for help. They saw in themselves what this gang member saw in the congregaton. And they started to break it down and commit to each other. In the midst of praying they started to make commitments to each other. “I commit to take care of your kids if you die.” “What is mine is yours.” “They opened up their bank accounts.” “They sold their insurance policies gave some money away.” Chan said these commitments were not haphazard that night they prayed. They were commitments out of deep trust in God and that relationship borne out in their relationships one with another. Chan said they left that meeting that night with a feeling of awe like you read about in Acts - kinda like - “Whoah … that just felt like Christianity.”
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
David Fitch recounts two stories from Francis Chan:
Monday, February 23, 2009
D. A. Carson will be leading a seminar at Bethlehem Baptist Church called The God Who Is There: Naming God in a Pluralistic World. He explains the aim of the series:
Learning to evangelize men and women who know nothing about the Bible and who are bringing their own “baggage” or “context” with them does not require a super intellect or a Ph.D. in biblical theology. What it requires is learning to get across a lot of things that we Christians simply presuppose.This past year I've enjoyed meeting each week with a man who knew practically nothing about the Bible and Jesus. A resource that we found very helpful was The Bible Overview from Matthias Media.
There are quite a lot of ways of doing this. One of them is to focus on a variety of biblical texts drawn from across the entire Bible and work through them with people. One might begin with Genesis 1-2: “The God who makes everything.” Genesis 3 becomes “The God who does not wipe out rebels.” We keep working through the Old Testament and eventually arrive at the New, coming to topics like “The God who becomes a human being” (John 1:1-18). The wonderful atonement passage in Romans 3 covers “The God who declares the guilty just.” Gradually the Bible becomes a coherent book. It establishes its own framework; it is the context in which alone Jesus, the real Jesus, makes sense.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
The No-Stats All-Star by Michael Lewis in The New York Times Magazine, February 13, 2009.
Here we have a basketball mystery: a player is widely regarded inside the N.B.A. as, at best, a replaceable cog in a machine driven by superstars. And yet every team he has ever played on has acquired some magical ability to win....
.... When he is on the court, his teammates get better, often a lot better, and his opponents get worse — often a lot worse. He may not grab huge numbers of rebounds, but he has an uncanny ability to improve his teammates’ rebounding. He doesn’t shoot much, but when he does, he takes only the most efficient shots. He also has a knack for getting the ball to teammates who are in a position to do the same, and he commits few turnovers. On defense, although he routinely guards the N.B.A.’s most prolific scorers, he significantly reduces their shooting percentages. At the same time he somehow improves the defensive efficiency of his teammates — probably, Morey surmises, by helping them out in all sorts of subtle ways. “I call him Lego,” Morey says. “When he’s on the court, all the pieces start to fit together."
Monday, February 09, 2009
"Men may persuade themselves that they have a general design for the glory of God, when they have no active principle in particular duties tending at all that way. But if, instead of fixing the mind by faith on the peculiar advancing the glory of God in a duty, the soul contents itself with a general notion of doing so, the mind is already diverted and drawn off from its charge by the deceitfulness of sin" (John Owen, "The Nature, Power, Deceit, and Prevalency of Indwelling Sin," in Overcoming Sin and Temptation, ed. Kelly Kapic and Justin Taylor, p. 319).