Tag Archives: Missions

Thursday Picks ~ 11-9-2007

This is some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

When Everything Is MissionsKevin DeYoung
https://johnbotkin.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/worldmap.png…we are not all missionaries and not everything is missions, and if we don’t get these definitions correct we will not be effective in carrying out the mission Christ gave to the Church.

…the old slogan “every member a missionary” is not really accurate. We are all called to be witnesses and disciple makers, but the Latin word missio, like the Greek word apostelein, refers to sending or being sent. A missionary… means (a) sent (b) across a boundary to where the gospel is not known, (c) to see a church planted that (d) can reach that region with the gospel once the missionary leaves. When everything is missions and everyone is a missionary, this task is obscured or forgotten…

Should churches support Christian schools at home and college ministry on secular campuses in the United States? Should we work to have excellent and engaging youth and children’s ministries? Should we be concerned by poverty and homelessness and clean water? Yes, yes, and yes. But … if we think all of this is missions we will end up neglecting the very task laid out for us in the Great Commission. When everything is missions, missions gets left behind.


Challenging…

The Age of Consent in the Age of Exposure
Stephen McAlpine
171030-kevin-spacey-one-time-use-mn-1105_3ca02a0124fbd8ec428b62fd34b24235-focal-760x380Now? Sexual liberty finds itself in a bind.  At the very time sexuality is dominating the culture at an even more rapid rate than before, and in an age when you are defined by your sexuality, the small matter of consent is rearing its head.  And there is much confusion…

The iWorld embraces three taboos that serve to limit individual freedom if it affects another person’s individual freedom:

  1. One may not criticise someone else’s life choices or behaviour.
  2. One may not behave in a manner that coerces or causes harm to others.
  3. One may not engage in a sexual relationship with someone without his or her consent.

…The fact is, taboos two and three are not merely modern inventions, they are woven into the fabric of the world that God has put together and which he has revealed in Scripture. They were commands of God long before they were secular taboos. Modern culture just assumed it was smarter than God by attempting to isolate these two taboos from all of the other commands about sex that have been broken with gay and straight abandon down the centuries. And the result is a mess…

Harvey and Kevin’s real concern is that Hollywood has no confessional, no altar, no service of reconciliation. Hollywood creates movies that extol forgiveness, redemption and restoration, but all they’re doing is piggy-backing on the biblical story while stripping it of transcendence. The awful reality is much different…


An excellent tribute to an excellent player…

Halladay Was Everybody’s HeroJoe Posnanski
Halladay was everybody's heroRoy Halladay simplified pitching. This was at the heart of his baseball greatness. He took this big, sprawling, complicated thing, this intricate art form weighed down by so many details — by pitches, counts, batting styles, scouting reports and arm slots and fluctuating strike zones and high-leverage situations and low-leverage situations — and he boiled it down to its essence.

Halladay refused to complicate things, and so he made it all look so easy. It wasn’t easy…

Halladay was the most admired pitcher of his day. Everyone knew how hard he worked. Everyone respected the way he went about his business. Everyone watched in wonder how Halladay made pitching simple. And most of all, everyone longed to have just a little bit of his poise, just a little bit of his class, just a little bit of his sense of self.

Roy Halladay achieved the hardest thing a great athlete can achieve. He was everybody’s hero.


“Then I think to myself, what a wonderful world…”

The World’s Tiniest Wonders, Revealed Through PhotomicrographyAnika Burgess
Nsutite and cacoxenite minerals (Image of Distinction). Since 1975, Nikon’s Small World Photomicrography Competition has attracted photographers and scientists interested in showcasing miniscule wonders. This year’s winning entries, drawn from the work of more than 2,000 participants in 88 countries, reveal that the very, very tiny can still have a startlingly large visual impact.


An infamous day in musical history…
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Bizarro

Weekend Picks ~ 11-3-2017

This is some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

This thought-provoking series of articles has stretched my imagination and caused me to want to read Eugene Peterson’s book “Reversed Thunder”

Heaven Is EarthyJohn Frye
Heaven is immediate, not remote in either time or space. “Heaven is not what we wait for until the rapture or where we go when we die, but what is, barely out of range of our senses, but brought to our senses by St. John’s visions. … The vision of heaven is not a promise of anything other than what we have already received by faith; it does, though, promise more, namely, its completion” (172). Heaven is not a fantasy. It is not an escape from what is. If we don’t like what is, we may not like heaven. Heaven is the cosmos brought to completion.


Three Shifts to Increase Global EngagementDavid Dummitt
Three Shifts to Increase Global Engagement 
Global engagement isn’t a new idea to American churches. Mission programs, global outreach projects, generosity campaigns, and more have been a part of churches in the United States for centuries. Many methods, strategies, and best practices have come and gone, but like everything else, we need to evaluate what we are doing and adjust where we fall short of maximum effectiveness. 

Here are three shifts American churches can make to increase global impact…


You will need to free your mind from the “hijackers” for a while to read this longish article. Good luck…

‘Our minds can be hijacked’: the tech insiders who fear a smartphone dystopiaPaul Lewis
A company paying Facebook to use its levers of persuasion could be a car business targeting tailored advertisements to different types of users who want a new vehicle. Or it could be a Moscow-based troll farm seeking to turn voters in a swing county in Wisconsin…

Williams, 35, left Google last year, and is on the cusp of completing a PhD at Oxford University exploring the ethics of persuasive design. It is a journey that has led him to question whether democracy can survive the new technological age…

That discomfort was compounded during a moment at work, when he glanced at one of Google’s dashboards, a multicoloured display showing how much of people’s attention the company had commandeered for advertisers. “I realised: this is literally a million people that we’ve sort of nudged or persuaded to do this thing that they weren’t going to otherwise do,” he recalls…

“The dynamics of the attention economy are structurally set up to undermine the human will,” he says. “If politics is an expression of our human will, on individual and collective levels, then the attention economy is directly undermining the assumptions that democracy rests on.” If Apple, Facebook, Google, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat are gradually chipping away at our ability to control our own minds, could there come a point, I ask, at which democracy no longer functions?

“Will we be able to recognise it, if and when it happens?” Williams replies. “And if we can’t, then how do we know it hasn’t happened already?”


My experience as part of the leadership team of a multi-site church, who recently made the hard decision to close a campus, confirms the truth of this insightful article…

How to Tell a Campus Pastor from a Church Planter
Tammy Kelley
campus pastorIf you lead a multisite church and you’re trying to identify future Campus Pastors, you need to understand these differences or you may end up planting a church by accident. Likewise, if your mission is church planting, you will better set up new plants to succeed if you get this role right.

Here are several of the most distinctive traits of both groups…


Also, road-trippers…
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Wrong Hands – Click image for a larger view.

Monday Picks ~ 10-16-2017

This is some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

How to Develop Authority as a Worship Leader
David Santistevan
Most would prefer to sing, close their eyes, and worship their hearts out…in front of people. The problem with that is it’s not leadership. There needs to be a heart to love, lead, and connect with people in the room. That is why you are a leader. That is why you are on stage…

Many people mistake an authoritative, anointed worship leader as one who just knows how to work a room. Authority is different…


I was helping lead a prayer meeting at my church yesterday evening and one of our elders received this text from Don Tingle, a missionary we know and support:

Please ask the church to be praying for my wife’s family. In the bomb blast in Somalia seven family members were killed, and 11 were injured. One of the injured is a young mother expecting a baby. Thank you.

Bombing In Somalia Kills Hundreds; Death Toll Expected To RiseVanessa Romo
“In our 10 year experience as the first responder in #Mogadishu, we haven’t seen anything like this,” Aamin Ambulance workers tweeted…

“Today’s horrific attack proves our enemy will stop at nothing,” Farmaajo said, adding a plea to come together. “Let’s unite against terror,” he urged.

“Terror won’t win,” he exclaimed in a separate tweet.

No one has taken responsibility for the attack. But Yarisow told NPR he blames the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab extremist group for the attack. He believes this is the “terrorists” striking back against the government because of its renewed offensive against Al-shabab.


Noteworthy…

Willow Creek Chooses Co-Ed Pastors to Succeed Bill HybelsKate Shellnutt
Willow Creek Chooses Co-Ed Pastors to Succeed Bill HybelsThe historic transition will make Willow Creek one of the largest churches in America with a woman in the lead pastor position, as well as the only major evangelical megachurch with male-female lead pastors who aren’t married.


I’m looking forward to seeing this film…

‘Goodbye Christopher Robin’ Offers a Cautionary Tale for the Instagram AgeSeth Tower Hurd
On the surface, it may not seem like post WWI England has much to say about life in 2017 America. But there are two narratives running side by side in Goodbye Christopher Robin. The first is a more or less straightforward account of how one of the most beloved children’s authors created a timeless world of imagination.

But underneath that is a narrative that pushes the audience to question the price of fame. In a world where dance moms demanding flawless performances dominate reality TV, and “backpack kid” can go from anonymity to starring in a Katy Perry video and appearing on Saturday Night Live in a matter of weeks, it’s good to see a movie that forces you to ask about your contribution to a world where children are pushed into elite sports and extracurricular activities at earlier and earlier ages, often crowding out time for unstructured play.


Epic Backfire…
https://safr.kingfeatures.com/idn/ck3/content.php?file=aHR0cDovL3NhZnIua2luZ2ZlYXR1cmVzLmNvbS9aaXRzLzIwMTcvMTAvWml0cy4yMDE3MTAxNF8xNDQwLmdpZg==
Zits – Click image for a larger view.

Tuesday Picks ~ 4-4-2017

This is some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

For worship leaders and worshipers…

Stop Hating And Start Loving Your Church
David Santistevan
Stop HatingHere’s what I’ve noticed in my own life: when I’m closest with Jesus, the less I criticize and find fault in every environment and leader around me…

Of course, I don’t agree with everything. Of course, imperfect people lead me, pray for me, preach to me, and lead worship. But… Rather than defaulting to criticism, I pray for them, understand the struggle of ministry, and stay focused on the right things.

But when I wander, when I try to live in my own strength, I start to get offended and hurt by every little thing… I’m only concerned with how I’m served and treated.

Should I press in to the church or withdraw? I’d rather have a bias of pressing in. Of being who God has called me to be. Of loving what Jesus has chosen to love.


Five Ways to Grow a Culture of TrustJ.D. Greear
https://jdgreear.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/spiritual-inconsistency-2-1.jpgOur natural tendency is to fill the gap with suspicion: He was late because he’s lazy; she didn’t consult me because she doesn’t value my opinion; he said that because he’s a racist. But cultivating a culture of trust means choosing to fill those gaps with trust instead.

We might think this is difficult, but there’s one person in our lives that we tend to treat this way already—ourselves… We “fill the gap with trust” all the time with ourselves. What we need to do is to extend the same kindness to others.

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” right? Shouldn’t the Golden Rule extend to the way we interpret others’ actions?


I appreciate so much the hearts of the missionaries I know. I don’t know Stacey Hare, but it’s the same heart…

African Traditional Religion Keeps Them PoorStacey Hare
Missionaries are generally disliked by the secular linguistics/anthropology community. Why? Because missionaries do not come to the field as neutral observers, but with a desire to see change. Missionary linguists do not come to merely preserve and describe languages, but to see the Bible translated and then confront the culture.

Do not get me wrong, there are aspects of Bakoum/Cameroonian culture that I love and miss…

But then there are some aspects of their culture that I cannot accept because they are harming the neighbors I have come to love. So much so, that they are actually ensuring that an already impoverished people remain in poverty. What I see around me in Cameroon is not a tribal religion that supports a rich culture among its people. Instead, I see a commitment to a system that enslaves its followers…


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Graphic by Tim Challies

“We measure worship by how we feel as we worship. True worship is measured by what God thinks about our worship.” -Kevin DeYoung


http://podcast.farnoosh.tv/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/seth-godin-pic.jpg“All we have to do is be the person we say we are. No need to shop for a better you, or to work overtime to make bigger promises. Keeping the promises we’ve already made is sufficient.”
Seth Godin


Abstraction…
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Bizarro

Weekend Picks ~ 3-10-2017

This is some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

Interesting and informative…

What Christianity in China Is Really LikeColin Clark
https://tgc-cache.s3.amazonaws.com/images/remote/http_s3.amazonaws.com/tgc-ee2/articles/ministry-in-china-2.jpgThe church in China is often lauded in the West as the pinnacle of modern Christian discipleship and church planting. And in some ways it’s a reputation well deserved. The church in China has been forged through the fires of persecution, and the Christians there are men and women of immense faith with great joy in the Lord.

But there’s also plenty of messiness. Statistics of churches planted are often inflated; conversion stories are sometimes contrived; missions agencies and sending churches are exporting poor theology; and many Chinese house churches are rife with bad doctrine and influence from destructive cults.

The harvest is still plentiful, and the workers are still few. In fact, the workers seem fewer than they did a decade ago. Pray for a new crop of workers—both missionaries and marketplace workers—to help resource, equip, teach, and train one of the largest church movements on the planet.


Warning: Sarcasm ahead…

How to Be a Good Christian With Minimal Effort
Tim Challies
First, find a church that really suits you and your family. Maybe you can sit down with your wife and the children and put together a list of things you’d like to have in your dream church: a dynamic preacher, an exciting youth program, a contemporary service style—maybe even a gym or coffee shop. That will help you narrow the search…

…don’t beat yourself up if you can’t attend church every week. I know how tough it is with work, family, children, and all the other things in life.


Yes, another article about millennials. Don’t roll your eyes, this is a good one…

7 Things Every Leader Should Know About Working With MillennialsCarey Nieuwhof
Are Millennials different? Well, of course. Every generation has its quirks. Mine does too.

But just know this, older leaders: It’s hard to mobilize a generation you roll your eyes at.

There are at least 7 distinct characteristics of Millennials I’ve come to appreciate as I’ve learned how to work with them, lead them and even befriend them. The characteristics are relevant whether you’re dealing with paid staff or volunteers (or maybe even your kids).

Once you understand them, things become a lot easier. In my view, working with Millennials (and hanging out with them) is one of the great rewards and pleasures of leadership…


The violence ISIS, ISIL, or IS is wreaking on humanity is devastating. So is its violence against priceless antiquities…

Rubble and ash in Mosul museum retaken from Islamic StateSusannah George (AP)
Inside the Mosul museum’s main exhibition hall, the floor was littered with the jagged remains of an ancient Assyrian bull statue and fragments from cuneiform tablets.

“These are the remains of a lamassu and the lions of Nimrud,” Layla Salih, an Iraqi archaeologist and former curator of the Mosul museum said as she examined AP photographs of the remains. Salih said when IS took over Mosul, the museum housed two massive lamassu statues — winged lions recovered from the ancient Assryrian city of Nimrud.

“They were priceless,” she said, “they were in perfect condition.”…

“Daesh came to Iraq to destroy our heritage because they don’t have their own,” said Federal Police Cpl. Abbas Muhammad, using the Arabic acronym for the group…


Another perspective on The Shack…

The Shack: A ReviewJohn Frye via Scot McKnight
http://www.theshack.movie/images/fb-share-img.jpgBurn It or Find God in It?…

My conclusion is this: Christian viewers will see what they want to see in the film. If you think the film promotes idolatry because the Persons of the Trinity are depicted as visible people and thus violates the second commandment, you’ll see that. You may freak out that the Spirit’s name in the film is a Hindu word for “wind” and conclude the film is promoting all religions as ways to God. When “Papa” (God) shows the nail print in her wrist and says, “Love always leaves a mark,” you’ll shout that the heresy of patripassianism is born again. The Godhead presented as three different ethnic groups will stick in the throats of some because we all know the Father and Spirit are invisible and Jesus was a blue-eyed, blond guy who spoke British English. I think the film artistry suggests the Source of all the beautiful ethnicities in this world.

Because I knew that the sword rattling over the film would be intense, I watched the film with my will behind my eyes and ears. Here are a few observations as a “find-God-in-it” voice…


I’m glad my parents didn’t have this…
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Zits

Thursday Picks ~ 3-2-2017

This is some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

There is power in prayer, but it’s not ours…

Prayer Isn’t MagicJared C. Wilson
prayerPrayer isn’t magic, because we have no power in and of ourselves. Prayer is expressed helplessness. But also, prayer isn’t magic, because God isn’t helpless without our moving him or unleashing him or activating him in some way…

…God doesn’t need you to let him do anything. He isn’t restrained or controlled by you…What saps we are if we think we have the power to “let God” do anything. He’s God. We’re not. Period.

Is prayer powerful? Yes, definitely, but specifically because the One being prayed to is powerful. The one doing the praying is in fact by his praying demonstrating that he has no power in and of himself. That is functionally what prayer is—an expression of helplessness. If we were powerful, we wouldn’t need to pray...

One way to kill your prayer life is to overthink it. The best friendships you and I have are with people we feel we can be ourselves with. We feel most easily “at home” with the friends we don’t feel self-conscious around. This doesn’t mean that you can’t or shouldn’t plan your prayers or schedule time for prayer. It just means that the most vibrant prayer life is found in the one who is most willing to bring his whole self to God, willing to be himself before God, for better or worse.


I have many friends in India, Christian brothers and sisters whom I think about often. It saddens me to see this. India has been moving toward Hindu nationalism. Please pray with me that it remains open to Christianity, and that the Christians there continue serving Christ boldly…

Compassion: Why We’re Leaving India, But Still Have HopeSarah Eekhoff Zylstra
http://www.christianitytoday.com/images/75807.jpg?w=940In two weeks, Compassion International will be out of India.

The child development ministry confirmed today that after 48 years, its final day of operation will be March 15.

That means shutting the doors of 589 Indian-staffed development centers caring for more than 145,000 children, more than any other of the 25 countries where it works

…Compassion has worked every angle to try to stay open in India since last February, when India’s Ministry of Home Affairs put it on a list of organizations needing prior approval before transferring funds into the country. Then the government refused to grant such approval.

The government’s move can be traced back to 2011, when it changed its Foreign Contribution Regulation Act so that it could regulate NGOs it disagrees with philosophically, Mellado said. The move was seen by many as another step toward Hindu nationalism since 2014.

Since then, attacks on Christians and Muslims have increased. India is now No. 15 on Open Doors’ list of countries where it’s hardest to be a Christian, up from No. 31 in 2013.


This is an older article that I just came across. Still filled with good and challenging insights…

How The Church Today is Getting Discipleship Wrong
Carey Nieuwhof
https://i1.wp.com/careynieuwhof.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/street-crowd.jpg?resize=340%2C509
I agree that often Christians in the West are immature. I agree our walk doesn’t always match our talk.

But I also think the average North American Christian is about 3000 bible verses overweight.

The way many leaders approach maturity is to assume that knowledge produces maturity. Since when?

It’s wonderful that people understand what they believe, but knowledge in and of itself is not a hallmark of Christian maturity. As Paul says, knowledge puffs up. Love, by contrast, builds up. And some of the most biblically literate people in Jesus day got by-passed as disciples…

Here are seven things I believe are true about biblical discipleship church leaders today should reclaim…


Yes. Me too!

The Older I Get, the More Compelling This Argument for the Existence of God BecomesJustin Taylor
Philosophers Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli list 20 arguments for the existence of God in their Handbook of Christian Apologetics (IVP, 1994).

When I first read “The Argument from Aesthetic Experience,” I thought it was clever but not compelling.

But the more I have thought about it, the more profound and convincing I have found it to be:

There is the music of Johann Sebastian Bach.

Therefore there must be a God.

They add:

You either see this one or you don’t.


Why learn cursive?
http://bizarro.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/bizarro-02-22-17.jpg
Bizzaro

Thursday Picks ~ 2-16-2017

This is some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

I admit that I have the tendency to do this…

Stop Making Yourself the Hero of Bible StoriesAaron Earls
Hero Villain Storm Trooper BibleWe want to read the stories of the Bible and see ourselves as the heroes of the faith, the brave ones standing up in the face of persecution. But more often than not, we are the cowardly ones caving to temptation…

We are the failures, the rejects, the idolaters, the sinful, the prideful, the villains. But that’s the most wonderful part. God hasn’t called us to be the hero, only to follow the One who actually is….

The good news of the gospel is that you aren’t the hero of the story and you don’t have to be.


I haven’t decided if I agree with everything Tim says here, but he makes a compelling point…

Why I Won’t Be Seeing (or Reviewing) The Shack Movie
Tim Challies
God is not a human being. God is not like a human being in any way that can be explained by presenting him in an embodied form. God is so other that any visual representation harms instead of helps our understanding. Even as The Shack uses human beings in an attempt to lead people closer to God, it will actually lead them farther away. It must. J.I. Packer says, … “To make an image of God is to take one’s thoughts of him from a human source rather than from God himself; and this is precisely what is wrong with image-making.”

The Shack presents God in human flesh. It makes the infinite finite, the invisible visible, the omnipotent impotent, the all-present local, the spiritual material. In its visual portrayal of God it diminishes, it obfuscates, it blasphemes, it lies.


I absolutely love this story! Take the time to watch the 5 and half minute video. This is one way that the concept of “missionary” is changing…

Redeemed to Go:
A Rescued Refugee Returns to Africa with the Gospel
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/C4oLPbqWcAA7FSE.jpg
The world has watched in horror over the last several years as millions of people have been displaced from their homes in South Sudan as a result of civil war. It’s easy to wonder what good can come from children and families being forced from their homes, torn from any sense of safety and security.

But in God’s amazing grace, he is redeeming the stories of these lives, one by one,  calling refugees to himself, and sending them back out to share the gospel with the nations. Abuk, a disciple of Christ and an IMB missionary, is one of them…

Abuk has now embarked on a journey to obediently answer God’s call to return to Africa to make disciples. Through her obedient response to the call to the nations, Abuk is subtly redefining what many people believe missionaries to be. Her humble spirit and inspiring story shows how they are ordinary followers of Jesus, each with his or her own story of redemption. And each with his or her own part to play in God’s mission.


Turns out, the incarnation was a pretty smart idea…

I’m Surprised That I Think There Is No GodTim Fall
andromeda-spiralThe fact that Jesus lived never leaves me. I believe in his life and that he died a criminal’s death on a Roman cross. I believe in his resurrection from the dead too. I believe that Jesus is who he claimed to be: God.

Then why do I doubt God’s existence at times?

Why do I look around me and wonder if there really is a God? This isn’t a philosophical type of wondering. I’m not thinking on problems such as how evil can exist if God is good and loving.

I’m thinking at times that maybe God doesn’t exist at all.

Yet I never doubt Jesus’ existence: his life, death and resurrection. How do these two mindsets square with each other: assurance of Jesus’ existence and occasional doubt of God’s existence?

I have no idea.

This is where the wisdom of the Incarnation comes in…


Mating Dance…
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Calvin and Hobbes – Click image for a larger view.