Archive for November, 2010
From the beginning of the church in Acts 2, the gospel went out to the nations. After a short period of time, the believers were scattered and the gospel went again to the nations in Acts 8. Undoubtedly, God’s plan for the nations is essential for the city church. Whether a church is the oldest, most traditional church in the community or the newest church plant, it is part of God’s plan to be about taking the gospel to the nations. The city church is blessed with the calling to take the hope of Christ to its community and beyond.
When considering the scope of the call for the city church as she seeks to live sent, it may prove helpful to have thought about what did and did not happen in Scripture. If God’s desire was only for a small, homogenous group to live in obedience to Him, the Old Testament would have been significantly different. For example, no mention or model would be found in Melchizedek. Neither Ruth nor Rahab would play a special role. The Ninevites would be left to their own devices and certain peril. Other altered stories would have included Balaam, Nebuchadnezzar and Darius.
If His plan was for only a select number from one ethnolinguistic people group in one geographic area to walk in the transforming love of Christ, then the New Testament would be radically altered–even more so than the Old Testament. If God’s desire was not for the nations, then Jesus would have dismissed the woman at the well, the Syro-phoenician woman, the Roman centurion and the thief on the cross. He would not have pointed to a good Samaritan as the hero in the story….
(this is the start of a chapter posted on reproducing churches.com’s discussion of City Church. Check out the whole piece and the other contributions on City Church starting on Sept. 22. They are all worthwhile!)
A few days ago I returned from almost two weeks of travel in the beautiful and often rugged Balkan peninsula where I was privileged to meet with many nationals and expats. It was a time for encouragement and challenge as well as being encouraged and challenged. Thank you to each of you who were a blessing to me along the way!
Through my time, explorations and many conversations there, the vast Balkan history that is at times sublime and at other times horrifying, became both clearer and more complex. While a number of things about the area merit discussion, two things stood out to me.
First, there seems to be a pervasive hatred that runs throughout the land and countries that comprise the area. I think it may be possible to find out what country a person is in or what ethnic group one may be communicating with by asking the question, “Who do you hate?” Surprising enough, the question may not even have to be asked. Upon leaving Greece I shared with the national TSA equivalent that I had traveled in Macedonia which seemingly played a part in me being questioned repeatedly by two different agents as well as dual pat downs and triple examination of my baggage.
Second, the need for the hope of Christ is as pervasive as the hatred. While I had the privilege of meeting with many national and expat church planters as well as purposed NGOs, there were so many cities and towns where the Good News is not being proclaimed. At a time when economic, political and ethnic unrest are challenging the stability of the area, there is enormous need for the Kingdom of God to be proclaimed in the land of the Balkans. I am thankful for those who are about this task now and am praying for you!
May God bless these wonderfully diverse peoples. (BTW – I’ll be posting a few pics from some highlights there soon on my FB account.)
Here are two different takes on plastic Jesus for video Friday. The contrast is interesting…
Here are some of the more recent quotes from church leaders and consultants that have caused me to wonder if maybe there was a bit of confusion somewhere:
This is a good time to launch with a core group “followed by public grand opening…”
One pastor to another regarding his church’s effectiveness at developing future preachers:
“I just beat you….”
And, finally, here is signage that is spread throughout a seminary campus:
This is the fourth post in this Say what? series. Some previous quotes and an image may be found here.