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Archive for the ‘missional church’ Category

I watched a video today by Tim Keller called “Grace and the City”. It is a really interesting discussion of what a City is and what that means for us as Christians. He covers alot of ground in 40 minutes, from how Christians engage the culture to the basic characteristics of a City to a Biblical view of work. It’s a thoughtful look at how we as Christians relate to the City, and how we should relate to the City. At one point he points out that the population density in Manhattan is higher than almost anywhere in North America, and that therefore it has the highest concentration of the image of God! Funny, interesting, and the more you think about it the more challenging a comment it is. Here’s the link to the video:

http://vodpod.com/watch/4518579-grace-and-the-city-tim-keller

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I try to ignore stories like the burning of the Qur’an in Florida (which appears, according to late-breaking news, is not going to happen).  Doug Wilson had some good comments, among them the following paragraph (emphasis mine):

[W]hat are Christians to make of this action of burning a book, a book that we all believe to be a bundle of falsehoods? While there is book burning in the New Testament (Acts 19:19), the people there were burning their own books in repentance. The situation would only be analogous to this one if ex-Muslims were doing this instead of a small group of Warholian Christians. To do this to the sacred literature of others is quite a different thing. In that same chapter, we see a couple of other interesting things about the ministry of St. Paul in Ephesus. He was not just behind the preaching that led to the burning of the occult matterial. He was also, it says, “friends” with the Asiarchs (pagan officials with a priestly role), and as his friends they requested that he not enter the colliseum (Acts 19:31). Where others saw riots, the apostle saw preaching opportunities. And Paul is defended by pagans who were able to point out that neither he nor his companions had blasphemed the goddess (Acts 19:37). Their opposition to the goddess had been more potent than that.

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The Church is sojourning, going through wild places on the way to an awesome destination. We are being led out of the wilderness, and while we lose a few (and sometimes almost entire generations) along the way, and the task of leadership requires discipline, but that doesn’t mean throwing them under the bus.

“The Church is not ideal. It is not, nor was it ever intended to be, a gathering of the nicer people in town. God is not fastidious in the company he keeps. There are sinners aplenty, hypocrites in droves, the ill-mannered and unwashed … men and women who are on the way to growing up to the stature of Christ. Not many of them are there yet.” Eugene Peterson, The Practice of Resurrection, p. 184

HT: Maxie Dunnam

Peterson’s book is on Ephesians, about (among other things) resurrection life at work in believers. Highly recommended.

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Chris Wright, in his fine commentary on Deuteronomy (NIBC series), comments on the “missiological significance” of Deuteronomy (page 8):

Deuteronomy is a book for people on the move, literally at first, spiritually and morally thereafter.  It sets Israel on the boundary of the land and looks beyond that boundary to what lies in store for Israel as it moves into the future with God.

Furthermore, it is a book addressed in the name of a God on the move–Yahweh, the God who has been dramatically involved in Israel’s past movements, and indeed also in the movements of other nations on the great chessboard of history.  It presents, therefore, a God of sovereign worldwide purpose and a people with a sharp spiritual mandate and moral agenda.

Earlier Wright fleshes out some of the dynamics between God’s mission and our mission:

“[T]he detailed requirements of God on Israel are all founded upon the grace of God manifested in their history.  This is not only a structural matter but is also reflected in the way the very vocabulary of Israel’s response to Yahweh in chapters 12-26 mirrors that of Yahweh’s actions toward Israel in chapters 1-11.  This [is the] priority of grace and divine action within the covenant framework…”

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Our friends at Advance Memphis are in the final four to win the World Magazine HOPE award for effective compassion. We highlighted the opportunity to vote when the polls first opened and now, with a few hours until voting stops at midnight, we ask you again to vote by clicking HERE if you have not already and pass along the voting opportunity to someone else.

It only take a few seconds and, if Advance wins, they get $5000. Follow the link to vote, take some time to pass it on, and if you are wondering why we love Advance, take a moment to look through some former posts. Keep in mind you get one vote per computer, so if your phone has internet you can vote there too.

to vote, go HERE.

to learn more about Advance Memphis, go HERE.

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Last week Jason Hood e-mailed me an article called “Abba Changes Everything” that is in the current Christianity Today. The article is one of the best I’ve ever read on adoption. It is by Russell Moore, who has authored a book on adoption, called “Adopted For Life“.

The gospel of adoption challenges us, first of all, to recognize ourselves as spiritual orphans.

The article begins with his recollection of how quiet the orphanage (in Russia) was, in contrast to how noisy your typical nursery room is. He said they realized that the babies had learned to quit crying because it made no difference, nobody was coming. He goes on to talk about his experience adopting two boys, and to lay out the theology of adoption.

The universe around us is creepily silent-like an orphanage in which the children no longer believe they will be heard. But if we listen with Galilean ears, we can hear the quiet desperation of thumbs being sucked, of cribs being rocked. As we welcome orphans into our homes, we can show the orphaned universe what it means to belong to a God who welcomes the fatherless.

Be careful who you read this around, I cried like a baby reading it. Thankfully I was at home!

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Bonhoeffer’s impressions of liberal American church life are generally quite scathing.  Unfortunately they apply well beyond his day and age, and well beyond liberal Christianity:

In New York, they preach about virtually everything; only one thing is not addressed, or is addressed so rarely that I have as yet been unable to hear it, namely, the gospel of Jesus Christ….

So what stands in place of the Christian message?  An ethical and social idealism borne by a faith in progress that – who knows how? – claims the right to call itself ‘Christian’.  And in the place of the church as the congregation of believers in Christ there stands the church as a social corporation.  Anyone who has seen the weekly program of one of the large New York churches, with their daily, indeed almost hourly events, teas, lectures, concerts, charity events, opportunities for sports, games, bowling, dancing for every age group, anyone who has become acquainted with the embarrassing nervousness with which the pastor lobbies for membership – that person can well assess the character of such a church….

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