Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Mission from the Gospels

The art of compassion

for many years I have believed that serving the poor and needy; the "least of these," aka, hospitality, is close to the heart of God and really does build bridges for the gospel. I remember visiting the capital city rescue mission in Albany, NY as a young man, and being greatly effected by what I heard and saw, and one of the ministers from that rescue mission sharing with us about the ministry there. He said "until all of your senses are engaged in Christ's service, you will... never fully comprehend the great commission in all of its facets." that was nearly 30 years ago, and I've found what he said then to be true. But it's the personal touch that we extend to others, I believe, that truly effects both the servant and the one who is served; like Jesus reaching out with compassion and touching a leper (He didn't have to, He could have just said "be healed" and the leper would have been healed), so we are afforded the opportunities to be the hands and feet of Jesus and reach out with love and compassion to the broken, hurting people in our own time and place.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Church Planting 101: planting of the planter

     After 10 years of testing, even being sifted like wheat...at the verge of financial and marital disaster, yet we dug in deep...totally the Spirit working within us and through us...God had allowed everything we were clinging to, to disappear....and all we had left was Him...and when we thought it was all done and over, the breakthrough came...and is still coming...but we need to be prepared to endure...good thing it is God who calls, equips and goes with us, otherwise I would have lost my mind!

    I wish more church planters were prepared for the battles they will face...especially in new, unfamiliar territory. It takes awhile to get into the mind and heart of a community, along with its cultures and subcultures...bottom line...it takes time! I've seen more than a few church plants start and stop over the past ten years. I know exactly how those men and women feel. And I think it's ok to give up sometimes, but not completely. My wife and I thought we were giving up a ...few times, but we remained in prayer and in His word and continued to minister in our community, as members of our community...citizens, yet citizens of another kingdom, in the world but not of the world, and I've come to the realization that it is He who took on flesh and dwelt among us, who dwells in and through us, and it is He who draws people to Himself through us. I would tell any new church planter to move to your target community and just live there for awhile; like Abraham in the promised land. Take a job somewhere in that community, get involved in community activities, get to know your neighbors, frequent the coffee spots and businesses in that community, but not just for the purpose of winning souls and planting your church.