Friday, May 29, 2009

Mission Pioneer Ralph Winter (1924-2009)

This video is a wonderful tribute to how God uses an ordinary man to do extraordinary things. Ralph Winter, in 1974, was used by God to think of doing missions in terms of "people groups" not merely "countries" in need of the gospel. This understanding, along with the formation of the U.S. Center for World Mission has been a terrific resource for the church and springboard for the gospel spreading to people who have no witness among them.

Ralph D. Winter Tribute from U.S. Center for World Mission on Vimeo.

If you want to hear Dr. Winter talking about unreached people groups in his own words take a look at this video that was produced by Desiring God Ministries.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Dying Daily

"I die every day!" -The Apostle Paul, 1 Cor. 15:31

"No man would find it difficult to die who died every day. He would have practiced it so often, that he would only have to die but once more; like the singer who has been through his rehearsals, and is perfect in his part, and has but to pour forth the notes once for all, and have done. Happy are they who every morning go down to Jordan's brink, and wade into the stream in fellowship with Christ, dying in the Lord's death, being crucified on his cross, and raised in his resurrection. Then, when they shall climb their Pisgah, they shall behold nothing but what has been long familiar to them, as they have studied the map of death... God teach us this art, and he shall have the glory of it." -- C.H. Spurgeon

O God,
who for our redemption
gave your only-begotten Son
to the death of the cross,
and by his glorious resurrection
delivered us from the power of our enemy:

Grant us so to die daily to sin,
that we may evermore live with him
in the joy of his resurrection;

through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.

--The Book of Common Prayer

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Imagine: More Heavenly-Minded = More Earthly Good

In his memorable song, "Imagine," John Lennon seems to be asserting that Christians are so heavenly-minded, we're no earthly good. For Lennon, the only way to make a difference on earth is to live as if today is all there is.

Imagine there's no Heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

The Bible proclaims precisely the opposite. It's only when our hearts our captivated by the reality of a new world that we can live a radically selfless & sacrificial life in this world. Imagine: if today is all there is, if this life is all you've got, why in the world would you give yourself away to serve someone else?

The truth is, it's the most heavenly-minded people who are the most earthly good.

Do you want to live an unusually remarkable life here, for the glory of Jesus Christ? Then think often of heaven!

"Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells" (2 Peter 3:11-13).

Friday, May 8, 2009

Yelling won't change our childrens' hearts (From DG Blog)

This is from the Desiring God Blog.

(Author: Abraham Piper)

Here is the second question in our interview with Paul Tripp:

You've said that we deny the gospel when we use guilt, threats, or manipulation to motivate good behavior. How is that different from the ways God motivates us?

(The following is Paul's answer edited and slightly abridged for the blog. Listen to the audio for his complete answer.)

God's warnings and encouragments are not just tools to manipulate my behavior, because it's clear that God is not satisfied with that. I think that what he is after is my heart.

Isn't that exactly why God rages through the prophets against Israel? He says, "These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. I won't take that. I don't want your holy days. I don't want your solemn assemblies. I don't want that stuff! I want your heart."

That's not what many parents want. If a parent is yelling at a child, it's not because they want their hearts. They want to create enough fear in that child so that they'll do what they want them to.

If I had the heart in view, I would never motivate that way because it's damaging to the heart of a child. God's warnings, on the other hand, are never damaging to the heart. They're after the heart, because he knows if he doesn't have my heart, he doesn't have me.

In the Old Testament, we see that God's people would actually, on the way to the temple, make sacrifices to Baal. On the way to the temple! That's how deep the idolatry was in their heart. If God is zealous after our hearts, he's never going to allow that.

But often a parent will tell a child to do something, and the child will yell at the parent as he is going down the hallway. But as long as the kid does what he was told to do, the parent is satisfied.

Now what is the yelling telling me as a parent? It's telling me I don't have a submissive child. I don't have that child's heart. That's actually disobedience dressed up as obedience, because the child is raging against authority as they're technically doing what they've been asked. God would never call that obedience.

So when parents call that obedience, they're being satisfied with something God wouldn't be satisfied with. They're telling their children something that is very dangerous, letting them think that they can be obedient without an obedient heart.

This happens when I'm focused on doing whatever I can do to get my kid to do what I want him to. But if I could get at his heart for a moment, then when he goes to bed with his room still messy, it's still a victory. Maybe we haven't gotten to the room cleaning yet, but we've gained ground in the most important thing—the Lord ruling his heart.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Helpless Prayer

From "A Praying Life" by Paul Miller:

"Little children are good at helplessness. It's what they do best. But as adults we soon forget how important helplessness is. I , for one, am allergic to helplessness. I don't like it. I want a plan, an idea, or maybe a friend to listen to my problem... God wants us to come to him empty handed, weary, and heavy-laden. Instinctively we want to get rid of our helplessness before we come to God. [here is the great tie to the gospel] We received Jesus because we were weak, and that's how we follow him. Paul told the Colossians, "Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him." (2:6) We forget that helplessness is how the Christian life works." (p.55,56)

This book is available on the book table.

Don't waste your summer

Here is a post from the "Life2gether" blog that I think is extremely helpful. Follow the links - see especially the "Gospel driven garage sale" post.

Get off the couch this summer!


This summer I want to get off the couch and get into the lives of others. So often we view summertime as a coasting time instead of a growing time. I think this principle applies to most churches as well. Over the years we’ve been taught that summer is a time to make the best with what we’ve got and prepare for the coming fall. So instead of planting seeds we pack our bags and wait for August.

I wonder what would happen if we thought differently. I wonder what would happen if we would simply get off the couch and get into the lives of others this summer. Here’s 3 simple ways to share your life this summer:

  1. Invest and Invite –> get to know your neighbors and invite them to specific things (i.e. over for dinner on Fri. night, to a baseball game on Saturday, etc.)
  2. Spend time on the Front Porch –> make yourself visible and available to your neighbors; don’t hide in your backyard the whole summer
  3. Pray for your neighborhood –> take regular prayer walks around your neighborhood praying for God to give you a greater burden for those in your community (i.e. pray for God to reveal to you specific needs in your neighborhood, pray for him to grant you favor with your neighbors in building relationships, etc.)

These are just 3 ideas to get you started. What else can we do to maximize our summer for the glory of God and the good of our neighborhoods?

  • Read Nelson Searcy’s thoughts on Maximizing Summer
  • Read my post on Rediscovering Mister Roger’s Neighborhood
  • Read my post on Gospel-Driven Garage Sale?
  • Read my post on A Community On Mission
Written by Doug Wolter - Visit Website