If you could change, would you? Deep lasting change, change programmed into our bodies (the biblical term is members) is pictured in the way we have been conditioned/ trained/ programmed to know how to drive to our houses from familiar places in the city. This conditioning/ practice/ training happens through consistent following of particular instructions or directions.
An aspect of our faith that can inspire us toward forgiveness is the understanding of our inherent moral weakness, which inclines us to perpetually offend God- a God who perpetually forgives. The acknowledgment of sin in ourselves includes us as contributors to humanity’s problem. What a savory little taste humble pie for us all.
In my last blog I used the term discovery bible study. What is a discovery bible study? It is a simple means of studying scripture that is highly participatory in contrast to being “preachy.” A series of simple questions are asked repeatedly in order to extract truth from the passage. Questions are asked and answered until the participant(s) feel that all the possible answers have been exhausted. One thing we must aim to do in discovery bible study is to let the participants actually discover what is in the passage. Don’t teach, don’t preach, just discover.
On Wednesday, May 13th, I was meeting with a disciple, whose name is Gannon. I want to share with you a goal we set in response to a study of the Widow’s mite in Mark 12. But before we begin I’d like to inform you of how our time together was facilitated. Usually we start by caring for each other’s soul: praying for each other and confessing sin. Afterward we read a psalm, which functions as the means by which we would ascribe worth to God (worth-ship/worship).
My friend Logan and I are advancing the good news of Christ in a low- income apartment complex in south Memphis. A variety of holistic ministries are happening there such as after school tutoring, courses for attaining a General Education Diploma, the development of a community garden, mentoring, assistance for new mothers, dental clinics, job clinics and more. Alongside the enforcement of armed guards policing the grounds, this place is under the arrest of multiple vices ranging from neglectful parenting, to drug abuse and distribution, gang affiliation and enticement, bullying, uncleanliness, verbal abuse, abortion and many other things which contribute to the destruction of community.
Every aspect of our lives should be seen as a means by which people can encounter God. This is how we define being missional! Extraordinary things happen when ordinary lives, like ours, are under the reign of an extraordinary God. All facets of life (work included) are considered acts of worship because the compartmentalization of sacred and secular fails to be persuasive categories for the Christian who sees all of life as subject to the authority of a Sovereign Christ.
Friends, I am grateful for the privilege to write to you and give an update of Dad's sweet grace. This letter is a plea for your effectual prayers. Within the Memphis Metro area we have approximately 1.4 million people. Our aim and Kingdom inspired agenda is to see the entire population saturated with the gospel in such a way that multiplying churches and disciples are emerging everywhere.
I’ve been reflecting on Paul’s love for his Jewish brothers who were unbelievers in Jesus. Paul’s heart was full of sorrow and anguish for them (Rom. 9:1-3). His prayers and pursuit of their salvation showed how much anguish was in his heart. James Hudson Taylor stated, "I have seen many men work without praying, though I have never seen any good come out of it; but I have never seen a man pray without working." Prayer and action are twins. I’m asking God to break my heart like this!
Surprised by Babes
I recently returned from meeting with networks of multiplying churches and leaders in North India. I visited one network of 225 simple churches represented by 20 or so disciples. An older woman who shared the gospel, invested in a faithful man whom she led to Jesus and through him multiple generations of disciples and churches emerged, initiated the network. As I sat among this small group of leaders listening to stories of their encounters with Christ and how many churches the trainers started, one really intrigued me.