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Archive for the ‘Ministry’ Category

MTC Dec 2014 2

More notes and resources:

And for the 2nd year apprentices:

 

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Glory to God in the highest… (Luke 2:14)

to Him be the glory in the church… (Ephesians 3:21)

At our closing carol service at the end of the ministry training week Pastor Manases of Christ Supremacy Church fed us wonderfully from these verses, particularly pointing us to the glory of Christ and the way that he brings true peace on earth through his reconciling death, but also making a side point that it is very easy for a church or Christian organisation to drift away from a pursuit of the glory of God towards a pursuit of the glory of man.

David Jackman, in an Evangelicals Now article, highlights the case of ‘Solomon’s Temple’ in Sao Paulo, Brazil – a recently completed 11-storey, 10,000 seater, $300 million centre for the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God.

Solomons Temple Sau Paulo

This is religion as idolatry, for the glory of man in the name of the glory of God. We may stand aloof, assuring ourselves that we would never fall for such blatant idolatry, but we might be wise to identify its characteristics and examine whether their roots are to be found in our own corporate church cultures…

Religious idolatry is an ever present threat and… powerful whenever Christ and his work is sidelined in favour of he church and its image in the contemporary culture. It will be motivated by competitiveness (my church is more successful than yours), by a commitment to impressing the world on its own terms, rather than living in it on Christ’s terms. It will seek the acceptance and approval of the world, rather than being crucified with Christ (Gal. 6:14).

We need to look within. The seeds are ready to germinate in all our hearts. “Dear children, keep yourself from idols.” (1 John 5:21)

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u course brochure front

  • If you don’t know what this is all about click on the image above to see the new brochure.
  • And check out the U-Course blog.
  • And spread the word on social…

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JPiper: I stand vigilantly on the precipice of eternity speaking 2 people who this wk could go over the edge whether they are ready 2 or not

NewtonG: We don’t go 2 get but 2 serve. We don’t go in our smartness, intellect or in the flesh, we go bowed down, by God’s grace. Love them

Luther: The chief article & foundation of the gospel is that before you take Christ as an example, you accept & recognize him as a gift.

God can use a crooked stick to draw a straight line. #LutherAgain

PstAnthonyBones: By the grace of God I am what I am.

Anthony Bones

And some more notes:

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2014-08-24 16.14.23

Thanking God for a good day yesterday. Here are the notes so far:

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A lot of people have been unhappy about Ann Coulter’s article branding the missionary doctor Kent Brantly ‘idiotic’ for going to serve in Liberia (and risk Ebola) rather than focus on his native America.

There have been lots of good responses, including from Matt Perman.

The letter to the Philippians also occurs as a good response. It was particularly moving when Kent Brantly alluded to Phil. 1:20 in his statement on leaving hospital.

Coulter’s argument is basically a utilitarian/pragmatic/economic/efficiency one: Brantly’s mission was unstrategic, a waste of money.

In Philippians you have Paul in what seems like a really ineffective place – prison. He looks least placed to advance the gospel and yet he says that ‘what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel” (Phil. 1:12).

Because of Christ, he sees even death as gain (Phil 1:21). Sure, there are advantages in his staying around in terms of his nurturing of the Phlippians (Phil. 1:24-26) but he is already absolutely sure that they will keep going to the end (Phil. 1:6).

Then you have the original Kent Brantly:

I have thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus my brother and fellow worker and your messenger and minister to my need, for he has been longing for you all and has been distressed because you heard that he was ill. Indeed he was ill, near to death. But God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. I am the more eager to send him, therefore, that you may rejoice at seeing him again, and that I may be less anxious.So receive him in the Lord with all joy, and honour such men, for he nearly died for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was lacking in your service to me. (Phil. 2:25-30)

The Philippians might have been tempted not to honour their missionary. They might have been tempted to respond like Ann Coulter that the whole thing had been a waste of time and resources. But Paul says, no, it wasn’t a failure. Showing partnership in the gospel across countries and continents, standing together in the battle, nearly dying for the work of Christ is worthy of celebration and honour.

This is a different universe to the strict utilitarian cost-benefit analysis.

Look at marriage.
Look at child-raising.
Look at how Jesus conducted his ministry.
Look at Paul’s mentoring of Timothy.

A utilitarian or a pragmatist might look at these things and think, no, no, no, there is a much more efficient, strategic way to run this. But that is (wonderfully) not how God runs his world, not how he’s set it up. He’s set it up to be about overflow, prodigal, sacrificial giving regardless of cost.

Grace.

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Had a really encouraging time with a few brothers yesterday morning at the Nairobi Preachers’ Fellowship. Looked at Hosea 6-10. Lots of stimulating discussion and good questions raised. We particularly noted a lack of preaching on the depths of our sinfulness and awfulness of our plight outside of Christ. One reason suggested was the presence of an unstated ‘contract’ between pastor and congregation that might look something like this:

Pastor:
I will tell you what you want to hear.
I will motivate you, entertain you, give you an emotional high.
I will not preach much about your sin.
I will not make you feel bad.

Congregation:
We will attend your church regularly.
We give regularly, generously and exclusively to your ministry.
We will listen respectfully and attentively to you.
We will overlook your sins, not hold you accountable or question you.

Is there a grain of truth in that? Is there a danger of us getting into a comfortable, pathological, symbiotic relationships? Does a pastor or a congregation sometimes feel that they are above being rebuked?

Wonderfully, the biblical picture of pastoral ministry is not of a contract but of a mchungaji, a shepherd. Sadly sometimes shepherds rule with a rod of iron and fleece the sheep (Ezekiel 34) and sometimes the sheep love it that way (Jeremiah 5:31). But the real shepherd is a servant leader, feeding the sheep, bringing the straying, binding up the broken, laying down his life for them.

As an wise old pastor said to younger pastors: “You are their servant but they are not your boss.” Jesus is The Boss, of both the congregation and the brother who serves among them as the pastor. Jesus by free grace and mercy gives a particularly ministry to the pastor and food (the Word) for the pastor to give to the people; the pastor in turn pours himself out freely for his brothers and sisters, freely giving them the Word of Christ.

Grace.

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