Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Ministry to the Marginal and Insignificant

[46] And they came to Jericho. And as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside. [47] And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” [48] And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” [49] And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart. Get up; he is calling you.” [50] And throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. [51] And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.” [52] And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way.  (Mark 10:46-52 ESV)

Blind Bartimaeus was considered a social outcast and so his pleading for mercy from Jesus was seen as an interruption to ministry!  Jesus was 'too important and significant' to be bothered by someone like him - insignificant and unimportant at best.  It is often those individuals who are the most broken by sin who see their need for Jesus the greatest and yet we often see them as difficult, undesirable, and a waste of ministry resources.  They are usually the problem or difficult people and it is much easier to ignore them or get rid of them so we can get on with 'real' or more 'significant' ministry.  I know I am guilty of that at times.  Presently we have someone who float in and out of our ministry.  They are extremely broken by sin.  They are emotionally needy, uncooperative, unappreciative, and ungrateful.  They are rude and accusatory when we do not give into their attempts to manipulate.  We have bent over backwards to minister to them.  At times I have patience and compassion yet at other times I want to tell them off or cut them off.  Yet, Jesus calls me to minister to the likes of these even when it is inconvenient and they are not grateful for my help.  Lord, continue to shape my heart, our hearts to be like your heart so we will not ignore the blind Bartimaeus' of our world!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Transforming Sermons: Danger of 'spiritual greed'

Transforming Sermons: Danger of 'spiritual greed'

What Is Holding You Back?

What Is Holding You Back? :: Perry Noble | Leadership, Vision & Creativity

The Gospel-Driven Church: Diagnosing Your Spiritual Health

The Gospel-Driven Church: Diagnosing Your Spiritual Health

Looks like and interesting book -Has Jesus been 'domesticated'? -

Has Jesus been 'domesticated'? - Zoecity

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Suprised by Grace

Here is a great article on the necessity of grace and the gospel for the Christian!

Ed Stetzer - Leadership Book Interview: Surprised by Grace with Tullian Tchividjian

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Steps toward legalistic bondage

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat, so practice and observe whatever they tell you—but not what they do. For they preach, but do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. (Matthew 23:1-4 ESV)

In their attempt to make the law relevant the Pharisees rules applying the law.  The rules then became binding and equal to the law.  This slowly draws one attention from trusting in Christ for our righteousness to trusting in rules for our righteousness.  Theses rules become heavy burdens as we attempt to follow them.  As we place value on them as truth, the become emotionally equal to or greater than the Scriptures themselves.   Our focus shifts from Christ as our source of righteousness to 'works of law' as our source of righteousness.  It is a slippery slope and dangerous.  It binds us up rather than frees us (Gal 5:1).

Monday, August 23, 2010

Why the Law Makes Us Want to Sin More :: Desiring God

Why the Law Makes Us Want to Sin More :: Desiring God

The Gospel-Driven Church: The Stealth Prosperity Gospel and Spiritual Greed

The Gospel-Driven Church: The Stealth Prosperity Gospel and Spiritual Greed

Tradition versus Christ

Tradition versus Christ – Ray Ortlund

5 Ways We Take God's Mercy For Granted - ouch!

5 Ways We Take God's Mercy For Granted | TheResurgence

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The world is filled with boys who can shave.

Facebook | The world is filled with boys who can shave.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Jesus is a Threat to Religion

"When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him (Matthew 2:3 ESV)."

When knowledge of the true King of Israel showed up on the scene He was a threat not only to political leadership also religious leadership. The religious leaders of Israel, the ones who were supposed to lead and point their people to the God of the covenant, were threatened when God's representative showed up! But this was not and is not new. The history of Israel is littered with examples of God showing up - delivering them, sustaining them, and speaking to them - and they reject Him. How about us today, you and me, is Jesus a threat to our way of life? Is He a threat to our/your church leadership? Is he a threat to our/your church's way of life? Is he a threat to our/your way of life? Think about that for a minute. Is the Lord of the universe, the one who not only invites us to submit to Him but demands it, a threat to our way of life? Is there any area of your life that you do not or will not gladly and willingly submit and obey him? If Jesus is not the Lord of your life then he is not your Savior!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Grace: Right Here, Right Now

Grace: Right Here, Right Now :: Desiring God

What About "Being Holy"?

The Gospel-Driven Church: What About "Being Holy"?

What Legalism Isn't (and Is)

The Gospel-Driven Church: What Legalism Isn't (and Is)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

For the sake of the liberation of others – Ray Ortlund

For the sake of the liberation of others – Ray Ortlund

Walking in the Light as evidence of conversion

I have not been posting as I am on vacation.  I have had enough of hot and humid weather.  Good thing we are heading home tomorrow.
I read through 1 John this morning.  Every time I read through this little book, I wonder if I am a Christian at all!  I am not sure if this is good or bad.  I got stuck and reread this a couple of times:
"This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.  If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin."  (1 John 1:5-7 ESV)
These are strong words.  But this little exercise in reflecting and meditating caused me to pause about the way I am living (mostly materially) and caused me to reflect on the condition of the western church.  I have two concerns for us western Christians.  I will address one today, cultural accommodation.  We have been so influenced by our culture that our lives are all too similar to the world around us.  I mentioned this to a family member this past weekend and their response was that how can we not be.  I understand their response but Paul give us the antidote in Romans:
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.  (12:1-2 ESV)
 There are a number of reasons why we are not transformed but I think one reason is that pastors are so accommodating to our culture that we are more saturated with it than with God.  The result is that our preaching is not challenging and transforming!  My family member made the comment that after reading a chapter in Crazy Love by Francis Chan her whole small group questioned whether they were genuine Christians or not!  I said I thought that was good and that God raises up those kind of prophetic voices to challenge us in the way we live.  If you have not read Crazy Love or Don't Waste Your Life by John Piper, I would recommend both for that purpose!

I pray that we all are challenged by such prophetic voices and God raise up more!