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Missional Living

Here’s an excerpt from Matt Chandler’s sermon, “What is Missional Living?” I listened to it a few mornings ago on my way to UC and was shown how amazing the freedom in Christ we have is and how it gives us power to serve those whom He has given us. Matt Chandler continues to encourage me in my faith in Christ, and I hope it encourages you as you go through your daily lives. My prayer, especially for myself, is that I’ll live this way, intentionally showing Christ through everything I do and say. If I am to claim to believe in the wondrous work that He has accomplished for me through His death on the cross and through His resurrection, then my life needs to show that He is my Prize, that He is my Treasure, that He is my All, that He is my Strength, and that He is my Lord and Savior.

“[....] Even in our area, you’ve got new movie theaters going up, you’ve got new shops going up, you’ve got a thousand different places you could spend your time, energy and money. But here’s the thing that’s just so disturbing to me. With all this stuff to do, why are we so bored?

“Can I tell you what’s killing us? The majority of us have compartmentalized our faith. And what I mean by that is church and Jesus and goodness and God exist when I’m around church and church things, but it has not bled over into my marriage, it has not bled over into my wallet, it has not bled over into my job, it has not bled over into my life, it has not bled over into how I see my neighborhood, it has not bled over into how I spend my coin, it has not bled over into how I treat my children, it has not bled over into how I see athletics, it has not bled over into what I spend my time doing.

“Most of us are unmoved by our faith because we’ve compartmentalized it into this little section and said, “I’ll be a good person,” and we’ll determine that by watching the news and go, “Oh, I haven’t mass killed anybody… Hey, I haven’t raped… I haven’t done that…” So we’ll compare against the darkness and go, “I’m not that bad of a person… I don’t cuss too much… I don’t watch inappropriate movies…”

“And so we’ll live in that really weird, boring, unchanging, unadventurous place where we’re neat Christian people going to a neat Christian church where none of the rest of our life is affected. And so that’s it, that’s Evangelicalism. [...] “Jesus is great. He’s great… (on Sunday).”

“He’s not great because we love our money more than we love Him and His kingdom. And He’s not great because we love our kids’ chances of becoming professional athletes more than we love Him. So He’s great, but He’s great as long as He’s in where we want Him to be in. And that’s what makes us so powerless. Because few of us have been freed up to the slavery of trinkets and toys. I mean, we just play the same games as everybody else and just put Jesus’ name on the back end of it.

“If you’re a believer in here, be honest. Do you see your finances, do you see your wallet though the kingdom lens? Ask yourself, “How am I a minister of reconciliation? How do I use my money for reconciliation?”

“[....] Can I tell you how you engage culture? Quit seeing people as there to serve your existence, but rather see them as souls that God has created, loves and has invited in to the reconciliation. So this bleeds into everything we do.

“Do you know why you can’t get coffee here? Because I’d much rather you just pick it up on your way in where you know your barista’s name. Do you know why we don’t have a gym here for you? Because there’s three of them within a 12 mile radius. Go there. Do you know why we don’t have intramural sports here? Because I’d much rather you be right in the middle of a pagan world being a light of Christ. “Well Chandler, if you go to the gym and try to play on a basketball team, there’s a lot of potty mouths out there.” Yeah, I’ve been there. I know there are. I think you’ll be alright. I think you won’t catch that. “Well, I want to play ball in a godly environment.” Okay, be an agent of reconciliation. Be an ambassador of Christ and see what happens.

“We’ve been reconciled so we become agents of reconciliation. And that’s why I think so many of us are bored. There’s thrill that comes by being used by God. Don’t try to see this through the lenses of religion. Don’t go, “Oh, I had better do this or God gets angry.” No, you’ve been set free to do this. And once again, I always want to push freedom with you.

“Do you know how free it is to see your money not as yours, your house not as yours, your stuff not as yours, to be able to live in such a way that you’re open handed like that, to live in such a way that you see everything that you’ve been given as given to you not just for your own joy but for the mission and the kingdom of God in terms of reconciliation? [....]

I was watching this video by Francis Chan.  It got me thinking.

When I was a child, I took gymnastic lessons.  I wasn’t very good at it. I enjoyed it.  I went once or twice a week to the gym.  I did not think about gymnastics during the rest of the week.  I watched Olga Corbett and would think it would be cool to be her.  But that’s Olga Corbett!  She’s different!  I don’t know if I thought about her dedicating her life to gymnastic.  She did though.  She sacrificed, she studied, she trained, she fell, she got back up, etc. all for gymnastics.  Did I have that dedication?  No!

Do I have that dedication to Christ?  Um, I want to.  Actually, it’s all I want.  When I jump off the beam, I hope to hear “Well done”.  The cool thing is that I can, by the grace of God have that kind of dedication.  It may seem crazy to others to give up cable television to sponsor another child through Compassion International.  It may seem crazy to others to just give stuff away.  It may seem crazy to spend time in the Word or spend time listening to the teachings of guys like John Piper, Francis Chan or Matt Chandler.  Call me crazy, that’s okay because I’m crazy in love with my Savior.

Speaking of crazy love, I’m starting to read Francis Chan’s book, Crazy Love.  I’ll let you know how that goes.

May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. – 2 Peter 1:2

THE QUESTION that CHANGED MY LIFE -by David Ryser.

A number of years ago, I had the privilege of teaching at a school of ministry. My students were hungry for God, and I was constantly searching for ways to challenge them to fall more in love with Jesus and to become voices for revival in the Church. I came across a quote attributed most often to Rev. Sam Pascoe. It is a short version of the history of Christianity, and it goes like this:

Christianity started in Palestine as a fellowship; it moved to Greece and became a philosophy; it moved to Italy and became an institution; it moved to Europe and became a culture; it came to America and became an enterprise.
Some of the students were only 18 or 19 years old–barely out of diapers–and I wanted them to understand and appreciate the import of the last line, so I clarified it by adding, “An enterprise. That’s a business.” After a few moments Martha, the youngest student in the class, raised her hand. I could not imagine what her question might be. I thought the little vignette was self-explanatory, and that I had performed it brilliantly. Nevertheless, I acknowledged Martha’s raised hand, “Yes, Martha.” She asked such a simple question, “A business? But isn’t it supposed to be
a body?” I could not envision where this line of questioning was going, and the only response I could think of was, “Yes.” She continued, “But when a body becomes a business, isn’t that a prostitute?”
The room went dead silent. For several seconds no one moved or spoke. We were stunned, afraid to make a sound because the presence of God had flooded into the room, and we knew we were on holy ground. All I could think in those sacred moments was, “Wow, I wish I’d thought of that.” I didn’t dare express that thought aloud. God had taken over the class.

Martha’s question changed my life. For six months, I thought about her question at least once every day. “When a body becomes a business, isn’t that a prostitute?” There is only one answer to her question. The answer is “Yes.” The American Church, tragically, is heavily populated by people who do not love God. How can we love Him? We don’t even know Him; and I mean really know Him.

…I stand by my statement that most American Christians do not know God–much less love Him. The root of this condition originates in how we came to God. Most of us came to Him because of what we were told He would do for us. We were promised that He would bless us in life and take us to heaven after death. We married Him for His money, and we don’t care if He lives or dies as long as we can get His stuff. We have made the Kingdom of God into a business, merchandising His anointing. This should not be. We are commanded to love God, and are called to be the Bride of Christ–that’s pretty intimate stuff. We are supposed to be His lovers. How can we love someone we don’t even know? And even if we do know someone, is that a guarantee that we truly love them? Are we lovers or prostitutes?

I was pondering Martha’s question again one day, and considered the question, “What’s the difference between a lover and a prostitute?” I realized that both do many of the same things, but a lover does what she does because she loves. A prostitute pretends to love, but only as long as you pay. Then I asked the question, “What would happen if God stopped paying me?”

For the next several months, I allowed God to search me to uncover my motives for loving and serving Him. Was I really a true lover of God? What would happen if He stopped blessing me? What if He never did another thing for me? Would I still love Him?

Please understand, I believe in the promises and blessings of God. The issue here is not whether God blesses His children; the issue is the condition of my heart. Why do I serve Him? Are His blessings in my life the gifts of a loving Father, or are they a wage that I have earned or a bribe/payment to love Him? Do I love God without any conditions?
It took several months to work through these questions. Even now I wonder if my desire to love God is always matched by my attitude and behavior. I still catch myself being disappointed with God and angry that He has not met some perceived need in my life. I suspect this is something which is never fully resolved, but I want more than anything else to be a true lover of God.

So what is it going to be? Which are we, lover or prostitute? There are no prostitutes in heaven, or in the Kingdom of God for that matter, but there are plenty of former prostitutes in both places. Take it from a recovering prostitute when I say there is no substitute for unconditional, intimate relationship with God. And I mean there is no palatable substitute available to us (take another look at Matthew 7:21-23 sometime). We must choose.

-Dr. David Ryser.

Matthew 21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

Be a lover.

The statement below is posted on my refrigerator.

If life is ultimately the result of random chance, then so would be thought.  Your thoughts (including what you are thinking right now) would, be a consequence of a long series  of accidents, of randomness.  So, your thoughts would have no validity, INCLUDING the thought that life is a result of chance.  By destroying the validity of ideas, evolution undercuts even the idea of evolution.

Grace and Peace

Lisa

“All things came into being through Him, and without Him not even one thing came into being that has come into being.”
(John 1:3)

The article below was written by a friend.  It’s intention is for our church bulletin.  I believe the audience  should be greater.  Grace and Peace.  Lisa

“The Spread of the Gospel in the Cause of the Unborn”

Sanctity of Human Life week is in January. This affords us an opportunity to focus our attention on the world’s most vulnerable and needy people. This group includes those people who are impoverished, oppressed and exploited. It also includes people we don’t think about very often or even see. These are the unborn people who are aborted in the womb. Nearly 4,000 every single day. In 2005 (the most recent year for which there is reliable data), approximately 1.21 million abortions took place in the U.S. From 1973 through 2005, more than 45 million legal abortions have occurred in the U.S. (AGI) (see Abort73.com, Facts about Abortion).

This issue demands our attention. As Christians, we can no more be silent about abortion just as Christians two centuries ago could remain silent about slavery. However, many Christians did remain silent about slavery just as many in the church today turn a blind eye in the face of the slaughter of innocent children.  This is easy to do because of the controversial nature of this issue. However, we cannot allow fear of controversy to muzzle our voices.  A helpful illustration of this point may be the case of Christians in Nazi Germany.  Martin Niemoller, a German pastor and resister of Hitler’s regime said, “In Germany they came first for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. They came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me and by that time no one was left to speak up.”

If we are to speak up, the question remains, how and for what end? This is an important consideration for us as Christians. The recent elections of a pro-abortion president and congress crystallize the answer to this question. From the Christian perspective, the pro-life movement cannot be only about preventing abortions through law, as important as that is. Speaking the truth about abortion to people must also be a vehicle for sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.  We know that God places rulers in authority as part of His perfect plan. Perhaps, these recent elections will prompt Christians who care about the unborn to re-direct their attention from merely political action but also to be willing, like William Wilberforce, to pour out their lives for the spread of the gospel in the cause of the unborn.

Not only can we save children from the abortionist, we can show people the loving kindness of Christ for all peoples, no matter their age or social standing. Randy Alcorn spells out many ways we can do this in his book “Why Pro-life?” which is available for free at the Adult ministries information booth. Please take a copy of this book, read it, and pass it on. R.C. Sproul says, “ If you care about the slaughter of the innocent, then for God’s sake speak up. Speak to your family. Speak to your neighbor. Speak to your friend. Speak to your doctor. Speak to your minister. Speak to your congressman. Let your voice be heard in a chorus of protest. Yours is only one voice, but it is a voice. Use it.”

Proverbs 24:11-12 says, “Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, ‘Behold, we did not know this,’ does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work?” May God’s mercy on you be enough to prompt you to have mercy on the most vulnerable among us.

I strongly encourage you to visit Abort73.com and watch the video titled “The Case Against Abortion.” You have now read this article. The complacency of ignorance has given way to the responsibility of knowledge.  What are you going to do with it?

sticker_abort73


No need for a resolution.  The message below is from the blog of Desiring God.  As always it’s excellent.

Grace and Peace in 2009

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Resolutions? No!

January 1, 2009  |  By: David Mathis
Category: Commentary

Reading Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ classic Spiritual Depression would be a strong way to start the new year.

The title can be a tad deceiving. It’s not merely a book for those with a pronounced sense of spiritual depression. It’s a book for all Christians—for the daily spiritual depressions we all face this side of heaven.

Lloyd-Jones ends his second chapter with these challenging and refreshing words:

Would you like to be rid of this spiritual depression? The first thing you have to do is to say farewell now once and forever to your past. Realize that it has been covered and blotted out in Christ. Never look back at your sins again. Say: ‘It is finished, it is covered by the Blood of Christ’. That is your first step. Take that and finish with yourself and all this talk about goodness, and look to the Lord Jesus Christ. It is only then that true happiness and joy are possible for you. What you need is not to make resolutions to live a better life, to start fasting and sweating and praying. No! You just begin to say:

I rest my faith on Him alone
Who died for my transgressions to atone. (35)

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