Friday, May 29, 2009

Rethinking Short-Term Missions

This post is straight from the Desiring God blog. I don't have the time to comment (I'm busy preparing for this weekend's youth retreat) except to say that this rethinking of short-term missions is vital. I've been with OM for three years and have myself received many short-term teams to France.

I'm not sure where the rethinking will lead, but with Bill Walsh and John Piper, we should do OK.

May 25, 2009  |  By: Bill Walsh 
Category: International Outreach
This week we are going to do a 5-part series on missions trips.
The last few decades have witnessed explosive growth in short-term missions as a strategy of the Western church for spreading the Gospel and serving the poor. Your church is probably sending teams out this summer.
As we approach this season, we want to direct your attention to articles that will challenge your assumptions about what it means to do short-term missions well. Many of us have made significant mistakes in the past, and some damage has likely been done. Thank God for his patience with us.
Please don’t receive these challenging articles as admonitions to drop short-term missions as a strategy. Rather, use them to think carefully and prayerfully about how your team should approach this task in a way that will honor the Lord and serve the cause of expanding the Kingdom.
Over the next four days, we will feature articles from some leaders who regularly address this topic.
We’ll start with a few key questions answered by John Piper.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

How Do You Break Free from an Addiction to Entertainement?

JT posted this from my good buddy JP

1. Seek the Lord earnestly. Pray like crazy that God would open your eyes to see wondrous things out of his law.

2. Immerse yourself in the Bible, even when you don't feel like it, pleading with God to open your eyes to see what's really there.

3. Get in a group where you talk about serious things.

4. Begin to share your faith. One of the reasons we are not as moved by our own faith as we are is because we almost never talk about it to any unbeliever. It starts to feel like a kind of hothouse thing, and then it starts to have a feeling of unreality about it. And then the powers of entertainment have more sway in our life.

5. . . . [T]hink about your death. Think about your death a lot. Ask what you'd like to be doing in the season of life, or hours or days, leading up to meeting Christ. I do that a lot these days. I think about the impact of death, and what I would like to be found doing, and how I would prepare to meet him and give an account to him.

Read the whole thing from John Piper

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Why Europe?

When many people think of Europe they picture quaint villages or iconic landmarks like the Eiffel Tower. Perhaps you think of the European Union or Europeans living flashy lifestyles. Christians may think of Notre Dame's soaring cathedrals or stories about Martin Luther.
However, the spiritual reality in Europe today is different than you might think. In this section of the website you'll find statistics, information on Islam and postmodernism, and common misconceptions.
In recent years people in the missions world have talked about unreached people groups in the 10/40 Window; many are now focusing on the 821 million people in the 40/70 Window. Europe's influence continues to grow and millions of immigrants are flocking to the continent—imagine what God can do through authentic believers living out their faith among the peoples of Europe!

Discover the 'What Europeans are saying about God" video.

Source: Greater Europe Mission

Monday, May 18, 2009

Who Doesn't Like A Shower?

Just took my morning shower. I know many people find it a very productive time. We have so many ideas that come to us and we wish we had a notepad close at hand to not forget them. My Dad has his most inspirational thoughts on Bible passages and sermon prep (ok, this isn't totally legit. info) while showering.

I, on the other hand, shower downstairs, and the experience is somewhat like entering a bunker. The farmer that sold us the house must have built it. Big and wide, you'd think that showering in such spacious luxury would be pleasant and uplifting. Not quite. I'd exchange the foot thick concrete walls for a star-lit sky any day.

Bible translation (and copying) is serious work… but here's a joke

A young monk arrives at the monastery.   
He is assigned to helping the other monks in copying the old 
canons and laws of the church by hand. 

He notices, however, that all of the monks are copying from 
copies, not from the original manuscript.   
So, the new monk goes to the head abbot to question this, 
pointing out that if someone made even a small error in the 
first copy, it would never be picked up!   
In fact, that error would be continued in all of the 
subsequent copies. 
The head monk, says, 'We have been copying from the copies 
for centuries, but you make a good point, my son.' 

He goes down into the dark caves underneath the monastery   
where the original manuscripts are held as archives in a locked 
vault that hasn't been opened for hundreds of years. 
Hours go by and nobody sees the old abbot . . .. 

So, the young monk gets worried and goes down to look for him. 
He sees him banging his head against the wall and wailing. 
'We missed the R ! 
We missed the R ! 
We missed the R !' 
His forehead is all bloody and bruised and he is crying  uncontrollably. 
The young monk asks the old abbot, 'What's wrong, father?' 
With A choking voice, the old abbot replies, 'The word was...   


Sunday, May 10, 2009

God is the Gospel, Praise God We Don't Have to Settle For Less!

Sunday, 9am. 

We're about to go to church. Today is a special service. We'll be split into small groups for discussion, but will start by having everyone give their testimony in 59 seconds.

That would be:
-How my life was before I met Jesus.
-How I met Jesus.
-What has changed since I met Jésus.

I've been studying what the gospel for the past few weeks. I had a hunch what it was, but I wanted to saturate myself with it. I'm not saturated yet, but this morning I'll be giving a short summary of Accepting the Gospel.
The book I've found most helpful (and simple really), are the first three chapters of God is the Gospel , by John Piper. Its brilliant!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Joel Osteen? Isn't He The Sweetest Thing?

Just passing on an article by Michael Horton about Joel Osteen and the prosperity gospel . If I were to summarize the article in one sentence, I think it would be:

Joel Osteen = An example of prosperity gospel gone mainstream

But you don't have to believe me. Check out the article and check your Bibles. Remember that book that Osteen waves about at the start of every service? Yup, thats the Bible.

PS: For more info, watch this Video about the prosperity pseudo-gospel. By the way, let me say again that the prosperity gospel is NOT the gospel.

PPS: After a comment seemed to still not make clear the heresy of the prosperity gospel, here is a short video explaining Joel Osteen's error.

UPDATE: CNN has done a post on Osteen's view of money. He even revises Jesus' view on money!

Tim Keller's Gospel for the Post-Modern

This Sunday, every church member is going to give their testimony in 59 seconds. It's part of an attempt to think more clearly about the Gospel, our salvation and the meaning of it all. While doing my research on the Acts29 website, I found this interesting quote by Tim Keller. In context, he's just explained his gospel for the religious. Now he explains the Gospel he preaches to the areligious (Post-Modern). Remember that Keller is a New York City pastor :

"However, Manhattan is also filled with ‘post-modern’ listeners who consider all

moral statements to be culturally relative and socially constructed. If you try to

convict them of guilt for sexual lust, they will simply say, “you have your standards

and I have mine.” If you respond with a diatribe on the dangers of relativism,

your listeners will simply feel scolded. Of course, postmodern people

must at some point be challenged about their mushy views of truth, but there is

a way to make a credible and convicting gospel presentation to them even before

you get into such apologetic issues.

I take a page from Kierkegaard’s The Sickness Unto Death and define sin as

building your identity—your self-worth and happiness—on anything other than

God. That is, I use the Biblical definition of sin as idolatry. That puts the emphasis

not as much on ‘doing bad things’ but on ‘making good things into ultimate

things.’ Instead of telling them they are sinning because they are sleeping with

their girlfriends or boyfriends, I tell them that they are sinning because they are

looking to their romances to justify and save them, to give them everything that

they should be looking for from God. This idolatry leads to anxiety, obsessiveness,

envy, and resentment. I have found that when you describe their lives in

terms of idolatry, postmodern people do not give much resistance. Then Christ

and his salvation can be presented not (at this point) so much as their only

hope for forgiveness, but as their only hope for freedom. This is my ‘gospel for

the uncircumcised.’"

You can find the whole PDF manuscript of the Dwell conference here

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Lecrae's Praying For You Music Video

I discovered Lecrae just a few weeks ago. I find his music great and his lyrics are out of this world. So here goes for Praying for You. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Francis Chan Says: Don't Be Stupid, Live For the Rope

Ok, that title doesn't make any sense. Unless you do as I did and listen to Francis Chan's recent sermon:
Living a Life That Matters: Living Eternally 
The sermon starts from the 4th minute. If you want to download the sermon or listen to others, go to Cornerstone Church Simi. 

It was good and I would love to hear what you thought of it. I heard the name of Francis Chan for the first time last month. Since then I've ploughed through his excellent book Crazy Love  (it's about lukewarm Christians, such as myself). I recommend it to all of you. It's brilliant!

Love you guys… Let's stick close to Jesus.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Weekend in Ireland

Nothing much being said here. Too busy keeping up with my Bible reading schedule (a brother and I (mostly him) are devouring God's word), working in the publishing world and doing homework.

But this weekend I'll be in N. Ireland, catching up with friends (and hanging out on the Logos Hope again). Enjoy the month of May, its gorgeous!