Friday, May 26, 2006

Adrian's Blog: Mark Driscoll Defines Reformission

Adrian's Blog: Mark Driscoll Defines Reformission

Adrian Warnock links to this good quote from Mark Driscoll on defining missional.

"...a radical call to reform the church's traditionally flawed view of missions as something carried out in foreign lands, and to focus instead on the urgent need in our own neighborhoods, which are filled with diverse cultures of Americans who desperately need the Gospel of Jesus and life in his Church"

Here is what puzzles me about all of this.

So many respond to Driscoll's words as if they are completely novel. In my own experience, I have always been a part of churches that are very active in pursuing the lost souls around them and around the globe. I am sure every one of those churches would say they see ways in which they could do both of those things better, but to suggest that they were unconcerned or oblivious to the diverse cultures around them would be silly.

It is in that sense that I don't see much that is "radical" or in need of "reform." I understand that many churches in broader evangelicalism may find befriending ones neighbour with the express purpose of preaching Christ to them as novel. And I suppose that is to whom Driscoll is directing his comments. But I think he makes the error that so many make within the emergent camp also - a form of backlash against their own experience. The trouble with reacting like this is that it writes off whole sections of the church that have been "missional" for centuries.

If there was less painting up of this stuff as the "newest and best thing since sliced bread..."
Less "do this or you are not in...."
More careful research into groups and sub-groups within evangelicalism that are essentially missional even if they have never heard that word....
More reflection on historical churches and denominations that practiced local and worldwide evangelism....
I think the whole concept would gain a wider audience and have more effect for good.

We don't need new ideas, we need the practice of Biblical ones.

Movies and Evangelicals... - Evangelicals miss the big picture:

"So what do evangelicals want from Hollywood anyway? Help converting the masses? If so, movies don't seem as if they're the most effective forum. Despite all the evangelistic hype for The Passion, a survey by The Barna Group showed that less than one-tenth of 1% of those who saw the movie accepted Jesus Christ as their savior as a result of seeing the film. Likewise, don't expect a jump in the size of the gay population because of Brokeback Mountain, however much it might foster the national conversation."

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Men Don't Listen - Part III

Part I is here.

Part II is here.

Wise Men Listen Carefully Before Answering

1) Fools spout off before they have heard everything...

  • Proverbs 18:2 “A fool takes no pleasure in understanding,but only in expressing his opinion.”
  • Proverbs 18:13 “If one gives an answer before he hears,it is his folly and shame.”
  • James 1:19 “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger”

2) Wise men understand that there is almost always more to the issue than just what is presented:

  • Proverb 14:15 “The simple believes everything, but the prudent gives thought to his steps.”

3) Wise men seek to dive into the deep waters of a brother’s heart and draw out the real issues of life:

  • Proverbs 18:4 “The words of a man's mouth are deep waters; the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook.”
  • Proverbs 20:5 “The purpose in a man's heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.”

I would suggest that in our culture this “drawing out” most often involves asking questions of the person we are talking with. When is the last time someone asked you personal questions beyond a surface level and actually dug deep into your life? For many of us, this may not have happened for months or years.

I am often shocked by how few people will simply ask questions of others. I have been in group settings for hours where not one person has asked me anything past "name, rank and serial number." Men are quite excellent at this and most often with their wives and children.

I think you need to think of relationships like fishing (and I HATE fishing - sorry, Ruminator!)... but one way to love people is to fish around their souls. You will have to drop a few lines, may lose some bait, perhaps have to wait hours, may catch nothing... but you stay at it.

How many dads have given up on teens that "won't talk?"

Maybe they would if you tried a little harder and waited a little longer?

4) Finally, the wise man tests what is said against the Truth of the Word – not against his experiences or gut feelings – and thinks of what Truth might apply to this brother in this time:

  • Proverbs 15:28 “The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.”

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Show Yourself a MAN!

Randy Stinson had a great article on being a man in the winter 2005 The Tie (the magazine of The Southern Baptist Seminary). He lists attributes that push us toward "acting like men."

Do the hardest task first

Attacking your hardest task of the day without delay will build your resistance to passivity. Wait­ing until the end of the day only reinforces your sinful tendencies toward passivity.

Make the hard phone call first

While this is similar to the first suggestion, it deals more with passivity within interper­sonal relationships. Some men are willing to do the hard task first, but avoid difficult situations involving other people.

Run to the battle

One only needs to consider the life of the Apostle Paul to see that conflict is a regular fea­ture of the Christian life. Men who think all con­flict should be avoided, or who refuse to engage with those who would harm the body of Christ or their family, not only model passivity but fail in the area of protection.

Do you work now as opposed to later

From term papers to tax filing, the man who is cultivating biblical masculinity will not allow these things to rule him. He will exercise domin­ion over them by doing them in a timely manner.

Keep your domain in order

While most of us on occasion have a messy desk or car trunk, a life that is characterized by disorder is evidence of passivity. Your home, dorm room, garage, office and car should bear the mark of your masculinity as you subdue it and keep it in order.

Kill a bear or a lion

In other words, do something that is a chal­lenge for you. It may actually be to kill a bear or a lion, but it may be a health challenge like run­ning a triathlon or a marathon. It may be some­thing as basic as riding a roller coaster or as edgy as snorkeling with sharks. It may involve debat­ing the atheist at work or starting a Bible study at home. It may mean you need to finally share the gospel with your lost friend or deal with a family conflict that you have allowed to go on for too long.

HT: Spudman, Mrs. Mahaney

Book Review - A Man of God: Essential Priorities for Every Man’s Life

Published by Crossway, 2005.

I have not read many books endorsed by Pat Summerall, Roger Staubach, Gary Carter and Chuck Norris (yes, that Chuck Norris). So, I was a little hesitant picking up Jack Graham’s manifesto to men. What exactly was this book about?

Graham is the pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church, “one of America’s largest congregations” and recently the President of the Southern Baptist Convention. He writes in a very warm and engaging style and keeps his book focused on one topic: men. The early chapters begin with an overview of what it means for a man to be a Christian then he moves on to discuss integrity of character, family life and ministry.

His writing style is very simple and would appeal especially to men that do not read a lot. There are ample chapter divisions and the book is well-organized. I suppose some might consider it as study group material and this might work based on the size and extent of the writing.

There is no question that Graham writes as an American to fellow Americans. It is hard to fault him for this, but much of what he writes is culturally tied to the United States of America of 2005. That points to one criticism I have of this work that seems to be present in so many “demographically-targeted” books: the line between Biblical principle and suggested application gets very fuzzy. Categorical statements like this abound: “Now it’s true that women are far better equipped than men for the difficult work of interpersonal relationships” (120). While that might appear true to the average white American male, I am not so sure this is what the Bible teaches.

One also needs to watch out for some errant theological statements such as when Graham lands on the wrong side of the Lordship-salvation issue. He writes: “Jesus Himself seemed to distinguish between salvation and discipleship in Luke 14” (34). A careful study of that passage, however, will reveal that Jesus is drawing a distinction between true belief and false profession – not a “disciple Christian” and a “just in Christian.”

Nevertheless, the book was not a waste of time to read. I mean, it was certainly not deep, but some of the practical advice was good. Besides that, Graham can tell a fine story and I looked forward to his illustrations.

There are certainly more effective books for dealing with men’s issues that a man may want to read first. And there is certainly nothing wrong with men searching the Scriptures together without another book and seeking to apply the Truth they read there to their lives.

Chuck Smith/Calvary Chapel on "Emergent"

Read the pdf file here...

"There are those who say that the Emergent movement has some good points, but so does a porcupine. You are better off if you don't get too close!"

Monday, May 22, 2006

Brother, Stay True To Your Calling

I was delighted to spend most of Sunday with Dr. Charles Woodrow. Charles is a medical missionary to Mozambique. He went to that country when it was a Communist-run disaster in the middle of civil war; the poorest country in the world. The only reason he could get in was the desperate need for general surgeons.

Over the last 16 years he has planted churches, distributed thousands of Bibles, been instrumental in many conversions, run the only reliable O.R. in the country, organized national pastor’s conferences, distributed massive amounts of Christian literature, helped the poor and needy, raised 5 kids and done the odd surgery (as in 40 per week).

His ultimate goal in going to Mozambique is summed up in this verse: “Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and he is to be held in awe above all gods.” (1 Chronicles 16:24-25).


Here is a man who sticks it out in a war-torn, hopeless situation all because he is intent on the greatness and glory of God being known in Mozambique. His ultimate aim was not the conversion to Christ of Mozambiquans – it was the glory of God! Yet, the glory of God means that he and his family were intent on serving these people in every way they could and making themselves the least of all. It was not rocket science – it was just good, old-fashioned Bible religion.

And Charles cannot wait to get back. He just needs another million dollars and he will have the finest hospital in the country for the poorest and neediest of the country. The Lord is remarkable.

Brother, if you are lugging it out in pastoral ministry and feeling tugged by the emergent crowd or the seeker crowd or the relevant crowd or the business model crowd or whatever – do not lose heart, but stay true to your calling! Charles is an example of a life lived to the glory of God and what the Lord will do over time... and suffering.

Everyone told this brother it was emotional and professional suicide to go to Mozambique. But God had other plans! And I believe that He has similar plans for faithful men who willingly pray for their people, preach to their hearts, live with integrity, serve everyone, die to self and... suffer a little bit. If your focus shifts to your comfort and pleasure, you will cash in or burn out. But if the glory of God, our great King-controlling, flood-sending, people-rescuing, preaching-honoring, prayer-answering Creator of all things – if His glory is our goal... then what can stop us?

If you are wavering, remember Charles... and a thousand others like him... laboring in insignificance, sorrow and suffering... and delighting every day in the greatness of their God.

“He is no fool...”

BBC NEWS | 'Above normal' hurricanes coming in 2006

BBC NEWS |link:

Who needs the BBC when we've got Pat Robertson!