Friday, May 26, 2006
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.
"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
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
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
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
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
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.
Monday, May 22, 2006
I was delighted to spend most of Sunday with Dr. Charles Woodrow. Charles is a medical missionary to
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
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
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
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...”