The Birth of a Missionary-Changing Posture

image

Through the Gospel and the new birth, all believers have an identity implanted in their spiritual DNA that is to profoundly affect the world around them. That identity is that of being a missionary, or ‘sent one’, to their community. To be a ‘sent one’ implies that there is a mission field of people that the missionary is to engage and deliver the good news to. The  task of a missionary is not to try to attract the mission field to our programs, buildings, or services, but rather to GO. The question to ponder is how do we begin?

To begin, a missionary needs to GO by changing their posture. Changing your posture means to change what you believe and feel.Think about your community’s assumptions, experiences, worldviews, biases, and emotions. What are the hang-ups your community has to the Gospel? Many times the obstacles are the pictures of the Gospel that are displayed through the lives of people who claim to know the truth, but do not live it. Our posture is what we communicate nonverbally, no matter what our lips say. Christ is hard to explain as powerful and radically life-changing, no matter how simple the concepts are, when the ‘followers’ of Christ–the living letters and examples of what the message means–don’t line up with the content of the message.

The message means nothing if our lives are saying the message is powerless and doesn’t work through our marriages, kids, work ethics, generosity, love for our fellow believers, love for our community, etc. Sure the truth of the Gospel is powerful, but the best apologetic and persuasion of the Gospel truth to an unbeliever is the real-life person who has been changed by it in their attitudes and actions (1 Thess. 2:7-8). And when that person fails, they are not hypocritical, but repent and claim the power of the Gospel to get back up and continue changing them into little Christs.

According to 1 Peter 3:15, if people aren’t asking about your life, then you haven’t postured your faith as a missionary disciple should. This means changing your posture to having Christ’s compassion for others. What did Christ’s compassion look like? Christ’s compassion was not simply empathy but it was advocacy. Here’s how Hugh Halter explains the difference:

“Empathy can be shown from a distance; it can be communicated through a card or phone call. But to advocate for someone means you are with them in their need, and you must speak and act on their behalf because they can’t speak or act on their own. It is caring in a way that touches another soul, person to person, rather than trying to fix that person from a position of perceived superiority.” 

Want a picture of this? Read Luke 10 and John 8. Our task is to present Jesus as the great advocate for the soul’s deep need and guilt through our representative posture that enforces the power of the Gospel message that we’ll share.

Advertisements

What Suffering Can Reveal About Yourself

Tullian Tchividjian:

As Paul Tripp so probingly asks, “How is your present disappointment, discouragement, or grief a window on what has actually captured your heart?” When we depend on anything smaller than God to provide us with the security, significance, meaning, and value that we long for, God will love us enough to take it away. Much of our anger and bitterness, therefore, is God prying open our hands and taking away something we’ve held onto more tightly than him.

 

via Z

Gospel Identity #1

image

Our church is transitioning to a new website and I have been working on the structure and information that will be featured on the site. Thinking through the identities that grow out of the Gospel and the purposes that flow from those identities for the church, has helped structure the site a whole lot and simplified our discipling process. Here’s the first part:

 

SHCC: Our Identity

#1: We gather as a church family

Because of the Good News, Christ takes people from every ethnic group, economic level, and social status to form a family that is bonded in humility by an awe of the mercy and grace Jesus Christ has shown to each of us.

Before the Good News transforms us, we are “children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:1-3), orphans separated from God and each other, and doomed to God’s judgment because of His perfect holiness and our sin.

But through the Good News, we’re adopted into God’s family (Galatians 4:4-7) and made His sons and daughters and therefore brothers and sisters. Because we’re a family, we love and obey our Father and bring honor to His name (Matthew 6:9),  look out for each other, and care for one another, just as our Older Brother, God’s Son, Jesus Christ, did for us.

  • Colossians 3:11 "Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all."
  • Ephesians 2:19 "Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God."
  • Galatians 6:10 "Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers."

“Hath shined in our hearts”

image

Sinclair Ferguson:

. . . B. B. Warfield describes the Old Testament as a richly furnished but dimly lit room. Only when the light is turned on do the contents become clear. That light has been switched on in Christ and the New Testament’s testimony to him. Now the triune personal being of God becomes clear.”

Want to be a difference maker in your church?

It’s in the ordinary:

Kevin DeYoung:

Find a good local church.
• Get involved.
• Become a member.
• Stay there as long as you can.
• Put away thoughts of a revolution for a while.
• Join the plodding visionaries.
• Go to church this Sunday and worship in Spirit and truth.
• Be patient with your leaders.
• Rejoice when the gospel is faithfully proclaimed.
• Bear with those who hurt you.
• Give people the benefit of the doubt.
• Say “hi” to the teenager that no one notices.
• Welcome the old ladies with the blue hair and the young men with tattoos.
• Volunteer for the nursery.
• Attend the congregational meeting.
• Bring your fried chicken to the potluck like everybody else.
• Invite a friend.
• Take a new couple out for coffee.
• Give to the Christmas offering.
• Sing like you mean it.
• Be thankful someone vacuumed the carpet for you.
• Enjoy the Sundays that “click.”
• Pray extra hard on the Sundays that don’t.
• And in all of this, do not despise the days and weeks and years of small things (Zechariah 4:8–10).

Talking to your kids about sex

Click through if you can’t see the video.

We purchased the first book in the God’s Design for Sex Series by Stan and Brenna Jones to have a tool to work off of in our family.  These begin at age 3. For older children (10-14), the Passport2Purity materials from FamilyLife are a great tool as well, I’m told.

God’s grace in every book of the Bible

Dane Ortlund:

. . .  Yet underneath and undergirding all of these, it seems to me, is the motif of God’s grace, his perplexing favor and love to the undeserving. Don’t we see the grace of God in every book of the Bible? (NT books include the single verse that best crystallizes the point.)

Genesis shows God’s grace to a universally wicked world as he enters into relationship with a sinful family line (Abraham) and promises to bless the world through him.

Exodus shows God’s grace to his enslaved people in bringing them out of Egyptian bondage.

Leviticus shows God’s grace in providing his people with a sacrificial system to atone for their sins.

Numbers shows God’s grace in patiently sustaining his grumbling people in the wilderness and bringing them to the border of the promised land not because of them but in spite of them.

Deuteronomy shows God’s grace in giving the people the new land “not because of your righteousness” (ch. 9).

Joshua shows God’s grace in giving Israel victory after victory in their conquest of the land with neither superior numbers nor superior obedience on Israel’s part.

Judges shows God’s grace in taking sinful, weak Israelites as leaders and using them to purge the land, time and again, of foreign incursion and idolatry.

Ruth shows God’s grace in incorporating a poverty-stricken, desolate, foreign woman into the line of Christ.

1 and 2 Samuel show God’s grace in establishing the throne (forever—2 Sam 7) of an adulterous murderer.

Read the whole post.