Archive for September, 2009
This is the highlight reel from SBU’s 50-20 win last Saturday over Kentucky Wesleyan. Ryan (# 48) had three tackles in his first playing time. His play is at the 3:00 minute mark on the video.
Last weekend I concluded the Mission Ahead series by making some observations from Luke 10 concerning how Jesus empowered his disciples for mission. Luke alone reports the sending of this large group numbering 72 people. Jesus had previously sent the 12 on a similar mission with similar instructions. Now the group is expanded beyond the 12. It’s encouraging to learn that the mission is not for a select few. If we assume that the 72 does not include the 12 apostles, we can easily calculate that for every “rock star” there were 6 who went in complete and total anonymity. All that we know about the 72 is that they obeyed the call to go.
In what ways did Jesus empower them 2,000 years ago? In what ways does Jesus empower us today?
1. He Gives Abundant Opportunity (Luke 10:1-2)
A recent USA Today article revealed that 14% of our nation considers itself to have no religious preference. The Pew Forum has also projected that in the next 20 years that statistic will increase to 20%. Today’s reality is that if every church of every faith were filled to capacity in every service, there would still be more out of church than in church. We live in a day of abundant opportunity.
How big is the opportunity? The opportunity is so big that before we take our first step on mission we are to pray for more help! Don’t resent the new churches that are being planted. Don’t resent the growth of the churches in the community. According to Jesus and verified by statistics, there’s plenty of opportunity to go around!
2. He Resources the Mission (Luke 10:3-7)
In his pre-mission pep talk, Jesus gave several instructions. He told the disciples to go in pairs, to travel light, and to anticipate indigenous help on the ground. The principle is simple: We must depend on God to resource our mission. God has designed the mission to fail unless he himself comes through!
3. He Provides the Message (Luke 10:8-9)
The missional message of the Kingdom is the whole gospel. This included verbally preaching the kingdom and healing the sick. We share the whole gospel that touches the spiritual and the physical needs of people.
4. He Gives us Perspective on the Mission (Luke 10:10-16)
We are to leave the results to God. Any rejection is a rejection of the kingdom and a rejection of God.
We are not responsible for responses. We are responsible for going. God deals with the responses to his message.
5. He fills us with Joy (Luke 10:17-20)
As the disciples returned from their mission they were filled with joy. Whenever God is glorified the people are filled with joy. Joy is the by-product of God’s glory.
Here’s another article published by The Pew Forum concerning the growing secularization of the American people. The research conducted projects that in 20 years 1 in 5 Americans will be secular. Click here for the article.
Here’s a news story that ran on ABC channel 5 last night in Des Moines featuring one of our church members. Jeremial Rife has lost in excess of 200 pounds on his own without surgery.
For more information check out JTR Foundation. Congratulations Jeremial!
Here’s the artwork for the upcoming series of sermons I’ll be preaching at Ashworth Road on the subject of suffering. I’ve really enjoyed the reading that I’ve been doing to prepare for the series and I’m praying that God will use it to bring comfort and help to those who are struggling. The series begins the first weekend of October. I’m excited about it and pray that you won’t miss a weekend!
First, we must Discover our S.H.A.P.E. This language is borrowed from Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Church. S.H.A.P.E. is an acronym that describes the five essential tools in our personal ministry toolbox.
S = Spiritual Gifts
H = Heart (passion)
A = Abilities (skills, natural talents)
P = Personality (introvert or extrovert)
E = Experiences (positive and painful)
God has hard wired us to serve him. He doesn’t waste anything.
Next, we must Develop our Strengths. The best way to do this, of course, is to get out of the bleachers and onto the playing field. Classroom settings may help us to discover our S.H.A.P.E., but the fact of the matter is that all of the classroom experiences in the world will not make you an effective disciple of Jesus Christ.
Finally, we must Deploy our Service. The goal of equipping is not the activity of equipping itself. The goal is focused on end results. The church is to be a missional training center that is deeply committed to multiplying leaders. The objective is to have the right person in the right place for the right reason. When a church is committed to leadership development, it can anticipate four outcomes:
1. Ministry (Ephesians 4:12, we “do his work”)
2. Muscle (Ephesians 4:12, “and build up the church, the body of Christ”)
3. Maturity (Ephesians 4:13, “This will all continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord”)
4. Measure Up (Ephesians 4:13, “measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.”)
Are you prepared? Or will you stand at the point of need and call for help? It has been said that God doesn’t call the equipped, he equips the called. My prayer for each of us is that we will all become developed so that we can be released into the work of the Kingdom of God.
Interesting article in USA Today about the rising number of those in America claiming no religious affilliation. Click here for the article.
Several years ago I was having lunch at a restaurant with a friend. During the course of our conversation, we suddenly heard a crash from a booth across the room. It sounded like a server had dropped an entire tray of food. When we looked over we saw a man sitting at his table struggling to breathe. He had both hands up to his throat and it was obvious that he was choking. Two servers ran to the table and started asking for help. My friend jumped up and went to the choking man. He lifted him up out of his seat and began to perform the Heimlich maneuver. After several sharp thrusts the food was dislodged and he was able to breathe again. Those of us who witnessed the act stood and cheered.
My friend was a hero. The restaurant paid for our meal. Several people came over to congratulate my friend on his quick thinking and clear headed response. His appropriate reply was, “I’ve had some first aid and CPR training.” While the witnesses were impressed by hiss speedy response, the bottom line is that he was prepared.
In his book Unfinished Business, Greg Ogden remarks that the first reformation returned the Bible to the people of God, and the second reformation returned the ministry to the people of God.
The biblical pattern of Ephesians 4:11-16 instructs gifted pastors to equip the members who in turn are to do the work of the ministry. Pastors deploy their gifts so the body can discover, develop, and deploy their gifts their gifts.
So how do we go about this? Tomorrow I’ll share three steps in our strategy to equip the people of God that we are doing at Ashworth Road.
My friend Tracy Dean from Thunder Marketing has been doing a series of promotional bass clinics with Victor Wooten. Since my youngest is presently learning to play bass, Tracy came through with an autographed picture for Shannon. Pretty cool!
1. We are responsible “to” the mission, not “for” the mission.
Reggie McNeal once said, “The church doesn’t have a mission, the mission has a church.” It is important that we remember that the local church is always subordinate to its God given mission.
2. The mission of God and the heart of God are one in the same.
Perhaps this principle is most clearly seen in John 3:16-17, which reads “For God loved (there’s the heart of God) the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent (there’s the mission of God) his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.”
3. We are accountable for our potential.
If you’ll recall the parable of the talents, you’ll remember that the basis of judgment upon the three servants was whether or not they reached their potential. The talents were distributed to each servant “according to their ability.” When the king returned, the metric of his judgment was potential. I believe that someday God will call us to account for what we could have become and what we could have accomplished but were unwilling to trust him for.
4. We are dependent upon God for the results.
1 Corinthians 3:6-7 tells us that we participate in God’s kingdom work, but that any results are completely up to God. We water, we plant, we cultivate, but it is God who brings the growth.
There are many who are living paycheck to paycheck. This is a financial desperation that is difficult for people to manage. No one wants to be in that desperate financial position.
The church operates according to a desperation that is by design. Kingdom minded people live breath to breath. The breath of our prayers brings the breath of the Spirit of God who fills our sails and carries us forward.