A couple of weeks ago I had the chance to preach at my good friend’s church in KY. It was a great time to see family and friends, many of whom I hadn’t seen in over 10 years. On Sunday evening I got the chance to talk a little more about missions and tell the story of The Passage Church.
At the end we had a short question and answer time, to wrap up our time together. During that time there was a question asked that I wish I could answer again. The question was from a woman who was probably about 75, although I could never get a job at the fair guessing ages. Her question was essentially this, After you have seen our facilities what can we do better or different to reach people and make it more appealing to people.
Now first let me say how much I appreciate this woman’s question. I believe her heart is for seeing people follow Jesus, but my answer was lacking.
I wish I would have said, I believe that in the past the churches have relied too heavily on having an “attractive space.” Really I believe that great facilities are usually more effective at pulling people from church A and into church B, than pulling the lost into a place where they can hear the Gospel. Facilities are not and have never been the answer, but I wish I would have taken the time here to quote again Alan Hirsch:
“But if individual members are not committed to living their lives as kingdom-minded missionaries in the their daily life stations, the the corporate efforts of the church as a whole will never sniff the air of their true kingdom potential.”
It is through building friendships rather than building facilities that will really make the difference in impacting our communities for Jesus. I love this lady and her question, but I just didn’t love my answer.
Yesterday I ended my sermon with the two paragraphs from David Powlison’s chapter in Suffering and the Sovereignty of God. Some have asked for copy and so I thought I would post it here today.
As Powlison closes his chapter he talks about moving from a “Why Me” approach to a “Why Not Me” approach to suffering. If you want to listen to the entire sermon you can do so here.
“Finally, you are prepared to pose – and to mean – almost unimaginable questions: Why not me? Why not this? Why not now? If in someway, my faith might serve as a three-watt night light in a very dark world, why not me? If my suffering shows forth the Savior of the world, why not me? If I have the privilege of filling up the sufferings of Christ? If he sanctifies to me my deepest distress? If I fear no evil? If he bears me in his arms? If my weakness demonstrates the power of God to save us from all that is wrong? If my honest struggle shows other strugglers how to land on their feet? If my life comes a source of hope for others why not me?
Of course, you don’t want to suffer, but you’ve become willing: “If it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not as I will, but as you will.” Like him your loud cries and tears will in fact be heard by the one who saves from death. Like him, you will learn obedience through what you suffer. Like him, you will sympathize with the weaknesses of others. Like him, you will deal gently with the ignorant and wayward. Like him, you will display faith to a faithless world, hope to hopeless world, love to a loveless world, life to a dying world. If all that God promises only comes true, then why not me?”
Pg 173, Suffering and the Sovereignty of God
Have a good week.
This week I will be thinking through marriage in preparation for our upcoming marriage weekend. Dr. Jones (Counseling Professor) will be our speaker on Saturday.
On Friday evening we will gather for a time of fellowship and I will teach the first introduction session. So as I try to blog a bit more I thought I would bring back the Monday Quote. I believe this quote has made its way on to the blog previously, but it is worth repeating
“The key question is this: Will we approach marriage from a God-centered view or a man-centered view? In a man centered view, we will maintain our marriage as long as our earthly comforts, desires, and expectations are met. In a God-centered view, we preserve our marriage because it brings glory to God and points to a sinful world to a reconciling Creator.”
If you are interested in joining us for the marriage weekend.
7:30-9:00 Session 1 – Foundations of Marriage (Matt)
10:30-12:00 Session 2 – The Heart of Martial Communication (Dr. Jones)
1:30-3:00 Session 3 – Resolving Marriage Conflict God’s Way (Dr. Jones)
For more information send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Have a great week.
As I return back the office for the first time in 2012, I have spent a lot of time thinking and dreaming about what God might do this year. I am more excited about Passage today than I ever have been.
I see the potential for our church in the leadership that God has brought and is continuing to bring. I see the potential in the open doors for ministry that He has provided. I see the potential that those who have come to know Christ will be great witnesses for him. I see potential in our youth and their leadership. I could go on, but do you know what excites me more than the potential? It is the power that works in that potential.
It is not potential alone but it is the power of God. The same power that raised Christ of the dead is at work within us. It is that power that makes potential more than a possibility.
Here are a few specific ways I am praying we see the power of God in 2012.
- Praying we see at least 50 people come to know and trust Christ this year.
- Praying that train 50 people for discipleship and mentoring.
- Praying that we add 10 additional small groups by January 2013.
- Praying that we take significant steps with our ministry partners in Naco, Mexico and Indore, India.
Those are just a few of the specific request. I hope you will join me in praying for these things daily and then I pray you will join me working towards these request.
Happy New Year
When I was previously blogging the most popular installment was often the Monday quote.
Today’s quote comes from a book Alan Hirsch co-authored, “Right Here, Right Now.” Alan is a gifted writer who works hard to move all Christians mission. If you are a Christ follower I think this book is well worth your time, but for today hopefully a couple quotes will challenge the way we live and the way we view the church.
“Our churches have wonderfully written missional vision statements and well-conceived plans and programs. But if individual members are not committed to living their lives as kingdom-minded missionaries in their daily life stations then the corporate efforts of the church as a whole will never sniff the air of their true kingdom potential.”
“Perhaps the greatest factor that hinders the Western church from missional engagement is that most Christians here do not identify themselves as fully empowered agents of the kingdom of God.”
Have a good week.
After two years away I have decided to return to the blogging world. I have given it much thought over the last few weeks and decided to go ahead and jump in with both feet.
It will not be a daily blog, but I will try to return a couple of times a week. The content of the blog will vary. It will be a combination of church planting resources, sermon overflow, personal, and prayer request. I know that if you blog should have a specific audience, but we will give this a shot and see how it goes.
I hope the 4 of you who read this are doing well and I look forward to interacting a bit via the blog.