Archive for Looking outside the box
On Sunday last we visited the African church near us. Pastor Ayo was speaking on Luke 5, on the call of the first disciples and the command of Jesus to “launch into the deep.” The disciples, you remember, had toiled all night and caught nothing. They were disconsolately washing their nets when Jesus commandeered one of the boats as a preaching platform. After the impromptu sermon, he encouraged the weary fishermen out into the lake to fish once more and Peter (probably) sighed “We’ve worked hard all night and caught nothing. Nevertheless, at your word…” They cast the nets and are astonished at the immediate and abundant catch. They signal to their partners in the other boat to come and help them with the catch.
This is where I got excited. I knew the story, of course, but I began to hear what God was saying to our church. In the face of weariness (“We have toiled“) and discouragement (“and caught nothing“), we encounter Jesus and respond(“nevertheless, at your word…”). The harvest is plentiful…immediate… “pray the Lord of the harvest to send out more workers.” And then they “signalled to the partners in the other boat.” My friends, we are the partners. We are partners in the gospel. IGod is calling us to partner these other Christians in the town and help with the harvest. Launch into the deep. Or, as in the Engrish picture “Carefully fall into the river.”
(Moy river. Photo by Jan)
The one desire which grows more and more is to give … Giving and receiving are at bottom one thing, dependent upon whether one lives open or closed. Living openly one becomes a medium, a transmitter, living thus, as a river, one experiences life to the full, flows along with the current of life, and dies in order to live again as an ocean.
~ Henry Miller
Patrolling the web for you….
…for bite-sized Theology with that just-cooked je-ne-sais-quoi flavour….
Here’s the shining faces of the team at Karvina just before heading up to Krakow for the return flight img_6628.jpg
Hi guys! So nice to be home in dear old Ireland. Hot showers! Hairdryers! Potato bread! Just arrived back last night/ early morning with a rather jaded mission team from the Beskydys (Czech Republic). We have to check Lucy at Casualty tomorrow, when she wakes up…. she has a suspected fracture (to the left foot) and Vanessa will apparently have headaches for the next three months following her serious concussion. Is this what Jesus meant when he said that the enemy comes to steal, kill and to destroy? Sometimes, I must admit, it seems a little paranoid and childish to talk like that. Other times -like when you’re on a mission trip and doing your serious best to counter the enemy plans- it seems very real. I’ve been re-reading the gospel of Mark and the sheer multplicity of Jesus’ encounters with the devil and with the demon-possessed sounds more like something out of Harry Potter, than the way my (conventional) church background would have me believe.
Anyway, we had an amazing time with a bunch of forty teenagers high up the mountains, introducing them to bluegrass and introducing ourselves to the delights of Czech cooking. No electricity but plenty of buzz. And the title phrase of this post came to me as a kind of insight into the way church (I mean the body of Christ) operates…. not through schemes, plans, theologies, institutions…. not through any kind of projects at all. I was a bit sad about that, being good at projects.
But only ever through people. After all, people ARE the project, if you want to put it like that, according to the end of Matthew 28. And in the course of this adventure that we call life, people are on the frontline.
So, guys, pray for Vanessa and Lucy and also for all the young people who have come to Christ over the last few weeks. I sense that I must never focus on plans but only the Lord. Maybe like that difference between church as FAMILY and church as BUSINESS?
Sophisticated pleasure from pistolpete: ENJOY…
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Those who believe in God, but without passion in the heart, without anguish of mind, without uncertainty, without doubt and even at times without despair, believe only in the idea of God, and not in God himself. – Miguel de Unamuno
Been reading and re-reading this quote over the past couple of days. It’s strange, but it both challenges and comforts me at the same time. It’s weird how a statement so confrontational on one hand is so reassuring on the other.
Life is filled with challenges, and often our faith feels under fire, but this we know: the testing of our faith produces good fruit, and the twelve guys closest to Jesus weren’t frighten to tell him that they believed but they needed help with their unbelief. We all struggle, we all wrestle with issues of belief and faith – its that passionate pursuit, that anguish of mind that gives place to hope and a way for faith. Keep pressing and believing!
C.J. Mahaney leads Sovereign Grace Ministries in its mission to establish and support local churches. After 27 years of pastoring Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland, C.J. handed the senior pastor role to <!– Joshua Harris –>Joshua Harris on September 18, 2004, allowing C.J. to devote his full attention to Sovereign Grace. He serves on the Council of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals and on the board of The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. C.J.’s books include Humility: True Greatness; Living the Cross-Centered Life; and Sex, Romance, and the Glory of God: What Every Christian Husband Needs to Know. He also contributed to Dear Timothy: Letters on Pastoral Ministry, and to two additional volumes in the Foundations for the Family Series (Crossway).
He has also edited or coauthored four books in the Pursuit of Godliness book series, published by Sovereign Grace Ministries: Why Small Groups?, This Great Salvation, How Can I Change?, and Disciplines for Life.
As a guy whose denomination tends to be very doctrinally oriented, Living the Cross-centered Life is a tremendous breath of gospel fresh air. It’s one thing to give a textbook definition for “justification”, etc. It’s another thing entirely to have one’s heart opened to the implications of Christ’s finished work on the Cross. This book will help you to appreciate and love Christ more. Please read it; cry occasionally; repent; and rise to embrace the Cross of Christ each day of your life. This book will transform you.