Gospel

30Jul

Why We Are Going

In ten days my wife Susan and I will join three others from our church on a short-term mission trip to Chiang Mai, Thailand where we will partner with missionaries who were sent out of our church. There are a lot of different perspectives on short term mission trips. Some people view them as a waste of time and resources while others see them as strategic in advancing the gospel across the globe. Short-term mission trips can certainly be hijacked by poor planning, improper motivations, unequipped participants, and unrealistic expectations among whole host of other contributors. However, I believe our upcoming trip to Thailand will be strategic in advancing the gospel for at least three reasons:

Encouragement –  Everyone needs encouragement. When you consider the challenges missionaries face living cross culturally, away from many comforts, far away from family and friends, with the task of learning a new language and way of life, the need for encouragement is typically heightened. We are praying our visit to our missionary friends will strengthen them in the same way the Apostle Paul’s short term visits strengthened other disciples, “When he had landed at Caesarea, he went up and greeted the church, and then went down to Antioch. After spending some time there, he departed and went from one place to the next through the region of Galatia and Phyrgia, strengthening all the disciples.” Acts 18:22-23

Timely, personal encouragement can be a game changer for those on the front lines of gospel advancement. Pray that we will be effective at encouraging our missionary friends.

Evangelism – I’m crazy excited about what God may do as we share the gospel in Chiang Mai. Taking direction from our missionary friends, we’ve crafted a plan to conduct spiritual surveys that close by sharing the gospel or inviting them to come to an event where our missionary friend will share the gospel in Thai. Part of this plan was inspired by a visit to a coffee shop I made last year when I was visiting them. I noticed a coffee mug on the shelf from one my favorite coffee shops in NYC and struck up a conversation with the barista who happened to speak english. The conversation flowed so naturally and a seed was planted in my mind. What if we went to the areas in Chiang Mai (like that coffee shop) where there are lots of english speakers and engaged in dozens if not hundreds of conversations that funneled toward sharing the gospel? The worst case scenario is that we would further equip our missionary friends to know where God may be working and what kind of engagement the Thai people may or may not respond to. The best case scenario however — imagine with me — is if a church was planted as a result of gospel conversations! This is the audacious prayer I’m praying as we go! Join us in prayer — that we may be humble, culturally sensitive and appropriate, and evangelistically faithful and fruitful.

Exposure – Lastly, we are going because God’s people need more exposure to what God is doing around the world. One may quickly and rightly rebuttal that in our day of incredible technologies we have more opportunities for exposure than ever before. Though, videos and live video smart phone applications abound, there is simply nothing like being incarnate on the ground. When we walk among the unreached peoples of the world and experience the great need for the gospel and more laborers, something is awakened in us. Seeing the people is more powerful than hearing the statistics. First hand exposure, leads us to pray for the nations more faithfully and fervently. First hand exposure propels us to give more intentionally and sacrificially to missions. Through first hand exposure, we become story tellers of God’s global movement. We tell stories of the need which causes more awareness and concern for global mission. Short-term trips transform into life long callings.

Would you pray for us, as we go? When done right, short term mission trips can strategically advance the gospel across the globe. This is what we are praying for. This is why we are going.

6Nov

Anyone Can Plant A Church

My blog got hacked. Bad. I literally lost everything on it. The guy who hosts my blog is seeking to recover all the old posts. But for now, I’m back up and blogging. Spread the word by posting the link on your facebook or twitter feeds. Thanks! Read on

I recently preached a sermon where I made the point that “anyone can plant a church.” This is true because biblical church planting is simply,

evangelism that results in a congregation.

The definition isn’t unique to me. I stole it from my church planting professor in seminary. I do however think it is right. Look at how Luke records the planting of the church at Antioch in Acts 11:20-21.

But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who on coming to Antioch spoke to the Hellenists also, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord.

Simple. They preached Jesus. People believed. They were gathered as a church. Think about it. Church plants ought to happen all the time on accident. Anyone with the gospel can plant a church.

Sometimes in North America we call things church planting that are not church planting. They may be church shifting, church splitting, church trading, church moving, or even church pirating. But don’t get confused. Church planting can be very simple. You don’t have to have a big building or a big budget to plant a church. You really only need the gospel and guts.

If you are reading this blog, you probably already have the gospel. Do you have the guts to share Jesus with your friends, neighbors or co-workers? I’m praying today, God gives everyone who is reading this supernatural boldness – godly guts.

Let’s go!

 

 

30Jul

TGC 2014 WOMEN’S CONFERENCE

Over the years, one of the greatest catalysts for spiritual growth in my life has been listening to audio sermons, interviews and bible studies. I listened to literally hundreds of sermons going back and forth from college back in the late 1990s. Then again in 2005-2006 when I was traveling from Louisville back to TN to preach every weekend (3 hours each way) I listened to hundreds of sermons and pastoral interviews.   The apostle Paul said that transformation comes by having our minds renewed (Romans 12:2). Listening to sermons helps renew our minds = a transformed life.

The Gospel Coalition recently posted a wealth of resources online from their 2014 National Women’s Conference. I think they’ll be hosting another women’s conference in 2016. Perhaps a group from FSBCS will go! Enjoy this teaser video and click the link to find a ton of sermons/talks unique to women, their callings, their challenges and their joys.

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