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Building Generosity By Setting Vision (via Andrew Hopper at JD Greear)

Culture takes time to establish, and maybe longer to change.
In this guest-post at JD Greear’s blog Andrew Hopper talks about the way in which setting and sharing a vision builds generosity as people get a sense of what could grow if they release resources to support it.
Sometimes this giving and releasing will be on a personal level, other times it will be on a corporate level as a Church makes decision to let go of something existing in order to strive for another goal.
Participating in this is part of being a growing Christian.
From Hopper:

While it’s true that “culture eats strategy for breakfast,” vision sets culture. The greatest tool for building generosity within the church is giving people the picture of what could be. I’m not naturally great at casting vision; but, leadership is focusing on what needs attention, not what you are already good at.
As we’ve applied ourselves to improving in this area, we’ve learned there are two components to setting vision: heart and opportunity. All the opportunities in the world won’t matter if people don’t first realize that generosity with time, talent, and treasure may be the greatest marker of a growing Christian.

Read the rest here.


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The Endless Self-Justifying Life And The Gospel (via J.D. Greear)

Finding security in our ability to successfully construct a life is destructive of relationship because others who do not conform to that from which we derive security detract from our assurance of security.
In the Bible it’s as old as Cain and Abel.
From J.D. Greear.

St. Augustine said that before they sinned, Adam and Eve were naked and unashamed because they were clothed in God’s love and acceptance. One of the first effects of sin after the fall was a sense of shame over their nakedness. They had always been naked, but without God’s approval, now they felt naked.
That’s a picture of the human race: We feel exposed, unacceptable, and ashamed. Our whole lives are spent as a quest to re-clothe ourselves. We’re always looking for what sets us apart and makes us “right.” We’re always looking for something to validate us, something to prove that we’ve earned our place in this world.
But apart from Christ, whatever we turn to for our justification becomes a snare.
Worse, it becomes a point of division in our communities—and in the church. If I’m trusting in my parenting to be made right, then I need to be a better parent than you. If I’m trusting in my moral goodness, then I need to present a better picture of holiness than you. If I’m trusting in my group of friends, then I automatically assume that we are the good guys and they are the bad guys.
Thank God justification doesn’t work this way. It is given to us freely as a gift in Christ Jesus. The apostle Paul says, “Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By one of works? No, on the contrary, by a law of faith” (Romans 3:27 CSB).
The gospel eliminates boasting, not by telling us to stop boasting, but by undercutting the very basis of pride: We aren’t saved by anything we do. We can’t keep the law. We can’t make any claim to success on our own virtue. At our core—at our best—we are a race of miserable failures. There is none righteous, not even one.
In fact, we are so bad, Jesus had to die to save us. And that destroys the basis of pride.

source


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A Rescue Ship, Not A Luxury Liner (via J.D. Greear)

J.D. Greear restates a truth that needs to be revisited again and again about the nature of the church.

In Long Beach, California, you can visit the Queen Mary, a ship that’s been turned into a museum. It was originally launched as the ultimate luxury cruise liner of its time. But during World War II, it was commandeered to carry troops back and forth in battle. You can go onto the ship now and see examples of both setups: When it was a luxury liner, it accommodated 3,000 people with every possible convenience; in wartime, however, it was refitted to house 15,000 people. Rooms that once slept one couple could now hold eight soldiers.
Wartime and peacetime demand different things. The same is true for us.
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As the church, we shouldn’t be trying to build the Queen Mary luxury liner for Christians. Yes, we want to have warm, inviting, well-kept environments, done excellently for the glory of God. But we do it with the understanding that our resources weren’t given to us to create a cruise liner for Christians; they were given to build a rescue station for the broken.

Read the whole post here.


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Prayer Doesn’t Just Empower The Ministry; Prayer Is The Ministry (via J.D. Greear)

These points need to be made again and again.
From J.D. Greear.
“Prayer doesn’t just empower the ministry; prayer is the ministry”.
“What if prayer was the most important part of any worship experience? Jesus said, “My house shall be called a ‘house of prayer for all nations,’” not a house of preaching. Is that how someone would describe our church?”

Read the post here.


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The Gospel Is Not Just The Diving Board; It’s The Pool (via J.D. Greear)

The Gospel Is Not Just The Diving Board; It’s The Pool
J.D. Greear featured this as one of the summary statements of the church he serves at.
I don’t remember hearing it before and it encapsulates that the Gospel is not an entry point, it’s what Christians enter into.

More here.