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The Two Missions Of The Church (via Jonathan Leeman)

More like two sides of one coin rather than two separate works.
The church has an inward and an outward focus.
Or, as Jonathan Leeman puts it, to be an embassy and an ambassador:

The narrow mission of a church-as-organized collective is to make disciples and citizens of Christ’s kingdom. The broad mission of a church-as-its-members is to be disciples and citizens of Christ’s kingdom. The narrow employs judge-like or priestly words of formal separation, identification, and instruction. The broad rules and lives as sons of the king, representing the heavenly Father in all of life’s words and deeds. The narrow protects the holy place where God dwells, which is his temple, the church. The broad pushes God’s witness into new territory, expanding where his rule is acknowledged. For illustration purposes, we might say the narrow mission is to be an embassy, while the broad mission is to be an ambassador.

Source


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Akos Balogh’s Unexpected Lesson From A Flooded House In Lismore

Akos Balogh writes a blog where he sees the world through a Christian lens.
He lives in Lismore.
In this piece he writes about a reflection provoked by his experience of trying to keep floodwaters out of his house.
From the post, the lesson and the life application:

Our house is built on the side of a hill, and as I look up the hill from beneath the floorboards, I see water – lots of water – cascading down. And then it hits me: If I want to stop the flooding of our downstairs room, I need to tackle the water problem further ‘upstream’
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If you want better gospel conversations with your neighbour, ‘go upstream’ with them.

Read the whole post at Akos Balogh..


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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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The Living Heart Of Mission In Corporate Worship (via Zac Hicks)

Zac Hicks on corporate worship as true mission activity, perhaps in contrast to being evangelistic activity.

The symbiotic relationship between worship and mission means, first of all, that it would be unthinkable to ever replace corporate, gathered worship with missional acts of evangelism and community service, just as it would be unthinkable to remove a heart and simply tie the remaining veins and arteries together. Missional momentum halts when the heart of worship is removed. Second, if your church is struggling to be a truly missional body, worship must be a very real place of examination. Is the gospel clear and present in worship, or is it crowded out by other things? Ironically, our quest for a more evangelistic worship service, friendly and easy to swallow for non-Christians, has often muted the gospel in worship, rendering the service impotent of missional, transformative power. While we should always strive for worship to be intelligible and understandable to non-Christians, nothing short of prizing the gospel and making much of Jesus will create the kind of awe-inspiring zeal in the church that causes the watching world to cry, “God is really among you!” (1 Corinthians 14:25).

The Worship Pastor, Zac Hicks, Zondervan, 2016, pg 100.


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On Having An Ego That Is Subject To The Kingdom

Ed Stetzer wrote about the funeral of Cliff Barrows, an integral member of the Billy Graham Evangelistic movement.
A striking point illustrated how Barrows’ ego was submissive to the cause of the kingdom:

Most clearly, Cliff was not about Cliff.
One of the speakers said that the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association originally had the name “Barrows” in it. (According to Graham’s memoirs, it was called the Graham / Barrows Campaigns.)
As the speaker at the funeral explained, one of the business leaders/supporters suggested that the ministry would be more effective if named the “Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.” Cliff quickly agreed and never spoke of it again.
Cliff was about the mission of Jesus Christ. He was a preacher who gave that up to serve on a team that already had a preacher.
Like Cliff Barrows, may we live our lives in ways that are not focused on ourselves.

Read more here.


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How Christianity Flourishes (via Jared Wilson)

Christianity flourishes at the margins, not when it controls.
Jared Wilson:

Christian mission has always thrived by surging in the margins and under the radar. When we somehow get into positions of power, the wheels always come off. This is pretty much the way it’s always been. I once heard Steve Brown relate this story on the radio: “A Muslim scholar once said to a Christian, ‘I cannot find anywhere in the Qur’an that it teaches Muslims how to be a minority presence in the world. And I cannot find anywhere in the New Testament where it teaches Christians how to be a majority presence in the world.’”
Indeed, as Christianity spread throughout the first few centuries as a persecuted minority people, the conversion of Constantine paved the way for its becoming the official state religion of the Roman Empire by the end of the fourth century. That’s quite a turnaround for some backwater sect splintering off an oppressed Palestinian Judaism. But as my old religion professor in college, M. B. Jackson, used to say, “When everyone’s a Christian, no one is.” And once Christianity became the official religion, the church lost its prophetic voice and its vibrancy.

Read the whole post here.


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Krosswerdz Brisbane And Nathan Carse

Another highlight at the Queensland Presbyterian Assembly was hearing from Nathan Carse who co-coordinates the chapter of Krosswerdz Brisbane. He finds himself regularly in the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre where he runs weekly Bible studies, Hip-Hop workshops (MMAD) and is a part of monthly Church services within the centre.
Thoughtful, passionate and talented, Nathan’s creative interaction with those in detention helps them express the very issues they struggle with through the medium of song, and then brings the Bible’s perspective to bear on the themes expressed.