Bonhoeffer on Christian Community

dietrich_bonhoefferI wanted to pass on a quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer from his book Life Together (actually in German it was Gemeinsames Leben —that’s for Mindi!)  You may have heard of him, but in brief he was a noted Christian pastor and author who was killed by the Nazi’s in 1945. (For more check out www.dbonhoeffer.org/who-was-db2.htm ). 

In the first few pages of this book, Bonhoeffer references that those followers of Jesus who live in isolation–“the imprisoned, the sick, the scattered lonely, the proclaimers of the Gospel in heathen lands”*–crave community.  The old adage…absence makes the heart grow fonder…is really true about those who are alone or separated from Christian community.

I’ll never forget when I heard the testimony of a man from Somalia who heard the Gospel through radio broadcasts into his country and gave his life to Jesus.  From that time forward, he lived out his faith through his relationship with the radio.  He hadn’t met another follower of Jesus in person.  He continued to follow Jesus but it was VERY difficult.  About 5 years later when he discovered a person who also followed Jesus, he exploded!  Can you imagine that…5 years of no one to encourage you, to pray for you, to love you in Jesus??? 

Back to the comment that Bonhoeffer made in connection to this was:

“Therefore, let him who until now has had the privilege of living a common Christian life with other Christians praise God’s grace from the bottom of his heart.  Let him thank God on his knees and declare: It is grace, nothing but grace, that we are allowed to live in community with Christian brethren.”*

With that in mind, I am thankful to our God that I’ve been able to walk in community with so many followers of Jesus over the years..  I praise Him and am thankful for His Grace.  Would you stop and praise Him too?

* Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together  trans. John W. Doberstein, Harper & Row: San Fransisco, 1954, p. 18.  ** p. 20
Reposted from http://www.thequestcolumbus.com/resources/bonhoeffer.htm

Here’s where to get the book:

Life Together
Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

 

Kindle - Life Together
Kindle Edition – Life Together

Why not rather be Wronged?

As we continued our tour through 1 Corinthians we come to a passage in chapter 6 that asks a “justice” question.

Paul is challenging the Corinthian church about forgiveness, settling disputes and even lawsuits. In this area, Paul states that they are defeated already because the are suing each other!

He finally asks them a great question:

“Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded? On the contrary, you yourselves wrong and defraud. You do this even to your brethren.” (1 Cor. 6:7-8)

Wasn’t it our founder Jesus who said, ”

whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.” (Mt. 5:39-42)

Justice seems to scream in our pysche, but Jesus screams grace even in suffering. Being “wronged” isn’t the worst thing. Jesus warned us that we would suffer for him. Sometimes that comes at the hands, actions and words of others who sin against us. Even that suffering isn’t the worst thing that can happen.

When you are thinking this week, “That’s not fair,” He might be calling you to a new place of love and grace that can accept being wronged.

A recording of the entire message which my friend @PhilHelfer taught @LosAltosGrace is on their website

Why not rather be Wronged?

As we continued our tour through 1 Corinthians we come to a passage in chapter 6 that asks a “justice” question.

Paul is challenging the Corinthian church about forgiveness, settling disputes and even lawsuits. In this area, Paul states that they are defeated already because the are suing each other!

He finally asks them a great question:

“Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded? On the contrary, you yourselves wrong and defraud. You do this even to your brethren.” (1 Cor. 6:7-8)

Wasn’t it our founder Jesus who said, ”

whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.” (Mt. 5:39-42)

Justice seems to scream in our pysche, but Jesus screams grace even in suffering. Being “wronged” isn’t the worst thing. Jesus warned us that we would suffer for him. Sometimes that comes at the hands, actions and words of others who sin against us. Even that suffering isn’t the worst thing that can happen.

When you are thinking this week, “That’s not fair,” He might be calling you to a new place of love and grace that can accept being wronged.

A recording of the entire message which my friend @PhilHelfer taught @LosAltosGrace is on their website

Differences between Eastern and Western Cultures – Minimalistic Visualizations

Germany-based artist and visual designer Yang Liu has created a series of truthful graphics that explains the differences in Eastern and Western culture.

Yang Liu was born in China but has lived in Germany since she was 14, and thus she is able to explain the differences in cultures.

Based on her own experience, she created minimalistic visualizations using simple symbols and shapes to convey just how different the two cultures are.

In the visualizations below, the blue side represents western culture, while the red side represents eastern culture.

 

[via bSix12]

P.S. Thanks Eric Marsh (@CityMarsh) for recommending this!

Recommended Resources from Missionaries in Chad

This is a list of the “recommended” books and resources that were shared with us during our time in Chad. The hyperlinks to purchase books go to the Encompass World Partners Amazon Storefront, which gives a small percentage of your sale to Encompass (More Info).  Enjoy!!!

 

Online Bibles (especially for Arabic )

 

Labyrinth of Kingdoms: 10,000 Miles through Islamic Africa – by Steve Kemper

 

Church Planting Movements by David Garrison

Timothy Initiatives 

 

From Seed To Fruit: Global Trends, Fruitful Practices, and Emerging Issues among Muslims by J. Dudley Woodberry (Editor)

 

Where There Was No Church: Postcards from the Followers of Jesus in the Muslim World by Ej Martin

 

Miraculous Movements: How Hundreds of Thousands of Muslims Are Falling in Love with Jesus by Jerry Trousdale

 

David Watson a key leader in finding effective ways for church planting movements  (even in Muslim environments)

 

Primal Fire: Reigniting the Church with the Five Gifts of Jesus by Neil Cole

 

Western Christians in Global Mission: What is the Role of the North American Church? by Paul Borthwick

  • “Borthwick has long been a spokesman for being globally mission-minded. This book of helpful and oft times stinging anecdotes communicates succinctly that the North American Church still has a role in global mission going forward. This book contains an important general & global perspective which provides an important contribution to mission literature. This is the type of book that is accessible for anyone who can read in English.” (via @MikeJentes review on Amazon.com)  http://bit.ly/KbrCP9

Challenge From Chad

Mike & HutIt was a privilege to be asked by our Community of Elders to share with our entire Los Altos Grace family about my trip to Chad.  I hope that you were challenged, informed and encouraged by my sharing on Sunday.

If you weren’t able to join us, here is an overview video of the work in Chad (by Encompass). This video is really helpful and you should see it!

Synthesizing two weeks into a few sentences isn’t easy, but here are a few of the things I brought home:

Our Brethren in Chad spur us on!
In spite of poverty, our Brethren brothers and sisters have figured out how to survive, how to spread the Gospel, how to use medicine for the Gospel, how to start churches and more. They have as many churches as we do in the USA!

Mission isn’t about civilization
The economic contrast glared out on my flights between Paris and Chad. Yet we need workers in Paris to make disciples, train leaders and start churches in the same way we need them in the capital city of Chad (N’Djamena). If we can use tools of medicine and education for the Gospel, that is awesome. Living and sharing the Gospel is vital no matter what the “civilization” level of the culture is.

You are Needed!
No matter who you are, as a follower of Jesus, you are needed to continue to sow the Gospel and make disciples. YOU are needed across the street and across cultures as Jesus builds His Church!

A recording of the entire message is on the @LosAltosGrace website

A “movie” of the powerpoint slides is online too is on

New Mission Frontiers Available

Mission Frontiers is has become the leading magazine for great content on disciple-making and church planting movements.

This month’s issue is a must read……

The March-April issue of Mission Frontiers is now available online. In this issue we are looking at how God uses field workers to pioneer movements among unreached peoples around the world. God is using their expertise in the U.S. in pursuit of similar movements among unreached peoples. These leaders have coined the term 4X4 Movement Starts to describe a minimum goal for movements starts where 4 lineages of disciple-makers are developing 4 more generations of disciples. Read on to find out more. (Full Issue)

 Kindle Download – Read it on any device that uses mobi files (Kindle, Kindle App for iPad/ iPhone/ Mac/ Android)

Featured Articles

Introducing… 4X4 Movement Starts

Ministries aim to grow wide (a regular audience of many members), but not deep (many generations). Ministries urge: “come to our meeting,” “listen to our message,” “read our materials,” or “visit our site.” Ministries ask members to invite others rather than training them to reproduce. Ministries tend to overextend leaders while leaving disciples dependent and underdeveloped. Movements on the other hand, equip members to obey and teach what they receive, often with little interaction two or more generations away.  (full article)

No Longer “Business as usual”

As a family we have witnessed door to door for decades, using whatever model was favored by our current local church. They were always encouraged, and the people to whose homes we went seemed more responsive with someone from out of town. And as we shared the gospel, we joyfully experienced GOD! But after we, with others, helped add 1,200 people to one church, these people eventually wandered away because there was no structure for discipleship and leadership development to equip the fruit of these evangelistic outreaches for multiplication. Now, in the tools that God has given us, we have a reproducing entry strategy, a reproducing gospel which new believers share right away, reproducing discipleship, reproducing gatherings of new believers, and multiplication of leaders. (full article)

No Longer “Church as usual”

I started my ministry as a pastor in 1990 in the usual way of “attractional” church. The traditional idea of “doing church” was to develop a program on Sundays that would draw those who were far from God to hear the Gospel and connect with the Lord and His people. But after more than 20 years doing it this way, something seemed very ineffective to me with this approach. I’ve said for a long time, “I’m way too old to play church!” Furthermore, I realized that in my 22 years as a pastor I had encouraged, challenged, rebuked, motivated, inspired and even scolded Christians toward disciple-making. But I had never taught them how to make a disciple. it had never occurred to me that my first responsibility as a pastor in “equipping the saints for the work of ministry” (Eph 4:11-13 ESV) was to teach them how to make disciples who were abet to make disciples. (2 Tim 2:2) (full article)

No Longer “Discipleship as usual”

By 2010, I had been discipling others for 30 years and risen to national level leadership with the Navigators. Then a speaker introduced me to the book, Movements that Change the World. I was more than curious. This launched me on a three-year study of what God is doing around the world. The final book on my reading list was T4T: A Discipleship Re-revolution by Steve Smith and Ying Kai. As I started reading a voice in my head said, “Humble yourself and do this.” By now I had read hundreds of books on discipleship methods, and I wasn’t about to blindly start doing new stuff. But the Holy Spirit persisted in speaking to me, and I determined to obey. Never have I seen God do so much so quickly, nor to such depth. (full article)

Growing U.S. Movements to the Lost and the Unreached

We started our house church in October 2012. We just called it “porch church” since we started by meeting on our porch. We started with eight folks but only have seven now. We’ve intentionally not added new members but seek to start new churches with new folks. As of December 2013, we have multiple streams to the 5th generation or beyond and well over a dozen more to the 4th generation. All told there are about 200 downstream churches in the USA and 162 overseas, including several among previously unengaged people groups. The total number of new professions of faith is now over 10,500. Our vision is to make it the norm for followers of Christ to become multiplying disciple-makers. (full article)

Fostering Multigenerational Movements by Equipping Believer-Priests

I moved from traditional church ministry to pursuing a generational church movement in January 2005. A desire to reach the lost and an honest look at how the first-century world was discipled in reproducing churches inspired us to “Re-en-ACT” our approach to the Great Commission. As a result we’ve had approximately 1000 generational groups and churches started in our people group. We live outside our people group, but I have personally led two to faith who have started generational church streams. Also, a volunteer team I was with led another person to faith who started a large generational stream. As a result, my primary role shifted from evangelism to training. Discipling these new believers as partner-priests, rather than students, has fostered generational growth. (full article)

Disciples Unleashed

In Honduras, Kenya, Guatemala, Israel, Congo, Pakistan, and many other nations, the Body of Christ is stirring in a mighty way, hungry for God’s work. Pastors and church leaders all over the world are hearing the call to return to “the Jesus model” of making disciples. Applying the tools Jesus modeled for us is resulting to impact the world. (full article)
These and other articles are available at missionfrontiers.org. Join the conversation today.

Kayla to Go on Summer Ministry Experience: Operation Barnabas

kayla-headshotI’m excited to share about a special opportunity that my daughter Kayla has to serve on a 6 week summer ministry experience. I’ll let her tell about it:


Dear Friend,

I would like to thank you for all of the support and prayers you have given me and my family over the years. I know you have done so much for me, and I am so thankful for that. I would like to tell you about the upcoming mission trip opportunity I have this summer.

OB-Logo

I will be going on a summer ministry team called Operation Barnabas. If you are unfamiliar with this summer mission program, it basically takes high school students all over the country and teaches them how to minister to the lost and be on mission all the time. We will be visiting many cities and churches (focusing on the eastern USA) and working in places like Urban Hope in inner city Philadelphia. We will be ministering to children and their families by hosting carnival type events, VBS, doing street evangelism, service projects and many other different types of outreach programs. We will also be doing short skits, programs, and other creative things to share the good news to the children and their whole family. I will be sleeping on church floors most of the summer, but with a smile on my face as I have some of the most fun of my life serving the Lord.

Currently, I am preparing to sacrifice my summer to go and reach the lost for an entire six weeks. I am so looking forward to being able to expand on my evangelist skills and improve them so I can more confidently spread the word of Christ and be used as an instrument of grace to increase our spiritual family. In Luke 10:2 (NLT) it says “The harvest is so great, but the workers are so few. Pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest and ask him to send out more workers for his fields.” I am one of God’s few workers setting out to participate in this calling. I am asking you to support me in doing this.

Thank you for the many prayers you have already prayed for me and my family. Prayers are more valuable to me than silver or gold, and I appreciate them above all else. It is an amazing opportunity I have to go on this trip, but it is a costly one. In essence I need to raise $1,000 by March 10th and another $2,000 by May20th to be able to participate in this exciting mission trip this summer. I am so thankful that you have supported me so far, and I would like to ask you to further invest in the kingdom of God with me. If you could invest any amount for my efforts to go and reach the harvest this summer I would be forever grateful for your benevolent act. If you are financially unable to sacrifice money, I would so greatly appreciate your prayers as I embark on this spiritual mission for God.

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter, and I will keep you in my prayers as I prepare for this trip. Have a wonderful day, and remember, “let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9 NLT)

Kayla Jentes

kaylajentes@gmail.com
http://www.facebook.com/kaylajentes

 

I’d like to pray for Kayla!  ( Send her an email)

I’d like to give:

Kayla & Mike OB announcement
Kayla sharing about OB at Los Altos Grace

My church has set up an account for me. You can send your tax-deductible gifts there via check to “Los Altos Grace Brethren Church”, 6565 E. Stearns St., Long Beach, CA 90815  and put “Operation Barnabas” in the memo line.  If you would like to give via credit card, you can do so on the church website at http://LAGBC.org/donate (in the comment section, please mention “Operation Barnabas.”)

Download the PDF of this letter: KaylaJentesOBletter2014

 

 

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