Let Him Do Anything But Act

C.S. LewisThe masterful C.S. Lewis wrote  a collection of letters between between a couple of demons, attempting to give insights into the realities of the spiritual world and our human existence. The Screwtape Letters although fictional, provides poignant insights into the true realities of following of Jesus Christ.

This  letter is from the Uncle (and mentor demon) Screwtape to his nephew, a demon in training on his first assignment to distract a new Christian away from a fruitful life for Christ. This new Christian has been on a roller-coaster in his journey, but has recently savored a couple of positive pleasures (reading a good book and a walk in the country). These moments actually paved the way for the direct presence of God with the Christian.

Screwtape chastizes his nephew for allowing such pleasures as they are truly gifts from their Enemy (God) and create a conduit for relationship between the two.

In this letter, Screwtape shares with his mentee a snippet of how much God thinks of each Christian on the planet:

“Remember always, that He [God] really likes the little vermin [humans], and sets an absurd value on the distinctiveness of everyone of them.”*

Later Screwtape shares this insightful bit of demonic strategy about the new Christian’s mind, emotions, and obedience:

The great thing is to prevent his doing anything. As long as he does not convert it into action, it does not matter how much he thinks about this new repentance. Let the little brute wallow in it. Let him, if he has any bent that way, write a book about it; that is often an excellent way of sterilizing the seeds which the Enemy [God] plants in a human soul. Let him do anything but act. No amount of piety in his imagination and affections will harm us if we can keep it out of his will. As one of the humans has said, active habits are strengthened by repetition but passive ones are weakened.  The more often he feels without acting, the less he will be able ever to act, and, in the long run, the less he will be able to feel.

Your affectionate uncle,
Screwtape*

(*From Letter 13  in The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis)

take-action

So the question for you and I  is:

What is it today that is floating around in my head, that I feel or know I should do for God, but I’m delaying on doing it?

Let’s take action!

Let’s develop the habit of obedience!

Top Ten Bible Passages on Satan

1) Job chapters 1-2Interaction & reality
Satan’s awful work, but still under the authority of God.

2) John 8:44 Devious Description by Jesus
Jesus describes him as: devil, murderer & father of lies.

3) Revelation 12:9-10More Descriptions
Also named: satan, devil, serpent, dragon, deceiver.

4) 2 Corinthians 4:4“God of this age.”
Called the god of this age who blinds people from Jesus.

5) Mark 4:15Steals good seed
He snatches away the Gospel from “hard soil.”

6) John 12:31; 16:11“Prince of this world”
Called by Jesus the prince of this world.

7) 1 Peter 5:8 Intimidator
He prowls around like a roaring lion.

8) 2 Corinthians 11:14Masquerade
He masquerades as an angel of light.

9) Revelation 20:1-10Final Deception & Destruction
He deceives nations and his final destiny of destruction.

10) James 4:7Victory is ours -Resist!
Resist the devil and he will flee!

*11) Possible descriptions of satan’s fall: Isaiah 14, Ezek 28:11-19

*somehow every top ten list has one I just can’t leave off.

LOVE: My Top Ten Bible Passages on Love

1) 1 John 4:7-8 – God is Love
Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is born of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God–for God is love.

2) Matthew 22:37-40 – Jesus says Love God & Love Others
Jesus replies to a question about “What is the greatest commandment?” with this profound statement.

3) 1 Corinthians 13 – Love:What it does and what it doesn’t do
The “wedding” passage is beautiful because it is applied to all of life…not just matrimony.

4) Romans 8:35-39 – Nothing Can Separate Us From Jesus’ Love
The bottom line of Jesus’ love for us…nothing can get between us!

5) Psalm 136 – God’s Love Endures Forever
This Psalm repeats how “His love endures forever” after every phrase of the history it records. A powerful and repetitive lyric of how God’s love connects with our history.

6) Exodus 20:6 – God’s Love Lavished on a Thousand Generations
Packaged in the Ten Commandments (sometimes thought to be not very loving) this verse shows how much God blesses those who love and obey Him.

7) Psalm 23:6 – God’s Chasing Love
At the end of one of the most famous passages in the Bible, David finishes his poem with God’s “unfailing love pursuing him all the days of his life.”

8) John 15:12-13 – Jesus’ Love Leads to Laying Down Life

Jesus in this passage defines the greatest love as laying down your life for a friend. Then a couple of hours later, He dies on the cross.

9) John 13:34-35 – Love Proves Following Jesus
After the footwashing at the last Supper (where Jesus “shows the full extent of his love—see 13:1), Jesus says show the world you are my disciples through love.

10) Matthew 5:44-46 – Love Your Enemies
Jesus urges His followers to go beyond natural love to “supernatural” love…to choose to love our enemies.

*11) Luke 7:41-47 – Forgiven Much, Love Much
The immoral woman was forgiven much and she loved Jesus much. Jesus tells a story which links “much forgiveness” to “much love.”

*So many good LOVE passages in the Bible I had to add this one! 😉

How Jesus Sends YOU

I found this post from JS Shaw on the Verge site and wanted to share it:

Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” (John 20:21 ESV)

As the Father sent Jesus, so Jesus has sent us. That means that if we can discover how the Father sent Jesus, then we will see how we have now been sent.

sentSo, how was Jesus sent?

Tweet this: As the Father sent Jesus, so Jesus has sent us. So, how WAS Jesus sent? @VergeNations

The Father sent Jesus. . . .

Continue reading “How Jesus Sends YOU”

God’s Characteristics from the Bible

HisCharacteristicsWhat is God like? God’s characteristics are described for us throughout the Bible. It is important for us to understand as much as we can about what the Bible says about God. Read each passage below and write out what you find out about God from the Bible verses.

To make it easy for you, each one listed is hyper-linked to Bible Gateway*:

GodCharacteristicsTable

(a picture of the chart contained in the study From Genesis to Jesus)

*Linked to the New Living Translation

Note: This list is an excerpt from Lesson 1 of a full beginners study on the Bible called From Genesis to Jesus.  It is not intended to be an exhaustive list, but a simple and comprehensive list of key characteristics of God for someone new to the Bible and the faith of Christians.

Shocking Statements of Jesus from the Gospel of Matthew: My Top 20

Today I was reading Keith Minier’s blog and realized their church family @GracePick is just starting a series on the Shocking Statements of Jesus. ShockingStatementsMatthew

A while back I did a series on that, but just pulled statements from the Gospel of Matthew. In a quick tour of the first half of  Matthew, we outlined a list  the Top 10 Shocking Statements by Jesus. Then we continued in a second week with the second half of the book and did 10 more…so we ended up with a Top 20.

Here’s my list:

Shocking Statement #1: And He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” bible.us/Matt4.19.NASB

Shocking Statement #2: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but..bible.us/Matt7.21.NASB

Shocking Statement #3: “So that you may know that the Son has authority on earth to forgive sins…Get up, pick up your mat… bible.us/Matt9.6.NASB

Shocking Statement #4: “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick.” bible.us/Matt9.12.NASB

Shocking Statement #5: Do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you…bible.us/Matt10.19.NASB

Shocking Statement #6: But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. bible.us/Matt10.30.NASB

Shocking Statement #7: “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, & I will give you rest.” bible.us/Matt11.28.NASB

Shocking Statement #8: “But I say to you that something greater than the temple is here.” bible.us/Matt12.6.NASB

Shocking Statement #9: For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother & sister…bible.us/Matt12.50.NASB

Shocking Statement #10: The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls & finding one pearl… bible.us/Matt13.46.NASB

Listen to the Message on the first 10 Online
Check out the Powerpoint of the first 10 Online

Top Ten Shocking Statements by Jesus in the second half of the book.  

Shocking Statement #11:  I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. http://bible.us/Matt16.18.NIV

Shocking Statement #12: Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves & take up their cross & follow me… http://bible.us/Matt16.25.NIV

Shocking Statement #13: Whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven… http://bible.us/Matt18.4.NIV

Shocking Statement #14: If your brother or sister sins, go & point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen…http://bible.us/Matt18.15.NIV

Shocking Statement #15: Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant… http://bible.us/Matt20.25.NIV

Shocking Statement #16: The tax collectors & the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you… http://bible.us/Matt21.31.NIV

Shocking Statement #17: Jesus took bread broke it & gave it to his disciples, “Take and eat; this is my body.” http://bible.us/Matt26.26.NIV

Shocking Statement #18: My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done. http://bible.us/Matt26.42.NIV

Shocking Statement #19: Jesus cried out in a loud voice…My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?http://bible.us/Matt27.46.NIV

Shocking Statement #20: All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me…I am with you always…http://bible.us/Matt28.18.NIV

Check out the Message recording of the #11-20 online

Check out the Powerpoint of #11-20 online

 

Teaching on Resolving Conflict @LosAltosGrace

I had the privilege of teaching on Sunday @LosAltosGrace about Resolving Conflict. That very phrase, “resolving conflict,” often makes us squirm. The challenge from Sunday was to see it as “normal” and part of life which we as believer’s in Jesus are perfectly equipped to resolve. Below is a brief outline of what we covered together:

Resolving Conflict

The two key points for when we have been offended:

1) Overlook It.
Proverbs 19:11
“A person’s wisdom yields patience;it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.”
Sometimes when we are hurt, we can just care for it in our own heart and mind. This isn’t advocating denial, but rather emphasizing FORGIVENESS and grace.

We reminded ourselves that forgiveness means:

  • I will Not to Dwell on it
  • I will Not to Bring it Up
  • I will Not to Use it Against Someone
  • I will Not allow it to Hinder the Relationship

Bitterness is a choice, just like forgiveness.  And bitterness results from the opposite choices!

2) Reconciliation
When the relationship has been significantly damaged, then reconciliation is needed. So what do I do to reconcile?  We gave 4 Biblical principles:

  1. Glorify God – Seek first to bring Him glory, not defend yourself or prove that you are right.
  2. Get the Log Out of Your Own Eye
  3. Go and Show your Brother or Sister the fault
  4. Go and Be Reconciled!

 

View the Powerpoint Presentation online here

Listen to the message online here: Resolving Conflict.

You can find it on iTunes here

 

Thanks to the influence of Ken Sande and his book the Peacemaker:

The Essence of the Church by Tom Julien cited by @JD_Payne

This post is a connection of 3 influential missiological thinkers in my life:

1) I saw this post on Kurt Miller’s blog (thechurchplanter) – @KurtMiller01 is my father-in-law and one of the sharpest thinkers about church planting in the USA.
2) Tom Julien wrote most of the content, and he is the Director Emeritus of my current agency Encompass World Partners. From the time we shared a meal at my parents home when I was a little boy, I’ve hung onto the wisdom he has spoken.

DiscoveringChurchPlanting-JDPayneThose first two were plenty of reason to repost, but then as I did some more research, I realized that
3) missiologist J.D. Payne included this in his 2012 book Discovering Church Planting. I’ve learned from Payne in his merging of global mission & church planting over several years of collaborating with @CMAResources.

Sorry for the long intro, now to the content of “The Essence of the Church”:

 

“In his article, “The Essence of the Church,*” Tom Julien discussed the fact that many church planters often define the local church in terms of their cultural preference, which can lead to problems on the field.  Julien admonished church-planting teams first to come to an agreement on what the local church is so they will know what they are planting.

“Our problem is that we identify the local church by her cultural and historic expression, more than by her biblical essence. To arrive at a clear definition of the local church we must make a distinction between the two. Sluggish thinking here will lead to differing assumptions in the church-planting team that will affect the basic principles of any church-planting ministry. The more focused we are on essence, the less attachment we will have to any particular cultural expression of the church. On the other hand, if the form or cultural expression of the church becomes our reference point, adapting to different cultural situations will create tension.

The New Testament reveals the church both in her essence and expression. With regard to the essence of the church, this revelation is given in images and presented as fact; with respect to the cultural expression of the church, this revelation is given as example and is descriptive rather than prescriptive…

Let us come back to our original question: “What is a local church?” We have said that a local church is a visible manifestation of the biblical essence. Most of us, however, need something more concrete to work with. It is crucial that every church-planting team agree on a working definition, in concrete terms, that grows out of essence, and not expression. This definition must include those elements that are indispensable to the identity of a church, and omit those that are not. This definition identifies the seed for church planting.

Here is an attempt at such a definition. Members of every church-planting team need to be unified with respect to what they are planting, even if it takes months of struggle to agree.

A local church is an organized body of baptized believers, led by a spiritually qualified shepherd, affirming their relationship to the Lord and to each other by regular observance of the Lord’s Supper, committed to the authority of the Word of God, gathering regularly for worship and the study of the Word, and turned outward to the world in witness.”

Questions to Consider:

  1. What do you think Julien meant by “If the form or cultural expression of the church becomes our reference point, adapting to different cultural situations will create tension”? Can you give an example of such tension?
  2. Do you agree or disagree with Julien’s definition of the local church?
  3. Have you and your church-planting team taken the time to agree on a biblical definition of the local church? f not, why not? How do you know you are all on the same page when you talk about church planting?

*Taken from Tom Julien, “The Essence of the Church,” Evangelical Missions Quarterly (April 1998): 148-149, 152.”

Photocopy original citation in Discovering Church Planting page 44
Photocopy original citation in Discovering Church Planting page 45

Kindle Version:

Rescue Mission within a Yard of Hell

Ran across this quote…

“Some wish to live within the sound of a chapel bell,

I want to run a rescue mission within a yard of Hell.” – C.T. Studd

within_a_yard_of_hell_bumper_sticker-p128632879538016468en8ys_400

It reminded me of the Scripture written by Jude:

But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them;…

Helpful 20 Points of Scripture Twisting – A Synopsis of James Sire’s Book

Scripture Twisting

Came across this helpful synopsis of the 20 common ways that the Bible passages are misunderstood, misinterpreted, and misapplied. Thanks to ApologeticsIndex.org

 

Scripture Twisting In debating and discussions with non-Christians such as Mormons or atheist, I have found many areas of twisting of the Scriptures. In the book “Scripture Twisting,” James Sire has a chapter devoted to each of the methods, and I have seen them ALL used from time to time.

1. INACCURATE QUOTATION: A biblical text is referred to but is either not quoted in the way the text appears in any standard translation or is wrongly attributed. Example: The Maharishi Mahesh Yogi says, “Christ said, ‘Be still and know that I am God.'” Whereas this text is found ONLY in Psalms.

2. TWISTED TRANSLATION: The biblical text is retranslated, not in accordance with sound Greek scholarship, to fit a preconceived teaching of a cult. Example: the Jehovah’s Witnesses translate John 1:1 as “In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the word was a god.”

3. BIBLICAL HOOK: A text of Scripture is quoted primarily as a device to grasp the attention of readers or listeners and then followed by a teaching which is so nonbiblical that it would appear far more dubious to most people had it not been preceded by a reference to Scripture. Example: Mormon missionaries quote James 1:5 which promises God’s wisdom to those who ask him and, then, follow this by explaining that when Joseph Smith did this he was given a revelation from which he concluded that God the Father has a body.

4. IGNORING THE IMMEDIATE CONTEXT: A text of Scripture is quoted but removed from the surrounding verses which form the immediate framework for its meaning. Example: Alan Watts quotes the first half of John 5:39 (“You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life”), claiming that Jesus was challenging His listeners’ over emphasis of the Old Testament, but the remainder of the immediate context reads, “and it is they that bear witness to me; yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life” (verses 39-40), which shows that Jesus was upholding the value of the Old Testament as a testimony to Himself.

5. COLLAPSING CONTEXTS: Two or more verses which have little or nothing to do with each other are put together as if one were a commentary of the other(s). Example: The Mormons associate Jeremiah 1:5 with John 1:2,14 and thus imply that both verses talk about the premortal existence of all human beings; Jeremiah 1:5, however, speaks of God’s foreknowledge of Jeremiah (Not his premortal existence) and JOhn 1:2 refers to the pre-existence of God the Son and not to human beings in general.

6. OVERSPECIFICATION: A more detailed or specific conclusion than is legitimate is drawn from a biblical text. Example: The Mormon missionary manual quotes the parable of the virgins from Matthew 25:1-13 to document the concept that “mortality is a probationary period during which we prepare to meet God.” But the parable of the virgins could, and most probably does, mean something far less specific, for example, that human beings should be prepared at any time to meet God or to witness the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

7. WORD PLAY: A word or phrase from a biblical translation is examined and interpreted as if the revelation had been given in that language. Example: mary Bake Eddy says the name Adam consist of two syllables, A DAM, which means an obstruction, in which case, Adam signifies “the obstacle which the serpent, sin, would impose between man and his Creator.”

8. THE FIGURATIVE FALLACY: Either (1) mistaking literal language for figurative language or (2)mistaking figurative language for literal language. Example of (1): Mary Baker Eddy interprets EVENING as “mistiness of mortal thought; weariness of mortal mind; obscured views; peace and rest.” Example of (2): The Mormon theologian james Talmage interprets the prophesy that “thou shalt be brought down and speak out of the ground” to mean that God’s Word would come to people from the Book of Mormon which was taken out of the ground at the hill of Cumorah.

9. SPECULATIVE READINGS OF PREDICTIVE PROPHESY: A predictive prophesy is too readily explained by the occurance of specific events, despite the fact that equally committed biblical scholars consider the interpretation highly dubious. Example: The stick of Judah and the Stick of Joseph in Ezekiel 37:15- 23 are interpreted by the Mormons to mean the Bible and the Book of Mormon.

10. SAYING BUT NOT CITING: A writer says that the Bible says such and such but does not cite the specific text (which often indicates that there may be no such text at all). Example: A common phrase “God helps those who help themselves” is not found in the Bible.

11. SELECTIVE CITING: To substantiate a given argument, only a limited number of text is quoted: the total teaching of Scripture on that subject would lead to a conclusion different from that of the writer. Example: The Jehovah’s Witnesses critique the traditional Christian notion of the Trinity without considering the full text which scholars use to substantiate the concept.

12. INADEQUATE EVIDENCE: A hasty generalization is drawn from too little evidence. Example: The Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that blood transfusion is nonbiblical, but the biblical data that they cite fails either to speak directly to the issue or to adequately substantiate their teaching.

13. CONFUSED DEFINITION: A biblical term is misunderstood in such a way that an essential biblical doctrine is distorted or rejected. Example: one of Edgar Cayce’s followers confuses the eastern doctrine of reincarnation with the biblical doctrine of being born again.

14. IGNORING ALTERNATIVE EXPLANATIONS: A specific interpretation given to a biblical text or set of text which could well be, and often have been, interpreted in quite a different fashion, but these alternatives are not considered. Example: Erich von Daniken asks why in Genesis 1:26 God speaks in the plural (“us”), suggesting that this is an oblique reference to God’s being one of many astronauts and failing to consider alternative explanations that either God was speaking as “Heaven’s king accompanied by His heavenly host” or that the plural prefigures the doctrine of the Trinity expressed more explicitly in the New Testament.

15. THE OBVIOUS FALLACY: Words like OBVIOUSLY, UNDOUBTEDLY, CERTAINLY, ALL REASONABLE PEOPLE HOLD THAT and so forth are substituted for logical reasons. Example: Erich von daniken says, “Undoubtedly the Ark [of the Covenent] was electrically charged!”

16. VIRTUE BY ASSOCIATION: Either (1) a cult writer a ssociates his or her teaching with those of figures accepted as authoritative by traditional Christians; (2) cult writings are likened to the Bible; or (3) cult literature imitates the form of the Bible writing such that it sounds like the Bible. Example of (1): Rick Chapman list 21 gurus, including Jesus Christ, St. Francis and St. Theresa, that “you can’t go wrong with.” Example of (2): Juan Mascaro in his introduction to the Upanishads cites the New Testament, the Gospels, Ecclesiastes and the Psalms, from which he quotes passages supposedly paralleling the Upanishads. Example of (3): The Mormon DOCTRINE AND COVENANTS interweaves phrases from the Gospel of John and maintains a superficial similarity to the Gospel such that it seems to be like the Bible.

17. ESOTERIC INTERPRETATION: Under the assumption that the Bible contains hidden, esoteric, meaning which is open only to those who are initiated into its secrets, the interpreter declares the significance of biblical passages without giving much, if any, explanation for his or her interpretation. Example: Mary Baker Eddy gives the meaning of the first phrase in the Lord’s Prayer, “Our Father which art in heaven,” as “Our Father-Mother God, all harmonious.”

18. SUPPLEMENTING BIBLICAL AUTHORITY: New revelation from post biblical prophets either replaces or is added to the Bible as authority. Example: The Mormons supplement the Bible with the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price.

19. REJECTING BIBLICAL AUTHORITY: Either the Bible as a whole or texts from the Bible are examined and rejected because they do not square with other authorities – such as reason or revelation = do not appear to agree with them. Example:Archie Matson holds that the Bible contains contradictions and that Jesus himself rejected the authority of the Old Testament when he contrasted His own views with it on the Sermon on the Mount.

20. WORLD-VIEW CONFUSION: Scriptural statements, stories, commands or symbols which have a particular meaning or set of meanings when taken within the intellectual and broadly cultural framework of the Bible itself are lifted out of that context, placed within the frame of reference of another system and thus given a meaning that markedly differs from their intended meaning. Example: The Maharishi Mahesh Yogi interprets “Be still, and know that I am God” as meaning that each person should meditate and come to the realization that he is essentially Godhood itself.

NOTE:

This material comes from the appendix of James Sire’s Scripture Twisting Methods of the Cults, and summarizes his in-depth treatment of each of these points. This book should be part of every Christian’s library

 

Thanks so much ApologeticsIndex.org for this synopsis! Originally Posted here >> Apologetics research resources on religious cults and sects – Scripture Twisting Methods of the Cults.

Looking back at a Defintion of Church from Jim Montgomery

whatischurch

Missionary strategist Jim Montgomery challenged us to plant 7 million more churches over a decade ago. In his passionate work, he had to take some time to define what he meant by church. These words ring true for many now, but in their first delivery they were revolutionary!

“CHURCH”
An understanding of how DAWN  [the ministry acronym for Discipling A Whole Nation ] defines “church” is fundamental to any challenge to plant 5 to 7 million more churches. If by “church” is meant a solidly built edifice with plenty of parking space, a full-time, seminary trained pastoral staff and a fully-orbed program of ministries for every age group and every interest, the goal will be a bit out of range.

I’m impressed with how a group of Christians faced this most fundamental question in China:

Concerning [this] question, many older Christians said that they could not predict the future form of Chinese churches. So they turned to the Bible for an answer. They found in the Bible that the house-church form was a legitimate church.Paul mentions a house church in I Cor. 16:19: “Aquila and Priscilla greet you warmly in the Lord, and so does the church in their house” (NIV); also in Col. 4:15 “give my greetings to the brothers at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church at her house.”

Later, we found a book by Wang Ming-dao [perhaps the most highly respected believer in China who languished in jail for more than 20 years] on the institution of the church. He held that where there were Christians, there was a church. We were happy about this. We assumed that, although our group consisted of only a few people, we actually were a church, and our head was Jesus.

“Where there are Christians, there is a church,” is a profound definition, coming as it does from a Church growing rapidly and laboring under the most difficult of circumstances.whatischurch

The DAWN idea is to see Jesus Christ become incarnate in every small group of mankind. How many believers does it take to incarnate our risen Lord? Jesus said that “. . . where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Mt. 18:20).

The goal set in 1966 and reported by Ed Dayton that I mentioned previously suggests we ought to work toward “ten witnessing Christians in every town of more than 500 people.”

Two or three committed believers could possibly impact 50 or 100 others. Ten witnessing Christians in time could perhaps reach out effectively to 500. To call such groups of two or three or of ten a “church” might be stretching it a bit. In our thinking, by minimum definition there is a church when at least a small group of believers led by an elder meets on a regular basis for worship, instruction, the basic New Testament sacraments and for witness and service. Where they meet, whether or not they pay their pastor and like questions are not of particular concern for our definition.

Denominations, however, tend to have a few more requirements. Most would include a minimum number of active adult believers that might range anywhere from five – as is the case of the rapidly growing Southern Baptists in Southern India – to 50. Some distinguish between “chapels” or “meeting places” and “churches” with the type of meeting place being a determining factor. Some draw the line based on whether or not the pastor is ordained and others have various combinations of these.

DAWN does not try to bring uniformity or impose any definition on the Church of a country. However, so as not to end up comparing oranges with apples, we suggest for statistical purposes the inclusion of all congregations of whatever definition. This would not include evangelistic Bible study groups or home groups that meet for fellowship as an additional activity to church attendance.

But it is some such definition of “church” as this that we have in mind when we suggest 7 million more are needed in the world.

 

This excerpt is taken directly from DAWN 2000: 7 Million Churches to Go by Jim Montgomery

A Quite Peculiar Introduction to the Messiah

While reading along in Luke today I was struck by something old and something new:

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:10-12 NIV – Emphasis Mine)

He was a baby lying in a manger…nothing new right?!?!

But then the irony of this situation startled me. The Angels announce the birth of the Messiah, the King, the One who was to come.

And they tell the shepherds the sign of how you will know you have seen this new King — the baby who is laying in a feeding trough and wrapped with torn rags. What?!?!

Our Messiah came in an upside-down way. He came humbly and on the fringe. What an introduction!

20121204-202758.jpg

C.S. Lewis – On God and Time [Audio – In His Own Voice]

C.S. Lewis

Listen to a Rare BBC recording of C.S. Lewis discussing God and time >> 

 

 

Later, these teachings would be gathered into the important book Mere Christianity.  

 

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