Saturday, October 31, 2009

George Patterson Quote (Whoever He Is)

This is from Neil Cole's blog:

Every time we eat, we eat the fruit of God ’ s
tremendous reproduction power given to plants
and animals. Look around out of doors; it ’ s
everywhere — grass, trees, birds, bees, babies and
flowers. All creation is shouting it! This is the way
God works! . . . We ourselves don ’ t make the church
grow or reproduce, any more than pulling on a stalk
of corn would make it grow.
— George Patterson

Good stuff.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Equipping for Mission

Jonathan Dodson is a church leader in Austin, Texas who describes how a follower of Jesus can do "everyday things with gospel intentionality."  Here 'tis.  It's good stuff. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Why I'm Not a Professional Pastor

This doesn't outline it fully or fully capture all of my own thoughts on the matter, but I "resonate" with what David Fitch says here.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Deep Church

For those who have a passion for “doing church” a different way, this book may be (“may be” not “is for sure”) for you.

There’s been debates raging in the past 10 years or so regarding whether the “traditional” church does church right or whether the “emerging” church does things right. I will write the rest of this mini-review without defining “traditional” or “emerging”, so you may need to ask questions or go research it. For a good starting point, you can go here.

I personally have benefited from both churches – “traditional” and “emerging”. I’ve never been part of an “emerging” church,* but resonate with many of the critiques (not the caricatures) of traditional churches (as if they can all be lumped together). On the flip side, I have also resonated with the “traditional” church’s critique (not the caricatures) of “emerging” churches (as if they can all be lumped together).

Jim Belcher in his book “Deep Church” does a great job, in my view, of showing some of the contributions and flaws of both types of churches. He doesn’t build “straw man” arguments and I can sense that he truly appreciates the contributions of the “emerging” folks and the “traditional” folks. He then goes on to propose a third way (emphasis on the article “a” as he is not proposing “the” third way – thank goodness). I found myself not always resonating with his proposed “third way”, but that’s okay it’s “a” third way not “my” third way.

So, before doing a few posts on the book, I thought I’d introduce this book to you (and commend it to you – if you’re interested in this sort of thing).

For a couple good reviews of it you can go here and here.

*Though I've never been part of an "emerging" church, I am currently involved in the small group of a "traditional" church where we have had the freedom to be on mission in our community for the sake of the Gospel (good news).  I don't call that "emerging" necessarily.  I call it in the words of Tim Chester "ordinary life with Gospel intentionality".

Friday, October 23, 2009


I haven't watched or listened to these, but I would gladly listen all day to fellow Gospel-man, Tim Chester.

I don't think there's any follower of Jesus who would say that we're not supposed to be on mission with God.  Tim Chester is great at identifying barriers to mission and offering positive solutions.  Watch out!  They are simple but radical.*

*If you find yourself saying, "but that would never work in America" regarding Tim Chester's suggestions/exhortations, make sure you answer the question "why not?"  I find that the answers to my own "why not?" questions aren't often all that compelling.

Behave or Believe?

"... the message of the gospel is not "Behave!" but "Believe!" - Jared Wilson

This is a vital (VITAL!) point to make.  The rest of his post is here

Reforming the Discipleship Culture

Gospel-man, Jared Wilson was recently intereviewed by the Internet Monk.  Here was an exchange at the end of the interview:

Internet MonkYou’ve described one of your personal missions as “reforming the discipleship culture” of the church. Can we produce disciples just by preaching and good books? If not, what else is needed that we still need to take seriously?

Jared Wilson:  Well, I think preaching can create a disciple because I take Romans 10 seriously. But you can’t disciple anybody with preaching alone. Disciples follow Jesus. I look at what Jesus did to disciple, and I see he basically taught, went, and taught as he went. So I imagine we’ve got to do the same.

But we’re idiots, so we like one or the other. Guys in my tribe emphasize the teaching, not the going. In other tribes they’re huge on going but not on teaching.

I like to call this a two-fisted gospel. If you aren’t articulating the gospel of the kingdom regularly and also seeking to live the kingdom out, you aren’t discipling anyone in the way of Jesus.
The danger for most folks of my sort is that we really become admirers of the gospel, not treasurers of it. And admiring it is not really centering on it. When it’s got you forgiving your cheating spouse or serving people in the ghetto or even mowing your neighbor’s yard, it’s changed you.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

What is the Good News?

In the words of Julie Andrews' character from "The Sound of Music" - let's "start [this blog] at the beginning, it's a very good place to start".  Gotta work at defining the good news before going forward.  I really like this long-ish article regarding the good news.  I'm posting it here for your consideration.  We can discuss it if you wish. 

Free Redeemer Sermons

If you love the good news of Jesus and would like to see it planted more deeply in your own life, Redeemer Church of NYC is now making a bunch of their sermons available online here.

I would highly recommend checking it out.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Purpose of this Blog

"The blessing of mission is ours while the burden of mission is God’s." - Jonathan Dodson

As a follower of Jesus Christ, a trained pastor, and a guy who works (and plans to continue working)a "regular"* job, the idea of church planting has long intrigued me.  To say it has intrigued me is really a huge understatement, as I've been training and thinking and praying for years about planting a church or being part of a church plant. 

I've recently shifted in my thinking about church planting and Gospel ministry, as I've dialogued with friends and perused the pages of various books and blogs on the subject.  Now I'm thinking and praying more about Gospel planting - and actively joining others in doing so.  What I mean by Gospel planting is to spread (or sow) the good news of Jesus and his kingdom wherever I go.  That includes spreading the good news to myself and especially within my own home. 

For me, I think it's more than semantics to shift from the language of "church planting" to "Gosepl planting".  It's been a fundamental shift in my own thinking and heart.  I don't think it's wrong for others to use the language of church planting, but I've personally found it helpful to rightly acknowledge the burden of planting churches rests squarely on the shoulders and in the hands of Jesus himself.  Did he not say "I will build my church"?**  It places the blessing of joining God in his mission -of sowing the good news of Jesus Christ with his followers.  Can we in any way carry the burden of Jesus' mission?  Certainly!  To the degree that we understand that he carries the bulk of the burden; to the degree that we sense this burden to be a blessing; to the degree that we understand that Jesus' yoke is easy and his burden is light.***

Here's the ol' bottom line: we, his followers, don't have to "make things happen".  We simply get to follow Jesus and join him in his Great Mission.  We can focus on "being the church" rather than "doing church".

So, come along and join me in exploring what it means to Gospel plant - what it means to sow seeds of the good news of Jesus and his kingdom.  We'll look at different resources, ideas and ways to plant the Gospel in our communities and in our spheres of influence. 

*I don't plan to be a vocational pastor.  I am grateful for the opportunity to work a "regular job" like most of you.
**That's a rhetorical question.  He did say that.
***Matthew 11:30.