new blog

hey everyone, I have been blogging over at a different place for a little while:

http://gregorylarson.posterous.com/

come join me there.


mission & the kingdom

some great thoughts by the venerable Newbigin

“The concern for mission is nothing less than this: the kingdom of God, the sovereign rule of the Father of Jesus over all humankind and over all creation. Mission.. is the proclamation of the kingdom, the presence of the kingdom and the prevenience of the kingdom. By proclaiming the reign of God over all things the church acts out its faith that the Father of Jesus is indeed ruler of all. The church, by inviting all humankind to share in the mystery of the presence of the kingdom hidden in its life through its union with the crucified and risen life of Jesus, acts out the love of Jesus that took him to the cross. By obediently following where the Spirit leads, often in ways neither planned, known, nor understood, the church acts out the hope that it is given by the presence of the Spirit who is the living foretaste of the kingdom.” (Newbigin, The Open Secret, 64)

“I have described mission in terms of the proclamation, the presence, and the prevenience of the reign of God. The reign concerns the whole history of the human family and of the cosmos. At the heart of the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples is the petition: “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” God’s will is to be done on earth. The call of Jesus to believe the good news of the impending kingdom leads at once to the call to “Follow me.” There can be no separation between believing and following, between faith and obedience. The prayer “Thy will be done” is in vain if it is not made visible in action for the doing of that will. Consequently, missions have never been able to separate the preaching of the gospel from action for God’s justice.” (Newbigin, The Open Secret, 91″

HT: NextReformation


leadership words to live by

very counter-intuitive & very hard to implement I am finding. but true nonetheless.

Most churches make the mistake of selecting as leaders the confident, the competent, and the successful. But what you most need in a leader is someone who has been broken by the knowledge of his or her sin, and even greater knowledge of Jesus’ costly grace. The…leaders in every church ought to be the people who repent the most fully without excuses, because you don’t need any now; the most easily without bitterness; the most publicly and the most joyfully. They know their standing isn’t based on their performance. -Tim Keller


random links

great ideas for a missional community

The Big Idea (a must read if you are involved in speaking/preaching/teaching in any way !!)

mixing mission and ministry

Old Spice Guy — still got it!

How Netflix destroyed Blockbuster…

How much would you spend on a first date?

Of Gods & Men — It tells the story of Christian monks in Algeria from 1993-96 and their decision in the face of danger from radical Islamists.

Tim Keller on the Nature of a Missional Church
A missional church gears absolutely every single part of its life–its worship, community, public discourse and preaching education–for the presence of non-believers from the culture surrounding it. A missional church’s congregation reflects the demographic make-up of the surrounding community–and therefore it gives non-Christian neighbors attractive and challenging glimpses of what they would look like as Christians. A missional church’s worship is ‘evangelistic’ in the sense that it makes sense to non-believers in that culture, even while it challenges and shapes people with the gospel. A missional church’s people are outwardly focused, so involved in the local community, and so alert for every opportunity to point people toward Christ, that evangelism happens naturally through relationships. Because of the attractiveness of its community, the contextual nature of its message, and humility of its people, a missional church will discover significant numbers of people always in the midst, ‘incubating’ and exploring Christianity. It must welcome them in hundreds of ways. It will do little to make them ‘comfortable’ but will do everything to make its gospel message understandable.

The price of Mission – JR Woodward


praying the Psalms

…watched last night a program on PBS’ Frontline. (a great program by the way, if you can watch it)
Last night was on the global sex trafficking travesty. It was terribly sad, and hard to watch. Some of the things that were done to the women were nothing less than vile.
Did not know what to do after the program ended, except to pray.
I then read this Psalm this morning…

Psalm 15 A psalm of David.
1 LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy mountain? 2 Those whose walk is blameless, who do what is righteous, who speak the truth from their hearts; 3 who have no slander on their tongues, who do their neighbors no wrong, who cast no slur on others; 4 who despise those whose ways are vile but honor whoever fears the LORD;who keep their oaths even when it hurts; 5 who lend money to the poor without interest and do not accept bribes against the innocent. Whoever does these things will never be shaken.


Eugene Peterson says this about Psalm 15
Moral habits are like building stones. One by one they are added together to form a solid structure, a character that is “steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the world of the Lord” (1 Corin 15:58)

Prayer: Even as you have shown me the way, O Christ, help me to walk in it. Help me to acquire the habits that will make me dependable in your service as I follow in the steps of my Savior. Amen


evaluating a ‘church’…


praying Psalms

Psalm 27: 1 The LORD is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid? 2 When the wicked advance against me to devour[a] me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall. 3 Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident. 4 One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. 5 For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock. 6 Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me;
at his tabernacle I will sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the LORD.

Fear responds to danger by burying us beneath thick layers of self-defense, where we can only cower in shadows. Faith responds to danger by trusting God & lives head high out in the open w/ ‘shouts of joy’ (vs. 6).

Prayer: I refuse, O god, to live fearfully or cautiously. I name my fears one by one & turn them over to you, & find them simply trivial when set alongside your majesty. With lifted head I will live in your light & salvation, through Jesus Christ. Amen.

…this morning, with much on my mind – I named (& listed out) my fears, one by one in my journal. I felt like it was an exercise in faith as I committed today (or at least simply in this moment) – to not live fearfully, or cautiously in the areas of my life that I listed, but trusting my heavenly father.


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