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Archive for the ‘Missions’ Category


As part of his chapter on Worldliness in Respectable Sins, Jerry Bridges talks about money and how Christians use it.  First, let’s see his definition of worldliness.

“Worldliness means accepting the values, mores, and practices of the nice, but unbelieving, society around us without discerning whether or not thos values, mores, and practices are biblical.”

Pretty good definition.  It is when we are shaped by the world instead of being conformed to Christ in how we approach seemingly trivial matters.  He points to how Christians use money as a place where we are often quite worldly.  We often don’t examine how we spend our money- only if we have enough to get what we want.  We tend to get caught in that self-centered approach to living when it comes to “our” money.

Evangelicals are giving far less money to their churches than they did in years past.  He notes that in 8 evangelical denominations (not mainline ones) people give only 4.4% of their income.  They are spending more money on themselves by keeping up with technological toys, collecting music or movies, big boy toys (boats, snowmobiles..), eating out often, etc.  But here was what disturbed me even more.

“Not only are we giving less to our churches, but it seems that more of what we do give is spent on ourselves.  In 1920, the percentage of giving to missions from total offerings was just over 10 percent.  But by 2003, that figure had declined to just under 3 percent.  That means we spent 97 cents of every dollar on our own local programs and ministries while sending 3 cents overseas.”

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consider….

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Who said New England was a spiritual wasteland?  Okay, much of it is.  But I found some good sermons and lectures while visiting a website for a church in Portland, ME.

2006 Northern New England Presbytery (PCA) Missions Conference, Speaker Richard Pratt

2008 Northern New England Presbytery (PCA) Missions Conference, Speaker D.A. Carson

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Yesterday I was meeting with a group of pastors to talk about our sermon text, Nehemiah 1.  In the course of our discussion Tim Rice mentioned the ‘grid’ he uses: Christ’s work for us & Christ’s work in us.  The example he gave, since we were discussing prayer, was Jesus praying for us and the work of the Spirit in us so we pray with Jesus.

In light of where the text was taking me regarding Nehemiah’s name (YHWH has comforted or the comfort of YHWH), I saw Christ’s work through us.  He not only comforted Nehemiah, but comforted Jerusalem through Nehemiah (see 2 Corinthians 1).

I thought of this in the triperspectival grid this morning.

Christ’s work for us (normative) => Christ’s work in us (existential/subjective) => Christ’s work thru us (circumstantial/situational)

This is how I need to be thinking as I approach sermons.

Christ died in our place <= His Work for Us => Christ obeyed in our place

Mortification of sin <= His Work in Us (sanctification) => Vivification of godliness

Justice <= His Work thru Us (service) => Mercy

or

Discipleship (inward) <= His Work thru Us => Mission (outward)

This warrents some more thinking, but first I must return to Nehemiah 1!

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While many relief agencies have left the areas devastated by Katrina 3 years ago, there are some churches that continue to work toward the rebuilding of their communities.  Many of them survive through donations and streams of Christians volunteering their time and skills.  Please consider supporting them as you can.

One is Lagniappe Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Lagniappe, MS.  Some teens and adults from the church we worship in went there to volunteer in July/August.  You can also support them financially or materially too.  You can read the article written about their ministry to help restore creation in ByFaith Magazine.

The one my brothers-in-law helped is the Christian Life Center (Christian and Missionary Alliance) in Waveland, MS.  Like Lagniappe, you can volunteer or support them in various ways.

The process of rebuilding this area will take many years (CLC estimates 6-10 years).  Just because the “emergency” is over doesn’t mean people aren’t still suffering in those areas.  People still need help rebuilding their lives.  These are just 2 of the Christ-centered ministries helping that to happen.

Update: How could I forget Desire Street Ministries?  Founded by Mo Leverett it was involved in community transformation long before Katrina hit.  Since the life-changing event, Mo has left to receive a call to a PCA church in Tallahassee, FL (gee, I can’t understand why they chose him over me 🙂 ).  Desire Street continues from a new headquarters in Atlanta and a new quarterback in Danny Wuerffel (yes, the Gator QB).  They hope to replicate what they did in the Desire Street neighborhood around the country.  The academy has moved to Baton Rouge. They are still doing some light construction in New Orleans, and need volunteers.  They are also looking for people willing to move to New Orleans to take part in a new church plant there.  They need financial resources too, obviously.  A new ministry they started, to rebuild affordable housing in New Orleans is CDC 58:12 (taken from Isaiah 58:12).

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Joined at the Hip

Joined at the Hip

The last week seems to be a blur.  We are now back in hot, humid Florida.  The travel day was filled with way too much whining and crying.  Seems to put a damper on a good vacation.  Returning also means a return to my responsibilities- first of which is finding a way to support my family.  Yes, puts a damper on the whole thing.  But let’s ponder more interesting things!

Here are the “highlights”.

Monday night I learned that a church has begun checking references.  This is great news!  The result of the process is not certain, but the process has begun and maybe that will result in something really positive.

Tuesday we missed Tropical Storm Fay.  Our home got plenty of rain, but we did not experience the flooding many other communities in Florida and elsewhere did.  Better than that, CavWife and I stole away for a lunch alone.  A quiet lunch!  No crying, complaining etc.  We enjoyed each other’s company and talked about a few things- including my impressions of Job this time through (2nd time in a year).

CavWife's New Doo

CavWife

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It is hard to believe it is Saturday.  Life has slowed down tremendously since we hopped on that plane Tues. morning.  The big rush to de-clutter the house was done.  We were packed and gone.

Since then I’ve been doing some reading.  That has been hard for me lately.  I’ve had trouble concentrating.  There were far too many things going on, and I deperately needed a change of scenery- and weather.  I got both.  So my concentration has returned.  As you may have noticed, I read Brian McLaren’s A New Kind of Christian.  Dr. Nicole taught me to read those I don’t agree with (or other ivew points) so I can see their own arguments first hand lest someone mischaracterize them.  Glad I read it, and I still disagree with him.

In addition to starting to read Job, I’m reading Sinclair Ferguson’s book on Ruth, Faithful God.  It is really good.  As someone who is going through a difficult time, I need that reminder that God’s plan is not always evident until it has completely unfolded.  And that might be long after you’re gone.

It’s not all serious- I’m reading a Dean Koontz novel I picked off the bookshelf here.

I’ve been helping my brother-in-law get the website ready for his business.  I’ll also be helping to get their financial system integrated on the software.  My sister-in-law has too much going on the learn the system and get it all integrated herself.  Since the guys at Riedinger & Sons are heading off to Mississippi for a missions trip today, I’ll be able to work on this with no new invoices etc. 

The weather has been quite varied.  Plenty of sun, and plenty of rain too.  The tempuratures are mostly in the 60’s-70’s.  A very nice  change of pace allowing me to sit outside and read.  Sadly, no cigars to enjoy outside.  But my sister-in-law provided me with some Smithwick’s Irish Ale as a treat.  Quite nice.

I helped my other brother-in-law work on his new house today.  I was priming the dry wall in a few closets.  And tonight I’m cooking some Cajun Back Ribs.

I know some of you are more concerned about the kids.  They are having a blast.  CavGirl loves coming here and playing with her cousins.  It is the first time CavBoy has come to the Farm.  He might be feeling a bit left behind as she goes on adventures with her cousins.  But he’s getting more adventurous.  Both are playing long and hard, so naps and night time have been met with quickly nodding off to sleep.  Parenting has required less time and energy.

I got some great pictures of the humming birds.  At one point there were 5 vying for the feeder.  I couldn’t get the beautiful finch.  He was too skittish when I came near with the camera.  That and the territorial battle he was engaged in with another bird.  I don’t have the right software here, so posting any of them will have to wait.

I was disappointed to discover that my capo and picks were not in the guitar case where I thought I left them.  This greatly reduces what I can do with old vacation guitar while I’m up here.

Well, a beautiful sunny afternoon is calling my name.

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