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Archive for January, 2010

Tim Keller on The Shack

Tim Keller, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, on The Shack:

‘Anyone who is strongly influenced by the imaginative world of The Shack will be totally unprepared for the far more multi-dimensional and complex God that you actually meet when you read the Bible.’

To read the full review, click here.

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  1. Because I want to love you like Jesus – and 15% of what he says in the Gospels is about money.
  2. So we can dream about an avalanche of money going out to advance the kingdom of God in church planting and mercy ministries.
  3. Generous people are happier than stingy people.

I love what God’s doing in our life together through this series. We’ve got one more week in the Money series – I can’t wait to dig into Matthew 6:19-34 with you and watch God convince us to take real steps towards radical generosity.

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From Tim Chester:

Mission is not one thing we do among others. Mission is central to the Bible story and central to our identity. We are missionary people. We are communities on mission.

Creation:  God made humanity with a mission: (1) to fill and govern the earth, and (2) to be his image in the world, reflecting his glory. We create, we explore, we investigate, we cook, we clean, we repair, we do science and culture and art – all to the glory of God.

Fall:  After our rebellion our mission distorts and turns inwards. At Babel humanity (1) comes together instead of being scattered (2) to a name for themselves instead of glorifying God (Genesis 11:4).

Abraham:  ‘All peoples on earth will be blessed through you.’ (Genesis 12:3) God chooses Abraham for the nations. The Saviour will come from Abraham’s descendants. See Genesis 18:18-19. The nations will be blessed as God’s people walk in his ways and ‘do’ justice. People will look on and see it is good to know God.

Exodus:  ‘Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ (Exodus 19:5-6) Priests made God known and brought people to God through sacrifice. In the same way, the nation is to make God known. They are to be holy (distinctive) as God is holy – the place on earth where people could see what God is like. See also Deuteronomy 4:5-8. So the law has a missional goal: to shape the life of Israel so the nations are drawn to God.

Israel:  ‘Men of all nations came to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, sent by all the kings of the world, who had heard of his wisdom’ (1 Kings 4:34). But ultimately Israel follows the ways of the nations and is drawn away from God instead of following the ways of God and drawing the nations to God.

Prophecy: See Isaiah 2:2-5 (60:1-3). One day the nations will stream to Mount Zion in Jerusalem to learn God’s ways as God’s people walk in his light. The ‘servant of the Lord’ will be light to the nations that Israel had failed to be (Isaiah 42:6; 49:6).

Jesus:  ‘I am the light of the world’ (John 8:12).

The church:  Because Jesus has been given authority over the nations, he sends his disciples out to call on the nations to submit to that authority (Matthew 28:18-20). See Matthew 5:13-16. The rag-bag community of Jesus is to be the light to the world that Israel failed to be, the city on a hill promised by Isaiah. so ‘let your light shine before men’ and bring praise to God. See 1 Peter 2:9. The church is now the kingdom of priests and holy nation which makes God known to the nations. So ‘live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us’ (12).

New creation: People from all nations worship the Lamb together and find healing in the new creation (Revelation 7:9-10; 22:2).

Jesus began his ministry by proclaiming the good news of God’s coming kingdom (Mark 1:14-15). But people don’t believe God’s rule is good news. They think they’re better off without God. We believe the Serpent’s lie that God’s rule is oppressive and restrictive (Genesis 3:5). We are to so live together under God’s reign that people see that God’s reign is good news, a reign of life, love, freedom, justice and joy.

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The message from Matthew 13:44 yesterday – generosity is something we want to do if we’re part of God’s kingdom. Some great conversations are happening and people are starting to dream some incredibly generous dreams and make some life-changing steps towards generosity.

Excited about next week’s message from 2 Corinthians 8 – more about how Jesus makes us generous – even when we have nothing to give.

Speaking of generosity – we’re up to $2800 taken in for Churches Helping Churches (www.churcheshelpingchurches.com). Thanks for your willingness to invest resources into the needs of our brothers and sisters in Haiti. If you haven’t contributed yet, we’ll take up money through next Sunday.

Because of the MLK weekend, we bumped the internship meeting to next Sunday after the worship gathering. Can’t wait to see who ends up on our team and really can’t wait to unveil the two-year Protege program!

We’ve had 33 people sign up for the free preview night for Financial Peace University – and we’re expecting more to show up. If you’d like to sign up, shoot an email to Todd Harrison at toddharrison@mindspring.com.

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Yesterday, the Acts 29 Network launched an inititative called Churches Helping Churches to direct resources to Haitian churches.

Every penny we take in for Haiti between now and January 24th will go to CHC. One-third of our April offering called The Seed Project will go to CHC. $2,000 from last year’s Advent Conspiracy will be going to CHC this spring.

So pray for the churches in Haiti and give generously.

Here’s the press release on the launch of CHC:

Who Will Help the Churches in Haiti?

The images streaming in from Haiti is disturbing. We feel pity, sorrow and a sense of helplessness at the extent of their plight. The waves of humanitarian aid are washing ashore in Haiti and beginning to meet this massive need but little if any of this medicine will soothe the sores of the suffering church. The country will be rebuilt in time, but so little of that aid will go to the pastors and congregations who are decimated and broken.

Who is helping the Haitian churches and the pastors? While so many agencies will be focused on the immediate social needs, the local communities of faith are devastated as well. These bodies of Christ can also contribute toward meeting the spiritual and emotional needs of the local people who are burying their family members and are seeking comfort, counsel and guidance.

Churches Helping Churches initiated by Mark Driscoll and James MacDonald is calling on the North American church to help restore the ravaged church in Haiti. MacDonald writes, “Without question the priority of the ‘church helping the church’ is commanded by Paul in scripture and modeled by Paul in his crisis care for the Corinthians and the church in Jerusalem. If Paul were alive today there is no doubt his first concern as a church planter and leader in the body of Christ would be for the family of God in Haiti.”

“So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:10

Mark and James are going to Haiti early next week to see first hand and assess what can be done to meet the needs of the church in the toughest areas. They will take a team to help them capture this story so they can report on the hope the North American church can bring. They hope to get some great stories on video about what God is doing in Haiti to help encourage God’s people around the world to be generous and help those in need.  They are seeking to provide great photos and other video footage to give away online, to give to Christian agencies who could use it to help expose the need of the church, and to give to mainstream media outlets showing the difference the church and God’s people are making.

Acts 29 Network is asking you to consider helping the churches in Haiti so they can continue to contribute in the recovery when other agencies have moved on from the devastated land. Please ask the members of your congregation to contribute financially this week or next to unite as the Church helping churches.

A website has been formed to assist in the communication of this effort: http://www.churcheshelpingchurches.com/

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Three ways for you to join us in providing relief to the people of Haiti:

  1. Pray. Pray for healing, for peace, for conversions. Pray for patience and persistence. Pray for the systemic problems that helped create this problem (and check out David Brooks’ excellent piece in the New York Times).
  2. Make contributions through Christ Church between now and January 24th. We’re writing a check on the 25th to Compassion International to support their efforts.
  3. Plan to contribute to our Seed Offering this April – 1/3 of the money received will go to support ongoing relief efforts in Haiti (Harvard Business Review points out the need for a long-term vision in international aid).

In addition, we will be using $2,000 of last year’s Advent Conspiracy money to support the relief effort. So your investment in the kingdom of God is already paying off huge dividends! Thanks again for your help.

The teaching text for this Sunday’s worship gathering is Matthew 13:44 – make sure you read it, spend time thinking about what it means and asking God to help us respond appropriately to it.

If you’re not a member of Christ Church and are looking for more information about who we are as a church and how to get plugged in, stick around for Next Step right after this Sunday’s worship gathering from 11:45-Noon.

We had more than 20 people show up for the first preview night for Financial Peace University. Make sure to sign up Sunday for the next preview night this Tuesday from 7-8pm at WCA. Classes start on February 2nd at a rate of $93 per person/couple. I can’t encourage you enough to be part of this…

Really excited about the two internship tracks we’ve developed:

  • Summer and fall internships with our student ministry and family ministry (other internships in administration and finance are still being developed).
  • Protege – a two-year program for persons considering graduate-level theological training. Our goal is to give hands-on training that helps develop missional leaders.

If you’re interested in either track, there will be an informational meeting next Sunday, January 24th, immediately following the worship gathering.

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Wanted to let you know that we’re taking $2,000 of the money from last year’s Advent Conspiracy to help provide relief for the victims of this week’s earthquake in Haiti. We’re talking with several different relief organizations to determine how we can best help.

In addition, if you’d like to give additional funds to support relief in Haiti, you can send in a check to the church office or give during the worship gathering. We’ll take up funds through Sunday, January 24th and send everything out on Monday, January 25th.

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