How I love the global church! There’s something about seeing cultures completely different from mine rejoicing in the same God as mine that moves me. A Desiring God blogger posted this, and I had to share it. What an amazing, global God we serve.
I’ll also share the description of the Word of God he cited at the end of his blog– it’s powerful.
THE BIBLE contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you.
It is the traveler’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword, and the Christian’s charter. Here Paradise is restored, Heaven opened, and the gates of hell disclosed.
CHRIST is its grand subject, our good the design, and the glory of God its end.
It should fill the memory, rule the heart, and guide the feet. Read it slowly, frequently, and prayerfully. It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory, and a river of pleasure. It involves the highest responsibility, will reward the greatest labor, and will condemn all who trifle with its sacred contents.
Here’s an excerpt from The Trellis and the Vine. Mark Dever called it the best book he’s “ever read on the nature of church ministry.” It has been for me, too (Dever has read a lot more books than I have, so his endorsement carries a little more weight). Enjoy.
At the most basic level, the Bible says that Jesus doesn’t have two classes of disciple: those who abandon their lives to his service and those who don’t. The call to discipleship is the same for all. Jesus says, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it” (Mark 8:34-35). There are not two sorts of disciples– the inner core who really serve Jesus and his gospel, and the rest. To be a disciple is to be a slave of Christ and to confess his name openly before other” “So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I will also deny before my Father who is in heaven” (Matt 10:32-33).
The call to discipleship is thus a call to confess our allegiance to Jesus in the face of a hostile world; to serve him and his mission, whatever the cost. Don’t bother attending your dad’s funeral, Jesus says to a passing enquiry: “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:60).
The Great Commission, in other words, is not just for the Eleven. It’s the basic agenda for all disciples. To be a disciple is the be a disciple-maker.
For a PDF of the first two chapters, click here. To buy the book, here’s Amazon’s link.
“The world’s idea that everyone, from childhood up, should be able at all times to succeed in measurable ways, and that it is a great disgrace not to, hangs over the Christian community like a pall of acrid smoke.”
Do you measure your success by visual results? Material success is material and you can see it. Spiritual success is spiritual, and mostly invisible.
A successful church is a church that is numerically growing; but a numerically growing church isn’t necessarily a successful church.
In preparation for a vision casting elder’s meeting we’re having tomorrow, I put together four marks of a healthy church.
What does it look like?
· It’s a church operated by prayer.
“Prayer is the visible engine that drives our church.”–John Piper, author and head pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church.
· It’s a church that has a passion for the lost, and has organized, publicized, unified efforts to bring the gospel to their community.
“Take what is in your hand, and offer it to who is in your reach.” – Robert Bishop, head pastor of Whittier Hills Baptist Church.
· It’s a church in which young and old are entwined through the biblical means of mentoring and discipleship.
“Jesus trained His disciples superbly for their future roles. He taught by example and by precept; His teaching was done ‘on the way.’ Jesus did not ask the twelve to sit down and take notes in a formal classroom. Jesus’ classrooms were the highways of life; His principles and values came across in the midst of daily experience.”–J. Oswald Sanders, author of Spiritual Leadership.
· It’s a church that has God’s heart for the nations, and is willing to take faith-filled steps to go.
“Many Christians are oblivious of the most glorious story in world history, the spread of Christianity through the blood and tears and joy of world missions.” John Piper, in Brothers We Are Not Professionals.