Share: from a good friend, blogger, author, coach and church planter in Toronto

IF YOU ARE CHURCH PLANTING or THINKING OF CHURCH PLANTING you should follow DASH HOUSE!

When people ask me how the church plant is going, I never know how to answer. There’s good news to report, of course, but it’s never all good. Mostly it feels ordinary, with regular setbacks, with alternating bouts of encouragement and despair. John Starke captured this in a recent series of tweets: What should be…

via The Truth About Church Planting — DashHouse

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Blogging Calvin wk2: The Knowledge of God prt2

The Knowledge of God – Janaury week 2
(my blog subtitles  are  bold, quotes of Calvin in italics, applications are mine)

God Revealed
  I think there is little more embarrassing mistakes then when I have made an appointment with someone then have stood them up. Just didn’t show up. Sure I might have had a good reason, like a legit emergency or a busy week of meetings where I let one slip through the cracks of my schedule. In the times I have done this, it doesn’t matter, every excuse, even the legit ones, seem lame or insincere. Close on the heals of this embarrassment is when meeting someone I should know but have completely blanked on who or how or what I know about them. It is usually followed by me awkwardly asking them, “We met before, right?  Would you remind me of your name, please? Please forgive me?”
What if this kind of un-awareness is the state of the entire human race as it relates to God?  John Calvin continues the truth of why and how we should know God but sadly are embarrassingly lacking.

5d393eea19c538faea54c1ef05cbdb6eGod showed up

“Because God desires that the chief end of the blessed life should be to know his name, he reveals himself clearly to everyone, so that he should not seem to want to deny some men entry into happiness.”

The countless proofs of the creation we both are and live in are a witness to us. A witness to the qualities of the God who creates. Yet, many of humanities greatest heroes or philosophical minds have tried to make the un-god-ing of God by building their reasoning around high intellectual arguments. Even those who have been placed in religious authority have often sought to wrestle creations authority from the Creator, the very knowing of God, by placing themselves in authority over God.  Calvin quips , “ where then does that leave the rest of us, given that the leaders, whose task it is to enlighten the rest of us, have gone so badly wrong”

This could be a sad, sad state for humanity except for the obvious hope we have, God has not hidden Himself. God shows up.
“They are visible even to the dullest and most ignorant, so that the eye, once opened, is constrained to witness these things.”

“I have never considered that there might be a God”- said no one ever.

Here in the remainder of chapter one of Calvin’s Institutes, The Knowledge of God, we are shown how:

God can be seen
God has revealed himself in various works of providence. Common grace poured out on all of humanity demonstrates God’s benevolence but His specific guidance and judgements on evil throughout humanity’s history reveals his righteousness. At the same time God’s long-suffering, leaving sin unpunished for the present time in order to bring about repentance, is a means of His pursuit of humanity. Revealing His mercy, “until their obstinacy yields to his benevolence!”
    Here in is revealed to the watching world, the might and wisdom of the God who is able to crush and destroy the “cruelty of the wicked, which humanly speaking seemed unassailable.”  In such a way that those who were made low and broken are raised up, helped, find hope, are restored and the defenceless triumph. Do you see the hope here? The need for both true justice and restorative hope lies in the heart of all of us. But who can complete it? Who is able to know where, when and how justice can be meted out justly? Who is able to bring a restorative fullness to the deeply affected hurt and broken?
Take note. Look up. This is the ability of a the righteous, almighty, full of wisdom and mercy God!

God has been made accessible
All of this revealing of God makes Him  accessible to our hearts.
“For God is made known to us in his works so that, when we feel their force within us and receive their benefits, such knowledge should touch us more keenly than if we conceived of God as some airy being of whom we had no real experience.”
 “For we perceive that the signs which God gives both of his goodness and severity are partial and only half complete: they are samples, as it were,  of what will be fully and finally revealed.”
  It is the revealing of God that makes him accessible, able to be known. He can be known in His quality and character which has a direct effect on the heart of those who will know Him. Entrusting yourself to Him includes seeing these specific works of grace, both His righteous judgement and His incredible mercy at work not simply in our world but in our very lives.

God is affirmed
Sadly though, man remains blind to the message and authority of God’s works. Although we have these powerful proofs set before us in daily graces and historical righteousness their light remains dull to our unseeing spiritual eyes. Even here God does not leave us in our blindness, His Word comes as “a necessary addition to his works”. 

“so too He provides a surer remedy to aid the weakness of those to whom He chooses to disclose Himself in salvation. For in order to instruct them He uses more than mute creatures: He opens His holy lips, not just to declare that they should worship some kind of god, but to reveal Himself as the God who must be worshipped. Not only does He teach them to acknowledge one God, He also presents Himself to them as the one beyond whom they must not go.”
If it is true, as I heard John Piper say once, “It is not simply a slogan or a sentence that  changes us but whole paragraphs” this is one worth soaking in regarding the weight of God’s Holy Word.

Scripture Convinces us of God
The truth of God is made accessible through Scripture. Scripture is not determined as the authoritative way of knowing God only to the degree that the Church has decreed it. That would mean that the church, Catholic or otherwise, would stand in authority, as the authority, over the authority of the Word of God. Calvin makes an argument for why this cannot be true. Scripture is authenticated by Holy Spirit who is the inner witness to its authority and by which all secondary proofs of its authority are made known.

Secondary proofs of authority are simply that, secondary. Calvin places the authority or affirmation of the church in this secondary proof and only to the degree that the Church submits itself first of all to the truth of scriptures. Secondary proofs are made true to the degree that they both come out of God’s Word and are affirmed by Holy Spirit’s witness in God’s Word.
What Calvin highlights as secondary proofs of the authority of God’s Word in the revealing of the person of God are:

  • wisdom and truth
    “Further encouragement is given us when we reflect that it is the splendour of its content rather than the elegance of its words which fills us with such wonder. It was indeed no accident of providence that God handed down to us the lofty secrets of his heavenly kingdom in mean, unvarnished words. Otherwise, had they been filled and enriched by the arts of eloquence, the wicked would have sneered that that was where scriptures’s entire power lay…. that is why the apostle rightly argues that the faith of the Corinthians ‘rested not on human wisdom, but on the power of God’, since his preaching among them ‘had not been in persuasive words of mans’ wisdom, but was approved by the manifestations of the Spirit and of power’ (I Cor. 2:4-5) Truth is exempt from all doubt: it needs no other helps, but is perfectly sufficient to sustain itself.”
    – here in lies the proof of scriptures authority to the common man’s heart. Its truths can be grasped, applied and by which we are transformed. Scripture is profoundly simple in its transforming message of God’s person and redemptive purposes.
  • the history of the church
     “Moreover the consent of the church is not without importance. It is no small thing that, although many centuries have passed since the Scriptures were made known, there has been continuing agreement regarding the obedience which is owed them.”
    “They
     [believers] did not hesitate to die bravely and even cheerfully for the truth they had received. And how shall we not receive it with sure and invincible conviction, since it comes to us with such a guarantee and endorsement?… their faith is not a state of frenzy or wild passion but moved by zeal for God which was both sober and measured, steadfast and sure.”
    – the church convinced to the point of joyful death is a strong witness to the authority and authenticity of God’s revealing in scriptures. There are many causes that man might sacrifice resources and time to serve. There are a few religious beliefs that men and women will even attack with such zeal as to do evil to others under the lie that they are guaranteed eternal bliss by such evil. There are fewer still those ideas that men and women would go willingly, silently, and joyfully praying for their enemies forgiveness, as they are tortured and put to death. The church has been convinced by the plain beauty of scripture that their lives are not their own. Their story is not THE story of history. They are instruments to be used up for the great glory of God

 

“Thus, the knowledge of God, presented to us in Scripture, has the same end in view as that which is found in all created things. It should first promote us to fear God, and then to trust in him, so that we may serve and honour him by innocence of life, by unfeigned obedience and by utter reliance on his goodness.”

Next week: Chapter 2 Prt 1 The Knowledge of Man and Free Will

Thanks for reading;

BRS

Sheep don’t really ‘go wild’, just lost.

sheepgrunge

Dogs left on their own are known to form up in wild packs to survive. Horses left alone in the wild become wild herds. Even cats abandoned can reproduce feral litters and band together for survival.
However, you never hear the scary camp story of the farmer who’s sheep wandered away from the fold but banded together with other wild sheep and are “even now out there terrorizing the country side, so don’t close your eyes tonight.. in case a crazed wild sheep…. (I’ll leave the scenes of devastation to your imagination)….ahhhhhh!”  Nope. Doesn’t work. No such thing.

 Domestic sheep don’t really become wild, just lost.

I wonder if this is part of the reason the Bible uses the term for sheep to describe various categories of people?

Let me introduce you to what I am afraid is a growing category of ‘sheep’.

SHEEP WITHOUT A SHEPHERD

Over twenty plus years of part time and full time work in churches (as a summer intern, youth leader, associate pastor, youth pastor, church planter and lead pastor) I have come across this growing category of people. In the recent years, I have also needed to work in construction to supplement income. On the construction site, from a world view perspective, I have met dozens of  people who I would place in this category of ‘sheep’.

This growing category of sheep might be attributed to a wide variety of reasons (in following posts I am going to try and discuss some of the more common reasons) but there are some common identifying markers. Furthermore, this particular category of sheep is not simply harmless to themselves or others, but if left unchecked can have some detrimental long term affects – both to themselves, their friends, their families, churches they might be involved with and in the general culture they live.

A few common identifying makers of ‘Sheep without a Shepherd’:

Unrest- Our homes, our churches, our neighbourhoods and our countries are full of unrest. Unrest plays out in a growing discontentment with those around you. This kind of unrest soon turns to anger and acts out in attitudes and actions of hate. “I don’t like the music here.” “I am not able to worship with these people.” “I can’t stand being around them.” “I don’t trust those people”. “I can’t follow these leaders”. People who’s lives are marked by a constant and growing unrest create toxic relationships and environments. It doesn’t matter if they are on a job site, in a church, family or friendship- unrest is a powder keg just waiting for the right spark.

Offended- “It’s not my fault,” kind of offended is what I mean here. Pointing fingers, deflecting blame, and wallowing in offence. Unable to plot a course through the crap of hurt, either perceived or real, to get to the other side of reconciliation marks the broken past of most of these sheep.

    Discontented- Covetousness, or envy, has been referred to as the mother of all sin. In the epistle of James  you could make a case for this. Covetousness is the want for more, or something else or someone else, with the lust driven thought that if you only had this or didn’t have to put up with a current life situation – then a major problem would be solved and your life would finally make sense or be fulfilled. Covetousness breeds an “Eve” size discontentment.  For more on that you should really read this excellent book, “The Envy of Eve”  

    Self-deceived-  Like the kind of self-deceived where the husband says, “Yeah of course I know where we are.” Making himself the proof text of all things GPS. While the family is living out the realities of being lost, again. This kind of self-deceived however has greater implications then merely a few hours lost on the road.
John Bunyan personified  it like this:
  Ignorance: “But my heart and life agree together, and therefore my hope is well grounded.”
  Christian: “Who told thee that thy heart and life agrees together?”
  Ignorance: “My heart tells me so.”

Lost- You’ve seen the ‘lost’ look before. Sometimes you have even had that look. I know, I have. Searching, wandering, stopping, searching some more, looking, longing, worried, anxious, unsure, panic turned to hopelessness and clinging- these are all words that might describe the inevitable emotions we go through when we come to the conclusion we are lost. 

I don’t think that the growing category of ‘Sheep without a Shepherd” is  simply a North American phenomena or a recent occurrence. The roots are deeper then the sum of our present culture but our present culture seems to dramatically emphasize this emotional, mental and spiritual state – even incubates and rapidly breeds it. If you look around our world and our churches, even in our mirrors, you will see we are populated with those who have the marks of Sheep without a Shepherd.

 Life has very dangerous consequences for sheep who have NO shepherd. 

I’ll write more about that later this month. Until then feel free to drop a comment.
Thanks for reading,

BRS

 

Living a Deceived Life

Authenticity is a much toted quality now-a-days. We want to know that our friends, our feelings, our beliefs are 100 (% real). Most of all we want to believe that we ourselves are authentic- genuine to what we say we hold as true and important.
Meaning what?  Usually this shapes out in two streams. (1) I want to be able to be as raw and real, as self-revealing, self- actualizing, self- identifying as I want to be- without anyone giving me push back or questioning what I might consider ‘my authentic self’ (2) I will no longer live under the excuses that I have constantly made, or the script that has been handed to me, or in the shadows of what my life has become-  I will live life out of my most authentic expression of my success that I can. I will realize myself to a better life (equated as a more authentic life).
Both of these version of ‘authenticity’ are based out of ME, MY, MINE own self as the basis of authority for what is truly real and best for me. It is truly a prime doctrine of our westernized world.
   There are all kinds of reasons why we might not want to hear that theseintent to deceive.jpeg versions of authenticity may be a great deceit of our age.

“It’s discouraging to think how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit.”

Noël Coward, Blithe Spirit

Calling ourselves “christian” or attending a church doesn’t exempt us from being deceived by this very same doctrine of deceit. It is very possible that even now we might simply be living a life with the prime goals of self-actualizing but trying to use Jesus as one of many means to becoming all we believe we deserve to be. To get all that we believe we deserve to get.

A read through Revelation, particularly chapters 17,18  gives us a terrifying panoramic view of how drunk we get on the deceitful promises of self-actualizing. Paying close attention to the source of these deceitful promises (pictured here as a seducing harlot that drinks blood and a promised city of hope that delivers only sorrow). This is to serve as a resoundingly shocking picture to those who’s minds and hearts believe that we are meant to finally be all we can be through the resources of embracing self (read: self-effort, self-comfort, self-forgiveness, self-worth, self-indulgence, self-realizing- pretty much all that the western world equals as our greatest expression of authenticity). The shock comes to those of us who call ourselves Christians when we realize that living for a self-indulgent life  is always opposed to the goodness and glory of God. My self-determined life is always opposed to, at war with, the will of God.

These are some incredibly important truths to wrestle with. I have been trying to work this through in the 20 some passages of the New Testament where Christ’s followers are warned by Jesus, the Disciples and Paul, “Don’t be deceived”  – (study note: most of these passages fall into one of two categories regarding living a deceived life 1- deceived by living out of the resources of a deceiving kingdom 2-deceived by living out of  personal deceiving desires)

It is incredibly easy to believe that what I am understanding about myself, what I want, what I need. How I choose to live my life. What gender, what role, what I want to understand as truth is REALLY 100% the authentic self-expression of who I am convinced I am supposed to be. I then shape my own life around what I hold as my truth for me. So that the very truths of God sound strange or strained in my ears and life. The sin of selfish living becomes my norm, my custom. When this begins to take place we are being intoxicated by the seductive harlot that drinks the blood of the saints of God. We are believing and living in a Kingdom that promises hope but is only able to deliver poison.

The custom of sinning takes away the sense of it, the course of the world takes away the shame of it.- John Owen, “The Works of John Owen” 1826

   “Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues”
– Jesus, Revelation 18:4

The truth of who we are is ultimately and most greatly realized in the purposes and hope of God’s great plan of redemption in our life.
 “The joy of seeing God is the true blessedness of man, because the fountain that supplies it is equal to man’s desire and capacity”– Jonathan Edwards, ‘Altogether Lovely, early 1800’s
crf-Ephesians 3:17-19

“Don’t be deceived”

Thanks for reading
BRS

The Most Terrible of God’s Qualities [This is a Christmas Theme!]

Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;
    his understanding is beyond measure.”
-Psalm 147:5

THE OMNISCIENCE OF GOD- God has complete and perfect knowledge of all things, including past, present, future and everythi_saw_that_goding actual and potential [Psalm 147:5; Isaiah 40:12-14, 46:10; Psalm 139:1-6; Job 42:2; Hebrews 4:13]                                 – from PAXnorth‘s Gospel Journey 101 FAITH Lesson 2:: GOD

God is simple.  The reformed theologians, and the puritans that followed, held that God is not simply a collection of divine attributes. He is the purest and completest of each attribute. To understand God as love is to understand Him as pure love, fully love. To understand God as Holy is to understand Him as wholly Holy, to the fullest purity of holiness that holiness can be. Each of the characteristics of God is complete in Him, both in its essence and its expression. “Where there is the greatest simplicity, there is the greatest unity; and where there is the greatest unity, there is the greatest power.” – Stephen Charnock, Existence and Attributes, 1840, as quoted from A Puritan Theology, pg62

Thinking on the characteristics of God I think that the pure, completeness of God’s knowing of all things- past, present and future- is to His enemies the most terrible of God’s qualities.   

It must be the most frustrating of all of God’s terrors to the devils, that God always and already knows the will and outcomes of His adversaries. That as the attack plan is being considered, organized….put into careful, hateful, and meticulously evil of places… God has already arrived with the contrivings of grace to bring about redemption. Even before Hell’s gates have been opened to unleash its hoards to have launched its arsenal – God has already planned the breaking of dawn!

This is a Christmas theme! Luke 1:78-79
God knows the depth of humanity’s brokenness.  From it’s beginning, to it’s end, and all the hurt in between.
God knows the plans that are in the heart of mankind. From global dominations, to personal dominations.
God knows the hopes that make up the daily lives of people. From good desires, to desires that will destroy.
God knows the needs of people. The desperation of all of time, of all the earth, in all cultures.
God knows the life of each one that He has given breath to. From Hitler, to Mother Theresa, to you and me.

God has seen it all before it unfolded. He set a plan in place before the foundations of the earth, so the Bible would tell us, Christianity would hold.
Omniscience:: This is the most terrible of God’s qualities:
– For thoughtful, desperate souls experiencing pain, it begs the same questions that Job’s own soul cried out- Why this….? Where are You…? Who is able to …..? What am I to do …..? How do I understand…..?
– For those who would consider themselves the enemies of God it will be the means of God’s right calling into account and bringing about the fullness of His justice.
– To those who hope to be let into heaven based upon our own good deeds, it remains the unnerving truth that God sees, knows the very nakedness of our souls.

But for those who have no other hope…. God’s Omniscience is the means of His redeeming! Yes, He knows. He doesn’t have to wait to see if we are able to clean up our own life, or heal our own wounds, or bring about the fullness of our own justice, or bring a needed sacrifice for every wrong deed that we have done or that has been done to us. Even while Adam and Eve stood in the garden in their uncomfortable state of fig-leaved coverings, trying to hide from God and each other- God calls out, “Where are you?”. He knows but like a good dad he longs for them to come to him in open repentance. Acknowledging what He already knows and will make a way to right the wrongs.
We are broken. We need a Saviour. A saving from God. A saving by God.
This is Christmas! He knows and He comes to save.

Joy to the World for the terrible All-knowing of our God!

BRS

 

Prayer and God’s Benevolence [What makes you pray?]

I have been thinking a lot lately on the place of prayer in the christians life- in my life. I certainly don’t give prayer the space, time, and credit that it deserves or that it should have.   images

“But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” – Matthew 6:6

“And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” – Matthew 21:22

[ The Parable of the Persistent Widow ] “And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.” – Luke 18:1

[ The Fellowship of the Believers ] “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”– Acts 2:24

“But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”– Acts 6:4

“Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you.”– Acts 8:22

“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”– Romans 12:12

[ Further Instructions ] “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.”– Colossians 4:2

“Pray without ceasing”- I Thessalonians 5:17

[ Pray for All People ] “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people”- I Timothy 2:1

“I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling;” – I Timothy 2:8

This is just a short sampling of the importance and instruction for Christians to pray.
                     This is helpful, maybe even instructive- but does it increase the actual desire in me to pray?
         What increases my desire and therefore my discipline to pray?
I have heard a ton of both good quotes and very bad pithy quotes about prayer that are suppose to move me to become a better prayer-er. But if I am honest they tend to make me feel mildly guilty or somewhat self-willed towards prayer. One thing I know about myself- I am great at assuaging my guilt with a nicely laid out plan to do better. I can start a habit out of self-will that will make me feel I have become something that I really am not- at least until I don’t care to keep the habit anymore.

What has truly caused me to have a growing appetite in prayer recently is God’s Benevolence.
I have been thinking on this since the summer, in new ways. Several things have moved me to a deeper appreciation of the reality of God’s goodness shown to me, to us, to humans. One is a slow re-read of John Piper’s book Desiring God. Another is a deeper appreciation for the Puritan writers understanding of God. But mostly it is just a growing realization of my hearts need to delight in something bigger, greater, more then what is here.

It has become a thirst that longs to be quenched daily. It has become a hunger that can only be filled when my head and heart is oriented around the person and purpose of God. This need to find true delight has caused me to grow in prayer.

I recently read a sermon by one of my favourite old dead preachers, Charles Spurgeon, with this same basic idea of DELIGHTING in PRAYER- In it he makes a ten point argument on why it is impossible to believe in a GOOD (benevolent) God and then to think that God might not hear or answer our prayers.

 “It is NOT possible, that a man should sincerely, in God’s own appointed way, seek for mercy and eternal life and not find it. It is not possible, that a man should earnestly from his heart, pray unto God, and yet a gracious answer be finally refused.”
How do we know this? [here’s simply a list of Spurgeon’s points- he argues each one out of scripture texts]
“1. Why then, are men exhorted to pray at all?
2. (If we have no or little hope of an answer) he who prays would be worse off than he who does not pray.
3. A God who does not hear prayer would be the authour of unnecessary misery.
4. A decent man would not treat his fellow-men with such a mean practical joke; God is greater then any decent man.
5. God has ordained answers to prayer to be a constant memorial, by which he is distinguished from the false gods.
6. If God doesn’t hear and is moved by prayers then His promises would remain empty.
7. If God has left prayer as a means only to emptiness then the cross of Christ is a mockery for the saints. (Christ makes a clear way for the saints to come boldly before God).
8. If God turns a deaf ear to prayers then those who call themselves saints have no gospel hope to preach. (The Christian God invites us into relationship not simply to keep rules so that maybe someday we might possibly gain favor with a god who might or might not be assuaged)
9. If God cannot be moved by our prayers then where does this leave the believer’s hope?
10. What mockery would hell make of all that it is to know Christ, if God refused to listen to the cries of his saints?”

This is what continues to fuel my renewed desire to pray:: Because God is good He invites us to pray to Him. It is the delight that we can find in the benevolence of God that causes us to become people of prayer.

BRS

The Worst Church Plant Strategy of All Time!

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Follow me and I will make you fishers of men”  – Jesus’ idea of a call to discipleship

How would you like a hand full of fishermen (and some other odd, unknown men) following you around the country side for three years? When you wake up they are there, when you lay down they are there. When they need food, they look to you. When they need directions, instructions, answers, they look to you. They don’t understand half of what your saying and less of what you’re actually doing. When they act on your behalf they seem to do the very things you’d never dream of doing. That has got to be the worst church plant strategy of all time!- being followed around 24/7 by a rag tag bunch of guys who don’t seem to get it.

From a church growth strategy point of view (if your not familiar with that idea- yeah they actually have written volumes of books, blogs, articles, held conferences on how best to make your church grow bigger -no link needed, do a google search) Jesus’ methodology is flawed. In fact it doesn’t even start right! He doesn’t find the influencers in culture or the region he is trying to reach. He mostly goes to obscure places (guess he didn’t have a very good regional growth statistics team) and hardly stays long enough to keep a crowd (in fact it seems he is more likely to hide from the crowd, slip through the crowd, leave the crowd, insult the crowd, anger the crowd or lead the crowd into impossible situations); He doesn’t seem to care enough about his reputation, the rewards that following him could bring, or how explosive ministry actually works (you know, you catalyze a movement- by hosting big events, spending your time with the mover, shakers, money, well-known bloggers, and getting the invites, doing the video/podcast, simulcast conferences, writing the books and getting the sponsors). He doesn’t do ANY of that!

Discipleship Jesus style is SO inefficient! I doubt many churches would have backed Jesus as a movement maker or a church planter if they knew he was hoping to pour into primarily 12 guys over three years- then die, and leave them behind to carry on (I’d like to see that promo brochure sent out to potential donors). When he answered, in the church plant assessment question, “What’s your plan for being a church that reproduces other churches?” he fills out “Die!”- that probably would have raised some flags.

Yet, we (all Christians and even many who wouldn’t call themselves Christians) would have loved to be with him, taught by him, do life with him. To authentically experience, to touch the person of Jesus – would have been life changing for all of us!
It still is– when discipleship is done with Jesus and with others in the inefficient ways of life on life- in the midst of laughter, tears, confusions; You at my house- me at your house; You seeing where I am broken and need the truth of God to remake me; Me having permission to press these same truths into your life. Our lives don’t stay the same.
This way of discipleship will probably never get the credit it deserves or the press it needs, at least not here on earth. It will mean in many small unseen places and ways there will be those who will take up the cross of Christ and die to self to spend countless hours waiting on the sick (both physically and spiritually), taking the criticisms of being inefficient and misinformed on good methodology, sacrificing far beyond their own worldly means (even threatening their own comforts or the comforts of their family), being misunderstood, lonely, unknown – and in the end die, with the hope that this is how God designed the Church to reproduce and find life!

How do you plan to make disciples?

BRS

There Must be Some Missing Ingredients

indian_spices_you_need_in_your_kitchenReviewing and stepping into the revision of this BLOG;

I realize that I have several blogs in my ‘draft-box’ in line with my EAST COAST VERITA’S  GOES LIVE intro published a few months ago – Yet I have not found a good rhythm in my week or day where I can re-write and get these published; In hopes of rectifying this I have signed up for a one month Blogging 101 course. Maybe through this month long course, which includes daily assignments, I can figure out the missing ingredient to getting these drafts moved over to the ‘published-box’.In that vain these drafts seem to hold this same thread-

“SOME SORT OF MISSING INGREDIENT”

Draft #1 REAPING THE RESULTS OF A RESTLESS CULTURE

Draft # 2 IN NEED OF SOME SPACE FOR SOUL RENEWAL

Draft #3 WHAT DO WE NEED ‘RIGHTEOUSNESS’ FOR?

I guess as I participate in this course and try to grow in a regular disciplined process of researching and writing I should think through the missing ingredient that lies between Love and Discipline as it relates to active pursuit of goals.

Here’s to getting some practical insights and practical helps in the next month.
Who knows maybe I’ll  even find the missing ingredient that will get this blog up and moving.

East Coast Veritas- GOES LIVE!

Wrestling through truth is more then mental gymnastics. It is to discover source, to study spin-off truth and to practitioner truth out in everyday settings (which includes personal applications and up close observations). This is the premise of what I’m hoping for as I shift this “Urban Somers”blog  (which was a bad pun to our families experience of planting a church in the core of Halifax, N.S.) to East Coast Veritas. To begin with, the three main categories of writing will be just this:

Theology Applied-  this will be simply from the Source of Truth – God’s Word, The Holy Bible, The Scriptures. Yep. This is primarily a Christian Theology in practice Blog.

Spin-Off Considered-  this will be some gathered and analyzed thoughts regarding articles, books, blogs of others who have or are wrestling through Christian theology. These blogs will most likely be a bit of ‘verbal processing’ with the hopes of understanding more completely what others have already discovered from God’s Word.

On the Ground- this is where my family and I live and breath. We are Urban East Coasters. Both my wife and I have grown up on the east coast, the Maritimes. Her in rural Maine and me in rural New Brunswick. We’ve ‘lived away’ for several years only to return. It is to Canada’s largest east coast city, Halifax- in the highest at risk communities, northend, that we have been compelled to live out life and faith along with our seven children. We are ‘on the ground’ here and have front row seats for both the crushing realities of human depravity and the miraculous work of God’s rescuing. Some of these type of blogs will have names changed for anonymity but all will be real-time stories with personal touches and up close observations.

Here’s where this EAST COAST VERITAS blog begins,
Hope it proves to be a place where authentic life and clarity in thinking spill out of God’s genuine truth,
From right here, right now on the East Coast!

BRS