Interview on Church Planter Podcast

Earlier this week I was blessed with the opportunity to be interviewed for the Church Planter Podcast.  The podcast and Church Planter Magazine are both excellent resources for church planters and have articles and interviews from many on the cutting edge of church planting.  Peyton and Pete have a heart for equipping serial planters through both of these avenues as well as the New Breed Church Planting network.

In this interview we discuss my work with Living Bread Ministries and why church planting among the global poor must be central to all of our efforts to minister among the poor. Regardless of the need, spiritual or physical, a thriving local church is central to the answer.

 

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the interview.

 

Service: The Way of Thriving in the Kingdom

In Mark 10:35-45 Jesus explains to His disciples how His kingdom is different from the World.  He calls His followers to lives of service because of and empowered by His service on their behalf.

 

He Has Made Us One – Free Download

My friend, Nate White, recently recorded an EP and I must say it has been in my CD player for months. The theological depth and his understanding of the Church and her mission is captivating.  Nate recently made the EP available for free download on NoiseTrade.  He believes in the message of his music and wants to see the Church blessed by it.  To this end, should you choose to leave a tip, Nate and Dianne have committed to giving 100% of the tips to Living Bread Ministries to fund church planting among the global poor.  Go pick up a copy, be blessed, and be a blessing!

Bloggers For The Poor

I have always been impressed with John Wesley.  Regardless of your theological persuasion no one can deny that he was used greatly by the Lord.  Though he was brilliant, he was much more interested in the practical expression of what he believed; something very mush needed in the Western church today.

He was also a great advocate for the poor and oppressed.  He spoke often of begging for the poor.  This has stuck with me and I very much see my role as the leader of Living Bread Ministries in much the same way.  Picking up on this I have been thinking of ways to allow others to advocate, or beg, for the poor.

I have come up with www.bloggersforthepoor.org; a network of bloggers advocating for the work of Living Bread planting churches among the global poor and equipping them to minister in their communities in a comprehensive way.  If you have a blog I encourage you to check it out.  It’s a great way for you to impact the lives of the global poor and fight things like hunger and human trafficking!

Wrestling with God Interview

Below is an interview I did with Scott Blair from Grapplers Church.  We discuss church planting, missions, discipleship, getting punched in the face, and much more.  I hope you find it helpful as you seek to serve King Jesus.

To learn more check out Living Bread Ministries.

 

Portrait of a Christian

What does a Christian look like?  This is a question all of us must answer as we seek to follow Christ.  The short answer of course is we are to look like Jesus.  For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers (Romans 8:29).  In Jesus, the Word became flesh and dwelt among us ( John 1:14).  He manifested himself to us and revealed his image, thus showing us what our lives as Christians should look like.

He made himself our model (John 13:34-35, 20:21).  However, it is often hard to translate the life of Christ into our context.  Recently I was reading a biography on John Wesley, who is one of my heroes in the faith.  While I disagree with him on some secondary issues of theology I greatly respect him as a practical theologian.  As such, he was very much concerned with living out what we believe.

In light of this, the book I was reading dedicated the entire first chapter to a tract that Wesley had written in the mid 1700s which I have found to be exceedingly relevant today.  It is entitled The Character of a Methodist.  The term Methodist was given to the group Wesley founded as a derogatory name mocking the methodical way in which they approached life and Bible study.  Thus Wesley is not writing a denominational statement, but is simply making it clear that a Methodist, indeed all Christians should look like Jesus.

I encourage you to read this tract and meditate on what it really means to be conformed to the image of Christ.

Why must I join a local church?

When we come to know Christ as Lord and Savior we become a child of God.  As such we are members of the body of Christ, part of the temple of the Holy Spirit, and Christ’s bride (Rom 12:4-5, 1 Cor 12:12-13, 27, Eph 3:6, 4:4-6, 11-16, Col 1:18, 1 Peter 2:4-5, Rev 21:9).  Each of these descriptions of the Church describe it in its global corporate sense.  In truth there is only one church of Christ.  Every true believer is a member of the Church and therefore is united to Christ and to one another.  As members of the body (the Church) we each have a function which contributes to the whole; just as each member of the human body contributes to its proper functioning.  We have been gifted by the Holy Spirit to fulfill our function within the body of Christ and thus contribute to the work of the whole.  So, if we are members of the Church and function within it, why must we join a church?

Many people have this mindset.  They love Christ and even the global Church, but they have marginalized the local church.  Likewise many have exalted their local church and seemingly divorced it from the global Church.  Both of these practices are unbiblical.  There is only one church, but there are many local expressions of it.  Just as each individual believer is one contributing member of the body of Christ, likewise each local expression of the church is contributing to the work of the whole.

The local church is the expression of the body of Christ in a given community.  It does not replace the global church nor become more significant than the global church, but it is how the global church is expressed and represented in that community.  We cannot function in the body of Christ and willfully bypass the local church anymore than the foot can function in the human body and bypass the leg.  If the local church is the local expression of the body of Christ, then our membership in the body necessitates membership in its local expression.

In our present state it is impossible for the global church to gather together for worship, yet the writer of Hebrews says its essential for the stirring up of love and good works both of which the Church is called to (Heb 10:25).  One day the Church (the full body of Christ) will gather together to worship Christ (Rev 19:6-8); however, until that day we each gather in our local churches to worship Christ and encourage one another to love and good works.  More than simply gathering to worship and encouraging one another we must be members of a local church.

Membership involves commitment and accountability.  Culturally we are individualistic and value our privacy.  Thus, we want to avoid the commitment and vulnerability that biblical church membership requires.  We like the idea of being part of a global entity that is distant with no perceived tangible involvement in our lives.  A local expression that requires things from us and holds us accountable is undesirable for many of us.  However, our role as members in the body of Christ cannot properly be fulfilled apart from the local expression of the body, that is the local church.