Seeking wisdom

“In seeking wisdom, the first step is silence, the second listening, the third remembering, the fourth practicing, the fifth teaching others.”

—Ibn Gabirol, quoted in R.L. Alden, Job, 318

If Jesus is the “Wisdom of God” Lk 11.49, the above quote can direct us well.

The effect of poverty and prosperity upon evangelism

Mike Brooks writes from Bangladesh today in his regular “Field Notes” column over on the Forthright Magazine site, about the effects of poverty and prosperity upon evangelism and missions.

Almost always, the more a country begins to rise out of poverty and desperation into economic prosperity, the more difficult it is to preach the gospel effectively. Within the space of only a decade or two many former third world nations in which congregations grew rapidly have now suddenly shown marked decreases in conversions. It is not coincidence that these same nations have climbed into a more prosperous standard of living.

Mike provides two points on how Christian should respond. His article should provoke some thoughtful consideration.

How to train men without a training school?

train-men-bibleOver on the GoSpeak ministry site, the latest report devotes a few paragraphs to training men to preach. Not much is said about how that was done. Below are a few thoughts on that process.

My title for this post may sound provocative. Or intriguing. Many of our folk think — and I’ve heard it said and read affirmations to the effect — that a successful mission work depends on having (1) a permanent church building, (2) a full-time preacher, and (3) a preacher-training school. Continue reading “How to train men without a training school?”

Mission math: Twelve plus 72 equals great commission

go-flags

In chapters 9 and 10, Luke records the limited commission of the Twelve and of the 72 others (besides the Twelve). It appears he makes symbolic use of the numbers. The Twelve represent the Jews. Twelve apostles, twelve tribes of Israel. The 72 represent the number of the nations of the world (see Gen 10; cf. NLT Study Bible).

Luke 10 appears near the beginning of Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem (9.51-19.27), during which he has in view their mission of preaching after his death (W. Kummel, Introdução ao Novo Testamento). Various elements, though not all, seem to look toward fulfillment after the beginning of the church, such as their prayer for more laborers. Continue reading “Mission math: Twelve plus 72 equals great commission”

Is ‘slow church’ good or bad?

http://www.baptiststandard.com/images/2014/04/slow_church_book350.jpg

The book Slow Church ought to be an interesting read. (See notice of it here.) We’d likely agree with much of it. The mega-church to us appears a creation of something far from Scripture. Jerusalem in the beginning might have been called a mega-church, but it did not long remain so. Even at that, it did not then have the marks of the massive overhead and top-heavy beasts of today.

Having forecast our agreement with the basic idea of the book (I say forecast, since we’ve not read it), the name of slow church doesn’t seem to be a good one. At least one of the authors works with a post-mega-church, after the deflation occurred. One wonders if the book isn’t something of a justification or defense of going from 1000+ to 180 members. Continue reading “Is ‘slow church’ good or bad?”

Knowing what the mission is

Many people have a strong sense of mission, but have little clue as to its nature. Doing good for God is about as exact an idea as they have. With such vagueness, it’s no wonder that little is actually accomplished for good.

The Word of God is clear what Jesus’ mission was and what ours is, as his followers and imitators.

We need the tools and the means that will allow us to accomplish that mission in the most efficient and effective way, in the least amount of time possible. But until we are clear on the mission’s objective, everything else will be but mere thrashing around in the bushes.