Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
"Larry Crabb , the psychologist and biblical counsellor has spent a quarter of a century puzzling over how people heal and grow and he came to this conclusion
“When two people connect……something is poured out of one and into the other that has the power to heal the soul of its deepest wounds and restore it to health…..In recent days, I have made a shift. I am now working toward the day when communities of God’s people, ordinary Christians whose lives regularly intersect, will accomplish most of the good that we now depend on mental health professionals to provide. And they will do it by connecting with each other in ways that only the gospel can make possible”
A few years ago, I had my first encounter with a University Mission after having been a Christian for 15 years. I was not a Christian at University and this encounter with students was my first and has stayed with me ever since. What struck me was the extreme relational disconnection. They were very fearful, religious, joyless and were all reading books about gender which seemed an odd choice to have at the top of the list of books young disciples needed to reading. They were not only fearful of anyone who was not a Christian but also of other Christians who did not share their theological outlook. What was the most difficult for mission is that few appeared to have any friends or healthy relationships with others (Burke calls this 'Connecting through affinity' Page 280). Our affinities it became clear were limited and they were, I concluded, one of the most unhappy communities I have ever come across.
This has stayed with me as one of the weirder expressions of Christian community and mission I have witnessed. Since then, I have had to admit that the Church as a whole is rather good on occasions at being similarly life-less, odd, disconnected and judgmental and perhaps that is why so often we are so ineffective at connecting with people and their needs (as No perfect people observes). I do have a caveat, that my experience of University mission was not I hope representative of CU's generally but I only have one to go on.
Dallas Willard has observed a similar thing of Christians generally as quoted in No perfect people:
"How many people are radically and permanently repelled from the Way by Christians who are unfeeling, stiff, unapproachable, boringly life-less, obsessive and dissatisfied? Yet such Christians are everywhere, and what they are missing is a wholesome liveliness......of God's loving rule..."Spirituality" wrongly understood or pursued is a major source of human misery and rebellion against God"
I enjoyed this book and John Burke has shared his heart and his learning helpfully. There are rather too many personal story case studies (quite a few I skipped) and lots of apologetics (skipped a bit of this too) but there is much to be challenged by and to think on.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
This is a great talk on 'do not make it difficult for the Gentiles'
My pal preached a great sermon on Psalm 119 called 'Don't neglect God's word'. This is good preaching. If you like this then read this.
Matt Chandler explains repentance in 'A Continuing Ethic'
I have also listened to the first two in this series on Luke.
My friend was moved and stirred by this.
We are passing some John Lennox talks around our staff team from this years New Wine. As an Apologist, there are few better- Part 1 and Part 2
Happy listening :)
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Friday, October 16, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
I went to see Jay-z a few weeks ago and so why not a bit of rap for a Tuesday. Watch the first two minutes of this for a gospel treat.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Last week, I attended the Leadership Summit and at some point will blog some thoughts. As always, I bought a book or two and saw on the table the new work by Gordon MacDonald who is one of my people.
It is called 'Who stole my church?'
Much of what is cool and trendy in church is about planting new things but the real challenge it seems to me is the task of renewing what has been around a wee bit more that 20 years. If you are faced with a church that has been around longer than that (mine since 1870) then this fascinating book might be a real help to you.
MacDonald convenes what he calls a Discovery Group with the key stakeholders in his church and leads them in a journey of what they might consider to be the 21st century church and how they might face the changes and challenges together.
I can think of many friends who would benefit from reading this thoughtful story. This one is highly recommended.