Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Whole Church + Whole Gospel + Whole City (and beyond!)

>>>Note: The Mission America Coalition and the Loving Our Communities to Christ initiative is rooted in the Lausanne Covenant . . .

Christopher J. H. Wright

The Lausanne Covenant - substantially crafted by John Stott, includes the phrase: ‘evangelization requires the whole church to take the whole gospel to the whole world’.(1)

One might argue that the three wholes embodied in this ringing phrase are hardly new, and go back to the Apostle Paul, if not to the patriarch Abraham himself. Let us look at what each means.

The whole Church means all believers. The whole world means every man and woman. The whole gospel means all the blessings of the gospel. That is surely better than some missionaries taking some blessings of the gospel to some people in some parts of the world. But the three wholes also have more substantial, qualitative implications worthy of a Global Conversation.===>Click headline to access complete article . . .

Christopher J. H. Wright lays the foundation for the conversation in his articleWhole Gospel, Whole Church, Whole World.

Selected writers respond:

Also see more on the topicfrom around the web.


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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Love Your Neighborhood!

Some 17,000 youth have convened for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship's preeminent student missions convention, which kicked off in St. Louis Sunday with a strong emphasis on personal evangelism.

  • Urbana 09 worship
    (Photo: The Christian Post)
    The worship team at Urbana 09 missions conference in St. Louis, Missouri.
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“Your neighborhood – God’s mission,” said Urbana Director Jim Tebbe on the first day of Urbana 09, as he exhorted the crowd of mostly U.S. and Canadian college students to reach out to those close to them.

The missions leader challenged students gathered for the five-day conference to write the name of someone they could help on the palm of their hand and hold it up in a pledge to reach out to their neighbors with the gospel.

During his address, Tebbe recalled a story from his days as a college Bible study leader when one of his dorm-mates – one who used to party, drink, and not study well – asked him a piercing question: “Why didn’t you invite me to your Bible study?”

“I would have come,” he had told Tebbe, before quitting school.

Tebbe, who never saw his dorm-mate again, urged students not to let his regretful story become theirs by simply laying down their expectations.

“God’s mission is much smaller than you might think,” Tebbe said as he talked about the young man who had lived right across the hall from him.

Until Dec. 31, the thousands attending Urbana 09 will be hearing from speakers such as Ramez Atallah, general secretary of the Bible Society of Egypt; Ruth Padilla Deborst, general secretary of the Latin American Theological Fellowship; and Patrick Fung, general director of Overseas Missionary Fellowship (OMF) International.

Organized by InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, Urbana 09 will focus on four pressing global issues currently faced by those active in missions around the world – the movement of peoples, money in terms of missions funding, environmental stewardship, and divisions between peoples.

Each day, the program will focus on a different issue and challenge and highlight speakers from a variety of cultural contexts who will discuss how God is at work and was needs still remain.

“They (attendees) will also experience worship with thousands of others in one of the most diverse worship gatherings in North America,” added Tebbe prior to the conference kick off.

Urbana 09 will be much like its predecessor, Urbana 06, which also took place in St. Louis. More than 22,000 students had attended the 2006 event where they were called to change the world.

Participants at Urbana 06 were educated on issues such as AIDS, slum communities in the developing world, sex trafficking, and African missions.

Some key changes in the event from the last conference, however, include a stronger emphasis on social justice, an influx of Canadian participants, and increased focus on campus issues such as those surrounding LGBT individuals and communities.

This year, organizers of the triennial conference had expected more than 20,000 to attend from every state and many nations.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

SHARE ~ How tough is your state?

Religious Commitment Analysis

How Religious Is Your State?

Which of the 50 states has the most religious population? Since there are many ways to define "religious," there is no single answer to this question. But to give a sense of how the states stack up, the Pew Forum used polling data to rank them on four measures.===>Click headline to access study . . .


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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

CARE ~ Holiday Outreaches

The Serve! with Steve Sjogren: Issue 40

World-Changing Kindness Projects

3 Fun Easy and Inexpensive Holiday Outreaches

By Kindness Resources
Here are 3 fun and powerful outreaches that you can do during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.


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Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Our Whole-istic Approach

Whole Gospel, Whole Church, Whole World

We must believe, live, and communicate all that makes the Christian message staggeringly comprehensive good news.

by Christopher J. Wright
Christianity Today October 2009

The phrase the whole gospel suggests that some versions of the gospel are less than whole--partial, deficient, or (most important) not fully biblical.

The great Christ-centered, Cross-centered redemptive truths of the New Testament do not nullify, but rather complete, all that the Old Testament reveals about God's comprehensive commitment to the wholeness of human life, God's relentless opposition to all that oppresses, spoils, and diminishes human well-being, and God's ultimate mission of blessing the nations, destroying all forms of evil, and redeeming his whole creation, for his own supreme glory in Christ.

The expression the whole church insists that mission is the task of all Christians, not just of the clergy or professional missionaries. Mission is far too important to be left to missionaries.

The Church is "called out" in order to be "sent out," as the the Lausanne Covenant puts it. The vogue expression missional church is really nothing new. What other kind of church is there than the one that God created for mission? A friend said to me recently, "To me, missional church sounds like talking about 'female women.' If it's not missional, it's not church." As someone else has said,"It's not that God has a mission for his church in the world, but that God has a church for his mission in the world."

Church is not just the mechanism delivering the gospel. It is also the product of the gospel, and is to be the living, visible proof of the ethically transforming power of the gospel.

In such a world of need, the followers of Jesus are called to bring good news and to be good news. No single one of us can be engaged in everything that a holistic mission demands. The same thought doubtless occurred to God, which is why he created the church with a multiplicity of gifts and callings, so that we can as a whole church, bear witness to the whole gospel in the whole world. May this global conversation generate more intelligent understanding and more focused action as we participate with God in his global mission.

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CARE ~ LC2City Boise Pays Parking TIcket

The Ministry Today Report - News, reviews and commentary for innovative church leaders

Ministering Grace Through a Parking Ticket mt-image-12-8.jpg

Got an unpaid parking ticket? If you're in the Boise, Idaho, area on Dec. 12, you're in luck: A group of outreach-motivated followers of Christ will pay off your ticket for you—no strings attached.

The event, called the Grace Gift Parable, is the brainchild of a coalition of local pastors, leaders and business professional. It was first held in 2004 when believers gathered to pay off $7,500 in tickets. The following year, the Grace Gift Parable supplied free gasoline to complete strangers.

"It’s an example of grace,” says Dennis Mansfield, a former worker for nonprofit Mission Media, which helped organize the event. “Grace is unearned. It’s an unmerited favor. At this time of the season, we want to show God’s grace. In the process, we help families.”

According to Montie Ralstin Jr., pastor at Boise Valley Christian Communion, the outreach is a perfect opportunity to show people the forgiveness Christ offers, regardless of what mistakes people have made. “We want to help people understand, in a practical way, that even though we’ve all made mistakes, God’s grace and forgiveness is received, just by asking.”

The group of pastors present will pay off tickets on a first-come, first-serve basis until 1 p.m. or until $10,000 is spent, whichever comes first. [AP, 12/4/09]


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Monday, December 07, 2009

Love Your Neighbor - Even a Crossdresser on an Airplane

The person we despise most may be the person God wants us to reach most. The "good Samaritan" parable is so familiar that we can forget how much the Jews despised the half-breed people of Samaria. Jesus intentionally made a Samaritan the hero of the story to underscore his point that our position in society is much less important than our actions toward others.

Luke 10:30:37 Jesus said: "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. 'Look after him,' he said, 'and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.' "Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?" The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him."

In Business Terms ...

I was on a plane coming from Chicago to Milwaukee. I asked for a seat with an empty seat beside it, because I had a writing assignment, and I needed to spread out my Bible and notes, and study. So on this small plane, I ended up the only person with an empty seat next to her. I got out my Bible, and just as we were about to take off, into the plane came this huge man, 6'4" or 6'5" - very masculine. But he was dressed like a woman - mini-skirt and stockings, high-heeled white shoes and purse, and wig.

As this cross-dresser came down the aisle, I realized, The only open seat is next to me. He's going to be sitting next to me all during this flight. And I suddenly wanted to put my Bible away. I'm amazed I had these reactions. Prejudices I didn't know I had came out. I said to the Lord, "I don't really care about him. I really don't care if he goes to heaven or hell. And that's the truth. I'm writing and preaching about these things, and suddenly here is a real-life human being, and I don't care a bit about him." I repented and said, "I'm sorry, Lord. Forgive me, and give me your heart for this man. You died for him." I didn't lead him to Christ, but I smiled at him and changed my attitude. I began to ask myself, What's happened in his life to bring him to this point? At the end of the journey, I had a compassion for him I didn't have at the beginning. - Jill Briscoe

Something to Think About:

Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God. - Bob Pierce



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Sunday, December 06, 2009

Your Is Your City's Partnership A Real Partnership?


Effective Collaboration in Global Christian Ministry
by Phill Butler (pbutler@visionsynergy.net)

This whitepaper is a distillation of decades of real-world experience in forming collaborative partnerships for Christian ministry around the world. In the first section - "Personal Perspective" - I provide an overview of my own journey towards understanding the tremendous need for global collaboration in Christian ministry, and the extraordinary power that is released when God's people work in partnership. In the second section - "Key Principles" - I outline what experience and observation have shown to be the most important aspects of successful collaboration and the benefits that employing them can produce. In the third section - "Partnership Process" - I highlight the three phases of development among all durable partnerships and detail the objectives, activities, and outcomes in each phase. In the fourth section - "Lessons Learned" - I list a number of important insights that I and my colleagues have discovered in our collaboration consulting work with numerous networks, agencies, and other organizations over the years.===>Click headline to access complete presentation . . .


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Wednesday, December 02, 2009

CARE ~ Connecting Love and Christmas

Campus Crusade for Christ

Ed Butchart as Santa12-18 MP3 1-MIN 2-MIN CARING AT CHRISTMAS
"So many people around me are struggling this Christmas season, but what can I do to help?" Steve Douglass answers that listener's question on today’s Lighthouse Report. [Click on the title for even more ideas.]

12-24 MP3 1-MIN 2-MIN LOVE AT CHRISTMAS - ED BUTCHART
To demonstrate Christ's love this Christmas - what a wonderful goal! Today on the Lighthouse Report, Ed Butchart (right), otherwise known as Santa, reminds us of one saintly character who showed Christ's love to his community.

12-25 MP3 1-MIN 2-MIN CHRISTMAS SHARING
At Christmastime, does it ever seem that your family is more concerned about gift giving and friends rather than serving and loving others? Steve Douglass gives his insight on today’s Lighthouse Report.


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SHARE ~ Tell THE Story

I Love to Tell the (Christmas) Story

THE HOLIDAYS CAN BE a time of frustration, exhaustion, and depression. Or they can serve as a season of celebration, expectation, and inspiration. If you're seeking ways to promote peace and keep the holidays holy, tell the Christmas story. Here are some suggestions to get you started:

A Story Party. Invite people over for a share-a-story potluck. Each person brings a favorite dish and a favorite Christmas tale to tell. You can end by telling the true Christmas story.

Neighborhood Nativity. Spread the word that you're hosting a live nativity scene on your lawn. Specify the time and night you'd like participants to show up. Provide inexpensive bathrobe-type attire and stuffed farm animals. Play Christmas carols.

The first year we did this, only four families participated. By the third year, almost everyone on the block wanted to take part. Several ladies made cookies. Dads brought camcorders, and one older man arranged for a Florida "sleigh ride" (in his decorated truck) for kids. We also wrote tracts with the Christmas story and handed them to all visitors....

(Please click
here to read, print, or email this article from DJ's online archives, November/December 1998)


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