Immanuel

The Lord has really blessed me with a new church body. This past Sunday in community group we discussed briefly how Israel as a geographical place is not Holy by itself, and that there is no mountain that we should be worshipping on (John 4). It is very clear though that God puts certain people into your life to worship with.

This week I am in Kansas City and presently I am on the IHOP missions base campus. I drove here for a Family Medicine conference, but my joy was to get to be in this place again. Now, God does allow us to have experiences in certain places where we feel closer to Him; in fact I find that to be a very common thing. I realized though,as I pulled up to the parking lot of the campus, that this place is not special because of the building. God is not more present in this building than He is in any other place, but in a nostalgic emotional way He felt closer. In the prayer room I was able to really pray for my church body and the CMDA Bible study. Maybe it takes an eight hour drive and some awesome worship music to feel separated enough to express myself in prayer.

We started singing “Jesus I love You,” and it transformed into “We are lovers of Your Presence, lovers of Your Presence, lovers of Your Presence.. and that’s all we wanna be.”

I just got to meet with my friend Sarah that lives here in KC who I hadn’t seen since 2009. I’m staring at a portion of the coffee shop where I studied 1 Peter with my friend Jackie three years ago. This place has great significance in me in encouragement to share the Gospel and to be continually in prayer and to be sober minded as Peter says. Let’s add one more.. it’s something God keeps trying to teach me. Sarah asked me, “What do you love about your new church?” My first response was because the preaching is amazing and the prayer is consistent, but I dug deeper and said “because they are so humble that they let the Spirit in to change our lives despite the knowledge and style, and God has really changed me there over the past year.”

Finally, when I sat down again to write I remembered. My new church is called Immanuel.. so was my first church.. and the church I went to for my theology group.. so what? Immanuel means “God with us” or “the God that is with us.” He wrote a song for me called “Home to us” when I moved to Louisville.. I was homesick and needed to be close to Him and the place was unfamiliar and didn’t feel like I could be. He changed that, but I still need to realize that He is my home. God is the Gospel. I can’t get away from Him and I need to be a “lover of His Presence”.. and that’s all I wanna be.

Advertisements

Favorite CS Lewis Quotes so far

CSL: Anxiety is not only a pain to be assuaged but also a weakness to be pardoned by God.

God’s love is relentless in its determination that we be cured of our sins, at whatever the cost to us or to Him.

Either Jesus is the Son of God; or a madman or worse. But His being just a great teacher? He’s not left that open to us.

How monotonously alike all tyrants and conquerors have been: how gloriously different are the saints.

“Be Ye Perfect” isn’t a command to do the impossible. Christ is going to make us creatures that can obey that command.

Our Lord finds our desires not too strong but too weak. We’re half-hearted creatures, fooling around with drink and sex and ambition. When infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum, because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased. -The Weight of Glory

If the universe is so bad… how on earth did human beings ever come to attribute it to the activity of a wise and good Creator?

Gandhi’s Advice to Missionaries (revised)

Over winter break I found an amazing quote made by Gandhi in a really old missions book. I think the book is heavier than every book in my library combined. Its just a bunch of old missions journals from one year and it is at least 1000 pages. The book was owned by my pastor (Rev. Butch Vernon) at Thoroughbred Community Church in Nicholasville/Wilmore, KY. I took an interest in it because of it’s shear weight, significantly aged pages, and of course it’s title, “The Missionary Review of the World.” Epic.

“At a gathering of Indian Christians and British missionaries which was held before his imprisonment, Gandhi was asked how Christians could make Christianity a real force in the national life of India. He replied, ‘I would suggest four things. First, that all your missionaries and Indian Christians should begin to live as Jesus Christ did. Second, you should all practice your religion without adulterating it or toning it down. In the third place, I would suggest that you should emphasize the love side of Christianity more, for love is central in your religion. Another suggestion I would make is that you should study non-Christian religions more sympathetically in order to find the truth that is in them, and then a more sympathetic approach to the people will be possible.” (p 753 The Missionary Review of the World, September 1922)

I had always heard that Gandhi had some good things to say, but he said something that magnifies the Christian religion, that’s amazing! There is a quote I’ve always heard that hurts me deeply; it is an answer to the question why Gandhi was not a Christian paraphrased: I love your Jesus, but I hate your Christians (sic). Actual quote: “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” Harsh. So Gandhi lifted up Jesus and Christianity as a religion, but would not become a Christian himself because of how he perceived that Christians lived. His first three suggestions to missionaries were really indicting. They say exactly how I feel that Christians should live: in imitation of Christ, with zeal for the Gospel of God, and with love as a major point of Christian life.

I mentioned this to a friend the morning after I found the quote. I told him, “I totally agree with everything Gandhi is saying in the first three suggestions… but I have trouble with the fourth one.”

His question was, “Should we?” As if to say: Does the fourth suggestion fit? Is it something Christians should do? Should we study other world religions to find the “truth” that is in them? Or should we struggle with the fourth suggestion?

My answer was basically this:
If Gandhi meant that we should see that other religions have truth claims that are similar to or identical to ours, then he’s right. People are more sympathetic with common ground, and it is okay to acknowledge that God has given general revelation about his character to everyone. Paul says in Romans 1 that this is why the nations are “without excuse,” because knowing God they did not honor Him or give thanks to Him for who He is. They see parts of Him, but they choose to serve created things rather than the Creator.

If Gandhi meant that we haven’t found all Truth and must search in other religions to find things that we missed, then I disagree. In Christ we have all things needed for Godliness. “May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.” 2 Peter 1:2-4

Christians need to look no further for spiritual fulfillment past what the Word of God offers us. Any teaching within the scope of Scripture is acceptable, but if we are trying to supplement our faith with other religions then we have missed the point. Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle puts it simply,”Jesus plus anything ruins everything.” Pastor Driscoll addresses spiritualism in a recent sermon called “Receive Power” to the Mars Hill congregation in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The sermon speaks of the activity of the Holy Spirit in Jesus’ life, and how Christ in the flesh depended on God to empower Him by that Spirit. Committed followers of Jesus have this same Spirit indwelling us, and He will guide us into all truth. (John 16:13) Praise God!

See another post about the shorter Gandhi quote: http://www.challies.com/articles/gandhi-doesnt-like-us

Ghuna’s Fire


Wow! This weekend I was so glad to come home and hear from Ghuna Kumar, who spoke at our church and Bible study. Humbled may be more of the word I’m looking for. This pastor from Chennai, India has such a fire for the Gospel, and fire is what he spoke of last night. It consumes our old desires and cleanses us, it leaves us broken at the feet of God saying “Here am I.” It takes 120 disciples and brings in thousands more, and more were added to their number daily (Acts 2). Please pray that I bring that fire with me to the med school, pray that I would bring that fire to my house in Louisville, and eventually to take that fire into the world around me. Ghuna said tonight, “When we return to the Lord, we come into the harvest, and there is great blessing.” Let’s return to the Lord and find great blessing as Ghuna said, “under the wing of Christ.”

Get the Men


by Mark Driscoll

…Why only men should be pastors:
Back to the story, Jesus picks twelve men. There are reasons that we have this position, and it’s not because we like all the criticism and controversy. It’s not like I woke up one day and I was like, “I would like to get whacked like a piñata. I know what will do it, male pastors, that will do it. That will ensure that I get criticized until I die. I’m going to go with that because it’s a shortcut to getting beat like a piñata.” I didn’t pick that position. God wrote that position in the Bible, so we hold to that position, and it’s a position that, quite frankly, is the position that Jesus operated by. He wasn’t scared of anyone. He didn’t mind breaking social taboos. He did increase great liberation for women, but he didn’t appoint any of them as apostles.

My daughter recently asked me about this. She’s in junior high, smart gal, real sharp, good student, good theologian, good writer. She’s a great gal, love her, we’re real close. She said, “Dad, I don’t believe a woman should be a pastor, but some of the friends that I have in school do, and we were talking about that. And if you had to pick one section of the Bible to explain where it says that a woman can’t be a pastor, where would you go?” Good question, we’re sitting there I said, “Okay, grab your Bible, babe. Go to 1 Timothy 2. ‘I do not permit a woman to teach or have authority over a man.'” She says, “Well, that’s pretty clear.” “Yeah, I know. Keep reading, next chapter, 1 Timothy 3, what does it say?” “‘An elder must be above reproach, the husband of one wife.'” She said, “Well, that’s crazy, that’s obvious.” To some, it is. She said, “Dad, then how could they get that to say something that it’s not?” I said, “Honey, they’re wrong.” She said, “So the churches that have women pastors are wrong?” I said, “Yeah, they’re wrong. They’re Christians, and they can love Jesus, and we can be friends with them, and we can work with them for evangelism and good things, and we can try to be on good terms, and they’re wrong. They would say there’s things that we’re wrong about, and maybe there are. We need to humbly listen to them, and go back to the Bible, and see if there’s anything we need to clean up and work on and fix, because nobody’s perfect except for Jesus. Everybody’s got something to learn.”

Why plant churches?

Keller lists four groups that, according to multiple studies, church plants reach the best.

1. New Residents: It takes longer for a new resident to break into community and leadership at an established church, simply because the people have been there longer. But in a church plant, new residents have been at the church as long as everyone else.

2. New Generations: Young adults are often more involved in church plants simply because of the institutional challenges to change that an established church faces.

3. New People Groups: Keller gives this example. If a farming community begins changing so that young commuters begin moving in, an established church may be 75-80% farmers, while a new church plant is more likely to be 75-80% commuting professionals.

4. New Christians: Dozens of denominational studies have shown that the average new church gains 60-80% of their members from the ranks of the unchurched. On the other hand, the average American church over 10 years old gains 80-90% of its members through transfer growth. This makes sense. As a church ages, it naturally allocates more resources to taking care of the needs of current members. But a church plant is forced to invest into non-members in order to survive.

Some stats from Piper:

1. There are about 200 million non-churched people in America, making America one of the four largest “unchurched” nations in the world.

2. Each year about 3,500 churches close their doors permanently.

3. Today, of the approximately 350,000 churches in America, four out of five are either plateaued or declining.

4. One American denomination recently found that 80% of its converts came to Christ in churches less than two years old.

Global Missions Health Conference


John:

Have you looked at the Mi2 program http://www.gomi2.org . That’s the internship program designed by Southeast in partnership with LIA. That’s the best offering from Southeast. I’m not aware of other opportunities with LIA for anything greater than 2 weeks.

I don’t know much about Tenwek other than discussions with Dr. Stevens and Dr. White. I would suggest looking through the website and contacting them directly if you are interested http://www.tenwek.org/

Hope that’s of some help…

-will

Will Rogers, Director
Global Missions Health Conference
Learn-Mobilize-Network-Refresh
http://www.medicalmissions.com
http://www.southeastchristian.org
http://www.gomi2.org

Soli Deo Gloria!