Saturday, January 24, 2009
The 2009 Legacy Disciple Making Conference will be Thursday July 30 through Saturday August 31st. This year's conference will take place on the campus of Chicago's Moody Bible Institute. There is a ONE DAY ONLY registration special coming up on February 2nd. If you register on the web site on that day you can register for the full conference for only $35 and for the evenings only package for $20. The web address is www.legacy-conference.org
Monday, January 19, 2009
I think I was in jr. high when I was first introduced to Martin Luther King Jr. I may have learned about him in elementary school (I can't remember), but it was as a teenager that I understood the impact of his life and what he stood for. He has been a role model of mine ever since. Listening to his speeches never gets old to me and his words are still relevant and powerful to us today.
On November 4 of 1956, he delivered a message entitled "Paul's Letter To American Christians." to the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. (This is one of a collection of sermons contained within the book entitled "A Knock At Midnight"). Dr. King wrote a modern day (1956) epistle to the American church, borrowing from Paul's various letters to the early churches, and contextualizing the message to the American context of his day. Although, this message (and the others within this book) were preached in the 1950s, so much of their content is relevant to us today in 2009. Here are a few excerpts...
"You can do so many things in your day that I could not do in the Greco-Roman world of my day....You have made tremendous strides in the area of scientific and technological development. But America, as I look at you from afar, I wonder whether your moral and spiritual progress has been commensurate with your scientific progress. It seems to me that your moral progress lags behind your scientific progress....Through your scientific genius you have made of the world a neighborhood, but through your moral and spiritual genius you have failed to make it a brotherhood."
"You have become the richest nation in the world, and you have built up the greatest system of production that history has every known. All of this is marvelous. But Americans, there is danger that you will misuse your capitalism....You are prone to judge the success of your profession by the index of your salary and the size of your wheelbase on your automobile, rather than the quality of your service to humanity....They tell me that one tenth of one percent of the population controls more than forty percent of the wealth....God never intended for one group of people to live in superfluous inordinate wealth, while others live in abject deadening poverty. God intends for all of His children to ahve the basic necessities of life, and he has left in this universe 'enough to spare' for that purpose. So I call upon you to bridge the gulf between the abject poverty and the superfluous wealth."
"There is another thing that disturbs me to no end about the American church. You have a white church and you have a Negro church. You have allowed segregation to creep into the doors of the church. How can such division exist in the Body of Christ? You must face the tragic fact that when you stand at eleven o'clock on Sunday morning to sing "All Hail The Power of Jesus' Name" and "Dear Lord and Father of All Mankind," you stand in the most segregated hour of Christian America. They tell me that there is more integration in the entertaining world and other secular agencies than there is in the Christian church. How appalling that is."
"I still believe that standing up for the truth of God is the greatest thing in the world. This is the end of life. The end of life is not to be happy. The end of life is not to achieve pleasure and avoid pain. The end of life is to do the will of God, come what may."
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
What would a year in Africa look like?
Do you want to discover the face of Jesus in the world's marginalized and poor? If so, consider committing a year of your life to serving in Southern Africa. Come explore what the Gospel lived out in intentional community and service can look like. Pour yourself into something that really matters, by building God's Kingdom through the local church. Come and learn, ask and see what God is doing. Be a part of God's redemption in Africa by reflecting His love.
Applicants are men and women, married and single, aged 19 and older with a passion to learn and serve.
Currently we are sending teams to South Africa and Swaziland.
For 6 days of the week interns will spend time in their community serving, building relationships and living out the Gospel. They will be using their gifts and talents on a daily basis through their church and will also report to other ministry service sites in the community where they can apply practical skills to assist and equip local residents. (Hospice Care, Computer Skills Training, Tutoring, Coaching, etc.)
Team members must make a commitment to live and serve in Southern Africa for 1 year, from September 1st to July 31st. (Technically 11 months)
Team members raise all their expenses for 1 year. The total cost is approximately $12,000 for the year. This includes travel to, from, and within Africa.
Want To Know More?
Visit our website at www.africarevolution.org
Thursday, January 01, 2009
Last night I attended the New Year's Eve service (watch night service) at my church, Christ Bible Church. None of the previous churches that I have attended have done New Year's Eve services, so this was a first time experience for me. I'm not gonna front, I was a little pessimistic about the service. I even told a friend that I wanted to "check it out" and that if I didn't care for it, I wouldn't go next year. I usually like to say pretty low-key on New Year's Eve. I like to bring it in with a few friends, maybe some games, definitely some food, etc. I don't feel like I "have" to be in church on New Year's Eve. However, what I experienced last night silenced my pessimism and cynicism.
I arrived at the church at around 9 with my roommate Paul. Nine o'clock was the start time for the men vs. women Bible competition, moderated by Pastor Ford. I was really curious - going in - as to how this competition would go down. Again, it exceeded my expectation. There were probably 80-90 women and 50-60 men. It got competitive, as the women established a lead. It was really humorous as well. I was amazed at some of the men and women's Bible knowledge as some of the questions were really tough. I'll admit, if I had to go head to head with some of them, I would get crushed :)
The worship service started at 10pm. It really was a time of celebration - "When the Spirit of the Lord," "Lord You Are Good," "Worthy Is The Lamb," etc. After our time of worship, we spent time together praying in small groups around the sanctuary. We then had a time of testimony. Men and women, from age 8 to 80, stood and testified of how God had (& has) been at work in their life during the past year. It was a beautiful picture of a "multi-generational" body, and the blessing that comes from young and old sharpening and encouraging and learning from one another. Pastor Ford then shared a message coming out of John 21:1-19 entitled, "Jesus gives us a new start...even when we're not looking for one." I could write an entire blog entry on the message, as it was rich. He could have preached till one in the morning, and I would have been cool.
After the message, with just a few minutes until midnight, Pastor Ford had all of the women move into the middle section of the church and all of the men stand up and encircle the women. He reminded the men that we are to be the head of households, to be spiritual leaders and protectors. Our prayer circle around the women was symbolic of this. A teenager, a young pastor, and one of our "more mature" elders prayed. It was a fitting ending to a beautiful service.
Now I still don't feel like I "have" to go to church on New Year's Eve. However, as long as the Lord has me in Chicago at Christ Bible Church, I want to be in church on New Year's Eve.