Thursday, January 10, 2013
Hey guys, I have decided to relocate my blog. "Continuing Education" is now located at www.daveclarkjr.wordpress.com Along with the new location, I also hope to increase the frequency of my posts in the coming year. Please come and join the conversation. Let's build and learn together.
Tuesday, January 08, 2013
Praises(Praise God with us for...)
1) Being able to spend Christmas with family in Chicago and Paw Paw!
2) A great month of praying and planning as a leadership team to close out the year!
3) A great first "semester" of AWANA! We are really thankful for such a great team of leaders/volunteers serving with us.
Prayer Requests (Please pray with us for...)
1) The women's retreat - "Victory Weekend" - our church is hosting this weekend. There will be approximately 60 women gathering on Friday night and Saturday (January 11th & 12th). The emphasis of the retreat is the victory and freedom we can have in Christ - over our past, present, and in the future. Please pray that the Lord would work in and through this weekend, that lives would be transformed!
2) The vision/mission sermon series we are preaching through on Saturday & Sunday mornings. Our revamped mission statement as a church is, "to make disciples of Jesus Christ who give their lives to make disciples locally and globally for the glory of God." We have 3 pillars that propel us towards our mission: Pray, Gather, & Go. We have begun preaching through each pillar, and are praying that these sermons cast vision, and articulate the mission in a compelling way! You can listen to our sermons here.
3) Our upcoming short term missions trip to Zambia. Josie and I will be going with a team from Downline Ministries, where we are currently enrolled as online students in their Biblical disciple making program. The trip is scheduled for June 8th through the 16th. We will be conducting a four day disciple-making conference for Northrise University. Please begin to pray for us as we begin to prepare and raise support for this trip.
Monday, January 07, 2013
Luke 9:23-24 And He said to all, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it."
If I had to pick a life verse(s) for Dietrich Bonhoeffer after reading this excellent biography this is the passage I would choose. From a young age, by God's grace, he laid his life down and followed "the way of the cross." I was greatly inspired by learning of his life. I especially appreciated his conviction that the church is a community that exists "for others." He passionately believed that the church should impact the culture and the society within which exists, and especially to contend for those being oppressed or mistreated. Although this book is long, it is worth the investment of time! If you want to pick it up you can do so here. Here are my top quotes from the book:
“common to them all (the Bonhoeffer family) was an idealistic streak, with a fearless readiness to act on their convictions.” Pg. 8
“It is likely that he now began to think of the church as called by God to stand with those who suffer (after a season in Harlem, NY).” Pg. 128
“Bonhoeffer’s interest was not only in teaching them as a university lecturer. He wished to ‘disciple’ them in the true life if the Christian. This ran the gamut, from understanding current events through a Biblical lens to reading the Bible not just as a theology student but as a disciple of Jesus Christ.” Pg. 128
“But if God determines where He is to be found, then it will be in a place which is not immediately pleasing to my nature and which is not at all congenial to me. This place is the Cross of Christ. And whoever would find Him must go to the foot of the Cross, as the Sermon on the Mount commands…since I have learned to read the Bible in this way…it becomes every day more wonderful to me. I read it in the morning and the evening, often during the day as well, and every day I consider a text which I have chosen for the whole week, and try to sink deeply into it, so as really to hear what it is saying. I know that without this I could not live properly any longer.” Pg. 137
“The third way the church can act toward the state (and unjust government), he said, “is not just to bandage the victims under the wheel, but to put a spoke in the wheel itself.” Pg. 154
“But the other piece of the puzzle has to do with the confusion that inevitably arises when the Christian faith becomes too closely related to a cultural or national identity. For many Germans, their national identity had become so melted together with whatever Lutheran Christian faith they had that it was impossible to see either clearly. After 400 years of taking for granted that all Germans were Lutheran Christians, no one really knew what Christianity was anymore.” Pg. 174
“(after observing a Christian community that was developed to care for the disabled) It was the gospel made visible, a fairytale landscape of grace, where the weak and helpless were cared for in a palpably Christian atmosphere.” Pg. 184
“The prison doctor at Flossenburg, having no idea whom he was watching, later recalled: ‘I saw Pastor Bonhoeffer kneeling on the floor, praying fervently to God…so certain that God heard his prayer…I have hardly ever seen a man die so entirely submissive to the will of God.” Pg. 237
“There is no way to peace along the way of safety. For peace must be dared, it is itself the great venture and can never be safe. Peace is the opposite of security. To demand guarantees is to want to protect oneself. Peace means giving oneself completely to God’s commandment, wanting no security, but in faith and obedience laying the destiny of the nations in the hand of Almighty God, not trying to direct it for selfish purposes. Battles are won, now with weapons, but with God. They are won when the way leads to the cross.” Pg. 241
“He felt that what was especially missing from the life of Christians in Germany was the day-to-day reality of dying to self, of following Christ with every ounce of one’s being in every moment, in every part of one’s life…Christ must be brought into every square inch of the world and the culture, but one’s faith must be shining and bright and pure and robust…Bonhoeffer advocated a Christianity that seemed too worldly for traditional Lutheran conservatives and too pietistic for theological liberals…He longed to see a church that had an intimate connection with Christ and was dedicated to hearing God’s voice and obeying God’s commands, come what may, including the shedding of blood.” pg. 249
“But I know that the day I become more ‘reasonable,’ to be honest, I should have to chuck my entire theology…I only worry about being so afraid of what other people will think as to get bogged down instead of going forward…Things do exist that are worth standing up for without compromise. To me it seems that peace and social justice are such things, as is Christ himself.” pg. 259-260
“A truly evangelical sermon must be like offering a child a fine red apple or offering a thirsty man a cool glass of water and then saying, Do you want it?...Do not defend God’s Word, but testify to it…Trust to the Word. It is a ship loaded to its capacity.” pg. 272
“The life of prayer and communion with Jesus must be at the center. One’s whole ministry arose from it.” pg. 273
“Bonhoeffer believed it was the role of the church to speak for those who could not speak…(and had written) that Jesus Christ was the ‘man for others,’ so the church was his body on this earth, a community in which Christ was present – a community that existed for others. To serve others outside the church, to love them as one loved oneself, and to do unto them as one would have others do unto oneself, these were the clear commands of Christ.” pg. 281
“No one has yet believed in God and the kingdom of God, no one has yet heard about the realm of the resurrected, and not been homesick from that hour, waiting and looking forward to joyfully to being released from bodily existence…Death is grace, the greatest gift of grace that God gives to people who believe in him.” pg. 531
2 Chronicles 20:12 …We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.