Friday, 23 December 2011

Random thoughts

I have struggled to write blogs recently.  I don't know why.  After all I have been learning stuff that has fascinated me.  Anyway, this morning I thought I would just write down some random musings.

1. I am not a fan of five year plans, is that wrong?  They seem so impersonal.  I suppose I see ministry primarily in terms of people being used by God to impact other people in personal encounters.  It doesn't take a five year plan to tell a church they need to love one another and welcome the stranger.  I don't see how a five year plan will motivate me to show kindness to my neighbour or seek opportunities to share my faith with my friends.  Yes, there is much that we should do together as a church.  But I think the best events are more spontaneous than those planned five years in advance.  The best corporate ministry is when people see an immediate need and come up with a vision of how to meet it.  Besides how can we know what ministry opportunities await us in five years?  There are some things that need a lot of advance planning (e.g. building projects) but I think they are a minority of the ministry we are called to.

What I would prefer is that as a church we would focus on what our core values are.  I have been thinking about this for LBC.  At the induction service in September I listened to the preacher (John Samuel) and others who led and asked myself, 'if you were visiting this church what would you think these people are about?'  John emphasised the place of the Bible as the reliable word of God.  There was also a great sense of community that day.  Since then I have been thinking of the blessing it is to have people from different nations as part of our fellowship.  I am also inspired by people in our church who are passionate about sharing their faith.  These are some of the ingredients that will form our core values.  As opportunities arise that fit these core values we should grasp them and we should also seek to create opportunities that reflect them.

2.  Word and Spirit.  I have really enjoyed reading some charismatic writers (e.g. Mark Stibbe and R.T. Kendal).  I love their expectation for God to intervene in people's lives today.  Sometimes I have been disillusioned when claims of charismatic utterances have seemed unconvincing or where an enthusiasm on charismatic gifts has not been matched with a desire to study the Bible. May God cause us to be a people who are passionate to encounter God's living word, the Bible, and who are open to all his interventions in our lives.

3.  A few books. 
Anything by Jerry Bridges.  I love his obsession with the gospel of grace.  I really enjoyed The Gospel for Real Life.
Randy Newman (not the musician) writes very interesting books on evangelism.  In particular Questioning Evangelism.  In a similar vein is Doug Pollock's God Space.
I think Tim Keller's King's Cross is the favourite book I read this year.  It is an intelligent articulation of the evangelical gospel and a great book to give to people who might be interested in learning what we believe.   Another book to share is Max Lucado 3:16. 
I am also really enjoying working through Ken Bailey's Jesus through Middle Eastern Eyes.

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