Archive for the ‘Missions’ category

The Call of Our This Generation

April 16, 2012

It has already been said that the sermon below by David Platt is perhaps the greatest missions message ever preached. I was a freshman in college when the buzz about John Piper’s sermon “Doing Missions When Dying Is Gain” filled the campus of University of Mobile. Not long after that, I embarked on my first cross-cultural mission trip and have not been the same.

I was privileged to hear this with 8,000 other folks at T4G last week. But more than that, I eagerly long to be in the company of those who heed the message as what I anticipate will be the call of this generation.

You can download the audio or read the live-blogging notes of Justin Taylor, or watch the video below.  If you have not listened or watched this message, please carve out an hour of your life and have the Spirit ruin you for the nations.

The Gospel Alphabet: M is for Mission

December 20, 2011

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L

In his book, Grounded in the Gospel: Building Believers the Old-Fashioned Way, J.I. Packer has a chapter entitled “The Gospel as of First Importance.”  In that chapter, Packer discusses the pastoral and formational applications of the Gospel.  Many are familiar with the quote from Tim Keller that “the Gospel is not the ABC’s of the Christian life; it is the A through Z of the Christian life.”  Packer writes,

“In that spirit we offer the following ‘Gospel Alphabet’–twenty-six pastoral and formative reasons why the Gospel must retain primacy as the content of Christian education” (108).

This week, we come to the letter “M”.

M is for Mission

And why we must continually learn and teach the Gospel? We do so that we may not lose sight of the great work that God is doing in our day.  God is actively engaged in the wondrous work of reconciling all things to himself.  It was for this that the Son of God came forth.  “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself” (2 Cor. 5:19).  And this work continues in and through us, the body of Christ, gathered and dispersed throughout the world today.  The very work for which the Father sent the Son, the Son has now sent his church to continue (Matt. 28:18-20; John 20:21).  And he promises to be with us always.  Being in his presence must be taken as seriously as doing the work of true mission, for mission can only have power and a cutting edge when Christ is indwelling us and we him.

Matt Papa – Here Am I, Send Me

August 19, 2011

Yes.

Great Expectations Require Great Resignation

July 12, 2011

Adoniram Judson knew well the call of God and life on mission.  It is evident that he held a sense of sobriety afforded by plunging deep into texts like Matthew 10.  One thing for sure is that Jesus could never be charge for false advertising when it comes to following him.  When it came time to request permission from the father of his soon-to-be bride, he made clear the great expectations in life married to a man dead to the world and alive to the Great Commission.  Here is what he wrote:

I have now to ask, whether you can consent to part with your daughter early next spring, to see her no more in this world; whether you can consent to her departure, and her subjection to the hardships and sufferings of missionary life; whether you can consent to her exposure to the dangers of the ocean, to the fatal influence of the southern climate of India; to every kind of want and distress; to degradation, insult, persecution, and perhaps a violent death. Can you consent to all this, for the sake of him who left is heavenly home, and died for her and for you; for the sake of perishing, immortal souls; for the sake of Zion, and the glory of God? Can you consent to all this, in hope of soon meeting your daughter in the world of glory, with the crown of righteous, brightened with the acclamations of praise which shall redound to her Savior from heathens saved, through her means, from eternal woe and despair?

What clarity of vision, what passionate focus, what heavenly perspective! In a letter to her friend Lydia, Judson’s soon-to-be wife responded this way:

I feel willing, and expect, if nothing in Providence prevents, to spend my days in this world in heathen lands. Yes, Lydia, I have about, come to the determination to give up all my comforts and enjoyments here, sacrifice my affection to relatives and friends, and go where God, in his Providence, shall see fit to place me.

As I reflected on the commitment of this couple, I began to wonder where is such great expectation in my generation?  Can I honestly say that I know anything of this sort of resignation and abandonment to God?

Perhaps the reason why there is so little glorious ambition for God today is because there is so little reckless abandon unto God.  Before there can be great expectations, there must be great resignation. May God lead us past the fear and praise of man to journey down paths where glory-bent men like Judson and Carey once trod for the fame of His name.

Reflections on Haiti Mission (June 2011)

June 29, 2011

This past week, I had the privilege of taking a team from Bowling Green, KY to Haiti to partner with a church in Saint-Marc, Haiti (here’s a satellite image of the mountain village where the church gathers).  This was my third trip to Haiti in the past 9 months since we started our mission work under the direction of Pastor Joseph.  This trip was particularly significant because (1) it was the first trip where all the efforts were directly invested in one local church and (2) it was the first trip involving another church from the United States partnering with us (Grace Baptist Church).

God continues to bless and open doors for us in Haiti.  A year ago, I would not believed you had you told me I would be in Haiti three times.  Nine months ago, I did not know Christ Fellowship Bowling Green and only had brief correspondence with one of their pastors (Lance Parrott).  Since then, they have not only joined us in Haiti, but I feel like we have become genuine partners and co-laborers in gospel ministry in ways that only God could make possible.  I believe this is just the beginning of the kind of things God is doing to take the gospel in word and deed to this needy country.

Outside the pastors, everyone who went on the trip last week had their first cross-cultural missions experience, and they all did a wonderful job representing Christ in a rather challenging context and climate.  The church in Saint-Marc has amazing leadership, and their hospitality demonstrated towards us was truly humbling.  Every time I’m among the believers in these churches I feel like they have so much to teach me (and they always do!).

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Haiti Bound

June 20, 2011

This morning, I’m leaving for my third trip to Haiti.  In case you’re wondering about how my relationship with Haiti got started, these posts will give you a good idea.  I’m particularly excited about this trip for two reasons:

1.  This is the first trip where I will be leading a team from another church to partner with the indigenous network of church plants in Haiti under the direction of Pastor Odanis Joseph.  The team is from Christ Fellowship Church in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and they are led by Pastors Lance Parrott and Jody Sledge.  Part of the vision with The Haiti Collective is to develop meaningful partnerships with American churches and Haitian churches, and CFBG is the first to take up the opportunity of joining us in Haiti.  Our field personnel is all Haitian pastors and church planters, and the work is raw, robust, and richly rewarding. 🙂

2.  We tailor the work we are doing based on the requests of leaders on the field, in particular pastors of the local church plant we will be ministering.  We will be working with a church plant in Saint-Marc, and the leaders’ request were (1) to assist them in advancing the gospel through community evangelism, (2) provide theological education of their leaders, and (3) join them in caring for their 100+ orphans in their orphan school. So that is exactly what we’re going to do.  In the morning block, we will be working with the orphans in the school; in the afternoon block, our team will partner with church members and translators to canvas the community with the gospel; also in the afternoon, Lance, Jody and I will be holding a six-session training for  pastors and church leaders on biblical ecclesiology (nature, purpose, marks, ordinances, leadership, discipline, etc.); and in the evening, we will be hosting evangelistic rallies each night where we will be preaching the gospel to any and everyone who will hear (like all good Calvinists do).

So together, we will be loving on orphans, training pastors on biblical church health, evangelizing the community, and preaching the gospel every evening.  YES.

Pray for us. Five of the seven going from CFBG are on their first mission trip overseas.  Haiti will ruin them (in a good way).  Pray for kingdom partnerships and gospel advance, safety from cholera and other diseases, and strength to endure under the summer heat and rainy season.  I look forward to coming back and reporting on what God will do this week.  I will likely be providing update via Facebook and Twitter (but not the blog).

And if you would like to learn more about working to encourage, strengthen, and serve gospel-centered Haitian church plants, holla.

John Piper – Hallowed Be Your Name

June 16, 2011

This past Monday, John Piper preached a powerful sermon focusing on the first phrase of the Lord’s Prayer, “Hallowed be your name.” In the typical expository exultation style of Piper, you can sense the gravitas and the gladness of the text as we are brought face to face with the greatness of God. In my generation, I pray there would be many who would yearn and learn to bring God’s Word to bear upon God’s people with such weightiness.

You can read Piper’s sermon here.

What Part of the Gospel Is Optional?

May 18, 2011

Support NYC Mission :: VBS Offering

March 28, 2011

I want to echo what Steve McCoy recently posted on his blog, namely, encouraging you to check out the 2011 Big Apple Adventure Vacation Bible School Missions Offering.  Freddy Wyatt is lead pastor of Gallery Church in New York City and a faithful brother heading up this project.  They are doing a good work in NYC, and I encourage you to learn more and consider giving a VBS offering for their mission endeavors.  For more information, check out their videos.

[vimeo 18042056]

Do We Really Believe What We’re Saying?

March 23, 2011

David Platt, currently ministering in northern India, asks a really important question.  May we answer with our lives.

[vimeo 21387696]

Off to Haiti

January 3, 2011

For the next ten days, I will be with 8 other men from Grace working in Haiti to train 50 Haitian pastors in a gospel conference and rebuild a church building destroyed in the earthquake.  For those of you not aware of the back story, read these blogposts (here, here, and here).  Pastor Joseph, our Haitian leader, was raised in the church in Desarmes whose building was destroyed, and more tragically, in which his father (the church’s pastor) died.  We will also build the first part of a multi-level orphanage.  In all, there are 130 orphans in this church alone.

I have created a website dedicated to our work in Haiti.  There you can find updates about our work, including photos feed from Flickr RSS, and new developments in our growing partnership in Haiti.  We are excited about God’s providence over the past year and the opportunities that lie before us.  For those interested, here are some blogposts related to this particular trip:

» 13 Ways to Pray for Our Haitian Team
» Chérir Christ Bible Conférence (schedule)
» What We Will Be Doing in Haiti
» Packing Up for Haiti
» Bibles for Haitian Orphans

Please pray for us as we hope bring the hope of the gospel in word and deed to Haitians who have suffered so much.  Our desire is to encourage, renew, equip, and revive the hearts of our Haitian brothers and sisters to advance the kingdom and spread the good news of Jesus Christ.

NB: For those in Partnering to Remember, I have scheduled blogposts for the time I will be away to encourage you in your memory moleskine.  Keep treasuring God’s Word!

Word Lens Is a Game Changer

December 17, 2010

The iPhone has empowered my life in a number of ways, not the least of which is an all-in-one gadget.  It is my phone, alarm clock, GPS, calendar, iPod, camera, jump drive, dictaphone, web browser, reader, video camera, scanner, Bible, and a host of other things, many of which I used on a daily basis.  The kinds of things the iPhone can do is truly remarkable, and of the most remarkable things to come out is the Word Lens app.  Check out this video:

Currently, you can go from English to Spanish and vice-versa, and I believe more languages are coming out in the future.  I am already thing about the missiological implications of such an app.  Interpreters and translators can look at notes in one language and check out the translation into another language.  Personally, I find myself logistically planning for mission work in other countries where documents and correspondence requires translation.  To think that simply holding my iPhone camera up to the text for an interpretation baffles me.  And excites me.

This app indeed is a game changer and one which makes me all the more glad I have an iPhone.

The Spirit of Christ Is a Missionary Spirit

December 7, 2010

Octavius Winslow, perhaps the best devotional writer you’ll ever read, communicates truth that provoke and stir up affections for Jesus in such encouraging ways.  This is a recent example from his Morning Thoughts:

The Spirit of Christ is an active, benevolent Spirit. It bore the Savior, when He was in the flesh, from country to country, from city to city, from house to house, preaching His own gospel to lost man. “He went about doing good.” If we have the Spirit of Christ, we shall be prompted to a like Christian love and activity on behalf of those who possess not the gospel, or who, possessing it, slight and reject the mercy. The Spirit of Christ is essentially a missionary Spirit. It commenced its labor of love at Jerusalem, and from that its center, worked its way with augmenting sympathy and widening sphere until it embraced the world as the field of its labor. Ah! that we manifest so little of this Spirit, ought to lead us to deep searchings of heart, and stir us up to earnest prayer: “Lord, make me more earnest for the salvation of souls, for the advancement of Your kingdom. Grant me this evidence of being Your—the possession of Your Spirit, constraining me to a more simple and unreserved consecration of my talents, my substance, my rank, my influence, my time, myself, to the establishment of Your truth, the advancement of Your cause, and thus to the wider diffusion of Your glory in the earth.”

Read the whole thing.

How NOT to Help the Poor

November 18, 2010

One of the biggest dilemmas right now in places like Haiti is the unintended consequences of crisis relief without long-term vision for indigenous empowerment and cultural revitalization.  For example, see Exhibit A from this past week.  A book that I have been reading that is incredibly helpful (and a manual for our work in Haiti) is When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor . . . and Yourself by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert.  I highly encouraged those doing cross-cultural mission work, especially in third-world countries, to read this book.

Also this week, I came across this video below which discusses again examples of how not to help the poor.  In our country alone, millions have been spent on “the war on poverty”–a war Americans are losing because of bad strategy and wrong presuppositions.  Check it out.

Life Offline

October 26, 2010

For the past 2.5 years, I have been serving as a pastor of Grace Baptist Church.  I have not blogged much about my church or my role as a pastor (other than the kingly administration stuff).  It has been an incredible journey so far, and I am loving being a church that is “reformed and always reforming according to the Word of God.”

Last week, we gave an elders report to our congregation for our annual members meeting.  This report is our reflection on the past year of ministry (specifically September 2009-September 2010).  God is doing some wonderful things through our church family, and I thought I’d share nine of them in bullet form here (for a detailed summary, go here).

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