Monday, December 29, 2008

Contextual Gospel

Just last month the word "missiology" just wasn't on my radar. If I had heard it, I certainly didn't think twice about it.


However, in the last few weeks a key issue in the 'study of missions' (missiology) has struck me in the face, right out of the blue. It was like I never noticed my own nose. Despite how obvious, simple, and important it was, it was only now I realised it there.


A key concept to mission is to “culturally appropriate the gospel” or “contextualise the gospel.”


But how do you do this?


What I needed to refine was my understanding, belief and practice of the gospel, the “good news”. The news that despite the fact “I am a great sinner, He [Jesus] is a great saviour.” The news that despite my inner mess and my outer application of my inner mess that Jesus calls me home and makes me new.


When we study the bible and derive meaning and application from it (exegesis) it’s important to assess the context of the text being studied (including historical, revelatory, theological and textural context). But to apply it to your own life you must also be aware of your own context in order to apply it.


Why is this of any importance?


I’m glad you asked


Evangelism – telling others the good news.

What are you going to tell them and why? There are so many things in Christian culture that have the appearance of importance where really they are not. Clothes, tradiation, structure, song format, service format, location, aren’t really important. The gospel is.


Behaviour – beware legalism.

The gospel isn’t about making you better but making you anew. Failing to understand the gospel leads one to equate holiness with the external rather than the internal. Hard to be proud when you admit you stand only because of Jesus.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Same
“Jesus was the same yesterday, as he is today, as he will be tomorrow” - Hebrews 13:8 
Paul speaking of Jesus, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him”  - Colossians 1:15-17
Jesus was not Plan B.
In the garden before the apple, Jesus, before the tabernacle and its sacrifices, Jesus, during the temple era, Jesus, and now Jesus, and at the end of time, Jesus.
You can never hear that name too many times.

So why the old testament?
So why not bring out Jesus first?
The old testament is a prototype, a fore runner, of the new
The OT does a few things
God reveals himself, his character, his love
God revels his standard and law by doing so reveals sin 
God demarcates a people that love him, serve him, honour him and shows us that he is will rejects those that reject him
The most important point of old testament is to put us in a place where we meet Jesus.
Luke 24:27 “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, Jesus explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.”
Matthew 5:17 "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”

2 Differences with the NT & OT
The OT uses physical parallels to show us future spiritual reality
Cause the spiritual is weird.
It’s hard to understand.
Physical things which we can see and touch make more sense to us.
More so, even then, it is only by the Spirit we understand spiritual things. 1 Corinthians.
God’s people
NT – when you trust jesus and become a Christian, the Holy Spirit comes into your life, He removes the heart of stone and regenerates you spiritually with a heart of flesh, Romans 3 talks of this being the circumcision of the Heart, other than a changed life, there’s not much to see.
OT – Circumcision, the removal of the foreskin, was a physical sign that that man was one of God’s people
NT – God’s kingdom is a spiritual kingdom, it transcends national boarders, language groups and people
OT – God’s kingdom was Israel, it was physical, you could see it on a map, you could go visit it
People break the law and do sin
NT – Jesus without any sin died on a cross as punishment for your sins
OT – The community would recognised they sin, the priest as representative would go before God, he would confess the sins of the people, he would take a animal, an animal without defect, he would then cut it’s throat, he would then let the blood drain, they would collect it with their hands and bowels and poor it over the altar.
Why? Cause this is a physical parallel for a future spiritual reality
There’s a different mission
The Old Testament is a come and see religion, the new testament is a go and tell religion.
OT: God’s message was for the Jew
NT: Out mission is to go and make disciples of all nations 

Monday, October 20, 2008


Leadership is a scary. Leadership is not about looking cool, building your resume or making yourself big. If that’s your goals, you’re proud and you need to repent.  Leadership at its beginning is a heart thing.


We read in James 3:1 “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.”  Scared? Jesus in Matthew 23:15  “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.” How about now?


Why is that? Because leadership is responsibility. It is standing up and saying to God I’ll be responsible for them. They will have to stand before God for their choices, actions, and faith. But you will have to stand before God and say I pointed them to you, I taught them faithfully as best I could, shared with them, i encouraged them to pray, I prayed for them, I comforted them, as best I could with your spirit guiding and empowering I loved them as you have loved me,.


More so, as you grow as a leader, as your sphere of influence increases, so does your responsibility. It is one thing for you “go off the rails” if another to derail a train of many passengers.


What deep and godly joy it is to know that your ministry has not derailed but guided and equipped and pointed may to their heavenly destination.


Luke 12:33b  Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys.

Notes on Small Group Ministry - Purpose


Establishing early a clear purpose for the group is crucial. Purpose results in focus and direction in planning and acts as a guide for correction as time progresses (as the ministry evolves or devolves).

Ministry is not a static or stagnant entity. Ministry involves people and involves God both of which are to say the least dynamic. This may be that the content, form, and targets change with time, however purpose should never be compromised.

Key Purpose:

  • love God, honour God, glorify God, honour His scriptures, prayer, spirit, worship
  • love people, reach (missions), provide for needs (lead them to God, emotional, physical, spiritual means), meet them where they are at and help them to move to the next step in their growth and life with God


  • The purpose of ‘Group A’ is to be involved in the life of those aged 15-20, through relationship, bible study, and active discipleship to love God, and to love people. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Just a thinking thought...

What do you think about in the quiet time? Do you know the time I mean? For not all people ever experience that time, some do not try, and some sadder still do not know of what I speak. That time where the busyness ceases, the noises quiet and the obligation is stilled.

Like a child along a forest path. The silly songs that only children sing make so hard to hear the nesting birds.  The skipping footsteps and kicking small stones make the ferns move too fast to see.  The bright back pack makes the flowers look so dull. Now, as the path joins the pond, the picture changes. The song is not so interesting the twelfth time through, the stone is lost, and although the bag once trendy and exciting now just feels heavy and burdensome. As the boy looks into the pond, he stops. Not sure as to why it’s drawn him.  His stone skips three times. As the ripples cease, an image comes clear, a reflection, a small boy. Different to himself, this boy’s shirt is untucked and ruffled, and his cheek is covered in dirt. He then sees below, that this pond is not as boring as he once would have thought. A small school of fish dart away, as a tiny lizard slides into the water pushing the lilies aside. He hadn’t noticed them till then. Tucking his shirt in he reached in his pocket for a snack, but there was none. Distracted by his now demanding hunger he misses the lizard snatch its pray and hurry off. Now curious, he stares into the water, and sits.

When we actually get to thinking there are common threads.  A popular thought is the how and why of life, which subsequently leads to the how and when of death, (some then venture to what is subsequent to that but most stop there).  Then there are relationships (do I love her? do I not? what is love anyway?). After that is government, church, work, play and of course the weather.

All of this is rather common and generally people think about all these things. They may pretend that they don’t, they may try to distract themselves, but deep down people think. The problem is that thinking sometimes gets your into trouble. Sometimes, it may mean that you may have to change how you see the world or worse still how you live. Often, at the first sign of trouble, people stop. The train of thought ends are a place where if taken to its logical conclusion is not at all what they would like, but they stop none the less.

When you step back and ponder, I mean really take the time to think, it’s not at all surprising that things are the way they are.