we must look at every human problem [i.e. homelessness, inner-city justice, poverty, domestic abuse,
violence, sexual perversions, etc.] in the four basic dimensions of our human existence physical, mental, spiritual and social.
almost any starting point can be appropriate, depending possibly on what is the most pressing or obvious need. We can enter the circle of missional response at any point on the circle of human need. But ultimately we must not rest content until we have included within our own missional response the wholeness of Gods missional response to the human predicament
Missions may not always begin with evangelism. But mission that does not ultimately include declaring the Word and the name of Christ, the call to repentance, and faith and obedience has not completed its task. It is defective mission, not holistic mission. Christopher Wrights Mission of God, p316, 318-319)
What the Sam-hill does that mean?
Missiological: repentance and forgiveness being preached in the name of Christ to all nations.
Soteriological: salvation and eternal life with God
The logical flow from 1 Peter 2:9-12runs as follows:
- if this is what you are (your identity, through election redemption and covenant)
- then this is how you must live (your ethics)
- and this is what will result among the nations (our mission)
The message is plain. Christians are to be as visible to the nations by the quality of their moral lives as Israel had been intended to be (but failed). And the purpose of that ethical visibility is ultimately to bring the nations to glorify God. (p389).
May God cause us to so enjoy all that God is for us in Christ in our daily lives that the world wants this rock-solid joy in God for themselves!
Culture is, first of all, the name for our relentless, restless human effort to take the world as its given to us and make something else.
What are the ways we as Christians respond to culture? Quote from the section entitled, When gestures become postures.
The problem is not with any of these [gestures towards the culture around us] condemning, critiquing, consuming, copying. All of them can be appropriate responses to particular cultural goods. Indeed, each of them may be the only appropriate response to a particular cultural good. But the problem comes when these gestures become too familiar, become the only way we know how to responds to culture, become etched into our unconscious stance toward the world and become postures
If we are known mostly for our ability to poke holes in every human project, we will probably not be known as people who bear the hope and mercy of God
What was missing, Ive come to believe, were the two postures that are most characteristically biblical the two postures that have been least explored by Christians in the last century. They are found at the very beginning of the human story, according to Genesis: like our first parents, we are to be creators and cultivators. Or to put it more poetically, we are artists and gardeners.
Building culture like this requires grace from God. The principle of 3, 12, 120 is very helpful in seeing this undertaking as bite-sized. Christ is the biggest changer of culture. He had his 12 disciples and 3 that he took particular time with at key occasions, and the 100+ that followed him.
How will we build culture from our families on out to our communities for the glory of the Name of God?
IVP press, pages 23, 93, 97
What could be easier than trusting God to work for you (Isaiah 64:4)?… But this ease of faith assumes that our hearts are humble enough to renounce all self-reliance and self-direction ad self-exaltation Its like a monkey with his hand caught in the jar. It would be easy for him to slip his hand out of the opening except that he has his fist clenched around a nut. If he loves the nut more than he loves freedom from the jar, then getting his hand out of the jar will be hard, even impossible (as Jesus said in Mark 10:27 about the young man who had his fist clenched around his wealth). But what could be easier than dropping a nut? The battle that Paul and Jesus are talking about is the battle to love the freedom of faith more than the nut of sin. Future Grace, John Piper, p313
Lord, Help us to taste the beauty of the realities of God, drink deeply, and be satisfied
Romans 11:33: Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, / or who has been his counselor? / Or who has given a gift to him / that he might be repaid? For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
No one can negotiate with God or bargain with him. If we are honest we often say with our lives, I will do this for you, God, if you will do this for me However, our very existence has been given to us by His mercy.
Key question: So WHY are ALL things from, through, and to Him? Answer: God loves the glory of His name!
The desire of Gods heart is first and foremost the glory of His name and not primarily our salvation; though He loves to save, he saves and does all He does for the glory of His name (Ex. 14:4,18; Ps 25:11; Ps 23:3; 2 Sam 7:23; Is 48:9-11; John 17:4).
We are wired to worship something. Food, drink, sex, music, recreation, et al is all meant to drive us to see and be pointed to worship God.
Glory Thieves are really bound up in that old word idolatry. Idolatry is when this worship terminates on the thing and does not point beyond the thing to the beauty of the Person it was meant to point.
Who tells a Husker fan to stand up and then open their mouth in yelling when the first series for our Blackshirts goes three and out? Eighty thousand respond to this event with un-premeditated excitement! The question is not, is this worship (because it is J) the question is what in this event can point us the glory and the spectacular nature of God? Do we stand and yell along in this cultural phenomenon with our excitement terminating on the Huskers or pointing us to something greater will all our affection? Depending on how we answer this question makes us either glory thieves or Glory reflectors.
Is this spectacular, emotional moment a window (pointing us to see something THROUGH the pane of glass) or a door (an end in itself)? One is idolatry and one is WHY we were made; one ultimately ends in emptiness one is joy today and for all time BY enjoying God now through His Son this is worship!
So, in every turn of our day, do we see doors or windows?