I had a quick lunch with Jonathan Pennington last week. Jonathan is a Professor at Southern Seminary in Louisville and one of our CCC IBS teachers. He’s just publishing his dissertation on the Kingdom in the Gospel of Matthew. He sent me to several of his lectures (here) and I’ve enjoyed listening to him.

His lecture on the Proclamation and the Kingdom particularly addresses our journey to balance proclamation and demonstration of the gospel. It’s one of the best summaries I’ve heard. Take some time to listen to it.

ProclamationKOG by Jonathan Pennington

Jonathan suggests the following applications (let him clarify them). I list them only to suggest we think thru how we can incorporate these applications:

  1. We should adopt a Kingdom-focused theology and world-view.
  2. We must think about and proclaim the gospel broader than just our personal forgiveness of sins.
  3. We should be involved in and support social works and policy that reflect the realities of the coming Kingdom.
  4. We must realize that the Kingdom story is our story and we have a part to play.
  5. We must live, preach and act with the forward-looking hope of the Kingdom.

Also, many of you will be in CSU. Take advantage of the many seminars dealing with our good news/good deeds within Campus Crusade for Christ. The Good News Good Deeds Initiative (the team behind this website) is sponsoring two of the seminars:

Friday, 7/24

1:30-3:30

Building Movements Characterized by Passionate Proclamation and Compassionate Demonstration of the Gospel – Chip Scivicque, Ron Sanders, Jay Lorenzen, Charles Gilmer

Clark A103

CCC increasingly confronts the tensions of fulfilling our organizational mission alongside the Scripture’s call to engage in justice, advocacy, and compassion initiatives as expressions of the gospel. In a discussion format, we’ll explore these tensions and suggest practical ways of serving the God of justification and of justice.

and

Wed, 7/29

1:30-2:30

International Justice Mission – Larry Martin

Lory Student Center North Ballroom

Come hear about God’s heart for justice, and what the IJM is doing around the world to secure justice for victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression.

Lots of other great seminars available, many on similar topics.

Seminars

Do not quench your inspiration and your imagination; do not become a slave of your model.
–Vincent Van Gogh

I wonder:

In the building of movements, do we depend upon a combination of methods, knowledge, and skills

when what we need most is imagination?

Skye Jethani, in his book The Divine Commodity, suggests that the challenge facing Christianity is not a lack of resources or motivation, but “a failure of imagination.” We too often become slaves to the models and methods of the past. We want to obey Christ but lack his imagination. I trying to find approaches and/or questions that might trigger a Christlike imagination. Here’s a few I’m trying:

  1. Imagine a world in which God rules and reigns in every place. As you do so, take a look around the world and notice the things that will not be true in the new heavens and new earth. Then understand they don’t belong here either.
  2. Imagine that God is constantly trying to give you new ideas. Actively seek out those ideas, listen closely, be present in each situation, write down those ideas. Now, implement a few of them–ignoring everybody but that quiet whisperer who leads you into all truth (John 16:13)

I found the following story about Maggie Doyne–I don’t know her or her spiritual story. What I find compelling though is her imagination? What if all of us had “Christ-ignited imagination”?

Fast Company article

My daughter sent me to this op-ed piece by Bono. Loved the last line and was challenged to be part of a church/para-church that makes the best soul music.–Jay

It’s 2009. Do You Know Where Your Soul Is? (NY Times)

By BONO

I AM in Midtown Manhattan, where drivers still play their car horns as if they were musical instruments and shouting in restaurants is sport.

I am a long way from the warm breeze of voices I heard a week ago on Easter Sunday.

“Glorify your name,” the island women sang, as they swayed in a cut sandstone church. I was overwhelmed by a riot of color, an emotional swell that carried me to sea.

Christianity, it turns out, has a rhythm — and it crescendos this time of year. The rumba of Carnival gives way to the slow march of Lent, then to the staccato hymnals of the Easter parade. From revelry to reverie. After 40 days in the desert, sort of …

Carnival — rock stars are good at that.

“Carne” is flesh; “Carne-val,” its goodbye party. I’ve been to many. Brazilians say they’ve done it longest; they certainly do it best. You can’t help but contract the fever. You’ve got no choice but to join the ravers as they swell up the streets bursting like the banks of a river in a flood of fun set to rhythm. This is a Joy that cannot be conjured. This is life force. This is the heart full and spilling over with gratitude. The choice is yours …

It’s Lent I’ve always had issues with. I gave it up … self-denial is where I come a cropper. My idea of discipline is simple — hard work — but of course that’s another indulgence.

Then comes the dying and the living that is Easter.

It’s a transcendent moment for me — a rebirth I always seem to need. Never more so than a few years ago, when my father died. I recall the embarrassment and relief of hot tears as I knelt in a chapel in a village in France and repented my prodigal nature — repented for fighting my father for so many years and wasting so many opportunities to know him better. I remember the feeling of “a peace that passes understanding” as a load lifted. Of all the Christian festivals, it is the Easter parade that demands the most faith — pushing you past reverence for creation, through bewilderment at the idea of a virgin birth, and into the far-fetched and far-reaching idea that death is not the end. The cross as crossroads. Whatever your religious or nonreligious views, the chance to begin again is a compelling idea.

Last Sunday, the choirmaster was jumping out of his skin … stormy then still, playful then tender, on the most upright of pianos and melodies. He sang his invocations in a beautiful oaken tenor with a freckle-faced boy at his side playing conga and tambourine as if it was a full drum kit. The parish sang to the rafters songs of praise to a God that apparently surrendered His voice to ours.

I come to lowly church halls and lofty cathedrals for what purpose? I search the Scriptures to what end? To check my head? My heart? No, my soul. For me these meditations are like a plumb line dropped by a master builder — to see if the walls are straight or crooked. I check my emotional life with music, my intellectual life with writing, but religion is where I soul-search.

The preacher said, “What good does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul?” Hearing this, every one of the pilgrims gathered in the room asked, “Is it me, Lord?” In America, in Europe, people are asking, “Is it us?”

Well, yes. It is us.

Carnival is over. Commerce has been overheating markets and climates … the sooty skies of the industrial revolution have changed scale and location, but now melt ice caps and make the seas boil in the time of technological revolution. Capitalism is on trial; globalization is, once again, in the dock. We used to say that all we wanted for the rest of the world was what we had for ourselves. Then we found out that if every living soul on the planet had a fridge and a house and an S.U.V., we would choke on our own exhaust.

Lent is upon us whether we asked for it or not. And with it, we hope, comes a chance at redemption. But redemption is not just a spiritual term, it’s an economic concept. At the turn of the millennium, the debt cancellation campaign, inspired by the Jewish concept of Jubilee, aimed to give the poorest countries a fresh start. Thirty-four million more children in Africa are now in school in large part because their governments used money freed up by debt relief. This redemption was not an end to economic slavery, but it was a more hopeful beginning for many. And to the many, not the lucky few, is surely where any soul-searching must lead us.

A few weeks ago I was in Washington when news arrived of proposed cuts to the president’s aid budget. People said that it was going to be hard to fulfill promises to those who live in dire circumstances such a long way away when there is so much hardship in the United States. And there is.

But I read recently that Americans are taking up public service in greater numbers because they are short on money to give. And, following a successful bipartisan Senate vote, word is that Congress will restore the money that had been cut from the aid budget — a refusal to abandon those who would pay such a high price for a crisis not of their making. In the roughest of times, people show who they are.

Your soul.

So much of the discussion today is about value, not values. Aid well spent can be an example of both, values and value for money. Providing AIDS medication to just under four million people, putting in place modest measures to improve maternal health, eradicating killer pests like malaria and rotoviruses — all these provide a leg up on the climb to self-sufficiency, all these can help us make friends in a world quick to enmity. It’s not alms, it’s investment. It’s not charity, it’s justice.

Strangely, as we file out of the small stone church into the cruel sun, I think of Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, whose now combined fortune is dedicated to the fight against extreme poverty. Agnostics both, I believe. I think of Nelson Mandela, who has spent his life upholding the rights of others. A spiritual man — no doubt. Religious? I’m told he would not describe himself that way.

Not all soul music comes from the church.

Bono, the lead singer of the band U2 and a co-founder of the advocacy group ONE, is a contributing columnist for The Times.

“…the Gospel had become too shaped by modernity and packaged to make decisions. There is a serious shift in our thinking and in our praxis toward the development and preaching and teaching of a gospel that encompasses all the Bible says about the Gospel – and that means an expansion to a robust Gospel, one that is both personal and corporate, spiritual and social, inner and outer, sudden and progressive, and individual and cosmic.”–Scot McKnight

Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you as stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick and in prison and visit you?
And the King will answer them, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”
— Jesus

I ran across the following post, written by Tom Smith and related to his South African context:

Thot the suggestions might help us—staff, students and faculty–take some steps toward understanding the poor and developing a greater sense of solidarity with the poor. Many of us are wrestling with balancing our organizational mission — “building spiritual movements everywhere” with our Christian responsibility for compassion (widows, orphans, poor, … the marginalized). Unfortunately, few of us have ever crossed the socio-economic divide and interacted with the poor–although at least 50% of the people of the world live on less than 3 dollars a day. Hard to imagine us “fulfilling the Great Commission in the context and power of the Great Commandment” without learning to cross this divide. Tom’s suggestions might help us learn how to cross that divide.

Tom writes:

In an effort to move us (myself included) towards a deeper solidarity with the poor a few of us started compiling a list of things we could actually do to make a difference. Some of these could take less than a minute; others could change the rest of your life. This list can be critiqued in a hundred ways but I’ll ask you to suspend your reservations for a while and to choose to engage. The idea is to keep on engaging with this expression of love for our neighbors (a lot of us are indeed already engaged). It’s not meant as a legalistic list, rather a list that could get the creative resurrection juices flowing!

Please feel free to add to this list by commenting extra ones, telling stories or by sending links to ways to engage.

1. Visit the apartheid museum with some friends and discuss it afterwards [if you can try to do this with an interracial group].

2. Study Scripture and see what it says about the poor.

3. Build a relationship with domestic workers/garden workers / security guards / cleaning ladies / bus boys etc.

4. Tip at least 20% at restaurants.

5. Discover the humanity of the car guards at malls.

6. Learn from someone else about their culture.

7. Take a ride in a taxi for a day.

8. Attend a cultural awareness course.

9. Visit www.globalrichlist.com and discuss your experience with a friend.

10. Learn another language.

11. Discover local heroes like Beyers Naude, Desmond Tutu, John de Gruchy, David Bosch, Nelson Mandela.

12. Go on a mission trip with a local church.

13. Give 10% of your income away.

14. Learn from people who are already involved with the poor.

15. Eat lunch with a beggar and ask them about their story.

16. Pray for the poor and be attentive to the thoughts you have when you pray.

17. Give beggars your attention and make eye contact admitting their humanity.

18. Allow a poor person to provide a meal for you.

19. Open up your home for the poor and make them a meal.

20. Beg on the street for an hour.

21. Eat a squatter diet for a week and give the money you saved away.

22. Sign up for a poverty simulation.

23. Walk everywhere for a day.

24. Visit churches with different socio-economics than the one you’re attending.

25. Write down your rationalizations for not being involved with the poor and discuss it with friends.

26. Join churches / NGO’s who are already involved in being with the poor.

27. Fast a luxury (like DSTV) and sponsor someone’s education with the money.

28. Spring clean your house and give usable items away or sell it and give the money away.

29. Sponsor old magazines to poor schools.

30. Work on your racism by getting to know a person from the race you’re discriminating against – SAY NO TO XENOPHOBIA.

31. Drive with non-perishable food in your car and give it to beggars.

32. Empower beggars to give and not always to receive.

33. Support soccer by going to a local game or playing and discuss your observations with your friends.

34. Diversify your friendships – start by praying that God would open up new friendships and expect Him to answer.

35. Always give to the disabled.

36. Move into a poor(er) neighborhood.

37. If (36) is too tough for you support businesses in poor neighborhoods (groceries, restaurants)

38. Buy the Homeless Talk AND read it.

39. Give away blankets and gloves in wintertime (preferably to people who already have relationships with the poor and would know where the needs are).

40. Fast food for a week and give what you would have spent away.

41. Keep track of what you’ve spent in a Restaurant for the year and at the end of the year match the amount by giving it away.

42. When you buy a new car go for a lower option and give the money away that you would have spent on the dream model.

43. Downsize house or car in order to give more.

44. Be transparent about the details of your budget with a friend.

45. Work out what your household need (not want) and give the excess away, resist the urge to always upgrade you lifestyle.

46. When you get a new cell phone give your old one (or the new one) away.

47. Go through your closet and notice which clothes are in perfect condition that you don’t wear at all [the same goes for shoes …. especially for the ladies].

48. Oppressive structure cause a lot of poverty … get a group of friends together who research and engage with this level of involvement.

49. Pay your taxes.

50. Share stories of where you or others have engaged in the journey towards the poor.

51. Buy fair trade coffee (here is a great place for those living in SA).

52. Resist brand names and give the money you saved away.

53. Spend the same amount on the poor that you do on dog/cat food.

54. Equal money spent on gifts for the non-poor with gifts to the poor.

55. Build friendships with a church in the squatter camps.

56. Teach someone some of the skills you’ve acquired in your education.

57. Get a group of friends together and read Trevor Hudson’s book (A mile in my shoes) and then follow through on what you’ve learnt.

You might want to visit Tom’s blog often–good stuff.

Many of us have been rethinking so many of our assumptions about the thickness of the gospel. We’ve been on a journey–a journey leading hopefully to a greater understanding of our beautiful Christ and the implications of his life, death on a cross for our sins, burial, resurrection and ascension as well as of his eventual return to fully rule and reign. Other folks have indicated interest in our journey. We’re building several courses that might be helpful to you and others. At the same time, we’ll continue to put additional resources on this site for your own research.

The Meaning of the Gospel by Tim Keller

The Gospel and the Kingdom by Rick McKinley

The Gospel Centered Ministry by Tim Keller (a podcast)

Books:

51axGVL6pkL._SL160_.jpg

“Good News About Injustice: A Witness of Courage in a Hurting World” (Gary A. Haugen)

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“The Externally Focused Church” (Rick Rusaw, Eric Swanson)

41yPDQDdRcL._SL160_.jpgThis is a re-post from Andy McCullough’s blog:

Dave Gibbons begins the Monkey and the Fish: Liquid Leadership for a Third-Culture Church with an eastern parable. A well-meaning monkey sees a fish struggling in the water after a typhoon. Having a kind heart, the monkey with considerable risk to himself reaches down precariously from a limb of a tree to save the fish snatching him up from the water. The monkey lies the fish on dry land. For a few minutes the fish showed excitement but soon it settled into a peaceful sleep.

Translation: it died. Relevance to the 21st Century church: everything.

Gibbons is the founding pastor of Newsong, a multi-site international third-culture church. Years ago, Gibbons was building his megachurch and was struck with the thought of building a big box that would not be used most of the week to entertain people who for the most part would not change the world. He was a well-meaning monkey thinking he was saving a fish.

God took Dave Gibbons down a journey that has huge implications for us today. What he came to embrace is that the world is changing to a third-culture were we need to be willing to cross lines to reach people where they are.   

Love your neighbor

If we take the parable of the Good Samaritan to heart, we see that our neighbor is someone not like us. It is someone of a different race. Someone who with different beliefs. We are called to love, to act, to serve. To be Christ rather than just talk about Him.

Be Liquid

When you pour water into a glass, it takes the shape of the glass. Pour it into a teapot and it takes the shape of the teapot. Water can flow. Be water. Be Liquid.

Our message remains the same but our forms must change. And our conflicts should not be about forms. it’s a waste of energy. Third-culture is about being water to a thirsty world. It’s being adaptive. It’s being willing to change. It’s reading the culture. It’s being a Jew to reach Jews. It’s being poor to reach the poor. It’s being liquid

Three questions

1. Where is Nazareth? Who are the people on the margins of life? Who are the outsiders? Who are suffering the most? Instead of looking for the leaders who can offer the most to our churches/movements/organizations/own kingdoms, Gibbons teaches us to look for who are the most in need. It is the model of Christ. It is how God operates. God’s power is most perfected in weakness.

2. What is my pain? Instead of always looking for our own spiritual gifts/talents/resources, Gibbons encourages us to identify with our greatest pain. It is through our pain that the world can relate to. It is our pain that shows the power of Christ.

3. What is in my hand? What has God given me? Use that. Stop focusing on what we do not have or comparing ourselves to some myth. Stop trying to become something we are not.

I highly recommend this book! it spoke to my soul. It gave me hope and that we can adapt to help change the world.

— Andy

Thanks Andy, great post. — Jay

Here’s another book summary by Gibbons himself:

How to navigate cultural and economic shifts.pdf

Men are saying that Jesus Christ came as a social reformer.

Nonsense!

We are social reformers; Jesus Christ came to alter us,

and we try to shirk our responsibility by putting our work on Him.

Jesus alters us and puts us right:

then these principles of His instantly make us social reformers.

They begin to work straightway where we live….

— Oswald Chambers

Viewing this video reminded me of what happens when God grabs the heart of our students/faculty and they go on to bring change. Chk out deidox.com for other videos. A creative bunch.

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