Tag Archive | theology

“In What Ways Do You Feel Like You’re in Over Your Head?” — Questions You Can Ask a Missionary, Part 7

Our friends (and fellow missionaries) Keith and Lori Doster recently linked to an article about stressors that missionaries face. The original article is called 12 Questions You Can Ask a Missionary to Help Them Stay on the Field. Missionaries are not unique to these stressors; however, they do face them in situations where they often feel vulnerable and lonely.

If you know any missionaries, I encourage you to support and encourage them by asking one or more of these questions (but not all 12 at once!). For the sake of our friends, supports, and blog-readers, I wanted to proactively answer these questions over the next few months. (Of course, feel free to ask us these questions personally.)

question_mark_sign fotopedia Colin_K

Question 7:   “In what ways do you feel like you’re in over your head?”

I like how this question assumes that I’m in over my head. Because I am. And I think that is a part of being a disciple and living on mission.

If you never feel like you’re in over your head, it means you are not risking anything. (Of course, you could feel like you’re overwhelmed for the wrong reasons, but that’s another post for another day.)

Being overwhelmed with life is a good thing, even when I don’t like it. Being overwhelmed drives me toward Jesus, because my own resources and spirit are lacking. I am reminded that the gospel is sufficient (II Corinthians 12:9).

From the Get-Go

The fact that I’m in over my head has been apparent since I started working in Allendale. God helped me understand that the “harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.” That’s true in Allendale, and everywhere. There is no place on earth where Christ’s redemption is not needed.

Click here to read more…

“Have You Been Able to Spend Meaningful Time in the Word This Week?” – Questions You Can Ask a Missionary, Part 4

Our friends (and fellow missionaries) Keith and Lori Doster recently linked to an article about stressors that missionaries face. The original article is called 12 Questions You Can Ask a Missionary to Help Them Stay on the Field. Missionaries are not unique to these stressors; however, they do face them in situations where they often feel vulnerable and lonely.

If you know any missionaries, I encourage you to support and encourage them by asking one or more of these questions (but not all 12 at once!). For the sake of our friends, supports, and blog-readers, I wanted to proactively answer these questions over the next few months. (Of course, feel free to ask us these questions personally.)

question_mark_sign fotopedia Colin_K

Question 4:   “Have you been able to spend meaningful time in the Word this week?”

I do a pretty good job getting up in the morning for a time of solitude with God. It’s not that I absolutely love getting up early. It’s just that I know that if I want any time of quiet and concentration in the house, it has to be first thing in the morning.

I started reading the Bible regularly soon after I became a Christian when I was in college. At first, it was only a couple of days per week, but now I do it every day (with rare exception). Some days I get more out of it than on other days. Some days I read longer than others. But I’m in the Word nonetheless. And I am glad that I read an article that explains the importance of Reading the Bible the Cross.

Click here to keep reading…

Critiquing the Missional Movement

BlackMissionalCritique Verge

Kyle Canty, an African-American who grew up in north Philadelphia, writes:

“During the past couple of years I’ve recognized the homogeneity of these circles [of the missional movement] — most of the speakers are white. Interesting enough, many of the topics that are being written about and presented at these events are topics that I’ve heard about throughout my life. (e.g., justice, mercy, meeting felt needs, etc.)

Well before these were popular topics within evangelicalism, these were important issues among black pastors, preachers and theologians. The black church finds its uniqueness in the soil where it is cultivated — usually within marginalized and oppressed communities.”

I think he has a great point. The originators, leaders, and followers of the missional movement tend to think they have come up with a new strategy, or at least are reclaiming an old and forgotten vision. And I am just as guilty. 

Click here to learn more…

“Did You Take a Sabbath Rest This Week?” – Questions You Can Ask a Missionary, Part 2

Our friends (and fellow missionaries) Keith and Lori Doster recently linked to an article about stressors that missionaries face. The original article is called 12 Questions You Can Ask a Missionary to Help Them Stay on the Field. Missionaries are not unique to these stressors; however, they do face them in situations where they often feel vulnerable and lonely.

If you know any missionaries, I encourage you to support and encourage them by asking one or more of these questions (but not all 12 at once!). For the sake of our friends, supports, and blog-readers, I wanted to proactively answer these questions over the next few months. (Of course, feel free to ask us these questions personally.)

question_mark_sign fotopedia Colin_K

Question 2:   “Did you take a Sabbath rest this week?”

I don’t do well with doing nothing. Last month, I had a goal to carve out 10 Mindful Minutes each day, and I failed horribly.

But even doing nothing really isn’t a Sabbath rest. In Take a Rest, I wrote, “Rest doesn’t just happen. Rest is a purposeful activity. Even more, rest is an attitude of the heart.” And I confess that I struggle to trust God enough to step back, and to disengage from my active and busy life.

Keep reading to learn what we’ve done to rest this year…

“It Has Been Saved, But Not for Me”

Lord of Rings flickr Zanastardust

My son Elijah and I just finished reading The Lord of the Rings trilogy, after I read The Hobbit to all three of our children last year.

For as much as the story is about the Ring, the story doesn’t end when the ring is destroyed. At the end of The Return of the King, the Shire (where Hobbits lived) was taken over, and needed to be freed by the four who were in the fellowship of the Ring. (If you’ve seen the movies, you know that most of this part of the story was cut out.)

As the book comes to a close, Frodo explains to his best friend why he is leaving the Shire:

“I have been too deeply hurt, Sam. I tried to save the Shire, and it has been saved, but not for me. It must often be so, Sam, when things are in danger: someone has to give them up, lose them, so that others may keep them.”

As we just celebrated our country’s Independence Day, it hits me that we should be thankful that we have freedom. However, that freedom is not about ourselves. Our freedom must be used to serve others.

And the same is true with our freedom in Christ. Jesus didn’t save us just for ourselves. He ultimately has redeemed us for the glory of the Father, and so that we can serve others.

“For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.”  Mark 8:35

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

May you have a safe and blessed weekend.

PS — If you want something on a lighter note, watch an “Honest Trailer” of Independence Day.

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**image courtesy of Zanastardust via flickr

I Am Not an Evangelist

Landscape

I get excited when I hear about other missionaries teaching the gospel. For example, my friend Joseph Osborn began a Bible study with some local co-workers in Paupa New Guinea (you can start with this post and then click around to get the full story).

Within the first few meetings, he was receiving great responses and questions from the men and women in that study. It is obvious that the Holy Spirit is working through him to bear much fruit. Encouraging stories like this are part of the reason why we support the Osborns.

Honestly, reading his stories not only challenges me, but they even discourage me. Why? I read his blog, and realize that I’m not an evangelist.

Now, we have to separate the gift of evangelism (given to some) and the call to evangelize (a command given to all Christ-followers). I know I don’t have the former, but I also know that I’m not doing enough of the latter.

After all, as a “missionary,” shouldn’t I preaching the gospel be my chief focus? Am I focusing so much on relationships (sometimes an excuse for getting other people to like me), and not enough on proclaiming God’s word?

What more do I need to be doing? Keep reading…

The Humiliation of Homelessness and Poverty

I shared this video last week on Facebook and Twitter, but I don’t think enough people have seen it. I hope it makes you think, because it definitely challenged me. This is the story of Ronald Davis:

Did you notice what gets him choked up more than anything? It’s not the struggles of finding food and shelter. What tears him down is how people treat him.

Hear his words:

“It’s really humiliating to be shaking a cup 24 hours a day, and people just look at you like you’re some kind of little bum.”

“I’m not a bum. I’m a human being.”

“I feel so bad that I can’t be going home. . . . I’m really trying to get myself together and get off the street.”

“You really lose all your humility when you’re shaking a cup, begging.”

“A lot of people look at you like you’re just a piece of crumb.”

“No matter what people think about me, I know I’m a human person.”

That’s what poverty is about. It classifies and separates. It elevates one group of people over others — elevating only some people’s physical, emotional, and social resources.

How many times have I looked at a homeless person, a beggar, a (gulp) bum — and thought, spoke, or acted in a condescending manner? Too many.

This video reminded me that when I look at those “less fortunate,” I must above all else see them as a human being, created in the image of God.

“So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”     (Genesis 1:27)

“And from one blood he made the whole world of humanity.”        (Acts 17:26)

I’d love to hear from you in the comments: What did you think of this video?

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James 1: Grace, Truth, Action

Some thoughts from James 1 . . .

God has been good to us and gives us life.

“Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures.” (vv. 17-18)

Don’t be content to only know truth.

“But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.” (vv. 22-25)

Watch your mouth. Show justice.

“If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless. Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” (vv. 26-27)

You’ve been shown grace, and you’ve been given truth. Now live it out that grace and truth.

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How to Make Disciples

From GCM Collective:

how to make disciples _ gcmcollective

Two simple truths:

  1. Discipleship = Head + Heart + Hands
  2. Theology + Venn Diagram = Awesomeness

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