Weekly Highlights- September 2, 2017

Here are my articles from the past few days as well as 5 of the best articles I read this week.

From Earlier this Week at JeremyWallace.net


5 of the Best Articles I Read this Week

David Platt   |   5 Ways Your Church Can Get Involved In Global Missions Starting Tomorrow

Your church doesn’t have to wait for the perfect time or situation to get involved in global missions. This article from David Platt and Paul Akin explores five ways your church can get involved immediately. It originally appeared at 9Marks under the same title. It is used with permission.


Albert Mohler   |   The Priority of Preaching

Then Paul makes the point in verse 25 that the central purpose of ministry is the preaching of the Word. In the end, everything comes down to this. “Of this church, I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the Word of God” (emphasis added). The words “the preaching of” are not in the original language, but are inserted in some translations, and I believe that is a legitimate insertion. It is clear that what Paul means is that the ministry of the Word of God is achieved by the proclamation, the teaching, and the preaching of the Word of God.


Andy Johnson   |   Reach the Nations Through Your Job

This New Testament pattern continued with traders on the Silk Road, merchants to India, laborers to South America, and modern employees of multinational companies. For centuries Christians have spread the gospel when other factors like employment have moved them around the world.


David Sills   |   The Missionary Call

When people share what they believe their missionary calling to be, I love to ask, “Where did you go on your first mission trip?” It is common to meet people who feel called to the place where they went on their first mission trip. Sometimes, this is due to the warmth and friendliness of their missionary “guides.” Missionaries regularly serve as cultural guides to the country, interpreters, drivers, bodyguards, and flesh-and-blood illustrations of missionary life. Spending time with missionary families, listening to the missionary kids speaking two or more languages over a meal, learning about the sacrifices these families have made to be missionaries, and the overwhelming ways that God blesses them in the process are major influences in the life of the visitor.


Bobby Jamison   |   The Bible’s Burden for Church Revitalization

Throughout much of the United States (and a few other parts of the world) evangelical churches quite literally litter the landscape.

Many of these churches are like trash left on a street corner—they cause people to cross to the other side to avoid them. The people who belong to them profess to believe in the gospel, and their historic statements of faith confess the gospel. And some true Christians do belong to such churches. But on the whole the life of the church broadcasts anything but a gospel message. These churches instead churn out toxic waste rather than the nourishing food that people need.

Some churches in this state may be unrecoverable. But the sad thing is, many evangelicals seem content to ignore such churches and simply start new ones.

Why Church Revitalization Efforts Fail

It is easy to talk about church revitalization. It is a little harder to acknowledge that your church needs it. It is even harder to see revitalization become a reality. While there can be many contributing factors, there are several common reasons why church revitalization efforts fail.

1- Too little, too late

Some churches wait too long to make needed changes. It’s not that they are not making some of the right changes, it’s that the changes they are making are long overdue and not significant enough.

If your church has already lost the majority of its younger families, revitalization is going to be especially challenging. If your church needs revitalization and you are not interested in making significant changes, don’t expect results. Doing too little, too late makes revitalization especially challenging.

2- Lay leadership is not on board

If the lay leadership is not on board revitalization will not happen. Why? The church membership typically listens to the lay leadership. Your lay leaders have influence and pull within the congregation. If they are not for actively pursuing revitalization, it will not happen.

 3- Church membership is resistant

There are times when the lay leadership is on board and willing to pursue revitalization, but the membership is still resistant. Revitalization is a church effort. While it does begin at the top, the members can derail the effort.

4- Trust in their own efforts

Decisions have to be made in order for a church to experience revitalization. However, one of the dangers is to trust our abilities to make adjustments more than we trust God to work. Revitalization is not just a practical issue, it is a spiritual issue as well.

5- An unwillingness to make difficult decisions

It is not uncommon for a church to realize they need revitalization, but then refuse to make the difficult decisions that can make revitalization a possibility. It’s as if the church wants the results of change without having to make the changes. If our churches are unwilling to make difficult decisions we will not experience revitalization.

6- You are more concerned with keeping people than reaching people

This is tough. Pastors never want people to leave their churches. However, for revitalization to take place, you have to be more concerned with reaching people than you are with keeping people. Revitalization will never happen if the fear of losing people stands in the way of difficult decisions being made.

Maybe your church realizes its need for revitalization. If so, be on guard for these things that can derail your efforts.


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An Acts 1:8 Understanding of Missions

Acts 1:8 is a verse that can be extremely helpful in shaping one’s understanding of Missions — primarily because it tells us where the mission field is.

This verse states:

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth. (NASB)

There are clearly four areas mentioned in this verse, and each area represents an aspect of missions to which the church should be committed.

Jerusalem

This was the hub of the early church. This was the home base. This was the starting place. This was where they were located. This was where their home church would have had the greatest impact. This is where they lived and did business on a daily basis.

For churches today our Jerusalem is the area around our local churches. Depending on the specific location, it could be a group of neighborhoods, a small town, or a suburb of a larger city.

Judea

This was the region. The people in Jerusalem would probably have traveled within Judea on a regular basis. Perhaps they had family who did not live in Jerusalem, but if they lived in this region they would still see them fairly often. A trip inside Judea was not uncommon for those living in Jerusalem.

Today, the same principles apply. Our Judea is the region around our churches; but beyond the reaches of daily operation. Perhaps it is the next city or town up the interstate. Maybe it is a rural area outside of your city. It is possible that some cities today are so large that the other side of that city would fall into this category.

Samaria

This is not just about another geographical location…even though it is that. Geographically this would require a deliberate trip. It would be our country so to speak. But it is much more than that. Almost every time Samaria is mentioned in the Bible it is in the context of cultural differences. It is not just about location, it is also about reaching people who have significant cultural differences than you.

For us it means that we intentionally reach out to other cultures within the USA. There are significant pockets of Hispanics living in the US that need to be reached. There are areas with a high concentration of Jews, or Muslims, or Hindus. Reaching our Samaria is about sending missionaries to other portions of our country, as well as targeting those within our country who have different cultural backgrounds.

Remotest Parts of the Earth

We understand this. This is the part of mission we are most familiar with. It is an emphasis on other parts of the world. NASB translates this as the “remotest parts of the earth.” We are to take the message of Christ to those areas who not yet heard of who Jesus is and what he has done.

Our understanding and application of missions must include an equal focus on all four areas mentioned. To neglect some of these areas is to neglect our responsibility concerning missions.


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