Monday, September 24, 2012

Prayer for Missions

Several months ago Agnes Spidal gave me an article from E.M. Bounds about the role of prayer in missions.  I remember reading it and being convicted.  Then the article sat on my desk under a pile until last week when I cleaned off my desk.  This simple article, convicted me again and I knew I needed to share it with others.  I brought it to our Global Outreach Committee meeting last week and it encouraged us to be in prayer that the Lord would send laborers into His harvest field from New Life Church.  If you would like to read some of Bounds' stuff on prayer you can click here.  The chapter on prayer in missions is chapter 13.  You can click on it on the left side of the page.

For now, I'll just give you a few quotes that really inspired me:

The Spirit of Jesus Christ is the spirit of missions. Our Lord Jesus Christ was Himself the first missionary. His promise and advent composed the first missionary movement. The missionary spirit is not simply a phase of the Gospel, not a mere feature of the plan of salvation, but is its very spirit and life. The missionary movement is the Church of Jesus Christ marching in militant array, with the design of possessing the whole world of mankind for Christ. Whoever is touched by the Spirit of God is fired by the missionary spirit.

The key of all missionary success is prayer. That key is in the hands of the home churches. The trophies won by our Lord in heathen lands will be won by praying missionaries, not by professional workers in foreign lands. More especially will this success be won by saintly praying in the churches at home. The home church on her knees fasting and praying, is the great base of spiritual supplies, the sinews of war, and the pledge of victory in this dire and final conflict. Financial resources are
not the real sinews of war in this fight. Machinery in itself carries no power to break down heathen walls, open effectual doors and win heathen hearts to Christ. Prayer alone can do the deed.

Is the harvest great? Are the labourers few? Then “pray ye the Lord of the harvest to send forth labourers into his harvest.” Oh, that a great wave of prayer would sweep over the Church asking God to send out a great army of labourers into the needy harvest fields of the earth!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Why We Love The Church

There are a lot "Christian" books out there these days which take delight in speaking ill of the local church.  They say most churches are too judgmental, too narrow minded, too hypocritical, too old school, too conservative, too cliquish, and too boring.  In addition these voices say that the church is not concerned enough about social issues like homelessness, aids, world hunger, genocide, and the environment.  I would say, that some of what they are saying is very true.  One doesn't write a book if there is nothing to write about.  And as the old proverb goes, "if the shoe fits, wear it."  Churches need to look at these criticisms and see if they are true.  We should ask, are their changes that should be made as we repent of sin in the church and seek to be the church Christ has created us to be?  Sadly, the message that many of these "anti-church" books are giving is, "let's all leave the institutional church and really be the church."

I recently read a book called, Why We Love the Church, In Praise of Institutions and Organized Religion, by Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck.  DeYoung is a 30-something pastor in middle American and Kluck is sportswriter who attends DeYoung's church.  The two have teamed up to write this book as well as the famous Why We're Not Emergent.   In the book they take turns writing chapters.  DeYoung's chapters are more intellectual and more preachy.  Kluck's chapters are more stream of thought and more every day man.  I have to admit, the preacher side of me really liked the DeYoung chapters but the part of me that really wants to know what the average church attender is thinking really appreciated the Kluck chapters.  The point of the book is to say, no, don't abandon the church, it is the bride of Christ.  Be a part of it, pray for it, show grace to other people in it just like you want to be shown grace, be willing to serve and lead the church toward being all that God wants it to be.

Let me give you just a few quotes to stimulate your appetite for this book:

In the first chapter DeYoung gives us some questions to ask when the church is in decline:  Are we believing the gospel, are we relying on the power of the gospel, are we getting the gospel out, are we getting the gospel right, are we adorning the gospel with good works, are we praying for the work of the gospel, are we training up our children in the gospel?

Going to church is not a quaint waste of time, but an essential part of a person's spiritual life and growth.  ~Kluck ~

Again, later in the book DeYoung gives some good questions for church leavers:  Are you rejecting the church or the faith, are you trying to have your cake and eat it too, are you making an idol out of authenticity, are you repeating the mistake of the previous generation?

Church isn't boring because we are not showing enough film clips, or because we play an organ instead of a guitar.  It's boring because we neuter it of it's importance. ~Kluck~

We need the church in visible manifest and sometimes hidden beauty.  We need the church of individuals and institutions.  Most of all, we ought to love the church- in all her organic and organizational mess and glory.  ~DeYoung~

If I could leave you with one thought, it's this:  Go.  Go to church.  Don't go for the coffee, the presentations, the music, or the amenities.  Don't even go for the feelings you may or may not get when you to because, no offense, these feelings may or may not be trustworthy most of the time.  Go for the gospel.  Go for the preaching.  God to be near God's Word... There are many people leaving the church, and supposedly finding God.  But I found Him here, and by His grace, I'll keep finding Him here.  I love my church.  ~Kluck~


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Extra Pews Donated to Church Plant

On Tuesday, September 11, 13 pews were picked up by ten dedicated men from Outward Church in Salem.  It was not an easy task!  Half the pews were located in our upstairs attic and had to be lowered from the balcony.  The men carefully hoisted them down and loaded all the pews onto two large flat bed trailers.  They were grateful to have the pews and were are pleased to help a fellow church.  One pew was saved to donate to the West Linn High School dance team since they requested one.