Category Archives: Missions

Dwelling with Non-Christians

Darrin Patrick

Preliminary Questions:

Do you love non-Christians? Do you have good friends that are far from God? Is your heart broken consistently for lost people?

Romans 10:15 – It is your job to realize that you have been sent. He wants to take away excuses for why we are not reaching the lost and propel us to go out and accomplish our task of evangelism.

God is the first missionary in that he pursues fallen humanity throughout the biblical narrative. Genesis 12 (Walt Kaiser calls this the Great Commission of the OT). The seed promised to Abraham is Jesus. Matthew 4, Jesus links evangelism, discipleship, and mission together (cf. chapter 28:18-20). John 17 teaches us that we are in the world but not of as we try to reach the world.

John 1 is the seminal chapter on incarnational ministry. An example is Zacchaeus where Jesus tells him that he wants to stay at his house. He doesn’t just tell him a message but lives out his mission in his home.

1Cor 5:9ff – it’s assumed that you will and must dwell with unbelievers. The problem Paul is addressing has to do with not dwelling with those who are sexually perverse and call themselves “Christian.”

There are opportunities for being around non-Christians: Tailgating, pay-per-view events, happy hour, video game times, basketball at the gym, a hobby (photography). “Theology at the Bottle Works” is a mercy ministry of The Journey in St.. Louis. You are not going to happen to step into personal evangelism, you have to be intentional in it. (1Cor 9; Acts 13; 14; 17 – Paul went to places with the purpose of sharing the Gospel story with Jews and Greeks). Get involved in people’s lives. If someone is terminally ill, find out about their illness through study of what they have. If someone is a “foody” find out about the fine dining culture. Essentially, care about people enough to take interest in their interests.

Recommendation: Becky Pieppert books. The problem with Christians is that we don’t know how to be ourselves.

The Seeker movement has rightly challenged us to think through missional worship. That is, helping people understand what is happening in the service (keeping away from Chriistian-ese – lingo that is not easily definable).

This is an investment and a sacrifice. It can hurt your sermon preparation; but it can help it by making you aware of real needs in your community. Christ sacrificed (through his relationships) his reputation as a good rabbi.

Our non-Christian friends need to see how we are similar to them and how we are different than them. If you are a struggling father, admit that. But also talk about what makes your desire to be a better dad. You don’t have to hit people over the head with some ideological principles that makes us distinct from them. They need to see anecdotally how we are different.

What are the people that irritate you? You have to bathe your homophobia, racism, preferentialism in the Gospel. Christ came to redeem all kinds of people.

 

Table Talk

What are the main obstacles in connecting with non-Christians?

Being yourself and honest. It is oftentimes easier connecting with people we do not know than people we do know. We have to allow people to see our lives that we do not have to have it together.

So much of what Darrin talked about has to do with being intentional in our lives and relationships. We need to try and not be so enmeshed in strategic church planting that that is the only thing we can talk about. Our passion for reaching the lost can become an idol. We theorize about how to reach the lost and do not reach the lost.

Our arrogance that impels us to micro-manage the weekly service or other gatherings of our people.

Many times we can find solace in our title as “pastor” around our Christian friends, but around out non-Christian friends there is no pretense in our relationships with them. We can go from conference to conference and leave ourselves with little or no time for people (Christian and non-Christian).

We presume that our friendships with non-believers can only be superficial and we, therefore, miss the imago Dei present within the non-believer. We short change ourselves when we fall into this false view of humanity and being connected. One of the qualifications for being an elder is “hospitality,” which means to be welcoming into your homes.

We do need to be aware of our weaknesses so that if we are tempted to get drunk ata pub, you need to stay away from those situations. That does not mean, however, that you divorce yourself from being involved in people’s lives. You can have people over for coffee or dinner.

Recommendation: Jerram Barrs, Being Human

What hobbies, interests, and activities do I participate in or could I participate in that might enable me to meet and befriend non-Christians?

We need to be reminded that Christ has redeemed us as humans. We cannot expect to be super-human. We are intended to be sanctified and become human – through and through. We need to learn how to integrate our faith into the hobbies and interests we have in the world. We can affirm our desire to go workout, sports bars, motorcycling. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Christian Living, Church, Culture, Dwell Conference, Evangelism, Missions, Social Justice

Exclusivism & the Magi

As I mentioned I preached from Matthew 1.18-2.23 last Sunday. I preached through the narrative and organized my thoughts into three points: 1) False religion faces; 2) Unexpected worship; 3) Of an unexpected king. I understood the narrative to draw a very sharp contrast between the religious leaders and Herod with that of the magi. Of particular interest is the fact that the magi came to worship the ‘king of the Jews.’ One of the contrasts I saw had to do with the fact that the magi could read the stars better than the religious leaders read the Scriptures. This is an indictment on the religion of Herod and Israel.
While it is an indictment, too much should not be deduced from this truth. In other words, some may argue that these magi were able to read the stars and worship the king. Thus, there is no waarant for saying that God cannot work in and through other religions – after all the magi were from the pagan East (perhaps Babylon). Why would this be going too far? Well, if left to their star-gazing, the magi would never have actually worshiped the king of the world. Although they knew he was of Jewish ethnicity, they went to Jerusalem. They needed further revelation from God that this king was to be born in Bethlehem of Judea. Had they not humbled themselves before those who had been given the Scriptures, they would have remained in Jerusalem expecting to see a sign…in vain. God exalts his word in this passage by requiring them to submit their wills to it.
This is even more indicting since the Jews knew where the Christ was to be born, but refused to go with the magi. May we not fool ourselves into thinking that God has ordained some other means of salvation other than his Word being proclaimed.

Leave a comment

Filed under Evangelism, Interpretation, Missions

Jim Elliott: “Staying or Going”

Consider the call from the Throne above, Go ye, and from round about, Come over and help us, and even the call from the damned souls below, ‘Send Lazarus to my brothers, that they come not to this place’. Impelled, then, by these voices, I dare not stay home while [the Quichia Indians] perish. So what if the well-fed church in the homeland needs stirring? They have the Scriptures, Moses, and the Prophets, and a whole lot more. Their condemnation is written on their bankbooks and in the dust on their Bible covers. American believers have sold their lives to the service of money (Shadow of the Almighty).

 Stirred up by way of reminder by JD Greear 

Leave a comment

Filed under Missions, Quotations

Winterize Your View of Missions

I am typically dissatisfied with the quality of articles that I find in the Perspectives mailer I get once a month. I took the Perspectives mission class a couple of years ago at The Bethlehem Institute and was challenged as several viewpoints were presented – of which I was supposed to choose (or remain agnostic!). Ralph Winter is the mastermind behind the Perspectives course.

 This morning I was pleasantly surprised as I worked through Winter’s article tracing the history of evangelicalism and its relationship to social change. He divided the history into four ‘influences.’ The first was the First and Second Great Awakening. During this time there was a sense of coupling the gospel with social action due to a post-millenial view of the last days. That is, biblical interpreters believed the world would get better and better before Jesus returned to reign on earth. Christians would usher in the millennium through social change.

The second influence was spawned by DL Moody’s ministry and dispensationalism. Due to the view of the last days, Christians believed that Christ’s return was immanent and that the world would progressively get worse. Since there was an emphasis on the unkown time when Christ  would come, there was a fervency in decision-like evangelism. That is, people were pressed to make a decision before the end of the world came.

The third influence is related to the resurgence of Kingdom of God language by such men as John Stott and Arthur Glassner. This phase in evangelical mission gives a holistic understanding of Gospel proclamation. The Kingdom of God is intended to spread to all corners of the earth. This includes teaching and healing. ((By the way, an excellent ministry that is doing this in a God-honoring way is a ministry I have supported in the past. I knew the, then, president (he was my landlord). Mission: Moving Mountains. )) Winter calls this the “Recovering of the First Influence.” He lables it (rather interestingly) the 4th Great Awakening. While this may seem a little over the top, is it?

After all, there are large movements of people converting to Christ in Africa. Much of this movement is related to humanitarian effort coupled with Good News. This will lead to the Fourth Influence. Winter writes:

I yearn to see Evangelical missions be able to give
more direct, credible credit to Jesus Christ for the impetus
behind the social transformation that they have
been doing, are doing and should be doing. Practically
none of the major religions, by comparison, has any
similar contribution to good works, small or large.

In order for this renewed resurgence, and perhaps Great Awakening, we must see social change linked to Gospel teaching. May God’s Kingdom come through Christians spreading light through giving cups of cold water and their tunic.

!! If you would like a copy of this article, let me know and I will send one to you.

1 Comment

Filed under Evangelism, Missions, Social Justice, World

Willow Creek’s Seeker-Driven Model

Here is a helpful post on Willow Creek’s admission of impotency in programs. Thoughts?

1 Comment

Filed under Church, Current Events, Evangelism, Missions

Numbers

Here is a thought-provoking post by a friend of mine, Clayton King.

Leave a comment

Filed under Evangelism, Missions, Pastoral

Could You Write a Letter Like This?

Adoniram Judson wrote a letter to Ann Hasseltine’s parents asking for her hand in marriage. He knew that he was going to Burma and did not make false promises:

“I have now to ask whether you can consnt to part with your daughter early next spring, to see her no more in this world; whether you can consent to her departure for a heathen land, and her subjection to the hardships and sufferings of a missionary life; whether you can consent to her exposure to the dangers of the ocean; the fatal influence of the southern climate of India; to every kind of want and distress; to degradation, insult, persecution, and perhaps a violent death? Can you consent to all this for the sake of Him who left his heavenly home, and died for her and for you; for the sake of perishing immortal souls; for the sake of Zion and the glory of God? Can you consent to all this in hope of soon meeting your daughter in the world of glory, with a crown of righteousness, brightened by the acclamations of praise which shall redound to her Saviour from heathens saved, through her means, from eternal woe and despair?” (taken from The Three Mrs. Judsons, p. 8).

Leave a comment

Filed under Christian Living, Family | Parenting, Missions