Sunday, May 25, 2008

Breaking the Dicipleship Code

One of the books that I've really really appreciated in the last while has been David Putmans book "Breaking the Missional Code." David and Ed Stetzer have clearly communicated the reason and need for Jesus' Church to return to His mission.
Here's a couple of clips where David shares the Big Idea behind his new book, "Breaking the Discipleship Code."

Monday, May 19, 2008

Newlife Easter 2008

Title : “Easter Outreach Touches 1,500!”

“There’s more to Easter than chocolate eggs.” That was the message Newlife Presbyterian Church shared with their community at Springfield Lakes this last Easter Saturday. With around twenty Newlife volunteers serving and well over 1,500 adults and children filling the park for the annual outreach event, Newlife has been overwhelmed with the impact that sharing the gospel combined with genuine service can have on people who are far from God.

Though the aim was simply to serve the community with God’s love and raise awareness that the church does care for the people in it’s community, Newlife has been blessed with visitors since and two new unchurched families have since started calling Newlife “home.” Melanie, a member of one of these new families said, “I haven’t been in a church for over eight years, but when I saw the people of this church sincerely love and serve their community, we said to ourselves, ‘That’s a church we could go to, THEY SEEM SO NORMAL.’”

The morning began with a delicious free pancake breakfast. After the crowd’s hunger was satisfied the families gathered around in the grassed amphitheater beside the lake to listen to a short evangelistic talk on the real reason for Easter by Rev Will Henderson. Following the talk the children were invited to join in an exciting Easter Egg Hunt.

“It’s humbling to see the sort of influence that a small, but Jesus centered church like Newlife can have on it’s community,” Rev. Henderson said. “This is the third year we’ve gifted our community with this free outreach event, and it’s now at the stage where the community feels it owns this gospel event as theirs. The local council wants us to do it, Delfin advertises it as the ‘Springfield Easter Event’ and most importantly the community comes to participate and listen because they know it’s genuine. It’s fantastic to see God at work as we serve and share about Jesus. Lives are being touched and changed by Him.”

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Why do Christians fail to reach out?

This is a great question to consider.
I've been thinking about it alot.
Here in this clip Tim Keller (Lead Pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian) gives a really good description of why Christians can easily end up introverted and insular to the people God has placed around them.
Groups of Christians do this when they separate themselves from and actively oppress not only nonChristians but also OTHER Christians who aren't "just like us."
Step One - Superiority. "I/We have the truth and they don't."
Step Two - Separation. "I no longer spend time with them, they aren't up to the mark or even impure.
Step Three - Caricature. "Because I don't actually spend time with them to know them, I caricature them. Result, they now become one dimensional."
Step Four - Passive & Active Oppression. "Now Caricatured they become the type of people I can push away and ignore. Passively at first, then over time, actively."
Check out Keller's new book "The Reason For God" here!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Keep it Simple Stupid

Reverend Ole and Pastor Sven

Here's a great story that follows on from my last post...

Reverend Ole was the pastor of the local Norwegian Lutheran Church, and Pastor Sven was the minister of the Swedish Covenant Church across the road. I saw them yesterday standing by the road, pounding a sign into the ground, that reads:

‘Da End iss Near!
Turn Yourself Aroundt Now!
Bvefore It’s Too Late!’

As a car sped past them, the driver leaned out his window and yelled, ‘Leave us alone, you religious nuts!’
From the curve we heard screeching tires, screams and a big splash…

Reverend Ole turns to Pastor Sven and asks, ‘Do ya tink maybe da sign should yust say ‘Bvridge Out’?

sorry - "Names" sometimes do hurt.

One of my boys has been visiting a "XXXXist" to work out why he has a low attention span… I can answer that… cause his dad’s ADD.
Seriously though, I actually had to ask my wife what is a “XXXXist”? She replied, “It’s a doctor who specialises in helping kids to focus. To which I replied, “Oh, that’s cool, why not just say it??”
But seriously it’s kinda got me thinking about the names our churches have and how crazy they must sound to those who aren’t yet on the inside and in the gang.

Q. What comes to your mind when you hear the word Presbyterian?

That’s an actual question – I’d love for you to post a comment and honestly let me know. Cause I guess for many brought up in the Pressie church it brings good memories of wild youth groups, piping in the Haggis and solid bible teaching. But what about the thousands who’ve never experienced the joy of driving a dirk into a steaming sheeps gut? What does Presbyterian mean to those who’re on the outside,
I guess I'm sharing this because it's really another good reason to plant a new Presbyterian Church... there's no hang up with you must have 'presbyterian' in the name... I guess if you're only trying to make real 'Pressies' feel welcome and SCARE off everyone else (including baptists) that's what you'd do, you'd call yourself "Suburb Presbyterian Church - The local church for Presbyterians."
I love this quote from their website though…

"Question : To what denomination does Perimeter belong?
Answer : Perimeter Church actually belongs to the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). We appear to be a non-denominational church because our focus is reaching the unchurched…"

That’s what I’m talking about!! I’ve got a mate from Uni who when he found out I’m now a Presbyerian Minister actually asked me, “So what religion is Presbyterial? Like Mormon or something?” And I had to explain to him - it's Christian. To which he replied, “Oh that’s cool - so what’s with the Presbyterial thing in the name? Talk about confusing.”

I'll settle with "Suburb/name Christian Church – the church for everyone." Much less baggage, much more open and much more welcoming to those who're far from God in a modern day Aussie context. Hmmm still like my wife when she wears tartan though…

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mothers Day and Archies Baptism

Well Mothers Day 2008 was awesome!!
Before church the Sunday School kids handed out customised pictures to the mums and grandmums and after church the kids served a specially made morning tea (we hope they washed their cute little hands before they iced those biscuits for us). Tracey you are the best Sunday School Teacher EVER!!
We also had Archies Baptism. It was so special to have all our Australian family there to share the day as we prayed for Arch's future. And just so no one was left out Archie truthfully said "Dad I Baptist??" Which brought alot of laughter from the Newlifers who've joined us from a Baptist background. I tell you that boys a born pastor.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Fergus' kinda chair

It goes without introduction..
Fergus (my boy) is a man after my own heart!!
(By the way Fergus actually does ride our two leather lounge chairs like this!!)

Presbyterian X Pentecostal!!

Here's what you get when you cross a Reformer with a Pente...
It's what scientists call 'hybrid vigour' - HA!!

OR Presbycostal-chicklins...

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Church Planting Milestones

Heres a great website that documents key Church Planting Milestones...

The Externally Focused Church

Hey this is a great thought starter on the need for the local church to be focused on humbly serving the community it is placed in.