Thursday, September 24, 2009

Collision 4 Review

Wednesday night is a night that I will look back on for me as one of those real turning points in the journey that is founding Engage City Church. With a few key leaders away out of town for holidays and mission trip I was tempted to wonder if anyone would turn up after the amazing night we had last week. Well, despite all my stressing, again it was a fantastic night with more new familes and couples turning up with a heart to partner with a new church intent on engaging in the old mission of Jesus.

My very good friend John shared his powerful testimony of God's unyeilding grace in his life. It was so good as it connected so clearly into our discussion of Tim Kellers book “The Prodigal God.” Austin as always lead so well with our time of prayer and singing. I shared my commitment to stick with Jesus and His declaration that when we proclaim Him as Lord and Saviour He “will build His church.” (Matthew 16 verse 18)

We had some amazing food. Lorri blew us all away with her gluten free lemon tart! Hey, I need to say it again this is a Church that I can honestly invite my friends to. Thanks Jesus for your work in and through us, it is a privilege to be invited to serve the people of Brisbane with you. Also a huge thanks for everyone who is praying for this new church, God is definitely at work!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Launch Team Meeting - 2 Recap

Another amazing night last night with our Engage City Team.

It was great to see everyone back! Nerida's burgers and Southern Egg Pie were a knockout again! There were plenty of laughs going around as Nerida, Mike and others shared their most embarrassing experiences with the gang. That's what happens when sanguines are unleashed in a group!

After dinner we grabbed dessert while Tim and Nerida shared their story and Austin shared a song. In our time with God's Word in Acts 17 we revisited our purpose; that we exist "to see people far from God engage with Jesus and His life." It is so good to encourage one another In Jesus and His gospel and share Him with others. I talked about the unchanging nature of God, revealed in Jesus and His heart for those who are far from Him (Phil 2 & Luke 4).

The bottom line we landed on was this :
God created and sustains the universe. His attitude was and is one of grace and love expressed in humble service to His creation. Though we were at war with Him, hating Him, He nevertheless loved us. A love expressed in action. He set aside His heavenly glory and willingly humbled Himself. He chose to come to us and enter our 'culture' being born in the form of a man, Jesus Christ. Jesus loved us by living the God honoring life we could never live and dying the death we should have died. He was punished for our rebellion and wrong doing. Jesus served us so we could turn to God and be forgiven and enter into a new and right relationship with Him now and forever. This was all confirmed when Jesus rose from the dead on the third day. Now that is good news!

Jesus gifts His followers with His Spirt and eternal presence. It should be no surprise that as we follow Him our hearts are now inclined towards grace, mercy and love expressed in action to a lost and broken humanity. It is only natural for this is the heart beat of Jesus our God that now lives within us. This we pray is always the heartbeat of this new church.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Launch Team Meeting - 2

Woke up at 4am this morning to pray for our second launch team meeting!!
I'm so freakin excited I get to be a part of what Jesus is unleashing in Brisbane and indeed Australia.

Here are a few thoughts that are in my mind and heart:
* Engage City Church is a 'new' church specifically started to reach 'new' people. We follow Jesus.

* The vision is the same. It never changes. Jesus has set the vision. Engage City Church exists to see people far from God engage with Jesus and His life. We do this by following Jesus and lovingly sharing the truth about him in word and deed as we serve our city. Jesus and His gospel are unchanging and we unashamedly commit to sharing and living it in Him.

* The cultural strategy for doing this must however be constantly reviewed and retweaked. It's been said a million times before but why persevere with a 'strategy' that is obviously not connecting or bearing fruit with the culture Jesus has placed you in? Jesus Himself tells us only a fool would try and store new wine in an old wineskin! Missional strategy always flows from Jesus and His mission to see the broken and lost healed and rescued. Jesus demands that His followers engage with the 'world' and people who are not like us (Philippians 2:1-18). Therefore the way we communicate the truth about him and serve others must change in different cultural settings.

Church Planter Interview - Pastor Mikey Lynch

I recently got the chance to ask Pastor Mikey Lynch a few questions about his experience as a planter in Australia. Check out his Blog here.

1. What compels you to live in Tasmania :)?

I was born here and my family moved back here when I was in late high school. I would kind of like to live in Melbourne... or New York... one day, but for now it seems right to be here. For quite a while Nikki and I were thinking about working as missios in France, but as the church planting ministry developed here, it seemed this is where we should be.

2. What is the top three pieces of advice you would share with an Aussie Planter?

i. Take a lot of time to get to know your context. Don't be presumptuous.
ii. Be patient and look to God for approval. It'll possibly take 3 years to get anywhere.
iii. We don't just pray for the work; prayer is the work.

3. What is the top three pieces of advice you would share with young bible teachers?

i. Spend time in the text. The best illustrations and application will come from there.
ii. Learn the art of public speaking: practise gestures, tounge twisters, pitch and pace; imitate lots of other preachers; get interested in language.
iii. Become a people watcher: get fascinated with what makes them tick.

4. What five books would you recommend that you have read over the last few years.

i. Resurrection and Moral Order by Oliver O'Donnovan - we gotta have good ethical thinking to reach Australians I reckon.
ii. Planting Missional Churches by Ed Stetzer - lots of good stuff here, as well as some weird American bits.
iii. Promoting the Gospel by John Dickson - a compelling, Australian vision for biblical, holistic, church evangelism.
iv. Manhood by Steve Biddulph - not a Christian book, but plenty of goodies there for thinking about Australian masculinity to help you understand yourself.
v. The Holy Trinity by Robert Letham - a broad, deep, gentle textbook on trinitarian theology.

5. What do you see as the greatest challenges facing Australian Reformed Evangelical Church Planters?

i. Evangelism is slow and hard but central to our task. We must not devolve into chasing after Christians, or only reaching the de-churched.
ii. We must not only have biblical doctrine, but thoroughly biblical models of ministry.
iii. There is great theological and moral value in maintaining those frustrating relationships with Christians outside our circles. That's why denominations can be so good for us.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Fathers Day Australia, 2009

This morning I actually celebrated my second Fathers Day for 2009!
It is a privilege to be Dad, and every year I have watching my boys grow up I guess I get a little more of a glimpse of the Father Heart of God. I'm still staggered by the fact that I get to live this amazing life with such a beautiful wife and three amazing boys.
I love the fact that it all started with hand made cards, a new pair of super cool shorts and a big kiss from my gorgeous wife. Then after church we hung out in a park by the City and the boys rode their bikes down a steep hill! Those boys have a daredevil streak that has skipped a generation. Then we got to finish up the afternoon playing "Starwars - Revenge of the Sith!" It was great to hang with my family today. I love you all so much.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

First Launch Team Meeting

Last night we had our very first launch team meeting and it was amazing!
It was great to see all these people gathered together in our house, getting along!
We laughed, ate BBQ, shared the vision and prayed that Jesus will build His church in and through us.
Thanks so much to everyone who has been so faithful in praying for this new church in Brisbane.

Our Approach:
Jesus is first and central. As we follow Him and walk in His Spirit we naturally are lead into His mission. As we love and serve people new churches are formed as Jesus gives new life.

Jesus leads us on mission, and the natural result is culturally appropriate new Jesus communities.