Thursday, May 28, 2015

Luthers Works English edition- new releases

Luthers Works Editions
For a number of years 55 volumes of Luther's Works (also available electronically) have been available in English
Volumes 1-6 are available on kindle for less than $1 a volume from here

Recently there have been some new volumes released including:
Volume 58—Sermons V
Volume 59—Prefaces I
Volume 60—Prefaces II
Volume 67—Annotations on Matthew Chapters 1–18 
Volume 68—Sermons on Matthew Chapters 19–24
Volume 69—Sermons on the Gospel of St. John Chapters 17–20
Volume 75—Church Postil I
Volume 76—Church Postil II
Volume 77—Church Postil III
Volume 78—Church Postil IV

There are now plans for more editions of Luther's Works to be released in English including:
Volume 56—Sermons III (forthcoming)
Volume 57—Sermons IV (forthcoming)
Volume 61—Theological Writings (forthcoming)
Volume 62—Exodus (forthcoming)
Volume 63—Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Prophets (forthcoming)
Volume 64—Labors on the Psalms I (forthcoming)
Volume 65—Labors on the Psalms II (forthcoming)
Volume 66—Selected Psalms IV (forthcoming)
Volume 70—Early Works I (forthcoming)
Volume 71—Early Works II (forthcoming)
Volume 72—Disputations I (forthcoming)
Volume 73—Disputations II (forthcoming)
Volume 74—Letters IV (Counsels) (forthcoming)
Volume 79—Church Postil V (forthcoming)
Volume 80—House Postil I (forthcoming)
Volume 81—House Postil II (forthcoming)
Volume 82—House Postil III (forthcoming)
Companion Volume—Contemporary Biography

To receive the most recently released copy of Luther's Works visit CPH



Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Free Course - Natural Evangelism

A substantial percentage of people in our churches feel consciously incompetent when it comes to personal evangelism.  This in some way explains the popularity of out-the-box solutions like Alpha and similar programs.  Its easier to push play on the DVD and allow some guru to do the work for you, you just get the people there right?  Steve Ingram developed a course called ‘Mateship Evangelism’ to help his congregation realise that it can happen simply through natural relationships.


Includes:
Course Notes
Powerpoints
Evangelism Sermons
Evangelism Workbook



Book: Everyone belongs to God

How can Christians represent the love of Christ to their neighbours (let alone people in foreign countries) in an age when Christianity has earned a bad name from centuries of intolerance and cultural imperialism?
Is it enough to love and serve them?
Can you win their trust without becoming one of them?
Can you be a missional Christian without a church?

This provocative book, based on a recently uncovered collection of 100-year-old letters from a famous pastor to his nephew, a missionary in China, will upend pretty much everyone’s assumptions about what it means to give witness to Christ.

The authour Pastor Blumhardt challenges us to find something of God in every person, to befriend people and lead them to faith without expecting them to become like us, and to discover where Christ is already at work in the world.
This is truly good news: No one on the planet is outside the love of God.

At a time when Christian mission has too often been reduced to social work or proselytism, this book invites us to reclaim the heart of Jesus’ great commission, quietly but confidently incarnating the love of Christ and trusting him to do the rest.

Chapters are:
Keep the kingdom in view
Avoid being religious
See how Christ is already at work
Remain among the people
Open wide your heart
Make God's love known
Show the Gospel
Allow the Spirit to work
Always hope.



Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Christian and Church governance

Recently good governance has been the flavour of the month throughout the Western World.

Many denominations and Christian groups have been 'forced' to relook at their governance.

Unfortunately at times, some of their responses have been merely to pick up Governmental or Corporate governance models without testing to see whether they are consistent with what it means to be church, with their theology and how Christians should be living.
For Lutheran churches we say everything needs to be tested against scripture, and many Lutheran Churches go even a little further, in that, everything needs to be tested against the Confessions (Book of Concord) and scripture, with scripture having precedence.

Some Christians argue, that there is the kingdom on the left and the kingdom on the right these are separate, so we are exempt from what the scripture says when 'living and carrying out activities in the world.'  But a Lutheran and Christian understanding of scripture highlights this is not the case and it is not so clear cut, in fact we can't ignore scripture even when living in the kingdom of the left.    For a more indepth discussion on the doctrine of the two kingdoms visit LCA TWO KINGDOMS  , LCMS TWO KINGDOMS,  Biblical Training - Two Kingdoms nd Paul Althaus review of Two Kingdoms .

The complication for many congregations is that we are constantly operating in both kingdoms and so we need to consider what this means and how we respond to the various responsibilities we have.

A good starting point is to keep in mind what good governance is:
  1. Making sure we are meeting and working towards meeting our objectives (Mission Statement, Vision Statement and Goals, Great Commission and Great Commandment should also be important here)
  2. Making sure we are meeting our legal responsibilities
  3. Making sure we are meeting our financial responsibilities
Some things to think about:
What issues are taking up most of your time, discussion and meeting....Objectives, Legal, Finances???
Are ALL the people on your board passionate about your organisation meeting its objectives?
(A good way to gauge this is listen to what people talk most about)
This is highly critical...otherwise it will become more important to meet legal and financial issues than your objectives (and in fact people may lose sight of why they are being church)...which will cause problems down the track because people will be burdened by financial and legal matters rather than their objectives....It is also important that we don't neglect the financial and legal responsibilities....but view them as things that should serve us and be viewed in the light of our objectives.

Another issue that is becoming increasingly common is the need for skill based boards. Some Christian organisations have become so obsessed with getting skill based boards that they neglect to set any minimum criteria or checking regarding who should be on this boards relating to a person's beliefs and commitment to the objectives of the organisation.  So what can and has happened is that the objectives of the organisation and therefore the reason for its existence is secondary at best as a result of people who focus on the legal expertise, financial expertise or their expertise .   Appointing people based on skill without a minimum commitment to the objectives of the organisation also seems to go against Acts 6:1-4 , which says to appoint people even for hospitality roles, who are full of the Spirit.  Check out Willowcreek's approach to appointing Board members


Some great books on governance relating to churches and Christian organisations
 


Articles on Church governance:
What the bible says?
Lutheran Church Polity in USA
Mark Connor
Theopedia article
Willowcreek article

Lutheran Books recently released on Kindle