Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Book: Mission shaped by Promise

Mission shaped by promise -  Lutheran Missiology confronts the challenge of Religious Pluralism by Jukka Kaariainen

Utilizing resources from Martin Luther and the Lutheran tradition, this study offers an understanding of the gospel as promise as key to addressing the challenge of relating the missio Dei to a generous, constructive approach toward the religious other. In its construction of a Lutheran missiology, it retrieves and reappropriates four resources from the Lutheran tradition: 
the gospel as promise, 
the law/gospel distinction, 
a theology of grace as promise of mercy fulfilled, 
and a theology of the cross utilizing the hiddenness of God. 

The law of God as accusing yet webbing humanity to its Creator; the gospel as the comforting promise of mercy; and the hiddenness of God as mystifying form the overarching framework within which the Lutheran missiology presented here seeks to engage the religious other by dialectically relating gospel proclamation and dialogue. Such a view of "mission shaped by promise" offers the paradox of God being both revealed and hidden in the cross as a distinctive contribution to an interreligious dialogue centered on the ambiguity and hiddenness of God.

For Amazon Customer Reviews visit here

Crossings Review and summary visit here

Monday, March 24, 2014

Noah the Movie - resources to help in your Christian faith

The Noah movie directed by Darren Aronofsky, starring Russell Crowe, has attracted much discussion and debate from within the Christian community.   

I have prepared some resources to help you and others use Noah the movie to grow and enhance your Christian faith.  These are available here 

Please note:  our resource page was updated with some extra resources on 25th March 2014

Monday, March 03, 2014

Article: Church planting it helps to be crazy by Dan Clites (LCMC)

Dan Clites is the co-ordinator for New Ministry Development with Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ.  
He has a blog at http://www.danclites.blogspot.com.au

One of his recent entries was the following:
Church Planting it helps to be crazy ...
I recently saw a fun sign posted behind the counter of a small town mom-and-pop restaurant.  It read: "You don't have to be crazy to work here, but it sure does help!"

I laughed out loud and then thought, "Hey, that's a slogan every church planter should be wearing on a t-shirt!"

With that in mind, I invite you to ask yourselves, "Am I crazy enough to be a church planter?  Do I know someone else that is?"  Church planters have to be a bit crazy, but not insane.  They don't do something crazy and then expect God to bless it.  Instead, God blesses them to do something crazy, so they do it.  To prove it, here are 5-points and 8-biblical characters who were "crazy in Christ."  (My thanks to Geoff Surratt for the inspiration).

Are YOU crazy enough to...

1)....build like Noah and Nehemiah, even though everyone else thought they were nuts?  God told Noah to build a really big boat, so Noah picked up a hammer and obeyed.  Nehemiah was told by God to rebuild the Jerusalem wall.  So he gathered together a rag-tag group of non-union workers and they obeyed in record time.  Likewise, crazy church planters see a middle school theater and build a worship center. They find a bar singer and develop a worship leader.  They see dismal stats and say, "We can still do this!"

2)...live in determination like Caleb and party like Matthew?  Caleb was 80-years old when he demanded his dream of land become reality.  When Matthew was called by Jesus, Matthew didn't sit down to plan a constitution with by-laws, but stood up to plan a party with people--- inviting fellow tax collectors and sinners.  Likewise, crazy church planters are determined not to fail, seeking everyone as potential converts for discipleship and doing it in fun!

3)...lead a team of misfits like David and be passionate like Peter?  David's "mighty men" were really law-breaking malcontents, but he captained them into greatness.  Peter always seemed to move with passion, saying crazy things like "Let's build a tent right here!"  Or, "Baptize me from head-to-toe!"  Or, "I will never deny you, Lord!"  He cuts off a soldier's ear, hops out of a moving vehicle to walk on water and deeply sobs at his betrayal of the Savior.  Likewise, crazy church planters build leaders from soon-to-be former addicts, deadbeat dads and apathetic drifters.  They do it with a cross-and-resurrection-passion because there is no such thing as a stoic church planter.

4)...serve with a soft heart and thick skin like the Apostle Paul?  Paul was beaten, stoned, shipwrecked, starved, rejected, jailed and mocked.  Yet, he was determined to move forward rather than quit and stay safely put.  Likewise, crazy church planters are "all in" for their mission.  They have the faith and the wiring to work hard and quickly adapt and change, so that more people can be reclaimed by the Word and discipled by the Holy Spirit.

5)...love your community like Jesus did?  Jesus wept over the very city that would crucify him, yet he still trained, empowered and sent many teams into the mission field.  Their job was to make contagious connections in the marketplace so the gospel would flourish through the city.  Likewise, crazy church planters know they are not to be lone rangers, but team makers.  They die to their egos because they are obsessed in seeing the marketplace of their city be transformed by a living faith.

Friends, you don't have to be crazy to be a church planter, but it sure does help--- especially when you live out your calling like the above biblical characters lived out their faith.

This article and others relating to church planting from a Lutheran perspective can be found at