Archive for the ‘church’ Category

If you’re a small group leader or involved in leading prayer ministry, check out this excellent list of practical tips for leading prophetic prayer times.

Also, check out the helpful post on prophetic activation exercises.


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oscarmuriuglsOscar Muriu is the Senior Pastor at Nairobi Chapel, Kenya and a passionate proponent for the raising up of young leaders. He was one of the most provocative speakers at the GLS conference this year, bringing a straightforward message that will have been difficult for many to hear. I doubt many leaders went away saying ‘I really must put that into practice next week’. This was hard teaching.

He presented his five convictions of viral leadership:

1. The size of the harvest depends on how many harvesters you have (Matt 9.37-38).

These harvesters are leaders who need raising up. Jesus didn’t leap into the field and spend all his energy harvesting – his strategy was to invest his time in 12 disciples. The first thing he did was find his leaders and grow them. ‘Who will continue your work?’ he asked us. If you want to measure the impact of your life, ask yourself this: how many young leaders are you growing? A wise question and a challenging one  – am I investing in younger leaders?

2. Live for the next generation (Ps 71.18).

His challenge to us was to pour out our lives for the next generation, not our own, and by this he meant those 20 years our junior. This is certainly seek-first-my-kingdom stuff, and the challenge to selflessly live for a time to come was one of the most difficult of the conference.

3. Find your 70. (Num 11.10-17.18)

His point from Moses’ story was that the 70 leaders were already there, because he appointed them all in one day. He challenged us to find the budding leaders who are right under our noses, to recognise potential and train it.

4. Instil the ‘five loves’ (Mark 12.30-33).

Remember these? Heart, soul, mind, strength, neighbour… Love God, love your neighbour – everything is summed up in this! He pointed to these five loves as a model for teaching young leaders: (a) Heart – character; (b) Soul – conviction; (c) Mind – comprehension; (d) Strength – competence; (e) Neighbour – compassion.  Nothing revolutionary here, but a excellent framework!

5. Never do ministry alone (Acts 4.13).

His challenge was to always have budding leaders around, in every part of ministry, at every opportunity. If you’re doing ministry alone, he suggested, it’s a wasted opportunity for teaching. This was the advice I thought most leaders would find the hardest to implement. It’s such a wise idea, but I can see plenty of concerns being raised about privacy and so on. However, people are happy to accept this same approach in a teaching hospital: younger doctors always around, listening and learning, offering suggestions, trying things out. What is so different about spiritual ministry?

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In this provocative article on the biblical theology of the city Tim Keller describes the city as a form of cultural ‘gardening’, designed by God to “draw out the riches he put into the earth, nature and the human soul at creation”.

Keller describes how the city was designed by God as a place of refuge and safety, a place of cultural development and a place to meet with him, but sin corrupts the city, creating places of violence, pride and idolatry.

This short article ends with a summary of why cities are crucial to the church’s mission to reach the world, and how the church can engage effectively with the city. I particularly liked Keller’s four models of urban ministry:

We despise the city. Church as fortress. (Forgetting the city as Jerusalem).
We are the city. Church as mirror. (Forgetting the city as Babylon).
We use the city. Church as space capsule. (Forgetting the city as battleground).
We love the city. Church as leaven. Jeremiah 29.

Any theological model of the city will fail if one or more of these three biblical themes of the city is neglected, omitted, or over-emphasised.

Tim Keller, A biblical theology of the city, Evangelicals Now, July 2002

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This brings us to the first of two golden rules at the heart of spirituality. You become like what you worship. When you gaze in awe, admiration, and wonder at something or someone, you begin to take on something of the character of the object or your worship. …

 So what happens when you worship the creator God whose plan to rescue the world and put it to rights has been accomplished by the Lamb who was slain? The answer comes in the second golden rule: because you were made in God’s image, worship makes you more truly human.  You discover more of what it means to be fully alive. …

 Conversely, when you give that same total worship to anything or anyone else, you shrink as a human being. …when you worship an idol—you may well feel a brief “high.”  But, like a hallucinatory drug, that worship achieves its effect at a cost: when the effect is over, you are less of a human being than you were to begin with. This is the price of idolatry.

NT Wright, Simply Christian, 127

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Why is it that when you advertise a parish job in rural Wiltshire you have 30 applicants and a shortlist of five people who would all be super, but when we advertise the identical-looking job in County Durham we get either only one or two applicants? I’m passionate about the North East, I want to see the churches flourish. They’re great people, it’s a great place. God is doing things, we need people to come and join in.

Bishop Tom Wright, Christianity, May 2009

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Within the large, capacious context of the biblical story we learn to think accurately, behave morally, preach passionately, sing joyfully, pray honestly, obey faithfully. But we dare not abandon the story as we do any or all of these things, for the minute we abandon the story, we reduce reality to the dimensions of our minds and feelings and experience. The moment we formulate our doctrines, draw up our moral codes, and throw ourselves into a life of ministry apart from a continuous re-immersion in the story itself, we walk right out of the presence and activity of God and set up our own shop.

Eugene Peterson puts it plainly – and strongly – in his book ‘Subversive Spirituality‘ (p.5)

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Trusting that Jesus Christ is the definitive revelation of God and humanity requires that we accept our vast ignorance of God and the world outside of Christ. In our fallen state we find this very difficult to do…  

The vast complexity of the world is no problem for God. With perfect clarity and perfect character, God knows good and evil. When we seize the divine prerogative of knowing good and evil, we appropriate the impulse to be omniscient without possessing the divine capacity to be omniscient. We are thus inclined to act like God in pronouncing judgment, but we do it without God’s perfect clarity and character. We also do it without God’s fullness. Indeed, we pronounce judgment out of emptiness and as a strategy for getting full. …

Hence, when the world resists our fixing, we are inclined to blame it on the fact that it doesn’t conform to our judgments, If only everyone though like we think all would be well with the world. We feed our empty selves with the illusion that we are fixers rather than ones who need fixing. …

Jesus systematically evaded attempts to engage him in the numerous ethical, social, and political problems of his day (eg. Matt. 22:15-22; Luke 12:13-14). …his concern was not to bring clarity to ambiguous ethical, religious, and political dilemmas but to provide people with a relationship with God that would transform their perspective on all ambiguous dilemmas and on all of life. Jesus’ dominant concern was to call us to surrender ourselves completely to him and to walk in obedience to his Spirit within us.

Greg Boyd, Repenting of Religion, pp.136-138

Thanks to FaithBasedBlog.com

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