The following post are my notes of Dr. John Ewart’s lecture on missions.
What is the Mission of God?
It is not missions. Namely, it is not international or foreign missions. The mission of God is ultimately for God to bring glory unto himself.
One of many ways that God will bring glory to himself is to draw lost people to himself.
“Missions is the overflow of God’s delight in being God.” (John Piper)
Therefore, our ultimate mission is to bring glory to God.
One of many ways we bring glory to God is to intentionally seek to be used by him in His redeeming work.
The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Even in the church the laborers are few. Around 90% of average church members do not any intention of trying to share their faith. We must be sharing our faith so that we can bring God glory.
However, missions and evangelism are not our goals, they are the means to our goals.
Here are 22 alliterated summary statements of what God does from Genesis 1-20:
1. God Creates Everything – Genesis 1-2 (Establishes the covenant of works and marriage)
2. God’s Covenant Is Broken – Genesis 3:1-7
3. God Curses Satan, The Woman, & The Man – Genesis 3:8-19
4. God Clothes and Casts Out Adam & Eve – Genesis 3:20-24 Continue reading
Is it possible to successfully plant a growing church in the eyes of the world and do it all without the power of the Holy Spirit? In Francis Chan’s book Forgotten God he argues that, “a group of talented, charismatic leaders can draw a crowd. Find the right creative team, musicians, and speakers, and you can grow any church. It doesn’t even have to be a Christian church…My point is that a growing and energetic gathering is not necessarily evidence of the Holy Spirit’s work.”
Chan is making a profound observation. Every week there are plenty of growing and energetic gatherings that are not a result of the Holy Spirit’s power. For example, thousands of Mormon, Muslim, Unitarian, and Jehovah’s Witness gather each week for worship. Sadly, in addition hundreds of dead “Christian” churches gather each week and almost all of these theologically liberal churches have denied the gospel.
Therefore, these realities indicate it is possible to successfully plant a growing church in the eyes of the world and do it all without the power of the Holy Spirit. If a growing and energetic gathering is not necessarily evidence of the Holy Spirit’s work, then what exactly is evidence of his work? In other words, what does it look like to plant a church by the power of the Holy Spirit? In this first post I hope to provide an answer to that question by looking the work of the Holy Spirit in the book of Acts. In the next post I will answer the “how” question. Namely, how does someone or a group go about planting a church that is led by the Holy Spirit? What are the methods and principles that must be applied to the church planting process to ensure that it is in fact the Spirit who is leading? If these posts accomplish its purpose then it will have clearly explained not only what spirit-led church planting looks like, but also how spirit-led church planting happens. Continue reading
The following is an excerpt from John Frame’s book The Doctrine of God, Chapter 9, “The Problem of Evil.” The headings are added by David Mathis; the paragraphs are Dr. Frame’s.
God Is Sovereign Over Sin
. . . God does harden hearts, and through his prophets he predicts sinful human actions long in advance, indicating that he is in control of human free decisions. Now theologians have found it difficult to formulate in general terms how God acts to bring about those sinful actions. . . . Do we want to say that God is the “cause” of evil? That language is certainly problematic, since we usually associate cause with blame. . . . [I]t seems that if God causes sin and evil, he must be to blame for it.
Words: The Theologian’s Tools
Therefore, there has been much discussion among theologians as to what verb should best describes God’s agency in regard to evil. Some initial possibilities: authors, brings about, causes, controls, creates, decrees, foreordains, incites, includes within his plan, makes happen, ordains, permits, plans, predestines, predetermines, produces, stands behind, wills. Many of these are extra-scriptural terms; none of them are perfectly easy to define in this context. So theologians need to give some careful thought about which of these terms, if any, should be affirmed, and in what sense. Words are the theologian’s tools. In a situation like this, none of the possibilities is fully adequate. There are various advantages and disadvantages among the different terms. Let us consider some of those that are most frequently discussed. Continue reading
We have great demands, but Christ has great supplies. Between here and heaven, we may have greater wants than we have yet known. But all along the journey, every resting place is ready; provisions are laid up, good cheer is stored, and nothing has been overlooked. The com missionary of the Eternal is absolutely perfect.
Do you sometimes feel so thirsty for grace that you could drink the Jordan dry? More than a river could hold is given to you, so drink abundantly, for Christ has prepared a bottomless sea of grace to fill you with all the fullness of God. Do not be frugal. Do not doubt your Savior. Do not limit the Holy One of Israel. Be great in your experience of His all-sufficiency. Be great in your praises of His bounty, and in heaven you will pour great treasures of gratitude at His feet.
The above post is an excerpt from pg. 12 of Charles Spurgeon’s devotional book “Beside Still Waters.” A meditation of Exodus 16:15 called “This Is The Bread.”
Glory, Majesty, Dominion, and Authority Keep Us Safe for Everlasting Joy: Reflections on God’s Keeping Power through 32 Years of Ministry
(Audio of this message can be found HERE. Video of this message can be found HERE.)
This message has two parts.
This first part I want draw you in amazement that I am still a Christian and hope you will be amazed that you are still a Christian.
The second part is how that came about.
“Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.” (Jude 1:24, 25)
I complete this year 60 years of being a Christian, 32 years of pastoral ministry, 44 years of marriage, and 40 years of being a father.
I am amazed that I have lasted this long. To help you understand this I want to read an excerpt from my journal in 1986 when I was 40 years old and been at the church for 6 years. Continue reading
(Listen to the audio HERE. See the video HERE.)
The Underestimated God: God’s Ruthless, Compassionate, Grace in the Pursuit of His Own Glory and His Ministers’ Joy
I want to bring special encouragement for those here who are struggling. We sometimes think the crushing darkness will not come but then it comes.
God wants us to study our disappointments because we will learn what we really love and believe when the bottom falls out.
In our disappointments we forget God is God and that God is good. We are tempted to succumb to idolatry. We think a greater treasure has been taken from us then what God can give us.
You do not want to be in 1 Kings 19 in your ministry. You want to be in 1 Kings 18 at Mount Carmel.
1 Kings 19
What are your greatest losses in life? What are your hopes and treasures that you have never gotten or were taken away. Continue reading