Around the Interweb (01/17)

Video Update from Matt Chandler

Pastor Matt Chandler of the Village Church in Texas gives an update on his cancer treatment:

HT: The Village Church Pastors’ Blog


In other news

Dan Woolley, a colleague of mine from Compassion International was rescued the other day from the ruins of the Hotel Montana in Haiti! Praise God for this wonderful news! Please give to help with the relief and long term recovery efforts.

2010: Living in the Future. You must read this. My wife’s review: “It made me choke on my own laughter.” So you know it’s good.

Albert Mohler: Does God Hate Haiti?


In case you missed it

Here are a few of this week’s notable posts:

A review of Jim Belcher’s very helpful book, Deep Church

The morning after in Haiti.

Holy Spirit vs. Holy Scripture 

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones: The Test of a True Teacher

Moralizing Destroys Scripture and Cultivates Pride

God Has Positioned Us For a Time Such as This: Wess Stafford on Haiti

An Important update from Wess Stafford, President of Compassion International:

Relief and recovery efforts are underway in Haiti, and long after many organizations are gone, Compassion will remain, as Wess said. Compassion has been serving the people of Haiti since 1968 and 65,000 children are being sponsored in 230 church projects, where they get opportunities for learning, regular health checkups, dental care, and take advantage of a host of other programs based on the needs of their communities. Most importantly, every child gets the opportunity to hear and respond to the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection, to grow in faith as they are mentored by volunteers from their own communities and gain the skills they need to bring an eternal solution to poverty. Please give to help with Compassion’s recovery efforts in Haiti.

To gain some additional perspective on this tragedy, please watch the CBC’s interview with Barry Slauenwhite, President of Compassion Canada, who was caught in Tuesday’s earthquake.

HT: Compassion Blog

The Morning After in Haiti

Update: A video from CNN – “The earth actually split:”

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more about “CNN“, posted with vodpod

Also, my co-worker offers some thoughts on the Compassion Advocates blog.


Yesterday, Haiti was struck by a 7.0 earthquake outside the capital city, Port-au-Prince. Troy and Tara Livsay are missionaries in the country; they posted the following on their blog:

The few things we can confirm – yes the four story Caribbean Market building is completely demolished. Yes it was open. Yes the National Palace collapsed. Yes Gov’t buildings nearby the Palace collapsed. Yes St Josephs Boys home is completely collapsed. Yes countless countless – countless other houses, churches, hospitals, schools, and businesses have collapsed. There are buildings that suffered almost no damage. Right next door will be a pile of rubble.

Thousands of people are currently trapped. To guess at a number would be like guessing at raindrops in the ocean. Precious lives hang in the balance. When pulled from the rubble there is no place to take them for care Haiti has an almost non existent medical care system for her people.

I cannot imagine what the next few weeks and months will be like. I am afraid for everyone. Never in my life have I seen people stronger than Haitian people. But I am afraid for them. For us.

A pastors’ tour from Compassion Canada arrived in the country about an hour before the earthquake hit.

I was supposed to be on that trip.

Not sure how to feel about that right now.

Compassion and other organizations are already assessing the damage and taking part in relief and recovery efforts. Please give to help with these efforts.

But just as importantly, please pray for the people of Haiti. I can only echo Troy and Tara’s comments, which I’ve reprinted here:

The horror has only just begun and I beg you to get on your knees – I truly mean ON YOUR KNEES and pray for the people of this country. The news might forget in a few days – but people will still be trapped alive and suffering. Pray. Pray. Pray. After that – PLEASE PRAY.

Around the Interweb (12/27)

Breaking Spiritual Strongholds

A new story from The Difference is Jesus.com:

Ajinta and her family worshipped Maran Buru and other spirits and performed witchcraft to bring prosperity to their home. But instead of prosperity, she found only strife. Sickness prevailed in her home and fights raged, despite their fervent prayers and the sacrifices they offered.

In times of illness, they went to witch doctors to perform the rituals of calling upon spirits for recovery. Their lives revolved around sickness and fear. Instead of being delivered from their plight, Ajinta and Bablu, her husband, only found more tension.


In other news 

Andy Naselli on hermeneutics

The Wonder of Apple’s Tablet (via Josh Harris)

What Do David and Saul Have to Do With Christmas?

Tim Challies and Luke Muehlhauser are exchanging letters on faith. It’s pretty interesting so far.


In case you missed it

Here are a few of this week’s notable posts:

Republishing Charles Spurgeon’s “The First Christmas Carol:” Part one | Part two | Part three

A short film on whether or not the Christmas story really happened

Win a copy of John Piper’s Don’t Waste Your Life

Sunday Shorts (11/15)

What Happens When…

What happens when all this happens in a small village in the smallest nation in Central America? With almost no government resources? Without insurance and a hospital nearby or a car to visit it? What happens then?

The Church happens.

We drove and drove today to Santa Maria Ostuma, a small village where Compassion International cares for about 200 children through one Compassion project.I wish Compassion International didn’t use the word “project” so often. I prefer the word “church.” Every Compassion project around the world is a local church. Compassion ministers to children and their families through churches because churches know and are trusted by their neighbors, they’re everywhere, and only churches – only Jesus – can meet both physical and spiritual needs. Compassion is about equipping churches to do just that.

HT: Shaun Groves


How to Make a “Successful” Pastor with a Six-Month Curriculum

For a long time, I have been convinced that I could take a person with a high school education, give him or her a six-month trade school training, and provide a pastor who would be satisfactory to any discriminating American congregation. The curriculum would consist of four courses.

Course I: Creative Plagiarism. I would put you in touch with a wide range of excellent and inspirational talks, show you how to alter them just enough to obscure their origins, and get you a reputation for wit and wisdom. Course II: Voice Control for Prayer and Counseling. We would develop your own distinct style of Holy Joe intonation, acquiring the skill in resonance and modulation that conveys and unmistakable aura of sanctity.

Course III: Efficient Office Management. There is nothing that parishioners admire more in their pastors than the capacity to run a tight ship administratively. If we return all phone calls within twenty-four hours, answer all the letters within a week, distributing enough carbons to key people so that they know we are on top of things, and have just the right amount of clutter on our desk—not too much, or we appear inefficient, not too little or we appear underemployed—we quickly get the reputation for efficiency that is far more important than anything that we actually do. 

Course IV: Image Projection. Here we would master the half-dozen well-known and easily implemented devices that that create the impression that we are terrifically busy and widely sought after for counsel by influential people in the community. A one-week refresher course each year would introduce new phrases that would convince our parishioners that we are bold innovators on the cutting edge of the megatrends and at the same time solidly rooted in all the traditional values of our sainted ancestors.

(I have been laughing for several years over this trade school training with which I plan to make my fortune. Recently, though, the joke has backfired on me. I keep seeing advertisements for institutes and workshops all over the country that invite pastors to sign up for this exact curriculum. The advertised course offerings are not quite as honestly labeled as mine, but the content appears to be identical—a curriculum that trains pastors to satisfy the current consumer tastes in religion. I’m not laughing anymore.)

Eugene Peterson, Working the Angles: The Shape of Pastoral Integrity, pp. 7-8 (as quoted by Matt Chandler in his SBTS chapel address)

HT: Justin Taylor


In Case You Missed It

Here are a few of this week’s notable posts:

The Seed of the Woman and the Seed of the Serpent: Succumbing, continuing the representation of George Whitefield’s classic sermon

Worshipping with the Preached Word, reflecting on how our pastor’s preaching affects our worship

They have Jesus. And He is everything, a collection of a few notable moments from this week’s Compassion Bloggers tour in El Salvador

What’s the One Thing, thinking about the cost of obedience

They have Jesus. And He is everything.

If you haven’t been following the latest Compassion Bloggers tour, you really should. Molly Piper, Heather Whitaker and Kelly Stamps are sharing their first-hand experiences visiting with Compassion-assisted families and it’s alternately heartbreaking and awe-inspiring.

Molly shares the story of Maricella:

maricella

Maricella. Mother of Blanca (picture #1). This is her in her home. She welcomed us there, even though she was nervous. Jesus came and met us there, though. She told us of her history of gang membership and the tattoo on her forehead because of it. And she now can’t find work because she won’t be trusted. Even though in Christ, she is a new creation…. My heart broke for her.

My first day of interacting with people on the receiving end of Compassion has been nothing short of amazing—their stories, their homes, their openness to our presence, their excitement for Compassion and the effects it’s had on their families. My heart is somehow broken and full at the same time. Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing. [Read more...]

147 Million

147-million

On Monday night, Russell Moore posted the following on Twitter:

147 million orphans are out there tonight. 147 million.
Where are you?

It’s a provocative challenge, isn’t it? 147 million children without a mom and dad.

I think about my two year old girl sleeping in the other room, and I can’t even begin to imagine what it would be like for her to not have her parents, and it breaks my heart to even try.

Something Emily and I decided to do a few years ago was adopt; after we saw how the foster system affected our extended family, we knew it was something we wanted to do. And after we became Christians, that desire as we read and began to understand passages like James 1:27, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” For us, it was really encouraging to see throughout Scripture how God shows how much He cares for those who desperately need it. And so we want to do the same.

Now, here’s what I’m not doing: I’m not pointing my finger at anyone and saying “You’re not doing enough!”

I’m also not saying that everyone who is a Christian should adopt. But, maybe some of us should.

Maybe we need to open our homes to children living in the foster system and be a family—even for a few weeks—to a boy or girl who needs one.

Maybe we need to sponsor a child with Compassion, and provide an opportunity to have his or her life transformed by the gospel, as the church proclaims it in word and deed.

Maybe we need to volunteer with an after-school program in our community and be a positive voice in a child’s life.

There are so many things we can do. And there are a lot of who are doing these things, to the glory of God. In an act of obedience, an act of worship, they’re reaching out to care for those who are in need. Regardless of our feelings on social justice, it is a fruit of the gospel. It is a part of living out our faith. A part we’d all be wise not to ignore.

“[B]e doers of the word, and not hearers only,” James tells us.

How will we respond today?

The Difference is Jesus

For those who may not know, I sponsor two children through and work for Compassion International. Compassion connects you and your church to the church in the developing world to bring the eternal solution to poverty to children, families and communities: The gospel of Jesus Christ.

And I am exceedingly pleased to announce the launch of The Difference is Jesus.com.

There are many organizations that do a wonderful job serving as Christ’s hands and feet around the world, doing what they can to make a difference in the lives of children. Education, water projects, mosquito nets, AIDS intervention, food… I praise God for all the organizations that are caring for the poor. And as a sponsor with Compassion, I know that these initiatives are incredibly valuable (because we do them, too).

But our passion goes beyond these.

As important as these things are, I don’t sponsor with Compassion because I’m passionate about water. I don’t work there because I’m passionate about food distribution.

I’m passionate about the gospel.

And that’s what Compassion is passionate about, too.

Children and parents hear the gospel from volunteers from their own communities—their own neighbors. The gospel is proclaimed in word, and it is lived out in deed, as the church ministers to its community. Thousands of children who are served by the Compassion’s church partners find hope for a better future every day. One with opportunities instead of despair. And every year, thousands of children find hope in the salvation offered only in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Because the reality is that poverty won’t end because of education or food distribution. It takes more than any human effort can to forever end poverty.

Jesus is the one who will bring an end to poverty.

We created The Difference is Jesus.com because we want you to know about our passion—and, honestly, it’s one I hope you share.

Up the (Willow) Creek: Wess Stafford

Willow-Creek
wess-staffordWess Stafford is the president of Compassion International. For those who don’t know, Compassion works through the local church in developing countries to share the gospel while providing for the needs of children living in poverty. It’s also an organization I’m privileged to work for (out of the Canadian office). For literally the entire time I’ve been at Compassion, I’ve always heard people tell me how much I need to hear Wess speak, and how I really need to read his book. So for me, it was very interesting to see Wess speak at Willow Creek during his session, Leveraging Your Past.

In this session, Wess addressed the question of how do we leverage the pain and hurt in our lives for the ministry?

If anyone’s not heard his story before, it’s heartbreaking. The son of missionaries serving in Africa, Stafford, along with the children of several other missionaries serving on the continent, suffered horrific physical, mental, and spiritual abuse. As he put it, “We were little sinners in the hands of an angry god.” [Read more...]

In case you missed it (05/24)

In case you missed them, here are a few of this week’s notable posts:

The Persevering Prophet: The Call: Beginning a study of the Book of Jeremiah and the practical implications of his calling into ministry.

Made in the Image of God: Spirit: The first part of a series on humanity as God’s image-bearers.

The War on Blogs:A call to Christ-like behavior in interacting with blogs.

Telling the Back Story: An interview with Pastor AJ Thomas on planting a church in post-Christian Halifax, Nova Scotia (originally published in Compassion Today, January 2009).

Telling the Back Story

Last October, I had the privilege of travelling to Halifax, Nova Scotia, to meet AJ Thomas, the pastor of Deep Water Church. AJ is a really great guy who loves Jesus and his city, and I was excited to share his church’s story with Compassion’s sponsors in the January issue of Compassion Today. Today, I also get to share it with you. I hope you are blessed as you read it.

AJ

“Welcome to the dark side.”

This was not the greeting I expected when I first met AJ Thomas, the 30-year-old pastor of Deep Water Church in Halifax, Nova Scotia. As we drive from neighbouring Dartmouth toward downtown Halifax, where Deep Water meets every Sunday morning, he paints a picture of the city he finds himself in. [Read more...]

Sunday Shorts (04/19)

Should you Talk About the Gospel in Every Sermon?

Piper at Desiring God:

The Gospel Coalition—Entrusted with the Gospel: Living the Vision of 2 Timothy

The Gospel Coalition’s 2009 Conference runs from this week, April 21-23, in Chicago. Speakers include D.A. Carson, Tim Keller, John Piper, Mark Driscoll and more.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Gospel Coalition, here’s a brief introduction:

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And Now for Something Completely Different…

So, Compassion decided it would be a good idea to team up with Rob Bell for a Nooma video called “Corner.” It’s okay as far as Nooma goes, but it’s nothing ground-breaking.

That, and I find Bell’s glasses distracting.

(I should note that while I work in Compassion’s Canadian office, my views should not be taken as always reflective of the organization.)

I’m Leaving on a Jet Plane…

I’m off to ad:tech San Francisco until Friday, much to my excitement. I’ve never been to the left coast before, so I’m a wee bit excited. Ad:tech has a great line-up of speakers and break out sessions, and I’m looking forward to learning a lot while I’m there.

more about “The Gospel Coalition“, posted with vodpod