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- Theology in the Context of World Christianity by Timothy Tennent—$4.99
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- Their Rock Is Not Like Our Rock by Daniel Strange—$4.99
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Our hunger for human flourishing outstrips our patience for the work necessary to achieve it; the power we have and the powers that be then incline us towards whatever option is easiest. If you’ve ever wondered why most short-term mission trips go to Mexico or the Caribbean and involve construction or Vacation Bible School while the greatest needs in missions tend to be things like Bible translation and long-term discipleship, it’s because VBS is accessible and simple while Bible translation is not. Changing our flag avatar is easy, loving a Muslim neighbor is not. Building a wall is easy, carefully supporting the democratic process to ensure peace is not.
As an extremely part-time seminary student, I made a commitment to avoid student debt, even if it meant taking 10 years to get a two year degree. I’d made that mistake before and I wasn’t eager to go back into that kind of debt. I wasn’t alone, though. Entire generations have been crippled by college debt—to the point that it’s not assumed that if you go to college, you’re going to come out own thousands of dollars (if not tens of thousands).
Alex Chediak, who has already written two excellent books on the college experience and helping parents prepare their kids for it, is tackling this issue in his forthcoming, Beating the College Debt Trap. Check it out:
The book is available for pre-order now and is schedule to be released at the end of December. This is one that I’m really looking forward to digging into as soon as I can get my hands on it.
However, good sermons, like good meals, do not just happen. They are intentionally crafted by bringing together essential elements. In the case of preaching, one essential element is key words. Determining which words to add and which words to subtract is an indispensable component of sermon preparation.
As I’ve previously argued, certain words will strengthen most any sermon.
Conversely, some words weaken the sermon. If used at all, they should be used knowingly and sparingly. Consider these five words that weaken every sermon.
In the U.S. a number of leaders have suggested that we should only accept Syrian Christians as refugees and keep Muslim Syrian refugees out of the country. This is the opposite of how Jesus called his followers to act. “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,” Jesus said. (Luke 6:27, 32) Syrian refugees, of course, are not our enemies. They do not hate us. But even if we thought they were, Jesus tells us to love them.
Jesus’ command goes against our instincts. We want to protect ourselves from those who might hurt us. In order to do so we may be willing to withhold our compassion from those who need it most. Yet Jesus calls us to a very different way. He asks us to love our neighbors—regardless if there may be enemies among them.
At Northside, we dug into God’s Word, then reached out with God’s Word.
It was those two activities – digging into God’s Word and then going out with God’s Word – that led me to join Northside mission teams going to Romania. We knew God was opening doors for our church to do ministry in Romania. So, the Word we dug into was the Word we reached out with. No matter what we did overseas – from medical clinics, to fitting people for eye-glasses, to school visits, to children’s ministry – we made sure the proclamation of the Word was at the center. Evangelism, mission, the church.