Tag Archive: gospel

continuing my walk through the Gospel of Mark, in this clip i chat briefly about the baptism of Jesus and the full approval given to Him by His Father before He has done anything significant in terms of life and ministry…

to continue on to calling, click here

so this morning i decided i need to get back into some more regular reading of the Bible again and decided to work through the gospel of Mark – one chapter in and i already have a bunch of notes of things that stood out for me.

so i decided that, similar to the Psalms i have been working through every now and then, this could be something that i share with anyone who might be interested, altho this time i will do it via video and so create a series of short insights from the book of Mark that i will upload from time to time.

Mark, my words: Chapters 1 – 4

Mark, my words: Chapters 5 – 8

Mark, my words: Chapters 9-12

Mark, my words: Chapters 13-16

as with the Psalms i would love for you to leave your ideas and comments on each insight so please feel free to engage with me and hopefully we can learn from each other some of the things God is trying to say to us through the book of Mark.

so one of the things that came out of yesterday’s discussions when we were looking at the christian faith existing in a pluralistic multi-faith society was the need to understand what we mean by church…

one of the problems that the church faces today is that what we see as church is a combination of what church is meant to be about (according to God and the Bible) plus tradition and style and denomination and flavour and emphasis and a whole bunch of stuff that is actually not church has crept (or been invited) in

how do we peel away what we have added to figure out exactly what Jesus intended for His bride? also not to say that all that stuff is necessarily wrong either – there is a lot of tradition/style/emphasis/denomination etc that is good and positive and adds to the experience and journey of church, but the danger is when we hold too tightly to some of that stuff and see it as the thing when it is in fact only the clothes of the thing

another question that came up is ‘do we have a gospel message that we can preach at different churches that is the same message?’ – for example if we take the message of the gospel and preach it at an affluent white church, is that the same message we will preach to a township church in a more povertous situation? and if not, then is that truly the gospel message?

for example, as an affluent western churchgoer you can take the prayer of jabez and read it and pray it and say ‘oh look, God blessed me with everything i want, therefore the prayer is true’ (or more honestly ‘it works’ as with other superstitions) – but then the question is would that same prayer and ‘consequence’ work for a Christ follower in a country where they are being persecuted and even killed for their faith? Not at all. Not in terms of how we have come to understand or interpret “blessing” and “territory enlargement” and so on. Therefore the question is, “is that the gospel at all?” and with the prayer of jabez it is a resounding “No!” – if we were able to take out of context prayers that were between a person and God from the Bible and apply them to our lives as if they were teaching then we would have to hold on to the prayers of Job and Jonah and Amos and Isaiah as well and then suddenly it’s not so much about me being happy and comfortable and having a big pile of stuff and selling all my books and so somehow it doesn’t seem to work…

the kinds of questions that may need to be asked with the manpeeling are some that a lot of people (paid Christian workers such as myself perhaps?) will find difficult to ask because it may mean we have to change some stuff and quite possibly get a lot more uncomfortable – questions like ‘is having a building church?’ and ‘is paying a pastor/worship leader/youth worker church?’ and so on…

also questions that would make the rest of the church start to get nervous such as, ‘is 5% of the people in a weekly gathering doing 100% of the work church?’ and is ‘this group is the evangelists and that group is the missionaries church?’

and so on.

Excerpt from Erwin McManus ‘an unstoppable force’ (available from Loot – http://www.loot.co.za/refer.html?referrer=85894849355 – for R170)

Wow this last chapter of the EM book i’ve been reading resonated so hugely with my spirit i had to share (go and buy the book!):


On August 20, 1978, I walked to the altar at the first Baptist Church in Orlando, Florida and gave my life to Jesus Christ as my Lord. I remember standing there, looking up at Jim Henry, the pastor of the congregation, as he held his Bible and asked the question, “Do you confess Jesus as Lord, and will you obey His Word?”

I have to admit that, at that moment, I had virtually no idea what was inside the Bible other than what I had learned from Brother Jim’s preaching. It could have been a copy of ‘War and Peace.’ It could have been a leather-bound version of ‘Winnie-the-Pooh,’ but I figured if it was connected to Jesus and affirmed by this people I had come to trust, it was good enough for me. I was genuinely a blank slate to the whole process of what it meant to be a Christian. Soon I discovered that I had a terrible misconception of what I had done on that Sunday night.

After I left Orlando and returned to college, i ran head-on into a layered view of Christianity. I began learning that it was necessary to not only receive Jesus as your Saviour, but also to accept Him as your Lord. I learned this not only through osmosis, but also through listening carefully to Christian vernacular from people who claimed to be Christians, yet who somehow lived extraordinarily worldly lives. It was explained to me that these people had Jesus as Savious but not as Lord.

Another misconception I had was that every Christian was called to proclaim the Gospel. I remember coming home from college around Thanksgiving and sitting in a room with a bunch of guys. I pondered aloud about how amazing g it would be when all of us ended up all over the world, telling people about Jesus. Everyone else in the room proceeded to tell me that they did not feel called to “preach the Gospel.” They explained to me that required a “unique” calling.

So now I had discovered that there were at least three callings: a calling to be saved, a calling to Lordship, and a calling to ministry. Again, this concept was confirmed by simple observation. There were all kinds of Christians who were not involved in ministry. In fact, in most places only the pastor seemed to do ministry. Sometimes his wife would, but not always. Ministry was what pastors did in relationship to their congregations. If you were called to the ministry, then your focus was to care for and nurture the Christians in your congregation.

Later I discovered there was even a higher level of calling. At a missions conference the speaker began inviting people to give their lives to missions. I was somewhat confused since I was still a new Christian. I asked the person next to me what the invitation was specifically asking for. She said, “If you feel that God is calling you to missions, to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world, then you’re supposed to go forward.” I went forward again.

This was my third calling. I went forward for the purpose of salvation, I went forward to respond to a call to full-time ministry, and now I was going forward in response to a call to be a missionary. But this time I discovered that there were two levels of missionary calling. One was to be a home missionary and one was to be a foreign missionary.

So now I had discovered five levels of calling from God – a calling to be saved, a calling for Jesus to be Lord, a calling to ministry, a calling to home missions, and a calling to foreign missions. These five levels of calling don’t even take into consideration my conversation with someone from the Church of God of Prophesy in which I was told about my need to be sanctified. They don’t take into account my engagements in the charismatic community, where it was explained to me that I needed to receive a second baptism…

[to be continued]

some more Erwin McManus from the book ‘an unSTOPPABLE force’ – From the chapter ‘Friction Traction’

On Multiculturalism:

‘The gospel, as presented in our time, has been crafted in such a way that would only bring Christians to Christ.’

‘Evangelism for much of the church has not been among unbelievers but focused on receivers – people who already accepted our worldview.’

‘The “great sociologist” Rodney King once said, “Can’t we all just get along?” The answer, of course, is no. We can’t all just get along. We’ve proven it time and time again in history. And it’s often not because of our extreme differences. One of the peculiar realities of crime and violence is that there is far more white on white, black on black and brown on brown crime than there is across colours and cultures. People who outsiders view as similar, whether it’s the Hutus and Tutsis, or the Bosnians versus the Serbs or the North against the South, often carry out the greatest conflicts. Civil war is as difficult to stop as international war. Multiculturalism has only accentuated the human inability to bring peace on earth.’

‘Jesus came and destroyed the dividing wall that not only separated man from God but also Jew from Gentile. God is about destroying walls that divide. The church will gain traction in the multicultural environment when she begins to dismantle the walls created not by the hands of God but by our own hands. Sometimes this will require nothing less than confession of the sin of racism and prejudice and the kind of repentance that leads to change. It isn’t enough to go to church with a diverse world, God calls us to embrace those who are different as brothers and sisters.’

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