Month: March 2010

Sermon: The Ministry of Reconciliation

God has called us to the ministry of reconciliation, of inviting others into a renewed friendship with God and each other.

The Ministry of Reconciliation
2 Corinthians 5:16-21

16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

The Nigerian Massacre

Last Friday morning, on the last day of the doctoral seminar I was in at Fuller Seminary, Dr. David Augsburger commented as the class began, “This is a sad and difficult day.”

He then read an email he had received from a former colleague of his in Nigeria.  Early in the week we had heard of the horrific violence perpetrated against Christians by Muslims in Nigeria.  But the email confirmed the worst fears many had.

The writer, whom I will not identify for his own safety, reported that rumor of an impending attack near the village of Jos last Saturday night circulated through the area.

The acting president of Nigeria had requested that the Muslim minister of security send Nigerian security forces to the area to protect the Christian population.

Some time after midnight the Muslim tribesmen attacked.  They fired rifles and as the Christian villagers tried to escape, those running for their lives were trapped by giant nets that had been erected by the attackers around the village.

Trapped with no place to run, the villagers were then hacked to death by their attackers.  The death toll ranges from 150 to over 500, depending on whose count you accept.

Continue reading “Sermon: The Ministry of Reconciliation”

Are We Called To Be Technicians or Transformers?

I’m giving this devotional for our DMin seminar on Thursday morning, March 4, 2010 at Fuller Seminary.

In Matthew 14:13-21, we have the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000.  This is an interesting story for several reasons, but I want us to focus on the disciples response to Jesus.  And, I want us to think about how we do ministry in light of this story.

Of course, the story goes that Jesus had just heard that John the Baptist had been killed.  He attempted to withdraw to a “solitary place” but the crowds followed him. The Bible says he had compassion on them, and healed their sick.

As the day wore on and was nearing sundown, the disciples came to Jesus and said, “This is a remote place and it’s already late.  Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.”

Jesus response was first, “They don’t need to go away.”

And, secondly, he said, “You give them something to eat.”  In other words, you feed them.

The disciples did a quick inventory, and said, “We have only 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish.”  Jesus said, “Bring them here to me.”

You know the story from that point on:  Jesus has the crowd seated, he blesses the bread, and then gives it to the disciples to hand out.  They hand it out, everyone eats, and then they take up 12 basketfuls after everyone has eaten and is satisfied.  One basketful for each disciple.  Keep that in mind.

A Personal Story

In the late 1980s I was in my first DMin program here at Fuller.  I was studying Church Growth with Peter Wagner, John Wimber, and Eddie Gibbs.   I was actually very good at  the technique of growing churches.  I had grown a small country church Continue reading “Are We Called To Be Technicians or Transformers?”