Friday, December 28, 2007

Christian Students' Pursue Holiness & Revival

Here is an encouraging first hand account from Becky Tirabassi regarding students engaging in public confession, in pursuit of holiness and revival.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

CoJourners and The Gracious "Drawing" of the Father

Jesus said, “All that the Father gives me will come to me…” (John 6:37a). The Father graciously gives chosen people to Jesus and, as a consequence, these come to Jesus.

“…whoever comes to me I will never drive away” (6:37b). Jesus does not reject any of the gift. All who come are accepted by him.

“And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day” (6:39). Their hope is secure; their end is sure.

“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day” (6:44).

What are the implications for us as CoJourners, involved in witness?

As we enter into people’s spiritual journeys, we must recognize the greater spiritual realities at work. Certainly they are responsible individuals responding to the gracious offer of eternal life – accepting or rejecting the gift of salvation, the hope of which is found in Jesus. But the ability to “come” is preceded by the Father’s giving to Jesus the person (v. 37) and the Father’s drawing the person to Jesus (v. 44).

The Explorer discovers where a person is on their spiritual journey and discerns their openness to hear the gospel. The Guide leads those who are open to Jesus through communicating the gospel. They are thus brought to the threshold of decision. But behind their response and throughout the process, the Father has been at work. Apart from the Father’s work, no one can lead another to come to Jesus. By the Father’s work, all who are given will come.

What confidence should this give us as we engage in other’s spiritual journeys?

Monday, December 24, 2007

Globalization: The Changing Face of World Missions

In preparation for a seminary class I'll soon teach on Missions and Evangelism, I have begun to peruse Pocock, Van Rheenen and McConnell's volume, The Changing Face of World Mission: Engaging Contemporary Issues and Trends (2005). The authors explore twelve trends and their impact on missions, the first being "globalization."

While underscoring the economic forces that drive much of globalization today, Malcom Waters' definition in Globalization (2001) is helpful:

"a social process in which the constraints of geography on economic, political, social and cultural arrangements recede, in which people become increasingly aware that they are receding and in which people act accordingly"

Four interrelated aspects of globalization are explored. The first is:

World Migration
My exposure to World Migration began in my years of campus ministry. Students (read here adult learners working on upper level graduate degrees) from 10/40 Window countries with little exposure to gospel proclamation in their native country, sojourn for a time on US campuses. While doing my own graduate studies (in seminary), Nanci and I intentionally focused our ministry efforts with international graduate students at a nearby university. We had the privilege of associating and interacting with post-docs and grad students from China, India, and Iraq, as well as Taiwan, Liberia, France, Mexico, Germany, Japan and other countries. Many of these returned to their homeland, of course, and thus are not technically "migrants". But some have stayed behind, for a variety, but mostly, economic reasons.

Beyond the college campuses, our neighborhood is filled with foreign born men and women -- English, Nicaraguan; Colombian; Sri Lankan; Philippine; Ghana; etc.

On a flight earlier this year, I traveled beside a Pakistani medical doctor living and working in a US city. For 2 hours we engaged in a dicussion (fueled by his questions) on the gospel. Four days later, we were together to continue our discussion in a coffee shop in his city. On a flight a few weeks before, I had the opportunity to share life-journeys with a Palestinian-born engineer, living near my home. What was exceptional decades ago--the opportunity to witness to individuals from 10/40 peoples--is commonplace today. On a flight a few weeks ago, Nanci had the privilege of leading a Mexican-born businessman living in Florida to Christ.

These personal examples are mere reflections on the reality that globalization has shrunk the distance (not completely, but substantially) involved in the harvest for which Jesus felt compassion and commanded to "ask the Lord of the Harvest to send out workers into..." (Matt 9:37-38).

It has presented new questions to mission strategists - where do we go to reach the peoples of the world? Their homeland or the land of their migratations? The answer, of course, is both. And today, it may mean going across the street or around the block. A century ago, this would hardly have been a question to contemplate. Globalization is changing the face of missions and evangelism.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Perspective on Short Term Missions

In an article entitled "Unexpected Global Lessons", Andy Crouch shares his emerging perspectives on short term missions.

His thoughts reflect upon:

1. Multidirectional nature of missions today
2. Potential opportunities to make God known and unwittingly misrepresent him
3. True lasting benefit of participation in short-term missions
4. Importance of partnerships to make connections last

Monday, December 3, 2007

Spiritual Journey: In God we Trust

From the Wall Street Journal on-line, The Currency of Faith, by JOHN ANDREW MURRAY

Here is a fascinating collegiate journey to Christ from the 1800's