Have you ever heard of The Bible Project? Now, there is an app and reading plan from Crazy Love Ministries that walks through the entirety of the Bible through one year in a way that is engaging, thoughtful, and easy-to-follow. It's simply called, Read Scripture--and it's awesome!
Watch the highlights from the Spring 2018 Greenhouse Environments training intensive.
Back in February 2018, several church leaders met together for a Greenhouse Environments training intensive. Greenhouse Environments is part of the Alliance Southeast's MIP (Multiplication Impact Process) that is the umbrella initiative that includes Gospel Footprint and Flywheel.
Some of us serve as lead pastors and/or pastoral staff members of predominantly African-American churches in both the urban and suburban settings. Some of us serve as lead pastors and/or pastoral staff members of multicultural churches in the urban and suburban settings. Some of us serve as lead pastors and/or pastoral staff members in predominantly Caucasian churches as the sole African American on staff. Yet all of us stand on the shoulders of those African-American official workers in the C&MA who paved the way, broke down barriers, and persevered through difficult seasons so we could be where we are today.
Last spring, I decided I needed to get back into regular exercise. So I invited my national colleague, Célestin, to jog with me several days a week.
We began our morning routine—Monday, Wednesday, and Friday runs—on a route that passes by a forestry camp. We noticed on our runs that a team of camp workers gathered each morning to prep for their daily tasks that include reforesting the barren, treeless areas in our community.
During one run, I got the idea to stop and share the good news with these workers. Célestin agreed.
Like exiled Israel, the church today yearns for a word from God. As Christians, we believe that Christ came into the world to bring a new order; to bring redemption, healing and restoration; and to birth a new society of redeemed persons. And as that new society, we hold fast to the truth that God is directing history toward its true end. But like Israel, we need to hear afresh that God is at work. We need to be reminded that, though forces of chaos and evil seem evident, God groans like a woman in labor, giving birth to the new world promised throughout the generations and confirmed for us in Christ…
Do Christians believe Jesus has an answer for racism and racial inequality? Do we think the Bible provides responses to a world of violence, both domestic and international? Does it involve more than just inviting people to a church service? Of course it does!
“I can’t do what you do,” says the Christian, sidling up to me sheepishly after an evangelism training session. “I’m no good with words.”
This always strikes me as an odd admission. Usually it comes after five minutes of genial conversation. We’ve discussed the sports scores, the weather, the kids, and Netflix. There have been no awkward pauses, no embarrassing slips of the tongue, nothing to suggest that this person struggles significantly with English comprehension or communication. But apparently they are no good with words.
This struggle rarely manifests when discussing their favorite team or show. But it does present itself when the topic for discussion is faith. It turns out they’re actually quite good with words. Most people are fairly decent at the whole speaking thing. Civilization is built upon it. So, what is the problem?
Streetlights Bible is the world’s first urban audio Bible, combining the authentic Word of God in the New Living Translation with a dynamic score influenced by the cultures of the inner city. Top recording artists and accomplished music producers unite to bring you word-for-word Scripture recited to industry standard, street-credible beats.
When Christians pray, we pray as those who have been freed from praying like the world. We pray as those who first have heard from our God in his word, who have embraced his gift of unsurpassed grace in the person of his Son, and who have no need to earn his favor with our repetition, posturing, and pretense.
Rather, we can ask simply, as children. We can ask profoundly, with new hearts trained on him, not just the things of earth. And we can ask with humble confidence knowing that our Father already knows our needs, and knows them even better than we do, and is even more committed than we are to meeting them in the deepest and most enduring ways.
Those of us who preach have a very important role to play in developing gospel fluency in God’s people. We are called to model being gospel fluent in our everyday lives, but we are also called to equip the church in gospel fluency through our teaching and preaching ministry. So . . . how do we do that?
Sometimes we preach these truths to ourselves and our hearts aren’t moved at all. We groan, and wish that life was so different than it is (Romans 8:23). We pray and pray and pray, and things only seem to get more overwhelming and more difficult. Sometimes our hearts simply ache with the pain of broken dreams, broken relationships, broken bodies, and broken sinfulness. What can we do?
By an Alliance worker couple serving in Uruguay
In previous months, we have hosted 10–15 gatherings in our home, including team meetings, worship and Bible study, and dinners. God is teaching us daily about how to be hosts—not just by welcoming people into our house but also by being hosts of His presence. His Spirit continues to lead us in prayer, guiding us as we walk in our gifts.
My favorite book on the church and God’s mission is Total Church. I admire Steve Timmis and Tim Chester tremendously and I have learned so much from them. I can say the same for Alan Hirsch, Jeff Vanderstelt and many others that I would consider missional experts.
But eventually I had to stop listening to them.
Christians often perceive that a true missionary calling must be to the other side of the world. For some, this is a reality. For others, their own backyard is their mission field. Situated 30 miles north of Seattle, Washington, Whidbey Island isn’t exactly top of the list for church planters. Yet for Matthew and Stephanie Erikson, this small town is precisely where they were called to be.