Thursday, October 28, 2010

Why I'm Challenged by Tim Keller's msg

Keller challenges me to do what I already knew I needed to do...but am afraid to do...

...take the church to the city.

I remember a message I heard years ago by Charles Lyons, Pastor of Armitage Baptist Church in Chicago. He was speaking to students at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary not long after I graduated.

Lyons' point in the talk was: It's always been about the cities. Paul went from city to city. Why? Because that's where the Holy Spirit led him. But why? Because that's where culture begins and is shaped. The world is influenced by our cities. Therefore, if we want to shape, influence and create culture as the church, then we need to be in the cities.

What I liked about Keller's talk is that he gives us a basic How-to. (My notes) Basically, he says we must do 2 things to impact a city with the Gospel and the Kingdom of God:

1. Plant or renew contextual (read: Culturally sensitive) churches. (He lists several things this kind of church is and does in this talk)

2. Establishing city-wide gospel movements. He defines this as a gospel movement that is growing at a greater rate than the city population itself. And he makes it clear: it's going to take the church working together for this to happen. (He gives how this can work in the talk as well)

His talk is concise and chalked full of practical advise. He is a pastor who is living this out and leading his church in New York City to do the same. He's seeing results. He's credible and spot-on.

Lord, I pray you'll break me from my self-centered, build-my-own-tribe mentality. Exchange it for your selfless, build the Kingdom of God together mentality. Help me connect with others who are already doing this in my city. Help others to begin to align their hearts and lives in this direction as well. In Jesus' name I pray, amen.

Take Him to the City

Tim Keller Argues For Churches In Cities [Lausanne] from Kenny Jahng on Vimeo.

Here are my notes from listening:

Tim Keller, speaker, Why we can and need to reach cities?

People are moving into cities much faster than the church is moving into cities.

How do we reach cities?

1.     Through planting contextual churches.
2.     Establishing city-wide gospel movements.

1.     Through planting contextual churches. Contextual = There’s a difference between America and urban America. We tend to transplant rural or suburban churches to the city and then wonder why it doesn’t work. Here are 10 things that would illustrate a contextual church in the city.
a.     Culturally sensitive. Have to be extremely culturally sensitive. Because we’re going to be uniting different cultures creating tension that must be dealt with. Any city that is to flourish in the city it must be multi-cultural. An urban church has to constant complaint about racial and cultural issues, be patient with and work through them. They will not go away if you remain multi-cultural.
b.     Have to be churches that challenge people to integrate their faith and their work. Work is more important to people in cities than elsewhere. Most churches don’t give people in their careers much guidance within their careers. Entrepreneurial Forum at Redeemer Pres in NYC. That is, church planting through people’s jobs.
c.      Urban sensibilities.  You must be comfortable with urban people being edgy, and liking change, disorder, and diversity.
d.     Evangelism. In cities, evangelism is complicated. In London, Muslims view Christians as loose morally while secular Brits view Christians as too narrow morally. Evangelism has to be a high priority in the city. It’s really the only way to grow there. It’s almost missions-like because of various cultures.
e.     Be famous for it’s care for the poor. If seeing you only growing by evangelism, they will think you’re just doing it for yourself. If see your love for the poor, they’ll see Jesus.
f.      Artists are an ethnic group in your city and church. An artist-friendly church must include them.
g.     Relationships are more important here than anywhere.
h.     Urban church training should be done in the church near their relationships.
2.     Establishing city-wide gospel movements. A city can’t be reached by a single church or even single network. It needs a city-reaching movement. That is a movement that is growing faster than the city population. What creates a movement?
a.     Inner core: 5-8 church planting movements in different denominations. Why? Because we reach different kinds of people.
b.     Outer core: If I love the city, I will want to grow the movement over my tribe. Around these churches you need “specialist ministry networks”:
                                               i.     a network of prayer
                                              ii.     evangelistic specialists that help reach youth and college age
                                            iii.     justice and mercy initiatives
                                            iv.     get Christians together in their vocational fields
                                              v.     faith work initiative ministries-helps Christians stay in the city
                                            vi.     have these leaders regularly meeting together (kingdom-minded, not turf-minded) asking the question together, “What does our city need?”

Tuesday, October 12, 2010



"Even though I walk
       through the valley of the shadow of death, [a]
       I will fear no evil,
       for you are with me;
       your rod and your staff,
       they comfort me." -David, Psalm 23:4

Monday, October 11, 2010

What fruit does an apple tree bear?

I like this quote I read today from Neil Cole:
The true fruit of an apple tree is not an apple, but more apple trees. Within the fruit is found the seed of the next generation. Christ in us is the seed of the next generation. The difference this seed can leave in the soil of a people group is significant. We all carry within us the seed of future generations of the church. We are to take that seed and plant it in the soil of every people group under the authority of our King.
I would add that the ultimate true fruit is glory to God. When an apple tree bears fruit that bears seeds that bear more trees that bear more apples (and so on) that's an amazing organism in action. Who could even think that up much less create it...from scratch...from nothing?

God. Therefore, the ultimate fruit is worship of and glory for God.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Radical is more than the diagnosis--It's the prescription.

David Platt talks straight with the American Christian. And he does it with grace and truth. But it's not for the squeamish.

With scripture, personal stories and stories from others who are taking the words of Jesus seriously, Platt not only diagnoses the disease of the American Dream--He offers a prescription.

To the half-way alert Christian, Platt really doesn't offer a lot new. Many have heard this before. It's been preached already. But he lays it out in such a...convicting way...that you can't escape his conclusions. He exposes a huge symptom of the American Dream: spiritual blindness. What you're left with is you and your American Dream--face to face wondering who will flinch first.

This is a dangerous book to read. It truly could change your life in a dangerous way. Talking about faith as a living and dying dynamic does that. Platt does that.

Probably what I like most about this book is that he doesn't try to load on the guilt. (The Holy Spirit does that just fine, thank you) In fact, after his diagnosis, he gives you a plan. A prescription. A way to respond that is solid, challenging and hope-filled.

Thanks David for saying what needed to be said to us American Christians and for doing it with grace and truth. May we change and become more like the Christ we say we follow.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Speaking at Historical Camp Meeting

The Grace worship band and I get to lead worship at the Cypress Swamp Camp Meeting Oct. 22. We'll lead the 11 am service that Fri. There's a lot of history here (not to mention incredible food!). What a privilege to be able to worship together in a place with such a spiritual legacy.

We'll sing It is Well (Todd Fields ver), How Great is Our God, Wonderful Cross, Heart of Worship and Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone). I'll speak on why we shouldn't be afraid of anything from 1 Samuel 18 and Acts 18.

If you can come out, we'd love to see you!