Ed Stetzer on Wesleyan Methodist’s Church Planting Heritage

In this short clip, missiologist Ed Stetzer shares his thoughts on the heritage of Wesleyan Methodists regarding church planting and the need for us to reclaim that heritage.

 

Via http://seedbed.com/feed/why-wesleyans-need-to-rediscsover-church-planting/

A Rumbling Cultural Memory

“I have never met an Indian person who didn’t somewhere deep inside struggle with anger and sadness at what has happened to their people, and I have never met an honest and aware non-Indian person in America who didn’t somewhere deep inside struggle with guilt about what we as a culture have done to the people who inhabited the country before us. we can like each other, hate each other, feel pity for each other, love each other. But always, somewhere beneath the surface of our personal encounters, this cultural memory is rumbling. A tragedy has taken place on our land, and even though it did not take place on our watch, we are its inheritors, and the [world] remembers.”

-Kent Nerburn in the forward to Neither Wolf Nor Dog

Busy Summer – Cold Heart?

Busy

Perhaps in the middle of a busy summer this quote will be a useful morsel for my ministerial brethren. Many times, I have followed this advice in preparation for the Lord’s Day and have always felt refreshed spiritually.

“When I was threatening to become cold in my ministry, and when I felt the Sabbath morning coming and my heart was not filled with amazement at the grace of God, or when I was making ready to dispense the Lord’s Supper… I used to take a turn up and down among the sins of my past life, and I always came down with a broken and contrite heart, ready to preach… the forgiveness of sins.” – Thomas Goodwin, (1600-1680) English Puritan minister quoted in Patches of Godlight: Father Tim’s Favorite Quotes by Jan Karon which served as the inspiration for my own quotebook.

Sober Thoughts

sober thoughts

An intoxicated friend stopped by tonight wanting a ride down to his mom or brother’s home. I would have been willing to give the ride but didn’t figure the family would appreciate me dropping him off in that condition. He’d just gotten out of jail for making trouble at his mom’s home a couple of weeks ago. I called the mom to double-check. I was right. They didn’t want him coming down.

He didn’t take the news very well nor did he appreciate the tactful explanation I tendered. Further, I apparently tragically undermined his perception of what a man of God should be, but it was my gentle probings regarding the possibility of a better life that sent him over the edge. He yelled at me for a while. Then walked down the street screaming and threatening.  Continue reading

God Forgive Me for Being Apathetically Lazy

God forgive me for being apathetically lazy. 

I read biographies of Harmon Schmelzenbach and J. J. D. Hall this week. Schmelzenbach, noted for founding the Nazarene church in Swaziland, served with boundless energy and passion for souls. In spite of self-sacrifice, malnutrition, frequent fevers and illnesses, overwhelming exhaustion and opposition of every hand, his evangelistic fervor never wavered. Rev. “Daddy” Hall was a Spirit-filled Episcopalian minister who was successful in a wide assortment of evangelistic endeavors and ministries, from prison work and rescue missions to street preaching and possibly the earliest telephone ministry in America.  Continue reading

Bird Songs

I SingI was up before the birds this morning. Someone called and I was trying to figure a way to help them. Shortly after I slumped back into my bed to catch a few more winks of sleep, I heard the songbirds start their music in our front yard.

Actually, I think it was just one bird singing. The others were squawking, “Hey, quiet down over there! Are you trying to wake all of the peeps in the hood?!” But I’m pretty sure the songbird was like, “Sorry guys. I just can’t help myself sometimes. I sing because I’m happy. I sing because I’m free.”

And you know, that’s about enough to make me sing this morning (in a rough gravelly sort of way). Kayla would say, “Hush! You’re gonna wake the kids! If you wake them up, they are yours for today.” The new neighbors would grumble, “Our realtor didn’t mention anything about a loud-mouthed guy next door. She said this was a quiet neighborhood.”

But I’d be like, “Sorry guys. I just can’t help myself sometimes. I just got a fresh delivery of God’s mercies this morning. He put a new song in my heart, even praise to my God.”

 

Close to Thee

Does God seem far away? We teach the truths of Divine omnipresence and immanence. God is everywhere present in the universe. This is not to teach that nature is god and god is nature. He must always be other than His creation and independent of it.

Adam tried in vain to hide from God. Jonah tried in vain to run from the presence of God. In Psalm 139, David acknowledges the all-seeing, all-knowing and everywhere-present God. He sees us when we rise up and sit down. He knows everyone of our thoughts. There is nowhere in the universe that you might go to escape from His presence. This is the universal presence of God. 

Do you remember when Jacob was running scared half to death from his brother, Esau? Exhausted he crashed out underneath the stars using a rock for a pillow. That night, he had his “Jacob’s ladder’s dream” where God revealed Himself to Jacob. Jacob awoke with these words: “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I knew it not.” This is the manifest presence of God.

When we pray, “Lord, meet with us in our service tonight,” we are not asking for God to move from one location to another. When we sing, “Holy Spirit, Thou art welcome in this place,” we are not suggesting that God was previously absent from our little congregation.

The longing of our hearts for God to come close is a matter of relationship. When we sing Just a closer walk with Thee we are thinking in relational terms not spatial terms.

My sister and I got closer as I grew up. She had a room in the basement and then moved across the hall. No, not really. I mean, our relationship developed. I stopped pulling her hair. I didn’t get upset because she wanted to read when I wanted her to play basketball with me. We started spending time together–playing duets on the piano, going to town together and even talking. Now we live farther apart than ever, but in many ways we are closer than ever. It’s a matter of relationship.

Perhaps you are one of many who feels far from God and likely needs to do some serious repair work on your relationship with God. You’ve wandered far from God following your own selfish desires. Like the prodigal son, you are in a country far from the Father’s House either in a party town where you are “wasting your substance in riotous living” or stuck in the muck at the hog farm where you are so desperately hungry you want to eat the pig slop. You know it’s time to come home to the Father’s house.

I should think enjoying the presence of God is also a matter of spiritual awareness and response. Consider several great heroes of the faith or saints you have known that seemed especially near to God. No matter what differences of nationality and background, gifts and talents, strengths and weaknesses, A. W. Tozer would say that each must have possessed one common vital characteristic–spiritual receptivity. He would write, “They differed from the average person in that when they felt the inward longing, they did something about it. They acquired the life-long habit of spiritual response.”

This tender observation from Kenny Stetler (@Kenny_Stetler) seems to tie both thoughts about relationship and spiritual response together: “I love hearing an older saint pray. It carries all the beauty of a long, well-tended relationship.”

I love what Psalm 27:8 has to say about this: When Thou saidst, “Seek my face;” my heart said unto Thee, “Thy face, Lord, will I seek.” The gift of God’s presence may be cultivated or it may be destroyed by neglect. When God places a longing for Him in your heart–act on it, cultivate it. Respond to Him. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”

As a pastor/missionary serving a Native American community, I often think of the Great Commission. And often, I feel overwhelmed at the responsibilities placed on my shoulders. I love the assurance of Jesus’ words, “Lo, I am with you alway (everyday!) even to the end of the world.” Sometimes still, God feels distant, and I realize I need to stir myself to seek God’s face and draw near to Him. The presence of God, known and felt, means more than anything else in the world.

Lord, I want to stay close to Thee.