Friday, May 26, 2006

Phase Two is Up and Running

I told you all about phase one, aka eliminating elect exiles and merging the content. Well phase two is beginning. I am switching to wordpress. The address is strikingly similar: Hope you all will continue to come along and enjoy the ride.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Just a Few Weeks Left

I can not believe that camp is only a few weeks away. I have been working at Starbucks like crazy. Staff training week begins on the 27th.
On a side note, I have been enjoying reading The Da Vinci Code. The book has been thoroughly enjoyable. Any takers on some comments. I'm about half way through right now.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

I do sincerely apologize for the length of time between these blogs. As I told you, I dropped internet service at my apartment and I have been thriving off of the generosity of my friends.
School is out and I am making the final plans for the summer. I do not know how many times I will be able to update over the summer to inform you, my faithful readers, of how life is treating me.
I would like to take this chance to let you know that I will be moving from Taylors, SC, to wonderful Philadelphia, PA, this fall. Once there, I hope that the blog frequency will resume witht he fervor that it once had.
Until next time,

Sunday, April 02, 2006

The Next Phase of Blogging

This is just a quick note to update you guys, my faithful readers, on the new arrangements at the apartment. Due to some new adjustments, my roommate got married, I have recently dropped internet access at my apartment. This was no easy decision I assure you. However, you do not need to lose heart, dear reader, for I intend to do updates from various locations. If you have any suggestions or comforting comments, please oblige me

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Here's Hoping That We Get More Of This

Friday, March 17, 2006

Happy St. Patty's Day

As promised, here is a little St. Patrick's Day update. I have decided to close down my other blog and merge it with Woodstock's Corner. All of the other posts today are originally from Elect Exiles. Here's hoping that you had a great St. Patty's Day and enjoyed plenty of college basketball.

Expostitions - 1 Peter (1:3-5)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

Jesus Christ has called all Christians into a life of hope. This hope comes from our relationship with Him and the subsequent eternal life that He provides. This is a powerful group of verses that prove to us the three-fold nature of our spiritual inheritance in Christ.
In the Old Testament, the word inheritance brought to the mind of the Israelites the possession of the Promised Land (Num. 26:54; 27:7-11; 32:19; 36:3-12; Deut. 2:12; 12:9; Jos. 11:23; 13:14, 23, 28; Ps. 105:11). Our New Testament view of an inheritance is different. We view our inheritance to be our promised dwelling with God for eternity in heaven. Our inheritance will never be destroyed. In this sense alone it is superior to possession of the land of Canaan or any thing else that one could bequeath someone. Many times people came and ransacked the land, leaving Israel to start all over again. In the Christian life, our inheritance cannot be destroyed, neither can it be defiled. That is to say that our inheritance is free of pollution and defilement. Nothing can taint this gift from God. Thirdly, we have received an inheritance will not fade away. Earthly treasures come and go, but our eternal treasure will forever be free of destruction, defilement, or decline in value.

How Deep The Father’s Love For Us

Words and Music by Stuart Townend
©1995 Kingsway's Thankyou Music

How deep the Father's love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He would give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross
My guilt upon His shoulders
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no powr's, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

"You look like a down and outer, I must witness to you." (p. 2 of discussion on missions)

In my previous post, I laid the ground work for this discussion. I mentioned the why and how of missions, more specifically the Great Commission. The final point to be discussed concerns is who we witness to.

I mentioned in the previous discussion the idea that some look at passing out tracts as completing the Great Commission. If that is the case then I have personally helped three people in the last two weeks do their part in completing the Great Commission. One guy handed me a tract while I was downtown for lunch. This actually stunned me. I had never received a tract before. "Oh well!" I thought. "I'm sure everyone has to receive one of these in life." About a half a week later, I was working the drive thru window at Starbucks. I noticed that the next customer was a student at a well known fundamentalist college in the southeast. Their students come to the store all the time, so I did not think anything of this moment. But, as the girl was about to leave she handed me a tract and asked if I would read it. "Wow! I must be the lucky guy who gets two tracts in his lifetime." About an hour later, this happened again. The second tract also came from a girl at the Christian university.
I thought that this might all be coincidence (or providence if you prefer), but then it hit me. I had not shaved for three weeks. That must have been it. I was the target of Great Commission profiling. Because of my facial hair and "messy" hairstyle, I must have been seen as a prime target for the gospel. But why?
I give this humorous real life story to illustrate a flaw in some peoples' view of witnessing. The Great Commission requires that all Christians seek to make disciples of all people. Yet, a lot of Christians are pleased with targeting a "down-and-outer" and handing him a tract. Why do we limit the gospel to the socially impoverished? Is not the gospel for all economic classes, not to mention the flaw in just passing out tracts (see part one). Yes, the socially and economically poor will more easily recognize their need of help; however, Christians who seek to be obedient to the Great Commission should not limit the gospel to these classes.
Christians must seek to make disciples of all economic and social classifications. The "who" of the Great Commission is all nations (cf. Acts 1:8), and all types of people. Great Commission profiling should be limited to the simple fact that each and every individual is made in the image of God (Genesis 9:6). Every individual that life's circumstances bring to us is a candidate for discipleship. These are the people that we should be targeting as we seek to obey the Great Commission.

"Here, could you please read this? I am trying to complete the Great Commission."

Why do witness to other people? What is involved in the spreading of the gospel? Who do we target in the work of missions? These are a few questions that I have been pondering the last couple of weeks. A series of events has kept these thoughts before me for some time. So, I would like to take the opportunity now to dig in and answer these questions.

The mandate for missions is very clear. Matthew 28:19-20, the Great Commission, is the basis for why we spread the good news of salvation. The parallel passages in the Bible are further support for the necessity of going into the whole world and spreading the gospel. Clearly, we share the gospel with others because Christ expects that of us. We witness to others in order to be obedient to our Lord's command. It really is that simple.

So, what is involved in this command from God? Well, the Matthew passage gives us just one simple command with three supporting actions. The command of the Great Commission is to "make disciples." Each and every Christian is charged with the responsibility to make more disciples for Christ in this world. It therefore follows that the goal of being obedient to the Great Commission requires time. Disciple making does not happen by going door-to-door witnessing or handing out tracts (more on this one later). Those acts are not ends of the Great Commission; they are merely means of getting to the end. These two actions lead the witness into the opportunity to begin a discipleship relationship. And remember, disciples are what the Master wants.
The three supporting actions of Matthew 28:19-20, like door-to-door and handing out tracts, are means to the end of discipleship. The first supporting action is the action of going. This is expected of all believers, not just the missionaries and "dedicated" Christians. As each of us is on our journey through life we should be looking for opportunities to make disciples. Secondly, a Christian takes this new disciple and sees that he is baptized (for now, we will just leave this at baptism in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). Finally, the Christian teaches the new convert "to observe all that [Jesus has] commanded you." This means that there is more involved than a six or twelve week book study. This teaching, just like child rearing, seeks every opportunity to pass on instruction from our Lord.

We have been commanded in Scripture to go out and seek the lost that the Father might be glorified. God in His grace did not leave us to stumble around looking for how to do this. He told us to go make disciples. This is the why and how of witnessing to others.