Monday, April 21, 2008

Highly Recommended: 9Marks eJournal

Most of my original writing, as of late, has been over at sbc IMPACT! I do hope, in due time, to get back to posting here more often.

In the meantime, I want to direct you to an important resource that I just got through reading for myself, the March/April 2008 edition of the 9Marks eJournal. The theme of this edition is "Christian Cooperation" and "Christian Separation." I am very impressed with the thoughtful insights and balanced approach the various writers give to these consequential and relevant topics.

Here are the introductory remarks of 9Marks editor, Jonathan Leeman:

The gospel unites and the gospel divides. Some walls it levels and others it erects. Some temples it destroys and others it builds.

But doesn’t it seem like Christians often talk of just one or the other? When they do, imbalances follow. Too much talk about separation leads to strife in the church. Too much talk about unity leads to the compromise of the church. How hard it seems to talk of both gospel unity and gospel separation, each in their proper places! How much wisdom is needed!

Gearing up for Together For The Gospel in April of this year, all the writers in this issue of the 9Marks eJournal make their attempt at striking the balance between the gospel’s call to unity and its call to separation, in terms of the individual's conscience before God. If you’re quick to talk about unity, maybe start with the articles on separation. If you’re quick to talk about separation, maybe start with the articles on cooperation. Just a thought.

May the One who came with a sword of division but who came to break down the dividing wall of partition give wisdom to us all!
I recommend you download the pdf file here to your hard disk, and read it all.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The Chain of Blessings

One of the people who has impacted my life for the glory of God more than anyone else has been George Verwer, Founder and former International Director of Operation Mobilization. Back when I was single, I had the privilege of participating in 3 different OM summer campaigns, and spending 2 years on the OM missionary ship, M.V. Doulos. During one of my summers with OM, I was asked by George to be his interim "go-fer," while his regular "go-fer" at the time was off on vacation.

That was truly a life-changing experience. I still remember very vividly knocking on George's door in Bromley, England, at 5 am each morning to go jogging with him. As we jogged together, he shared with me how, in his mind, he imagined his route to be a giant map of the world, and, how, all along the itinerary, he would remember to pray for spiritual needs and ministries in different countries, as he passed from place to place. And then, at the half-way point, we would stop, and pray together for each other, the world, and the challenges of the new day.

Although my ministry path has taken me in different directions since that time, the passion, commitment, and spiritual authenticity that so distinctively mark George's life have stayed with me down through the years. Still today, from time to time, George will send me an encouraging note, and several books he is currently pushing, just as he so faithfully does with hundreds, if not thousands, of others who have had the privilege of knowing him.

It would be hard to calculate the number of individuals around the world who are serving God in world missions today as a result of the ministry of George Verwer. But George himself was first impacted for God by the ministry of Billy Graham. As a teenage boy, growing up in New Jersey, he was invited to a meeting in which Dr. Graham spoke at Madison Square Garden in New York. It was there that he first surrendered his life to the Lord.

It was a big blessing for me to watch the following 2 1/2 minute video-clip in which George was recently able to visit with Dr. Graham at The Cove in North Carolina. It is also a blessing to see how Dr. Graham's ministry, by way of The Billy Graham Training Center, continues to bless many others, under the leadership of his grandson, Will Graham.

Watch: George Verwer meets Billy Graham

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Piper on "Contradictory Compassion"

For quite a while now, I have found it increasingly difficult to identify a political candidate I could really get excited about.

John Piper gives a brilliant and amazingly brief defense of my position, explaining why this is the case, and focusing in on the same issues that I, as a follower of Jesus, consider to be the most important within the current political milieu of the United States.

Read: Overcome Contradictory Compassion