Friday, February 26, 2016

on Christian Community

"The purpose of Christian formation is not developing a better self-image, achieving self-fulfillment or finding self-affiramtion; nor is it the development of individualistic qualities that make singularly outstanding saints.  Rather, it is developing certain qualities that enable us to live responsibility within the community that we have been baptized into to." - Simon Chan

"Christianity means community through Jesus Christ and in Jesus Christ.  No Christian community is more or less than this.  Whether it be a brief, single encounter or the daily fellowship of years, Christian community is only this.  We belong to one another only through and in Jesus Christ."  -Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Reflections of time spent with John Perkins

Dr. John Perkins was with us last week for 3 1/2 days.  Perkins and his daughter, Priscilla, both affirmed the work we were doing and the community that they enjoyed through our time together.  Before his departure flight, I asked Dr. Perkins what he felt the strengths of the weekend were.  He said, "I think it was the fellowship."  

During his visit here, Dr. Perkins didn't see a lot of new or restored housing in our neighborhood.  But he did see a lot of love and friendship goin' on.  

This weekend was yet one more reminder that this call is really a call into the development of Christian community.  When love is evident in our relationship with Christ and with one another, the Spirit and the power of Jesus are going to show up in wonderful, redemptive ways.  

*The "who" trumps the "what".
* Doing flows from being.
* Us/them becomes we.
* To/for becomes with.
* Charity becomes development.
* Servants become friends.  

Relationships are not the means to some other end...they are the end themselves!  

More reflections to follow...there is a lot to chew on when you listen to Dr. Perkins for 3+ days!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

whole gospel 2

Orchard Hill Church's two primary global partners know all about wholistic development.

 "Jesus said, 'As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.' (John 9:5)   

But he promised that 'he who follows me...will have the light of life.' (John 8:12)

And then gives us the same title that he gave himself: 'You are the light of the world..let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 5:14,16) 

Robsan Tura, from Mozambique's Food for the Hungry, has said, "If we don't give glory to Jesus and point to Him as the light, then we, in the void, will ultimately give ourselves or the thing we're doing the glory.  The thing we are doing will become thee thing and will become the treasure, the reward, rather than pointing people to Jesus as the treasure."  Good works need to be connected to a good King and His Kingdom.

Our partners, Kristie and JeanJean Mompremier, with United Christians International in Haiti, base their entire ministry and work on Matthew 6:33, "Seek first the Kingdom of Heaven and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well."

While they are busy working alongside their community to educate children and teens, develop sustainable food sources, pour cement floors for homes, improve health care, and more, their primary goal is to share the Word of God and the life changing power of Jesus and His Kingdom.  Word and Deed married to both "show and tell" of the character and heart of Jesus.  

Dr. John Perkins, who will be with us in our community in a few weeks, has also lived this Both/And life of wholistic ministry.  He quotes, "Jesus never put evangelism and social action at odds with each other, so neither should we."  

When we tell the Word of God without showing the Word, we often preach a gospel that seems detached from real needs in society and appears powerless to change hearts and lives.

When we fear the response of people and show the Word without telling the Word, we often show a gospel that seems detached from our deepest need and appears powerless to change hearts and lives.

Whole Gospel = Show and Tell
Passionate love for Jesus+Passionate love for people