10 Inspiring Quotes from “Through Gates of Splendor”

book_ through_gates_of_splendor amazonIf you heard someone say, “”Every Christian should read this book,” what would you do? You may or may not listen to him.

But if that person is an elder at your church, and says this while teaching on a Sunday morning, you are more apt to listen to that wisdom.

And if that person has been a mentor for you for over 15 years, you definitely follow his advice.

A man like that encouraged our church body to read Through Gates of Splendor last fall. I’m glad he did, since this book was one of the top books I read in 2014.

If you haven’t read this book, or if it’s been a while, here are some excerpts that inspired and challenged me:

In preparation for the mission

“We’ve already put our trust in Him for salvation, so why not do it as far as our life is concerned?” Ed McCully (in a letter to Jim Elliot)

Click here for more points to ponder…

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Humility in Our Gospel Mission

Matthew 28:19-20 is one of the most-used passages to justify foreign missions (and not always accurately so). Another similar passage is Acts 1:4-11.

In discussing this passage, Brian Dembowczyk points out that we (evangelicals in the USA) tend to have a proud, self-centered view of the gospel and of missions.

“And so when it comes to global missions – and local missions for that matter – we need to resist the pull toward missional pride and pursue missional humility instead.”

Keep reading…

Why We Support Missionaries

PNG_church Osborn

It’s time to move past the discussion of Missionaries vs Mission Trippers and The Bane (and Blessing) of Short-Term Missions. We need to remember the core issue:

Jesus has called us to spread the gospel and to make disciples of Him.

We like to get caught up in the Great Commission (which is never actually called that in the Bible), when Jesus told his disicples to,

“Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you.” (Matthew 28:19-20)

We see the first verb, “go,” and immediately think about foreign missions (long-term and short-term). But we miss Jesus’ focus.

What is the key part of this passage? Click here to learn more…

The Bane (and Blessing) of Short-Term Missions

Following up with my post about Missionaries vs Mission-Trippers, I don’t want you to think that I am against short-term mission trips. I have been on 3 overseas mission trips, and they were each beneficial. But to preach the ills of short-term missions is common on the blogosphere.

I could point at folks like Darren Carlson, who explained Why You Should Consider Cancelling Your Short-Term Mission Trips. But I also fall into this camp of mission-trip naysayers, being wary of all forms of Toxic Charity and International Aid.

Carlson’s article was (in my opinion) mostly misunderstood and misinterpreted. However, others have been much harsher, and maybe for good reason.

Pippa Biddle (with a name like that, how could you not listen to her?) strongly suggests that if you don’t have the necessary skills to contribute well on a short-term trip, you should not go. And I agree with her, to an extent.

Click here to keep learn about my experiences on mission trips…

Missionaries vs Mission-Trippers

Over a year ago, Tim Challies wrote about the tension between Missionaries and Mission-Trippers. His insight, humility, and challenge has been on my mind ever since, especially since it was written during the end of Our Season in Allendale.

I get what Challies is communicating. I understand (in my head) the need for more missionaries, but my heart struggles to yield to this call. Maybe part of it is because I Hate Roughing It. Maybe part is laziness and pride on my part. And maybe it’s just not what God has for me. Who’s to say?

But I do say this: there is a tension between goers and senders. Or maybe it’s more of a tension between those who actually went and those who merely say we should go.

Who Is Telling Us to “GO”?

Challies explains,

The voices screaming “Go!” the loudest are not people who have gone, but people who have stayed. It’s not the missionaries telling us to go, but the mission-trippers.

Click here to GO and read more…

Do You REALLY Believe that Jesus Is Real?

chair_attic desiring_god jesus_is_real

From Jonathan Parnell, on the Desiring God blog:

“If you see the way Jesus is described in Revelation 5, and if you believe that this Jesus is real — then what is there that we would not do for him?

I am convinced that if we could see him here, if we could grasp a fraction of what it means to have all power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing, . . . — then there is no endeavor for his sake for which we’d be too afraid.

So there are nearly 7,000 unreached peoples on the earth — Jesus is real. Let’s go.

So the secularized West needs the revival of a multiplying church planting movement — Jesus is real. Come with us.

Spend three afternoons a week to mentor troubled youth in the inner-city — Jesus is real. Sign me up.

Pastor a small church in rural America that has terrible internet bandwidth — Jesus is real. Bury me in the parish cemetery.

Sacrifice time and resources so that strangers might hear the gospel — Jesus is real. Show me where.

Do you see what these verses [in Revelation 5] say about Jesus? Don’t you know that he is real?”

Read the full post, Don’t You Know Jesus Is Real?

Are you stirred by any of Parnell’s examples of living out a real faith? Let us hear in the comments!

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Year-End Giving: Mill Community Ministries

cash morguefile cohdra

It’s that time of the year when you will be inundated with numerous requests to donate money before 2014 is over. (Can we say “tax deduction”?). And that’s great, since there are many worthwhile charities that need our support.

Besides giving to Grace Church and supporting a few overseas missionaries (Osborns, Cawleys, Dosters), we also donate to a few other charities (both faith-based and social service) regularly. Over the last 10 years, we’ve consolidated more and more so we are not spreading out our resources too much.

Do you know who else we give to? Mill Community Ministries, the organization I work for. And if you are wondering where you can make a meaningful financial contribution, I encourage you to consider donating to Mill Community Ministries, too.

Learn about the example I witnessed that changed my life…