With life. And people. The world.
Because we’re all beautifully broken. The sound of our mutually beating heartbeats, mingling with the pitter-patter of soft rain on the roof above my head, rivals some of the loveliest symphonies.
It’s the sound of living; not merely existing.
If we in the Church are truly dedicated to the Great Commission, then we will first have to do something about the “Great Omission.” We will never effectively demonstrate Christ’s love to the world, if we cannot first demonstrate it to the Church—the whole Church, and that includes those struggling just to survive.
-Richard Stearns, The Hole in our Gospel
“Where are the voices like Dr. Martin King’s calling for common and moral sense today? Where are the leaders and citizens willing to struggle together to stem the out-of-control militarism, private-sector greed, and materialism that still drives us, to close the unprecedented gap between rich and poor, and to end the poverty and downward mobility of large numbers of our children?
Dr. King refused to give up his conviction that our nation could change—and so must we. As he said later on that last Christmas Eve, “I still have a dream today that one day justice will roll down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream. I still have a dream today that in all of our state houses and city halls men will be elected to go there who will do justly and love mercy and walk humbly with their God…With this faith we will be able to speed up the day when their will be peace on earth and goodwill toward men.”
Forward of The Trumpet of Conscience by Marian Wright Edelman
“When Christ returns, it will be to complete the work that we, His followers, have begun in His name. He will then make whole that which we have accomplished only in part. N.T. Wright, in his wonderful book Surprised by Hope, described our role in God’s plan this way:
But what we can and must do in the present, if we are obedient to the gospel, if we are following Jesus, and if we are indwelt, energized, and directed by the Spirit, is to build for the kingdom. This brings us back to 1 Corinthians 15:58 once more: what you do in the Lord is not in vain. You are not oiling the wheels of a machine that’s about to roll over a cliff. You are not restoring a great painting that’s shortly going to be thrown on the fire. You are not planting roses in a garden that’s about to be dug up for a building site. You are—strange though it may seem, almost as hard to believe as the resurrection itself—accomplishing something that will become in due course part of God’s new world. Every act of love, gratitude, and kindness; every work of art or music inspired by the love of God and delight in the beauty of his creation; every minute spent teaching a severely handicapped child to read or to walk; every act of care and nurture, of comfort and support, for one’s fellow human beings and for that matter one’s fellow nonhuman creatures; and of course every prayer, all Spirit-led teaching, every deed that spreads the gospel, builds up the church, embraces and embodies holiness rather than corruption, and makes the name of Jesus honored in the world—all of this will find its way, through the resurrecting power of God, into the new creation that God will one day make. That is the logic of the missions of God.”
Richard Stearns, The Hole in our Gospel
To begin, we must go to the world’s fringe, where the modern lepers, slaves, and outcasts are attracting these new friars just as they did the historic mission-driven nuns and monks. From these dark and seemingly Godforsaken corners of our world, the church’s renaissance has almost always sprouted, as if God was hiding there, waiting for a few of his people to join him in the unveiling of a fresh renaissance. So it is in the slum communities of our mega-cities that we will start, asking ourselves how in the world so many people have gotten trapped into such desperate circumstances, and how God might be calling his people to respond.
The New Friars, Scott Bessenecker
I believe we are at the front edge of another missional, monastic-like order made up of men and women, many of whom are in their twenties and thirties, burning with a passion to serve the destitute in slum communities of the developing world—not from a position of power but from alongside them, living in the same makeshift housing, breathing the same sewage-tainted air, subject to the same government bulldozers that threaten to raze their communities. They are new friars, flying just below our radar because they have not come under any single denominational or suprachurch banner.
Scott Bessenecker, The New Friars
The wife of old John Ryland asked: “Do you think,” she said, “you will know me in heaven?” “Why,” said he, “I know you here; and do you think I shall be a bigger fool in heaven than I am on earth?” The question is beyond dispute. We shall live in heaven with bodies and that decides the matter. We shall know each other in heaven: you may take that for a positive fact, and not mere fancy.
But now a word of warning: If your bodies are to dwell in heaven, I beseech you take care of them. I do not mean to take care of what you eat and drink, and wherewithal you shall be clothed; but I mean, take care that you do not let your bodies be polluted by sin. If this throat is to warble forever with songs of glory, let not words of lust defile it; if these eyes are to see the King in his beauty, ever let this be your prayer: “Turn off my eyes from beholding vanities;” if these hands are to hold a palm-branch, O, let them never take a bribe, let them never seek after evil; if these feet are to walk the golden streets, let them not be swift after mischief; if this tongue is forever to talk of all he said and did, ah! Let it not utter light and frothy things; and if this heart is to pulsate forever with bliss, I beseech you give it not unto strangers, neither let it wander after evil. If this body is to live forever, what care we ought to take of it; for our bodies are temples of the Holy Ghost, and they are members of the Lord Jesus.
Charles Spurgeon; The Resurrection of the Dead
Right?! James is my roommate and he taught at our church this morning. This was a statement that resonated in my heart. Follow his blog, he’s going to post his word-for-word notes and it has the Holy Spirit all over it!
“We have traded crosses for coffee, ultimately cheapening the cost of discipleship, with aim to offer peace that only the offensive cross will bring.”