From Community to Culture
In case you missed it, this previous Sunday we hosted four different outreach ministries during our Sunday School presentation. The vision driving this is simple -- a desire to connect Harvest members to outreach efforts that are already happening in our community and beyond. Paul explains to the Ephesians in chapter 4, verses 5-6, that there is only one Lord, and this one Lord has gifted and called Word ministers to equip saints for a variety of different forms of ministry. You can view the recording below to see the different ways you can support and get connected with Harvest brothers and sisters who are already engaged in different important areas of outreach.
My prayer is that outreach (i.e. intentionally engaging with non-Christians and calling them to turn from their sins and trust in Christ) will gradually work its way into every corner of Harvest’s culture. In his book Evangelism: How the Whole Church Speaks of Jesus, Mack Stiles describes a culture of evangelism with 11 attributes:
This is a culture that…
- Is motivated by Love for Jesus and His Gospel (2 Cor. 5:14-15)
- Is confident in the Gospel (Rom. 1:16)
- Understands the Danger of Entertainment (Ez. 33:30-32)
- Sees People Clearly (2 Cor. 5:16a)
- Pulls Together as One (Phil. 1:3-5)
- People Teach One Another (1 Pet. 3:15b)
- Models Evangelism (2 Tim. 2:2)
- People Share Their Faith and are Celebrated (Phil. 2:19-22)
- Knows How to Affirm and Celebrate New Life (Col. 1:3-4, 7)
- Doing Ministry Feels Risky and Is Dangerous (Phil. 1:12-13)
- Understands that the Church is the Chosen and Best Method of Evangelism (Acts 2:46-47)
In His Service,
What Pastor Adrian is reading . . .
by Zach Eswine
After nine months of a busy schedule at Harvest, I appreciated this reminder that pastors are just limited human beings like everyone else. Eswine explains that he wants to ground pastoral ministry in a life that finds fulfillment in our limitations. Eswine has a very familiar, sometimes silly tone. Only God knows all things, can do all things and inhabits all places at once. As ministers of the Gospel, we need to accept and delight in these limits.
Theology for Ministry: How Doctrine Affects Pastoral Life and Practice
by Chad Van Dixhoorn (Contributor), John C. A. Ferguson (Contributor), William R Edwards (Contributor)
This book is a composite of many articles written by people like Michael Horton, Craig Troxel, Robert Godfrey & Dennis Johnson (and many other solid pastors and teachers). While I didn’t read the whole book (643 pages!), I particularly appreciated Phil Ryken’s article connecting union with Christ in his sufferings and glory to the pastoral ministry. We shouldn’t be surprised by our sufferings since, as Paul writes, we “share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings” (2 Cor. 1:5). But death isn’t the end. One of my preaching professors at Westminster told us, “Remember, preaching is one of the greatest callings. Here you see dead people come to life.” Ryken finishes reflecting on the glory of getting to see the operation of the Spirit as dead people are branded to life. Pastoring isn’t just about embracing suffering, but moving through periods of profound suffering and seeing God’s resurrection power at work.
Till We Have Faces
by C.S. Lewis
On my study break, I finished Lewis’ retelling of the Metamorphoses; the mythic story of Cupid and Psyche. Lewis wrote this late in his life and when asked by a young fan, wrote back that it was his favorite work of fiction (even above Chronicles of Narnia or the Space Trilogy). I was most struck by the oldest sister (Orual) who becomes a queen but is plagued with resentment and bitterness because the mythic gods have stolen her sister, Psyche, from her. The book is divided into two sections. In the first, she writes to defend and seek her own justification. But in the second, Orual discovers that she has herself not seen life as completely and impartially as she thought. It is hard for anyone to say the words, “I was wrong,” but for a queen to admit she’s been wrong throughout her whole life and about the thing she thought was most certain, this was truly remarkable. There are many themes I hope to explore in the future (for instance, she cannot solve the problem of the ugliness of her face — she wears a veil her whole adult life— nor the ugliness of her soul). While there’s much to “learn” from the book, I just found it a mesmerizing story, and for that reason itself it was completely worth reading.