Multigenerational Family Communities, Part 2

Multigenerational Family Community

(In my last post, Multigenerational Family Communities, we discussed the major theme of multigenerational families in Scripture and its great importance to the Kingdom of God. I’ll build on that post here.)

Six years ago my wife and I packed up our bags and moved from England to Southern California, where we have never lived, to join both our children in their families and their four children to learn how to build the Kingdom through multi-generational family. The early part of the journey has proved to be difficult, with one of the blessings being that my daughter and her husband have moved in with us with their first child (our fourth grandchild). Continue reading “Multigenerational Family Communities, Part 2”

Multigenerational Family Communities

Multigenerational Family Community

Perhaps because of my broken family, God’s familial nature and plan spoke strongly to me as I began to follow Him in the 1970’s. I was captivated by the Genesis story where God pursues mankind through families, from Adam and Eve, through Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and my favorite, Joseph. I was impressed early by God’s declaration to Abraham that “in you all the families of the earth will be blessed” (Genesis 12:3, NASB). Through the rest of the Old Testament and into the New, God pursues mankind through families. In Ephesians 3:15 Paul speaks of God as the Father of Mankind, and “through Him every family in heaven and earth derives its name” (food for more thought on the heavenly families!). Family is not some construct that man designed. Earthly family reflects the very image of God’s heavenly family! Continue reading “Multigenerational Family Communities”

Exploring your Calling, Part 2: Preparing Your Heart for Marriage

Reorienting Your Life Around Your Calling

When God calls you to something, there is no doubt that that this call will transform your life. This is no more true than in the area of being called to be married or single. If you are called to be married, your life will be irrevocably changed by the partner you choose. If you are called to be single, you will need to be part of a wider community, and that community will irrevocably change your life. We must each reorient our lives around our calling, not try to fit our calling into our life with as few changes as possible.  Any time God issues a call, a person’s life will have to radically adjust. There are plenty of biblical examples such as Jonah, Isaiah, Jeremiah and many others.

If you feel called to get married, here are some points to consider as you pursue that calling: Continue reading “Exploring your Calling, Part 2: Preparing Your Heart for Marriage”

Spiritual Treasure Hunting in England

Story by Alban Wellspringtreasure-hunting-in-england

Going on spiritual “treasure hunts” has been a creative way to reach out to people with God’s love. We learned about this prayer method from the book, “The Ultimate Treasure Hunt” by Kevin Dedmond. It has given us opportunity to help people experience a powerful encounter with our loving God.

Doing spiritual treasure hunts is a simple process that is easy to learn. First, we pray and ask God for clues and write them down. The clues fall into five categories: location, names, appearance, prayer need, and unusual. Then we go out in teams, looking for people who specifically match the descriptions. When we find someone who matches our clues, we talk with them and offer to pray for them. Continue reading “Spiritual Treasure Hunting in England”

Exploring your Calling, Part 1: Marriage or Singleness?

Expanding the Definition of Calling

Many Christians think of “calling” as what God wants them to do for their career or ministry. They may spend years pursuing degrees and training to following the direction they feel God is guiding them to; at the same time, they neglect to devote time and energies to pursuing whether or not God has called them to get married.

In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian church, he spends a great deal of time focusing on relationships between men and women. In 1 Corinthians 7:17, he defines calling in regards to marriage or singleness: “Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches” (ESV).    Continue reading “Exploring your Calling, Part 1: Marriage or Singleness?”

Mentoring Part 4: A Case Study from Paul

We need to realize that Jesus trained his apprentices for only 3 years.  In comparison, the Apostle Paul engaged in the ministry of mentoring for more than 25 years (dating from his first missionary journey, when I believe he entered into his apostolic calling after perhaps 14 years of preparation).  In his letter to the Corinthians written during his third missionary journey, Paul refers to himself as a “wise master builder” (I Cor. 3:10).  I encourage mentors to learn much from his letters, given how much experience Paul had. Continue reading “Mentoring Part 4: A Case Study from Paul”

Mentoring Part 3: A Case Study from Jesus (Luke 10)

Jesus gradually gave his disciples opportunity to do ministry with him.  He first invited them to observe as he modeled ministry, and often would take a good deal of time explaining things afterwards.  He went on to release them into ministry.  A look at Luke 10 will be helpful to see the process of how he equipped and sent out 70 disciples into ministry. Continue reading “Mentoring Part 3: A Case Study from Jesus (Luke 10)”

Mentoring Part 2: A Few Thoughts from Jesus’ Mentoring Example

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Our primary example for mentoring is Jesus. He spent the bulk of His ministry mentoring his twelve disciples, eleven of whom eventually mentored many more of their own disciples.  His closing charge to his disciples (which Paul’s charge to Timothy is but an echo, 2 Timothy 2:2) is a charge to keep making disciples, and keep mentoring others: Continue reading “Mentoring Part 2: A Few Thoughts from Jesus’ Mentoring Example”

Mentoring (6)

Though the word “mentoring” is not used in the Bible, the concept is evident throughout the Scripture. There are some excellent passages related to mentoring as seen in the ministry of the Holy Spirit in John 14 and 16, in addition to examples from Jesus and the Apostle Paul who both applied mentoring principles to their own ministries.

As demonstrated in John 14:15,18, 20, and 21, Jesus’ mentoring relationship with his disciples (mentees) was intensely personal. Effective mentoring is a love relationship established between God and people through His Holy Spirit. Mentoring is not a matter of passing on a few tidbits of information or “how to’s” of ministry. It is a matter of pouring yourself into another person and sharing yourself with them, not just your knowledge. Paul even goes as far as to compare this kind of ministry to mothering: Continue reading

Following Jesus in the Postmodern Era: Black and White or Shades of Gray? (Part 2)

(Check out Part 1 of this essay.)

Recently, an increasing number of Western Jesus-followers have been trying to adopt an insider approach as they minister to Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists; these three major religious blocs contain the majority of the world’s unreached people groups and where Western forms of Christianity have only been marginally adopted. The contextual approach has encouraged local believers to  retain certain aspects of their socio-religious culture, and many new believers self-identify as Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist followers of Jesus, rather than “Christians,” and meet to fellowship in ways that are more like the early church than modern Western style “churches.” Continue reading “Following Jesus in the Postmodern Era: Black and White or Shades of Gray? (Part 2)”