Showing posts from June, 2012

Bankers, handshakes and the heart of forgiveness

Whether it's HSBC or Barclays money traders, the Queen and Martin McGuinness, John Terry and Patrice Evra.....
Payday delay chaos, immoral work ethics, empty gesture handshakes, or no handshake at all - it seems the whole world has someone to forgive!

Everyone has all kinds of issues in life. Forgiveness, or the lack of it, is one of the universals we all face. To qualify for forgiveness issues, we simply have to live for long enough - it won't be long before someone hurts you, inadvertently or deliberately.

Like it or not, we will also hurt others in the same way. Mostly we seem to stumble through life oblivious to the trail of damage we leave in our wake - like the old boy who drives the wrong way up the one way street, shaking his fist at all those who seem to be against him, unaware of the carnage that a glance in his rear view mirror would reveal!

What are we to do with the accumulated pile up in our rear view mirror - that done to us and by us? Whatever sweet pill of self …

Two weeks with John Livingstone Nevius

I've had plenty of wonderful two week holidays in far flung places over the years, but if you wrote to the locals today they would not remember me. There is no trace of me having been amongst them, no legacy from my impact.

John Livingstone Nevius spent only two weeks in Korea in 1890, yet the simple advice he gave to missionary leaders on that visit continues to shape the ongoing growth of the Korean church to this day!

Travelling into Korea from his base in China, Nevius was at odds with the normal, colonial missionary approach. He understood that both the gospel and church plants failed to penetrate national culture when they remained in the hands of western missionary leadership. Nevius believed that local leaders could and should be trained. Leaders who could establish their own churches and reach their own people far more effectively.

Thankfully the Korean missionary group who heard Nevius in 1890 were open to his remarks. He left them four principles which continue to underpi…

Unreached people groups next door

For those of us who grew up with an old 'missionary' mindset, unreached people groups were exotic tribes in far flung places.Our basic understanding was that these people were totally different from us in every aspect of language, culture, education, and lifestyle. They didn't know the gospel and someone would have to go to them.

In more recent years we became aware of phrases like 'the 10/40 window'; That helpful description of the geographical area of longitude and latitude which covers the least evangelised people on the planet.Stretching across the Arab world, North Africa, through the Middle East, eastwards towards it's extreme end point, Japan.

This truly is unreached territory, and rightly has the focus of mission groups and churches. The most unreached nation on the planet, Tunisia, has a Christian population of 0.21%, of which a sum total of 0% are evangelical believers! Indeed, of the top twenty most unreached nations, 19 of them are Islamic, and one…

Barking up the wrong worship tree

I've been doing some thinking about worship, creativity and post moderns. For those of us who have grown up in this generation, it is possible for us to be breathtakingly introspective.Our characteristic consumer culture and 'meet my needs' worldview, turning our worship of God into an exercise of naval gazing narcissism.

Whilst we sing,'It's all about You', we actually think,'It's all about me'. This is a dangerous perspective if left unchallenged, which robs God of His rightful place, and leaves us thinking that His role is to serve our needs. The old dog and cat theology lesson says it best:

A dog sees his master return at the end of the working day and thinks: 'This guy looks after me, he plays with me, he feeds me, he gives me somewhere to sleep, he's always there and he cares for me. He keeps me safe and I want for nothing. He must be God!'

A cat sees his master return at the end of the working day and thinks: 'This guy looks a…