Christlikeness in evangelism…

In studying the call to Christians to be Christ-like, I encountered some potent words from John R. W. Stott in his final book, The Radical Disciple. And while his comments do not tell the whole story of conversion (and the depths of man’s depravity), they should prod believers in the right direction — toward greater Christlikeness!

Why is it that our evangelistic efforts are often fraught with failure? Several reasons may be given, and I must not oversimplify, but one main reason is that we don’t look like the Christ we proclaim. John Poulton has written about this in his perceptive little book, A Today Sort of Evangelism:

“The most effective preaching comes from those who embody the things they are saying. They are their message…. Authenticity … gets across from deep down inside people…. A momentary insincerity can cast doubt on all that has made for communication up to that point….”

Similarly a Hindu professor, identifying one of his students as a Christian, once said, “If you Christians lived like Jesus Christ, India would be at your feet tomorrow.” . . .

Lord, may Your disciples be more like You.
pdb

Monday Medley…

Perhaps this can be a new feature: A “medley” of interesting stuff found online? On Mondays (my “day off”) I try to catch up on my blog reading (I use Google Reader to gather lots of posts in one place). I can try to share somethings here with my own brief listing… but don’t look for it until I break away for lunch! — pdb

Dr Russell Moore has a post today on the diminished presence of references to blood in our hymns and worship “Is Your Church Loosing Blood”. His blog typically addresses ethical and theological questions (in a superb way). I plan to add a link for him to my blog roll. Here’s his opening…

American Christianity is far less bloody than it used to be. Songs like “Power in the Blood” or “There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood” or “Are You Washed in the Blood?” are still sung in some places, but fewer and fewer, and there aren’t many newer songs or praise choruses so focused on blood. The Cross, yes; redemption, yes; but blood, rarely. We’re eager to speak of life, but hesitant to speak of blood.

• The west coast Ligonier Conference appears to be underway, and Alex Chediak has posted some notes on Dr Michael Horton’s address. (Alex has his own blog here.) The outline mentions 3 things that are “killing us softly” which include: enthusiasm, pragmatism, and consumerism. Chediak writes,

Three things that are having a tremendous effect on turning us from a historic faith towards a more amorphous spirituality — epitomized by the trivializing of God, our human condition, and the salvation wrought by God in Christ for us. God has a supporting role to play in the movie of our life – but the move is about us.

• And Kevin DeYoung has a prayer by Samuel M. Zwemer (c. 1923) for Muslims, and a colored map of Muslim lands on a recent post here.

• Finally, let me share this news from Minneapolis: Pastor John Piper is taking a leave of absence from all ministry, from May 1st to December 31st. The official announcement can be found here. This is not a sabbatical — a period of extended time away from normal ministry for pastors (typical after 7 years in ministry).

Haiti — in numbers…

The following is compiled and presented by CNN:

Port-au-Prince, Haiti (CNN) — Two weeks after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake devastated Haiti, the numbers have mounted. The numbers tell stories of death and destruction, as well as a global outpouring of aid. CNN has compiled the latest, most reliable figures available as the devastation continues to unfold:

THE TOLL
150,000: Latest estimate of the death toll, from the Haitian Health Ministry. The European Union and the Pan American Health Organization, which is coordinating the health-sector response, have estimated the quake killed 200,000 people.
194,000: Number of injured
134: Estimated number of people rescued by international search teams since the quake

THE EFFECT
9 million: Population of Haiti
3 million: Estimated number of people affected by the quake
1.5 million: Homeless people living on streets, including the thousands who lived in slums or makeshift homes prior to the quake
235,000: People who have left Port-au-Prince using free transportation provided by the government. The number who left by private means is undetermined.
At least 50: Aftershocks of magnitude 4.5 or higher that have hit Haiti since the January 12 quake

THE CHILDREN
300,000: Children younger than 2 who need nutritional support
90: Percentage of schools in Port-au-Prince that have been destroyed
497: Haitian orphans who have been evacuated

THE RESPONSE IN DOLLARS
$1.12 billion: International aid pledges
$783 million: Funds received as of Tuesday
$317 million: U.S. assistance as of Monday

THE RESPONSE IN MANPOWER
17,000: U.S. military personnel in and around Haiti
8 million: Meals the World Food Programme has delivered to nearly 400,000 people
300: Aid distribution sites that are up and running
130 to 150: Flights arriving every day at the single-runway Port-au-Prince airport with aid

EFFECT ON FOREIGNERS
12,000: U.N. workers in the country at the time of the quake
53: U.N. workers still missing
At least 82: U.N. workers confirmed dead
27: U.N. workers injured or hospitalized
11,500: Americans and family members who have been evacuated
4,800: Americans unaccounted for
60: Americans confirmed dead

Sources: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the Red Cross, the United Nations, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. State Department and the World Food Programme, Haiti Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive

Jonah & His Big God…

Adrian Warnock reports & summarizes a message by Liam Goligher on Jonah 1, delivered in the UK around April 5. You know the story, but should be refreshed by these excerpts from Liam (via Adrian)….

ht_beluga_whale1_061022_ssh

This is a very familiar story. Some people say its an allegory or parable. But parables are usually basic. The story itself has historical and geographical elements. Whoever wrote it seemed to want us to believe that this was a real event. It assumes historical correctness. Jesus likens himself to Jonah and spoke of the people of Ninevah as real people who really repented. Jesus took it seriously, so if we want to follow him so should we.

Salvation is of the Lord. God’s sovereingty is stressed here. God appointed the wind, the ship, the whale. There is a commission, and a recommission, and the sailors are saved, and the ninevites are saved. There are two prayers of Jonah – one greatful for his own salvation, one bitter when the foreigners were saved. Its beautifully structured, full of humour irony, etc. Jonah is a ridiculous figure. He is like a skulky, pouting, spotty teenager. Continue reading

miscellanies….

“If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”
— C.S. Lewis, in Mere Christianity

“Spare moments are the gold dust of life.” — Paul Harris

[commenting on your relationship to missions]:
“You have three choices: go, send or disobey God.” –- John Piper

pdb

Abandon low & carnal aims!

I constantly mark and underline in my books. Perhaps one of the most precious quotations I have found over the years is this, from Thornwell. (I found it many years ago in Iain Murray’s THE PURITAN HOPE, a real gem of a book).

J. H. Thornwell quote…

“If the Church could be aroused to a deeper sense of the glory that awaits her, she would enter with a warmer spirit into the struggles that are before her. Hope would inspire ardour. She would even now arise from the dust, and like the eagle, plume her pinions for loftier flights than she has yet taken. What she wants, and what every individual Christian wants, is faith — faith in her sublime vocation, in her Divine resources, in the presence and efficacy of the Spirit that dwells in her — faith in the truth, faith in Jesus, and faith in God. With such a faith there would be no need to speculate about the future. That would speedily reveal itself. it is our unfaithfulness, our negligence and unbelief, our low and carnal aims, that retard the chariot of the Redeemer. the Bridegroom cannot come until the Bride has made herself ready. Let the Church be in earnest after greater holiness in her own members, and in faith and love undertake the conquest of the world, and she will soon settle the question whether her resources are competent to change the face of the earth.”

247xh

—from Collected Writings, 1871, volume 2, page 48; 
quoted by Iain H. Murray in The Puritan Hope, (Banner of Truth, 1971, page xxii).

Earnestly seeking things above,
pdb