Archive for the ‘Evagelism’ Category

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“Gentlemen, this is a football”

August 6, 2008

“Gentleman, this is a football”, Vintage Vince Lombardi. The quote was all about getting back to basics. And it is true with reference to more than football. Whenever you find yourself floundering…get back to basics. If you are not growing…get back to basics. If you don’t know what to do next…get back to basics.

 

Followers of Christ are in a numerical decline. Even the Baptist are beginning to fess up to their over inflated “membership” numbers and admit that there are many more on the roles than in service to the King. (Read more here). Today there is a greater profession of believe in God and a greater lack of evidence of that faith than at anytime in history. Evangelism has not only become an archaic word that strikes fear in the hearts of Christians, it is no longer practiced as a response to the marching orders of our King. Percentages of those who are involved in pornography, that are getting divorced and that are materialist to excess are about the same for both Christian and Non-Christian alike. Christ followers need to get back to basics. Can I get an Amen?

 

“Ladies and Gentleman, this is a Bible”.

 

Prophets of old along with John on Patmos were told to, “Eat this book” referring to the message that God had given them. Read it, chew on it (meditate), digest it; make it apart of who you are. This is an individual responsibility.

 

As for the assembled church, Bible Classes need to become Bible Study Classes.  Does this sound familiar? A teacher stands up and reads a verse, then asks the class, “What do you think that means?”  And off they go into 30 to 45 minutes of shared ignorance, parroted answers learned by rote and uneducated guesses.  No wonder our kids are leaving the church in greater numbers than ever before.

 

Sincere and genuine Christians are trying to be better Christians and think that the answers will be found in the next great spirtual novel or spiritual self help book. They are fighting a battle with no armor, no weapons and no ammunition. The roaring lion is hot on their trail and they are trying to fight him off with a switch.

 

If you are stubbing, falling over things in the dark and trying to feel your way through life…turn on the light!

 

 

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UNCHRISTIAN…THE BOOK

June 24, 2008

You may not like the conclusions of this book, but you will have a hard time saying that they are not true. The following is a CNN interview with the book’s author. The interviewer is pretty savvy and I think fair in the questions he asks.

Take a look at this one also.

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If We Are The Body…

February 13, 2008
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It Is Official

January 3, 2008

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Arewa Aid Executive Committee Announces Appointment of Development Officer

Lee Hodges to begin work for Arewa Aid starting January 1, 2008

The Executive Committee of Arewa Aid is happy to announce the appointment of Lee Hodges of Hendersonville, Tennessee as Development Officer beginning January 1, 2008. Lee has been a minister for 30 years, and became interested in the mission of Arewa Aid through his meeting with Dr. Bradley Dean Blake, the founder of Arewa Aid.

Mr. Hodges primary responsibility will be to foster the relationship between Arewa Aid and it’s supporters, and create new relationships with interested churches, individuals and businesses that are interested in supporting humanitarian work in Northern Nigeria.

Lee has extensive experience in missions through his work with many churches of Christ in Michigan, Tennessee and Pennsylvania, including developing programs within churches to teach mission preparation.

Board Member John Mark Hicks expressed his gratitude to Mr. Hodges, stating, “I am so pleased that Lee has chosen to work with us. His reputation and work ethic will allow Arewa Aid to continue to grow while Dr. Blake and his wife Jen continue their work in Nigeria. We are truly excited to appoint someone to continue the development of Arewa Aid here in the United States, while the work continues to expand in Maiduguri, Nigeria”.

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Different Times Demand Different Approaches

December 18, 2007

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Dan McVey is Missions Coordinator for Africa at the College For Bibilical Studies at Abilene Christian University, in Abilene, TX. He is also a Board Member for Arewa Aid. This is an important essay that calls us to different approaches to missions and our own mission. Hope you enjoy!

Since its birth 2000 years ago, the Way of Jesus Christ has always been a flexible faith, emphasizing allegiance to Jesus Christ as its single most defining characteristic, capable of entering any culture, transforming it and moving in missionary waves to cultures and societies beyond. Christianity always has had shifting centers of influence in its history of expansion. From the Jewish temple and synagogues to the Greek temples and markets, and from the Roman legions and bishops to the Germanic monks and reformers, the Kingdom of Christ has seen gradual shifts in its centers of dynamism, theology and impetus for growth. Another such shift is happening right before our eyes. In shades and hues and now in brilliant flashes of light, the Kingdom of our Lord is expanding into new territories, and our theologies and vocabularies will reflect these changes in years to come.

What we are experiencing has been termed a “New Reformation,” the “Third Church” (Orthodox as the first, Roman Catholic/Protestant as the second, and this emerging World Kingdom as the third), and the “Renewal of Christianity as a Non-western Religion.” We are seeing a changing world, a growing Kingdom and changing expressions of missions. Where is the “mission field?” The word “missionary” has lost most of its traditional meaning (a westerner who travels to foreign fields of service), and is being redefined as cross-cultural servants from anywhere to anywhere under the guidance of the Spirit of God. Migration of believers, vocational missions, and creative access to unreached people are some of the most significant movements in church planting and evangelism.

In this changing world of Kingdom Times, we need new paradigms through which we view the opportunities and calls of God to serve in his world. Questions for the future include: 1) what is our role? 2) what message do we have? 3) what does partnership with God look like in this rapidly changing time? 4) what are our goals in missions? 5) how do we participate in God’s work in reaching the unreached portions of the world? and 6) how is the Spirit of God preparing the coming generations for their roles in these momentous times?

Two observations:

  1. We cannot continue to “do missions” as we have for the past 20 years. These are different times with different needs and we are different people with the unchanging message of Jesus.
  2. “The church that lives comfortably in the post-Christendom West is unable to respond to the pain and spiritual need of postmodern generations” (Samuel Escobar). We must reflect on what it means to be a disciple of Jesus in sincere/authentic expression of faith in growing communities of faith within our own culture. Furthermore, we must cast long vision into the future of what our own churches are going to look like and how they will function in the coming generational, revolutionary shift of religious expression in North America.

God is raising the bar for those who are called to participate in these Kingdom Times. Fresh looks at simple lifestyle approaches, partnership with emerging churches, and laying aside our fixation on personal safety so that we may target the truly unreached places of the world-these are some of the issues we must address if we wish to be strategic co-workers with God. These are exciting times. These are testing times. Church history abounds with examples of fellowships and movements that were marginalized through political compromise, and submission to overwhelming cultural influences and apathetic disconnection from the needs of the world. Our roles, needs and abilities may see change, but the Kingdom marches on. Some day, as a matter of routine rather than the exception, we will be studying Chinese and African theologians, singing African and Polynesian hymns, and imitating Indian and Korean disciplines of faith. And it will be just fine. We are getting closer to the vision of Revelation 7.9-10 all the time, “After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.'”

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Arewa Aid

December 7, 2007

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The Lord has opened a wonderful door of opportunity for Barb and me, and has given a new direction for our lives. November 17th. I accepted an offer from the Executive Board of Directors of Arewa Aid to become the Development Officer for this 501C3 Non Profit Corporation. Arewa Aid is the support arm for Brad and Jennifer Blake who work and live in Maiduguri, Nigeria. Arewa translated means North, and is a common word used to describe the aired desert region of Nigeria just south of the Sahara.

This is a wonderful opportunity to work with a special couple as they build bridges and open doors to this Muslim area of Nigeria, West Africa. Islam came to this part of Nigeria over one thousand years ago. Long standing, and deeply imbedded traditions of Islam will not be easily over come, but we are beginning to see hearts opened and souls reached for the Kingdom of Christ. If you missed recent posts concerning this work click here, here and here to learn more.

Barb and I will be traveling to Maiduguri, Nigeria , Lord willing, in March of 2008 to see the work first hand. We solicit your prayers as we embark on this new chapter in our lives. 

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2007 Arewa Aid Dinner A Tremendous Success!

November 16, 2007

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The benefit dinner last evening for Arewa Aid was a tremendous success. Two hundred and twenty-five were present to learn about the arid area of northeastern Nigeria where the Blakes live, and 47,000.00 was given for their cause. John Mark Hicks, our master of ceremonies for the evening, introduced us to the need for drinking water in this area, and encouraged us to remember that Jesus said a cup of cold water given in His name would not lose it reward.

 

Through out the evening we learned how Brad and Jennifer are seeking to be Jesus to the Muslims in this area. One of most pressing needs is for a new well to serve not only the drip irrigation farm they have begun, but the water needs of the community as well. Often the water that is trucked in is not used as intended for the farm, but meeting the needs of people who come seeking clean drinking water. The Blakes are not willing to turn a deaf ear to the need of those who come seeking water. Brad also shared a video about, and their burden for, the “Beggar Boys” who roam the streets of Maidugur and many cities of the north begging for food to keep them alive only to beg again the next day. Their only possession is a small bowl from which they bathe and eat. Arewa Aid wants to reach out in a tangible way to these boys by teaching farming practices that can be used by them in their home towns and thus keep them from migrating to these larger cities with dreams that crumble and lead to begging on the street.

Dave Goolsby, from “Healing Hands International”, spoke of his work with the Blakes and how they are a missionary family that has become Jesus to the Muslims of Maiduguri. As Jesus left his home and emptied Himself to become one of us, the Blakes have also emptied themselves to become Nigerians to the Nigerians. They dress in local attire, speak the local language, and three children have been born to them and are being raised there.

One of the highlights of the evening was a phone call interview conducted by Dr. Phil Slate with Jennifer Blake who is still in Nigeria. We learned of the upcoming food preservation workshop to be held in February and the local interest that is building for this special time. All of these humanitarian works are an expression of love for the Muslim people of this desert area. This is not what the locals had expected from this American couple that moved into their midst, and as a result hearts are being opened and questions are being asked. Like the healing and caring touch of Jesus, these programs show how much they care, and thus become the basis for discussing the Good News of Jesus.

Plans are already underway for the 2008 Arewa Aid dinner. Here are some pictures from this wonderful evening.

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DAVID GOOLSBY FROM “HEALING HANDS”

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BRAD BLAKE PREPARES US FOR THE VIDEO ON THE BEGGAR BOYS

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DR. PHIL SLATE INTERVIEWS JENNIFER IN NIGERIA

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5TH. AND 6TH. GRADE CHORUS FROM FRIENDSHIP CHRISTIAN ACADEMY SING WITH BRAD

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THREE MEMBERS OF THE SINGING GROUP “DURANT” PLUS TWO ENCOURAGED AND CHALLENGED US IN SONG

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A FEW OF THE 200 PLUS ENJOYING A MEAL CATERED BY RYAN’S RESTAURANT