inexpressible and filled with glory

LiVE: Mission as Identity
5 February 2010, 12:23 pm
Filed under: Gospel Community, Mission in the Mountains | Tags: , , ,

Always great stuff from Tim Chester.

Mission as Identity
For many people mission has become an event. We have guest services. Evangelistic courses. Street preaching. Youth programmes. There’s nothing wrong with these things. But mission is more than a slot into our schedules. It is an identity and a lifestyle. Mission is about living all of life, ordinary life, with gospel intentionality.

Missional Communities
We are called to be missional communities – not lone evangelists. Our love for one another reveals our gospel identity. The world will know that Jesus is the Son of God sent by God to be Saviour of the world through the community life of believers (John 17:20-23).

Scattered communities of light
We are not be like a lighthouse, occasionally sending a beam of light across the city. We are to be communities of light and hope and love in a dark and broken world at street level, on the street corner.

Read the whole thing here.

If you haven’t picked up in previous posts – this is what we’re trying to do at LiVE in 2010. It’s a big challenge, but we’re trusting that as we keep our eyes focused on Jesus, that our lives and our community will be shaped by his gospel and his mission, and that by God’s mercy we might win some.

LiVE: going deep into the Word. building gospel community. overflowing in creative service.


The Missional Church: Simple
1 February 2010, 2:00 pm
Filed under: Gospel Community, Mission in the Mountains | Tags: , , ,

This is quite simply, awesome.

We have recognized the massive challenge that we face at LiVE (the young adults community at Factory Night Church) to be missional. We need a radical mindshift to see that we are the agents of mission in our communities. In 2010, we hope to see real relationships built with people in the community as we seek to love and serve the Blue Mountains.

One practical thing that we are doing in Term One is having a Pub Team. When we meet every Wednesday we are going to commission a team of young adults to go to the local pub to build relationships with people and look for opportunities to communicate the gospel in our community. We are really excited about this opportunity and praying that God will be at work through us in powerful ways as we seek to make him known in Springwood.

I guess we want to see the transformation that is highlighted in the above video happen in our lives and church – moving away from events and comsumer church, to being trained for mission in our own community, building relationships in the community, seeking to serve and love our neighbours and share our lives and God’s mercy with them, all in the hope that through us God might save some.

This is really pretty scary stuff. It means we’re all going to be pushed right out of our comfort zones and be forced to ask “what risks am I willing to take for the gospel?” Please pray for us as we seek to be a community who is committed to serving God, one another and our community.

Community as Identity
23 December 2009, 8:38 am
Filed under: Books, Gospel Community | Tags: , ,

Check out Tim Chester’s latest post on Community as Identity. Tim Chester has been one guy who has influenced my thinking a lot this year in the two main ministries in which I am involved – LiVE (our young adults community) and my youth ministry work with Voice of the Martyrs. His two books that have particularly influenced me in these areas are Total Church and The Ordinary Hero respectively.

Total Church is a challenging call to a radical reshaping around gospel and community. It is my hope and prayer that as we continue to do life together at LiVE that we will be continually transformed to have a greater love and commitment to the gospel, to one another and to our community.

The Ordinary Hero has really consolidated a lot of the stuff that I am trying to communicate to youth when I speak to them about the persecuted church. Chester talks about the pattern of suffering followed by glory. This is not only true for Jesus’ life and mission but also for the life and mission of those who follow him.

The call to this radical life of discipleship is hard (both in the context of community and suffering), but it is a life filled with joy and hope as we look forward to sharing in the glory of our Lord in the new creation. Here are some of the things that Chester says in his latest post about Community as Identity:

The church is not a building you enter. Nor is it a meeting your attend. It is not what you do on a Sunday. To be a Christian is to be part of God’s people and to express that in your life through belonging to a local Christian community.

This is exactly what we have been trying to communicate at LiVE.

We belong to one another (Romans 12:5). If a car belongs to me then I am responsible for it and I decide how it should be used. If a person belongs to me them I am responsible for them and I am involved in their decisions.

While at the outset life in community is fun and easy, the longterm commitment to and love for one another is hard and messy. But this is our call to bring the gospel into one another’s lives and see the transformation and reconciliation that comes from life in Christ. This is true life and true joy – sharing not only in the sufferings of Christ, but also in his glory and resurrection.

Sweeter Still
14 September 2009, 4:09 pm
Filed under: Gospel Community

If you haven’t been able to tell from my last few blog posts, I’ve been thinking about life from the perspective of death lately. What does it mean to live in light of eternity? How should we live knowing that we are ‘a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes’ (James 4:14)? I think that reflecting on death does change the way that you live and reflecting on eternity changes the way that you approach today.

It seems to be the way that the Lord works, but the reality of death was brought home to me over the past weekend. One of my good friends from LiVE and church lost his mum on Saturday morning. After a long battle with cancer, Alison Ollivier died on 12 September 2009.

The death of his mum has shattered my friend Snowy. I didn’t know Alison at all, but I am so sad for Snowy. Many people from LiVE are grieving with him, seeking to love and support him in this time of loss. I was talking to Katherine last night and we were observing what a beautiful thing it is to see that when one part of the body of Chrisrt grieves we all grieve together. ‘Weep with those who weep, rejoice with those who rejoice’ as Paul says in Romans 12:15.

You Are Not Alone

I was given the privilege of praying for Snowy and his family at church on Sunday night. I was nearly in tears as I prayed. One of our friends said to Katherine afterwards “I was so sad because Snowy is sad, and Brad is sad for him, and I am sad too”. I think this is a sign of genuine gospel community – rather than indifference and distance, we enjoy intimacy and deep concern for one another. It’s obvious that this is a dangerous community to be a part of, because not only will we celebrate our joys and successes together, but we will also share one another’s griefs and burdens. Together we trust in Christ and persevere until his return. We eagerly hold onto the hope of glory, which tastes all the sweeter in the midst of tragedy.

Shared Housing Part Two
19 August 2009, 9:53 pm
Filed under: Gospel Community

What would it look like for shared housing to stimulate gospel growth and community revival?

That is where I left my last post, and I must say that upon reflection I do not think that shared housing is the answer to gospel growth – the Spirit is. God gives the growth. Josh’s comment from yesterday really highlights what is important in community life – it isn’t necessarily the forms (shared housing, meeting for meals, being is community clubs, etc.) it is the culture of the community that needs to be particularly considered.

For example, are we a community who regularly and spontaneously prays together? Are we a community who understands the gospel and are regularly speaking Jesus into each others lives? Do we intentionally open up our community to outsiders, even putting gospel community on display for the broader Mountains’ community? Do we eat together and open our lives to one another? Do we serve together? Do we have a culture of singing, joy and celebration?

So the culture of a community is what needs to be shaped by the gospel. If a gospel-centred culture is in place, then gospel community can exist through most forms. That said, perhaps shared housing is a form that is particularly conducive to producing life in community under Christ.

The key is to ensure that you are intentional about using the house as an outlet and opportunity for community in Christ. Make it an open house – people are always welcome, although set firm boundaries for where you consider to be off-limits. Have plenty of food to share with strangers and brothers in Christ. Pray for your house, your housemates, and those in your church community, that God would bring you many people to love and serve and speak the gospel to. Pray and speak the Scriptures to one another at every opportunity. Love and serve your neighbours – mow their lawn, invite them over, bake them a cake.

There are plenty of things that you can do, but I think it all must be undergirded in prayer for the lost in your community. God is alive. He is powerful. Jesus is real. He is risen. The gospel is the power of God for salvation. Believe the gospel – REALLY believe the gospel. And ask God to work powerfully among you to the praise of his glory!

Shared Housing
19 August 2009, 5:38 am
Filed under: Gospel Community

A good friend returned to Australia last week after nine months overseas. Katherine and I were so excited to see him and to have him back in our lives. When he told us he was going to be returning, I asked him if he needed a place to stay. We have a spare room at our place and he would have been more than welcome to use it. He politely declined.

But it got me thinking about the idea of shared housing as a way of promoting gospel community and shared life in Christ. Katherine and I are a young married couple (we’ve been married for 20 months) and the norm in Australian Christian circles for young marrieds is to get a place and to rejoice in the wife of your youth. So it may seem a little counter-cultural if we were to actually go ahead with allowing someone to live with us.

Aside from the issues that would need to be addressed with such an arrangement (boundaries, how to maintain intimacy in the marriage, and all the usual housemate stuff), I wonder if living in community could be an intentional way of seeing gospel community come to life in the Mountains? I think that a key word here is ‘intentional’, as it would be all too easy to simply live life and forget Christ. But perhaps, with careful thought and prayer, it would allow the gospel to saturate all of life and be a catalyst for revival in a community of God’s people.

What would it look like for shared housing to stimulate gospel growth and community revival? I’ll save that for the next post.

What’s to come
19 August 2009, 1:33 am
Filed under: Gospel Community, Mission in the Mountains

I write this with wrinkly hands after spending the last half hour washing up. In hindsight, it is time well-spent: not only does it help Katherine out around the house (I say that I’m going to help but she always beats me to the punch) but it also gives me a half hour’s headspace to think.

In that time I was pondering this new blog and considering what I might blog about. Recently, a small group of people at Factory Night Church began a young adults ministry called LiVE. At LiVE our goal is to be going deep into God’s Word, building gospel community and overflowing in creative service.

With the birth of LiVE there have been two big things that have been taking up a lot of my headspace. Firstly, gospel community: what does it look like to be a community of God’s people? What does that mean for our individual lives and for our shared life in community? How do we build one another up in love to serve the world with the gospel? Secondly, mission in the Blue Mountains: what are the challenges? What are the needs? How is God working here and how can we be a part of it?

These two talking points have made me really excited to jump into this new world with excitement and anticipation. So, look forward to more thoughts on these two topics, as well as random thoughts that I’m sure will make their way here as well.