Archive for July 2011

A great loss   Leave a comment

The Body of Christ worldwide is mourning the loss of one of this century’s most influential followers of Jesus. Dr John R W Stott’s exposition of scripture was without equal and paralleled by a daily commitment to live all he preached. Everyone who met him , and I was privileged to be one of those, was first struck by his overwhelming gentleness and humility. He was one of those few remarkable people who made everyone who met them feel that they were, for that moment, the most important people in the world. While Rector of All Souls Langham Place his preaching was significantly influential in my family’s walk with Jesus and I am indebted to his ministry for the certainty of one of my sisters’ eternal destiny.

His books are essential for every pastor’s library. His amazing ability to explain the most complex of doctrine in comprehensible language lives on in the pages of such books as “Basic Christianity” and “The Cross of Christ.” If you know little of this amazing servant of God, you can read his biography “ Basic Christian” and visit the memorial website, you will not be disappointed!

The following says it all…

27th July 2011

As the Christian community around the world grieves the loss John Stott, one of the global church’s heroes, may we all embrace the truth of who Jesus Christ is and be refreshed to serve Him as did John Stott.  Below, may the words of Christopher Wright (International Director of the Langham Partnership) and Frances Whitehead, John Stott’s “omni-competent” assistant (since 1956) bring you comfort and peace.

Benjamin Homan, President

John Stott Ministries

————————

Dear friend,

We are sure that you would wish to be among the first to know that today at 3.15pm (UK time), John Stott went to be with the Lord. Close family and friends were with him during the morning, and they listened together with him to selections from Handel’s Messiah, including “I know that my Redeemer liveth”, and read through 2 Timothy. He died very peacefully during the afternoon. He had become very weak and weary in recent months and we thank God for a merciful and peaceful ending to his earthly pilgrimage.

John Stott reached the great age of 90 in April this year. During his lifetime, he became known worldwide for the clarity, faithfulness and relevance of his writing and preaching, combined with extraordinary integrity and humility. A man of remarkable global vision and strategic insight, he was instrumental in the establishment of many thriving Christian agencies. Countless people around the world can testify to the personal encouragement they have received from ‘Uncle John’. His ministry took him to every corner of the globe, whilst all the time remaining pastor and eventually Rector Emeritus of just one church – All Souls, Langham Place, London.

As the Founder and Honorary President of the Langham Partnership International, he will be remembered as a tireless advocate and friend of the churches in the majority world, demonstrating his concern for their well-being through the provision of literature, the support of younger leaders, faculty development of evangelical seminaries, and the training of pastors and preachers.

In honour of his memory, a memorial web site has been set up in thankful recognition of all that John Stott did to serve the church and to further the cause of God’s Kingdom.  The site contains many biographical details of John Stott’s life, ministry and writing,  photographs, a remembrance book, and ways in which you can respond to the event. This website will also publish, in due course, details of memorial services in different parts of the world.  We are sure you will appreciate visiting this site, www.johnstottmemorial.org.

Please join us in praying that the Lord, who has now called his good and faithful servant John home to his rest and reward, may continue to bless with increasing fruitfulness all the ministries that have sprung from his vision and leadership.

Thank you,

Chris Wright Frances Whitehead
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Posted July 29, 2011 by jolm15 in Uncategorized

Why didn’t I know?   Leave a comment

The challenge of communication has been much on my mind lately. I realize these observations are specific to New Life Christian Fellowship, however I suspect that for every church, the principles are much the same. Recently I heard a couple of comments that really got me thinking. (Both are anecdotal and serve as illustrations not accusations!!) The first went something like this “ Why did I not know about …” the second “ why didn’t —— know about this?” Certainly, as the staff of your church it is our job to make sure that events and programs are publicized as well as possible and in a timely fashion. True as it is that personal invitations are often by far the most effective way of encouraging someone to come to something, I do not think it is reasonable to expect the staff and/or leaders to personally invite everyone individually to events.

As I thought about it this morning, I realized that if we are to make real progress the people to whom we communicate must take some responsibility. I have lost count of the number of times I have heard “Oh I don’t read the bulletin” when reminded that details of an event was published there. I feel sure that the same would be said at times of websites, facebook pages, text messages or any other communication methods used.

So if you come across either, an event you did not know about, or someone who did not hear about something, would you be so kind as to ask yourself;

  • Did I read the bulletin?
  • Have I visited the website/ face book page recently to check for upcoming events?
  • Did I arrive at church early enough to read the announcements projected on the wall before the service starts?
  • Have I shared upcoming events with anyone who I think might be interested?

We are well aware that we can improve the ways we share information and please rest assured that we will continue to try and do better. Any suggestions you can make of things that will help will be greatly appreciated. But can I ask that if you want to know about upcoming events, you help us by using the tools we have and please make it your task to encourage those you know to join you in participating in an activity…. Or am I being unreasonable?

Posted July 27, 2011 by jolm15 in Uncategorized

A pandemic of poverty   Leave a comment

The challenge of my response to the plight of the poor seems to have been a message that God has been sending me in a number of different ways.

In the course of preparing a recent sermon on the heroic behaviour of Boaz (the sermon series is entitled “Heroes”) my attention was caught by the process of gleaning. I wanted to know more so I read further in Leviticus 19:9-10. Here we see how God established this practice to provide for the poorest and most needy people in society. It seems He did not make it “a suggestion” He made part of the Law. His expectation that His people would make care of the poor a priority is established right from the earliest days. However He seems to expect that we would not do well!

In “Surprised by Hope” N T Wright suggests the problem of global debt that triggers so much of our worlds poverty is potentially a crime of heinous proportions.

“Sex matters enormously but global justice matters far far more. Whatever it take we must change this situation or stand condemned by subsequent history alongside those who supported slavery two centuries ago or those who supported the Nazi’s seventy years ago… every time we put it off one more day, several hundred children die. And thats just the start”

Mark Labberton in “The Dangerous Act of Loving Your Neighbor” put it this way

“ Systematic injustice, the absence of the rule of law, and the suffering of so many innocents at the hands of oppressors rely on the complicity and distraction of our ordinary hearts

If indeed the Body of Christ is charged with working towards the New Earth that Jesus will redeem and restore how can we contemplate sitting by and watching while huge numbers of people wake up each morning to the challenge of finding a splash of clean water and any scrap of nourishment. They do this when in all probability that they will lie down at night having found neither.

“The world is to dangerous to live in- not because of the people who do evil but because of the people who sit and let it happen” Albert Einstein. I really don’t want to be one of those people but I fear that I often am. Just last week I was sent this trailer for a movie to be released in October produced by the live58 Project inspired by Isaiah 58….

58: THE FILM Trailer from LIVE58NOW on Vimeo

“a pandemic”, that we have the resources to eliminate and we don’t. How dare we rationalize this situation but what can we do? It seems our feeling of helplessness is one of the evil one’s most effective tools in disabling us. Groups such as producer of the above trailer and Micah Challenge are offering us some help in feeling less inadequate and the ministries of Steve Sjogren and Dino Rizzo encourages us with ideas as to action we can take on our own doorstep

So the question I posed to our church family at the end of the sermon is what is the 21st century equivalent of “gleaning”? If God felt it was important enough to make a provision in the Law for the poorest and most needy people in society how can we reflect this in our actions, and of course when are we going to step out?

Posted July 19, 2011 by jolm15 in Uncategorized