I am thankful to my 3rd grade teacher for giving me a love for reading. It was Mrs. Hayes who encouraged me to read for 15 minutes every night before I went to sleep. I think she knew if you can get a kid to start reading for 15 minutes, it will create a ferocious appetite that won’t stop there. Since early childhood I have been an avid reader, but I realize that reading is not a discipline that many Americans, and many American Christians for that matter, enjoy. For with all the technology vying for our time and attention it’s no wonder that a 2007 poll revealed that 27% of Americans did not read a single book the previous year.
That being said, with the New Year upon us I know that many of you are desiring to make reading a part of your routine. In fact my wife made a New Year’s resolution to read more in 2010, so in light of that I thought I would pass along some recommendations for your new habit.
These 10 books are not necessarily new and they are in no particular order, but they will help you tremendously in your understanding of theology, culture, and the Christian life. Some of them are quick reads others are more reference books that you’ll refer to for years to come.
I would like to read the following books in 2010 -
I’m reading several books right now…if you are a pastor or church planter I recommend each of them. Not because I agree with everything that’s written but because I think it will challenge you and help you to think through things that you may not otherwise.
1. Launch “Starting a new church from scratch” (Nelson Searcy and Kerrick Thomas)
2. Lost and Found “The younger unchurched and the churches that reach them” (Ed Stetzer)
3. Planting Missional Churches (Ed Stetzer)
Rory Rodgers begins his work here tomorrow…we will introduce him to the church and then he and I will work together in transition for about a month. My last Sunday here at CCCC will be Sunday August 9th. I can hear the collective cheers from those who are excited about our departure.
Seriously we are going to miss this church, this community, and it is going to be really difficult to leave this behind. We are however confident that God is in this and that He is going to continue pouring out His blessings upon CCCC through the leadership of Rory and that He is going to begin a new work in Fort Collins through the planting of The Bridge.
On a completely different note…Riley Taylor, the son of Wayne Taylor (pastor of Calvary Fellowship in Seattle), has put together some stinkin’ hilarious videos for a teaching series in the book of Acts. Here is Acts 1…you can find the rest on youtube or around the web.
“Dr D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones was asked publicly why the churches of his day had so few young men in the pews. He instantly shot back, “Because there are so many old women in the pulpits.” Preaching should either send men away angry or turn them in heartfelt repentance. The one thing it must not do, but too often does, is dull them.”
Speaking of masculinity…you can download Mark Driscoll’s e-book called “Pastor Dad” here for free.
Over the last several weeks, in our series in the gospel of Luke (9:1-26 “Our Mission” and 9:27-62 “Things that Derail our Mission”), I have been preaching about our mission as believers. The theme of the gospel of Luke is found in 19:10,
“for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
Jesus, the first missionary, humbled himself and condescended to our culture filled with sin and all its repurcussions (Phil. 2:1-11). Unfortunately many churches that claim to follow Jesus are not on His mission but have settled for a pseudo-mission of moralism and isolationism which has resulted in an impotent Church that cares more about picketing, the anti-Christ, the timing of Jesus’ return, and conspiracy theories than it does about the lost people Jesus’ explicitly called us to convert into disciples (Matthew 28:18-20).
Because Jesus knows we’re not that smart He made our mission pretty simple,
“Go make disciples…”
In standard fashion we have convoluted this command and in the process we have veered off of our mission of taking the gospel to everyone who is living in separation from God.
As Mark Driscoll so often says, it’s about “taking the timeless truth of the gospel to the lost using timely methods.”
Jesus, Paul, and every effective missionary since has understood contextualization. In 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 Paul makes it clear that he was willing to do anything apart from sin to bring the gospel to his context in a way that resonates with them.
“Contextualization is about making the church as culturally accessible as possible without compromising the truth of Christian belief. In this, what is sought is timeless truth and timely methods. In other words, contextualization is not making the gospel relevant, but showing the relevance of the gospel.” (Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears ,Vintage Church, p. 228)
Why is it that certain segments of Christianity are so afraid of this concept? Why are so many churches, pastors, and Christians content to isolate themselves in their Bible bubbles when we know full well that Jesus engaged His culture? Why do we insist on hanging on to our tried and true “methods” of ministry when we can clearly see they are failing?
Oh and why are those “methods” acceptable but anything that doesn’t fit into our little box labeled “philosophy of ministry” aren’t?