What We’re Reading Today

From Thomas A. Jones’ God’s Perfect Plan for Imperfect People:

Jesus clearly showed us what God had been doing all along — facing pain for us. But in Jesus we see God does not love us by sitting on the sidelines and shouting, “I love you.” No, enters into our suffering and bears burdens we could not bear. This is not because we deserve for him to do this. It is an act of pure grace. And now we are called to go into the hard places and live among others “just as Christ loved us.

Great Missionary Lives: John Geddie

John Geddie served as a missionary on the island of Aneityum, which is in modern day Vanuatu. He bravely shared the Gospel with a people that practiced strangling and cannibalism and in his day saw 25 churches established and even a translation of the New Testament. While we would not agree with all that John Geddie taught, his example of compassion should be imitated.

Force will not do. Only the compulsion of love will avail. Was it not the love of Christ that softened your hard hearts? Use no weapon but that which our Redeemer uses, the weapons of love. Let us constantly keep our hearts open ‘unto Him that loved us and washed us from our sins.’

Read the whole thing.

Names over Numbers

It’s easy to rely on statistics and numbers as a measure for how well a ministry is doing. While statistics are indeed helpful, Karl Vater reminds us that every person attending church “has a name, a history and a future.”

Everyone in a church service, a discipleship class or a small group is a person for whom Jesus died. And knowing how many of them are in the room is a vital first step in ministering to them.

But it’s just a first step.

Read the whole thing.

Great Missionary Lives: Henry Nott

Read how Henry Nott helped a Tahitian king to destroy his nation’s idols and turn to Christ. While we would not agree with all that Henry Nott taught, his example is of one of incredible bravery and of someone’s radical willingness to leave his comfort zone for the Gospel.

Turning to the native king, Henry Nott said: ‘For the sake of your immortal soul and of your influence upon your subjects, I urge you, for the thousandth time, to turn to Christ. Do not longer reject His glorious salvation. Every human soul is of infinite value to Him.’

Read the whole thing.

What if people don’t care about the afterlife?

Mike Wittmer writes on how to reach people who don’t care about heaven or the afterlife. He gives three tips:

  1. Lead with lesser hopes.
  2. Close with highest fears.
  3. Invite them to church.

By all means, let’s tell people about the immense comfort of going to heaven when they die. Who can imagine that first moment when we see Jesus? But let’s also tell them this inexpressible climax is not the end. Heaven is not our final destination, but the first leg of a journey that is round trip (this is why our soul’s journey to heaven is called “the intermediate state”). Christians believe in the three R’s: the return of Christ, the resurrection of the body, and the restoration of all things.

Read the whole thing.