The Gospel in a Godless State

We received an email forward from friends in Hawaii about government control of the church:

Pastors in China report that they've been forced to integrate (the) President....'s words into the(ir) biblical (messages)... the Chinese Communist Party increasingly pressures church leaders to infuse their sermons with political ideology...

They asked...

Suicide of a Professing Believer

Dayna and I are so sorry to hear about .... your loved one's .... homegoing. I say homegoing because as far as we can know she is with the Lord. My confidence for this, and our only hope in life and death, is in Jesus. We are not saved because of anything we do, and we do not get to heaven by our good finish! When the Bible calls us sinners that never changes until we get to heaven. Only then and there will our sin be fully and forever removed. Yet even in heaven we will be forgiven sinners. That is why we will sing, "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain! " Because it is only the blood of Christ that restores our relationship with God.

A Call for Hospitality Evangelism

    We are God's children, we have been welcomed into His family. In Jesus Christ we have been made the objects of God's abundant mercy. "For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace." (John 1:16) We were really in bad shape. It's not just that we didn't know God - we were actively suppressing all knowledge of God. It's not just that we could not keep God's Law - in our rebellion we loved to break it. We, who because of our sin were such stench in the very nostrils of God, are now Beloved children of our Heavenly Father. We are clothed in Christ's righteous garments. Since His robes are royal we are made to be a Kingdom, and Priests unto His God. Our Father receives us with the love with which He loves His Son. God is hospitable. Once we were not a people, but now we have been made the people of God.

Sharing Jesus with Others

What Evangelism is Not

1. It is not the same as filling the pews of the church.

2. It is not an occasional raid by a visiting celebrity.

3. It is not repeated, impassioned, pleas for a decision. 

4. It is not a system - a packaged formula.

Some Thoughts on the Baptism and Filling of the Holy Spirit

The Two-fold work of Jesus Christ:

CLEANSER OF SIN - The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said "Look, the Lamb of GOD, who takes away the sin of the world." John 1:29 

BAPTIZER WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT - "The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit." John 1:33

Developing and Sending out New Leaders

1. Find Them

Help them find you!

Regardless of the size of your church, a minimum of 1/3 of your time should be spent focusing on developing leaders.

Talking to them after Service / Section Shepherds

Visiting Small groups

Poll your leaders "who do you see as potential leaders?"

Multi-Cultural, Inter-Generational, Leadership Team: we're all biased / limited - culture, prejudices, theology, experiences.

Working with Teams

Team Ministry in the International Church as seen in the Book of Acts

Team ministry is seen throughout the Bible, from Noah's boys who helped Dad craft the Ark, to the armies of heaven who witness the final victory of Christ our Captain. Moses follows wise advice and creates a leadership team for dispensing judgement. The constant worship of God is overseen by a large team of Aaronic priests. And the team of prophets even had their own 'school.' Our Lord Himself had three, and twelve, and seventy that played key roles in His earthly ministry.  

A Pastor..!! Is that REALLY a Job??

Definitions: 

'pastor' lit. means 'shepherd' - the one who feeds those in the pasture; a person having spiritual care of people. Jesus Christ is called the "Good Shepherd" or "Good Pastor."

'clergy' [klur-jee] - the group of ordained persons in a religion, as distinguished from the laity (lit. the 'people' i.e. Non-ordained)

'priest' - one who stands between God and man, offering sacrifices on behalf of the people. Used as leader's title by some Christians (esp. Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican). Evangelicals do not usually use this title for their spiritual leaders because of the finished work of Jesus our high priest. 

Who Should Preach?

“Preaching is truth through personality” - Phillips Brooks

Each preacher is a unique individual, having been led by His Lord on a unique path of preparation and refinement. At my current church in Beijing, we are pleased that a team of men from various nations and Christian traditions are serving in the ministry of the Word. (Yes, the masculine pronoun is an intentional choice. Men are the preachers in BICF ZGC.)

We do not expect any two preachers to be identical, but we do examine two areas of the preacher’s life – “their life and their doctrine”

(1 Timothy 4.16).

Marriage Policy

BICF Marriage Policy

Marriage is the exclusive and sacred union of one man woman for life (Genesis 1:27, 2:23-25; Matthew 19:6; Malachi 2:14; Ephesians 5:22-33). It is a (symbolic) picture of Christ’s everlasting, unbreakable, love for His Church. Marriage is an everlasting, unbreakable, love for His Church. Marriage is an everlasting, unbreakable, love for His Church. Marriage is an expression of unity, where husband and wife become, in a sense, two persons one. This unity is not only physical unity; it is also a spiritual and emotional unity of profound dimensions. BICF Pastors will perform marriages for a man and woman who have not been divorced, this is God's ideal. We may consider exceptional cases after careful examination by the Elders (Matthew 19:3-9, 9, 5:32).