David Ford is Regus Professor of Theology at Cambridge and I was just privileged to hear him speak on ‘The Gospel of John – Abundant meaning, Abundant love.’ Here are my unedited notes. John’s is a gospel of abundance. He’s studied it for 19 years and still feels he has had a cup from a huge barrel. John 3:16 sums up the gospel – it’s all about love! It’s the latest to be written, and we think John knew the synoptics. So we can make connections with them. He may have written it in Ephesus, and even knew the Pauline tradition so here you have the gospel narrative and the theology so he was known as ‘ho theologos’in the Eastern church. Hans Urs von Balthasar “Most saint’s lives can be summed up as the exegesis of one scripture.” John wants you to think in terms of abundance. How many fish? How much wine? How much glory! He wants us to think differently about big concepts, about time, and about love. 1 John is the first commentary on John – a Johannine community […]
We must not just tell people to give, we must help them to live generously.
I wouldn’t usually review a book half way through but I was given an advance copy and it sat on my ‘to read’ pile until a couple of days ago – then it grabbed hold of me. I’m definitely going to get lots of copies available for LAUNCH this year as this book is so needed. Amidst all the books on church techniques, strategies and goals (which I love) comes one which asks so many challenging questions and provides great insight into what the heck it is we are actually even doing. And why ‘it’ isn’t doing what it’s supposed to. Reframation – what’s that? Well Alan likes to make up new words when old ones don’t fit, or add a couple together to make a new one – which I think is cokay. The basic idea of the book that is everyone sees through a frame, and we need to reframe our understandings of God, people and the church – which needs to keep on reforming rather than say ‘Oh yeah we did that 500 years ago.’ (See what they […]
“LAUNCH out into the deep, and let down your nets for a catch.” Luke 5:4 Peter was a Type A who had been doing everything he knew to do. Working hard, tiring himself out, much effort, little effectiveness, he was pretty much always mending his nets, but that didn’t mean he was successful. The nets were empty and he was frustrated and exhausted. Then the landlubber he calls Lord stands in Peter’s boat as if he owns it and says ‘Launch out into deep water’ That word LAUNCH changed everything for Peter, and reading this passage a few years ago it did so for me too. It has become the name of the multiplication event I helped found, which has now been challenging and equipping hundreds of leaders from around the world to dream bigger and adventure further, to go where God is sending them to reach those he wants them to reach. “Launch” is from epanago, which means “bring up”, “stir up”. “excite”, “lead back”, “elevate”, “exalt”, “bring back”, “withdraw”, “retreat”, and “put out to sea”. That’s what we will do […]
Some years ago a friend of mine invited us as a family to come and spend some time on holiday at his villa in Spain. I was delighted to accept, but this turned out to be a far cry from a little apartment on the beach. When we got there we found we were inland, farming country, and the place we stayed was full of olive trees. It also happened to be harvest time. We ended up getting involved, using hand held machines to shake the branches to catch the olives in nets, which were then sorted by various local people hired in to help sort them before I went with him to have truckloads weighed and bought. I worked up a sweat, but it was a great adventure and memory. Others had done the hard work, we were there to reap! This was a window of opportunity to gather in the crop. Eddie told me, ‘The size of the harvest is all about how many workers you have out in the fields.’ I thought, ‘That’ll preach!’ The Message version […]
I am so grateful for the insights of my friend Alan Hirsch – particularly for the gift that he has given back to the church to reignite its missionalDNA and particularly reclaim the need for apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, teachers (APEST) to operate, for the church to be optimal. As he says, the systems we are presently running are perfectly designed to give us the results we are seeing. So I’m fully convinced and committed that it is almost the silver bullet the church needs. When we activate the 5Q ministries of Ephesians 4 through the church, everyone will see Jesus coming and the world will be changed like it has not since the beginning of our movement before it became an institution. Yet as I read through the NT I’m reminded that there are other lists of gifts and ministries in various places, and as a church planter, network leader and coach I’m increasingly convinced that they are also vital for this to happen. Paul wrote to the highly gifted church at Corinth, which despite its charismatic glories […]
I was privileged this week to be in Manhattan as the guest of Alan & Deb Hirsch – facilitated by Rich Robinson to form a small collective of global movement leaders through a ‘communitas’ exercise (Alan likes to make up words). We were hosted in Tim Keller’s church offices at Redeemer City to City. Our purpose? To look at how the church can step outside the models, mindsets and habits that have brought us to where we are – because they will no longer move us forward. We have to change our paradigms – and then our practices. One day was spent looking at NYC as an example city. What would we do to see the gospel saturate this city of more than 8m? I’m going to blog again with some more of my thoughts as a result, but as we rolled paper across the tables and discussed with marker pens in hand, I was fascinated to hear from kingdom change makers as diverse as Danielle Strickland and her husband Steve, leaders like Christine Caine, Dave and Jon Ferguson, Hugh […]