A missions leader asked me where I was meaningfully involved in a church on the field. Only in the last year of service abroad could I answer that question, and it’s been a good year because of it.
Let’s spur each other on to participation and accountability in a local church. Here’s a timely article I pass on to you, “Missionaries Need Local Churches, Too”:
[M]issionary teams must hold to a biblically robust understanding of the local church. They must obey the biblical imperatives for Christians to be meaningfully involved in local churches — they aren’t exempt simply because of their roles as missionaries.
We — all believers, including missionaries — want to be “members of one another” and understand that we can only plant healthy churches when we submit to a church ourselves.
Read more at imb.org…
Highlights of Russell D. Moore, “Is Christianity Dying?” on May 12, 2015 at Moore to the Point.
Christianity is dying. At least, that’s what major newspapers are telling us today. I think this is perhaps bad news for America, but it is good news for the church.
This is good news because the kind of “Christianity” that is a means to an end — even if that end is “traditional family values” — is what J. Gresham Machen rightly called “liberalism,” and it is an entirely different religion from the apostolic faith handed down by Jesus Christ.
The Pew report holds that mainline denominations — those who have made their peace with the Sexual Revolution — continue to report heavy losses, while evangelical churches remain remarkably steady — even against some heavy headwinds coming from the other direction.
Christianity isn’t normal anymore, and that’s good news. The Book of Acts, like the Gospels before it, shows us that Christianity thrives when it is, as Kierkegaard put it, a sign of contradiction. Only a strange gospel can differentiate itself from the worlds we construct. But the strange, freakish, foolish old gospel is what God uses to save people and to resurrect churches (1 Cor. 1:20–22).
Brothers and Sisters, Fellow Servants,
There is a church I know that exalts Christ and the cross, that loves one another as family, that obeys the Great Commission by making disciples of all nations. This church has sent out 50% of its members and gives 70% of its money outward to missions and ministry. The church glorifies God as it ignites a passion to reach the nations.
Crossroads to the Nations, thank you for building us up (Eph. 4:12)! Thanks for making our work a joy (Heb. 13:17)! Thanks for sending us in a way worthy of God (3 Jn. 6)!
Remember what we taught you about the gospel and how we lived among you. That is what I had the privilege of saying during our last meeting together (Acts 20:17–36). I thank God because he helped me stay faithful. He’s put a deep love in our hearts for you all that makes it hard to leave.
We will still be several more months before we travel to South Asia for the sake of the gospel. We’re now in New York visiting family and we’re packing long-term bags. Then we go to language training in January. Pray with us so we see opportunities to give outwardly as we go.
May God establish more churches like Crossroads around the world! Remember us in prayer as we pray for you!
The Helmer family
What will you bring to share at church this Sunday? A Scripture, a song, a story of God’s work and grace?
Speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. (Eph. 4:15–16)
Share to build up others. Do this whether in Louisville or far away when you meet with God’s people. It’s the God-given way of maturity into Christ.
I look forward to meeting! Your brother,
What’s at the center of your life right now? I pray at the beginning of this year you clutch to the truth of cross as the most essential thing. “I want to remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you… For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins…” (1 Cor. 15:1–4).
This past Sunday’s simple message, “Life’s Most Important Truth Can Be the Easiest to Forget,” was part 1. It was part 1. Part 2 will be this Wednesday evening at our home. We’ll meet at 6:30pm for a short meeting of worship, prayer, and God’s Word. For those who were not at church Sunday, this Wednesday time will launch us into three days of prayer and fasting.
Our annual retreat begins Saturday at 6:30pm at our home. We’ll be studying what it means for Crossroads to be a cross-cultural church (that is, a church with a culture defined by the cross, and a church going across cultures with the gospel). After a time of worship together Saturday, we’ll break our fast that evening with simple foods. The retreat will go until 4:30 or 5pm Sunday. There will be no church meeting at 5pm this Sunday.
Wednesday, 6:30 – 7:30pm: Church meeting
Wednesday evening – Saturday evening: Prayer and fasting
Saturday, 6:30pm – Sunday, 4:30pm: Retreat!
Near the Cross,
The Cross is the blazing fire at which the flame of our love is kindled, but we have to get near enough for its sparks to fall on us.
We’ve been talking recently about the purpose of the Church in general and about Crossroads. What is God’s purpose for the church? One reason Crossroads to the Nations was started is because we believe that disciples are best made in the context of a church — not a campus ministry, Bible study or building. The church is a vital part of God’s unfolding mystery in the universe, even with all its flaws. It is what Jesus died for and where his Spirit is present among believers. It is where cultures are crossed (and there is sure to be some friction in that) and where the cross makes a new culture.
I thought seminary professor Dr. Russell Moore reminded me of these things in a recent article. Take time to read this and share your thoughts:
“Jesus Didn’t Die for a Campus Ministry: The Spiritual Danger of Unchurched Spirituality”
Thanks for joining together in Christ’s name!