The Future of ESM: Simple & Missional (as in 30/10/2011 weekly)

Thank you for participating last Sunday’s forum. I hope we made the first baby steps towards a simple and missional ESM.

I came from a traditional view: the church was surrounded by 4 walls and everyone was safe to practise holiness inside. Outside was secular and unholy. We came to the church to be cleansed by God’s word and enjoyed the fellowship of our brothers and sisters. Mission and evangelistic works were done by a few “elite” Christians who were “specially gifted.” Though it was nice and well-meaning; it was not exactly biblical.

We want to do what Jesus wants us to do. But why simple and missional?

Being simple is to scrap programs and activities that do not achieve our goal of being missional; because they burden our leaders from studying the Bible and being good teachers. Leaders are not entertainers. They should not waste their time and energy to create programs for you to enjoy — unless they are missional.

Being missional is not an add-on when everything is business as usual. It is not a mission statement or a slogan. It is not a mission program or a once a year short term mission trip. Being missional is a complete re-calibration of the church around mission. It is a paradigm shift of the whole ministry. It is a complete change of mindset of individuals. Practically, in whatever we do, we ask: are we doing it to spread the gospel?

For example, why do we gather together in worship and fellowship? We gather so that we may scatter. We gather to edify, to encourage, and to equip one another; so that we have enough resources to scatter and to witness Christ in this world. This mindset should determine how we plan our program.

According to Michael Frost (VP of Morling College, Director of Tinsley Institute), there are 3 results of being missional:
(1) You will see God differently. God is present in all non-Christian context. As the Father sent Jesus, Jesus sends us. God is a sending God.
(2) You will see the church differently. The church is the called-out one; being the salt and light of the world. Simply ask: could we be taken away from this neighbourhood and would anybody notice? Would our neighbours grief or rejoice at the lost of our church?
(3) You will see the world differently. Everybody bears the image of God, including the one you hate so much.

Rom 12:1-2 asks of us to offer our bodies as living sacrifices; do not conform to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our mind. Our “default” mode is to be tribal. But God wants us to be global. It requires a renewing of our mind.

Pastor Vincent
30 Oct 2011

All Israel will be saved?

One of the most difficult parts of Romans is chapter 11 which speaks about the future of ethnic Israel. In my small group last week, we pondered upon the meaning of Romans 11:26 where we are told that “all Israel will be saved”. Everyone was left scratching their heads (even the leader!).

Interestingly, on Twitter this week I had a little tweet conversation with Dr John Dickson about this. It went something like this:

johnpauldickson: #ReadRomans 11:25-36. Taking ‘Israel’ as a metaphor of the church would increase, not correct, Gentile conceit. No, Paul means Israel.

toothpaster: @johnpauldickson All Israel will be saved? How ought we to understand “all”?

johnpauldickson: @toothpaster ‘All Israel’ is like ‘fullness of Gentiles’ – doesn’t necessarily mean each and every but a representative whole, I think.

toothpaster: @johnpauldickson Good point John! We studied this passage last Sunday & concluded that it includes ethnic Israel & spiritual Israel (Gents)

johnpauldickson: @toothpaster In my opinion, including a ‘spiritual Israel’ in ‘all Israel’ runs into problems with the ‘they’ & ‘you’ contrast that follows

toothpaster: @johnpauldickson Yeah I agree, the hard bit is to connect the verses that follow. Thx John! :-)

 

Name

New name is often associated with a new life in the Bible. Abram became Abraham; Jacob became Israel; Simon Peter became Cephas (rock); Saul became Paul etc.

Very often, the name defines the person. Well, at least, the name defines the expectation of the name givers. What is the meaning of your name? More or less, your name associates with your parents’ expectation of what you will become.

What do you expect of ESM? Can you summarize your expectation in one or two words? Please share with us by replying to this.

The Future of ESM: Simple & Missional

The followings are two youtube video clips that talks about the meaning of a missional church. The first one is exact script. The second one is summary.

The Missional Church…. Simple

“In the past, churches have spent large amounts of resources to construct the most attractive places imaginable for the community in which they were situated. Great music, compelling teaching and a host of programs designed to gather people together are the staple of such church community. Anyone who wanted to come was welcome. And church members were encouraged to invite their friends and neighbours. Generally, people had a pleasant experience. The people who came or cared for seemed relatively similar. Education, income, past-times, race, struggle and history seemed to be almost identical. Eventually, someone asked the question: What about all the people who aren’t like us, but who live around us? Why aren’t they here too?

In response, the church increased it’s marketing budget; direct mailing into the community, taking out ads in the local newspaper, buying radio time, releasing a fresh webpage and offering to host the world greatest event. The church was determined to be the centre of everything great that happened in the community. Church members began to rely on the church to convey God’s story in the world. If someone could be brought to an event, they can hear about Jesus from a professional teacher. Inviting people became synonymous to evangelism.

The missional church on the other hand, empower its members to be the church in the community. The church trains, resources, encourages and challenges its people to live out the good news in their community with those who otherwise be suspicious of a church and it’s marketing effort. The church sends out its members to live among people unfamiliar with church customs, songs and what it holds sacred, just like a foreign missionary.

The missional church recognises that every believer embodies the life of the church in their neighbourhood; in their school; and at their place of work. Each one of them telling God’s story in a context of compassionate and genuine relationships.

Michael Frost: Define Missional

Not a model, not an add-on missional activity while the rest are business as usual. It is a fundamental and prophetic call for the church to orient everything that they are doing around the agenda of mission. Mission is the organizing principle of all those things that the church legitimately doing. Worship, fellowship, or even evangelism is not the primarily organizing principle, although they are important. A missional church is a church in which worship, leadership, community, evangelism, social justice, theological thinkingD they are all organised around the fundamental agenda of mission. This is not new. This is biblical. This is a working principle of the greatest commandment and the greatest commission

Bible software deals – Koorong

Hi y’all,

Just letting you know that there’s currently a 30% deal for Bible software at Koorong. Which means, you can get the Tyndale Commentary set (which I own) for only $104.97.

Or you could get the 59 volume Word Biblical Commentary for only $245

Both of these you could be viewed through the free Logos 4 Bible software… which means, you commentary can also be accessed through your iPhone or Android phone while you’re on the go.

Andy 😉

Something to pray for — THE FUTURE OF ESM #3

(as appear in ESM weekly on 9/10/2011)
Dear ESMers,

ESM forum shall be held on the 23rd Oct at 1:30pm to 3:00pm at the garage. We should have enough space to accommodate all our leaders—the committee, Sunday small groups, all fellowships and praise team, and those who serve in the Sunday Service.

I will share with you my vision of ESM—I believe that everyone should be a disciple of Jesus; not just a church goer. Everyone should be able to serve in some area; instead of being served all the time. Everyone should take up responsibilities according to your spiritual gifts and God’s calling to you; instead of just giving opinions; making some noise but not doing anything. We should all lead by serving others; not “my way or the highway.”

Therefore, I want you to tell me how you can contribute by becoming a functional member of the Christ body. I want you to be creative in thinking. I want you to step out of your comfort zone. I want you to be out of our traditional boundary; but remain truthful to the Great Commission (Matt 28:18-20) and the Great Commandments (Matt 22:37-39).

That is why I asked you to examine yourself and look for your spiritual gifts and calling from God. The 4 “F” words function as a mirror for you to look at yourself: Facts, Feelings, Findings and Future.

Please note that this forum is NOT about:
(1) This is not about final decision making. Instead, I intend to tell you what I want; and I want to listen to your comments and opinions. You may have a better idea. My word is not final.
(2) This is not about some type of power play. Instead, it is about obeying our Lord. Eph 4:11-13 says, “It was he (Jesus) who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, … so that the body of Christ may be built up.” I want you to be in the position that God calls you to be.
(3) This is not about getting rid of somebody. Instead it is about engaging everyone. However, if God calls you to go somewhere else to serve him, you should obey God and go.

Would you please continue to pray for ESM?
Pastor Vincent 9th Oct, 2011

Something to pray for — The future of ESM # 2

Dear ESMers,
On 25/9 weekly, I invited you to pray for ESM’s future. The forum that I mentioned shall be held on the 23rd Oct at 1:30pm to 3:00pm.

I asked you to examine yourself and look for your spiritual gifts and calling from God. It can be difficult to some of you. I am now giving you 4 “F words” to help you to think. Please write them down in a notepad.

(1) Facts about yourself.
Some basic: Your gender, education, training, experience, strength & weakness. Something spiritual: What is my spiritual gifts? What does God want me to do?
In general: What do you love most? What do you hate most? What drives you? What turns you down? What are you good at? There are something you love doing without being told to, what are they?

(2) Feelings:
How do I feel about being…. ?
E.g. How do I feel about being a male with uni education; and have certain strength and weakness? Do I feel proud or defeated? Do I feel sad, happy, frustrated, excited, indifference and so on.

(3) Findings:
Do I find something new about myself?
E.g. As being a Christian who love… and hate…, while I have these strength and that weakness, what do I know about myself?

(3) Future:
What am I going to be like in 3 years, 5 years, and 10 years.
How am I going to serve God in the next 10, 30 and 50 years.
What is required of me if I want to do what I want to do?
What kind of training and/or education do I need in order to be able to serve God?

Would you please continue to pray for ESM?

Pastor Vincent
2nd Oct, 2011