Think Big, Think Small: Partnerships as a Revolution in Global Missions

Think Big, Think Small: Partnerships as a Revolution in Global Missions

This article was published in Evangelical Missions Quarterly, summer 2015.

We Think Small about the Gospel.

    Over the past 50 years, Christians have usually defined the Gospel like this: “We sinned - Jesus died - Trust Jesus - Go to heaven, not hell - The end.”  
    This is a very small understanding of the Gospel.  It’s true, but it’s not the whole truth, like a few pieces out of a stained glass window.  
    That kind of Gospel doesn’t actually change our world.  That kind of Gospel is contained to a 6 inch box around our hearts.  That kind of Gospel is just a ticket to heaven instead of hell.  That kind of Gospel is too small - WAY too small.  
    But that’s the kind of Gospel we usually preach and teach.  We imagine and live a small Gospel. ...

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Facing Our Addictions

Facing Our Addictions

After being a pastor for a few years, I began to realize that I had several addictions to “good” things and that these addictions were destroying me from the inside out.

Perhaps most fundamentally, I am addicted to acknowledgement from others. I desperately want to be seen as valuable or important by others. Sprouting off from this central addiction like crab grass shoots are addictions to perfection(ism), success, and work.
    Overworking and overvaluing work in my psyche led me into a mild, long-lasting depression. Over the past decade, I’ve slowly been unpacking and recalibrating my inner world to think of work, success, approval, and grace in healthier ways. This has been a messy up-and-down process, but the fruit is a more peaceful, more relaxed, much healthier life (and family).  

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An Advent Lament: Psalm 80

An Advent Lament: Psalm 80

The Lord is our Shepherd.
God guides his people with tender loving care.
The Lord is the blazing King of Glory,
    the Light of the universe.

So, Lord, shed a little light on us.
God, I gotta be blunt:
    from down here, it feels like you’re asleep up there.
Is that a golden throne or a LazyBoy?
I know you like to wait till the last minute,
    but maybe you hit snooze one too many times.
Wake up already!

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Bill Jetton: Kingdom First (Luke 12:22-34)

Bill Jetton: Kingdom First (Luke 12:22-34)

    My grandfather died at the age of 95 last Sunday morning just before we gathered for worship - just in time for us to include his name in our All Saints Day prayers.  I’ve spent most of this week going to Arkansas to remember him with my family. Grandpa embodied our text today in his own life.  He trusted God with everything.  He sought the Kingdom first, and he invested his treasure in Kingdom things.  Today, I just want to tell his story as a picture of how to live this text and what a difference it can make.  
    My grandfather Bill Jetton was born in a farm house in eastern Oklahoma in 1921.  I’m not sure how much the roaring 20’s reached Oklahoma, but I know the Great Depression of the 1930s hit them hard.  It was a fairly big farm but still poor.  Grandpa helped his family around the farm, but his father was deeply committed to education. When Bill was a senior in high school, he met and fell in love with my grandmother, Myrtle Lee, a freshman.  He rode his horse 10 miles each way to court her on Saturdays.  
    My grandfather had grown up in a good honest family that had no religion.  He had never been in a church building for any reason until he met Myrtle Lee.  But she had grown up as a committed Methodist, and she said she couldn’t marry him unless he was a Christian.  He struggled with that for a while, and then his sister and brother-in-law helped him become a Christian during a conversation in their living room.  Then, he started going to the Baptist church with them.  
    The two got married at 18 and 15 years old.  My grandmother always says, “Well, I was almost 16.”  And granddad would always say, “Myrtle Lee, you were 15 and 2 months.”  And with a twinkle in her eye, she would say, “Well, that’s almost 16.” ...

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