September Update - 2019
Welcome to my Romans 15:8 monthly blog for September 2019. I am writing this during the 10 Days of Awe and as we approach the Day of Atonement the power, wonder and grace of the LORD’S atoning death and resurrection are in the forefront of my thinking and praying.
If you are reading this blog and have not yet signed up to the network, please do so. If you do sign up your name will be added to the current list of Roman 15:8 members. We are trying to get the membership up to 100 prior to the end of the year. This list is now publically displayed on this site so hopefully if there are some members you know you may like to make contact with them in order to share in fellowship and for mutual encouragement. Also please do use the question option on the site- as always it’s good to get questions and feedback and to enter into discussion with network members and others. Apologies for the delay in the August and September blogs being posted on the website. Shalom Alex
• Teaching reflection of the month (September)
I have been thinking about evangelism and mission as I was recently asked to preach from Matthew 28:18-20. Often we think of being sent (called) on mission, teaching from Matthew 9:38 along with many of the prophets (I have been focusing recently on the prophet Jonah) as well as the reading from Matthew 28 confirms this. This truth is important and I rejoice to know of many people who have sensed being sent (called) to a particular place and/or to a particular people group in regards to mission and evangelism. This is the ‘classic missionary view, however, this is not the whole story. One can also read the command to “Go” in Matthew 28:19 as “In your going”. In other words as you go about your daily work, within your daily living, through your on-going relationships, wherever you go and whatever you are doing be open to making disciples and to sharing your faith. This understanding of mission and evangelism is a much more ‘inclusive’ view. Mission and evangelism is not just the responsibility and privilege of a chosen few experts but it is ‘democratised’ to include every disciple of Jesus. I think the verse 1 Peter 3:15 gives particular depth to this ‘inclusive’ reading. Clearly we need both models within the life of the Church today, and in both models effective evangelism rests upon removing obstacles (that prevent people coming to faith and trusting in Jesus) and in building bridges (that enable people to encounter the gospel). To do this well we need to invest in prayer, show compassion and to find genuine points of contact.
• Ministry news update
The past few weeks I have been working on a new ‘Mission Initiative’ for CMJ – I hope to share more about this when plans are a bit more advanced. In addition to this I have shared in a number of advocacy meetings and I look forward to hosting Pedro and Annu Santos (from CMJ Israel) who will be ministering along with my UK colleague Jane Moxon at my home Church (Linton URC) on Sunday 6th. This will be part of a major UK deputation tour.
• Book News
I have enjoyed reading this month the book by my friend and LCJE colleague Amy Downey – Maimonides’s Yahweh: Rabbinic Judaism’s attempt to answer the incarnational question (Wipf & Stock, 2019). I warmly recommend this well researched study which is full of historical and theological insight as well as personal warmth and missional conviction. I particularly found chapter 6 – Maimonides impact on modern Judaism to be especially informative and challenging. There are many treasures in this book as one reflects upon and wrestles with the philosophical and Biblical underpinning of the incarnation. In addition to this major book by Amy you may wish to read my own little book –Walking an Ancient Path (Glory to Glory Publications, 2016) which hopefully compliments Amy’s book as we explore the mystery and the truth about “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only son, who came from the father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14).
(My book Walking an Ancient Path can be purchased from the shop page on this CMJ UK website - www.cmj.org.uk/shop/product/walking-an-ancient-path/)
• Monthly Memory Verse
“The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight bin you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17) (Verses taken from the NIV)