Welcome to my fourth blog posting on the Romans 15:8 Leaders’ Network page. I am sorry this posting is a bit delayed, but, as regular readers of this blog will know, early in July CMJ UK hosted the CMJ Conference and following this I took some annual leave.
If you were at the Conference, I trust you enjoyed it and found it worthwhile? Any feedback from your experience of the Conference is always welcomed - please drop me an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A full reflection of the Conference will be included in the next edition of News and Views. Let me remind you of the special offer I made in my previous Romans 15:8 blog namely, if you are signed up to the Romans 15:8 network, you can get all the CD recordings of my three conference talks for free! The titles of the three talks are: “Can these dry bones live?” (Ezekiel 37:3), “Who do you say I am?” (Mark 8:29) and “What must I do to be Saved?” (Acts 16:30). Simply e-mail the CMJ office (email@example.com) and confirm your postal details, and the Office team will send to you your complimentary set of teaching CD’s.
Teaching Reflection of the Month
My teaching reflection this month once again is taken from some preparation work I have being doing for (hopefully!) a new CMJ book- “100 Days with Acts”. The teaching is based on Acts 15:36-41.
I found it intriguing that immediately after the report of the Jerusalem council, which met to deal ‘successfully’ with potential sharp division and conflict within the emerging Church, Luke tells of a “…sharp disagreement”(15:39) between Barnabas and Paul which resulted in them parting company with each other.
I think this is a sign of the ‘authenticity’ and ‘reliability’ of the text that such an unsavory reality such as this sharp disagreement, is recorded by Luke. It is not ‘glossed over’ or ‘edited out’. Similarly in the Gospels we hear of other such unsavory actions, such as Peter’s disowning of Jesus (Luke 22:54-62) and the argument among the disciples about which of them would be the greatest (Luke 9:46-50).
Despite the disagreement and the ‘parting of the ways’ for Paul and Barnabas, the mission work of the Church continued, with Barnabas and Mark sailing for Cyprus and Paul choosing Silas (this is the same Silas who had come from Jerusalem to Antioch on behalf of the Jerusalem council- see Acts 15:22 and :32) and heading through Syria and Cilicia.
In studying this text, it is clear that the disagreement between Barnabas and Paul was over the suitability of Mark as a long-term mission colleague. Paul was resolutely opposed to this, but later we hear that Mark was part of Paul’s ‘inner group’ (Colossians 4:10 and Philemon verse 24). Also when Paul’s life probably was drawing to a close, he specifically requests to meet up with Mark (2 Timothy 4:11). In reflecting on this, the challenge I need to work through (and maybe you do as well?) is, ‘are there people I have ‘parted company’ with, with whom I should now be seeking some form of reconciliation?’ If this is the case, let’s pray that the LORD will help us all to take the necessary steps to achieve this.
Ministry News Updates
- I have had two new preaching appointments arranged recently, one at the Messianic Fellowship in North London (15th December) and one at Christ Church Jerusalem (2nd December - Advent Sunday).
- The arrangements for the annual Yom Kippur Prayer meeting (19th September) are still in the final stages of being agreed. When I know these details I will place them on the website. It will be great to have some members of the Romans 15:8 Leaders’ Network investing time to pray with CMJ colleagues and others on this key date in the Jewish calendar.
- Also as stated in the previous blog the new Olive Press Research Paper (Issue 34 -2018) was published and sent out on 20th June. Any feedback from reading this paper is most welcome. It will be good to share such feedback on the Romans 15:8 platform. The paper by former CMJ staff member Simon Hawthorne is titled “The Messianic Pendulum - Swinging between hope and hurt: 135-2000 C.E” and is an excellent overview of Messianic hope (or the lack of it) within Rabbinical Judaism. Please note that most previous Olive Press Research Papers are available to download for free at www.cmj.org.uk/resources/oprp. Also if you have enjoyed reading this new research paper by Simon you may be interested to download an earlier related paper by Michael Eldridge (Issue 9 - 2011) which deals in detail with the story of Sabbatai Sevi and its significance for today.
Very pleased to suggest two books for reading this month:
Firstly, on the 13th October there is a special celebratory event being planned at Stansted Park House (West Sussex) to mark the contribution of Lewis Way to the ministry of CMJ. There are a number of books which contain details of the ministry of Lewis Way, but perhaps the best place to start is: Lewis Way - A Biography by Geoffrey Henderson. This book is available from CMJ UK and was published by HTS Media in 2014.
Secondly, a few weeks ago Hodder and Stoughton published ‘God is Stranger’ by Krish Kandiah. Here Krish takes a new look at the stories of many Biblical characters, including Abraham, Jacob and Ezekiel, and concludes by offering a very helpful reflection on the death and resurrection of Jesus. Within the teaching of this book we are presented with the challenges of radical discipleship alongside the mysteries of when God seems to be absent.
Monthly Memory Verse
“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
(Psalm 46:10 - NIV)