Reflections and resources for lifelong learning for missionaries

Category: Holy Spirit

Book Review: Prepared by Grace, for Grace.

INTRODUCTION:

Prepared by Grace, for Grace: The Puritans on God’s Way of Leading Sinners to Christ by [Beeke, Joel R., Smalley, Paul M.]

Historical theology does not often get a place at the table in missiological discussions. Its neglect can leave us at the mercy of current thinking and trends. Reading theologians from other eras guards us against our blind spots. Other eras have their blind spots too but they are usually different than ours. Historical theology is a safeguard against cultural bias. The book that I was asked to review looks at the Puritans, whose works I have spent a lot of time reading.

Joel R. Beeke and Paul M. Smalley have written a book titled, Prepared by Grace, for Grace: The Puritans on God’s Ordinary Way of Leading Sinners to Christ (Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2013). The volume deals with an issue central to missiology. The authors write in the introduction:

The Holy Spirit and the Human Teacher

Teaching is sometimes seen as slowing down “movements.” Taking the time to teach is seen as unnecessary because the Holy Spirit teaches seekers and new converts. Yet, throughout the biblical record, and especially in the New Testament, the Holy Spirit works with and through human teachers. It is not an either/or situation. Teaching is a spiritual gift “to equip the saints for the work of ministry” (Ephesians 4:11). In the Pastoral Epistles, Timothy and Titus were sent to correct false teaching and to teach sound doctrine. Human teaching is fruitless apart from the work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit has chosen to teach with and through human teachers.

Acts 8:26-40 provide an example of how the Holy Spirit works with and through the human teacher. An angel of the Lord (v.26) directs Philip to go down to the road that goes from Jerusalem to Gaza. There he finds an Ethiopian official reading the prophet Isaiah. Luke records what happens:

Multiplying Disciples: Reflections on the “how” from 2 Timothy

While crafting our new vision statement at SEND North Council’s retreat in November, 2 Timothy 2:2 frequently came up in the discussion. In writing to Timothy, Paul gives a pattern of making disciples who in turn make other disciples.

and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also. -2 Timothy 2: 2 ESV

A life of holiness

“Holiness is consecrated closeness to God.”

– J.I Packer in Packer on the Christian Life by Sam Storms

The final entry in SEND’s doctrinal statement reads:

We believe that the presence of Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit in the believer will result in a life of holiness and a walk of obedience to the will of God.

Meditations on the Holy Spirit

John Owen begins his work on the Holy Spirit: “When God planned the great work of saving sinners, he provided two gifts. He gave his son and he gave his Spirit. In fact each Person of the Trinity was involved in this great work of salvation. The love, grace and wisdom of the Father planned it; the love, grace and humility of the Son purchased it; and the love, grace and power of the Holy Spirit enabled sinners to believe and receive it,” (The Holy Spirit, abridged by R.J.K. Law, Banner of Truth, 1998, p 1)

We continue to look at how our doctrinal statement holds our thinking, emotions and will, and our actions. SEND statement says that we believe “In God the Holy Spirit, who convicts the world of sin, regenerates, indwells, and empowers the believer.

Still Learning from Roland Allen 100 Years Later: Key Principle

At the SEND Family Conference in July, I led a workshop on what we can still learn from Roland Allen’s book Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or Ours? a hundred years after it was first published. I’m going to highlight our discussion in two blog posts for the whole SEND family.

Why bother with a hundred-year-old book?   J.D. Payne wrote in 2012, Roland Allen was “One of the most controversial, yet most influential, missionary thinkers of all time… it was Allen’s insights into the expansion of the church that sometimes equated him as being a prophet, a revolutionary, a radical, or a troublemaker.(J.D. Payne, Roland Allen: Pioneer of Spontaneous Expansion, Kindle Edition, location 126.)

How can coaching enhance my ministry? (Part 2)

By: Ted Szymczak

A second yet related way in which Christian coaching can be helpful in our missionary and church planting ministry is that it helps draw out what the Holy Spirit has put into the hearts and minds of those we coach. As Dr. Keith Webb says in the Coaching Workshop participant manual:

The Holy Spirit is the best source for insights, ideas, strategies and action points. Coaches help the coachee to hear the Holy Spirit more clearly and support them to respond well.

I have recently gained a new and deeper appreciation for the crucial role of the Holy Spirit in Christian coaching. One of my spiritual gifts is the gift of helps. Unfortunately, one of the downsides of that gift for me is my tendency to want to help people by “fixing” their problem. You husbands who may be tempted to “fix” your wife when she just wants to talk, understand how unhelpful such an approach is. The “Mister Fix-it” tendencies work equally unwell in coaching.

Instead of offering final solutions, any suggestions we give should be merely springboards for further reflection on the part of the coachee. In our coach training, we learned that after sharing a suggestion, we should immediately follow up with the question, “What ideas does that give you?” I decided to test this out when coaching a friend about support raising. In the awareness phase of the coaching session, I decided to give a preposterous suggestion as part of considering the problem from a different perspective. To my surprise, the Holy Spirit was able to use my dumb suggestion to provide new perspective to the coachee and eventually action steps that were helpful for him.

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