Tim Keller on Why We Must Reach Cities

Over the last decade, a great debate has raged about prioritizing reaching cities in our church planting efforts. This past week, I looked back at this short (15 min) message from Tim Keller at the Lausanne Conference in 2010 answering these questions: Why must we reach the cities? How should we reach those cities? How can we reach those cities?

It’s an interesting debate, and has had wide reaching influence. Under similar frameworks, the North American Mission Board has spent the better part of the last decade focusing on “Send Cities” in their mission efforts. Keller’s own church planting network has focused on cities. The list could go on and on.

I thought this was an interesting video to look back on and reflect: how have Keller’s arguments proved to be true? Where have we learned otherwise, if at all? It certainly seems to me that we’ve learned about our limitations in influencing the culture. If anything, the trend of exvangelical deconversion from so many “major Christian figures” in city centers is worth exploring. Likewise, I would be interested to see if Christians have made any measurable impact on cities in terms of culture.

If you’re reading this, I’d be interested to hear what you think.

Anyway, here’s the message:

Ee-Taow: A Stirring Story of Gospel Advance

I can hardly think of a more discouraging time in the church, our nation, or our world. Unity seems like a naive wish in each. You get the sense that the world is falling apart at the seams. What are Christians to do? Take up arms (metaphorically)? Fight one another? Give in to fear or despair?

No way. I was reminded tonight of a video that I have seen before, but which never fails to stir my affections for Christ. It’s the video “Ee-Taow”.

Here’s how it’s described by the organization that owns it, Ethnos360: Your heart will rejoice as you witness the Mouk tribe of Papua New Guinea respond dramatically to the Gospel. You’ll follow their story from murderous sorcery and deceit, to a life-changing understanding of what God has done for them. This is a powerful story of God’s Word, presented clearly and chronologically in their own language, breaking through the darkness that held the Mouks in bondage.

In such a difficult time in the world, Ee-Taow has reminded me of the mission of Christ and the urgency of eternity. I am reminded of the ultimate fight worth giving our lives for is the fight against sin and Satan, the fight to win the world to the salvation that is found in Christ. I hope that this bolsters you love for Christ and his mission as well. If, like me, you’ve grown weary then I hope you will be reinvigorated by this video. I would encourage you to introduce this video to your family, your church, and your friends. Now is a good time to be reminded of the work God is doing in the world.

Don’t miss this follow-up video on the next chapter for the Ee-Taow after this stirring original documentary.

The Legacy of John Piper’s Passion OneDay Sermon 20 years later

You can find the full sermon “Boasting Only in the Cross” by Pastor John Piper at the bottom of this blog post, as well as more footage of Passion OneDay.

It has been 20 years since Pastor John Piper’s sermon “Boasting Only in the Cross” was preached at Passion OneDay. It is hard to think of a single sermon in the modern era that has had such a lasting legacy and which stirred so many to give their lives for what matters most: the name and fame of God in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Desiring God has just recently released the documentary about that day and its impact on those in attendance. I watched it today and thought to myself that there must be many others who would be interested in watching it as well.

In the year 2000, I was in the 5th grade. Needless to say, Passion OneDay was not on my radar. That day, God used John Piper to change the trajectory of countless men and women in that crowd. That day, in that field, John Piper was preaching. Matt Chandler and Matt Carter (seen in the documentary) were sitting on the grass. 10 years later, God would begin to pull my heart to ministry through a long season of prayer and seeking the Lord and seeking wisdom from my pastors. Matt Chandler and Matt Carter’s preaching had begun to shape the call to ministry in my life. At Passion 2010, I accepted the call to ministry immediately after John Piper preached a similar sermon on the glory of God as the purpose for which we were created. That, I realized that night, was worth it all. I wanted to give the rest of my life to that vision for the spread of the gospel for the sake of the fame of God’s name.

In the sermon, Piper says that the American Dream (get rich, retire early, entertain yourself on your riches) is not worth giving your life to. It’s a tragedy. It’s not what we were created for and it can not satisfy. He says, “There are people in this country that are spending billions of dollars to get you to buy it. And I get 40 minutes to plead with you, don’t buy it!”

Don’t underestimate what God can do in 40 minutes.

Not long after being called to ministry, I would hear a recording of this sermon and be shaken to the core, as God continue to work in me a passion for the gospel that is bigger than the American dream. I would encourage you to set aside an hour to watch this documentary, then to watch the full sermon (below).

Who knows what God may do in your life in 40 minutes.

Here’s another incredibly dated video that gives a peak into what OneDay was like. I love what Louie Giglio says (24:40) about the central idea of the event: “Yeah, we are all fallen short, but the cross of Christ has finished the work of God for our lives.”

Compassion is More than a Merit Badge

compassion image

Here’s something I wrote a while back for Radical, the resource ministry of IMB President David Platt, about how the gospel shapes our compassion:

Compassion is More Than a Merit Badge

As a part of my foster care advocacy work, I am constantly sharing with people about how the church should meet the needs of foster children. One trend I’ve noticed is how people will rush to tell me about the mission trip they went on years back, or how they watched a documentary on the subject, or how they know someone who did fill-in-the-blank kind of ministry once and how impressed they were by it. But, as everyone I’ve ever met in the non-profit world of compassion ministries (foster care, adoption, homeless, addiction rehab, etc.) can attest, the overwhelming response of self-proclaiming born again Christians is that these ministries are for someone else. God simply has not called them.

Click the link above to read the whole thing.