Guidance, knowledge, and wisdom as ongoing processes are critical elements within the dynamics of mentoring and discipling. In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus models a deeply personal style of leadership by investing into the lives of his disciples through empowerment and wise counsel. Similarly, how is the Church today to follow and continue this practice of mentoring and discipleship?
One of Donne’s more famous poems is “At the round earth’s imagined corners.” This title, also its opening line, demonstrates a hallmark of his poetry–the ability to combine elements of our experienced world (“the round earth”) with powerful and often Biblical imagery (its “imagin’d corners,” a reference to Revelation 7:1) to produce startling insights into the relationship between this world and the next. But what exactly connects the vast and expansive “there” of heaven with the lowly “here” of earth and what are the practical implications for our lives as Christians?
Let’s face it. Social media is the language of our generation. Within the last decade, technological advancements have exploded to provide us all with the capacity to present the highlights of our lives, and access to the highlights of other people’s lives. The selective information we take in deeply affects the way we perceive not only ourselves and other people, but especially our perceptions of ministry. How can we maintain a healthy understanding of ministry in light of its glorified presentation in social media today?
Black History Month for me had been an annual moment in February of reflection on the historical accomplishments of African American men and women who had achieved great accomplishments in history. It was a time of celebration because so much had been accomplished for men and women of color with abolition of slavery, the civil rights era, desegregation of schools, voter’s rights, and the list goes on. Lest we celebrate too quickly, there is a human dignity that Dr. King expressed that we the American people are still seeking today.
The parable of the Good Samaritan is a compelling story to reflect on for Black History Month. The story, based on conflict between Jews and Samaritans, speaks to us about prejudice, stereotypes, and the power of love across ethnic lines. Reading this story this month, we might encourage one another to reach, like the good Samaritan, out to those who may disdain and slander us because of our ethnicity. When it comes to black history, who has played the role of priests, Levites, and the Good Samaritan? Who, after seeing people in dire need, has passed by on the other side?
Recently, on November 25th, Fidel Castro, the revolutionary and long-standing political leader of Cuba, passed away. With such a political history, one that also included much persecution and pain for large groups of people, it should come as no surprise that there are people who are celebrating his death. However, as Christians, how are we supposed to react in times of death? Are we supposed to cheer on the death of those who are persecutors?
To understand missions, we need to understand how Jesus interacted with the cultures that surrounded Him. Did He embrace the culture, avoid contact with the culture, oppose the culture, or try to replace the culture of the people with the Kingdom of God culture? We need to be effective in our understanding of Jesus so that we can better steward the Kingdom of God here on earth.
If you have before or plan to venture out on a short term mission trip, you know the rush of emotion and excitement, and you also know the nervousness and anticipation. For many of us veteran “short-termers”, we would probably agree that the excitement and fear involved in going on or leading a short-term trip never really goes away. Every trip is full of the unknown, sometimes good and sometimes scary, but always worth it in the end. Here are a few things that I believe will make your short-term trip more than worth it.