I had the opportunity to preach through the book of Ruth over the last few weeks @ Grace Bible Church. In my preparations I listened to sermons by Voddie Bachaum, David Platt, Alistair Begg, and Mark Driscoll. Much of what I shared comes form these resources as well as a commentary that I wrote many years ago based upon several commentaries as well as some of my own thoughts as I studied.
I was listening to a Mark Driscoll sermon last night where he was talking about a church’s “air attack” and “ground war.” He defined the “Air Attack” as the sermon, worship, newsletters, websites, etc – ministries that you just throw out there and hope they land on someone. Of course the “Ground War” was just the opposite. It’s the Bible Studies, service projects, discipleship times. accountability groups, etc where there is a specific target. He talked about how some churches are really good at the “Air Attack” and they have lots of people coming through the doors every Sunday, but they don’t really get discipled, while others focus on the “Ground War” and people grow spiritually and connect with each other, but never have any new people join the church. The church that is healthy of course – has both. They are reaching people with an all-out air and ground assault!
I like the image. What kind of church can fortify such an all-out assault? In the heat of battle, when you start to get tired, how do we remain faithful in taking ground for the kingdom? Where do you find these kinds of Christian soldiers? Or how do you train them? How do you find a rhythm/pace for doing both the “Air Attack” and “Ground War?”
OK – I’ll confess. I really like Rob Bell. There are all kinds of opinions about him and I certainly don’t agree with everything the guy says, but something about the way he thinks. Something about his ideas. Maybe it’s his speaking style or humor, I dunno, but something really stirs things in my spirit when I listen to his sermons or watch the Nooma videos.
Anyway, over the last few days I’ve been listening to his latest sermon called “We Already Are” about Matthew 28 which he preached April 15, 2007 at his church (Mars Hill) in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Here’s a link to the sermon: We already are Matthew28.mp3
Anyway, he touched on so many things this week that really struck me. First of all, Jesus said that we should “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” In studying this verse, you’ll discover that “Go” might actually be better translated “as you go.” The greek has a continuing-into-the-future tense that English doesn’t have. Anyway, he also talks about the word “baptize” which is literally translated “immerse” or “make fully wet.” (We, Methodists got this one wrong.) He also speaks of the idea that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (whom we were created in the image of) are literally a small group or community. Since we are made in His image (Gen 1:26), we long for connections and community too. Anyway, in Matthew 28, when Jesus says to baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, it might also be said that we are to “immerse people into our community.” I think this is why so many “new converts” don’t stay Christian very long. They’re never fully engaged into our communities. This is not a new idea, but it’s a new idea to me that Jesus actually taught it in these verses.
It’s also interesting to note that in Jewish culture, the Pharisees had been telling people to stay away from the Gentiles – to not associate with them – even to avoid them. But in this verse, Jesus assumes, that “as we go” we will come in contact with the “ethnos” (world) and when we do, we should try to “immerse” them into our community. He doesn’t say “convert” them or “make them believe.” He simple wants us to invite others into our community – to immerse them with ourselves, and to teach them about what Jesus said. We’ll end up sharing the gospel with our lives that way. Rob relates a story of a group who was inviting others into their community and how a girl asked, “Well, when should we tell them about Jesus.” Rob’s answer? “You already are.” When we live our lives as Christians and “immerse” others into our lives, we are already telling the story of Jesus.
Anyway, these are just some great ideas and teachings that I learned from Rob Bell this week.
Quite a few of you guys told me that you really liked the “Hag Story” the other day. We were experimenting and actually recorded it. If you’d like to download the audio file and listen again sometime, here it is:
Hag Story – An fun allegory/story I heard from Rob Morris (who heard it from Dave Reaver) depicting the life/pursuit of a Christian.