Showing posts from October, 2011

The Story of Quebec

For those who are considering participating with us in Mission Quebec, please read D. A. Carson's Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor . The first chapter is a telling historical profile of the context of work there. Those who will be going with us in 2012, I will be asking you to read this book - why not start now!

Loneliness (Notes for Wed 10/26/2011)

Sermon Series: One Sermon Title: Loneliness Date: 10/26/2011 Sources Used : Gary R. Collins, Christian Counseling 3 rd ed . Loneliness · A painful inner feeling of emptiness everyone experiences at times. It is an awareness that one lacks close and meaningful contact with others. It involves a painful feeling of isolation, and sadness and a deep desire to connect with others. · May last for a short time or persist throughout life. · Impacts people of all ages. · Highest in cultures that emphasize individualism. · Occurs frequently in single adults living alone, elderly people who have lost a spouse, parents without partners, or people away from home including students. Leaders are especially susceptible to loneliness. · People may feel lonely even when they are surrounded by other people, especially when there is tension. When surrounded by others, lonely people feel as if they are left out, unwanted, rejected, or misunderstood. Lonely people are often down on themselve

Take Aways

I enjoy taking mission trips, but I hope that the following statement is not a discouragement to those we will be partnering with in the future. When I am in another country my mind works in reverse. I am concerned with what needs to be done there, but ultimately my mind brings me back to what must be done at home. At this point in my life God has made me decidedly shepherd(ly) in the cultural context of the South. Good 'ol boy is my people group. What strikes me most about Montreal especially is that they are a generation ahead of where we are soon to be. Fifty years ago the Quebecois casted off a politically infused version of the gospel. They realized that Paul was correct in Galatians when he said that another gospel is no gospel at all. Our culture's version of the Silent Revolution may not be as formal as it was in Quebec, but I believe we are witnessing our 20 somethings and below turn away from the church without saying much at all. Their children will grow up


One purpose of our time in Quebec this week is to explore the possibility of entering into a partnership with one of the church planters here. In a way, the Monday night meeting was sort of like Acts 1:8 speed dating. All of the planters were in the same room and our team made it a point to meet as many of them as we possibly could. On Tuesday, we criss crossed the city of Montreal visiting the fields and facilities of the planters there. On Wednesday we will go to two towns in the outlying areas. On Thursday we will go to Quebec City. We are putting some real kilometers on the rental cars. When you see a place that is so vast a land mass with only a handful of evangelical works amongst millions of decidedly secular people and has a culture nothing like your own, it is easy to get intimidated and wonder what can we really do? I don't speak French or know the rules of hockey, how can I possibly communicate the gospel to these people? Americans are rugged individualists, an


We had no agenda on Monday morning so we visited St. Joseph's Oratory. The Oratory is the focal point of the Montreal skyline. It is a massive structure that houses the Crypt Church and Basilica. From floor to ceiling the Basilica alone is 235 ft. The site was founded in 1904 by Saint Brother Andre who came to be revered in Montreal because of his compassion for the afflicted. Offering prayers for them to Saint Joseph and anointing them with oil, hundreds of people in Montreal claim to have been healed through the prayers of Brother Andre. Today, in the votive chapel hang hundreds of canes and crutches bearing testimony to the miracle healings associated with Saint Brother Andre. Many worshipers come to the Oratory by climbing to its doorstep, up 99 wooden stairs on their knees. When he died in 1937 Brother Andre's body was interred in a tomb within the Oratory, but his heart was removed and is now displayed as a relic in an upper chamber. Montreal is a post-Christian

Qri's Tomleux

One of my favorite components of international mission trips is attending a worship service in the native language. In Montreal this means Chris Tomlin will be sung in French. Hearing familiar songs in French makes one realize that English isn't pretty. French makes everyone sound as if they are asking you to marry them. I guess that's why they call it a romance language. Our youth pastor Caleb is an expert in the art of the schmooze. There is another word for it that involves a male bovine, but preachers don't use those sorts of words. But even those words sound pretty in French. In English, Caleb can talk his way out of anything. He can make the most angry people love him. He has somehow translated this ability into French. A prime example would be the lady in the grocery store. Several of us were clogging up the cereal aisle trying to pick something with less fiber since the 7 of us are sharing one bathroom. A French speaking lady came up the aisle and offe

Vision Tours

I have been on several mission trips. They have all had a purpose. I went to Russia in '93 to pass out literature and share the gospel. In '06 I went to the Gulf Coast following Katrina to help rebuild. In '09 I went to Romania to teach ministry students in a Christian university and to preach in a church in Kraiva. This week I am in Montreal, not to hand out literature. There are no building projects. I will not be preaching or teaching. I am here only to see. I am not sure who coined the term "vision tour" but that is what we will be doing; traveling several thousand miles to meet with church planters and missionaries, to pray with them and ask that God would help us see what they see. I know little to nothing about Montreal. I know only that it is French and the Expos are no longer playing baseball here. But I know, through a series of providential events that God led me to this city to see what He is doing. We flew from Birmingham to Syracuse, NY

GoodReader (another great pastor app)

Instead of taking paper notes with me into the pulpit I now convert my material to PDF and open it in iBooks on my iPad. With some creative cover pages you can create a nice library of all of your sermon material through iBooks. The downside to iBooks is that there is no way to jot down those last few ideas in the margins that may come to mind on Saturday night or Sunday morning. A few weeks ago, I discovered GoodReader as a solution. GoodReader is a PDF reader that allows you to make a wide variety of annotations to your document. You can freehand notes, highlight text, add callouts, or strike out marks. Anything you can do with a pen to a piece of paper, you can do to your PDF with GoodReader. Open your PDF in GoodReader, make your marks, save the new copy, and open it directly into iBooks. GoodReader also provides a great file management interface that can interact with DropBox or MobileMe (or Mac Cloud, or whatever they call the thing now). Because of the file manageme

Do's and Don'ts of Short Term Missions

I will be part of a team from our church going to Quebec on Saturday. Tyler Eiland, who served as a missionary with IMB to Congo, shared the following list with us during our final prep meeting last night. Do’s and Don’ts of Short Term Missions 1. Don’t assume that the church there will look like the church here. According to Tim Keller, contextualization is adapting my communication of the gospel without changing the gospel’s essential character. Dean Fleming states, “Contextualization is the dynamic and comprehensive process by which the gospel is incarnated within a concrete historical or cultural situation.” 2. Do be an encouragement to the missionaries you encounter. Affirm and support them. 3. Don’t do anything that a local person can’t do or easily reproduce. Short term teams should avoid creating dependency by offering a program or ministry that requires supplies or technology that is not available in the area. Do provide ministries that can be easily reproduc

Guilt (Notes for Wed. 10/12/2011)

Sermon Series: One Sermon Title: Guilt Date: 10/12/2011 Sources Used : Gary R. Collins, Christian Counseling 3 rd ed . Guilt • Guilt is often a co-conspirator with many emotional, psychological, and moral problems such as depression, loneliness, alcoholism, homosexuality, and grief. • Victims of abuse of all kinds often experience guilt. • People who may lose a loved one suddenly or due to prolonged illness may experience guilt. • “Guilt has been described as the place where religion and psychology most often meet (Collins, 178).” • It is important to distinguish between two categories of guilt: objective and subjective. Categories of Guilt: 1. Objective Guilt - a law has been broken and even though the law breaker may or may not feel guilty, or be aware of guilt, there is guilt. There are four types of objective guilt. In each case a person may break a code or standard but never experience a feeling of guilt. In every case it could also be established tha

Anger (Notes for Wed. 10/5/2011)

Sermon Series: One Sermon Title: Anger Date: 10/5/2011 Sources Used : Gary R. Collins, Christian Counseling 3 rd ed . Jay E. Adams, The Christian Counselors Manual, The Practice of Nouthetic Counseling Definition and Ideas: An emotional state, experienced by everyone, but difficult to define. (APA) Anger is an emotion characterized by antagonism toward someone or something you feel has deliberately done you wrong. Anger can be a good thing. It can give you a way to express negative feelings, for example, or motivate you to find solutions to problems. But excessive anger can cause problems. Increased blood pressure and other physical changes associated with anger make it difficult to think straight and harm your physical and mental health. · Anger occurs in varying forms and degrees of intensity-from mild annoyance or feelings of aggravation to violent rage. · Anger may be hidden on the inside or expressed openly and freely. · Anger may be of short duration or it m