Out now in the JUNE 2016 issue of Evangelicals Now…
• The EU referendum – A Christian minister is ‘for’ and a Christian MP is ‘against’
• The EU referendum – A Christian minister is ‘for’ and a Christian MP is ‘against’
Rebecca and Eleanor investigate the joys and challenges of the unmarried Christian worker
Biblical Christianity values singleness like no other world religion.
It is a prized and precious gift, an encouraged option for a fulfilled life of service. Yet many Christian singles struggle with this ‘gift’. A huge proportion – our estimate is more than half – of women in full-time ministry are single1. We conducted interviews with over 50 people 2 in order to investigate the challenges and blessings for single women working in UK churches, para-church organisations and on the mission field, with the aim of encouraging and affirming them and better equipping those working alongside them.
We will report our findings in a series of three en articles. Here, in the first, we share our summary observations.
Our respondents were eager to talk of the privilege and joy of serving the Lord. They felt that their singleness forced them to rely on God in deeper ways than colleagues with a spouse to talk to, and several spoke of the sweetness of uttering their first and last words of the day to Jesus. They rejoiced in the.…(to read more click here)
Mike Mellor, of Hope Church, Ferndown, encourages us to minister hope in times of need
She was frail as a sparrow.
Her legs were like pencils and her ill-fitting teeth barely kept up with her mouth as she spoke. But on asking how she was as she lay in her bed, Gracie’s china blue eyes twinkled mischievously as she beamed and chirped: ‘I’m packed and ready to go, pastor!’ And indeed she was and she did, as a few days later the Lord gathered up another of his jewels. It had been my immense privilege on my visits to seek to make her transition a little more comfortable.
I would frequently receive the same message: ‘Gracie’s fallen again.’ I knew the cause of the fall before I called on her, of course. Those legs were just not built for speed. However, I lost count of the times I returned from visiting her thinking the same thought: ‘Just who ministered to whom there?’ Once more I would be reminded of the eternal dimension to this work of ‘visiting the sick’, and the blessing that God grants to those who go in Jesus’s name.
Bible teacher and author Warren Wiersbe rightly states.…(to read more click here)
It’s a great joy that many churches are growing.
Some are growing rapidly. In our own congregation, starting around a year ago, we have seen substantial blessing and along with folk being saved we have had many applying for baptism and church membership – Soli Deo Gloria!
But when a church grows, as Ray Evans says in his excellent book Ready, Steady, Grow, the culture of the church inevitably begins to change. Communication within the church becomes far more complicated, not least because the number of possible conversations between larger numbers of people increases almost exponentially. There is far more room for misunderstandings, hurt feelings, etc.
With this in mind, questions concerning the management of the church by its leaders rightly come onto the agenda.
Many images of the church are used in the NT. But when it comes to the management of the church by its leaders… (to read more click here)
Gervase Markham challenges our Internet behaviour
Sharing – who could be against that?
Or, in today’s online world, who could even avoid it? Anyone using the web will have noticed that every article sports multiple ways of letting your contacts know what a great read it was. Twitter uses ‘retweeting’; on Facebook it’s ‘liking’; on Pinterest it’s ‘pinning’. We wander through the virtual world, scattering reproductions of what we encounter to left and right. These sharing mechanisms are a big part of why they call it social media.
But it’s very possible to share from bad motives, or to share with bad effects. Beware in particular of the following five evils:.…(to read more click here)
Gervase Markham lives in Darnall, Sheffield with his wife and three small boys, and is a member of The Crowded House church. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
This article may be reproduced and modified under the Creative Commons CC-BY-SA 4.0 International licence . Contact the author for an electronic copy.
Enjoying the real life drama of Acts 1:1-9:31
By Gerard Chrispin
Evangelical Press / Christian Prison
Resourcing. 187 pages. £8.99
ISBN 978 1 783 970 803
We evangelicals love complexity. Commentaries become longer, training resources become more like degrees, and some sermons almost have footnotes.
What Gerard Chrispin has done is therefore extremely useful. He produces full Bible notes for individuals, or groups, or as part of a correspondence course (itself available at two levels), at an accessible level. This book is the first of three covering Acts, matching some prior studies on Mark.
The co-publishers are Christian Prison Resourcing, which explains everything. This series is designed to work within prisons or immigration centres. So the level has to be accessible, because it is for people who have… (to read more click here)
vicar of St James, Muswell Hill
Author of The Word of his Grace: Teaching and Preaching from the Book of Acts
• Review of ‘Risen’ film of the Easter story – set to release in the UK March 18 (see risen.damarismedia.com for free resources)
Dr. Mike Ovey asks if current evangelicals are in denial about some important matters
A week ago I was at a major Church of England jamboree as a friend was installed in a new and more senior post.
The cathedral was packed, hats and dog collars were on view and just for a moment it was easy to pretend. Easy to pretend that the Church of England was central rather than peripheral in the life of our country and its citizens. Easy to pretend that we are a success story rather than a tale of failure. So too, frankly, with evangelicals. We meet at our conferences, theatres are packed, cafés overflow and for a moment we forget.
I quite appreciate that it is emotive and depressing to talk of ‘failure’, and that most of us prefer something more upbeat. On the other hand, isn’t there a risk of denial? Again, I am not saying there are no encouragements. It is great to hear of church plants, of sinners turning by God’s grace to the Lord Jesus through our outreach. And there certainly is a contrast between an evangelical movement that clings on and just holds its own numerically and the catastrophic downturn in churches that thought theological liberalism was some kind of answer. Obviously, by almost any measure, liberalism has failed in our country, failed numerically, failed in the popularity stakes and failed in faithfulness. If anything, I think those obvious points need to be made even more forcefully now.
But I wonder whether this doesn’t lead us to gloss over some of our own realities. We rightly admit that there are unreached people groups in the UK, thinking largely of race. We are far less comfortable admitting there are also increasingly unreached classes, and not just the various underclasses in our cities, but classes of entrenched interest and power in the creative and media sectors.
These classes have enormous influence, not wrong in itself, but that influence has been used to reframe what counts publicly as right and wrong. Notable examples have been the support for…(to read more click here)
Reading through Scripture I am struck by Christ’s commitment to those on the margins of society.
I feel challenged that he didn’t use clever strategies to aim first to reach the best and brightest from the Jerusalem temple school so that they could be useful for his efforts. Instead, Jesus spent time with lepers, tax collectors, fishermen, women and Samaritans. In recent years the movement to revitalise the church with new plants and initiatives has sometimes focused on the young, the bright and the mobile. If we are to be faithful to the Great Commission we must be careful that our outreach doesn’t leave out large segments of society.
One growing group who urgently need reaching with the good news of Jesus Christ is the elderly. One in six of us is over the age of 65; that’s a staggering ten million people of pensionable age. Three million of us are over 80 and that figure is set to rise. We are an ‘ageing population’.
Our missionary in Dagenham, Brandon, tells me that he often meets older people while visiting door to door on the Becontree Estate. Many are lonely and isolated and very happy to have someone to talk to. Brandon is shocked by the lack of basic Bible knowledge or awareness of Jesus among these people. ‘The god of this world has blinded the minds of unbelievers’ (2 Corinthians 4:4). He visits a widow who has prepared every element of her funeral but has not considered how she will face her maker. Too often there is an assumption that….(to read more click here)
Graham Miller is the chief executive of London City Mission.