At a Fuller Theological Seminary event I attended last week, a student from the Congo named Patrick asked an Anglican bishop, “How do you forgive those who have killed a member of your family?” The bishop answered, “It is very difficult.” In a private conversation afterwards, I asked Patrick, “Were any of them Christian?” “Yes,” he answered, “But they were of a different tribe.” This put my forgiveness struggles in perspective. Robert Muholland, a theologian and retired New Testament professor of Asbury Theological Seminary, recently said at our New Life Leadership Conference that forgiveness is the most difficult spiritual discipline. I think he is right. I have not thought of forgiving others as a discipline like prayer, Scripture study, worship, etc. This is a fresh nuance for me. It can take weeks, months, even years to forgive certain hurts done to us. The deeper the relational investment, the deeper the wound. Every leader in God’s church I have. Read more.
I have been resisting the enormous changes happening in our culture around social networking and the internet for some time (e.g. responding to Blogs!). But after Drew Hyun, one of our pastors, showed me around Facebook and how he was using it to lead, I finally got it. I now have a “fan club” on Facebook! The following is a summary of what I shared at our all staff meeting at NLF last week: The world has drastically changed. The CEO of Nelson Publishers sent a memo to all writers a few months ago saying that the way we get the word out in the 21st century has gone through a revolution and we had better get adept at the new technologies if we intend to lead. I then read Tribes by Seth Godwin. Godwin describes a Tribe as any group of people, large or small, who are connected to one another, a leader and an idea. Blogs, social networking sites,. Read more.
The greatest richness and learning that comes out of us learning church history, especially early church history, is the perspective it gives us on the North American church. This leads me to the next few lessons. The first relates to the state of the church today in light of history. One twenty two year old in our church put it well: “I had no idea how weak we as the church in America are until I heard/saw all this.” This came out of listening to the purifying effect of the persecutions up to 311 ad where Christians experienced 129 years of persecution and only 120 years of relative peace. This eliminated any notion of half-way, nominal Christians rather quickly. Christianity is an Asian religion with rich African roots, not Western. They continually moved Eastward in their mission. Who knew there were three “Christian kingdoms” in Asia before the Roman Empire. One seminary alone, in. Read more.