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September 29, 2005



Thanks for these thoughts. After reading your words I find myself thinking of Paul's relationship(s) with Timothy and the churches. If Paul was the apostle of a message then I see no reason to raise your questions. But if he was the apostle of the Lord Jesus - who came, impoverished himself, was rejected, suffered condemnation and was crucified I wonder if this story is best packaged apart from a servant willing to follow in the Lord's way.

This brings me to Timothy and one church - the believers at Corinth. Paul wanted them to learn what he taught "everywhere in every church." So what did he do? He sent Timothy to them. Why, because Timothy not only knew all about Paul's persecutions, sufferings, beatings and imprisonments, he "followed them" (2 Tim 3:10-13); quite personally, he had counted the cost of following a crucified Lord (Acts 16:1-3). All of this makes much sense since what he wanted his spiritual children in Corinth to learn was a manner of living that was cross-shaped (1 Cor 4:9-17).

I am persuaded that Timothy, Paul's "beloved and faithful child in the Lord" will do more than talk as he "reminds the Corinthians of Paul's ways (manner of life) in Messiah Jesus." "Talks" may be captured and dispersed, but if God is making us the holy theatre of his grace, love, justice, mercy, righteousness and peace then this will require pastoral ministry that walks around in shoes - or perhaps without them.

I am not against multi-site sermon distribution in principle. I am certainly not against the access I have to Calvin's sermons and rejoice to think of people across the globe having access to some evangelical export from our churches other than the health and wealth deception.

But those who invest in such endeavors might want to check to make sure that such shared access is not replacing local, sustainable, contextually aware engagement with the living word. I hope in our desires to be good stewards of what we have been given we will not make the mistake of believing that christians elsewhere lack all they need for life and godliness.

This is indeed a thought-provoking perspective and I appreciate Chris for putting a link to my site pointing here.


The same thing happens with those sermons in Ireland! But at least a pastor friend of mine here says that part of his job is to "translate" them to his congregation. They might speak English in Ireland but they don't speak "Upper East Side"...yet the sermons work because so many of the concepts are transferable. The heart--and it's insatiable desire to trust anything but Jesus--functions the same on O'Connell Street (Dublin) as it does on Park Avenue. Thankfully, the gospel antidote knows no borders.


I heard the same talk and know the pastor of whom you speak. I am now in a new career where his church and similar ones are in my range of constituents. I am adapting to the mega-church concept and quite frankly having some preconcieved paradigms challenged. I am also working with the House church or simple church movement (the complete other side of the spectrum!)

If the gospel is the good news of the kingdom - the complete overhaul of agenda - how much contextualization is actually required? I can imagine this African pastor does not have a large library, tons of opportunity to be trained and perhaps even study... is it wrong then for the gospel to be "transmitted" into his pulpit from a foreigner?

I wonder if we westerners put too much emphasis on the "sermon" its design, application and contextual appeal? Do we miss the emphasis on the role of the Holy Spirit in our preaching? Does history teach us that revival follows well planned, uniquely designed preaching or clay-vessel-filled-with-cracks sermons that are graciously adopted by the 3rd person of the Trinity?

Please understand that you and I share a common passion for the Word and the people to be reached by the Word. I just wonder if we as "People of the Book" have put too much emphasis on ourselves and our strategic principles and not enough on keeping in step with the Spirit...

Your love for the Word, people and the power of the Holy Spirit is obvious in your ministry - I thank you for being willing to be USED by God in NYC and wherever he takes you!


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