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Changed By Glory

"And we all… beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another." II Cor. 3:18

Month

August 2013

Love That Accords With Knowledge

“Love so follows knowledge, that no man can perfectly love God who has not previously a full comprehension of his goodness.” – Augustine of Hippo

We grow in our genuine love for God as we grow in the knowledge of Him in what he has revealed about himself. The more we view his loveliness, the more convinced we become of its reality. Many wonderful people are misunderstood as long as no time is taken to get to know them. In fact, so many problems in relationships are due to a lack of gaining understanding and even seeing only what we want to see. Love for God based on our own fabrication of who he is, is not love, but mere fancy. And our world is full of short, shallow, and fanciful relationships that prove this point.

If love for God is lacking then more time should be spent in His word. Any time spent there will not be wasted. Eyes that have been opened to behold the glory of God in the Gospel will perceive the loveliness of God in the Scriptures as long as they are actually taking time to look!

Our love for God grows as our true knowledge of Him increases, thus our love will be perfected when we finally see him and know him beyond the dim lens of sin.

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Pray for Immanuel Fuj.

This is a short, crude video I made on a hike behind our house the other day. In this video I share a bit of our vision for the church plant here and ask for prayer.

The Parish Concept

300px-St_Pancras_Old_Church_in_1815

In the Anglican church, a parish is not only a reference to a church, but a defined geographic area over which a vicar has jurisdiction. The vicar of that parish is responsible for the souls, the spiritual well-being, of everyone in that geographic area. Within the parish the minister has the responsibility to visit the sick, care for the poor and widows, and most importantly – make certain that every individual has heard the Gospel message.

Reflection on this institution has led me to an idea which I am calling “The Parish Concept”. As I work at planting Immanuel Church of Fujairah, I have a burden to see the saints built up and equipped to do the work of Gospel ministry in this city. This city is overflowing with people who have never heard the Gospel and there is a lot of ground to cover. As I have reflected on ways to mobilize the church to reach this city with the Gospel, I have pondered on implementing the idea of parish in the lives of every believer in the church.

What I mean when I say I want to introduce believers in the church to the idea of parish is this:

  1. Show them that God has sovereignly placed them in their neighborhood and job for his purposes. Also, teach them that the same applies to their neighbors and co-workers. (Acts 17)
  2. Prove to them from the Scripture that they are called to love their neighbor in a tangible, above-and-beyond kind of way (Lk 10) and that this love is ultimately shown through obedience to the Great Commission (Matt 28) and lives consistent with our identity as ambassadors for Christ (II Cor 5).
  3. Make the connection between points one and two. God’s sovereignty and the call to Gospel proclamation and lives of sacrificial love. This makes the area where each believer lives, works, and plays their individual “parish” they have been assigned by God himself. That believer is called to seek the spiritual well-being of every person in that parish and to love them in tangible ways.
  4. I then need to disciple and encourage believers to take practical steps toward fulfilling their responsibilities. Encourage them to start with the people in the dwellings or desks closest to them and then to branch out until everyone in their sphere of influence has heard the Gospel and knows that this Christian in their life is someone who loves them.
  5. Through this the goal is that every person in our city would hear the Gospel and personally known a genuine disciple of Jesus Christ.

This doesn’t happen over night, but it is a helpful concept for me as I consider how to mobilize the people at Immanuel Fujairah to reach this amazing city and beyond with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Our hope is not in methods, but in the Spirit of God working through the Word and I long for the Word to be quick on the lips of every Christian here! It is my prayer that every believer in Fujairah would take ownership of the “parish” that God has placed them in and that they would be faithful witnesses there.

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