Wednesday, January 6, 2010

New book for the new year

The Grace Book Collective is now onto our fourth book since inception.
The Tangible Kingdom by Hugh Halter and Matt Smay
Here is an excerpt from the website:

Since the book’s release we’ve had quite a few people ask us, “So why did you write a book?” Most who asked were friends who knew we despised writing, so we understood why they were asking. Others, who didn’t know us, simply wanted to know what motivated our aim with this work.

As we mention in the book, our primary reason was to respond to the overwhelming requests we received from people going through our training (link to MISSO/MCAP page). Their inquiries usually sounded something like this:

“I wish I could just remember all the stories you told.”

“You seem to make complex issues simple so I can get it, I just don’t want to forget it.”

“I wish I could retell your training to my friends.”

At first we didn’t take it too seriously, but after a while we felt responsible to provide an easier way for people to transfer our thoughts to others. The book became the best way for us to remain in our missional context (link to Adullum) while helping others traverse the immense pitfalls and opportunities of our non-Christendom world.

But as we wrote the book, another reason emerged.

We understand that there are people out there in all types of existing church environments who know that things need to change. They may be secretly sneaking off to Starbucks to read those “dangerous emerging church” books (whatever that means), but they’re unable to help others understand what has gone so wrong in the Church and grasp the changes that need to happen.

Jesus said the Kingdom is near, at hand, within reach. We believe that, until He comes back, parts of His Kingdom can be seen and felt in the way that we live in this world. It’s a tall order – to seek peace, to turn the other cheek, to put others first, and to walk humbly – but it’s doable. More than that, we believe when we live like Jesus laid out in the Sermon on the Mount, it might just make a bit of the Kingdom tangible for those who haven’t experienced it yet.

So we wrote The Tangible Kingdom to start a conversation that will hopefully help us all understand the systemic issues related to mission, church, and our own discipleship. We wrote it to start a dialogue that we hope will bring conservative, emerging, contemporary, missionary, national, international and underground church leaders together to practice the missional way of life in any context, in any church, in any denomination.

The book is not lofty, and our story is real. Whether you’re a pastor, a church planter, or a young gun about to leave his grandpa’s church because the pastor has his head in the sand, this book is for you. Use it to start a dialogue… for yourself, with your friends, and even in your church.

To get a sneak peek of our story and The Tangible Kingdom, check out our online resources.

We also put together an ebook “remix” that has a sampling of some of the thoughts you’ll find in “The Tangible Kingdom.” Download it here.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

BC Anniversary

Hey there, not sure of any us fools even check this blog anymore but I looked back in my emails and I believe we started on Monday the 19th of January 09!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Our Next Book

Okay so as far as I can remember these are the options we discussed.

The Heavenly Man Brother Yun (Brady)

A few books that I think would go well:

Velvet Elvis Rob Bell
The Cost of Discipleship Bonhoeffer

We did kick around C.S Lewis, Chesterton, Francis Chan, Henri Nouwen, some other Francis.

What else is everyone thinking, let's talk!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

John Piper Podcast

Hey guys i listened to the John Piper sermon this morning about the recession that Justin recommended. It is really really good. He get's a bit intense maybe but the content is amazing. In a crazy way it really made me thankful for this recession. God is doing amazing work in our country and in ourselves. Check it out it's worth a listen.


Monday, March 9, 2009

First Revelation of Redemption

I enjoyed this chapter thoroughly because I feel that it shed some light on an issue that I've always wrestled with and never quite understood. It is the question of why God would create a human race and then allow for His creation to sin against Him. I've often wondered if God knew Adam and Eve would sin before creating them. I'm sure both sides of this coin could thoroughly be debated but I had never really landed on one side and had always felt confused. I feel that the answer now may be a mute point. Focusing on this only confuses our understanding of God and distracts us from seeing how the story of God's very first creatures, Adam and Eve, have great implications for us and our relationship with the Lord.

Why allow sin in the first place?

I'm starting to believe and see the weakness Satan has in pushing sin into our lives. Sure he may destroy many, but sin is the greatest way that God saves us, and brings us into His redemption. So the last laugh so to speak is on Satan himself. God gave us the power through his Word, to resist temptation and to ask for forgiveness when we fail only strengthening God's power in our lives.

On page 114 Goldsworthy explains the covenant of God to his people in light of Noah's story and has this to say. "Later it will become much clearer that God's grace is the cause of sinful people becoming righteous. Grace then is an attitude of God for the good of those who do not deserve the good." Meditating on this we are able to realize the power we have in the redeeming work of the cross and it has allowed me by the grace of the spirit to practically play out scenarios in my life in which I can actively use my own sin to draw me closer to Him. Assuming we keep our eyes on the Lord and are eternally focused I've found it plays out like this:

Sin - judgement- grace- forgiveness- righteousness & redemption.

God uses the sin in our lives to draw us nearer to Him if and only if we allow it. This brings such peace to my life because me, as an avid sinner, can not get bogged down by how much I suck, but through the grace of the Cross God can take my sin and transform it into light in my life.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Ash Wednesday

I've never been one to observe Ash Wednesday before but I went to the service at Grace on Wed night and had a really cool experience, it took me a few days to figure out what exactly it was that caught me so off guard though.

The main theme of the service was silence. You enter the sanctuary in silence, and exit in silence. This really set the tone seeking a personal and real meeting with God. We read scripture together, sang together, listened to Dave about why we were there and the significance of why we honor the 40th day before Easter.

Then you have the option of having an ash cross placed on your forehead. I had never done this and to be honest hadn't planned on it. To be even more honest I pretty much did it at first just to fit in, kind of like communion when you feel like shit and your heart isn't repentant, but you still take it anyways. The way I had understood the significance of it was we are acknowledging our own sin and our desperate need for forgiveness. We are saved only through Christ on the cross coupled with him rising from his earthly grave and his ascension into heaven to sit at the throne of God. In historical times those repenting would wear sack cloth and physically show their need for forgiveness. I understood the ash to be a similar symbolic act for us modern Christians.

The minute Dave touched my forehead with the ash I felt ashamed.

Everyone could see my sin, why is it that some simple act like that could expose so dramatically my need for repentence. We so desperately need Jesus and our lives are designed such that we believe we don't need Him. The last few days have been really humbling for me as i've been contemplating my brokeness. It's time to stop living as if we don't need forgiveness and start living every day in the light of his redemption.

Francis Chan's Podcast

Hey guys I listened to that Podcast this morning that Brady was talking about with Francis Chan. He's right it's way worth a listen. He doesn't fall apart as much as I expected but he does go completely honest and considering the size of his audience I feel like it he did it the best way possible. His battle was do I give the message I planned and lie to everyone and be fake, or do I just be completely honest but with the risk of giving a narcissistic message that's all about Francis to 30,ooo people who want to console him.

I thought it was great, he had some really good things to say, and the biggest thing I took away from the message is how dangerous this habit is of being convicted by the word, and not doing anything about it. This has been my habit I know for a long time but I feel the Lord drawing me to a life of action and I'm so proud to know you guys and grow in His word with you all every week.

Go to sermons, it's called "even Francis has a bad day"