Monday, December 29, 2014

Top Posts of 2014

This Wednesday another year will come to a close and with that another years worth of blog posts. Some of those posts you liked and some of those posts you didn't like, but let's take a look back at some of your favorite ones. 

Here are the top blog posts from 2014:

10. Reverse Engineering Church Planting. Most conversations revolving around church planting start with the notion of church. Planters and sending churches will commonly throw out the phrase, "Launch," as if one can just send a group of people to launch into a new city and call it a church plant. I am not against the idea of having a core team and believe you are stupid if you go at it completely alone, but the purpose of reverse engineering is back to a New Testament model where we start with Kingdom principles that lead to disciples, which then form a new church from the harvest. 

9. Sharing the Gospel There and Then and Here and Now. During 2014 I commonly heard the question, "how do you share the gospel in India?" This question always struck me as odd as if there was a different way to share the gospel in a place like India then there was in the United States. The reality is that if the truth of the gospel has changed your life then you will share the gospel no matter the context.

8. Are You Operating As A Missionary?Many of my conversations with other spiritual leaders revolve around movements and paradigm shifts within the church that change the world. Being a missional Christian is a phrase that often comes up, which I love what being "missional" means as long as it is correctly defined. A short way to encompass what a missional Christian is one who embraces their role as everyday missionaries. Truthfully this should be how all followers of Christ operate so my question is often, "Can you be an obedient Christian and not be missional?"

7. "You're the Only Ones That Talk To Us..."The place where you live, your neighborhood is one of the main areas that you have been sent by God for a season as a missionary. If the people that live around only know you for the family that wakes up early on Sunday morning and is gone half of the day then there is something wrong. I am not saying I do everything right, I know that I do not, but this is a call for all of us to do the hard work of getting to know our neighbors and neighborhoods so that we can engage with them, love and serve them and ultimately make disciples of them.

6. 6 Lessons from My Time in SeminaryDuring the five years it took me to complete two masters degrees I learned many lessons, enough to write a book or at least discuss over a french press. The six lessons below are more of a starting piece for those just entering seminary. Some of the lessons below were advice given to me and some I learned as I went through out my studies. If you have been to seminary yourself then please feel free to comment below with any additional lessons that you think would be helpful to mention.

5. A Large Audience ≠ A Successful Church Plant. This one can be a bit controversial, but many church planting networks mistakenly think that just because a lead planter can gather a large audience that they have some how planted a successful church. 
4. A Positive Shift For the Future of IMB/SBCPlatt gives me hope for the future of the largest and most historic missions agency in the world. It is exciting to see a man not much older than myself to take the reigns of such a large organization.  Yes, he is only one man and ultimately Christ is in charge, but I believe that Platt is the chosen man for this next season of leading the IMB.

3. Attending Church with ChildrenYes, many churches offer great children's ministries or forms of entertainment for your children so that you and all the other adults will not be bothered during your worship experience, but is it really all about that? Should a mother have to wait until their child is a certain age to feel like they can attend a gathering without being ridiculed?

2. When Christians Become AtheistsIn the parable in Matthew 13:5-6, 20-21, Jesus gives us a vivd illustration of what happens when the gospel is sown on rocky ground. At first it appears as if the person is receptive to the gospel, but the gospel never actually takes root in their life and therefore fails to bear fruit.

1. Are Church Teachings on Homosexuality Driving Millennials Away From FaithI, for one, love the people inside the LGBT community, I sincerely do. And I believe that people like Evans sincerely do as well and I am glad to hear that she is done arguing (I doubt it) and wants to move on to loving and serving people. But I do want all of those in the LGBT community and all my fellow evangelical millennials to know what the historical document of the Bible actually teaches.

Friday, December 26, 2014

A New Way of Life from The Sermon on the Mount

For Christmas I received The Sermon on the Mount Story of God Bible Commentary  by Scot McKnight. This book made it on to many top ten missional book lists of the last year and one that I am looking forward to working through as I believe that the Sermon on the Mount exemplifies how we as Christians are to live here and now that it is not just for later.

In chapter one, McKnight proposes that the proper response to the Sermon is to follow or obey it's teachings. And McKnight quotes Stanley Hauerwas, who captures the whole of Jesus' vision in the Sermon:
When he called his society together Jesus gave its members a new way of life to live. He gave them a new way to deal with offenders by forgiving them. He gave them a new way to deal with violence by suffering. He gave them a new way to deal with money by sharing it. He gave them a new way to deal with problems of leadership by drawing on the gift of every member, even the most humble. He gave them a new way to deal with corrupt society by building a new order, not smashing the old. He gave them a new pattern of relationship between man and woman, between parent and child, between master and slave, in which was made concrete radical new vision of what it means to be a human person. He gave them a new attitude toward the state and toward the "enemy nation." 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas from The Boyd's

Merry Christmas! The blog may be on a bit of a vacation over the next week as I spend Christmas with my family, but look for new content soon and some early 2015 giveaways! 

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
(Luke 2:1-14 ESV)

Monday, December 22, 2014

What Is APEST?

In Ephesians 4 we are given the blueprint for Jesus' Church and what it should look like in its full state of unity and maturity. The problem is that for years the Western church has only focused on the role of teacher and shepherd, so much so that we have almost forgotten that there is any other roles within the church. Unless you grew up in an evangelical church like me then you probably also had an evangelist.

The other three roles that are most often ignored in the church today are the apostles, prophets, and at times the evangelists. For most people, once this full picture of the church is realized it becomes a paradigm shift and if they are rightly understood and applied they should become a welcome gift to the church.

Looking at these five roles, commonly referred to as APEST has been a very common language to me, so much so that I often forget that much of the church does ignore them. I was talking recently with a church planting catalyst from another church planting network and mentioned that part of the initial application process with the Table Network is an "Apest" test and he looked at me with confusion because he was unfamiliar with the terminology of the roles. 

I posted the below in an earlier blog post this year but felt that it would be helpful to give a brief definition and explanation of each of the gifts given in Ephesians 4. If taking an APEST test is something that interests you please get in contact with me and I can get you set up. It is extremely helpful for a person to see and for the record I am more of an apostle, evangelists, and teacher. 

Here is a brief summary of each gift:

Apostles: These are those who are sent ones. They desire to see the gospel of the Kingdom planted where others haven't gone; they are church planters. They are visionaries who see the blueprint for the church that will call God's people to live sent lives and who desire that everyday saints be released into domains to use their gifts to build up the Body. They protect the doctrine and the DNA of the Church. They are "Fatherly" and desire to see new leaders raised up (sons in the faith) and sent out.

Prophets: These are those who are sensitive to the voice and Word of God. They hear from God and communicate God's word to God's people. They call God's people back to God and call God's people to live lives of holiness and justice. They care more about what God has to say than how man will take it. Often, they are our biggest prayer warriors.

Evangelists: These are those who are outwardly focused. They desire to equip the Church in reaching their neighbors with the gospel. They desire the Church to both declare and demonstrate the gospel of the Kingdom. They love to spend time developing relationships with the un-churched and they give their lives to inviting people to be a part of God's family.

Shepherds: These are those who care for the flock. They are concerned with the lives of the congregation. They are counselors, protecting the community that God has entrusted to them. They desire that the Church be a family, praying for, providing for and loving one another.

Teacher: These have the gift to teach and use that gift to build the Church. They often love books and theology. They want the Church to grow into maturity by growing in the Knowledge of Jesus and his ways. They teach Scripture and help apply it to everyday life, guard doctrine and help the Church learn to teach one another.

The above post is part of a series that is giving a brief over on what one receives in a non-residential church planting cohort with the Release Initiative

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Journey of the Wise Men to Worship the Messiah

The Visit of the Wise Men - Matthew 2:1-12

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men[a] from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose[b] and have come to worship him.”When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:
“‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
    are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
    who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. 12 And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.
This past Sunday I preached my final sermon of 2014 at Restoration Community Church in Raleigh, NC. Here is the link to the sermon. I am thankful to Restoration and Pastor Robin Phillips for the opportunity to fill the pulpit four times this past year. I apologize that it is not a video upload, but the church currently only does audio recording of sermons. If your church is interested in having me as a guest speaker in 2015 here is a link to my speaker request form.

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Touchstones of Prayer

Over the last month I have been reading through Tim Keller's new book Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God. I am just now wrapping up section three of the book, which is concluded with the touchstones of prayer:


What It Is

Work: Prayer is a duty and a discipline.
Word: Prayer is conversing with God.
Balance: Prayer is adoration, confession, thanks, and supplication.

What It Requires

Grace: Prayer is "In Jesus' name," based on the gospel.
Fear: Prayer is the heart engaged in loving awe.
Helplessness: Prayer is accepting one's weakness and dependence.

What It Gives

Perspective: Prayer reorients your view toward God.
Strength: Prayer is spiritual union with God.
Spiritual Reality: Prayer seeks a heart sense of the presence of God.

Where It Takes Us

Self-Knowledge: Prayer requires and creates honesty and self-knowledge.
Trust: Prayer requires and creates both restful trust and confident hope.
Surrender: Prayer requires and creates surrender of the whole life in love to God.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Taking Hope to the City of Wilmington

Although I have been away from Wilmington, NC for over five years now, it is one of the cities that I consider home for many reasons. I still have many life long friends there and I regularly keep up with some of my former professors. One thing that is often masked in the beauty of the city between downtown and the beaches is the number of homeless and poor people within the city. A good friend go mine recently started serving as an urban missionary with Vigilant Hope, which is an organization created to help meet the needs of the needy and the homeless. If you are looking for a non-profit to give some end of the year donations to then this would be one worth considering in a city that needs it.

Can you Help us? from Vigilant Hope on Vimeo.

Monday, December 8, 2014

God Alone Enlightens Your Darkness

The below excerpt is a great reminder from Charles Spurgeon that God alone enlightens your darkness and that no matter what kind of darkness one is surrounded by that he can bring the light through in each situation. This has been an encouragement to me in the current season that I am going through and hope that it can be to you as well.

For thou wilt light my candle. 
Psalm 18:28

It may be that my soul sits in darkness; and if this be of a spiritual kind, no human power can bring me light. Blessed be God! he can enlighten my darkness, and at once light my candle. Even though I may be surrounded by a 'darkness which may be felt,' yet he can break the gloom, and immediately make it bright around me.

The mercy is, that if he lights the candle none can blow it out, neither will it go out for lack of substance, nor burn out of itself through the lapse of hours. The lighters which the Lord kindled in the beginning are shining still. The Lord's lamps may need trimming, but he does not put them out.

Let me, then, like the nightingale, sing in the dark. Expectation shall furnish me with music, and hope shall pitch the tune. Soon I shall rejoice in a candle of God's lightingI am dull and dreary just now. Perhaps it is weatheror bodily weakness, or the surprise of a sudden trouble; but whatever has made the darkness, it is God alone who will bring the light. My eyes are unto him alone. I shall soon have the candle of the Lord shining about me; and, further on in his own good time, I shall be where they need no candle, neither light of sun. Hallelujah! 
-C.H. Spurgeon 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Christmas at DPAC

The Christmas season is in full motion now and as a father of two little ones I know how easy it would be to just let the time go by without stopping to slow down and make lasting memories. I believe it is my responsibility to make it a fun season where we wait in anticipation for our coming Savior and enjoy some family fun. One event that we are excited to attend this year is Christmas at DPAC in Durham, NC. We have never had the opportunity to attend in the past, but hear great things about it. Check out the promo video below and go here for more information.

DPAC Promo 2014 from The Summit Church on Vimeo.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Are You Willing to Risk It All and Follow Jesus?

A question that we should all be asking ourselves daily: are we willing to risk it all and follow Jesus? Video clips like the one below are what causes me to ask myself daily if I made the right decision in leaving India and returning to the US almost one year ago. The reality is that if we are not willing to risk it all and follow Jesus then there is something terribly wrong.

Risking it all and following Jesus - A Future City - David Platt from IMB on Vimeo.