Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Best Posts of 2015

At the end of the day we will all being saying goodbye to 2015, and embracing the celebration of ringing in a new year. Some of us can't wait to move on from 2015 and others of us may be anxious as to what the new year holds. 

Before we officially move on, let's take one more look at the top posts on this blog from 2015. The ones that you, the readers made the most special. Thanks to you all and a Happy New Year!

10. 4 Mission Motivators

This posts is based on a brief book on missions by Dr. David Alan Black that challenges readers by asking two questions. First, would you like to become part of the Big Story of what God is doing worldwide? Second, would you like to be on mission for Him? He then lays out four powerful motives that are necessary in order to have the courage to fully embrace and answers these questions with a resounding YES!

9. Questions to Help Facilitate Disciple-Making Movements

These five questions can be asked and answered by anyone, these are not for some elite level of seminary trained Christians. In other words you don't necessarily need to change the routine of your normal life in order to implement these, instead you have freedom to start asking these questions and see what happens as you answer them, you may be surprised! 

8. 5 Ways to Help Returning Missionaries Part 1 and Part 2

This is a post that I have wanted to write for about a year now, but wanted to wait until my family had returned from life overseas and been back for at least a year. Call it my own pride, but this was mostly so that people wouldn't feel sorry for us or think that we expected these things from them. As much as possible my family wanted relationships to normalize. Last month marked one year exactly since we returned from catalyzing church plants in S. Asia and it was a year full of transitions, disappointment, unmet expectations, blessings, and the favor of God.The only people who will truly ever understand you are those that have also been sent out and experienced what you have gone through. This has led me to list 5 ways to help returning missionaries.

7. Everyday People Equipped for Ministry

This post is not meant to be against seminary, as I cherish the time I spent in seminary and may go on to the next level eventually. But it is meant to challenge the church as a whole in what it means to be equipped for ministry and to break down the distinction between "clergy" and "laity." I would love to hear any personal stories, testimonies, or thoughts in regards to every disciple being equipped for ministry.

6. Viewing Every Aspect of Life as Ministry

The act of disciple making is the calling of every follower of Jesus. So do not make the mistake of thinking that if you are seminary trained or a leader in the church that you are serving God more faithfully than the stay at home mom, barista, bartender, or salesperson from your church. Each of us in Christ are called to live a life on mission that is about the business of disciple making

5. Freedom by Grace through Faith

In Galatians 5:5 it tells us that those that are free live by faith through the Spirit. This shows us that we are to accept righteousness by faith through Christ, not by the works of ourselves. We are to point to the work that Christ did. The Judaizers on the other hand practice works so that they may obtain righteousness, which is something that will never end because it can not be obtained. Darrin Patrick described this well when he said, "You are under the law and not grace when you take your moral performance and offer it as your reason for salvation, this is your flesh, and you need to kill it!"

4. 30 Lesson on My 30th Birthday

In this post I reflect on leaving the decade that was my initial entrance into adulthood and enter full-blown adult life as I turn 30. Many of you have probably noticed my lack of writing recently and much of that is due to the stage of life that I am in and the fact that this is more of a hobby. Either way, I appreciate my faithful readers and wanted to share some fun and encouraging lessons in my thirty years on earth.

3. Rest and Freedom in Anxiousness

The last few years I have had to make some major decisions regarding my life and the life of my family. These included what city and country to live, how long to serve as church planters to a foreign nation that became home, what ministry opportunities to take and which ones to turn down. During many of these I found myself in a state of anxiousness with the weight of the decision on my shoulders.

2. Lives Marked by Indecisive Minds or Undivided Hearts

Although I have remained confident in my calling, I have been seeking complete confirmation that I am doing the right things, before taking the leap of faith in them. There is something freeing about admitting something that you struggle with and if I am being completely transparent I do feel at times that I am in disobedience for my lack of acting on opportunities that God has placed in front of me because of my indecisive mind.

1. Why Did You Return? A Growing Burden for My Own Country.

I returned to the U.S. with a growing burden for the peoples in my own country to know and worship Jesus. To see people from my own country experience the freedom and family found at the table Jesus has prepared. I want to be used by God to see here in my own country, what he used me to see there in India. This is the reason that I joined the Table Network because this is their heart as well.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Top 5 Christian Books Read in 2015

Although I have been out of any formal education for a couple of years, I plan on always learning as a father, pastor, leader, and missionary. Typically I read 2-3 books at a time as I have a never ending list of books that I want to read, books publishers give me to read and review, and ones on topics of interests. This has led to me being more discerning in the books that I read as I realize I will never read them all, but here are the top 5 Christian books I read this past year (not necessarily written in 2015).

1. The Sermon on the Mount (The Story of God Bible Commentary) by Scot McKnight

Emphasizing the historical distance between the New Testament and our contemporary culture, The Sermon on the Mount by Scot McKnight, part of the new The Story of God Bible Commentary series, offers helpful contextual insights for those seeking to discern how to live out the Bible in today’s world.

2. A Meal with Jesus: Discovering Grace, Community, and Mission around the Table by Tim Chester

Chester argues that meals are also deeply theological—an important part of Christian fellowship and mission. He observes that the book of Luke is full of stories of Jesus at meals. These accounts lay out biblical principles. Chester notes, “The meals of Jesus represent something bigger.” Six chapters in A Meal with Jesus show how they enact grace, community, hope, mission, salvation, and promise.

3. Preaching: Communicating Faith in an Age of Skepticism by Timothy Keller

Most Christians—including pastors—struggle to talk about their faith in a way that applies the power of the Christian gospel to change people’s lives. Timothy Keller is known for his insightful, down-to-earth sermons and talks that help people understand themselves, encounter Jesus, and apply the Bible to their lives. In this accessible guide for pastors and laypeople alike, Keller helps readers learn to present the Christian message of grace in a more engaging, passionate, and compassionate way.

4. Onward: Engaging the Culture without Losing the Gospel by Russell Moore

As the culture changes all around us, it is no longer possible to pretend that we are a Moral Majority. That may be bad news for America, but it can be good news for the church. What's needed now, in shifting times, is neither a doubling-down on the status quo nor a pullback into isolation. Instead, we need a church that speaks to social and political issues with a bigger vision in mind: that of the gospel of Jesus Christ. As Christianity seems increasingly strange, and even subversive, to our culture, we have the opportunity to reclaim the freakishness of the gospel, which is what gives it its power in the first place. 

5. Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God by Timothy Keller

With his trademark insights and energy, Keller offers biblical guidance as well as specific prayers for certain situations, such as dealing with grief, loss, love, and forgiveness. He discusses ways to make prayers more personal and powerful, and how to establish a practice of prayer that works for each reader.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas from The Boyd Family

Merry Christmas from the Boyd Family! The blog will be on a bit of vacation over the next week as I slow down and enjoy the season with family and friends; but be on the lookout for new content in 2016 along with some big announcements. 

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)