This Doesn't Make Much Sense Anymore

So many of you have noticed that this blog hasn't been updated in eons. That's ok. We created this blog to be just an initial place to answer frequently asked questions and communicate some of the vision of re:Generation.

We're not going to close the blog just yet, but would gladly send you to our facebook page which is updated more frequently:


Grace and peace,

Taylor

Game Night @ Hammerle Park


This Friday night the 23rd of July re:Generation is having a game night at Hammerle Park.  Competition will start at 7pm and make sure you bring a snack to share.  Examples would be cookies, brownies, chips, bbq ribs, rice crackers... really whatever you think would be a good item to share with everyone.  This will be a great opportunity to hang out and have some fun.  Invite some new people so they can partake of the fun festivies with us. 

Hammerle Park is located on Hwy 43 just north of I-205.  If you take exit 8 from I-205 then go north on Hwy 43 about one mile and the park is on your right. 

See you there and bring your own lawn chair.

Caleb & Sol at re:Generation


This Sunday night July 11th at 7pm Caleb and Sol will be at re:Generation.  They will be performing a few songs of their own, lead us in worship and also preach from God's word.  I am so excited to have them and cannot wait until Sunday night.  We will be meeting as usual at New Life Church so come and be blessed and bring a friend or a hundred.  It is going to be an awesome night.

re:Generātion Summer BBQ at the Park


• re:Generātion is having a BBQ!  Come and enjoy some awesome BBQ, hang out with friends, play outdoor games, and enjoy a taste of the summer.

Bring yourself, some friends, a lawn chair, and any outdoor games stuff you might have: frisbee, volleyball, bocce set, football, croquet set, etc…


When?      Sunday, June 27th @ 5:30pm
Where?     Hammerle Park
        (Two minutes north of Riverfalls on Hwy 43)
        1505 Lewis Street
        West Linn, OR 97068

Life Groups are meeting this week.

1.) Oregon City Starbucks (meets Mondays @ 7 p.m. at the Oregon City Starbucks on McLoughlin Boulevard) led by: Aeric Estep

    The Oregon City Starbucks Group will strive to be a community of missional Christians who encourage each other to live the Gospel in front of the people that are around them every day. Our emphasis will be on living the Gospel in a secular workplace. We will be working with the discipleship model to encourage each other in our growth and also discuss and work through ways of living the Gospel daily.

2.) Town Center Panera (meets Saturday Nights @7pm at Town Center Panera) led by: Taylor Reavely

    The Town Center Panera group intends to be a place where ordinary people are in community and relationship with other ordinary people, being trained and growing in the gospel to do extraordinary things in their lives. Discipleship will be a central focus as we hold each other accountable and spur each other on toward love and good deeds because we believe the gospel. The challenge will be to a personal responsibility for mission through the support of the group.

3.) Least of These Outreach (meets Tue. 6pm location TBA, & Sun. 6:15pm for discipleship check-in @New Life Church) led by: James Calkins
   
    Least of These outreach group focuses on just what the titles says, we are focusing on the least focused on!  We’ll be stretched emotionally, physically, and mentally as we stretch out our hand to serve those in the community who are neglected.  We will be hanging out with refugees from Africa, serving the homeless, loving on hospitalized children, and developing relationships with the forgotten about elderly community.  As we step out of our comfort zone we are blessed in being the hands and feet of Jesus in order to see His Glory revealed to those who otherwise might not get to witness it.

4.) Clackamas New Seasons (meets Thursdays @ 10 a.m. at the Clackamas New Seasons) led by: Grant Blomdahl

    The Clackamas New Seasons Group seeks to be a community of people that lives out the Gospel in all areas of life. We’ll be using the discipleship model to help us grow in our love for God and see the people in our lives changed by the Gospel. Come grow, learn, and be encouraged.

5.) Krispy Kreme Group (meets Mondays @10 a.m. at Krispy Kreme on 82nd) led by: John McKay

    The Krispy Kreme group is designed to be a community of people who desire to intentionally live out the gospel through discipleship and evangelism.  While enjoying fresh, hot and delicious doughnuts and coffee (If you so desire) we will have our discipleship check-in, and talk about our role as Christians to share the gospel with those God has placed in our lives.  Our goal is to seek and save lives through the gospel and to see new disciples of Christ grow out of our intentional efforts to share the good news of the gospel.  Join us at 10 a.m. every Monday morning at Krispy Kreme Doughnuts located on 82nd and Otty Rd. just south of Johnson Creek. 

If you have any question let me know at johnmckaysmail@gmail.com

Piper and Prosperity

To watch the video that Aeric mentioned in his message tonight, visit this link: John Piper and the Prosperity Gospel.

re:Generātion 2010 Summer Schedule

June 13th: re:Generātion 7pm @New Life Church

June 20th: re:Generātion 7pm @New Life Church

June 27th: BBQ/Game Night 5:30pm @Hammerle Park
        (Hammerle Park: just take Hwy 43 just north of the church and its on the right)

July 4th: No re:Generātion

July 11th: re:Generātion with Caleb and Sol 7pm @New Life Church

July 18th: re:Generātion 7pm @New Life Church

July 23rd: BBQ/Game Night 5:30pm @Hammerle Park

July 25th: re:Generātion 7pm @New Life Church

August 1st: re:Generātion 7pm @New Life Church

August 8th: re:Generātion 7pm @New Life Church

August 15th: re:Generātion 7pm @New Life Church

August 21st: River Float! Time and Place TBA

August 22th: re:Generātion 7pm @New Life Church

August 29th: re:Generātion 7pm @New Life Church

re:Generātion Summer BBQ at the Park



• re:Generātion is having a BBQ!  Come and enjoy some awesome BBQ, hang out with friends, play outdoor games, and enjoy a taste of the summer. 

• Bring yourself, some friends, a lawn chair, and any outdoor games stuff you might have: frisbee, volleyball, bocce set, football, croquet set, etc…



                                      When?      Sunday, June 27th @ 5:30pm
                                      Where?     Hammerle Park
                                                       (Two minutes north of Riverfalls on Hwy 43)
                                                       1505 Lewis Street
                                                       Linn, OR 97068

1 Peter 4:1-11


Last night we talked about following the example of Christ's suffering and living life with an eternal perspective.  We will all go through suffering at some point in our lives.  Peter has definitely communicated that to us multiple time in his first letter.  When we go through and experience times of suffering we are as Christians to follow the example of Christ.  He suffered doing the will of God.  It was not because he sinned our messed up or because he deserved it.  He was doing the will of the Father.  In 1 Peter 3:17 it says, "For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil."  We are to follow the example of Christ by living a life in obedience to God.  Trusting God in all situations regardless of our day to day circumstances.

We also talked about living life with an eternal perspective.  This requires to see life through the lens of redemptive history.  Understanding that Christ has come in the flesh, lived a perfect life and died on the cross for your sins, in your place taking the punishment that you deserve so that if you place you faith in the sacrifice that he made for you... you will be saved!  Christ rose from the dead three days later and was exalted to the right hand of the Father where he now sits awaiting the time when he will return to judge the living and the dead.  When we see life through this lens we can look past all of the little things in our life that seem so difficult.  When we live with an eternal perspective we are less likely to fall in the temptation of sin as living for God, and sharing the gospel are far greater in the scope of eternity then seeking to satisfy our earthly fleshly  desires.

This week re-commit yourself to God.  Remember that your time is not your own... it is God's.  We don't know when, where or how God is going to act so give of your time and energy freely.  Be praying that God would point someone to Christ through you this week.  We are all called to share the good news of Jesus Christ, so do it!

Next Sunday night we will continue our series through the book of 1 Peter.  Aeric Estep will be bringing the word from 1 Peter 4:12-19 as he talks about sharing in Christ's sufferings.  I would encourage you to be reading this passage once a day so that God would begin to prepare your hearts to hear from Aeric next Sunday night.  Also, be praying for Aeric.  Pray that the Spirit of God would reveal the truth of his word to Aeric.  That the Spirit would speak through him next Sunday night.  It is our job as participants on Sunday nights to be praying for the speaker.  We are to come expecting to hear from God and so we are obligated to pray for that to happen.

I love you guys and can't wait to see next week.

John

Bring Your Own Mug!


Just a quick reminder to dust off your favorite mug and bring it to reGen. this Sunday.  Also I will come through with my promise from last week... everyone who brings their own mug this Sunday, and every Sunday will receive free coffee.  I know... way to generous.

Not a coffee drinker.  Bring your own mug to enjoy other delicious beverages provided at reGen. from punch, soda, juice, OJ, milk, tea and many other yummy drinks all of which taste much much better from your own mug.

So... BYOM this Sunday and I'll see you there, mug in hand.

The Righteous For The Unrighteous


Last week we looked at 1 Peter 3:1-7 and we talked about how to have a Godly marriage... well I guess we talk about how to have a Godly marriage once you get married recalling the fact that I was the only married person in the room last week.

Coming up this Sunday night Grant "that's just the way it is" Blomdahl is going to be bringing us the word from 1 Peter 3:8-22. I want to encourage you to be reading this text over and over again for the next few days in order to familiarize yourself with the text. Also, be praying for Grant as he prepares to share with us. Pray that God would speak through him, and empower him with the Holy Spirit to proclaim God's word faithfully and boldly.

Looking forward to seeing you this Sunday night,

John

Also, invite someone new.

Sharing the Gospel - Four “Points” in a Story

Here is a great, very simple approach to sharing the gospel with people you know or are just getting to know by Tim Chester (author of Total Church and You Can Change):

Four points of intersection

Everyone has their own version of the ‘gospel’ story:
  1. creation – who I am or who I should be
  2. fall – what’s wrong with me and the world
  3. redemption – what’s the solution
  4. consummation – what I hope for
When we hear people expressing their version of creation, fall, redemption or consummation, we can talk about the gospel story. Talking about Jesus begins with listening to other people’s stories and sharing our own story of Jesus.

Four liberating truths

Everyone’s behaviour is shaped by what they believe. We can listen out for the beliefs that shape people’s behaviour and shape their hurts and hopes. This then allows us to speak of the liberating truth of God which counters the lies upon which people build their lives and which eventually fail them in some way:
  1. God is great – so we don’t have to be in control
  2. God is glorious – so we don’t have to fear others
  3. God is good – so we don’t have to look elsewhere
  4. God is gracious – so we don’t have to prove ourselves
It is usually less confrontational to present the truth in the form of a personal story. For example, ‘When I was ill last year I found it a great comfort to know that God was in control.’

The Holy Life of a Chosen Exile

Last night we looked the holy life of a chosen exile in 1 Peter 1:13-2:3. It is important to remember of course that this section of 1 Peter is directly linked to and based upon the beginning of the letter, namely verses 1-12. It is in the first twelve verses where Peter establishes the truth and factual information about the gospel that informs the rest of his letter. We are not called to live a holy life so that God will accept us, but rather we live a holy live because God has accepted us through his son. Despite our sin, rebellion and rejection of God he still loves us. He made us and he knows everything about us. He graciously provided a way for us to have a restored relationship with him and that is through the death, burial and resurrection of his one and only son Jesus Christ.

In 1 Peter 1:13-2:3 we find 5 commands for life. These of course are to be obeyed in response to the saving power of the gospel not out of a desire to be accepted by God. Through the gospel we have been brought into God's family and our response should be to live a holy life as a chosen exile. This means living our life firmly set upon the hope that Jesus is coming back to make all things right. This truly is good news!

This week read through 1 Peter again, or maybe for the first time and realize that the commands for living that Christians receive are always based upon the gospel.

After the message, I spoke with Leslie (one of the regulars at re:Gen) and she told me that she'd been reading and meditating on 1 Peter 1:13-2:3 all week. She had read it over and over again thinking about it and pondering it so that when she came on Sunday night to hear the text preached she would really be ready for it. I think this is an amazing idea. I would like to encourage all of you to be reading the text ahead of time leading up to each Sunday night gathering. This next week the text is 1 Peter 2:4-12. Try and read it once a day this week. Pray over the text, meditate on the text and also pray for pastor Scott as he prepares this week to preach this text. Pray that God would speak to us through him. Come next Sunday night longing to hear a word from the Lord. Come next Sunday night expecting to hear from God. Preaching is not a solo event, but rather it requires the prayers of those who hear as well. If we all want to hear a word from God each Sunday night then we must all beg God to speak.

Have a great week, remind yourself of the gospel everyday, and live the holy life of a chosen exile.

God Bless!

A Gospel Primer

Here's a snapshot of the book that is available for $5 at New Life. I have been reading this book and have enjoyed every page I've read; it is challenging and deep.


The book is broken into a billion little parts, generally half a page to a page long, to make for quick, easy reading. I highly recommend you invest in this book, and let it help remind you of the gospel everyday.

The Weight of Joy in the Weight of Suffering

So the recording of this message didn't really capture...every word...haha

This post will help to communicate some of the missing pieces as well as remind you of a few things that, I hope, will encourage you and remind you to rejoice.

Text: 1 Peter 1:3-12

Thesis: Joy is a natural response to faith in the person and work of God.

1. Our joy must be rooted in hope built on the character of and work of God. (3-5)

Six reasons to rejoice:

A. Rejoice because of the character of God. (3)
...according to his great mercy...

B. Rejoice because of the redemptive work of Christ on the cross. (3)
...he has caused us to be born again...

C.Rejoice because of the hope that has come alive in you. (3)
...to a living hope...

Note two things about this hope: it is a confident hope (look at the "inheritance" in verse 4;) it is a living hope.

D. Rejoice because your hope is made sure in the resurrection of Christ. (3)
...through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead...

If Jesus is still dead, we have NO hope, and our faith, preaching, ministry, LIVES are in vain. But
"Jesus is alive, and that changes everything!"
"Hope is a living hope because Jesus is a living Savior."

E. Rejoice because you have guaranteed for you, and eternal inheritance. (4)
...to an inheritance...

F. Rejoice because God is actively saving you, preserving your hope and strengthening your faith. (5)
...you, who by God's power, are being guarded through faith for a salvation...
i. God caused us to be born again. We "were saved." Regeneration. Past.
ii. By God's power we, "are being saved." Sanctification. Present.
iii. We will be saved in our future salvation. Glorification. Future.

2. Joy that is rooted in hope built on the character and work of God will triumph in suffering, making Christ appear sweeter and more glorious when He is revealed.

A few points of clarification:

i. Joy is a pattern/outlook on life that is not based in circumstances.
ii. Happiness is a state of mind, that, at its core, is rooted in circumstances.
iii. Sovereign grace is the sovereign choice and work of God to save who He wishes to save. This is the root of joy.
iv. Common grace is the everyday enjoyment of God's creation and blessing on mankind. This is the root of happiness.
v. Suffering is the retraction of common graces. Thus it is possible to be unhappy, while joyful. And conversely, it is possible to be not joyful, while happy.
vi. If I am truly a joyful person, reveling in the character and work of God in sovereign grace, then I ought to be a happy person as well. All of my "happy" experiences of common grace should turn my gaze to the Giver and gift of sovereign grace, the source of my joy.

Three things about the nature of suffering:

A. Suffering will come. (6)
...though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials...

An elect exile is still an exile!

B. Suffering sharpens and strengthens faith. (7)
...so that the tested genuineness of your faith-more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire...

"Suffering is appointed by God for his saints for this purpose: so that as we persever in joy in God through suffering, He is shown to be more valuable than what we are losing as we suffer." John Piper

C. Suffering makes Christ taste sweeter and appear more glorious. (7-9)
...may be found to result in praise and honor and glory at the revelation of Christ...

Verse 8: You don't see him, but you love him. Affection and faith are equated. If my faith is amplified, naturally, my affections are also amplified, and my joy is inexpressible. Faith is amplified through suffering (7) thus my affection for Christ is also amplified.

Lessons on suffering and joy from the life of David Brainerd:
Oh, That I May Never Loiter On My Heavenly Journey! by John Piper
The Life of David Brainerd by Jonathan Edwards

3. The root of our joy-the work and character of God in salvation-is so glorious, that the prophets and angels long to have a part (10-12.)

A. The prophets gloried and rejoiced and treasured salvation, though they were spectators.
B. The angels glory and rejoice and treasure salvation, though they are spectators.
C. We must rejoice because we are partakers! We are beneficiaries! We are not spectators.

Elect Exiles and the Pursuit of Joy

Here are some thoughts to prepare you for the Word on Sunday night:

1. We, as elect exiles, have cause for GREAT joy, because of the work of Christ. (1 Peter 1:3-5)
2. Our joy in suffering, sharpens our faith, preparing us for the revelation of Christ, when our faith will be sight. (1 Peter 1:6-9)
3. Our work of Christ in our salvation is so glorious, that the prophets longed and the angels long to take part in it. (1 Peter 1:10-12)

There are a few quotes that have influenced my thinking and understanding of this text:

"Grace came down. Joy came up. That’s Christianity."
John Piper

God is preparing you, through suffering, to enjoy him more in heaven than if you had not suffered: “It will be no damp to the happiness of those who are of lower degrees of happiness in glory that others are more advanced in glory above them for all shall be perfectly happy, everyone shall be perfectly satisfied, every vessel that is cast into the ocean of happiness is full, though there are some vessels far larger than others. And there shall be no such thing as envy in heaven, but perfect love shall reign through the whole society.”
Jonathan Edwards (quoted by John Piper.)

“This is God’s universal purpose for all Christian suffering: more contentment in God and less satisfaction in self and the world.”
Piper, Desiring God, p.222

"Had some sweetness in the thoughts of arriving at the heavenly world. O for the happy day! God gave my special assistance in prayer; I wrestled with much sweetness; intercession was made delightful employment to me..."
David Brainerd, The Life of David Brainerd, p.33

"Was not a little distressed for want of suitable food. Had no bread, nor could I get any. I am forced to go or send ten or fifteen miles for all the bread I eat; and sometimes it is moldy and sour before I eat it; and then again I have none for some days together, for want of an opportunity to send for it, and cannot find my horse in the woods to go myself. And this was my case now, but through divine goodness I had some Indian meal, of which I made little cakes and fried them. Yet felt contented with my circumstances, and sweetly resigned to God. In prayer I enjoyed great freedom, and blessed God as much for my present circumstances as if I had been a king: I found a disposition to be contented in any circumstances. Blessed be God!"
David Brainerd, The Life of David Brainerd, p.61

"My leanness testifies against me! My soul abhors itself for its unlikeness to God and sluggishness. When I have done all, alas, what an unprofitable servant am I! My soul groans because I do not fill the hours in spirituality and heavenly-mindedness. Yet I long they should speed their pace to hasten me to my eternal home, where I may fill up my moments, through eternity, for God and His glory."
David Brainerd, The Life of David Brainerd, p.57

Come Sunday night at 7pm, and bring a friend!

CCC Life Group Bio

The CCC Life Group is made up of students who attend Clackamas Community College. Any college campus is an awesome place to reach people for the sake of the gospel and that is exactly the aim of this group.

I had Ben Drake, one of the leaders of this group write the bio to let you know more about what the CCC Life Group is all about. Here's what he had to say,

"The CCC Life Group focuses on discipleship and outreach to the population at Clackamas Community College. This is accomplished by developing meaningful relationships with the people in our classes and on campus. We also hold one another accountable with our descipleship plans. The CCC Life Group meets on Wednesdays in the cafeteria at noon to discuss the book “The Reason for God” by Tim Keller. These discussions are open to believers and non-believers alike in effort to converse about topics like the issue of God and suffering, Christianity being a “straightjacket”, Christianity and science and ultimately relate these to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If you have any questions or would like to get involved, contact Ben Drake at (503) 277-3142 or email him at bjammindrake@comcast.net."

If you are a student at CCC and want to get plugged in it would be well worth your time. If you are not already plugged into a group, now is the time. There are an endless amount of opportunities out there for us to reach people for the sake of Christ.


remembering the remembrance of the resurrection

For those of you that were at re:Generātion Easter Sunday two weeks ago, my prayer is that the message hit you in the face with a sanctifying blow, just as it did me studying and wrapping my mind around the idea that Jesus is truly alive and that that fact changes everything!

By way of reminder, I've included an outline of the message along with a short list of resources to check out for further study on the resurrection.

The Gospel Story/The Resurrection Story

A. The “Jesus is Alive” Part (1 Corinthians 15:1-8)
  1. The Gospel is a whole life thing, not just a single, one-time event.
  2. Where God’s wrath and justice meet His grace and love we have Good Friday.
  3. Jesus really died and really rose (most likely on April 3rd-5th, A.D. 33).
  4. The resurrection validates all that the cross accomplished. They are inseparable events.
B. The “Changes Everything” Part (1 Corinthians 15:14-20)

If Jesus didn’t rise then . . .
Faith and preaching are in vain.
We have no hope and no purpose.
Our "core values" are meaningless.
Life itself is a cruel joke.
Sacrifice and persecution would be worthless.
Christians ought to be pitied more than anyone on earth.
But Jesus Did Rise and that Changes Everything . . .
Jesus' resurrection secures our future resurrection.
Hope in Life (Jesus’ Return)
Faith and preaching are not in vain.
There is no "sting" in death.
Our guilt has been taken away.
All effects of the cross are made real.
We have the Holy Spirit and are being transformed.
We have in Jesus a Great High Priest, and Perfect Prophet, and a Coming King!
We have a reason to sing!
For more reading and study check out:
The Bible (haha, but seriously)
Surprised by Hope by N. T. Wright
Doctrine by Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breashers.
Raised with Christ by Adrian Warnock
-Aeric E.

Exiles and Aliens - The Book of 1 Peter

Next Sunday night, re:Generātion will begin a new teaching series focused on the book of 1 Peter entitled, “Exiles and Aliens.” The title for this series is taken from 1 Peter 1:1 and 2:11, where Peter addresses his readers as “the elect exiles of the dispersion . . . aliens and exiles.” Amidst these powerfully descriptive labels, what unfolds is essentially an extended application of Jesus’ words from Mark 8:34-35, words that Peter himself would have heard and witnessed firsthand: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.”

More profoundly than any other New Testament author, Peter connects the sufferings of Christ’s followers with the sufferings of Christ himself. As Christians, we are, by definition, suffering exiles because we believe in, love and serve the ultimate Suffering Exile, Jesus Christ. Suffering, however, is only half the story, for Peter takes great pains to remind us that not only should we “not be surprised by the fiery trial” but that in the end, when Jesus is revealed and salvation is made whole, we will ourselves be glorified just as Christ himself was glorified.

The pattern Peter establishes for the Christian life is the same pattern the whole of Scripture is itself built upon: suffering is the prerequisite for glory, the cross always precedes the resurrection, death is only the way to life. As Dorothy Sayers wrote reflecting on the inescapable chronology of Good Friday to Easter: “God did not abolish the fact of evil: He transformed it. He did not stop the crucifixion: He rose from the dead.”

As a sampling of this theme, the following are all excerpts from 1 Peter that address the reality and meaning of suffering in the life of Christ himself as well as his people. Take some time to read through them along with the rest of the book as we prepare together.
“elect exiles of the dispersion” (1:1)
“grieved by various trial” (1:6)
“the tested genuineness of your faith” (1:7)
“the sufferings of Christ” (1:11)
“the time of your exile” (1:17)
“a living stone rejected by men” (2:4)
“the stone that the builders rejected” (2:7)
“as sojourners and exiles” (2:11)
“when they speak against you as evildoers” (2:12)
“be subject to your masters . . . to the unjust” (2:18)
“this is a gracious thing, when . . . one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly” (2:19)
“if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing” (2:20)
“to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example” (2:21)
“he was reviled” (2:23)
“he suffered” (2:23)
“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree” (2:24)
“Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless” (3:9)
“even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed” (3:13)
“when you are slandered, those who revile you” (3:16)
“it is better to suffer for doing good” (3:17)
“Christ also suffered” (3:18)
“put to death in the flesh” (3:18)
“Christ suffered in the flesh” (4:1)
“whoever has suffered in the flesh, has ceased from sin” (4:1)
“they malign you” (4:4)
“do not be surprised by the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you” (4:12)
“you share in Christ’s suffering” (4:13)
“If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed” (4:14)
“let none of you sufferer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler” (4:15)
“if anyone does suffer as a Christian” (4:16)
“those who suffer according to God’s will” (4:19)
“the sufferings of Christ” (5:1)
“the same kinds of suffering” (5:9)
“after you have suffered” (5:10)

Core Value - Leadership


This weekend we'll take a look at our fifth and final core value -- Leadership. What is leadership? Here are two of my favorite definitions:

J. Oswald Sanders, Spiritual Leadership
Leadership is influence, the ability of one person to influence others. One man can lead others only to the extent that he can influence them to follow his lead.
John Piper
[Spiritual leadership is] knowing where God wants people to be and taking the initiative to use God’s methods to get them there in reliance on God’s power.
Sunday night I'll talk about why we want re:Generation to be a "leadership engine" for the church of Jesus Christ. Hope to see you there.

Jesus Is Alive!

This Sunday we will be taking a break from the Core Value talks and focusing on The Resurrection of Jesus. Easter is THE DAY for Christians. It is the most important day and the truth of this day makes all of the difference. This Sunday night we will be talking about the resurrection and its massive significance in our lives. How significant is it to you?

We will be taking a small excursion through 1 Corinthians, hitting a few keys points (It is really long we can’t do all of it.) To begin honing your focus before we meet again think about these quotes.
“If Jesus is Dead than Christianity is Dead. If Jesus is Alive than Christianity is Alive.”
-Mark Driscoll
“True New Testament Christianity is a religion of the resurrection.”
-John MacArthur
“We live and die; Christ died and lived!” -John Stott
"In the bonds of Death He lay
Who for our offence was slain;
But the Lord is risen to-day,
Christ hath brought us life again,
Wherefore let us all rejoice,
Singing loud, with cheerful voice,
Hallelujah!"
- Martin Luther

-Aeric E.

Engaging in Mission through Life Groups

Tim Keller
The Bible’s purpose is not so much to show you how to live a good life. The Bible’s purpose is to show you how God’s grace breaks into your life against your will and saves you from the sin and brokenness otherwise you would never be able to overcome . . . religion is ‘if you obey, then you will be accepted’. But the Gospel is, ‘if you are absolutely accepted, and sure you’re accepted, only then will you ever begin to obey’. Those are two utterly different things. Every page of the Bible shows the difference.
As we come to understand and respond to God's grace in the gospel we are overwhelmed with a desire to obey the commands of Him who has sent us into the world. Remember in John 20:21 Jesus says, "As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you." We have been sent into the world on mission for the sake of the gospel. We are commanded to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ to everyone that God has placed in our lives.

re:Generātion is therefore not designed as a Sunday night gathering for Christians to get together and hang out, but is made up of Life Groups on mission for the sake of the gospel who all gather together weekly to worship God.

In order to keep you posted as to what groups have formed, and what groups are doing we will have a weekly Community post to keep you up to speed. Each week there will also be a Life Group Bio posted so if you are without a group you can read a description of groups already formed.

This week's Life Group Bio comes from James Calkins who has started a group that will begin by reaching out to a local Children's Hospital. Here's what James had to say . . .
Our life group is intended to focus on different "cultural" groups. We will be spending time partnering with a Children's Hospital, going to elderly homes, working with prison fellowship, and helping refugees that live in and around our neighborhoods. As we are spending time with a cultural group the number one goal is to bring the gospel to people through word and deed. Also, as we serve these different cultural groups we want to raise up Life Group leaders in order to have individual Life Groups targeting each of the four areas I have identified. The main point is to reach a lost and dying world with the good news of Jesus Christ, and then raise up new leaders and groups that will continue serving that cultural group.
I am excited to see what God will do through James's Life Group as they seek to reach out to a local Children's Hospital. If you are interested in joining this group they meet at 6pm every Sunday night at New Life church before re:Generātion's Sunday gathering. Come check it out.

If you have questions about how to get plugged in please feel free to contact me at johnmckaysmail@gmail.com

Contemplating “Good” Friday

It’s always struck me as strange that Christians refer to the day of Christ’s crucifixion as “good.” I get the goodness of Easter (even if I don’t get the weird rabbit-and-eggs way we celebrate it). It’s easy to see how Jesus’ triumph over sin and death are “good” things. It’s easy to understand why victory deserves celebration. But defeat . . . death . . . destruction? Why would we want to call all that “good”?

Romans 5:8 and 1 John 4:10 lead us toward an answer.

Romans 5:8
God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
1 John 4:10
In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation [sacrifice of atonement] for our sins.
The point in both verses (and of countless others all through the Old and New Testaments) is that the cross of Christ represents the pinnacle of God’s lavish and costly love for death-deserving sinners like you and me. The goodness of the crucifixion lies not in the victimization of Jesus (whether by God or the worldly powers-that-be) but rather in that, as Peter says in Acts 4:27-28, “truly in this city [Jerusalem] there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.”

In other words, the cross was not an accident. The cross wasn’t Plan B. The cross wasn’t a defeat. The cross (though shrouded in a sort of tragic almost heart-breaking irony) was God’s ultimate triumph over the evil “powers and authorities” (Col. 2:15) of this present world. The cross is God’s testimony that you are “more wicked than you ever dared believe and yet more loved, in Jesus Christ, than you ever dared hope.”

Join with us this Friday at 7pm and 9pm to celebrate the profound goodness of the cross and, until then, take some time to listen through this powerful sermon from Mark Driscoll on the nature and meaning of “Christ on the Cross.”

The Simplicity of Mission

Grant’s talk last night was great . . . or so I hear. Although I wasn’t able to be there in person, I did get to spend some time with him Saturday night listening to the preparation process and I’m excited to check-out the recording once it’s up on Facebook.

What struck me the most was the refreshing simplicity with which he talked about being on mission for Jesus.
Question: How do we do mission?

Answer: We do mission by being witnesses of “these things”— the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, God’s Messiah—through the power of the Holy Spirit (Lk. 24:44-48).
Practically speaking, this means three things:
  1. We need to pray . . . for the Holy Spirit to use us.
  2. We need to be present . . . in the places where God has sent us.
  3. We need to be compassionate . . . especially when it hurts us.
There’s no deep, dark secret to effective mission. All it takes is pray, presence and compassion. Of course saying “all it takes” may be a bit deceptive. What it really takes is God—without whom the whole process would be impossible. But then again, the mission is his anyway, our job is to simply get in on what He’s already doing.

Core Value: Mission

This Sunday night we’re going to be looking at another one of re:Generātion’s core values: mission. Working out of Luke 24:44-53, we’ll examine the what, how, and why of mission all with an eye to answering the fundamental question: “How do I live missionally (that is, for the sake of the Gospel) in every area of my life?” Here are a few quotes to get you thinking:

Ed Stetzer
Being Missional means actually doing mission right where you are. Missional means adopting the posture of a missionary, learning and adapting to the culture around you while remaining biblically sound.
Tim Keller
Ultimately, we are simply following our Savior’s lead as He gave us the ultimate example of being missional when He came from heaven to be a missionary here on earth—talk about contextualization!
Mark Driscoll
It is imperative that Christians be like Jesus, by living freely within the culture as missionaries who are as faithful to the Father and his gospel as Jesus was in his own time and place.
N. T. Wright
The church is called to do the work of Christ, to be the means of his action in and for the world. . . . Mission, in its widest as well as its more focused senses, is what the church is there for. God intends to put the world to rights; he has dramatically launched this project through Jesus. Those who belong to Jesus are called, here and now, in the power of the Spirit, to be agents of that putting-to-rights purpose.
—Grant B.

re:Generātion Launch is in the books...

re:Generātion launch tonight was AMAZING!!! We are off to a great start and I am extremely excited to see how God is going to use re:Generātion for the sake of the gospel in the greater Portland area. Remeber to be thinking about what life group you would like to start, lead or be a part of. If you have any questions at all don't hesitate to email me at johnmckaysmail@gmail.com. Thanks to everyone who came and don't forget to bring a friend next week... or two.

John

One more day until the launch!

We have finally come to the official beginning of re:Generation. As most of you already know the video can be found on Facebook. To post the video on your page just click share and all the information as well as the video will appear on your page. As you think about this Sunday night be praying that God would be glorified, that believers would be strengthened and encouraged and that the lost would hear and respond to the gospel.

Looking forward to seeing all of you Sunday night at 7pm for night one of re:Generation.

John

re:Generātion Launch

re:Generātion Promo from New Life Church on Vimeo.

re:Generātion exists to engage young adults in gospel-centered community focused on worship, mission and leadership development.

re:Generātion gathers Sunday nights at New Life Church from 7:00-9:00pm (Life Groups start at 6pm).

New Life Church is located at:
1984 McKillican St.
West Linn, OR 97068
Phone: 503-656-8600

Preparing to Launch - One Week to Go (Part 2)

This post will address the question: "what should you expect at the re:Generation pre-launch gathering?"

I think there are a few things to be aware of, and a few things to look forward to.

First, before you walk through the doors, open your eyes. One of the main purposes of this pre-launch gathering is to be critical and analytical of the happenings at this gathering. We, as a launch team, as a leadership team, must approach this night eager to find ways to make things better, easier, and more effective. The point people for the evening and the teams are as follows: Anna Carlson/Hospitality; Kevin Dickey/Prayer; Taylor Reavely/Music; Grant Blomdahl/Sound and Tech. Please direct comments or thoughts or helpful hints to these people. (We will try to have comment cards available by the doors to help facilitate this...) Use this evening to help enable re:Generation to be a place where Christ is evident and where people are loved.

Second, prepare yourself to "linger in the presence of God." We will spend our time in worship and prayer while glancing again at the bigger picture of the Kingdom of God and the role of re:Generation in that picture. As you come with your eyes open to critique and analyze the evening, also come with your eyes open ready to picture Jesus and see His beauty. Don't lose sight (in all the excitement) of the fact that Christ is the center. Come ready to see and delight in Him.

Third, 30 minutes after the gathering is over, if you're a part of the launch team and have attended the previous launch team training evenings, plan on meeting in the chapel (down the hallway past the bathrooms on the right) to debrief the evening and plan ahead for the "official" launch on the 7th of March.

I think that is all. Work hard these next couple weeks at developing relationships and being intentional about bringing up re:Gen in normal, everyday conversation. And be pumped and in prayer. Exciting things are happening! God is at work!

Preparing to Launch - One Week to Go (Part 1)

Well, it’s almost here. We’re just one week away from re:Generātion’s preview service—Sunday, February 28th @ 7pm—and only two weeks away from full launch—Sunday, March 7th @ 7pm.

With things about to officially get underway, we wanted to focus on answering two very pressing questions: (1) “What should you be doing to prepare for the launch?” and (2) “What should you expect at the preview service?” We’ll spend today’s post examining the first question and jump into the second tomorrow.

What should you be doing to prepare?
  1. Pray. As simple as this sounds, we really can’t stress it enough. Pray. Pray. Pray. To help you be a bit more intentional and informed in this area, here are two of the prayers we used during December’s 5(hundred) Hours of Prayer on the gospel and mission/outreach. We’d also love for you to be praying for the leadership team and the ministry leaders.
  2. Get connected to a Life Group. I know we say this in almost every communication (whether e-mail, phone-call, blog-post or training event) but again, as simple as this is we can’t stress it enough. Community is absolutely essential to every area the Christian life: discipleship, personal transformation and even mission. If you haven’t yet connected to a Life Group plan to come Sunday night we have at least three to choose from: the CCC Life Group (led by Taylor and Aaron), a service-project Life Group (led by John McKay) and a group reaching out to recovering addicts and prisoners in transition (led by James Calkins). Also, both Allie (Starbucks) and Donna (McDonalds) have volunteered their work places as “connecting points” with lost people that we could use as intentional stomping grounds. E-mail, make a phone call or come Sunday night ready to plug in.
  3. Invite. If you’ve been putting off inviting someone to re:Generātion—whether they’re unchurched or churched—now’s the time to act. Three steps: (1) Know who you want to invite and pray for them. (2) Do whatever you can to build and develop that relationship in an authentic and caring way. (3) Plan how you’ll invite them and then do it. At CCC I’ve begun inviting people from class to our new Life Group by simply saying, “A few friends of mine and I are starting a new club to dialogue about spiritual and cultural issues. It’d should be a lot of fun and really interesting. It’d be great if you could make it.” However you go about actually saying it, even if you aren’t that slick or cool, the important things are to be real, be yourself and to just go for it.

Tim Keller @ Google Headquarters

The following video was recorded March 5, 2008 during the promotional tour for Tim Keller’s profoundly helpful book The Reason for God. The CCC Life Group is using The Reason for God as the sort-of content background for our on-campus discussion group. The presentation, which is basically a one-hour overview of the book itself, is incredibly engaging. But the Q&A time at the end (especially given the setting and audience) is really amazing.

Authors@Google: Tim Keller - Watch more Videos at Vodpod.

More Screen Shots from the Upcoming Promo Video

(Direction/Leadership)

(Song/Worship)

(Work/Mission)

Simplified Missional Living

(from The Resurgence by Jonathan Dobson)

Eat with Non-Christians

We all eat three meals a day. Why not make a habit of sharing one of those meals with a non-Christian or with a family of non-Christians? Go to lunch with a co-worker, not by yourself. Invite the neighbors over for family dinner. If it’s too much work to cook a big dinner, just order pizza and put the focus on conversation. When you go out for a meal, invite a non-Christian friend. Or take your family to family-style restaurants where you can sit at the table with strangers and strike up conversations. Have cookouts and invite Christians and non-Christians. Flee the Christian subculture.

Walk, Don’t Drive

If you live in a walkable area, make a practice of getting out and walking around your neighborhood, apartment complex, or campus. Instead of driving to the mailbox or convenience store, walk to get mail or groceries. Be deliberate in your walk. Say hello to people you don’t know. Strike up conversations. Attract attention by walking the dog, carrying along a 6-pack to share, bringing the kids. Make friends. Get out of your house! Last night I spent an hour outside gardening with my family. We had good conversations with about four of our neighbors. Take interest in your neighbors. Ask questions. Engage. Pray as you go. Save some gas, the planet, and some people.

Be a Regular

Instead of hopping all over the city for gas, groceries, haircuts, eating out, and coffee, go to the same places at the same times. Get to know the staff. Smile. Ask questions. Be a regular. I have friends at coffee shops all over the city. My friends at Starbucks donate a ton of leftover pastries to our church 2-3 times a week. We use them for church gatherings and occasionally give them to the homeless. Build relationships. Be a regular.

Hobby with Non-Christians

Pick a hobby that you can share. Get out and do something you enjoy with others. Try city league sports or local rowing and cycling teams. Share your hobby by teaching lessons, such as sewing, piano, knitting, or tennis lessons. Be prayerful. Be intentional. Be winsome. Have fun. Be yourself.

Talk to Your Co-workers

How hard is that? Take your breaks with intentionality. Go out with your team or task force after work. Show interest in your co-workers. Pick four and pray for them. Form moms’ groups in your neighborhood and don’t make them exclusively non-Christian. Schedule play dates with the neighbors’ kids. Work on mission.

Volunteer with Non-Profits

Find a non-profit in your part of the city and take a Saturday a month to serve your city. Bring your neighbors, your friends, or your small group. Spend time with your church serving your city. Once a month. You can do it!

Participate in City [Local] Events

Instead of playing XBox, watching TV, or surfing the net, participate in city events. Go to fundraisers, festivals, cleanups, summer shows, and concerts. Participate missionally. Strike up conversation. Study the culture. Reflect on what you see and hear. Pray for the city. Love the city. Participate with the city.

Serve Your Neighbors

Help a neighbor by weeding, mowing, building a cabinet, or fixing a car. Stop by the neighborhood association or apartment office and ask if there is anything you can do to help improve things. Ask your local Police and Fire Stations if there is anything you can do to help them. Get creative. Just serve!

The Role of Suffering in Sanctification


Eric Mason @ the 2010 Desiring God Pastor’s Conference

Getting Ready to Launch . . . T-Minus One Month

With the third and final pre-Launch meeting now behind us (again, thanks to everyone who’s been able to attend and participate) and the core team formed (we’re looking at about 30 people all told), the launch of re:Generātion is now officially within the month. Here’s what the February schedule looks like:

February 7th
Super Bowl; Promote re:Generātion (No Meeting)

February 14th
Valentine’s Day (No Meeting)

February 21st
(No Meeting)

February 28th
Preview Launch Service @ 7pm

March 7th
re:Generātion Launch
6pm -
Life Groups
7pm - Word and Worship

Keeping those dates in mind, what should we be focusing on over the next couple of weeks?
  1. Developing missional Life Groups. By February 21st, our goal is to have three to five small groups organized around being an intentional, regular and corporate presence for blessing in the lives of a particular people-group (i.e., CCC, recovering addicts, a local Starbucks, yard-work in a neighborhood, etc.). If that sounds confusing or daunting, don’t stress, we’ll be posting more about what that means and connecting with most of you one-on-one in the coming weeks.
  2. Implementing your Discipleship Model. This is basic, but it doesn’t go without saying. Most everyone checked-in their completed discipleship model last night (great work!). Now that the goals have been set, it’s time to execute: devotional plan, accountability plan and missional plan.
  3. Getting to know “their story.” As Grant said last night: spend some intentional time in the next couple of weeks being present, being caring and being sacrificial in the lives of the lost people around you.
  4. Inviting. Inviting. Inviting. Whether it’s an un-discipled “church” friend who’s just floating through life or a lost friend who’s completely “un-churched,” know who you want to invite, connect with them and start getting the word out.




re:Prayer & re:Fasting

The Clackamas Community College (CCC) Life Group will be fasting again this coming Wednesday and doing a prayer walk on campus at noon. Here’s a re:cap (I know, I’m pushing it) of the blog posts from last week on prayer and fasting. Anybody’s welcome to join in.

Prayer and Fasting (1) - Why Fast?
Prayer and Fasting (2) - Transformational Fasting
Prayer and Fasting (3) - Missional Fasting & Application(s)

Promo Video Screen Shots

Here are a couple of screen shots from the promotional video we’re putting together for the launch of re:Generātion. The video should be done by the second week of February.

(Story/Gospel)

(Connection/Community)

God's Story

I've been reading through Mark Dever's book, The Gospel and Personal Evangelism, and just read something that I found helpful in communicating God's story.

At our Sunday night training sessions, we've been challenging each other to shorten the stories: "God's Story" and "My Story." Part of the efficiency in communicating the gospel stems from Dever's writing and teaching. He writes this:
In our church in Washington (D.C.) I always ask our prospective members to tell me the gospel in one minute or less. How would you do that? What would you say the message is? Here's what I understand the good news to be:

The good news is that the one and only God, who is holy, made us in His image to know Him. But we sinned and cut ourselves off from Him. In His great love, God became a man in Jesus, lived a perfect life, and died on the cross, thus fulfilling the law Himself and taking on Himself the punishment for the sins of all those who would ever turn and trust Him. He rose again from the dead, showing that God accepted Christ's sacrifice and that God's wrath against us had been exhausted. He now calls us to repent of our sins and to trust in Christ alone for our forgiveness. If we repent of our sins and trust in Christ, we are born again into a new life, an eternal life with God.
To give you some perspective, that story is 138 words long. At our Sunday evening training sessions, we've been quick to communicate that efficiency in communicating the good news will be a helpful tool, both in developing your own understanding of the gospel, and also in your conversation. Two weeks ago, we challenged you to communicate "God's story" in 3 minutes. Last week, two minutes. We would venture to challenge you to communicate it in 1 minute.

A few observations:

1. Time is of the essence. Attention spans are short. People are not by nature "listeners." You do not often have all-day to sit down with a friend and talk about the gospel in detail. This is, of course merely a tool to help, it is not a rule; it is not a law; it is not the right way to share the gospel. But we think it will help.

2. Evangelize in bullet points. As I read the story quoted above, I felt like I was reading bullet list, and that a lot of meat was missing. Funny--but that was the case! With a bullet point list, it does leave the door open for question--for further conversation. I have something else to talk about if a question is asked--something meaningful. This will help in your discourse with a non-believer.

3. Write it out. This week, we challenged you to write out "Your Story" in 100 words or less (for the same reasons as above, but ultimately) to help you know what is most important to communicate. Writing something will really put your thoughts and word choice under a microscope. You will notice things as you write, that otherwise would fly under the radar. It will help your conciseness and your clarity.

Good stuff! If you have "Your Story" written (in 100 words or less (we can all give each other suggestions on editing for conciseness and clarity)) please share it on the discussion board on the facebook page.


Making the Gospel “Good” (1)

One of the primary reasons—if not the most primary reason—we don’t share the gospel with the lost people in our lives is because (if we’re really being honest) we don’t actually believe that the gospel is all that “good.” Now, at one level, of course (if we’re followers of Christ), we know that the gospel is good. Intellectually, we assent to the fact and publicly we wouldn’t disagree. Our problem is that we don’t have a sense on the heart—a profound and authentic experience—of its goodness. We’ve forgotten how the gospel tastes.

I was particularly struck by this a couple of weeks ago after I shared the following story with a group I’m a part of in Portland made up almost exclusively of non-Christians. The story I told went like this . . .
For the past month and half—stretching back to about the middle of November—I’ve been spending most of my time and energy in preparation for a new project that’s going to launch in just over a month. With somewhere between two and three hundred people watching to see what happens, it’s a very public project.

I myself am one of four central leaders helping to drive the project forward and provide vision. In addition to the four of us, there’s another thirty or so that have joined in and committed to giving some sort of personal service. Of those two groups (meaning out of those thirty people), I’m the only one getting paid.

Back in December, in preparation for the project, I set a very specific, personal goal to deal with a particular moral problem in my life. With the help, support and rigorous accountability of a good friend, I met that goal in December and I’ve continued to live within its boundaries in January as well. The goal itself wasn’t anything spectacular. It was basically another step toward tightening-down an area in my life that I’ve been making meaningful advances in for a few years now.

On top of that, throughout December, with this new project clearly in view, I prayed with more intentionality, more focus and a great deal more regularity than usual. In fact, on January1st, I brought the New Year in with prayer and fasting, both of which are very positive spiritual practices for me.

I say all that to say this: I went to bed on January 1st absolutely wrecked. All of those positive behaviors and all of that healthy, spiritual living and I was awash with anxiety, unable to sleep. The reason I couldn’t sleep was simple: fear of failure. I had given my heart to the idol of personal success.

My thinking went like this: “Here I am, heading up this new and very public project with all these people counting on me to make it happen and even more watching from the stands to see if it does.” In that moment what I believed was if the project succeeds, then I’ll be a success; but if it fails, then I’ll be a failure. In other words: “I am this project. If it wins, I win, I’m a winner. If it loses, I lose, I’m a loser. And (even more wrecking) everyone watching will know.”

After some reading and prayer I eventually fell asleep and January 2nd came. A week later, I was talking to the same friend who had been helping me with the goal I mentioned earlier. I told him about all the good things I’d been doing and how despite that I’d been so gripped by fear on New Year’s Day. After I finished, he looked at me and said (pretty matter-of-factly), “You know, whether this project succeeds or fails, I wouldn’t honestly think you had all that much to do with it either way. You’ll led. You’ll teach. You’ll do your best. But why anything is successful or not is (for the most part) a mystery up to God.”

I was struck. On the one hand, part of me hated what he’d just said. I wanted to pushback: “Wait a minute, that’s great if this thing tanks, but if the project’s a success, I want people to think I’m a success.” On the other hand, another part of me (the honest, sane, less-self-promoting part of me) loved it: “If that’s the case then all I have to do is breathe and be obedient. The whole success-or-failure bit isn’t in my court.” Suddenly I saw there was freedom in what he’d said. Freedom, sanity and hope.
I finished telling the story and the very next person to speak (a non-Christian man in his mid-fifties) said something like this: “I’m one of four people starting up a new project later this year. I’m the only one getting paid. The last few weeks have been tough. I’ve been so consumed by fear, particularly the public fear of failure. I wasn’t sure why I came today and now I know. After hearing that I have a hope that ten minutes ago I didn’t know existed.” After the meeting ended we connected and I was able to talk to him more about how the irony of my situation arose from the fact that my whole understanding of spiritual reality is rooted in grace, that God doesn’t accept me because of who I am but because of who He is. (I wish I would have said more about Jesus in our conversation, but I’ll see him again and we’ll get to talk more down the road.)

What hit me about that experience was how an implication of the gospel—even though the guy I was talking to didn’t even know what to call it—was in that moment good news. It really was. After all, it’s good news to hear that our failures don’t ultimately determine our worth; it’s good news to find out that we don’t have to be controlled by our fear of people’s opinion; and it’s good news to learn that instead of judging us by who we are, God accepts us unconditionally through the worth and righteousness (i.e., the success) of His Son. The gospel’s good. It really is. And sometimes we need to be reminded.

Prayer and Fasting (3) - Missional Fasting & Application(s)

As a means of missional engagement, fasting moves us, in humble but bold dependence, to expect from God great things in the advancement of his kingdom. Matthew 6:17-18 puts it like this, “When you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”

Of course, the question that immediately pops up is: “What sort of ‘reward’ is Jesus talking about?” Using the Lord’s Prayer from Matthew 6:9-13, John Piper offers the following answer:
[T]he reward we are to seek from the Father in fasting is not first or mainly the gifts of God, but God himself. . . . It begins with three main longings that we are to hope for from God. First, that God’s name be hallowed or revered; second, that God’s kingdom come; and third, that his will be done on earth the way it’s done in heaven. That is the first and primary reward Jesus tells us to seek in our praying and our fasting. . . . The supremacy of God in all things is the great reward we long for in fasting. His supremacy in our own affections and in all our life-choices. His supremacy in the purity of the church. His supremacy in the salvation of the lost. His supremacy in the establishing of righteousness and justice. And his supremacy for the joy of all peoples in the evangelization of the world (78-79).
This means that fasting (again, in conjunction with prayer, worship and God’s Word) is a means of passionately laying hold of God as the Great Giver and Rewarder of those “ask, seek and knock.”

Application(s)
  1. As you fast, stay aware of how your mind, body and heart are responding to your want for food. Do you find it harder to handle stress, to control your temper, to relax at the end of the day or to simply enjoy life? How has food (or whatever it is you’re fasting from) subtly replaced God as your heart’s hope and trust?
  2. Allow the physical hunger and discomfort of fasting drive you to God. Use your basic need for food as a way of reconnection to your even more basic need for God. Go to God often and be quick to admit your need of Him in all areas of your life: physical, emotional and spiritual.
  3. While fasting, ask God to move in both general and specific ways. Generally, you can use the following two prayers to help shape your time with God. Specifically, take time to pray for the lost people in your life and make sure to mention their particular needs: physical, emotional and spiritual.

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Prayer and Fasting (2) - Transformational Fasting

As a means of personal transformation, fasting does two things: (1) it exposes our functional saviors (that is, our “idols” or false gods) and (2) it reorients our heart's true desire toward the one, true and living God as the only Being worthy of our love, trust and worship. John Piper, in the book A Hunger for God, writes about this two-fold nature of fasting:
The issue is not food per se. The issue is anything and everything that is, or can be, a substitute for God. . . . [W]e easily deceive ourselves that we love God unless our love is frequently put to the test, and we must show our preferences not merely with words but with sacrifice. . . . [Fasting] forces us to ask repeatedly: do I really hunger for God? Do I miss him? Do I long for him? Or have I begun to be content with his gifts? Christian fasting is a test to see what desires control us (18-19).

One of the reasons for fasting is to know what is in us . . . . In fasting it will come out. You will see it. And you will have to deal with it or quickly smother it again. When midmorning comes and you want food so badly that the thought of lunch becomes as sweet as a summer vacation, then suddenly you realize, “Oh, I forgot, I made a commitment. I can’t have that pleasure. I’m fasting for lunch too.” Then what are you going to do with all the unhappiness inside? Formerly, you blocked it out with the hope of a tasty lunch. The hope of food gave you the good feelings to balance out the bad feelings. But now the balance is off. You must find another way to deal with it (20).
In a similar vein, Richard Foster, in The Celebration of Discipline, records:
More than any other discipline, fasting reveals the things that control us. . . . If pride controls us, it will be revealed almost immediately. David said, “I humbled my soul with fasting” [Psalm 35:13]. Anger, bitterness, jealousy, strife, fear—if they are within us, they will surface during fasting. At first, we will rationalize that our anger is due to our hunger. And then, we know that we are angry because the spirit of anger is within us. We can rejoice in this knowledge because we know that healing is available through the power of Christ.
In other words, fasting tunes us in to what’s really motivating our hearts, what’s really driving our desires. Fasting alerts us (through physical, self-imposed deficiency) as to where in actuality we are looking to find comfort, joy, security and satisfaction. On the other hand, by forcing us to leave behind our false saviors, we are simultaneously invited (in conjunction with prayer, worship and God’s Word) to develop a fresh taste for God’s sufficiency as He comes to us in Christ.

Tomorrow we’ll look at the second reason to fast: missional fasting.

Prayer and Fasting (1) - Why Fast?

In preparation for the launch of re:Generātion’s Wednesday afternoon on-campus Life Group at Clackamas Community College, the members of the CCC Life Group are going to spend the next two Wednesdays committing themselves (amidst the business of everyday life) to prayer and fasting. In line with that aim, I’d like to first invite the other members of re:Generātion’s launch team to join with us in this venture. Second, in order to guide this process, over the next few days, I’ll be devoting some blog-time to examining what fasting is and what role it ought to play in our life and mission.

The pattern of frontloading a new ministry endeavor with prayer and fasting is well established and reaches all the way back to Jesus himself who, prior to the start of his public ministry, fasted in the wilderness of Judea for forty days and forty nights (Matt. 4:1-2). This same pattern was also carried on by his disciples in the book of Acts as the gospel began to spread (Acts 13:3). While most Christians are familiar with the practice of fasting—which we’ll define as the voluntary act of abstaining from food or other substances for a set period of time—very few of us really understand what fasting is about. Though the question, “Why fast?” is simple, it’s often a hard one to answer.

There are, in essence, two basic reasons why, as followers of Christ, we should fast: the first is transformational and the second is missional. (There is also, of course, a third, even more basic reason: namely that Scripture, and in particular, Jesus himself, tells us to. For our purposes, however, we’ll simply concentrate on the first two, which, in actuality, inform and shape the rationale behind the third.)

Tomorrow we’ll look at the first purpose of fasting: transformation.

January pre-Launch Overview

Here’s a list of the handouts from last Sunday’s (1/17) pre-Launch Meeting:

Praying for Gospel Centrality

The following prayer was one we put together for last month’s 5(hundred) Hours of Prayer to prepare for the launch of re:Generātion. I’ve been using it my devotions almost daily. It captures well the heart of what our aim in this, and all, ministry should be.

Gracious Father, make re:Generātion a gospel-centered community committed to conveying and communicating the centrality of Christ to the gospel and the gospel to all of life.

Guard and guide the hearts of both its members and its leaders for we are all prone to follows other gods—idols of our own making and design.

Grieve us, I pray, in those times when we forsake you, with a profound and godly sorrow and lead us in authentic lives marked by true repentance (2 Cor. 7:9).

Cause us to turn away,
From seeking our own good,
From exalting our own names,
From loving our own lives,
From playing our own gods,
From saving our own souls.

Be gracious, O Lord, according to your loving-kindness; according to the greatness of your compassion blot out our transgressions. Wash us thoroughly from their iniquity, and cleanse them from their sin!

Create within us clean hearts and renew right and steadfast spirits within us (Ps. 51:1-2, 10).

Make us righteous by your grace as a gift received by faith. Do not allow us to trust in our own works but in you, the God who justifies the ungodly through the redemption that is in Christ (Rom. 4:5).

Root us deeply, Father, in the reality that having been baptized into Christ we have been baptized into His death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through your own powerful glory, we too might walk in newness of life.

Unite us to your Son that sharing in His death we might also share in His life-giving resurrection.

Through the cross, dispel the power of sin and set us free from its slavery.

As Christ himself died to sin and now lives His life to you, so too teach us to consider ourselves in all our parts dead to sin but alive to you in union with your Son.

May sin, therefore, have no dominion over us, for we are no longer under the law, but under the reign of grace (Rom. 6:1-14).

And finally, Father, having experienced your gracious, gospel love, may we love in return.

Make us agents of your grace, sent out in the name of Christ to seek and save the lost.

What is re:Generātion?

Vision

New Life re:Generātion exists to engage young adults in gospel-centered community focused on worship, mission and leadership development.

What is re:Generātion?

Starting February 28th, re:Generātion will take shape around a weekly, Sunday-night gathering from 6:00-9:00pm made up of three, interlocking elements.

First: missionally-focused Life Groups. From 6:00-6:45pm, the church will be open and available as a meeting place for various small groups each of which will be organized around reaching a specific people-group with the gospel (i.e., recovering addicts, a particular neighborhood, CCC students, young, single-mothers, etc.).

Second: Word and Worship. From 7:00-8:45pm, there will be a time of public teaching and corporate worship aimed (in both style and content) toward communicating and applying the gospel to a 20-something audience. Because worship is a response to revelation, this “service” will be intentionally frontloaded with gospel-Word so that the last half or so can be spent in gospel-Worship.

Third: a prayer ministry. After the time of teaching, while most people will still be in worship, the Fireside Room will be open for prayer to those wanting to respond to the message or who came that night with special needs. A team of trained volunteers (led by Kevin Dickey and Crystal Carlson) will provide a welcoming and guiding presence in the prayer room in service to those who reach-out.

Who is re:Generātion for?

re:Generātion is aimed at:
  1. Reaching unchurched, young adults with the gospel.
  2. Training and equipping young adults at New Life Church for life and ministry.
  3. Training and equipping young adults from other churches for life and ministry in their local context (i.e., in their home-church).

re:Generātion Launch Schedule

January 17th
Launch Team Training; 6-8pm @ Riverfalls

January 24th
Launch Team Training; 6-8pm @ Riverfalls

January 31st
Launch Team Training; 5-7pm @ Riverfalls

February 7th
Super Bowl; Promote re:Generātion (No Meeting)

February 14th
Valentine’s Day (No Meeting)

February 21st
Pre-Launch Meeting; 6-8pm @ Riverfalls

February 28th
re:Generātion Launch; Doors Open @ 6pm

re:Generātion/5(hundred) Hours

re:Generation/5(hundred) Hours Promotional Video from New Life Church on Vimeo.