As many of us know, Christian ministry should be firmly centered on the gospel. The power of God is found in the gospel. Yet, sometimes in our effort to be gospel-centered, “the gospel” can take on a life of its own. Sometimes if we’re not careful “the gospel” can become an abstract idea. Simply put, the gospel can be explained as good news. But, still, it’s one step removed from the substance. This is where Michael Reeves’s fantastic little book, “Rejoicing in Christ,” comes into play.
As a woman called to teach the Word, I’m often looking for ministries or resources that better equip me to teach women. When I discover a good resource or get to be a part of a ministry that helps women handle the Bible well, I want to share! So I’m highlighting the Verity Fellowship, an excellent ministry in the Pacific Northwest geared towards women who minister the Word.
It’s a rare seminary prospect who visits campus with his or her parents, so I clearly remember when Jeremy brought his folks with him just over two years ago. They had come from North Dakota, and as we waited in line for sandwiches at East Side Deli (just down Hawthorne Boulevard from Western’s campus at the foot of Mount Tabor), I wondered what they thought of Portland. The art for sale on the walls that month was a rather risqué set of cartoon illustrations, and I wondered if ¿Por Que No?, just across the street, would have been a better choice.
Christian ministry has long been described as bridge-building between the kingdom of God and people on earth. That idea takes on a new twist, though, when knowing people means learning a culture that is different from your own.
On its surface, this passage looks like it means that one’s eternal salvation is determined by one’s acts of compassion. Whenever we help the disenfranchised and the downtrodden of society, our entrance into heaven is all the more assured. On the other hand, as I heard one famous teacher describe it, Jesus will turn away at the final judgment from self-identifying Christians who failed to help the poor during their lifetime, saying, “I don’t want to hear it!”