Serve – 7

EMPOWERING LIFESTYLE – LIFELONG LEARNING & TRAINING

Focus – Qualifications.

Purpose – To encourage the development of a national set of units as qualifications across all disciplines, and all educational and training institutions, to allow greater flexibility and better use of the learner’s time in pursuing constant improvements in the skill sets required for employment, research and other areas of life.

Action

–      To develop suitable arguments for such a development;

–      To provide an Information, Advice, and Guidance service to Christians on qualifications and training;

–      To encourage churches to become ‘Investors in People’.

Result – Ongoing.

EMPOWERING LIFESTYLE – WORK

Focus – Workplace Ministry.

Purpose – To encourage churches to seek to transform workplaces through their ‘members’.

Action – I hope to undertake a bible study on the subject with the small group I am part of.

Result – I am waiting for an opportunity to run it.

Action – To work with London Institute for Contemporary Christianity (LICC) in its work on developing ‘whole-life’ disciples – not sure how yet!

Result – None yet.

EMPOWERING LIFESTYLE – HEALTH, SAFETY & WELL-BEING

Focus – Health, Safety and Well-Being.

Purpose – Helping people at work to be healthy.

Action – When I return to work, after I have been healed, undertake the TUC course on Health and Safety, and courses on well-being and then become a workplace Health, Safety and Well-Being Representative.

Result – Awaiting to be healed and offered a position in a community-based organisation as an IAG advisor.

EMPOWERING LIFESTYLE – CUSTOMER CARE & ADMINISTRATION

Focus –Customer Care and Administration.

Purpose – To develop my Customer Care and Administration Skills when I return to work after being healed.

Action – To undertake relevant NVQs in the subjects as well as a qualification in ‘Knowledge Management’ to facilitate capturing of information generated at work so that it can be effectively used in the future development in whatever sector I am employed.

Result – Awaiting to be healed.

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Serve – 6

RELATIONAL LIFESTYLE – THE SCRIPTURES

Focus – Hermeneutics.

Purpose – To better understand how to interpret the Scriptures, so as to be more effective, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to apply them in my and others’ lives.

Action

–      To understand ‘koine’ Greek and Hebrew words better;

–      To research the development of the meanings of words down the centuries

ResultOngoing.

RELATIONAL LIFESTYLE – SMALL GROUPS

Focus – Empowering Leadership.

Purpose – To learn and be trained in empowering skills so as to help others become fully developed disciples of Jesus, including identifying their ‘vocation’ and ‘ministry’ to others.

Action – To use NCD and ‘Lifekeys’ materials to help me in developing these skills. I am reading the NCD book on ‘Empowering Leadership’, then I will get people to undertake a questionnaire on my empowering skills, and finally identify what training I need to be effective in all areas of leadership.

Result – Started.

RELATIONAL LIFESTYLE – BIBLICAL WORLDVIEW

Focus – Helping Christians Develop a Biblical Worldview.

Purpose –To help Christians see that their faith should affect everything in their lives.

Action – Identify key biblical passages that can be used in developing creative, physical, relational, spiritual and practical values and skills as part of a biblical worldview.  Need to also read Christian writers’ views on the subject.  To also develop it as an apologetic to the current worldviews.

Result – Not yet started.

RELATIONAL LIFESTYLE – RESOURCE DIRECTORIES

Focus – The Provision of Information for Christians.

Purpose – To help Christians source information about people, resources, organisations and issues.

Action – To purchase or know where to find appropriate sources of information.

Result – I hold a number of directories and can source information from the internet and other providers.

Serve – 5

EVANGELISTIC LIFESTYLE – DISCIPLING

Focus – The Gospel of the Kingdom of God.

Purpose – To create a document that, in an easily-understood format, explains all aspects of the Gospel, that will prove to be effective, for both pre-Christians and Christians, in helping them become mature reproducing followers of Jesus.

Action

–      Write draft version of the document;

–      Send version to pre-Christians and Christians for comments on content, layout and whether easy to understand;

–      To take into account the above and produce it in a professional format;

–      Send it to a number of individuals, churches, organisations and Christian media, to encourage them to use it and distribute accordingly.

Result

–      Draft completed and sent out for comments;

–      Requested replies by the end of November 2012.

EVANGELISTIC LIFESTYLE – APOLOGETICS

Focus – The Uniqueness of Jesus Christ.

Purpose – To be able to explain why Jesus is unique and why it matters.

Action – To study the Bible on what it has to say about the issue and read up on arguments for and against by many writers in and out of the Church.

Result – Not yet started.

EVANGELISTIC LIFESTYLE – PEOPLE GROUPS

Focus – The promotion of reaching people groups with the Gospel of the Kingdom of God by the whole Church.

Purpose – To help people see that there needs to be different strategies for different groups for them to become disciples of Jesus and thus speed up the time when He will return to take us home.

Action – Yet to be decided.

Result – Have read a number of articles. Know that the Lausanne Movement promotes the concept.

EVANGELISTIC LIFESTYLE – BIBLICAL THEOLOGY

Focus – Soteriology.

Purpose – To understand the biblical theme of salvation.

Action – To study the New Testament as well as books on the subject by many authors.

Result – Have started, included some material in my booklet on the ‘Gospel of the Kingdom of God’.  Ongoing.

Serve – 4

PROPHETIC LIFESTYLE – PRO-LIFE

Focus – Promotion of the fact that life begins at Conception.

Purpose – To produce persuasive arguments that life begins at conception and therefore that abortion is wrong.

Action

–      To research all available scientific evidence that life begins at conception;

–      Write appropriate letters to the media, MPs, MEPs and others about the results of my findings.

Result

–      A search has begun.

PROPHETIC LIFESTYLE – POVERTY

Focus – Provision of Water and Sanitation for all people and seeking to Eradicate Corruption and Developing Good Governance.

Purpose –These two areas are key to a country’s well-being and development.

Action– Been part of an e-mail campaign to continue putting water as a key to meeting Millennium Goals.

Result – DFID has been involved in improving water access to many millions of people around the world.  There is still much to do.

Action – Been part of a church-wide fund-raiser to build a toilet block for a school in Africa.

Result – The Church raised more money than the target set, so more toilets could be installed.

Action – Been part of an e-mail campaign to get the EU to sign up to legislation requiring businesses from the extractive industries to publish the amounts that they pay to governments in the countries they operate and thus help reduce corruption.

Result – Not yet ratified. Ongoing.

PROPHETIC LIFESTYLE – WAR

Focus – Reduction in the selling, buying, distribution and use of arms of any type and size.

Purpose – Key to controlling the amount of weapons manufactured and available on the world market, and thus reducing the likelihood of war.

Action – Been part of an e-mail campaign let by a consortium (Control Arms) of NGOs to get all the countries which are members of the UN to sign up to an effective Arms Trade Agreement.

Result – Still in discussion stage, with several countries wishing to weaken its effectiveness.

Action – Written to each member of the UK Parliamentary Defence Committee with a proposal of controlling all guns, putting severe restrictions as to who can own one in this country.

Result – Had no response. Will re-think approach as to what further action to take.

Action – Written to a number of EU Commissioners and MEPs with a proposal of an Arms Trade Treaty, suggesting tight controls as how much equipment a country requires, effective monitoring processes, and a break-up of defence companies to reduce corruption.

Result – Have had a limited response, from one MEP only.

Action – Intend to carry out more research on the issue to determine future actions.

Result – Not yet started – will do so in 2013.

PROPHETIC LIFESTYLE – ENVIRONMENT

Focus – Investment Criteria for Financial Institutions.

Purpose – Key to changing mindset of business and governments towards seeing the importance of taking immediate action to saving the Earth’s environment.

Action – Been part of an e-mail campaign let by a consortium (Stop Climate Chaos) of NGOs to get all the countries which are members of the UN to sign up to an effective Climate Change Action Plan.

Result – Some progress, mainly in finance maybe being available to offset costs in the Two-Thirds World in adapting to the effects of Climate Change.

Action – Have written to a number of businesses around the world, suggesting that they put in place environmental policies.

Result – Had one response, from a British bank, which uses the ‘Equator Principles’ – have started a dialogue with them to encourage a more rigorous framework.  This has already started.

Action – Have written to a number of UK financial institutions, covering most of the market, suggesting they sign up to an environmental policy for all their and their customers’ investments.

Result – Had one response, from a leading bank.  Have been in dialogue with them since then.

Action – Intend to do more research to develop a more robust argument to encourage financial institutions, especially in the area of their customers’ investments. Also to identify if UN initiatives have actually had any impact on improving the environment.

Result – Not yet started.

Comment

–      The Co-operative Bank has, properly, the strongest environmental policy in place, with external monitoring.  They have still more work to be done;

–      UN Development Agency has set a Financial Investment programme encouraging financial institutions to adopt environmental fiscal policies.

–      Many banks have signed up to the ‘Equator Principles’, which has recently been revised.

Serve – 3

In my previous blog (Serve – 2), we began talking about developing a framework to live out an integrated faith.  I would like to, in the next few blogs, give you a personal example how this can work out in practice.  Please note, that I am not doing all the actions at once; that is clearly impossible (especially as I am not well).  But, God calls me to a ‘season’ to focus on particular areas at one time.  I also target certain issues that are likely to make the biggest impact either on my life or on others.  For example, by working on the issue of water and sanitation, one can improve the lives of many people in a number of areas, such as:

–      Health (clean water and therefore less diseases);

–      Education (less time spent collecting water means time to go to school);

–      Food Security (water available on a regular basis provides sustainability in crop production and animal husbandry);

–      Sanitation (it becomes safer to go the toilet).

I hope you find it helpful.  Any comments are welcome.

 

APOSTOLIC LIFESTYLE – JESUS CHRIST

Focus – Know my Lord and Saviour.

Purpose – To grow in my passion for, and relationship with Jesus, living out an authentic lifestyle based on the Scriptures, thus being an ambassador for Him.

Action

–      To spend daily times with Him;

–      To study the Scriptures by myself and with others to know more about Him.

Result

–      Ongoing.

APOSTOLIC LIFESTYLE – PRAYER

Focus – Intercessory Prayer.

Purpose – To set up a ‘prayer directory’ of people, organisations, places and issues (POPI) to pray for in a supernatural and targeted way.

Action

–      To set up a ‘prayer directory’, organised around the themes of POPI;

–      To obtain a list of the people who work for the organisations I support;

–      To study the Scriptures to understand how to supernatural pray into these situations above.

Result

–      ‘Prayer directory’ set up;

–      Obtained lists of people who work for the organisations I support;

–      Bible study on supernatural intercessory prayer not yet started.

APOSTOLIC LIFESTYLE – ISLAM

Focus – Reaching Imams.

Purpose – To encourage the understanding by Muslims of what Christianity is really all about through teaching by governments of Imams and to encourage them to foster peaceful co-existence between both peoples, especially in dealing with disputes.

Action

– To understand the Quran’s view of those who follow other beliefs;

– To write to Muslim governments to persuade them to undertake such a programme, especially the Government of Pakistan.

Result – Not yet started.

APOSTOLIC LIFESTYLE – MALDIVES

Focus – Promoting Freedom of Religion in Muslim Contexts.

Purpose– To help Muslim governments, especially that of the Maldives, understand the importance that allowing its people to have the freedom to change their beliefs and being able to practice them, without a fear of intimidation or persecution, is of benefit to that country.

Action– To gain an understanding of an Islamic view of human rights, as well as what the Bible says about it, to see if there is a common understanding and a way forward.

Result – Not yet started, but I do have a thesis on the subject by an ex-Muslim government minister.

Action – To encourage the Maldivian authorities to lift the sanctions against the Maldivian Christians.  Many e-mails and letters have been written.

Result – A true picture has been difficult to obtain, more so now that an unelected government is in power. Conditions for Maldivian Christians is still very difficult.

Serve – 2

In a recent blog (Gospel – 1), I mentioned about creating a framework to apply the principles found in the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.  This can be found in Ephesians 4:11 onwards.  Let us first look at verse 11.

Most translations use the following NT Greek version, ‘And He gave some apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists, and some shepherds and teachers..’.  Notice the word ‘some’.  The NT Greek word for it is ‘tous’, which can also mean ‘all’. To me we should use ‘all’ instead of ‘some’, for it better fits the context of what Paul is saying.

Let us now look at the NT Greek of the five ‘functions’ mentioned:

Apostles = apostolos (an ambassador for Jesus, a sent one);

Prophets = prophetes (an interpreter of  hidden things or situations, speaking out about injustices as seen by God);

Evangelists = euaggelistes (proclaimer of the Gospel, of Jesus);

Shepherds = poimen (pastorally caring for each other);

Teacher = didaskalos (instructor, mentor).

So, let us take in turn each  of the five ‘functions’ of a Christian:

First, there is the apostolic ‘function’.  Here we are representing Jesus.  So this means living an authentic life based on biblical principles; being able to give reasons to others, why you are a Christian (apologetics); and ‘reporting back’ to God on progress in these areas and receiving fresh instructions (ie worship and prayer).

Then, our prophetic ‘function’ is to be ‘salt and light’ to the world, demonstrating and calling the ‘world’ to live according to biblical principles – this includes campaigning for justice, mercy and peace, in an attitude of love, especially speaking out on behalf of your fellow brothers and sisters.

The evangelist ‘function’ is not only to proclaim the Gospel, but to also encourage others to join the family of God (the Church).  Therefore, you have a ‘rescuing’ mission, saving others from the clutches of satan and his cronies, who are destroying the Earth and its people.

Our actions above will come from being part of a loving and caring community of ‘brothers and sisters’ who are believers in Jesus, acting as a model to the ‘world’ from whom we invite to join us (ie the Shepherding ‘function’).

Our final ‘function’ (Teaching) is to empower and lead others through mentoring them in their faith in Jesus, helping them become effective in living out the biblical lifestyle of worship, love, community, simplicity, and justice, and enabling them to develop their ‘calling’ in life to serve others.

As Christians we have responsibilities to each other, through the above ‘functions’, to see each other become mature in the faith, ready to enter the Kingdom of God and have eternal life!

Working that out in practice will be the subject of my next blog.