This is a must read book. This book is being endorsed by a host of who's who of American Protestant Christendom which runs into four pages of fine-print.
In the opening pages, the author puts in a disclaimer that God (not Rick Warren) causes growth. He tells the story of Saddleback Church and offers a winning defense of large churches. Then he gives this thesis: "What is needed today are churches that are driven by purpose instead of by other forces."
"Plans, programs, and personalities don't last," he writes. "But God's purposes will last."
We can safely say that Warren has gone about ministry the way Ford went about designing the Taurus many years ago. Ford looked at each part of a car and asked, "How can this be done better?" So the company designed a two-way sun visor, tie-downs for the trunk, and other innovations. And the Taurus became the best-selling car in North America.
The author uses the same approach at Saddleback. He examines new-member classes and adult education and neighbourhood canvassing and just about every other component in a church programme. He tweaks this ministry and adjusts that one and totally reworks another, until the church, well-organised and highly tuned, honestly delivers changed lives, turned-on worshipers, and maturing members. Warren is determined that Saddleback accomplish the twin purposes of the Great Commission and the Great Commandment.
Warren is a gatherer-refiner-systematiser extraordinaire. He has collected church growth practices and honed them to perfection. He has looked at preaching skills and found what communicates best to his crowd. He has canvassed Christian music and come up with an effective practical theology of music. Then his techniques are tested against Scripture and the Saddleback purpose.
Nothing is left to whim or tradition.
In this book, Warren delivers down-to-earth reasoning, enough prooftexting to convince us that he is remaining biblical, and common-sense aphorisms. Warren argues a very convincing case.
I doubt any reader will come away without a number of highly effective to-do's. I plan to use his suggestion of a simple response card tucked into visitor letters. And a number of pithy "Warrenisms" will find their way into my card file. They are: "Your preferred style of worship says more about your cultural background than your theology," "People give to vision, not to need," and "The church should be seeker-sensitive but not seeker-driven."
While the book is written in an earnest and friendly manner, someone has said that the book is parent-child in voice. Warren's editor could have done him and us a great service by changing the "oughttas" to "we need to's." Also, do we really need to know that while yet a seminarian, Warren "agreed to" consult with a large, impressive church?
So, is this a book we need to read?
As I have said right from the beginning this is a "must read book," yes. It is a collection of good sense, good thinking, good theology, and good practice. In fact, I would even go further and ask that you get a copy for your own personal library.
This book is available from BGST Library (253 WAR).
(Review by Dr John Lim)
Last Wednesday (22 May), we heard from Mr & Mrs Quek Tze Ming. Extracts from his message are given below.
Chapel speaker for this Wednesday (29 May) will be Mr Wilfred Leow
(DipCS, 2001). Come & join us at Rm 302, 12 noon. Next week's chapel speaker is Dr Quek Swee
These Are The Sons of God
Extracts from the Chapel Mesage by Quek Tze Ming on Rom. 8:14-17
" ... those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of
sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children" (vv.14-16).
"Many people have asked me: what is the most significant thing you have learnt from your experience studying abroad? My answer is not what most would expect. My most significant learning experience has little to do with Regent's famous faculty, or their interesting curriculum or even Vancouver's wonderful surroundings. Instead, my most significant learning experience has to do with growing up and learning about fatherhood. Those of you who are parents would agree with me when I say that the parent-child relationship is a wonderfully challenging one - frustrating at times, satisfying at others, but mostly both frustrating and satisfying at the same time! I've recently taken up reflecting on the parent-child relationship as a descriptive metaphor for God's relationship with his people, and I'd like to share with you some of my thoughts.
"In Romans 8, Paul has been giving us a wonderful description of the Christian life - a life lived in the Spirit….
"Paul uses the language of "sons" here for the first time in Romans, but it most certainly isn't an idea he has just suddenly thought up. The language of family being used to describe the relationship between God and his people has a long pedigree…. [Tze Min went on to deal with the interpretation of Exodus 4:22; Jeremiah 31.9; Hosea 11.1, 3, 8; Matt 3.17; especially Psalm 2.6-7 which was the basis for Romans 8.]
"God's sons! Isn't that an audacious statement? Do we dare claim the status of "God's sons?" Yes! We are sons of God because we are united to the Son of God…. We, both men and women, are sons of God because we are united to the Son of God….
"When we cry out in this fashion to our "daddy", Paul tells us in [Rom. 8] v.16 that what is happening is that the Spirit is testifying with our spirits that we are in fact children of God….. And if we are children, Paul says, we are heirs (v.17)…
"When Hannah [my 2-year-old daughter] does something wrong, (and this occurs with disturbing regularity nowadays), I want her to know that she has done something wrong. She needs to learn which things are really wrong, and she needs to feel guilty about some things. But I do not want her to feel guilty about small, silly things. And I certainly do not want her to be paralysed with guilt so that she is fearful all the time. But most important I want her to realize that: no matter what she has done, no matter how much guilt she might feel, and however much that guilt may affect how we communicate for the time being - it will never never never cut off the most essential tie. I am her father, and she is my child. That will never change. She will never stop being my firstborn daughter, no matter what she does. And all Sharon and I do is to provide a home environment where Hannah can view her actions and behaviour in the light of what it means to be a member of the family.... What it means to have me as 'papa', and Sharon as 'mummy'. And then she will be formed to look like us - in physical attributes; but also in behaviour and actions, without losing her individuality.
This is the grace that we all have towards our children. How much more gracious is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! The God who said, "Israel is my firstborn son!" The God who is slowly forming us now to look more and more like our elder brother, the perfect firstborn Son Jesus Christ. The God who says to all of us now, "You are my son, you are my daughter."
When we face life's riddle
He is with us in the middle
When in fear we huddle
He comforts us with a cuddle
When we do not grumble
And our faith rises like a bubble
We will see all our problems crumble
And lo! and behold our blessings double
Though storms rise and thunders rumble
Though the earth quake and rocks tumble
Though we fail and often stumble
His grace is with the truly humble
For the very hairs of our head are numbered
And He that keepeth us has never slumbered
When with a load of care we are cumbered
He manifests His Amazing Grace to be wondered.
God is a God of miracles still
And it's not His will that we be ill
The same yesterday, today and forever will
By His stripes we are healed from all ill
We can always trust in Him and be still
For He watches over His Word to fulfill
Whatever we desire, pray and believe
His Word promises we will receive
Us alone He never will leave
As we give our lives to Him to weave
When we ask according to His Will we know
That surely His answer would never be 'No'
For heavens may pass and earth below
But His words can never be proved hollow
Thus faith in God we must show
For the world to believe in Him and know
He took our infirmities and sicknesses bore
When we fully believe His glory He will show
So command the sickness in Jesus' name to go
And claim your healing bought 2000 years ago.
(These two anonymous poems are contributed by Pastor Stanley Vasu)
Wishing you God's blessings on your Birthday!
Ms Joyce Moh 29/5
Ms Celeste Yee Soo Chuen 29/5
Mr Yoong Yuen Soo 29/5
Elder Richard Chia Eng Liang 31/5
Ms Judy Ong Muah Cheok 2/6
Assoc Prof Benny Tabalujan 2/6
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This page is updated on 28 May 2002 by Jacob-Tan
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