The Talk Place - Graydon Colville
Blogs with inside information and personal opinions from GRN members around the world
The Urgency of Mission
Graydon Colville - Thursday 11 August 2016
I have grown up hearing about the urgency of mission and indeed there is an urgency. Every moment people are dying and going to a Christ-less eternity. I wish more of the church would share this sense of urgency.
Yet I feel a sense of disquiet when I hear language like 'doing mission in order to speed the return of Christ'. I understand and applaud the sense of urgency that is behind it but can't help wondering if something of our Western agenda for urgency and 'instant' is not creeping into our missiology. After all that is not the purpose of mission! God already knows the time of Jesus' return. The purpose of mission is perhaps better expressed as “to glorify God through the peoples of the world coming to worship him!” or some variation on this theme.
When I read the Scriptures I am constantly amazed at how God seems not to be in a hurry. We read in a few minutes chapters that span generations; 400 years went by between the Old and New Testaments. Why didn't the Messiah come earlier?!
Well the scholars among us can give historical reasons that relate to the state of the Greco-Roman world and the use of the Greek language and can even quote Paul who said “When the time had fully come...” but couldn't God have moved a bit quicker? Still, it is easier to accept God's apparently slow time scale when we look back into the Scriptures than when we look at the world around us. Maybe we forget that the distinction between a day and a thousand years seems not to be overly significant to God!
My point is simply that as humans our knowledge and perspective is limited when compared to God's. He sees the whole picture. We see only a small piece. We must be careful before we allow our own culturally informed business or marketing strategies drive agendas and strategies that may not be quite what God has in mind. We would seldom put it so crassly and we are skilled at dressing it up in spiritual language but… do we risk doing damage to God's work because we are not prepared to wait on his time? There are many proverbs in English (probably other languages too) that suggest that too much haste results in slower or less progress e.g. “more haste less speed”.
There are strategies being acted on in the word of missions today that appear to be driven primarily by the perceived need for speed. I find them concerning. God will always achieve his purposes – sometimes through us, sometimes in spite of us! Cutting corners to get things done quickly may not achieve God's purpose though it may achieve ours!
I'm not arguing for laziness! We are called to work while it is day, but let us not rush in and do damage when a little more time and thought – and listening to God, may result in a better outcome for the Kingdom of God.
What kind of shape are you in?
Graydon Colville - Tuesday 19 April 2016
For many, this question is about fitness and body image, and while being healthy is important, I'm thinking about something much more important. I'm thinking about the what is shaping my attitudes, reactions and thought processes. Maybe you have heard the story of the two dogs... a man once said, "it is like there are two dogs inside me and they are fighting. There is a good dog and a bad dog. I want to do what is good but it is a fierce struggle and sometimes I do what is bad. How can I can control those dogs?" A wise friend replied, "The dog you feed will win".
Filling our heads and hearts with the noise and messages of the socity around us will cause us to act like everybody else. We will put ourselves first, and seek for our own comfort and wellbing. Feeding on God's word and allowing ourselves to be transformed and shaped by the renewing power of God's Spirit working in us will enable us to be different - to live to serve God and others. In so doing we will find our niche in the plans of God.
"Don't copy the behavious and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think." Romans 12:2(NLT)
Graydon Colville - Sunday 07 February 2016
No doubt, one of the biggest challenges facing the world at present is the challenge of displaced people. Europe in particular is facing this challenge but it touches many countries in the world.
Several of our European offices are ramping up efforts to impact the lives of refugees many of whom come from countries and contexts where the good news of Jesus faces considerable opposition and restriction. Amidst the suffering, frustrations and hopelessness some of these refugees are finding hope and new life in Jesus.
While we acknolwedge the evil in our world that has given rise to this problem we know also that God can bring good out of it. The flood of refugees seeking asylum in the 'West' is providing the church with an unprecendented opportunity to demonstrate the love of Christ in practical ways and share the good news of salvation. We don't want to ignore either the physical needs or the spiritual needs of these people.
GRN Audio programs available through the internet to your phone or computer give Christians everywhere the ability to share words of life and hope in the language that speaks best to those coming from other countries - whether they are refugees, migrants or just visitors.
If you are not yet equipped to do this I would encourage you to get yourself up to speed. Then pray for God given opportunties to tell others about Jesus.
Short term mission
Graydon Colville - Friday 05 December 2014
After Christmas I'll be taking my 6th team on short term mission to an Asian country where, despite considerable opposition in the past, and some continuing opposition, the church is growing rapidly. During the trip we will work with local believers and have opportunities to share good news with several hundred people in their own languages using GRN recorded materials and interpreters. Sometimes it will be with individuals or family groups, sometimes in schools, churches and even in busy markets.
In the past we have seen several people come to the Lord and others take meaningful steps in that direction. Many hear the message fro the very first time. The darkness that binds the majority of the population is indeed strong. It is only the power of God that can break it but break it he does and when he does the transformation is amazing. One of the greatest joys of the trip is to worship with those who realise so clearly the darkness from which they have been rescued and celebrate and praise God with great passion and fervency.
Even so, perhaps the greater work that God does during the three and a half weeks of the trip is in the lives of the expatriate team members who go (This time from Australia and the USA). It is a potentially life changing experience.
The local believers don't really need us in order to share the good news but in partnering with them both we and they are blessed. Please pray with us for God's work to be done and his name honoured through this ministry trip.