Monday, May 31, 2010

Gospel vs. Religion

Religion is a slippery slope that is easy to slip into...much easier than you think. The reason why is because your external actions are probably the same. If you are living out the gospel, you are probably attending church faithfully, giving, serving, seeking to share your faith, etc. If you have slipped into religion, you probably are doing all those things...perhaps begrudgingly and without joy, but you're doing them.

So on the surface, living out the gospel and being religious look very similar. However, underneath the surface, there is HUGE difference.

There is no one better that I now of that explains better the internal difference between the gospel and religion than Tim Keller and he shows us in his new publication, Gospel in Life Study Guide (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2010), p. 16.


  • Religion: “I obey; therefore, I’m accepted.”
  • Gospel: “I’m accepted; therefore, I obey.”


  • Religion: Motivation is based on fear and insecurity.
  • Gospel: Motivation is based on grateful joy.


  • Religion: I obey God in order to get things from God.
  • Gospel: I obey God to get God – to delight in an resemble him.


  • Religion: When circumstances in my life go wrong, I am angry at God or myself, since I believe that anyone who is good deserves a comfortable life.
  • Gospel: When circumstances in my life go wrong, I struggle, but I know my punishment fell on Jesus and that while God may allow this for my training, he will exercise his Fatherly love within my trial.


  • Religion: When I am criticized, I am furious or devastated because it is critical that I think of myself as a “good person.” Threats to self-image must be destroyed at all costs.
  • Gospel: When I am criticized, I struggle, but it is not essential for me to think of myself as a “good person.” My identity is not built on my record or my performance but on God’s love for me in Christ.


  • Religion: My prayer life consists largely of petition, and it only heats up when I am in a time of need. My main purpose in prayer is control of the environment.
  • Gospel: My prayer life consists of generous stretches of praise and adoration. My main purpose is fellowship with God.


  • Religion: My self-view swings things between to poles. If and when I am living up to my standards, I feel confident, but then I am prone to be proud and unsympathetic to failing people. If and when I am not living up to standards, I feel humble but not confident – I feel like a failure.
  • Gospel: My self-view is not based on my moral achievement. In Christ I am simul lustus et peccator – simultaneously sinful and lost, yet accepted in Christ. I am so bad that he had to die for me, and I am so loved that he was glad to die for me. This leads me to deep humility and confidence at the same time.


  • Religion: My identity and self-worth are based mainly on how hard I work, or how moral I am – and so I must look down on those I perceive as lazy or immoral.
  • Gospel: My identity and self worth are centered on the one who died for me. I am saved by sheer grace and I can’t look down on those who believe or practices something different from me. Only by grace am I what I am.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Jubilee Church in Zimbabwe, Part 2

From Ginger Price:

As expected when traveling with Sam and Marlene Poe we hit the ground running here in Zimbabwe. Warm up your google page because it will be helpful for you to search on a map the ground we are covering. As a team our first stop after landing in Bulawayo was to join the leaders of the Newfrontiers Churches in Zimbabwe for 24 hours of prayer and fasting in Antelope Park. There could not have been a better way for us to be introduced to the advancing work of the Kingdom that is going on in Zimbabwe. During that time we also learned of the passion of this leadership team to believe God for doors to open for the work to extend into Mozambique and other countries surrounding. Our time with the leaders in two words was powerful and impacting as it gave us a very clearer view of what God is doing here and the faces of those that are leading it. In the coming months and years it will be exciting to see that work unfold. For me one treasure I’ve seen while here is the realization of how much we are all apart of something much bigger than us and that God’s message of grace and Kingdom advancement is universal across our family. It’s one thing to know that in your heart, it’s another thing to experience it. I left our meeting feeling like we have much that we can learn from our family in Zimbabwe. There is amazing perseverance and faith here that will blow your socks off. From Antelope park we returned to Bulawayo for an evening before heading out to the Kezi region to join Crossroads Church a rural church that meets in the same area where the Ebenezer Agricultural Training Center for Farming God’s Way training is taking place. And its really rural in a way that we don’t define rural, meaning no’s a little like camping, but totally doable. During the meeting we were able to experience worship through music with our Zimbabwean friends where it was fun to gather and experience God together. This church is a place where the chronological bible storying is taking place with both the adults and children messages and so being a part of that part of the service was great to experience. Today we will be returning to the Ebenezer Center joining the apprentices during a normal day of training with an added farm tour. This promises to be a highlight of our trip as it is the heartbeat of one of the major apostolic initiatives here in the Southern part of Zimbabwe. From Kezi we will be traveling to Harare to participate in a Chronological Bible Storying seminar that is going to take place in the Northern part of Zim in Mashona Land. We will be there Wednesday through Sunday rounding out our stay joining Westgate Church for their Sunday service. Overall I think all of us would tell you that if there is something in your heart that is nudging you to do something like this follow that nudge, you will be a much better Kingdom citizen for the experience. Of course we’ve been well taken care of by world-class hospitality of Marlene that so many of you have experienced as well as the loving generosity of others along the way during our travels.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Jubilee Church in Zimbabwe

I find it to be a huge privilege to be a part of the Newfrontiers family of churches. I love the values, I love the relationships, I love the sense of community, I love the passion, but most of all I love that we are on world mission together to reach our neighborhoods, our cities, our nation and our world.

There are many opportunities for training and exposure to the mission God has for us (check out the FYT and Transformation Teams) of those opportunities is a Life Change Team to Zimbabwe that two Jubileeites took advantage of. I have asked one of those participants Ginger Price to keep us informed on their travels.

And we’re leaving on a jet plane...TO ZIMBABWE!!!

On May 17th Newfrontiers USA will be sending a team of four people to join Sam and Marlene Poe in Bulowayo, Zimbabwe for a Life Change Team opportunity. This first trip is one of three that will be going to Zimbabwe for a cross-cultural emersion opportunity in the next year and a half.

Jubilee is sending two people to participate, myself Ginger Price and Greg Virkler from our new Washington location were for this adventure. Everyone has the chance to come along with us as we are a small representation of the larger Jubilee Church community. Your prayers for our trip and those trips that are coming will be much appreciated!

The purpose of our trip is unique to other Mission type trips. We will be on the ground covering some serious territory for two weeks traveling with Sam and Marlene to experience firsthand from the local church leaders in Zimbabwe how they facilitate cross-cultural ministry in their churches. While we are there we will be hosted by local families in both rural and urban areas of Zimbabwe. One thing on our agenda is to participate in a chronological bible storying seminar which is a method used to teach people biblical truth in a oral literature or narrative format to make these truths easier to understand and remember. This is a primary form for sharing the gospel truth with people in Zimbabwe and other oral learning cultures. I’m very excited to see this in action and learn more.

I’ve thought of a few prayer needs during our journey:

1. That our eyes and hearts will be opened to see a broader view of the Church and God’s Kingdom expression in Zimbabwe. Personally I’d like to know how we can support what is happening there in a way that is most helpful.

2. That each of us would hear very clearly what God would have for us to learn during our time together. I would like for God to show me the things in my heart that need to be changed to be a better participator in the Kingdom. Personally I haven’t put any expectations on what I might get out of this trip because I want to be open to what the Holy Spirit has for me to learn.

3. That we would be positive ambassadors for Jesus and that how we speak, the things we share and the impressions we make would really demonstrate His love and grace to our brothers and sisters that are being generous to open their lives and hearts to us. And that our presence would be an encouragement.

4. During our travels that we would be safe and remain healthy. International travel can make us vulnerable to things. We’d like to remain healthy and clear to serve during our short time there.

5. Finally this is more of a funny one, but is needed. I’m a little bug squeamish so I am asking for help to not be skittering around because of some obscenely large bugs!

I’ll try to update Bryan with entries during our travels for posting and hopefully some pictures. We will have limited access to E-mail and the internet, but as we are able we will send word along. The team will return on June 1st, I will be staying on to visit Martha Lee in South Africa, another Jubileeite that is on the other side of the world for the moment.

Thank you very much for your prayers. On the inside I’m jumping up and down excited to share the treasure that is imparted to us while we are with these wonderful people in Zimbabwe. I have a feeling that on the other end of this trip the Life Change will be taking place in us more than we can possibly think or imagine and to that I say bring it on Lord!

Gotta go...Ginger Price

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Serving the Community

Jubilee is passionate about serving our community because it is the way of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ "who came not to be served, but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45)." For us, serving is not a ploy to convert others (that's God's job), but we do so because we have been converted. In other words, because God freely loved us, it should be natural for us to freely love others.

I was so proud to hear that our new location in Washington, MO (that launched weekly services on May 9th) has quickly adopted that value. Check them out in action as recorded by the might recognize a few.