As I am on vacation this week, Ben steps up to the plate and does the weekly blog update...
This fall, a number of us at Bethany Community Church participated in short term compassion projects presented by BCC’s Community Compassion ministry. The purpose of the Community Compassion ministry is to glorify God by meeting the spiritual and physical needs of our neighbors (Matthew 9:35-38).
The purpose of these projects was to give short term exposure to compassion ministry and see where the Lord may lead our church in future compassion ministries.
Historically, the universal church has struggled to know the balance between gospel-proclamation ministry and a perceived separate ministry of caring for the poor. I believe these two ministries are beautifully wed together in the Scripture:
James 1:27 - Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
Galatians 6:10 - So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
Colossians 1:28-29 - Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.
Matthew 9:35-38 - And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
(All Scripture quotations from the ESV)
What does it mean to minister to the poor and still hold fast to the gospel? What is the Good News? Is it simply making the world a better place? Watch this video entitled “Ministries of Mercy” as John Piper, D.A. Carson, and Tim Keller interact over this topic. The conversation speaks to what John Piper means when he says, “we exist to relieve all suffering—especially eternal suffering (hell).” View it at: http://thegospelcoalition.org/videos/26484222
May our hearts be infatuated with the gospel and its implications for our lives!