Fumbling and Trusting

As we have settled in Newton, MA, much of my posting will be originally assigned to the pastoral blog of the Christ Community Church website (still somewhat under construction).  I highly recommend your visitation.  In fact, this is your invitation.  For two other brothers much greater than I, Erik Schaefer and Joe Keune, will be blogging there as well on everything from pastoral ministry to biblical counseling to mission in Newton and to the nations.  However, my posts there, I’ll link here.  And I’ll continue to write here occasionally, while also linking up to other thoughts that I think will be tasteful food for your hearts and lives.

Go here to read Fumbling and Trusting, a brief synopsis of our discovered weakness in Christian mission and how this realization is the best place to be, for there God’s power is made perfect.

Please continue to pray for us, especially for our faith, holiness, love and unity in the Spirit.  Pray also for our first Bible study, beginning October 7.

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Bringing More Gospel to Newton-Boston

Two years ago to the month, we decided to church plant in the Greater Boston area. My wife, Jenny, and I hail from South Carolina — and her accent is thicker than Andy Griffith’s. Joe and Melissa Keune are from the St. Louis area of Missouri.  And Erik and Anna Schaefer are moving to Newton, a suburb of Boston, with us from South Dakota and Iowa, respectively.  We come from different states and parts of the country, so various cultures, speaking accents, favorite sports, favorite sports teams, varying preferences concerning the weather, ideal temperatures and seasons of the year. We come from different home lives, economic situations, and stations in life. And yet we have somehow come together.

We have come together to leave what is comfortable to us, to leave family and friends, to leave present securities. We have come together to pull up our stakes and move them to Newton, MA, 6-7 miles southwest of Boston, one week from tomorrow. We have come together to church plant, to take the gospel of Jesus Christ to Newton and the nations, to live and die for the sake of Christ and His church.  Is this explainable? Of course.

We have come together because, though our differences remain, the gospel has bound our hearts to Christ and to one another.  The gospel, as always, is greater than our differences.  Indeed, it accentuates them, while bringing them under a single, transcendent banner: the gospel and glory of Christ. The grace that we have received from God in the gospel of Jesus Christ has brought us together in the same body and, through the new birth, made us to be of one great household. And so by God’s providence, we have come together to work out our sojourning, our going outside the gate to Christ, our gospel ministry in Newton and the surrounding area of Greater Boston.

We are aspiring to bring the gospel to Newton, and praying that God would give us that land as we follow Christ. What once seemed very far off is now a mere 8 days from reality. As we approach our move, I would ask you to consider a few things:

1. You can pray for us.  Having found housing, we are most immediately in need of jobs that will provide suitable resources for our families and strategic advantages for the advancement of the gospel. We have written a prayer guide also that you can use as you serve us and the kingdom of Christ in this way. Simply leave a comment to this post with an email address, and I’ll gladly send this to you.

2. You can partner with us in the grace of giving. While we will be transitioning out of fund-raising life support over the next 5 years and moving towards financial stability as a congregation, we will still be actively pursuing partners — individual brothers and sisters, and gospel-centered churches — as we are getting our feet under us. If you would like to give to Christ Community Church, email me at brianrmahon@gmail.com or christcommunityma@gmail.com.

3. You can connect us with other believers in and around Boston. It is amazing how many people we know know people in Boston. If you know of believers in the area who may be struggling to find a healthy body of believers, and you think they might be helped by Christ Community Church, let them know we will be on the scene by September 1, and that we would love to sit down with them and be of some gospel encouragement to them. If this is the case, see the email addresses above.

4. You can connect us with unbelievers in and around Boston. Wonderfully, this is already happening, and we desire it more and more.  We are moving to find Christ’s people and bring them into His sheepfold. Again, see the email addresses above if you think of someone in this condition and would like for us to meet up with them once we arrive.

5. You can connect us with local churches.  We desire to be tethered in partnership with Christ-treasuring, Christ-proclaiming local churches.  Healthy churches are a source of great encouragement, wisdom, spiritual gifts and abilities, saints, prayers and various other kingdom-advancing resources.  If you think of a church, whether your own or another that you think might be a good partner for us, please let us via email at the addresses given above.

If you have any further thoughts or questions, feel free to comment to this post and I’ll get to them as soon as possible.

Trusting in His might,

Your servant in the Lord,

Brian R. Mahon

Pointing Preschoolers to Jesus, by Gloria Furman

I also have young kids (5 yrs, 3 yrs, & 18 mos). Honestly, most days I just try to convince them to not kill each other because Jesus came to give us life (John 10:10). That counts for pointing my preschoolers to Christ, right? ☺

You can read about one occasion where a conversation I started was punctuated with one child climbing into the refrigerator and the other child dissolving into a sulking, hot mess. Sometimes I have great conversations with my kids about Jesus and they’re receptive and engaged; other times they’re more interested in My Little Pony. I can relate.

I think the simplest thing you can do to point your children to Christ during the day is to make them aware of the times when you have been reminded of Christ.

Go here for the rest of this article.

That Awkward Moment When We Speak the Gospel, by Ken Currie

A practical help for evangelism:

Evangelism is counter-cultural. It’s true everywhere on the planet, but perhaps it’s especially so in our increasingly post-Christian Western society. We live in a polite culture, for the most part. Talk about religion? You just don’t go there. Talk about how many tornadoes have come through, and how the team is doing, and how the city has new recycling bins. But Jesus Christ, crucified for sinners and risen from the dead? You just don’t go there. So they say.

For the time being, it seems the greatest threat to gospel-telling in such a society is not that we will be hauled before the city council, beaten, and have our property taken away. What we are really dealing with is some awkwardness.

Awkwardness is perhaps the biggest threat to evangelism for far too many of us.

Go here for the full post.

Motherhood as a Mission Field, by Rachel Jankovic

There is a good old saying, perhaps only said by my Grandfather, that distance adds intrigue. It is certainly true — just think back to anything that has ever been distant from you that is now near. Your driver’s license. Marriage. Children. Things that used to seem so fascinating, but as they draw near become less mystical and more, well, real.

This same principle certainly applies to mission fields too. The closer you get to home, the less intriguing the work of sacrifice seems. As someone once said, “Everyone wants to save the world, but no one wants to help Mom with the dishes.” When you are a mother at home with your children, the church is not clamoring for monthly ministry updates. When you talk to other believers, there is not any kind of awe about what you are sacrificing for the gospel. People are not pressing you for needs you might have, how they can pray for you. It does not feel intriguing, or glamorous. Your work is normal, because it is as close to home as you can possibly be. You have actually gone so far as to become home.

This is the fourth of these posts that I have re-posted.  They have all been really insightful to me on the task of Christian motherhood.  I hope these have been encouraging to you also.  This one was, perhaps, my favorite.  Go here for the full article and be greatly challenged by the Great Commission in your home.

Joy’s Eternal Increase: Edwards on the Beauty of Heaven, by Sam Storms

This message was given at the 2003 Desiring God National Conference.  I listened to it again today, and it is still one of the most encouraging, heart-warming, affection-raising messages I’ve heard.  I think the truths expressed in it, although mind-stretching and, though very high, still admittedly low in comparison to the reality of heaven, are transformative if grasped and taken to heart.  Indeed, I think this message of heaven is fundamental to the Christian life.  It is the great goal for which we have been saved, seeing God (cf. Psa 42.2).

Go here to listen.

Letter To A 13-Year Old Asking How To Go Deeper in Bible Study, by John Piper

Dear [Samantha],

I got your note about going deeper with your Bible reading. Thanks for asking.

First, let me say that I am really encouraged that you take the Bible so seriously. Sometimes I hold it in my hand and feel the wonder that it is the very word of the Maker of the universe. Amazing.

You are right to read it every day and seek to let it permeate all your thoughts and feelings. When Paul says it is all inspired by God and that it is profitable so that you will be equipped for every good work, I believe he means that even the parts that are hard to read, or even sometimes confusing, will in the long run have an effect on your mind and your soul that will shape you into the kind of woman who can stand strong all your life for Jesus, and sniff out the errors of the world, and love all that is truly good and beautiful.

Here are a couple ideas for going deeper.

For the rest of this pastoral letter, go here.