April 19, 2012

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"The Hero That Almost Was" In honor of the 100th anniversary of the tragic sinking of the Titanic, here is a little known story about a nearby ship that could have rescued quite a few more passengers. The following is an excerpt from my first book, Butterfly in Brazil: How Your Life Can Make a World of Difference: Cyril Evans is not a name you would easily recognize. He wasn’t then nor is he now well known. Evans was a radio operator aboard the Californian, a British steamship, under the command of Captain Stanley Lord. He, along with Captain Lord and the rest of the crew left London, England, on April 5, 1912, bound for Boston. Though the ship could carry as many as 47 passengers and 55 crewmen, on that particular voyage, there were no passengers on board. Nine days into the voyage, they encountered a large and dangerous ice field. They were just south of Newfoundland. Finding themselves surrounded by ice and deciding it to be too dangerous to continue, the Californian reversed its engines and stopped for the night. Around midnight, Second Officer Herbert Stone began his watch. When he arrived, his apprentice seaman, peering intently through a pair of binoculars, informed him of a steamship in the distance. Third Officer Groves, whose shift Stone was relieving, had been the one to spot the ocean liner. Curious to know what other ship was out in the middle of the ice field, Stone ordered his apprentice to try to establish contact. They tried their Morse lamp. No response. The apprentice left to record the unusual events. Suddenly, out of the corner of his eye, Stone saw an explosion of white light filling the night sky. It seemed to come from the direction of the other ship. Then came another. And another. Five rockets...
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Learning to Be the People of God What is the mission of God, or in theological terms, the missio dei? Is it to save a collection of individuals? Or is to have a community for himself, to make for Himself a people? When we think of the mission of the church, the temptation is to see the church as a sort of "sales and marketing team" for the Gospel, to think that our sole purpose is to "win more souls." But imagine for a moment if a young single man took a young single lady out on a date and said to her: "Look, let's cut to the chase. I'm not really interested in who you are or what movies you like or what you hobbies are. I really just want to have lots and lots of kids. I mean, I've got this big house with lots of rooms and I just want to fill it." Now, on the one hand, the young lady might find this refreshing: a man who wants to have kids right away! But on the other hand, there is something quite disturbing about the whole thing. He almost makes it sound like any girl will do; having kids is the real goal. As bizarre as this sounds, I wonder if this is a little bit like a pastor or church-planter saying, "I want to plant a church to reach more people." No doubt: we need to keep announcing Christ to those who have not heard. And we start new churches and campuses to enable us to announce Christ to more people. But I suspect that something can easily get out of order here. The Church is not a means to an end, a vehicle to "reach more people"; the community of the people of God is the end goal. In Acts, churches...

Glenn Packiam

Lead Pastor, new life DOWNTOWN, New Life Church, Colorado Springs, CO. Author and songwriter.

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