Mission of God Study Bible and Itinerant Ministry

The Mission of God Study Bible has just been released. It carries the missional theme and  . .  what I really love about it . .  it honors the memory of the Baptist missiologist Dr Francis DuBose who brought the word "missional" back into play with his 1983 book God Who Sends. [see the video I recorded of Dr DuBose shortly before his death] The Study Bible also has contributions from so many of my friends that I won't even start to name them. 

I was asked to contribute something on itinerancy that might share some light on Acts 12, when Saul and Barnabas are sent out.


Here's my bit which now appears on page 1153

Itinerant Ministry (Acts 12:2-3)


Maybe it’s not right, but I feel a slight pang of grief when I read the fate of Saul and Barnabas. Despite having a secure future as church leaders, they are sentenced by the church in Antioch to the downwardly mobile status of itinerant ministry. Doomed to wander the earth like Cain through places always foreign and rarely familiar, they will limp forward as borrowers and beggars, as strangers and sojourners, but never settlers.


MissionOfGod FNL CVR

An itinerant is a wanderer who travels from place to place without a home. Stereotypes are demeaning: drifters, hobos, vagrants, bums, squatters, tramps, and carnies. Some are neutral but few are positive. And yet there are people who have voluntarily embraced itinerancy for the purpose of the gospel, including circuit riders, pilgrims, mendicants and wandering monks. The worst examples of the latter were frowned on. Benedict called them ‘gyrovagues’ (lit. “those that wander in a circle) and Augustine called them ‘circumcelliones’ (lit. “those that prowl around the barns”).


However, despite the stigma of being homeless ragamuffins, it was often the wandering missionaries who enabled the church to accelerate its mission into new spheres: extraordinary itinerants including Jesuits, Franciscans, Methodist circuit-riders, tent-revivalists and the Celtic peregrine, who one writer described as “intrepid Irish adventurers”.


As an itinerant for most of my twenty-five years in mission service, I share both in the shame of this lowly disposition and the joy of freedom to travel wherever God is shining his light. I also have some perspective on why the Holy Spirit might have set such a precedent in Antioch.


Practically speaking, itinerancy is more effective in both cost and time, having no house to maintain or return to. Our apostolic efforts are not tempted by the idolatry of building our own empire because next week we will be somewhere else, serving another ministry project. But it’s more than that. 


As itinerants, our dependence on others for their participation with us in the gospel becomes a filter that leads us to the right people at the right time, as Jesus outlined in Luke 10.


We depend on God. We depend on God’s family. We even depend on the people we are sent to.


Like Abraham, we are told to go but not given a destination. We find ourselves in intimate company with the people of faith, who viewed the heavenly city as their real home. We have no house but we enjoy a hundred houses in this life and the benefits of a large and diverse spiritual family. 


We drink deeply of the sufferings of Christ who, having no place to lay his head, walked the same path we tread.


Strangely enough, recent years have seen a more positive spin added to the mobile lifestyle. Partly in response to globalization, and the necessity of competence in foreign cultures, many are eager to embrace new itinerant identities such as global nomads, couch surfers, existential migrants, and even families on the road.


Likewise, interest in itinerant ministry has intensified as a new generation discover a spirituality of the road and new forms of missional pilgrimage. 


Like Antioch, there are still young spiritual leaders of export quality being sent out on itinerant journeys that are initiated by God, modelled by Christ, led by the Spirit and given an enthusiastic thumbs-up by the church. 

Chronically Chronological in 2012

Mike at One Year Bible Blog is offering two Bible reading blog journeys for 2012.


Journey 1: One Year Bible Blog.

Join 14,000 people in reading a selection of the Bible each day. I have done this before. Its spirit candy for the soul. Highly recommended.

Journey 2. Chronological Bible Blog.

A new adventure for 2012. Start at the earliest books and move forward in time. Pretty simple. 700 are signed up for this at the moment.

And if you have done these before, Youversion has many Bible reading plans. My family are doing The Bible in One Year on our ipods and computers. I have chosen the Good News Version because that was the Bible I owned and read when I last lived here in New Zealand as a teenager so I thought . ..  well . . why not jump back into that stage and connect with my youthful innocence?

Read the Bible in 2009

Picture 10-3A new RSS daily feed is You Version's One Year Bible. It already looks really good and you can upload your own thoughts, video, images. Very interactive. Very 2.0.

The last few years I have enjoyed the daily Bible feed from One Year Bible Blog. Mike does a great job in adding images and thoughts to each day's reading and there is a place to leave comments. I highly recommend it, especially if you haven't read the Bible through RSS before. And today is the best day to start. You can also join 7,600 readers at the One Year Bible Facebook group.

And don't forget for resources, commentary, and the NET Bible which is the paper version Bible that I use and absolutely adore.

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I just preached on Ruth and Boaz

I preached this morning at Stromness Baptist Church despite feeling a flu coming on. A few themes emerged as I told this story about the barley harvest in Bethlehem. Yes, harvest festival is around the corner and the projectionist already had some slides of barley on the screen as backup for the worship. Seemed appropriate and timely. Especially since the Book of Ruth is about what happened as the barley harvesting kicked off with the arrival of Naomi and her daughter-in-law, Ruth.

To be honest, I wasn't sure what I would speak on this morning when i got up but I think I did the right thing in telling this story and people really appreciated it.

One theme that surfaced in the story was that of NAME. Boaz was the son of Rahab the prostitute but he establishes the credibility of his name by doing what is right and not withholding good. His name will be famous, as the village woman predict and pray in their blessing at the end of the book.

Koch Ruthboaz-2
Here's a painting of Ruth looking like a sparkling young Victorian woman after a long bubble bath. This could have been an advertisement for Lux . . a long day's work in the field and yet she still looks a million shekels - just look at those clean hands!! All due to the cleansing power of LUX SOAP!

On the other hand, the closer relative, or potential Guardian, or "kinsman redeemer" as some versions have it, remains NAMELESS. He name, as we read it, is roughly translated from the Hebrew as "What's-his-name" or "Mr So and So". The lamer apparently only wanted the Elimelech's land to increase his personal worth and wasn't willing to take on Ruth and risk his inheritance so that the NAME of Elimelech could be remembered. What a loser!!!

NAMES are important. A good name is better than riches, said Solomon, who was the great-great-great grandson of a prostitute named Rahab - the mother of Boaz. Obviously, its possible to remove the obstacle of a bad name, or an unpleasant legacy, and start over again with a new name. And we, like Ruth, were once NOT a people, we are now given a new name, and are the people belonging to God.

The other theme was that of REST. Naomi wanted her two daughters-in-law to find "security" or "rest" as the original says. They found that safe place and were taken care of, through a number of ways that I wont describe in this short blog post. But there is a moment on the threshing floor when Ruth, after following the advice of her mother-in-law, proposes to Boaz by asking him to "spread his wing over her" which is a picture of marriage. God spreads his wing over Israel to signify the marital relationship between them (Ezekiel 16) and this is where true security lies - under the wing of God, as part of his family. There is a rest for the people of God, but it is not the kind promised by the world - the kind of fake security offered by the world (2 John 2) - the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, and the boasting of all the stuff we have - only pretends to give us security but doesn't because its all passing away.

Ahhh, Some color on their skin. Now that's a better painting! Of course every barley field in Bethlehem had a fine stable of expensive white Arabian horses . . .

Anyway, Naomi [whose name means "Pleasant"] tells the village woman to call her "Bitter" [Mara] because God has cruelly left her empty-handed. But as the events unfold, God proves Himself faithful to provide, and Naomi has her hands full with a grandson (Obed), plenty of barley, and a promising future.

OBVIOUSLY there is more to the story than that but thats kind of the gist of what came out this morning.

Anyway, I feel that flu coming on so i will take it easy today as i slowly roast the chicken and pumpkin and as I close my computer and don't look at it again for a really long time. Peace to all, and enjoy your rest this Lord's day.

Mark Driscoll's R-Rated Study Bible and 11 more.

Internet Monk has a hilarious list of a dozen study bibles that should be released later this year. At least, they should be. Don't take him too seriously. HT: Todd Rhoades where I stole this picture.

Mdbible"The Mark Driscoll R-Rated Study Bible for Dudes. Freak out your reformed Baptist friends with Mark Driscoll’s comedic, rude and radically male centered interpretations of scripture. This is a study Bible that reaches the emerging culture while denouncing the emerging church. A fashion section helps you to see the scriptural mandates for mechanic’s shirts and hemp necklaces. Puzzlingly endorsed by John Piper, an alternative sheet of negative endorsements from various reformed bloggers is available on request. Profanity in red letters. Crude and shocking sexual episodes in blue. Bible doctrine is related to MMA throughout."

See the rest of the Bibles.

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Gutenberg and the Press that Made the Bible

Recreating the printing press that Gutenberg likely used to print his famous 42 line Bible on a short TV series now on YouTube. Thanks to the people in my Yahoo letterpress printers group for the links. BTW - I managed to get my printer into my print shop last week after breaking down a wall. Very exciting.

The Machine that Made Us - Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

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