Tag Archives: David Alan Black

The Jesus Paradigm in Ethiopia

While author Dave Black was practicing the Jesus paradigm (no, I didn’t ask his permission to say that) in Ethiopia, his Ethiopian son Nigussie was reading his book.

As Dave said:

I thought you’d be interested in these pix I took when we were packing the vehicle for the drive from Alaba to Addis. I gave a copy of The Jesus Paradigm to our son Nigussie, who literally took the book with him wherever we went. It’s not every publisher who has his books read on top of a Land Cruiser in Ethiopia.

Yes indeed!  And I’m acquainted with that mode of transportation.

Dave and Becky Black have just returned from a visit to Ethiopia where the served in various parts of the country.  You can find more information and pictures of their trip on Dave’s blog at Dave Black Online.

(David Alan Black is the author of Energion books The Jesus Paradigm and Christian Archy.)

Continue reading The Jesus Paradigm in Ethiopia

Dave Black has been Thinking

I’ve been thinking…

The most dangerous tool in Satan’s arsenal is distraction. He loves to distract us with things that don’t matter. It won’t matter in the end of time whether or not we had fancy buildings in which to worship God. It won’t matter in the Day of Judgment whether we had impressive programs in our churches. It won’t matter one bit when Jesus returns whether or nor we voted for the “right” politicians. The only thing that matters is that we live as good citizens of heaven in a manner that is worthy of the Gospel. This is Paul’s word to us in Phil. 1:27. Listen friends, when Paul says “The only thing that matters” he means “The ONLY thing that matters.” We ought to ask God to test our hearts to see whether living radically for the Gospel is truly the only thing that matters to us. We need to be cultivating relationships with non-believers in our communities and around the world with a view to introducing them to the most radical, revolutionary Person the world has ever known. Paul perfectly illustrates the point: Here was a man who was totally consumed with the Gospel to the point of giving his life for it. Here was a man who sacrificed all the comforts of his good life in Tarsus to experience suffering because he loved other people more than he loved himself. Here is Paul in his own words:

Since you admire the egomaniacs of the pulpit so much (remember, this is your old friend, the fool, talking), let me try my hand at it. Do they brag of being Hebrews, Israelites, the pure race of Abraham? I’m their match. Are they servants of Christ? I can go them one better. (I can’t believe I’m saying these things. It’s crazy to talk this way! But I started, and I’m going to finish.) I’ve worked much harder, been jailed more often, beaten up more times than I can count, and at death’s door time after time. I’ve been flogged five times with the Jews’ thirty-nine lashes, beaten by Roman rods three times, pummeled with rocks once. I’ve been shipwrecked three times, and immersed in the open sea for a night and a day. In hard traveling year in and year out, I’ve had to ford rivers, fend off robbers, struggle with friends, struggle with foes. I’ve been at risk in the city, at risk in the country, endangered by desert sun and sea storm, and betrayed by those I thought were my brothers. I’ve known drudgery and hard labor, many a long and lonely night without sleep, many a missed meal, blasted by the cold, naked to the weather.

Wow! Anyone you know ever suffered like that for the Gospel? Listen friends, our world today has 6.4 billion individuals living in 234 geo-political nations with over 16,000 people groups. Of those people groups, more than 6,900 remain least-reached. This simply means they are a people group lacking an indigenous community of believing Christians with adequate numbers and resources to evangelize their own people. This means that 1 in 4 people groups remain without access to the gospel. Here’s a partial listing of them.

Our Lord Jesus was careful time and again to stress the cost of all-out devotion to Him. Our church rolls are loaded with people who claim to be following Jesus but who have no idea of His priorities for the church. What many churches need is a big farewell party in which we tell this age goodbye. We sing “Content to let the world go by” while wearing ourselves out trying to keep up with it! Well, I have said my goodbye to cheap Christianity. I have said my goodbye to raising up vast edifices of wood, hay, and stubble. I have said my goodbye to a little religion. I have said goodbye to the cheap satisfactions of this world. I am fed up with the husks of swine. The water of Life, the meat of the Word, the manna of Heaven – there is a King’s table waiting for the believer, and the supply is inexhaustible. True missionary activity should be the outflow of who we are in Christ. It is one thing to pay God a tip on Sunday morning. It is another thing to submit to His plan and program in uncompromising, unquestioning obedience every day of our lives. John Piper puts it well:

We do not believe Jesus when he says there is more blessedness, more joy, more full and lasting pleasure in a life devoted to helping others than there is in a life devoted to our material comfort. And therefore the very longing for contentment which (according to Jesus) ought to drive us to simplicity of life and labors of love contents itself instead with the broken cisterns of American prosperity and comfort.

What a time for the church in North America to be drunk with her own amusements and comfort and success when she should be awake and alert to the Lord’s commission! His business is our business as Christians. We have no other. There is only one way to handle the problem scripturally and that is to surrender our unsurrendered selves, repent of our ingrownness and self-centeredness, and then get back to being about the Father’s business!

Students, I challenge you to love Jesus more than anything or anyone else. I challenge you to accomplish great things for the kingdom sacrificially. I challenge you to love the lost more than you love your comfort. There are a good many causes you can get caught up in, but there is only one cause that is worth living and dying for. Rather than blindly going along with the culture and even with the church subculture that is focused on itself, I challenge you to go wide with the Gospel among your friends and to the uttermost parts of the earth.

Let’s live for the Cause of all causes!

(From Dave Black Online, used by permission.  Dr. David Alan Black is author of Energion Publications books The Jesus Paradigm and Christian Archy.)

On Being a Godly Man

CarpenterArthur Sido asks, “What does a real man look like?” His answer:

What the Bible shows us is incredibly counter-cultural. A man is someone who is humble, meek, loving and yet a leader, strong, a provider for his family. Men who love their brothers and are not afraid to say it and who love their wives and are not embarrassed by it. The church is called to recognize as leaders men not based on who is strongest or the best educated or who makes the most money. In other words, we are not called to follow the example of the world in our leadership.

Read Being a Christian dude. Well done, Arthur.

I’ll just add this: Godly manhood always focuses on Christ. It takes the initiative in building friendships. It radiates the fruit of the Spirit. It has firm convictions but is never overly-critical or condescending. It has a joyful, warm, and friendly spirit. It is other-centered. It is willing to risk rejection and censorship even from the Body of Christ.

A godly man is a walking miracle.

(From Dave Black Online, used by permission.  Dave Black is the author of The Jesus Paradigm and Christian Archy from Energion Publications and a number of other books.)

What Am I Doing to Serve Him?

Soccer

The great soccer coach Bill Shankly once denied that soccer was a matter of life and death. “It’s much more than that, ” he said.

One of the ways I’ve changed the most in the past several years has been in my attitude toward sports. Once an avid basketball player and a huge Rams and Lakers fan, now I find that I have no interest whatsoever in professional sports. I couldn’t tell you who is playing in the Super Bowl this year if my life depended upon it. Honestly.

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Gifts and Ministry

From Dave Black Online:

Brother Jason’s message today from Acts 4-5 was a wonderful reminder to me that the church needs to be generous at all times, not just when disaster strikes. What an encouragement — and warning! — this passage must have been to the early church, and what a strong exhortation it could bring to many in our own day. Our American churchianity often puts our needs and comforts above those of others. Our culture is smug and self-centered. Jesus insisted that His followers care for the vulnerable. That, after all, is how He lived.As Jason was speaking, my mind wandered (sorry, Jason!) to another passage that speaks about generosity, namely James 1:17. In church I happened to have the NET Bible with me (along with my Latin and Greek, of course), and I was delighted to see how Dan Wallace & Co. had rendered this verse: “All generous giving and every perfect gift is from above….” Fantastic! This verse contains a great but often overlooked truth: Not only do our gifts ultimately come from God Himself, but even our desire to give — our propensity to be generous, if you will — is the product of God’s grace at work in our lives. This truth is masked, of course, in the NIV’s rendering, “Every good and perfect gift is from above….” What a horrible conflation of the two different Greek words here for “gift.” (The NIV, to be acceptable here, simply needed to add a note giving the literal. Sadly, it often fails to do that.)

All of which means that I can take no credit either for what I give or for the desire to give it!

Dave Black is the author of The Jesus Paradigm and Christian Archy from Energion Publications as well as numerous other books.  This extract is used with his kind permission.

People are Vulnerable to Love

From Dave Black Online:

People are vulnerable to love. That’s one of the points Becky emphasized with the middle schoolers today. She told the story of a Muslim man in a small village in southern Ethiopia whom she had outfitted with a pair of non-prescription reading glasses. When he left the church compound he told the leaders, “Never have I seen such love as in this place.”

Continue reading People are Vulnerable to Love

New Review on A New Covenant

Lionel Woods concludes:

I highly recommend this work. Dave Black sets out to show us that Jesus’ Paradigm isn’t what the world deems valuable. For us Christians (disciples/followers) we have to sit down with our ledger and attempt to reconcile it with Jesus’ commands, wherever there is a variance we are to fix it. Much of what Dr. Black talks about will have to come through the grace of Jesus; however, Jesus himself says “whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you”. That is when we ask with His heartbeat, mostly I have asked with my own. Thanks Dave for a wonderful challenge.

Unity and Diversity

From Dave Black Online:

In theology class recently we discussed the seventeenth chapter of John’s Gospel. Let me outline what I said. (Much of what we discussed was based on an essay I wrote several years ago for a somewhat obscure journal called the Criswell Theological Review. The essay is titled “Structure and Style in John 17.” If you would like a copy, let me know.)

The church consists of people who know God personally through Jesus Christ. These people come from many different cultures and backgrounds. There are as diverse as diverse can be. Yet they are all one, united in the very same way that Jesus is united with His Father. What does this unity look like? This is a question to which scholars have given many different answers. What is absolutely certain is that unity does not mean uniformity. It has nothing whatsoever to do with bland sameness. It involves a unity of spirit, an identity of purpose, and a commitment to brotherly love. One evangelical scholar argues that the church is like a huge army marching under different regimental banners. It is not supremely important what regiment we belong to. What matters is that we all follow the commanding officer.

I resonate with this analogy. For many years now I have reenacted the American Civil War. Each regiment has its own customs, flags, esprit, and idiosyncrasies. Yet despite the fact that the army marches under many different flags, each regiment is expected to obey the commanding officer and work together as a unit.

As followers of Christ, we must never forget that Jesus came into the world to inaugurate the kingdom of God. In this kingdom, national and tribal allegiances are unimportant. They are superseded by our loyalty to our Commander-in-Chief. If, by a miracle, unity ever became a “first order” category in our Bible-believing, evangelical churches, evangelism might become our one overmastering passion. I am told that as a Baptist I must fight for Baptist distinctives. Some would go further. They would say that I am not to eat the Lord’s Supper with those who hold to “wrong doctrine” — pedobaptism, for example. How avidly we cling to our distinctives! But our supreme aim can NEVER be to exalt our own regiment. The Commander asks us to follow Him. And if we make that our aim, surely we will realize that the things that unite us in the kingdom are much more important than the things that divide us.

In a word, evangelicals are to be a people who are united for the Gospel. The kingdom of God transcends every manmade barrier we can erect — race, education, gender, color, background, nationality. Think of the leadership of the church in Antioch (Acts 13:1). They had a Cypriot (Barnabas), a dark-skinned man (Simeon “the black”), a North African (Lucius from Cyrene), an aristocrat (Manaen, a member of the Herodian family), and a Jew (Saul of Tarsus). What made their joint leadership possible? I dare say that the “fellowship of the Spirit” (Phil. 2:1) was more important to them than their obvious differences. That humble attitude paid handsomely. The congregation at Antioch became a missionary sending church, as every local church should be.

I believe that most churches today could do a great deal more to encourage this outlook. We can hold city-wide meetings with other congregations, or we can combine services with the church next door, or we can come together for prayer meetings. Perhaps this would help us catch a glimpse of the true catholicity of the church. It is necessary to emphasize that we must depend completely on the Holy Spirit if we are to achieve such unity. The Spirit was given to us, not to make us comfortable, but to make us missionaries. It was the Spirit who drove Paul and the other early missionaries to “struggle together in one soul for the faith of the Gospel” (Phil. 1:28). It is He who dismantles our pride and enables the lovely fruit of the Spirit to take root in our lives. This, I believe, is what Jesus prayed for in John 17 — a church whose fellowship was real and vibrant, and a church devoted to evangelism.

When the Spirit is freely welcomed among us again, who knows what the results might be?

P.S. I should note that I do not reenact the Civil War because I seek to glorify that war or any war for that matter. Quite the opposite. I seek to educate the public about what life was like in the encampments of the period.

David Alan Black is author of The Jesus Paradigm and the forthcoming book Christian Archy from Energion Publications along with 20 titles from other publishers.  This extract from his blog is used by permission.