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As a pastor, do you ever get the feeling that no matter what you try, nothing much seems to change? That is because the ministries themselves are not redemptive--they are not up to you. Only Jesus' ministry is redemptive. Jesus has to ''show up.'' Theologian Andrew Purves explores at the deepest level the true and essential nature of Christian ministry. He says that the attempt to be an effective minister is a major problem. Ministers are ''in the way.'' He radically claims that ministries need to be crucified. They need to be killed off so that Christ can make them live. Rooting church service in Christ's own continuing ministry, Purves provides a vision for students and practicing clergy to reclaim the vital connection between Christ and participation in his ministry today, even if it means letting Christ put to death the ministries to which pastors cling so closely. A radical appraisal for a critical malady affecting the life of the Christian church written in plain, down-to-earth language.
Fichtner offers a striking retelling of the passion narrative that enables anyone to participate in the crucifixion today as a Peter, Mary Magdalene or Mary, Mother of Jesus, not only in suffering but also in the triumph. He vividly retells 38 of Jesus' stories by characterizing 15 people who are somehow involved in the crucifixion of Christ. Each presentation concludes with a reflection-prayer which updates the event of the crucifixion and shows its personal and social implications.
From the earliest days of Christianity, Mary Magdalene has been the subject of controversy, rumour and innuendo. This volume says, the historical Mary was neither a prostitute nor the wife of Jesus. Shortly after Jesus died, Mary had a powerful experience of the living Jesus and, as a consequence, became the first apostle of Christianity.
How do we understand Jesus' present activity in a challenging, post-Christian context? Leading thinkers in pastoral theology, homiletics, liturgical theology, and missiology consider how to recognize the divine presence and join in what God is already doing in all areas of church ministry. With deep theological reflection, personal stories, and practical suggestions, this is a compelling interdisciplinary conversation.
On the integration of theory and practice, theology and experience in Christian ministry.
This book presents the Biblical account of how Satan's figurative crucifixion in the Old Testament led to Jesus' literal crucifixion in the New Testament (Num. 21.4-9; John 3.14-15). First, God wants humanity to view the crucifixion of Satan in believing he is the cause of their sin problem. Second, God wants humanity to view the crucifixion of Christ in believing He is the cure of their sin problem.
Preachers mount the pulpit steps terribly burdened by the conviction that they are somehow responsible for the growth and spiritual well-being of their congregants. How, they ask themselves, can mere words communicate the reality of God, bring life to a congregation, or foster spiritual growth? This study argues that effective sermons function much like Jesus' parables--by bearing witness to divine power. Parables and preaching both testify to something beyond themselves: to a life-giving dynamic that far outstrips the force of words alone. Preachers are not go-betweens or gatekeepers for the kingdom of heaven: rather, they imitate Jesus by dying to themselves in the very act of proclamation, relying directly on God for their sermons to bear fruit. As well as offering a novel interpretation of Jesus' agricultural parables, Of Seeds and the People of God presents a Christ-shaped theology of preaching. Beyond exegesis or rhetoric alone, faithful proclamation is a question of spirituality, of preachers and listeners together yielding to God's gift of new life.

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