Happy Birthday! Oh, and can you pick up your room!
Friday, February 26, 2010
Happy Birthday! Oh, and can you pick up your room!
Thursday, February 25, 2010
For a metropolitan area of nearly 5 million, you would think that someone around here would know how to use turn signals.
I have been living and working in greater Boston for over 3 years. You've heard about us on the radio. Songs like Dirty Water (Standells) and Beantown (John Cena) and Skinhead on the MBTA (Dropkick Murphy) only begin to tell the story. We are well known for the Sox, hockey great Bobby Orr, the band Boston, launching a few of the 9/11 terrorists from Logan Airport, the 22 Billion Dollar Big Dig and TRAFFIC.
Boston only rates number 8 in the Top Cities for Traffic Congestion - I am assuming that is on a scale from 1 to 5.
Each day commuters vie for position on the Mass Pike. They have added another Fast Lane on my route. Even with a speed limit of 15 MPH through the electronic toll, my record is 4 MPH with a strong tail wind and distance of 61 feet from stop to stop.
The traffic problem is 2-fold. First there is the road designed by freshman engineering students using Spin-Art. For which one unintended consequence is the Zipper Ride effect at the tollbooths. Cars entering on the right need to pass to the left lanes, and cars entering on the left, need to merge right. The well oiled process goes rather well, albeit slow, until someone from "outta state" screws things up.
For 22 Billion, our commuters save, on average, 1 minute and 40 seconds twice a day.
Personally, my 14 mile commute averages 2.657 MPH on a good day, and 1.903 MPH on a not so good day. That's certainly a safe speed. I just can't understand why my car insurance is $2,000 a year. And should I get in an accident, I have 5 MPH bumpers - that's a pretty safe margin of error. And hell, the airbags don't go off until 20 MPH - my thumbs are safe for now.
I meet lots of folks during my commute and I'd like to introduce them to you. (They are nothing like the ones on I-26 in East Tennessee.)
The Bagel Boy: He is diving a late model blue Lexus, and I often see him spreading cream cheese, on what appears to be a poppy seed bagel. (Probably works in sales or brushes teeth in the men's room) Apparently he doesn't speak Spanish, because at my Dunkin' Donuts, they'll add the cream cheese for you if you make the spreading motion with your hands and say "por favor."
The Blond Snob: She drives a black Volvo XC60. She does the Zipper while talking on the cell phone and brushing her hair. She's a real muti-tasker and probably an idiot marketing executive for some failing bio-tech company.
The Executive: He's driving a silver Mercedes Benz, taking blood pressure medication with coffee and trying to squeeze out subordinate drivers by pretending not to see them.
The Weaver: This is the guy who is new to the game. They drive various sorts of leased vehicles, but it seems that the BMW 325i is the favored model. They may on occasion, pretending to be from Ohio, use that blinding yellow turn signal. He is always searching for the fastest moving lane hoping to trim .006 seconds off his travel time. I know, that was the difference between Bode Miller's Bronze and the Gold Medalist last week. I'm just not that competitive.
The Skeptic: This is one of those drivers over 40, usually in a huge American made car, that just doesn't believe the GPS. (They didn't have computers when he was in High School). He is still out there looking for *cough* street signs in Boston. He can't even decide which lane to use at the tollbooth. And on occasion, our friend is known to use a left hand signal to cross 14 lanes of toll traffic just to make a U-Turn west bound. If I only drove a snow plow!
The College Punk: I am not sure what he drives, it's got so may bumper stickers on it. Some of it is interesting reading, and I don't get the Wall Street Journal any longer. The Darwin Loves You is a bit much. I am scheduled to cut him off on the 23rd.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
How about you, do you think God's mad at you? Do you feel guilty for anything, and you can't seem to get relief? Are you certain your eventual face-to-face meeting with God Almighty is going to be worse than a bad interview at fast-food joint?
A lot of people see God as a "Mad Dad."
If you read the Bible and do a search for the word "Hell," there are only 14 results in the NIV. If you search for Heaven, there are 606. Think about it, Heaven is much more on God's mind than Hell. And there are 42 verses with the phrase "Eternal Life!"
I am not sure why we think that God is mad all the time, or that He is sitting there trying to find us doing things wrong, just so He can whack us. The Bible says quite the opposite - but I suspect that you've read it and don't really believe that. I mean after all you are certain that grace is good, and judgement is bad - aren't you?
A lot of folks didn't have the best father, and I was one of those. Beyond all your own personal "father" experiences; whether good or bad, think about the father that you might have looked up to. What would he have been like? What qualities would he have possessed? What would the best father you could imagine be like?
I hope you'll take a few minutes to visualize the perfect father at the different stages of your life.
You're 3-years-old, and in bed. You hear a strange noise in the faint glimmer of the nightlight and start to cry. What does the perfect father do?
You laying in the bed and you look forward to your dad coming into kiss you good night? When he shows up, what does he say? Is it predicated on your behavior? Would it be different if you broke his favorite electronic gadget that day?
You are on just horsing around and your dad tickles you until you say stop. Was it fun?
You graduate from Kindergarten. What does he do then?
You get in a fight with your sibling, what does the perfect dad do?
You put a baseball through the the neighbor's window, and your dad finds out from Mr. Smith. What does he say to you? What do you say to him?
You scored the winning goal on the football field. What would your dad say then?
You cheated on your income taxes, what would he say now?
You got a promotion at work?
You were divorced?
You were arrested for DWI?
We all make mistakes, and have troubles. That is part of life, and living in a fallen world.
Let me just say that perfect dad, always says the same thing.
Acts 13:38 "I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.
The real problem is that no matter how good God is to us, or how bad we think our lives have become:
Romans 3:12 All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.
That is why we need the Good News.
Romans 8:39 Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Do you beleive it?
Monday, February 22, 2010
For the record, let me say that I hate celebrity worship and publications like People Magazine. I used to like the tabloids because the they had outrageous headlines like: Elvis Returns from the Afterlife to Date Jenna Bush, and Aliens Abduct Obama, Biden Now President - Aliens Return Obama Upon Finding Out! As a kid I did have a few sports heroes, and wanted to be like some of my favorite music legends. But that is what kids do, not adults! I took down my Jimmy Page and Bobby Orr posters when I got married - I think my wife took the Mark Spitz one.
I don't really care where Tiger Woods keeps his putter. If I was his friend, I would suggest keeping it locked up - well at least when his wife is mad. If she can take out the window of an SUV on the move, then she could kill him with it too.
Stack, now that's another story. So what makes him a hero in some folks eyes, and a terrorist in others? Perspective. In my eyes, he is neither. Let me start by saying that no one that flies a plane into a building, taking lives in the process, is a hero. He did, however; bring to light some things that he felt were unfair in this society. If our US legislators were listening, it might have turned out differently - who knows.
He died for something that he believed in. As ridiculous as it may sound, Christians should take note.
He is not a terrorist because he was taking his anger out on a group of folks that he had intimate knowledge of, according to news reports. They were not random infidels that he was unfamiliar with. I am sure that the IRS made some portion of his life miserable and he was simply trying to get some sort of sick revenge. It is doubtful that there will be a movement of affluent pilots taking revenge on the IRS.
The other man killed in his suicidal joy-flight, was a Vietnam vet, and the only hero in the story.
As a Christian, I can only defer to the words of Jesus when it comes to taxes. Mark 12:17 Then Jesus said to them, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's." And yet we know that when it comes to obeying the Lord, like Daniel, we are to are to stand for our Christian beliefs regardless of the consequences. My suspicion is that Mr. Stack violated this principal and was mad about those consequences.
For the record, I am not thrilled with the US tax codes either. I think it is way over complicated when a Flat Tax or Fair Tax could easily work. As has been demonstrated over and over recently, Washington is out of touch, and based on some of the new candidates, they are not getting the message.
I guess what makes this a much more newsworthy story is that a lot of Americans identify with Stack. Many of them are members of the TEA Party movement. Few if any, can identify with an egotistical golfer.
As a Christian I am offended by Obama's comments about Christian's "guns and religion." The is like saying people are idiots if they support the 1st or 2nd Amendments - or any Constitutional Amendments.
We simply need sane leadership, a balanced budget and to address important issues, like the economy, ending the wars, health care and unfair taxation coupled with wasteful spending. That I could feel good about voting for.
I wonder what it would have been like if Colin Powell flown a plane into the IRS building? Would celebrity status have changed things? I doubt it. To the contrary, if a no-name golfer cheated on his wife, who would care.
What do you think?
Saturday, February 20, 2010
So, who gets to go to Heaven when they die? And more importantly, how do you get there?
If you read yesterday's blog entitled, Have You Wondered Why Man Can't Fly and the Church Can't Get Along?, then you know that there are many opinions - and a lot of myths about the Christian religion.
Most Christians would say the Bible is the 411 on the "Who Goes to Heaven" game. And for sure, there are other thoughts on the afterlife. Billions of folks claim to be Christians, we've discussed that before. For those that are atheists, we have previously discussed that too. For those that just want to believe in god, any god, I have addressed that as well HERE.
Today's blog is addressed at those that want to go Heaven. It is not a debate, but a discussion.
As we discussed yesterday, there are many views as to how to worship God as a Christian, but few disagreements as to what the "central truth" of the Bible is. The Bible contains the Jewish Torah; the Law and the Prophets, as well as the Gospel Accounts of Jesus, the Book of the Acts of the Holy Spirit, the Revelation of John, and the Epistles of Paul. There are 66 books in what is called the biblical canon.
It took a few hundred years for this collection of writings to be "approved." And yes, there are some other books that were written, but like most church folks, they could not agree on them. The reason, they were not used is that they were NOT consistent with the "central truth." Their inclusion would have caused wide spread contradictions to the 66 collected books.
I know, it all sounds a lot like "chance," so how could it be God? First, take a look at the "central truth" which is called the Nicene Creed. If we can't agree on this, then we are not Christians. Whoa, brother David! Look, you can't be a Christian because you decided to be one, you can't be a Christians because your parents were, or because you were baptized, or because you attend church, joined a church, or signed a commitment card or think that you are a good person because you didn't commit a sin that someone else did. You, can't. That would mean that Christianity is a philosophy subject to the whims of man, changing culture and intellectual pursuit. It's not.
The difference between all other religions is NOT that Jesus said: "I am the truth the way and the light, and no one comes to the Father but by me." It is the simple fact that Jesus rose from the dead to prove his promise to you and to me as a sacrifice for your sins.
If Jesus did not rise from the dead, Christianity again, becomes a lie, not a religion. Think about it. How stupid would billions of folks feel to get to the end, and find out Jesus was not there? Heaven then becomes an eternal paradise without love, light, or the promised lack of pain and sickness in which we live as floating souls. That does not sound appealing, now does it?
For the record, the historical Jesus was written about in both the Bible, and by Jewish historians; most notably Josephus. Only agenda driven; narrow-minded intellectuals will say that Jesus did not exist, and that He did not rise from the the dead. Why? According to the Pharisees and the Scribes, the lawyers of Israel, everything was to be recoded with the utmost accuracy. That is one reason why the Old Testament Scriptures have little, or no meaningful discrepancies, in nearly 6,000 years! Furthermore; it was a Jewish law that everything legally be established by 2 or more witnesses. HERE is the account of everything that happened to Jesus pertaining to the central truth, as prescribed by the laws of Israel.
For those that think that the Bible is filled with mistakes, send them to me. I'd be glad to take a look.
For the moment, I am going to assume that we can glean something meaningful from the Bible - namely how to get to heaven. Good evangelicals will use some "tools" like the 4 Spiritual Laws or Romans Road to convince sinners to repent. They both contain excellent truth - but seriously, unless you are convinced that you to are a sinner, it is just more Bible talk.
If a heavenly afterlife is the benefit of some moral merit, then what is the criteria? As humans we tend to focus on others behavior. I am sure you can think of one person right away that does more bad stuff than you. Name the act: smoking, drinking to excess, promiscuity, cheating, stealing, pornography, abortion, murder, speeding, lying and the list goes on and on. Who makes these rules anyway? If you don't believe the Bible, how do you know it's wrong? Just because you detest lying, doesn't mean that it bothers me to cheat on my income tax.
So, what about heaven? Here is what I think - ain't that why you read this blog? I think Heaven of like going to the gym. We go to the gym to get exercise because we know it's good for us; that's the reason. One of the benefits of membership is losing weight, meeting others, and some casual talk as we wipe our ugly germs of the hand-grips for the next person.
Profound don't you think? Some of us that go to the gym are in near perfect shape, and others, like me, are more than a few pounds overweight. The facts are like this: all of us are going to die, all of us have germs, and most of us would like to think that the afterlife is going to better than this. HERE is more on Hell in case you are worried about that.
The real question is this? Do you need some spiritual exercise, are you happy with your life, do you feel a real purpose to your being, are you guilt free, not having any cares in the world? If you can close your eyes and sit quietly for 5 whole minutes, try telling yourself that you've never done anything deserving punishment. But please, don't tell yourself that there is someone else worse than you - I'm sure you don't hold a candle to Hitler - or Mother Theresa for that matter. Just remember, even she needed a savior. Can you sit there and be certain that you are going to Heaven? Can you sit there and tell yourself you are free of guilt?
Where are you going, and do you know for sure? Tell me about it.
Friday, February 19, 2010
The Gifts of the Spirit:
How do All the Gifts Work Together?
Putting it Together:
Thursday, February 18, 2010
If you enjoy Fire & Grace, why not Tweet it, add it to your Facebook links (links in the right side bar) or email it to a friend (Envelope icon below)? Thanks for reading along. David
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Saturday, February 13, 2010
An Army vet with two purple hearts and tours of duty in the South Pacific, Normandy and Korea, he was a bit tough, a bit shy, but well liked by just about everyone he worked with.
He wasn't always easy to live with, but he loved his family to the best of his ability. He was fiercely proud of every goal scored, every note; sour of otherwise, played, every job well done and was the world's best Grandpa to over a dozen grandchildren. His house was a shrine to his family, and hunting and fishing trophies.
Bob was a memorable character and my step mother always had a humorous tale to tell. She didn't mind telling him how it was, and one day she said to him, "Bob, we're incompatible, I'm a Pieces and you're stupid." I am sure she was diffusing one his more stubborn moments.
The problem was that he had failed to let anyone else in the house know what he was doing at 5 am. My step-mother thought he had taken his own life until he came in the room to let her know he the he "bagged a big one!" At which point she let out a lengthily stream of cuss words - well as the story goes.
My favorite time with dad was a fishing trip we took took to a local fishing hole called: Brush Shop Pond. There we sat on the fieldstone dam, eating sandwiches beneath the fragrant evergreens, listening to the waterfall, and talking about the "big one" as we cast lures into the still waters. I don't think we caught anything that say - but I sure wish that it had never ended.
Friday, February 12, 2010
In the world there are billions that are/claim to be Christians - I know I was surprised when I looked HERE. How many are in what denominations? HERE is that info.
2.1 Billion Christian worldwide with 84% of the US claiming to be Christian - that's a lot of bread and wine every month!
I find it interesting that only 1% define themselves as non-denominational or "other." That leaves a lot of folks that tow the party-line of their denomination. I am a little jaded living in New England, where we are predominately Roman Catholic; about 72%, where as the national average is only 22%. Oh yeah, and one more tidbit: only about a third of so-called Christians attend a church service every week.
This blog is not about denominations, it is about Christians. Regardless of what your basic doctrine is, or style of worship, saving faith in Jesus makes us a family; brothers and sisters in Christ. If we look at the subset of "true believers" - those that agree on salvation by faith, we can still further divide that group into a few groups - the very ones that I want to talk about today.
Lets say we have 5 levels of Christians - like a Jeopardy category. Pretend that I am Alex Trbek, and here is your category "Committed Christian."
$500 - The White Hot Christian, loves God and wants to serve Him.
$400 - Passionate Christian - loves God, fits Him in as much as possible - well, around work, family and church meetings.
$300 - Luke warm Christian - Gets up and goes to church each week, occasionally attending other events, and lives their life with a number of other priorities before God.
$200 - The Fair Weather Christian - It's what Christians believe, not what they do that matters. It is more fun to go on vacation then be at church. If God needs me, He'll find me.
$100 - The Nominal Christian - disconnected for church, the Word, from God.. thinks about church in religious terms, but not really motivated to seek after God.
Sure, this is the same type of "get better sermon" you have heard a hundred times. You might be thinking I just need to get going here - that's all - just get more into prayer, reading the word and getting to more church stuff.
What might be better is to just be honest with God. Hey, I'm just a $100 question. It just might be that if you are, you might get the Daily Double. The very little effort that you put into being up front with God, may in fact return you more than you thought possible. That's what I love about God. When we are real, so is He. When we get all plastic and religious, He may as well be too.
So, just be real and remember that God thinks you're worth a million even if you chose Commitment for $100.Matthew 25:14-30
Thursday, February 11, 2010
I received some comments from folks that really like their churches. That is great to hear! More often I hear from folks that are in the fringes, or not attending at all. That's one reason I am pushing for reform.
There are lots of different reasons why folks are down on church. Some do not feel significant in church, others don't feel that their church is really doing everything they should be according to thew Bible - others are just hungry for more of God and thirsty for the things of Jesus and can't seem to find it.
Today I'd like to hear from you - what was your favorite church experience? I want to know what you love about your church. I would also like to hear about a problem in your church that you were part of the solution.
Whether or not you go to church, if you were the pastor, what would be different?
If you don't want to comment - even anonymously, just email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Valentines Day is a good excuse to focus on being together and enjoying love.
I wrote about the the real Valentine's Day three years ago HERE. The holiday seems to have a few standard requirements according to Matt. But I have my own list:
I like to buy my wife flowers, and any day is a good excuse - even the dog's birthday! With three dogs the odds of hitting one of their birthdays is higher than the average - but just today is a good reason. Pre-Dave Ramsey, I used to get flowers for her more often. I stupidly agreed to a budget without flowers - but it has guitars as a line item, so I am afraid to renegotiate.
I don't know why flowers work for my wife (and lots of other women), but I'm not fixing what ain't broke. She loves them. They look nice, they smell nice, and they are cheap at the grocery store.
On Valentines, or any day, flowers give you a big bang for your buck.
Having three daughters is like living in a perpetual sea of female hormones. I have discovered that anything with hearts is considered "cute," and if I get an awww... I am well on my way to achieving the needed points on Valentines Day. I do have a few qualities that still need to be redeemed and hearts help. My wife might leave a list in her comment.
Chocolate is an essential ingredient to having a successful holiday celebration. It doesn't seem to matter what it is in - boxes, baked goods, pie and even whipped cream, they are all winners.
Stuffed animals make me Superman for the day! The softer and cuter, the bigger the win. On Valentines Day, the volume of gift giving we see at Christmas is significantly reduced. Therefore; I can concentrate on Plush Factor!
Cards are of extreme importance on any holiday - especially Valentines Day. Forgetting the card is like for forfeiting the game. Remember, a romantic card seals the deal. Without a thoughtful card - POOF! - you don't have a chance of getting lucky. WARNING: Be sure not to leave the sales receipt in it - the sales date is a contributing factor to the sincerity quotient. The closer the sales date is to V-Day, the romance factor is reduced logarithmically.
We are skipping the heart laden sexy underwear section because Christians get a little widgy about things like that. How many "Feed My Sheep" t-shirts have you seen in Victoria's Secret?
It is a good thing that Valentines Day is basically designed for men to romance woman, otherwise the requirements would be: showing up naked and bringing hot wings.
Monday, February 8, 2010
I also hear talk of revival, but even passionate believers with charismatic magnetism need to have a plan; a method of working that accomplishes the deeds of Heaven. It cannot be a legalistic framework, but must be a living breathing organism that can adapt to the changing needs of the church, and the surrounding community.
I talk a lot about what the church must do to jettison religious paradigms. Today I thought I would spell it out with opposites in no particular order.
|Knowing about God||Knowing God|
|Services||Spirit Led Meetings|
|Programs||Spirit Led Teaching|
|Pastor-centric Cells||5-Fold Equipped Elders|
|Efforts of Man||Works of God|
|Clergy Dominated||Participating Communities|
|Religious Meeting Oriented||Highly Relational|
|Attending Church||Being the Church|
|Member Focused||Community Focused|
|Cloning||Staffing for Weaknesses|
|Corporate Structure||Biblical Structure|
|Back Room Meetings||Full Financial Disclosure|
I'd be interested in what you think - but if you don't comment, at least vote.
Part two of the message was National Security. After hearing this: "An attempted attack, the priority is certain, I would say." Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair. (MORE) Apparently more needs to be done to secure America. Beyond the politics, the spin and rhetoric, doesn't it seem reasonable that we get our act together in terms of the State Department, CIA, FBI and NHS? As a Christian-American and human being, I prefer security over insecurity and war.
The current administration (that is the one that can do something - and the blame Bush credits are all used up MORE) needs to rethink their noble peace initiative. It appears to me, that Washington does not believe that we have a problem with domestic terrorism. I am sure that would have changed if the Underwear Bomber had succeeded in doing more than burning his crotch. (I am so tempted to make an off color comment.)
Part three of the message was accountability, responsibility, and policy over politics. As Christians, and now, finally, it seems as Americans, we need to vote for people that will do what they say regardless of their party affiliations. We should be praying, and looking for godly wisdom, not having "Christian sounding opinions."
And finally, Palin said "If there is hope for Massachusetts (voting for Republican/Independent Scott Brown) then there is hope for the Nation.
Saturday, February 6, 2010
If you are not attending church regularly, how would you answer the following question?
Church is _____________ and that is why I don't go.
A. Boring (I'd rather watch Good Morning America or Yo MTV Raps.)
B. Unfriendly and Hurtful (To hard to make meaningful friends and feel significant to leadership.)
C. Too Intellectual (All Word and no Spirit)
D. Doesn't Believe What I Believe (Not biblical, or too literal.)
E. All of the Above
Let's say you are one who has refrained from doing the Top 10 Stupidest Things Christians Do, you are pretty serious about Jesus with a strong foundation, but just can't stomach another church service for one or more of the above reasons. What do you do then? Good question.
Possibly you have weathered a desert experience and you still love Jesus, do some praying, listen to worship music, read the Word and give when you can. On the outside you say, isn't that enough? On the inside, you KNOW there's more.
Are you are looking for something refreshing and invigorating? Do you believe God for a drink of living water?
I have written a lot about what's wrong in the church, but today I am going to look forward, and try to provide a framework for what I believe God can use to dig a well - hopefully where you live.
To have a significant church that expresses the fullness of Christ, YOU need vision, perseverance, an apostolic plan (good blog outlining what that is) and some passion to reform your thinking too (I wrote about the HERE).
Let's get started with some bullet points.
- Tag, you're it! You are the church. Some churches are just 2 people and Jesus, others are big and have buildings. Your local church expression depends on you.
- If you can't find a church that God wants you at, then start a new one.
- You need to have vision. What's going to make your new church different from all the rest? (The answer has to be, by following Jesus.)
- The best foundation for a church is the one laid out in Ephesians 4. To get going you'll need prophetic revelation and some sort of apostolic plan - but without good pastoring, teaching and evangelism, you church will not grow to be healthy.
- No one needs titles and it is not necessary to select elders and deacons etc. These roles will fill themselves with prayerful consideration, right-sized egos and godly timing.
- You need to identify your role. You CANNOT be a do-it-all pastor. You will need to surround yourself with at least a few others (eventual elders) to have a balanced team. Staff for your weaknesses, don't try to clone yourself!
Remember, personal burden + previous and current revelation + God's timing = New Church Plant.
Check list for gifting - how do YOU fit in:
- If you have a heart for people's spiritual and physical needs, that's pastoral
- If you have a heart for the lost, that's evangelistic.
- If you just seem to know what God is doing, and have a proven track record, that's prophetic.
- If you have a heart for the church to be functioning on all cylinders and making disciples, that's apostolic.
- If you have a heart for the Word of God, that's teaching.
So what are the elements of the plan?
-1 Vision: A vision that comes from God, and is practical - outside the box is always good if it is God. It is best to write it down, pray over it, and look for a few individuals that feel that God is in it. If you need clearer vision, find the person that you know who always has good ideas about church, and see if they can get some folks to come together. The vision must end up relieving the personal burden, be doable, and most of all has to be God. (Apostolic)
-2 Direction: You need to identify steps that will get you moving towards the fulfillment of the vision. Some will be very practical, but others will need to be by revelation. How will you choose one location over another? How will the vision be accomplished when obstacles arise? You need supernatural wisdom and revelation. (Prophetic)
-3 Meeting Community Needs: The most important reason for a local church is so that folks in your local can experience Jesus, his love, and become His disciples; hopefully replicating the vision over and over. (Pastoral)
The church must begin to meet the personal and spiritual needs of the community - not the religious fascinations of a few.
Here is the point in which a church is established - when 2 or more come together in His name. There are lots of practical things to be done: Format for the services; 1 Corinthians is a good place to start, meeting places, buildings, tax issues, worship team etc. I am a big fan of leadership getting paid, but never by salary. Love offerings are the way to go. (Pastoral)
-4 Reaching the Lost: A new church will probably attract other Christians at first, but beware, the purpose of church is ultimately to preach the Gospel message and reach the lost. There are lots of opinions on how the first year should go in a church plant, but all the members need to be looking for opportunities to share the gospel. (Evangelism) No church is going to survive without reaching the lost. God is not looking to create another Christian Ghetto for unsatisfied believers from other churches to hop to - He wants to reap the harvest.
-5 Teaching: All disciples will need to be taught. There are some folks that are excellent teachers, and they are not always pastors. The 5-Fold ministers are mandated to equip the others, while the teachers will bring insightful teaching to many aspects of the Christian life from relationship to marriage, addiction, victory and supporting doctrine.
The 5-fold roles will initially be the elders of the church. Eventually, the prophet and apostle will be moved on to another work in another location. The maturing church will probably replace them with additional teachers, evangelists or pastors. The apostle and prophet will hopefully have built a meaningful rapport with the pastor, and his resident elder-ship of evangelist(s) and teachers(s). In the same way that Paul the apostle wrote letters, they will keep in touch, be prayerful and supportive as the Lord sees fit.
The apostolic process is exciting - well, for the apostolic types. For everyone else it is a real adventure in faith.
Are you with me? Tell me what you think! And if you don't comment, at least vote!
There is much more about this HERE.
Friday, February 5, 2010
Let me be cliche - there is no testimony without a test.
Satan? He plays for keeps. You should remind yourself of that fact.
Prison, although not a normal part of life for American Christians, is certainly part of the deal.
Acts 16:25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody's chains came loose.
Will you pray for those in prison for the sake for the Gospel? Or maybe you'll join me on a trip.
What do you think, would you be cool with God if you ended up in prison as a living sacrifice - well, long enough for you to lose your job, possibly your home and end up in ruin?