waited on The question was posed by a fellow Twitterer, “Why do we make church about us”, there are many factors, reason why that is. The one that I believe is the gasoline on the fire for this attitude among attendees is this, the leadership, the pastor

To many pastors today focus on man, making church about the individuals wants and expectation, but not in a good way, it’s about making them happy and comfortable in the flesh. They use surveys and marketing firms to tell them how to make church into what the people what it to be about, centered on them. Even thou Christianity is about dying to self, and living for Christ and others. About dethrowning ours selves and becoming servants at the feet of the only true King, Christ Jesus.

To many churches today make church all about the right music, i.e. entertaining the the attendees, not real God centered worship, and pleasing Him. Rather than focus on moving hearts to fear God (Rev 14:7) and worship God with passionate love. They focus more on making the people tap their feet to rock star performances by hip bands, as if the people are at a U2 concerts and not at the feet of a holy God to worship in spirit.

It’s about how long the services is, after all God does not want to inconvenience you and take up too much of your time, because you have better places to be, right? How great the sound and lighting systems is as to pleasing them, after all that why the body gathers, right? It all about the attendees, right? Make sure you served the right coffee and donuts, that’s Communion, right? That you are comfortable and happy, after all that is what God is most concerned about for you, right? But what about what please God?

Yes church is about us, me in many ways, good ways, but only second to God. Like me worshiping and serving God. Me serving others, me praying for others, me encouraging others, me bearing the burdens of others. There is an element of me to church. Yes worship is to be to my liking, as long as my liking is the desire that God was worship and pleased, that I was able to cry out and sing praises to God, to Fall on my face before God. That the Holy Spirit showed up and moved with power among us. Not was I entertained, was I comfortable. Me doing the one another’s to others. Those are some good me’s.

But when you run church like a resort, a county club, or a grand hotel. That church is all about me and everyone is their to please “me”, entertain “me”, meet “my” every whim and want, I am the “King of the World” when there, it is all about “me”, every thing about that resort is to please “me”. the people can’t help but to believe that it is all about them, because it is.

Just something to think about.

feast Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.”

John 4:34

Most Christians today believe church is a passive activity today, believe getting feed is a passive act on their part, that getting feed at church requires action only on the part of others, others doing for them, like the pastor.

There is some truth to that in that the pastor is to be teaching the word of God, and not just about the word of God, not just feel good stories, but teaching the meat of the word as the apostle Paul calls it. But there is much more I think to getting fed than just good teaching alone, much more than just setting and listening.  At least it seams that way according to Jesus, because He adds another dimension to it, Doing.

To Him getting fed was an active thing on the part of the receiver. According to Jesus He got fed by doing the will of God and accomplish God’s work.

So the next time you hear someone say they are “not getting fed”. You should ask them, are you exercising your spiritual gifts for the good of the body? Who are you serving with God? What risks are you taking for God? What adventure of compassion did just returned from with the smell of God on my clothes? Are you seek and doing God’s will? And the next time we feel like we are not getting fed at church, we should ask ourselves the very same questions.

If we ask these questions maybe we will discover why we are not getting fed. Because there is no food in our lives, that food being Us doing the will of God for us to feast on. That is easy to fix, just take the list of one-another’s, talk about a feast to be had at church (there are 53 of them), they are the will of God for us to do, doing them  is helping to accomplish God’s work in His people. And that would also be loving one another, also the will of God for us, and the mark of being one of His disciples. That is a good place to start, a good beginning.

If we do that, I wonder if we could ever truly say we are not getting fed at church.

Sweatshops I was very angry when I was made aware of the fact that Christian items from bible covers to t-shirts are being made in factors which abuse and traffic workers, that is sweatshops.

The Just Holy Hardware Campaign in Australia launched last week as part of a movement to end slavery, especially slavery of children, in the production of religious items.  The initiative, aims to provide religious organizations in Australia with paraphernalia made under fair labor conditions, with a "no-slavery" guarantee.

This is something that should not be happing in the US, how can it be that Christian goods sold in Christian book stores are being produced in sweatshops, by human trafficked people, children. There should be someone taking up the cause to stop this practice such as the Just Holy Hardware Campaign to put an end to this practice here in the US.

The Association for Christian Retail needs to adopt a set of standards similar to the ones adopted in Australia, it would make a huge impact on the lives of the slaves who are right now suffering in silence while making religious artifacts. Send them a letter or call them and tell them you do not what Christian goods to be made by salve labor, in sweatshops, by people caught up in human trafficking. Tell the Association for Christian Retail to adopt a set of anti-slavery standards for the production of Christian goods by signing the portion on this link! That the good are to be produce by people earning a good wage, in good working condition.

Click here to sign a letter to end this practice here in the us here.

25 church planters Assemblies of God church has published a list of  “25 Groundbreaking Church Planters.”  This is not just a listing of church planters but their stories as well. A good read just for their stories, I would not say this is the list of 25 groundbreaking church planters because I would use a much different formula for determining who was groundbreaking, and of course it would not be limited to AG churches.Being that I am in no way associated with the AG I have  only heard of a couple of these guys myself.

You can download the PDF by clicking here 25_GROUNDBREAKING PLANTERS.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Not Natasha D Popa Dana Popa a photo-artist based in London who travelled to the Republic of Moldova and through her photos has document the experiences and the stories of sex-trafficked women and their families. Her book title is ‘Not Natasha’, ‘Natasha’ is the nickname given to Sex trafficked girls with Eastern European looks.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Moldova is one of the main trafficking source countries for women and children. It is estimated that between 200,000 and 400,000 women have been sold into prostitution abroad – up to 10% of the female population. In Moldova, Popa worked with the International Organisation for Migration Shelters and Winlock International where she was given access to photograph and document the experiences of 17 women who had been trafficked.

In 2007 Autograph ABP commissioned Popa to return to Moldova where she began to collect the stories of the disappeared and photograph the families, the homes and in some cases the children who have been left behind. Finally, Popa returned to the UK where she documented the spaces where trafficked women are forced into prostitution in the brothels of Soho, London.

Books like this help make the stories real and personal, they give a face to human trafficking, to the victims of the sex industry, people can easily dismiss faceless stories as not real. But when you look at the face of a young girl while reading here story, it becomes real, a real person, who’s life is being destroyed. The are no longer faceless.

Read the full story by Dana Popa, and see more photos from her series at Lens Culture.

This work was commissioned by Autograph ABP, and won the Jerwood Photography Award. It is currently on display in London at Photofusion Gallery through September 18, 2009. You can also buy the book, with more insightful essays about this worldwide problem. You may buy the book “Not Natasha” here.

Joshua Williams After seeing starving children on a “Feed the Children” program, five year Joshua Williams knew his life goal was to end hunger and suffering.

So at age 5 he has founded Joshua’s Heart Foundation for assisting those who struggle daily to procure food for basic survival. The main focus of his vision is to “Stomp out Hunger” in indigent and underprivileged communities, as well as from among those who battle debilitating diseases that affect their ability to earn enough to feed themselves.

“Since I was 5 years old, I have wanted to do something to help the poor,” Joshua wrote in his “Message from the President” on the foundation’s website. “I wanted to do this because I don’t want to see kids suffer. I am going to give people food and things so they can find a way to help themselves. Whenever I work, I will give some of my money to help.”

When I read his story not only am I inspired to do more myself, he shows us their is no excuse for not doing something, taking action. If a 5 year old can do something, how much more can adults with far more money, recourses’.

Joshua has proven there is always something you can do, and no effort is to small, that just $30 will feed six starving child for one month, even save their lives.

After concentrating on local hunger issues for two years, Joshua has recently added a focus to global hunger, and is considering a trip to Africa in the future.

“He just made up his mind that this is what he wanted to do,” his mom, Claudia McLean, told the Miami Herald. “There is no stopping him.”

They do things like the Back Pack Program, which provides low-income children with a backpack full of nutritious, nonperishable food.

How about you? What will you do today?

 

Visit his website: Joshua’s Heart Foundation

My site on ending hunger: The Isaiah Challenge

DCWalk On Saturday, September 26th 2009, the DC abolitionist community will come together to have their first annual DC Stop Child Trafficking Now Walk. September is Combating Human Trafficking Month, and the DC walk will be part of national anti-trafficking efforts, including walks in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Dallas, according to the walk’s website.

The walk has two main goals.

First, it aims to bring together the DC anti-trafficking community, including local authorities, businesses, and the media to raise awareness about modern slavery.

Second, the walk will raise money for anti-trafficking work, focusing primarily on efforts to fight child trafficking. 75% will go to Stop Child Trafficking Now, an organization that works to address the demand side of child trafficking, promoting efforts to investigate the buyers/predators who patronize child victims of sex trafficking. 15% will go to Courtney’s House, a safe-house in DC for child victims of sex trafficking, and 10% will go to DC Stop Modern Slavery.

If you live in DC or one of the other go and be part of this, be a voice of the voiceless.

When: Saturday, September 26, 2009.

Registration opens at 9:00 am
Walk begins at  10:00 am


Where: Meridian Hill Park (View Map)

   15th St NW and Euclid St NW
   Washington DC

Ways You Can Get Involved:

Walk or Start Your Own Team
Volunteer
Donate
Be a Partner

Havest crusades Ana The Harvest Crusades with Greg Laure made history Sunday night, breaking the 4 million mark of persons reached, with 329,572 making a decision for Christ. A 126,000 people filled Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Calf., last weekend with thousands more turned away at the gate. More than 4,500 people made decisions for Christ on Sunday, bringing the total number of professions over the three nights to 11,969, that’s 11,969 salvations in 3 days.

And over the last two decades 4,014,968 people have attended the crusades with 329,572 with decisions for Christ on this 20th anniversary weekend of them.

Greg Laure whom is one of my favorites pastors, I have known Greg for nearly 30 years, we go back to my/our days as Calvary Chapel. I set under his teaching for 10 years there, he is so gifted by God, endowed with the gift’s of both preaching and evangelism, I learned much from him. He has such great love and passion for Jesus, for the body of Christ and the lost, a true man of God.

In this day where it has become taboo to preach the gospel, teach the word of God and use words like sin, Hell and repentance. He unashamedly preaches the word of God as it is written, tells people they are lost in their sin and need The only Savor Christ Jesus and they must repent from their sins. And the result is 11,696 decisions for Christ in three days alone, proving the power of the gospel and the word of God.

He is the one model of a pastor – evangelist that everyone whom has such a call should learn from, imitate. Greg’s tag line should be theirs, “I have a Commander-in-Chief called Jesus, and He has commanded me to go into all the world and preach the Gospel.” And Go and do likewise!

Read about the Anaheim crusade here.

accountability Ed Stetzer did a post on he blog on Christian accountability group questions to ask, it is a very good list of sets of question posed by people like John Wesley, Chuck Swindoll, Neil Cole. Worth the read to see their list.

I have long be a opponent of Christians asking the same worldly get to know you questions when they meet strangers and even people they know, like at church. Here are some alternative questions to ask of others when you meet with them.

 

 

  1. What are your spiritual gifts?
  2. What is you primary calling from the Lord? (your ministry)
  3. In what way are you exercising your spiritual gifts daily?
  4. How did you fulfill Matthew 25:31-46 today by doing these things to Jesus, others, feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, taking in a stranger, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned?
    (Jesus said those who do not do these shall go away into everlasting punishment, So I would say they are important things to be doing.) 
  5. How did you seek justice, rescue the oppressed this week? Isa 1:17
  6. How did you defend the orphan, plead for the children? Isa 58:7
  7. Where you a father to the fatherless? How?
  8. In what ways did you share Christ and the Gospel with others today?
  9. Did you seek to love others? Love the body of Christ?
  10. How did you exercise your gifts for the good of the body when it gathered this week?
  11. Where you in community with the body this week (not just attend church)?  
  12. What did you learn in the Word today?
  13. Did you teach someone else what you learned in the word today/this week?
  14. Are are you discipling others? Pouring you life into others? 
  15. Did you seek to walk in the Spirit today?
  16. Did you seek and pursue the will of God for your life today? His plan for you? 
  17. How did you walk with Christ today, in all your ways?
  18. How did you encourage others in Christ today?
  19. Did you get a word from the Lord, for yourself, for the body, someone this week?
  20. How are you investing the Lords talents He has giving you? What are they and how?
  21. Are you staying untangled from the affairs of this world?
  22. Are you laying aside every weight and the sin which can easily distract you from the race? Heb 12:1 Tell me how?
  23. Are you running the race that is set before you for the Kingdom of God? Heb 12:1 Tell me how?
  24. Are you seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness over all else? In what way?
  25. Did you seek to bring healing to someone today?
  26. For whom and what do you have a prayer burden?
  27. Did you seek to display the fruit of the Spirit today?
  28. Did you live as to seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated in all you did today? How?
  29. Did you seek to take every thought captive in Christ today?
  30. Did you Set your mind on things that are above, not on things that are on earth? In what way?
  31. Did you seek to put to death everything that is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry? How?
  32. Where your prayers ‘Me’ centered or ‘others’ centered? 
  33. Did you seek to fulfill Colossians 3:1-17 today?
  34. (Ones in red I’m most passionate about)

There are more, this is just my basic list that came to mind while typing this. If we asked these of each other, keep each other accountable. Our lives would be keep on track, we would live for Christ, and seek of be imitators of Him. Stop with the worldly centered idol talk, the meaningless chatter that is not Kingdome centered, lets start let us be a cloud of witnesses, surround ourselves with a cloud of witnesses’ to cheer us on to the finish line for Christ, To live for Him and Him alone.

So I am committing to asking these questions of others from now on.

Read Ed’s listing of questions here.

moc2

What I am thinking…..

Our mind is so Key to our transformation, because what we think controls what we choose to do, Pr 23:7. So who and what ever controls our minds, is going to control our lives. 1 Cor 2:16

What we think effects how we feel, how we feel influences what we choose to do and believe, and our choices’ and beliefs produce our lives.

Our minds are to be in sync with, networked with the Spirit of God, our minds should be under His control.

The real battle in the Christian life is in the battle for our minds Rom 7:25. Satan wants to keep us double minded, so Jesus’ light in us will be quenched. He know whoever controls our thinking, controls our lives, Pr 23:7,Mat 6:23, 1 Jn 1:5-7. He knows double mindedness will stop our transformation, Luke 11:34b, Ps 11:3.

For the Christina a normal mind is one set on things above, an abnormal mind is set on things of the world and the flesh.

Be mindful of things above, not on things on the earth. Col 3:2

Finally, my brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are right, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue and if there is any praise, think on these things. Php 4:8

I know mine are not, been so carnal lately, so worldly, so sinful and  born of the flesh. I need the Holy Spirit to renew my mind, to sync my thoughts to His. To get the normal mind according to Jesus, not this world.

Image by Liyin