worshiping girl In a conversation with a friend who is about to get married led to me listing the four things I must see and experience in a girl in order to be wife material for me. These are nonnegotiable traits a girl must have.

1. She must be a passionate worshiper God. She must worship with great passion, with all her heart, words and body. She is the one you will hear signing her own love songs to God. She worships with raised hands, shouting out praises to God with a loud voice, and by dancing before the Lord. She worships prostrate before the Lord, and with jumping with joy. When she worships she sets her heart on entering the throne room, to see God’s face and will not relent tell She enters the throne room and sees God’s face and tells Him she loves Him. She worships to tell God her love for Him from her heart, in her own words she sings praises to God. Being entertained by a performance band on Sunday is not worship to her, Her hunger for a deep face-to-face encounter with Jesus drive her for real worship. Only thirty Minuets of worship is unacceptable to her, She is unsatisfied with anything less than a encounter with God, and when He shows up she does not want to leave His presents. Worshiping only on Sunday is unsatisfactory to her, she must, needs to worship God everyday at home, in the car anywhere and everywhere she is. She loves and hangs out in 24/7 prayer and worship places like International House of Prayer (http://www.ihop.org/ ).

2. She will be a woman of the Word of God. You only have to pick up her bible to know this, it is well used. When you open it you will find every page filled with highlighting, underling and hand written notes. It will be stuffed full of note paper with bible notes on them, the pages will be well worn from use. She is a person who really does read and study the bible daily, she knows the word of God from cover to cover because she has actual read and studied every word of the bible.

3. She is a passionate prayer warrior. She is a woman given to much prayer, she truly prays without ceasing. Her prayer mat in not in a glass case that says “Brake only in case of emergency”. She prayers with great passion, in the power of the Holy Spirit, with great love for God and others. She prays in the Spirit, that is she is under the control, leading and in the power of the Spirit, prays for the perfect will of God. She prays day and night not just in crisis situations. She is one who stand in the gap between the people, nation, world and God’s wrath. She is a Daniel and a watchmen when it come to prayer. Her heart brakes and her knee bends over things that brakes God’s heart, like starving children, children dieing of ADIS and malaria. She laments, weeps and is heart broken over the lost, over orphans and the homeless, she intercedes for the lost, to see them saved, to see the gospel preached.

4. She has a resume similar to mine in service to the Lord. My resume consists of a life time of service to God, and as the Apostle Paul says “I will show you my faith by my works” so her life must also show her faith with a life time of service to God, in ministry. Her life story should be similar to mine.

ConversationsThe following are some ideas by pastor Jeff Vanderstelt on having gospel conversations with people. I think these are great, a very good starting point.

1.Love Jesus: Our conversation about him will only be genuine if we really love him. Besides, we all talk about the ones we love the most. The reason many of us don’t talk about him is because our affections are not that strong for him.

 

2.Remind Yourself of the Gospel: If you’re affections for Jesus aren’t strong, remember what he did for you…everyday…throughout the day.

3.Experience Ongoing Gospel Transformation: Continue to submit yourself to the truth of the Gospel and walk out ongoing repentance. If you’re not experiencing the Power of the Gospel (Romans 1:16) yourself, you will not believe that the Gospel is powerful enough to save and change others. It is out of the overflow of your heart that your mouth speaks.

4.Pray for Open Doors to Share the Gospel: If you do, you will have opportunities to share the Gospel. Jesus said if you ask according to his will, he will give us what we ask for. I’ve found that I get opportunities to share the Gospel whenever I ask God to open doors to share.

5.Live a life that demands a Gospel explanation (1 Peter 2:11-12): Live the kind of life among unbelievers that can not be explained other than by the Gospel – live a life that demands a Gospel Explanation.

6.Live as Gospel Metaphors: Take time to identify all that is true of Jesus in the Gospel (Advocate, Suffering Servant, Mediator, etc…) and then ask how you might be able to live as these descriptions with your neighbors so that you can display Christ then declare why (i.e. Be an Advocate for others…Serve even when it hurts…Mediate for Reconciliation between neighbors…etc…)

7.Be Prepared to Share (1 Peter 3:15): Do you know the Gospel Story? Can you share the Redemptive plan of God from Genesis to Revelation? Practice articulating it with other believers so you are ready to give an answer when people ask.

8.Ask your friends who are observing your life Questions and LISTEN: Don’t just fill the space with words. Ask questions…then ask more questions…then more…seeking to discovering their deep longings, needs, disappointments, idolatry…looking for Gospel Need, common ground to start on, open doors to walk through…Get to know their Story.

9.Listen to the Holy Spirit: Ask God’s Spirit to show you the deep needs of their hearts AND ask the Holy Spirit to give you the question and words.

10.Pay attention to others Personal Worldview and the Culture’s Worldview: Everyone has a Creation – Fall – Redemption – Restoration Storyline…they just don’t all see Jesus as the Hero of the Story and us as themselves as the Hopeless Culprit. Listen for where their storyline is out of line with the Gospel and what part is in line with it. Then start with the common ground and move to what is out of line with the Gospel from that place. For instance with Environmentalists it generally is: Creation (Mother Earth) – Fall (Humanity) – Redemption (Humanity) – Restoration (Humanity and Mother Earth). The Biblical/Gospel Storyline is: Creation (God) – Fall (Humanity) – Redemption (Jesus Christ) – Restoration (Jesus in and through us And Ultimately Completed by Jesus). So, start with the Fall as the common ground and move from there (you may need to listen to the training to understand this one more fully).

Francis ChanTwo pastor and churches that have quickly become my favorites of late, love the teaching of these pastors and they way they do church. These guys are leaps and bound a head of every pastor and church in America, they get it, what it is and what it is about. The get the gospel, what it is and what it is about.

The number one position goes to Francis Chan and the church he pastors Cornerstone Community Church

The number two position goes to Jimmy Seibert and the church he pastors Antioch Community Church

And a close third place goes to Matt Chandler

And then there is my sure foundation pastors, that will always be there on my list. Chuck Smith and Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, he was my mentor, gave me my bible foundation. And Greg Laurie of Harvest church.

I would move to LA just to part of Francis Chan church in a heart beat if that where possible, he is quite possible the only pastor in the US doing biblical church. For example his church forsaked the building of a new 20 million dollar building and opted to give the money to the poor. They now give 50% of their income to the poor and missions. And he plans to get that up to 90% in the near future. I have heard many pastor over the years gilt people in to given to them by saying you can tell a man’s faith, commitment to God by his giving, where he spend his money. I now put that back on churches, show me how much they give to the poor and missions and I will tell you where their heart is. How much they love God. The national average is that churches give less than 3% of income to the poor and missions combined that is unexceptable. I will not support a church that gives less than 50% to the poor, and is also working to give 90% away.

Just listen to he message here on what church is.

oprahs big giveHow is it that Oprah is fulfilling Acts 2:34-43, James 2:16-15, Mat 25:31-46 and the church is not, why is she is known as the radical giver, the one who rescues the orphans and needy and not the local church. Why is she known for giving away millions and church as only a taker, the one who only wants your money.

Why instead of building super mega Christian entertainment centers and calling it a church, isn’t the church going out into the neighborhoods looking for needs and filling them. Finding the person who needs a wheelchair and buying it for them. Paying for the operation to save the life of a child, clothing the naked children, feeding the starving children, fixing leaky roofs. Giving away new cars to struggling families. Filling up the pantries of the widows. Building orphanages, schools and hospitals.

Fighting AIDS, malaria, and digging wells? Why isn’t the body the largest adopters of orphans? Why is Madonna and Angelina Jolie are seen as the rescuers of orphans, the adoption queens and not the church? We where commanded to take care of the orphans.

It should not be that people go to Oprah as the one hope for the needy, that the people are hoping that Extreme Makeover: Home Edition answers their prayers and comes to their rescue instead of God through the church. The church and God should be the first source of help on peoples minds not Oprah. Churches in the US spend less than 3% of their income on the poor, the needy and missions combined, Oprah gives away about 43% of her salary to the needy.

Oprah and the likes of her should not be fulfilling and getting the glory of Acts 2, James 2 and Mat 25, the church is to be doing that. The world should be crying over what God is doing through His church not watching Oprah and see her fulfilling Act 2 and crying over her and giving her the glory that should be God’s and His church.

The church needs to get back to the business, mission of being the church we see in Acts, doing what Jesus said in Matthew 25.

There is two churches doing it right, one is Cornerstone Community Church pastored by Francis Chan, read his story here.

While at first Friday, a monthly event in the art district here in Kansas City. Came across still another new church in the art district, the third one in a two block area.

I was amazed to find out while talking with the “pastor” that he said “we are not about reaching the area, we just want to gather here at this location”. He went on to explain they have no ambition or desire to reach the community in the area, just travel there from other parts of the city where they lived, because it is the cool and hip part of town and want to meet there.

I would not call him a “church planter”, and reluctant to even really call him a pastor, because he does not have the heart of the gospel or Jesus, for the heart of the gospel and Jesus is to reach the lost. Go and preach the gospel and make disciples is the call, mission of the church. Not to gather in in cool and hip places.

I am hearing such stories to many times these days, seeing no passion for the lost, no crying and weeping over the lost, no cry such as that of John Knox when he preyed “Give me Scotland or I die!”. I have a really hard time finding a “church planter” today who’s prayer, passion is that of John Knox for their neighborhood. Especial one’s who’s actions back up such a prayer.

spiritual gifts

“Going to church no more make someone a Christian than going to McDonald’s make one a hamburger”. Something well said by Keith Green in the 80’s. But it is also very true that going to church, attending church, does not make you part of the church. We are called to be the church not attend a Christian country club where a show is put on for us. Biblical church requires the participation of each and every member to happen, each is giving a gift for the edification of the body. Each is given a spiritual gift that makes up the body of Christ. If someone is not exercising their gift each time the church gathers, that gathering of the Church is incomplete.

We are to be an active part of every gathering of the church, no one is to be an observer, each is there to an to contribute to the functioning of the body.

We are to ” strive to excel in building up the church.” 1Co 14:12, every Sunday, every time the church body gathers each of us has a part to do to make it happen. From God perspective it’s pointless for anyone to be there that is not contributing to the function of the church, He has given each a gift, part, place in the body to make church happen. And He says that no part is “indispensable” (1 Cor 12:22). As a pastor I can tell you I would rather have a gathering of 10 people whom each is exercising their spiritual gifts for the good of the body every time we gather, that a stadium filled with 10,000 observers.

Read 1 & 2 Cor, learn of the gifts and the part each of us is to play in the church, and if you do not know your gifts, seek them out, and go to the assembling together of the church with the expressed intent of exercising them. Let me give you some help here no matter what someone tells you changing diapers, passing out programs or directing traffic in the parking lot are not spiritual gifts. They can be service to the institution of the church, but not what God has in mind for you or limits you to. Do not let anyone sell you short in believing that is your “calling”, service to the body.

People have really never seen the real church in action tell they go to one where every single person is exercising their Spiritual gifts for the good of the body. Where there are no observers only functioning parts of the body. It is a glories sight to behold, it is the fullness of Christ manifested.

The goal of community with Jesus and His disciples was not to just gather, study the scriptures and leave. It was family with a focus. Friendship with a purpose. It is all about life on life discipleship.

Here is a scale and simple test:

You do Not have community: If you miss church and no one notices, so no one calls you to see why you missed.

You might have Good community: If you miss church and people notice, and you get phone calls after church wanting to know where you where.

You might have Great community: When everyone knows why you where not going to be there a head of time because they do life with you daily and know what is going on in your life.

I believe that when is comes to being called to be a church planter and pastor, that the choosing should be up to God to decide who is, the churches job is to be able to recognize whom God has chosen. I think if a church of church planting organization wants to know who to back, ordain, send out. Simply look for the one doing it, yes I believe it is that simple. Looking for the one out fulfilling the great commission, who is out planting the gospel. The one that God is using to disciple the ones He is calling to follow Him. Look for the one who’s house if bulging at the seams from the number of new believers that fill his house every week to be discipled, feed the word and to have community together.

Look for the one whom God has anointed to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn;” and is doing it, not just talking about it.

Look for the ones who weep over the lost, who are men of much prayer, who labor day and night for the gospel. The ones who nether need your permission to plant or pastor. Nor can be stopped by you in doing so. Not the one focused on money, buildings, programs and professional entertainers.

Look for the ones God is bring up gathering of believers our of the wake of his faithful gospel panting.

Look for the one whom the Spirit is upon and speak the word threw him, that others just natural flock to them to be shepherd, to learn from, to follow.

When you find such men, you have found God’s choice, the one God is using to plant churches, he is the one already doing it.

call of God

I have taken note of late how so many church planting groups have set up very long list of requirements to both be a church planter and pastor. But yet I find no such list or requirements by God in scripture. One group that I have a connection to takes the requirements for elders and bishops in the bible and applies those to planters and pastors, but that is not what the scriptures say those requirements are for are for. So they are taking it upon them selves to apply those requirements to being a pastor.

If one looks at scripture what one will find is God uses whom He wants to do His work in the top areas like prophets, pastors, leaders such as Kings. And He has always it seem used the worst sinners He can find. The ones He knows will screw up big time. Unlike so many groups today who say you must be not only sinless but can never at any time in your life sinned or have any faults at all. And if you every do sin, you are out, fired. But yet God has never done that, required such a thing.

When I look at scripture what I find is that God chooses whom He wish without regard to who man thinks should be the one. In fact through out history His people have overwhelmingly be opposed to His pick to sever and speak for Him. Like Jesus said, “no prophet is accepted in his time.” When He picked David He passed over David’s 6 older brothers for the one no one expected to the one. When He called Saul, out of all the Pharisees he pick the worst one, passing over the Nickodemus’ in lieu for the one who was against the church to plant churches.

God sums it up in 1 Co 1:27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.

You see God picks and uses sinners even the worst sinners to hold the highest offices in His kingdom, the most important jobs, He uses murders, adulterers, cheats, and liar’s, even men of the worst kind of sins. So that He and He alone gets all the credit for what the person does, so that unlike so many today do, take credit for what they are doing, or claim they deserve the calling based on their own righteousness. Bur rather they must claim it is only by the mercy and the righteousness of Christ alone, anything good they do is God not of their own merit or ability.

social media

Facebook, Twitter, Text messaging, Facebook are the main player in the new world of what is known as social media, the way people have chosen to communicate with each other, socialize with others. While everyone is praising these new medias, and I use them my self, I Twitter and Facebook. But I must say I believe it is creating a new generation of people whom never emotionally engage in real relationships with others. Deep heart felt communication is not at the heart of this media.

Because people are limited to 160 character limit, as is Facebook and Twitter is limited to 140 characters, so people are learning to be brief in their communication, to nether be personal or get personal connected with others, they are a someone of whom we have no physical connection at the time. And if your a blogger if you say more than a short paragraph about something you get comments left saying your blog is to long. And not only are people texting more than actual talking to people on their cell phones, the high cost of cell time forces people to keep conversation short and only during off peak times.

My Point being is are these social media venues really scalable activities, are they making us more intimate people. Making us deeply committed to others, making us open expressive people?

Research has proven (as all salesmen and public speakers have known for decades). That true human communication only occures in face to face contact, and there are three major parts in human communication which are body language, voice tonality, and words.

* 55% of impact is determined by body language–postures, gestures, and eye contact,
* 38% by the tone of voice, and
* 7% by the content or the words used in the communication process

So we are limiting our communication down to a only 7% of our know means of being receptive to the other person and being received, understood by the other. We are eliminating to two most important elements in human communication, the other person and ourselves. Our physical presents creates 93% of our communication ability. Our voice, facial expressing, tone of voice, our body motions, hand gestures. Our emotions which control our body and voice can only be expressed though our physical presents, not our words alone, especial in a 140 character or less.

Is this the future of marriage, a text from one room to the other, or short unemotional bits of information across a dinner table. Parenting by text or Facebook. Are we socially going to end up looking like all those SciFi movies that showed future generations with no emotions, no intimacy, where we just rome around like robots exchange only necessary date to complete work. I wounder.

I’ll take the old days of good old face to face long intimate conversations, you know grab a brew with the guys any day. Yes I will continue with my Twittering but longing for that face to face real life connection and long winded conversations.

Here’s a great, little clip about Twitter that makes my point in a funny way. Taming The Twitter Beast