Just heard Brian Houston statement of his vision of what church is. And it inspired and motivate me, it fired me up because this is the is the church I long for, burn with passion for. (I added two personal additions in parentheses.)

“The church that I see is a church of influence. A church so large in size that the city and nation cannot ignore it.

A church growing so quickly that buildings struggle to contain the increase, (so it multiplies and spreads across the city, nation, and world).

I see a church whose heartfelt praise and worship touches heaven and changes earth. Worship which influences the praises of people throughout the earth exalting Christ with powerful songs of faith and hope.

I see a church whose alters are constantly filled with repentant sinners responding to Christ’s call to salvation.

The church that I see is so dependent on the Holy Spirit that it moves only in unison with it, that nothing will stop it not stand against it.

A church whose people are unified, praying and full of God’s Spirit.

The church that I see has a message so clear that lives are being changed forever and potential is fulfilled though the power of His Word. A message beamed to the peoples of the earth through their television screens.

I see a church so compassionate that people are drawn from impossible situations into a loving and friendly circle of hope, where answers are found and acceptance is given.

I see a people so kingdom-minded that they will count whatever the cost and pay whatever the price to see revival sweep this land.

The church that I see is a church to committed to raising, training and empowering a leadership generation to reap the end-time harvest that all its ministries are consumed with this goal.

I see a church whose head is Jesus, whose help is the Holy Spirit, (foundation is the word of God) and whose focus is the Great Commission.”

This is the church the disciples started and built, the one Jesus ordained and spoke of, that we see in scripture. Every pastor, church planter, every Christian should take note, take this to heart, be their blueprint for church.

I was reminded today in a sermon as I have been many time in the past few weeks, that we really are in end times, and that we are to both live as if Jesus was coming back today, warned to live ready for His return at any moment as for it not to take us by surprise, as a thief. But also to to live wanting His return, desiring to be with Him, for His Kingdom to come. wanting to be with Jesus more than in this world.

The signs are all around us, so much of the prophesies of His return have been and are and the verge of being fulfilled. All the prophesies of Jesus’ first coming where literal and true, as it is also true about the prophesies of his 2nd coming. And at the time of Noah if you did not head the warnings of Noah it did not matter what you believed about God, if you did not obey and get in the ark, you died, as so it is true of today. Thus the story of the Ten Virgins Jesus told, those who are ready, prepared, anticipating will go in, those not, well, as He said it shall be as the times of Noah.

So I’m asking myself suppose we all got up tomorrow morning and prayed like Jesus was coming back that day, chose to live like Jesus was coming back that day, what would our day be like. That would change my priorities in life, the order of importance of everything in life, like the importance of Mat 28:18-20, preaching the gospel, wanting to living in a state of readiness, keeping my lamp full of oil.

And if I lived each day as if, ready for Jesus to return, I would not care about tomorrow, worry about the things of tomorrow would I really, because there might not be one. But isn’t that how Jesus said to live life anyway. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”  – Matthew 6:34

God had a talk with me about re evaluating my position in life, as to wealth and income. Reminding me that that being poor or wealth is relative, all a matter of perspective, ours vs God’s. Did you know that if you work at McDonald’s here in the US that your income is higher that 85% of the population of the world. That is right, the average income for of the world is $2,182, total average person income per person for the world is $5,000. so if you work at McDonald’s ($16,640 min yearly income) you are rich by world income standards. And that 2.7 billion people live on less than $2 a day and that More than 923 million people go to bed hungry; 300 million of them children.

We are so much richer than we think ourselves to be, we think a job is beneath us, pay to low, but yet we are so rich, so blessed compared to most of the world.

Do you have a job, making more than $2,182 a year, you are richer than 85% of the world, make more than $5,000 you are richer than the average person in the world. Praise God for it, be thankful.

Do you have a home to live in, a roof over your head, 1 billion do not have suitable housing (live in cardboard box’s, shacks, tents, est.) and estimated 100 million are totally homeless, sleep in the streets. Praise God that you have a home, a roof over your head, be thankful it doe’s not have to be $500,000 house to be blessed, even a $5,000 is a blessing.

Did you go to bed full, did you eat 3 meals even one today, even if it was off the Windy’s dollar menu. Praise God you ate, be thankful for your daily bread.

Do you own a car, only 1 out of 9 people in the world have a car. So if you have a car, any kind of car, in any kind of shape its in, how old, how much it worth, Praise God 89% of people do not have one, you are in the 11% or the people of the world who have a car. Praise God for it, be thankful for it, and it doe’s not have to be a Lexus to be blessed, having any car puts you in the top 10% in the world, that is a huge blessing.

Do you see how rich you are compared to the world, from where God set looking at the whole pitcher, form His view off life. Remember that the next time you are praying, complaining to God you are not blessed, rich enough, and just maybe you need to change it to praise and thankfulness for what you have.

My end of the month summery:

1. The last month God has been speaking to me about the importance of being an overcomer“.

Several times this month He has brought up the scriptures on it several times from many sources, through my daily study of the word as well as message I heard though out the month. He has been hammering “being an overcomer” I do not know the why, only the take note and learn what He means by being an overcomer and that it is key, important for me.

2. God has also been speaking to me all month about being a man who walks with God

“Enoch walked with God. Noah walked with God” This was the main theme of the month, learning what it means to be a man who walks with God as did Enoch and Noah. This has been at the core of my prayer the last month. To become a man who walks with God, what ever that means, what God wants it to be for me.

Bottom line, Be a man who walks with God as His friend in the same faith that Abraham had.

3. God reformatted my prayer life, gave me a new format to use as to how and what to pray. And it has revolutionized my prayer life the last two weeks. Thus effecting both my walk with God and my attitude in life.  It started by listening to Pastor Perry Noble podcast and a teaching on prayer, it was very challenge, caused me to change my prayer life that week. The Revelation from the Spirit about my prayer life and the need for change was continued, emphazised when I was introduce to Pastor Niles McPherson and started listening to his podcast and listened to his teaching on prayer also. Through those two teachings the Lord caused me to change my prayer life complete, it is on a whole new path now, and that has had a dramatic effect on my attitude and spiritual life, put me on a new course.

4. That I’m still trying to find my place in this world. And I thinking Shouldn’t I know by now what I want to be when I grow up? But it’s bigger than simply what I want to do in the future, It’s also about the right now, today, tomorrow, next week as well as ten years from now. I want to be relevant to God, to impact the world everywhere I intersect with it and maybe even transform it. But I have no clue, not even an inclination of what my place is in life, the world, the church, what my career is to be, or even reason for being here on this planet.

On a lighter note, I started Twittering two weeks ago, and it has been fun and has changed my world in some ways. No really! (I am still trying to get the hang of it) I am linked up with some awsome people and have enjoyed getting into their life and mind, and sharing some of mine with them.

The last 4 months I have gone with a radio in my car (yes on purpose), have been focusing on prayer, meditation on scripture and the Lord instead of the usual mind numbing radio broadcast, keeping my thoughts focused on God that is.  Sometimes using my MP3 player to listen to good bible teaching podcast. And what a difference it has made in transforming my mind, giving me the mind of Christ. I find my thought life taking on a new way of being. Not where I want it to be, totally Christ like, renewed as I want it to be, but it’s well on the way there.

I challenge everyone to do the same thing. Turn off the car radio and spend the time with God, in prayer, worship and meditaion on the word and person of Christ.

I recently read about a book called Purple Cow by Seth Godin. The book revolves around this metaphor: if you’ve seen one brown cow you’ve seen them all. But a purple cow, now that would catch your attention. One statement in the book has profound implications: “If you aren’t remarkable you’re invisible.”

While this truth could be applied to a persons life in so many ways, it also applies to churches in every way. Every church needs to paint itself purple. I’m not talking about gimmicks or being weird or braking from the truths of God and what church is suppose to be, like the ones that are leaving out the gospel and Jesus like the emergent movement has done. I’m not talking about braking from the biblical church the one we see in scripture.

Brown churches sit on the sideline and invite the community to come to them. Do every thing they can to look like, sound like, be like the world around them. Purple churches are always going, compelling, and are an agent of transformation in the world. They seek to not look anything like the world, but to look like Jesus and the Kingdom of God. To stand out as something different, be an alternative to the world and its ways. And they are making such a big difference that they become a highly visible part of their community, everyone takes notice in a good way.  People drive by the brown churches, the churches that are invisible on their way to go to the purple church the ones that stand out from the world and its ways.

Purple churches are not a mirror of the world, but rather a window into the Kingdom of God. A refection of Jesus high and lifted up in a community of Christ like followers who live in community that is a glimpse of the Kingdom of God. When a church looks like Jesus, it stands out from the rest of the churches and the world because it is a purple cow in a brown herd.

A brown church look like the world, it’s a church that looks just like the society that surrounds it, it blends in with the same music, teachings, way of life, so no one notices the brown cow in a heard of brown cows.

After all isn’t the purpose of camouflaging something to make it fit in, go unnoticed, so that it will not stand out as different from the world around it. Well pastors have done a good job, they have made the church look, sound and function just like the world, made them brown cows, and well it worked no one notices them, sees church as different from the world.

So how do we paint ourselves purple? For starters, dare to be different from the world and look like Jesus and the Kingdom of God, make the good news, the Gospel the news.

Purple churches are where people can go to see God, get a glimpse of the Kingdom of God, see the transforming effect of the gospel in the lives of real people, changed lives. See that God is alive and His power at work in the lives of people, see it demonstrated in the lives of God’s people. See a people of faith living in oneness with God. See Gods love in action, in the love God’s people have for Him, and each other. It’s a church of a different color, it stand out from the rest of the churches today, and from the world around it.

What color is your church.

God has had me studying and meditating on the phrase “walked with God”, the life of Enoch and Noah, this is what has been on my mind about them.

It is amazing when you think about the fact that Enoch and Noah had no church or church programs to rely on for their relationship with God. No pastors to tell them about God or His word, or give them instructions on how to live. But yet the bible tells us they walked with God. Not even live examples of how to live a holy life, walk with God, or resist sin. But yet although they lived in perverse times, times of great evil, very sinful times. In fact so bad in Noah’s time the world had to be wiped out. And yet Noah walked with God. Like his great Grandfather Enoch, Noah walked with God during a time when others walked away apart God.

If Enoch and Noah could walk in such a perfect and intimate relationship with God that it is said of them, that they walked with God with out none of the helps and support we have today, churches, Christian radio, Christian books, preaching and teaching, and both living and dead examples of how to walk with God. Live a holy life and fight against the temptations of sin all around us. Step by step programs and manual of how to walk with God.

So with all we have today, Should it be more so with us today, be said of all of us if not the majority of us, that we walk with God?

A note for church planter, I read a post that got me thinking about the definition of Church, as it should be key for church planting, so I am doing my own rendition the other post, of what the word church means, my own tweak, lets start he did with how that Miriam-Webster defines Church:

1: a building for public and especially Christian worship

The number one usage Webster is listing is simply defining church according to how the word church is used by people, defined, by churches themselves. Just ask the typical Christian to define church and you will here things like, A building, A place you go to on Sunday, and institution you belong to, something you attend. And ask the people what part do they have in church and they will tell you, attend. And sadly the leader put more importance on, money, time, planing, care and into the buildings than the do the people, really giving even more credence to the fact the definition is right, the church is a building.

But, when Jesus used the term “church” He had a very different meaning in mind. The word in the Greek text is ???????? (ekklesia) a word that is defined as “those called out” or “a called out assembly of people”, this is the original definition of the word used in the Greek text, quite different from Websters. But even more different is Jesus’ usage of the word though implied something much more, He described “church” as those people walking in allegiance to him, living a certain way, people who were following Him, living with a Kingdom purpose. A people that would ultimately be known by their love for one another, as His followers called out for a purpose, His purpose. Not as a building, nor was it in His definition of church that it is something that you simply only attended, especially not a country club you come to be entertained at.

Although Jesus did not really say much about how it was to be organized or how to do meetings. But rather His focus was on a lifestyle of loving others and obeying Him: saying things like “Go into all the world…” ” Heal others…. “Let your light shine…” “Wash the feet of others…. “Do what you see the Father doing…” “Love one another…” “Make disciples….”My house shall be a house of prayer… “Preach the Gospel… Church, as defined by Jesus, was simply His followers living life for and with Him. “For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.” John 13:15 The things that obvesly were core to what church was about, what matted most to Him.

I believe this is why the Apostle Paul chose not to use the word “synagogue” a word he was most familiar with, and had used his whole life. Synagogue was the word used by Jews at the time to define where they gathered for study and worship outside of the Temple. But the word by definition referred to a building used for an assembling together. Synagogue (1) always was used to refer to the place, building where they gather together, not the people themselves or even what went on inside because the building was used for so many other things. So I can see very well why Paul used a different word, because church to Jesus, to the disciples and Paul was never to be a building or a place, it was a people so he used a new name for it, based on the what the real definition of church was according to Jesus. A called out people with a purpose, to follow the Life of Jesus on God’s mission.

But today only a minuscule number of churches embrace Jesus’ definition of Church, with the these things I list above as the core of what they are about, why they exist. This I do not get it, one can simply read the scriptures as to how both Jesus and the Apostle Paul define church, pick up a Greek dictionary and lookup the word ekklesia and read the definition, and find Church is not a building or an institute or even a set place or time. Because the place and time are fluid, it can be anyplace and any time two or more gather together, and it does not require a building or paid staff or set of programs to happen ether.  We must read everything Jesus said and did, read the description of the first church gatherings and read what they where doing. Read all of Paul’s instructions to the church and body telling us what it is all about. And get our definition from Jesus, the scriptures Not Websters or even the American Christian church for that matter.

So how did we ended up with this thing we have and are trying to pass off as church? Why can’t church planters simply pick up the owners manual, the blueprint of what church is, that is the Bible and do, plant what it says church is.

1. Dictionary of Judaism in the Biblical Period, Macmillan

My post inspired by a post in the simplechurchjournal titled: Defining Church Websters has it wrong.

There is a church that I have been listening to their podcasts for a few weeks now called City of Grace in Mesa AZ. And I have been enjoying their recent teaching series, the pastor has been doing a very a good teaching with some great insight as to how to live out the word of God as related to the series. But for the last two weeks he has talked about a new project of the church, they are seeking to buy a house next to the church that is occupied by a dental office. This house apparently blocks the church building from being seen well from the main road. And for some reason this house is seen as an obstacle to the churches growth, they seam to believe if the house was not there they would be seen better by passers by and therefore the church would grow in number of members. The price tag to buy the house, $800,000, so they have spent the last two weeks hitting up their people with a campaign to raise the needed $800,000 to by this house plus the cost to tear it down.

Wow! I cannot express how disappointed I am in them doing this, with so many people starving to death not just else where the world but in their own city, so many in need of medical service that they can not afford to get, orphans, widows, single moms in need, children that have only one set of cloths to their name. I can not understand that they would want spend that much money on something as trivial as a house that block the view of their building from the road. As if that will really bring people to the church just because they can see the church building better from the road.

They are calling it a miracle offering to raise the needed money, I say it would be no miracle by God nor would it bring glory to God to raise money for that purpose, but to raise that much money to do something like pay the overdue rents of some struggling single mothers, pay some widows light bills that are about to be shut off. Or build a childcare center to provide free childcare for struggling single moms. Use the money to feed and clothed ten thousand children in the city. Pay the for medical needs for someone who can not afford it, like children in a poor family. That would be a miracle to those people, that would bring glory to God! And I guarantee you that more people would see the church and come to it after doing things like those I just listed than they would if that church spends nearly a million dollars to remove that house they claim keeps people from seeing them and coming to the church. I bet that people would flock to the church, to come to hear bout the God that cares about those in need and a church that cares more about people than buildings.

Jesus said said “lift Me up and I will draw men unto me“, that is the way to grow a church,  doing what Jesus said to do to build the church, Going and proclaiming the gospel will grow a church, not moving a house.

And I do read God saying “ Bring all the tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house.” The purpose of the tithe and offerings to God was that nobody would be without food, that the needy would be taken care of and when you match this with what Jesus says in Mat 25:31-46 you see very clear what God expects His people to do with their resources, and buy a building to tear down is not it.

I say it is not that house that is blocking the peoples view of the church, from coming to the church but rather it is the church that is blocking the peoples view of Jesus.

I would encourage them to look at what Pastor Francis Chan did with his church Cornerstone Community Church, you can read my blog on him and what he did here>>>.

Or about pastor Jared Wilson after hearing the story of Cornerstone followed suit with his church Element in Nashville, read my blog about him here>>>

I pray that Pastor Terry at City of Grace church will follow Pator Chan and Wilson and do the right thing and not buy that house and use the money to give to God and His glory the way He said to.

A church planter should answer this question of themselves, why they go to church, the reason as a Christian. The answer as to why will determine what they invasion the church they plant is to be like for the members, what they will experience at the church gathering.

Why I go to church, I gather with other follower of Christ in order to:

Worship: Engage in worship, real passionate worship and praise of God, this includes words and actions. Worship that is a heartfelt intimate expression of love, devotion and passion for God with the body of Christ. To be in the company of like minded others who have come to worship God with passionate hearts, a body that when it worship’s it expects to encounter God, to enter into God’s presents, and to be changed as a result of the encounter, and will except nothing less. Worship that includes the freedom to rise my hands, my arms, dancing, shouts of joy, lay prostate, stand, sit how ever my spirit desires to express my love to God. I go for worship that is lead by a true worshiper of God who’s sole and only goal is to enter into the presents of God and love on Him.  Someone who is there to express to God their love for Him, they sing songs straight from their heart, write new songs on the spot, cry out praises from a heart that passionately loves God, not memorized words. And they are about leading everyone to do the same thing. (The best worship gatherings I have ever been part of, some there where no bands some there was, but the best ones where the ones that had a passionate lover of God who took, lead the rest of us to the very presents of God and allowed us to sing, shout out our love and praises to God). I seek no less than a hour in worship of God. (Psa 22:2, 35:18, 40:3, 29:2, 95:6, 9:2, 21:13, 149:3, 150:4)

Prayer: Like worship in prayer I expect to encounter God, and to be changed as well as the whole church to be changed as a result of the encounter. One of the characteristics the Lord specifically says will mark His church – His house – is prayer. “My house will be called a house of prayer for all Nations.” Therefore this is a must for it to be a church according to Jesus. The heart of a church gathering is to talk with God, seeking His presents, and direction for the church, and His people. I seek a church that prays without ceasing, as part of worship, fellowship, communion, everything. (Isaiah 56:7; Matthew 21:13, Eph 6:18, Php 4:6, Col 4:2, James 5:14-16 Jud 1:20)

Communion: Braking of the bread and partaking of the cup. When Christ said do this in remembrance of Me, He was talking about the Passover meal, the keeping of the Passover celebration meal in light of the life and death of Christ as a ongoing practice of the body of Christ. To share a meal as the body together recalling the life, death and resurrection of Christ, partaking of it whenever we gather in community in remembrance and celebration of the gospel during a meal. Therefore I desire to have a meal at the gathering of the body that includes the braking of bread with reference to the life of Christ and taking of the wine of the New Testament, all while recalling and retelling of the Gospel, what Christ has done for us and who we are in Christ. (Mat 26:26-30, Luke 22:19-20, Acts 2:42)

To Exercise myspiritual gifts: For the good of the body, and to be the recipient of the gifts of others that the body may be made compete, fully functional. Paul says when you come together as the church let each one bring something and contribute to make church happen. Paul says one of the main purpose of the church, coming together is for each person to exercise their spiritual gifts that the body/church might be complete. My primary responsibility in the body of Christ is to exercise my spiritual gifts. ( I Cor 14:26)

For Edification: That I might give encouragement, to exhort others and edify the body and might be encouraged by the others in the body. That we might mutually build up, love one another in the faith. (Acts 13:15, Heb 10:24,25, I Thess. 5:11 & 14, 2:11)

Teaching of the word: To hear verse-by-verse teaching of the word in a gospel/Christ centered way. Teaching that equips for the work of the Lord, that tells us how are we going to live together in submission to the Word.  I go not only to hear the word taught from the pulpit, but to hear a word – teaching from others in the body, as well as to share a teaching the spirit has giving me to share. (Heb 4:14, Rom 10:17, II Tim 4:2, Acts 2:42)

To Give: To help meet the needs of others. To give to God the way He said to, as Jesus instructed us to in Matt 25:31-46, buy fulfilling the needs of other, taking care of the orphan, widows, poor, and any in the body that has need face to face. (Gal. 5:13, I Tim. 6:17, 18, I Cor. 12:25, Phil. 2:4, Acts 2:42-47 )

Fellowship: To be part of a community gathered around a common Lord, common faith, and common baptism, to be in the company of like-minded followers of Christ that we might engage in the things of God and the Kingdom of God. That I might fulfill all the one another’s of the bible that God calls His people to do. To engage in true heart to heart fellowship with others, celebrate with others our God and Lord Jesus. Fellowship doesn’t mean meetings it means the shared life of the community. (Acts 2:42-47, Gal 5:13, 6:2, Ehp 4:2, 4:32, 5:21, Col 3:16, I Thes 4:14, 5:11, Heb 3:13)

I go because Church is not optional; it is essential, this is why Paul said, “do not forsake the gathering together of the saints”. Fellowship, service, love, and mission with the family of God is critical to a fruit-bearing faith and life. Just as salvation also is a community project, we rely on others to persevere in our faith, to spur us on, encourage us, admonish us, teach us, disciple us, pray for us, love us, and to exhort us. But this only can happen in real biblical church, and that is one that allows me all of the above elements. And all of this said in the context that, “church is not one activity in our lives. Church isn’t a meeting you attend or a building you enter. It’s our identity, our community, our family a way of life. It’s the context for the totality of the Christian life.”

I do not go to church; to simply Go to church, I gather with others to Be the Church. Not to be entertained by great performers, see a video show or short drama. I do not go to church to be reduced to being an attendee an observer.