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The bible is not a collection of stories about people and their lives that say "And they lived happily every after". Stories about people who lived rich and happy lives. No where do you find lives that prove the life taught by people like Osteen, that it is every follower of Christ destiny to live a happy and rich life, get every material desire of you heart. Live comfortable rich and happy lives, getting everything you want if you just have faith.

Instead it is a book filled with stories of tragedy, hardship, sacrifice and suffering, even unto violent death for the people of God. People who left all comfort and position to live lives of poverty and suffering for God’s cause, for the spreading of the the Kingdom of God. Pretty much the only people who had a "lived happy every after" was after they died and left this world and entered heaven, that was the only way that was archived for the vast majority.

Just read the Fox’s Book of Martyrs and how the lives of the disciples ended up as well as other church saints, do you read any "And they lived happily every after" about their lives, and if anyone was entitled to such a thing it was them.

In fact in Rom 8:17 it tells us "And if we are children, then we are heirs; heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ; so that if we suffer with Him, we may also be glorified together." Indicating that in order to be glorified with Christ we must suffer as He did. That in order to be heirs of Him we must partake in a life of suffering for Him, suffer as He did.

I think the church needs to reread the bible, take a real good look at the real call of Christ on His people, take a closer look at the lives of God’s people in history.

discipling All followers of Christ are called to make disciples, not simply believers like so many churches do, Jesus addressed that issue when He stated "Even the demons believe–and shudder!." You see believing who Jesus is has never really been the issue, Satan himself believe who Jesus is, in fact he knows for certain who Jesus is. The Issue has always been following, obeying, that is making Him Lord of you life. And that is where we come in, our call, mission given to us in Mat 28:19 "Go therefore and Make disciples of All the nations." Our job is not to make believers out of people, but rather followers of Jesus.

Every follower of Christ if they are living obedient to Christ, obeying all His commandments, as He state if you love Him then you are obeying All of His commands. The you are fulfilling the great commission as it is called Mat 28:18-20 and are making disciples. Every follower of Christ should have Timothy’s in their life. Everyone should without exception who is a follower of Jesus should have people in their life they are discipling, and doing so the way Jesus modeled for us, doing daily life with them, teaching them by how they live and with their words the life lived in Christ. Teaching them about God and Jesus, the word of God, how to know and use their spiritual gifts, and how to proclaim the gospel and make disciples themselves.

As Jesus showed us this is not an over night task, a Sunday school class you take for six weeks and graduate, it is a life time commitment, too Jesus three years full time to prepare His disciples to Go out on their own. Are you better than Jesus, more able than Him to disciple other, I thinks not. You should be giving years to disciple others, do life with them on a daily bases to teach them, disciple them into their new life in Christ. It is not your pastors job, a Sunday school teachers job, a book to be read, but a life to be lived out.

Go and Make disciples.

 

Part 8 in the series

Preach the Gospel, To All the World.

Jesus told His followers in Mark 16:15 “And He said to them, Go into all the world, proclaim the gospel to all the creation.” despite Satan’s influence on people in the church who introduced the doctrine in the 90’s of Not sharing the gospel with others. That people by simply by being around you through osmoses will become followers of Christ. Even thou all references to witness or witnessing in the book of Acts are public, verbal proclamation of the gospel outright. Jesus never taught or instructed His disciples to anything other than out right proclaim the gospel. There is never the concept in Scripture that witness can be private or simply lived out, but rather something to be proclaimed, shouted from the house tops.

Romans 10:14 tells us “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without preaching?” It is the job of every follower of Christ, to proclaim the gospel of Jesus to all of the world. With words, with the actual gospel of Jesus. Do not listen to others, people who tell you not to share Christ, not to proclaim the gospel, just live a “good” life and others will get saved with out a word spoken. (Note, in order for your life to be an actual witness as they say, to reveal Jesus and the gospel, you must be living a life of obedience to Christ, and imitating His life. Which means you must be verbal sharing, proclaiming the Gospel, just as Jesus did and said to do. It’s a catch 22.)

In Luke 15:10 Jesus says ““…I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” how can anyone who is a follower of Christ not want to be part of that. Be part of an act that brings so much joy to all of heaven. This is what the Gospel is all about, why Jesus came and walked among us, what He sent His followers to do, Preach the gospel, so Go and proclaim the gospel to the world!

Chose this day to live, be like Philip in Act 8: 26-40. We read in Act 8:35 “Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus.” Chose this day to live like him, to Go out into the world with that intent, to share on purpose. Only you can chose to live like that, be like him.

Part 5

Is there a Public Speaker claiming to be a Pastor in your pulpit? God showed me this yesterday, that most of those in the pulpit today are not Pastors, not fulfilling the role of a pastor, but simply are speakers. Look at the chart below showing some clips from dictionary definitions of the two.

 

 

Public Speaker

Pastor / Shepherd

A public speaker is a person who makes speaks in a public setting.

The objectives of a public speaker’s presentation can range from simply transmitting information, to motivating people to act, to simply telling a story.

A public speaker is one who is paid for his appearances do to his expertize in his field and subject knowledge and/or simply do to his speaking ability, charisma or persuasive abilities as a speaker.

A Public speaker’s focus is on building large crowds of followers and to promote his program, material’s, organization, services and self to generate sales of his material’s (books. CD’s) and developing even larger audiences to hear him speak.

   

The actual word in the text translated pastor is Shepherd, the role and tasks of a pastor are the same as of a shepherd over sheep, only his duties are over the body of Christ.

He is someone who has a passion for the Church, body of Christ and a passion for seeing the gospel impact every area of their lives.

One who herds, guards, and tends the needs of the people, One who cares for and guides a group of people.

A pastor is one who takes personal responsibility for the life and welfare of the people put in his care. He is willing lay down his life for the lives of his people. The pastor is in the trenches with the people, living life with them, among them to care for, instruct them and protect them. He keeps the wolves (the enemy, false teaching) from coming in and carrying off or leading his sheep astray. He is to feed the flock the Word of God.

He imitates the life of the good Shepherd Jesus, exemplifies Jesus’ description of Himself as a shepherd in John 10:1-16.

A pastor is intimately connected to his flock. The true pastor will follow the perfect example of the Chief Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ. He knows his flock therefore he knows their needs and can tend to them. He protects them, even at the cost of his own life. He not only feeds, instructs the people with the Word of God. He lives among them, eats with them, washes their feet, heals their wounds, prays with and for them, he knows them by name. If one wonders from the flock, is lost, he goes after them, seeks out his lost sheep to bring them back into the flock, he leaves the 99 to find the one lost sheep. He rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. And this can not be done from the pulpit, like Jesus he must live among, do life with his flock, and a true pastors heart wants to, must do so.

I heard a well known pastor of a large church a while back advise some new young pastors to never make friends with his people, never get personal with them. To hire a staff of people to keep everyone at bay. Never give out your phone number or email address. Never go among your church people, give your sermon and leave. ~ That is not a pastor according to God or the examples in the first church and scripture. It is impossible for a true pastor to be a private man, for he has the burden for his people.

So lets start calling people who, what they really are, lets stop calling a public speaker a pastor. and put them on the speaking circuit and lets get a true biblical Pastor/Shepherd in the pulpits. Someone who will do the job as defied by God, displayed by Jesus.

I feel this might be what is at the core of so much of what is wrong with many churches today, the one in the pulpit is not personally caring for the flock, pastoring. In other words he is NOT doing the job of a Pastor/Shepherd, he is simply a speaker delivering a message to a group of people who he has no real personal connection to.

I think John 10:13 reviles a lot when Jesus says “The hireling (public speaker) flees, because he is a hireling and does not care for the sheep.

The Hole In Our Gospel, by Richard Stearns, the President of World Vision published by Thomas Nelson, is a compelling call to Christ-followers to know and understand the whole gospel, and our obligation to take it to the world. This book is amazing; it is one of best books I have read in a long time. In this book we learn of Richard’s personal story, his rise to not only CEO of World Vision but God’s working in him to know and embrace the whole Gospel. We learn of Richard’s ventures into the world, the world of poverty and need. As he states “Poverty, disease, and squalor had eyes and faces that stared back, I had to see and smell and touch the pain of the poor. We learn “The mission of God is now our mission, and the whole gospel is the good news”. That the Kingdom which Christ spoke of was one in which the poor, sick, grieving, cripples, slaves, widows, orphans, lepers and aliens – the lest of these, were to be lifted up.

This subject is one of my passions, world hunger and ending it, so this was preaching to the Choir for me, but helped fuel my passion for the need and for the church to get, know, embrace the whole gospel and do something with it. This book should be a must read for every Christian, in the pew of every church. A required reading for every pastor. Stearns tells a powerful and compelling story of how God transformed him from one who like most Christians believes the American dream is the gospel, Christianity lived out. To one who was changed by the whole gospel, humbled and broken, giving it all up for Christ and to take the gospel to the world.

What does it look like to live out the gospel, the would gospel. This is what it looks like in this story shared by Richared Stearns in his new book The Hole in our Gospel.

Richared met a pastor of a house church of 83 people while in Cambodia and he asked him his story, how did he come to Christ, and his story is summed up was.

His encounter with Christ began with Christians with World Vision who came to serve the poor, nursing the sick, educating the children and helping increase the food fro the hungry. So compelling was this service that it provoked questions in the mind of the curious man: Why are you here? Why are you helping us? The answer to these questions was the gospel, the good news. And they took me to a pastor who told me all about Jesus. He opened his bible and told me all about Jesus, explained salvation in Christ. And I committed my life to Jesus that day.

When asked, now what about the 83 people who worship with at your house church, how did they come to follow Jesus.

“I was so excited to learn about Jesus, that I had to share this good new with everyone I knew.

Wow there it is, the gospel in action, the great commission fulfilled.

A group of Christians taking the whole gospel va the great commission into the world. They saw Jesus was hungry so they gave Him food; that He was thirsty so they gave Him drink; that He was a stranger so they took Him in; that He was naked so they clothed Him; that He was sick so they visited Him.

Then giving an answer as to why they where doing it, Jesus. And as a result one person comes to faith in Christ, then he immediately goes and shares the gospel with other in the shadow of what the others where doing for them, they also come to faith and then he starts making disciples and a church is born and he is their pastor. That’s the gospel in action.

So let it be said of each Christians life, like Jesus said as you have seen, read, go and do like wise.

The 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).

How 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.

How to plant a church for Free. Zero dollars down to start a church. And No building required, yes that is right, no building even.

Despite popular belief it takes lots of money, it actual does not cost money to plant/start a church, well let me qualify that, it depends on the motives of the planter. If he has visions of grander, wants a 5000 seat sanctuary with a Starbucks in the lobby and a support staff of 50 to serve him, well then it does take lots of money. But to plant a church God’s way and for His purposes it takes not even take one dime.

I read blogs and listen to would be planters talk all the time about how do I raise $500,000 or a million dollars and some even more to plant a church? And how do I find a massive building big enough, and all this before they even have one person they are discipling. Let me give you three stories to explain how to plant without a dime, for free, money wise that is.

Greg Laurie, at age 19 he had a vision to reach people for Christ and start a bible study in his apartment to disciple them. He began sharing Christ with everyone around him; his bible study grew at a steady rate. Thirty three years later he has a church of 15,000. That was not his vision or plan when he began that first study, but it was God’s. His passion was to reach the lost. Cost in dollars to plant his church. Zero

Skip Heitzig, moved to Albuquerque with his new job as a salesmen, he decided to begin a home Bible study to reach his neighbors. Today a church of 15,000, his vision was simply reach his new neighborhood with Christ and disciple them. Cost to plant, Zero dollars.

Fred Herron, (I was part of this story). Fred felt the call of God to plant a church. Fred moved to the neighborhood he wanted to be in then he went door to door introducing himself saying he was starting a bible study and invited people to come as he shared the gospel with them. His bible study soon out grew his apartment, so he moved it to the clubhouse of his apartment complex, all the time still going door to door sharing the gospel and inviting people. Years after that first bible study in his one bedroom apt and Fred knocking on over 3000 doors, and many coming to Christ, the church today has 3000+ members. Fred’s vision when he started, reach the lost and have a body of believer to pastor. Cost to plant the church, Zero dollars.

You see God never told us to build the church, Jesus said He would build His church. We are told to proclaim the gospel, make disciples and Be the church. So if you go and plant the gospel, disciple the ones God ushers into the kingdom and pastor them well no matter how small your flock. God will add to the numbers according to His will. It cost no money, but it will cost your life to do it. Hours of prayer, door knocking, gospel planting, discipling, foot washing and teaching. Cost you your nights and weekends as you still work a day job to make a paycheck. But not one dime of money to plant one. You see the guys above will tell you anyone who really is about the kingdom, reaching the lost, expanding the kingdom, all of that with the power of the Holy Spirit is all you need, not money.

There are thousands of stories like the three above that prove my point (including the scriptures). You start with planting the gospel, be a “gospel planter” first and God will do the rest, no money required.

“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.” Zechariah 4:10

New Post about church:  Church God’s Way

Some simple but effective Ways to Share the Gospel on the Internet.

1. Answer a Question at Yahoo! Answers
2. Blog your testimony in plan English
3. Podcast your your testimony
4. Post your video testimony on YouTube
5. Blog what you learned in church
6. Blog what you learned in your daily bible study
7. Blog about your daily walk with God, what He is doing
8. Even when blogging about secular things interject a God/Biblical world view and solutions on the issue or how biblical prophecy fits in.
9. Edit for Wikipedia .org
10. Link you Bog and personal site to good Christian websites
11. Link other pastors Podcast’s and Blogs to yours
12. Post your testimony on other blogs and sites
13. Post on other blogs regularly in a Evangelical way
14. Share your beliefs in a Facebook Note
15. Put personal Christian book reviews on your blog & Facebook
16. Put a link to live service feeds for your or another churches
17. Put a link on your blog/webpage/myspace/facebook to where you can download a free MP3 of the Bible
18. Put a link on your blog/webpage/myspace/facebook to the online version of the bible
19. Comment on news stories and interject a God/Biblical world view and solutions on the issue or how biblical prophecy fits in.

You can be as settle or as bold as you want in sharing.

Helpful tips on blogging for outreach to the blogging world

Top 10 Social Networking Sites (World)

1. Facebook (http://www.facebook.com)
2. Myspace (http://www.myspace.com)
3. Hi5 (http://www.hi5.com)
4. Flickr (http://www.flickr.com)
5. Friendster (http://www.friendster.com)
6. Skyrock (http://www.skyrock.com)
7. Tagged (http://www.tagged.com)
8. LiveJournal (http://www.livejournal.com)
9. Orkut (http://www.orkut.com)
10. Fotolog (http://fotolog.net)