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After reading a post about a church planter closing down his ‘church plant” this is what I noticed about it. He stated “We could have continued as a rogue small group or house church in the area, but frankly that has never interested us” Now I not accusing him of this but to me when I read a statement like that, I believe this person was not a true church planter, or they truly just do not know what a church is according to scripture.

First I see he had a church, whether he realize it or not God gave him a flock to shepherd, to feed, a body to disciple, but that appears to be not what he was really after. Greg Louie started with a bible study that went on for years before it moved into a building and became a “church” if you will, but he will argue it was a church when is was only him and a few people gathering at his place, today he has a church of 10,000, but now is 35 year later. And I can name a long list of others whom did the same thing, but they where faithful to what God gave them. (more…)

6-2910Question that most people ask themselves is “What do I want to do with my life?” “What is my purpose?” “What is God’s will for my life?”, some of us seem to be asking that question year after year. It seems like the majority of people I talk with are seeking the answer to some form of those questions.

I think most of the time we answer those questions ether tied to the past, if I would have…I would be doing this… having this life. If only I would have done…….. I could be doing…! Or we make it futuristic, well if this happens….when I get……I will have the life I want. If God will……….then I will……….! If God would just speak! So until then we stand there like deer in headlight, dead in our tracks.

I read something today that opened my eyes, give me a possible answer, or at lest something to think about. “Just start creating life/purpose right now, right where you are with what you have and know, our life can only happen in the present moment, not tomorrow or in the next month”.

Maybe shifting our focus from thinking about what we don’t know to what we do know, that will enable us to real purpose right now and answer our questions above.

Having said that, in the specific question, “What is God’s will for me?” So many people do no ministry because they are waiting to find out God’s will.

The best way to know God’s will, is by doing what you know to do, so start doing what God has already told every follower of Christ is His will for your life, the calling of every follower is in scripture.

Like start with Mark 16:15, “And He said unto them, Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” So start today, right now sharing the gospel, with whom, with everyone you meet during the day, there is your answer. You do not need to wait for anything more, no sign from above, no training needed, because Jesus said He would give you what to say even, Mark 13:11.

More of God’s will for you…… Matthew 28:16-20, start making disciples, so start discipling someone, find someone to pour your life into, the life of Christ into. Start teaching the word of God to others, start with your family if you are married.

Next, starting doing Matthew 25:31-46 today, go feed the hungry, give a drink to the thirsty, cloth the naked, visit and pray for the sick, take in a stranger in need. That is a full day, full day of purpose right there, and those are God’s will for you, your life.

Putting everything together

  1. Preach the Gospel to everyone you meet daily.
  2. Be discipling others.
  3. Be teaching the word of God to others.
  4. Be feeding the hungry.
  5. Giving drink, water to the thirsty.
  6. Clothing the naked.
  7. visiting and praying for the sick.
  8. Take in a stranger in need.

By the way living like that is also being missional.

Mother Teresa said “If you can’t feed a hundred people, feed just one.” and all of us can do that, if only that.

So if you are looking for the answer to “What do I want to do with my life” “What is God’s will for my life”, the above just might be the answer, the place to start anyway. Something to think about anyway.

060810How things have changed over the last 30 years, I was thinking as I was doing my evening bible study that how 20 years ago you could go to the tape library, book store of just about any church and could find the pastors teaching on any verse of the bible. The reason was most pastors taught through the bible, usually verse by verse.

Having spent 10 years at Calvary Chapel, I had heard teaching on every verse in the bible about two and a half times. I could go to the church book store and for $2.00 get teaching of any chapter of any book of the bible and take it home and hear teaching on it. Today I dare you to even find a church who’s pastor teaches the entire bible verse by verse. You will not find a CD with teaching on every verse of the bible for you to pick up, and that is a tragedy.

Today people are not being taught the word of God, they have no knowledge of God’s word, the Apostle Paul stated “for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.” (Act 20:27). Meaning he left out nothing of God’s word. But pastors today are shrinking from declaring the “whole counsel of God” that is all of scripture, all of the word of God.

The only places I know one can get, find verse by verse teaching for sure, find a library of CD covering every verse of the bible, that is every verse read and taught on is at Calvary Chapel, my old church, as well as most of the other Calvary Chapel’s. Pastors like Mark Driscoll and John Macarthur cover just about every verse of a book.  People say that that bible teaching is widely available to anyone in the US, but that is not true, we have a lot of teaching about the word of God, but not actual teaching of the word of God. We have a lot of teaching that tickles the ears, but not verse by verse teaching.

This must change, we need to fill the pulpit with men who can and do teach as the Apostle Paul stated “the whole counsel of God.” that is every word of scriptures, teach verse by verse through the bible leaving out nothing.

42910Why does it seem that everyone who claims to have the secrets of God want’s me to buy their book to find out what it is. It seems like today even just to hear a bible teaching / sermon it will cost you five bucks.

A man just recently claims that the churches belief in the rapture for the last 2000 years is wrong. And he can prove it by the scripture, only one catch, when you go to his site. All you find is a marketing plot, great sales pitch to lure you to buy his book to get the “truth” of God. Really.

Today We have to many pastors who sell their sermons, if you go to their church websites and you want to hear one of his sermons, it will cost you $2.99 to download the mp3 or $5.99 to get the CD. Really!

I recall the words of Jesus every time I see these things, “Freely you have received, freely give” Mat 10:8. And being these guys always claim God gave them the secret, the truth about the bible or whatever, but you must buy their book to learn what it is. Pastors claim that it is God who gives them their messages. That they are under the leading of the Holy Spirit when they preach. As any pastor should be. Then the message is not theirs to begin with is it, it was “freely” given to them, so they have no right to sell it anyway, it’s Gods given to them to freely give to others.

Did Jesus go before a crowed and say do you want to know the secret of prayer. Then Pick up my latest scroll “The Lords Prayer” at the tables as you leave, only 5 denarius today. Do you want to know Gods truth about being happy get my scroll “The Beatitudes” on sell for 6 denarius, today only get both for only 8 denarius.

Image Paul on Mars Hill saying to the crowed “To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you” that for only 10 denarius for my set of scrolls you can learn about who this unknown God is, learn who the real God is. Act now they are going fast.

Or him saying to a church body; If you really what to know how to live as a Christian in Christ pick up my scroll titled Ephesians for only 9 denarius, you can’t live without it.

How about: “And the eunuch answered Philip and said, I beg you, of whom does the prophet speak this? Of himself or of some other man?” Image Philip saying for 3 denarius I will teach you what that verse means.

You might say those are ridiculous scenarios, not so fast, what men are doing today I feel is just that. I always think of Jesus cleansing the temple every time I go to a seminar or even some church and see all the tables of book, CD’s and DVD’s for sale. “And Jesus went into the temple of God and cast out all those who sold and bought in the temple

Something to think about.

Ed Stetzer just posted a great article on his blog “Apostolic Harvest” Church Planting– Your Input Requested” I would recommend everyone read and join in his conservation with your ideas. I quote his open line which describes one church model his post was about.

“Many different biblical methods are effective for planting a church, and God does not bless only one way. However, in this post, I want to raise one specific model for discussion: what I call the “apostolic harvest church planter,” as laid out in my book Planting Missional Churches (B&H Academic, 2006). This is also considered in my new co-authored book (with Warren Bird), Viral Churches (Jossey-Bass, 2010).”

apostolic

His above image shows his model, I like and endorse his model but would like to suggest slight change to the model that I like even better, that is not just one who plants and leaves, raising up only one to stay behind and lead with only the original planter being sent but multitudes being raised up and sent. And you never stop sending. We need to get away from the one man show model in how we do church, and the paid professional only model. Church is everyone’s job, everyone plays a part according to their gifting and there seldom is just one of each gift. We need to be constantly raising up and sending out, not one, but many. Every pastor should be making disciples just like Jesus modeled, and Paul did. Jesus did 12 at a time, He was about reproducing Himself, and sending out to do the same thing, every pastor should be reproducing himself, passing on to others continually and sending out continually.

I truly think it would be great to have the attitude that everyone who comes in the door is being prepared to go out as a church planter or missionary. That is the right attitude, not to crate and building full of pew warming groupies of the pastor who set and let the pros put on “church” for them.

The original planter, the “apostolic planter” as Ed calls him, leaves the first church and move on when he feels the Lord says to. He is in the business of training not only his replacement but others to do the same thing as him. Some may leave and plant and stay in the same place for years or become an “apostolic planter” also. Each according to their calling of the Lord.

Just think if a church just sent out just 20% of its men to plant, a church of 3,000 would send out 600 planters a year. And Then each of those planters plants do the same thing. Do you see how fast the number increase exponentially.

I doctored up Ed’s image a little to show what I would like to see.

church multiply

Be sure and visit Ed Stetzer blog and read his post and give your imput, and get his books as well.

When can you tell a church is effective with the gospel, being missional? When its full of repented prostitutes, drug dealers,  adulters and other repented sinners.

When the captives are being set free from oppression, depression, substance abuse, pornography, human trafficking, and the other things of this world.

After all that is what the gospel is all about.

Just a simple thought for the day.

2-20-10God buys ugly lives.

We are all familiar with the We Buy Ugly House signs all around our towns, they are in the business of buying homes that are in disrepair that for the most part no one wants. So these guys swoop in and buy them up cheep, then rehab them, make them into much nicer homes that people would want to live in and buy them.

Well, that is the business God is in, He buys ugly lives, people no one else wants, messed up lives, the sinners supreme, the poor, the down trodden, miss fits, prostitutes, murders, the worst of the worst felons. And He pays the highest price from them, He buys them with the life, and shed blood of His Son, Jesus. And then He rehabs the them, turns them into something beautiful, a new creation.

Every church should have that banner on their building “We Buy Ugly Lives” that is the business we are in, God’s, the transforming of lives. Jesus said that He came for the sinners not for the righteous. That where the church should be operating, going out into the places no one else would go. Gathering up the ugly lives, the prostitutes, drug dealers, the unwanted. Carrying to them God’s message, He wants’ them, wants to rehab them into something beautiful and valuable.

Again Jesus said “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” Mark 2:17 If your church does not have ex-criminals, ex-drug addicts and dealers, ex-prostitutes, ex-convicts, ex-sex offenders, ex-adulterers, ex-thieves, the outcast of society. If it is only full of rich, healthy suburban dwellers. Its not fulfilling the mission of Jesus, not keeping with His life mission as he states in Mark 2:17.

God wants to buy that ugly life of the drug addict, prostitute, thief, the drunker and rehab, transform them into a beautiful new creation in the image of His Son, Jesus.

Then Luke 15:7 is fulfilled, Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

If we can not look at a prostitute, drug dealer, murder and see someone that God through the Gospel of Jesus in the power of the Holy spirit can be transformed into a beautiful life, the images of Jesus. Then we do not truly know and understand the gospel and  the power of the gospel, the life and death of Jesus and His mission, the power of God. If we do not understand that is who we are to reach, we do not understand God’s mission on earth for His church.

Hundreds participate in Savannah Christian Church’s efforts to spread faith throughout the world.

"We want to be involved in church planting movements, specifically in places where the church is not established," Stewart said. "One of the ways we do that is by sending our people."

With nearly 6,000 worshippers a week, Savannah Christian hosts one of the largest missionary programs in the area.

In the past three years, the Chatham County mega church has placed more than 600 members in projects located in more than 20 countries.

About a dozen members have left the church this year to become full-time missionaries.

"We believe that when you study the Bible, this is what the church is called to be," Dave Stewart said. "It’s not an optional thing. It’s outreach to people who are hurting and lost."

As the Global Outreach pastor, Stewart leads a staff of four outreach assistants.

I applaud this churches heart for the mission of Jesus, say a big Amen, this should be every churches testimony, and I pray that many will be encouraged by their story and do the same.

Read the full story here. By Dana Clark Felty of the Savannah Morning News.

11-17-09 Last week there was quite a buzz around the internet social networks about a statement made by a well known pastor at a church leadership conference. He stated that they should focus on building a online church community rather than a brick and mortar church.

He stated that it is not necessary for people to attend a church, that being part of a “online church” is all that one needs as a Christian. That being part of a body as to in person, gather to gather face to face is not needed. That pastors should be moving from a live congregation to a virtual online congregation, church only. That’s the way to to church now, virtual community via the web, twitter is the way to do church fellowship.

I can not express how much that saddened me, to hear that the leadership, movers and shakers of the church world (the under 35 crowed) adapting that mindset. Seeking to do away with real church, biblical church. The gathering of the body is the heart of church, it’s very essence. Gathering together for fellowship, for each to exercise their Spiritual gifts for the good of the body is why we meet, to build up one another, encourages each other, brake bread, share a meal, lay hands on each other and pray, lest see them do that online, in less than 140 characters.

So for him church is only a 30 min feel good sermon that you pay 10% of your income to listen to on line. This just does not set right with me. I’m a community person, fellowship is a necessity, so I guess people like me, people who believe the scriptures will just have to go elsewhere than “virtual church” in the near future for that.  

110409 “At each of the three Sunday services, the Rev. Dan Willis of the Lighthouse Church of All Nations, in Alsip, IL. Pulls a number of one seat from a bag and the worshiper in that seat wins a cash prize. Two of the churchgoers win $250 and the third gets $500. The church gives away $1,000 each Sunday, Willis said.

Willis concedes the cash prize is a gimmick to fill the pews.”

This is wrong in so many ways to me, the Spirit in me was grieved when I read this, but I guess when you run church as a for profit business, spending a $1000 on marketing, gaining you $10,000 in new income (tithes) that’s good business. I cannot help but think of the verse Matthew 21:13

‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.

Pastor Willis claims he’s doing it to help people pay bills, but this is not the way to do it, he needs to read Acts chapter 2, the body, church should be taking care of the needs of the body, helping each other, taking care of the poor. That’s to say there’s God’s way, and the way of the gospel. But then there is the way of the flesh, a gimmick for profit, turning God’s house in to a circus act of gimmicks, and / or a for profit business which is what Jesus was attacking in Matt 21:13.

That’s my first impression anyway, could be wrong, but just don’t like the sound of it, it’s not the gospel of Christ.

Read the full story By Lolly Bowean Tribune reporter here.