Category: Blog

What is the Christians response to tragedy and evil?

There has been an escalation in national tragedies in recent days. These tragedies always evoke the need to know why, prompting all of us to search for answers and explanations. As followers of Christ, we desire to seek and find these answers just as the rest of the world does; however, our search is guided by the unique hope found only in the saving life and message of Jesus Christ, whereas others seek the same answers aimlessly. The challenge comes when we as Christians are called upon to articulate this hope and live out our faith. So, what is the Christian’s response to tragedy, evil and hate?

 

First, according to our convictional beliefs Christians do not have to live with “headline hysteria.”

 

Our faith as defined in the Bible tells us that our world will become darker as the day of the Lord draws closer. These recent acts, although shocking, should not be surprising. A quick study of how the early church was started shortly after Christ’s resurrection and ascension sets the standard for living out our faith in a world seeking to reconcile life without God in the equation.

 

The early church was started in a time of political corruption, institutional religion, hostility, fear, and accusations against the followers of Christ. In the midst of all that we still see a great time of power, boldness and a movement of God. Early Christians were familiar with times of hostility, fear, hatred and violence. They found a place for their voice of faith, a voice of hope, in the midst of fear and chaos.

 

Today, we are seeing the struggle of human nature trying to figure itself out. Human nature has always struggled with itself. Philosophers, psychologists, and teachers have cultivated many theories on human nature and how it can help instead of harm, but none of them ultimately offer the answer needed to provide hope and redemption for mankind.

 

The human condition is a fallen condition. We are a corrupt, depraved and sinful people. None of our efforts, laws, feelings or actions can save us.

 

We are seeing the result of a naturalistic lifestyle.

 

When my feelings determine how I act, I will then act in a way that seems right to me, and no one can or should tell me differently – to do so is to hate me or judge me or stereotype me.

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Stronger Service

Stronger Service

Here is a small sample of training you can offer this fall as you train leaders for a new season of serving.

(You can customize this to any area of your church)

Let’s equate our time of training to that of cellular service with our smartphones.

Benefits of smartphones and Cellular service:

1 – Communication
2 – Information
3 – Entertainment
4 – Connectivity

Drawbacks with smartphones and cellular service:

1 – Communication: Sometimes texts, posts or feeds don’t convey the
right message.
2 – Apps that don’t work
3 – Distractions as a result from entertainment
4 – Loss of Connection: dropped calls, poor coverage.

Elements of Stronger Service:

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4 Signs That Your Church Has A Culture of Giving

4 Signs that your church has a culture of giving

  1. Leadership believes in it.
  2. Resources: people, time, buildings and budgets are maximized for ministry impact.
  3. Stories of change and impact are often shared.
  4. You see an increase in those serving in the church.

More to come next week.  I am teaching a group of pastors next week on, “How To Create a Culture of Giving In Your Church” – I can’t give it away just yet.

Spurgeon on Church Growth

This works!

My good ministering brother, have you got an empty church? Do you want to fill it? I will give you a good recipe, and if you will follow it, you will, in all probability, have your chapel full to the doors.

Burn all your manuscripts, that is No. 1. Give up your notes, that is No. 2. Read your Bible and preach it as you find it in the simplicity of its language. And give up all your Latinized English. Begin to tell the people what you have felt in your own heart, and beseech the Holy Spirit to make your heart as hot as a furnace for zeal. Then go out and talk to the people. Speak to them like their brother. Be a man amongst men. Tell them what you have felt and what you know, and tell it heartily with a good, bold face; and, my dear friend, I do not care who you are, you will get a congregation.

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Let’s Do This. Leading In Spite of Fear

Let’s Do It. Leading in spite of fears

In the early years of the pastorate I’m not sure I knew what fear was. I was a leading machine, or at least I thought I was. Here’s what I mean: As a young pastor my eyes were wide open to the possibilities and my heart was ready to fulfill the calling. I did not see a reason why the church I was leading could not and would not grow.

As the years passed I was surprised to discover that not everyone wants the church to grow. I was and still am shocked that many church members value the bylaws more than the scriptures, in fact they can quote more sections of bylaws than verses of scripture. Many of our churches have people that will die for the past and tradition instead of reaching new followers and securing the churches future.

So, it did not take long before FEAR found it’s way into my heart and into my ability to make decisions. After a few bad business meetings, special called meetings and learning of disgruntled-mumbling members who had “church in the hallways” I developed a fear based leadership style.

Almost every leader I talk to struggles with fear. Fear is not something you can follow. Leading out of fear kills courage, slows progress and disables direction.

Many leaders who are led by fear and are leading out of fear are taking their church in a direction – the wrong direction.

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Churchless and You Lost Me – books by Barna and Kinnaman

The lastest books from Barna and Kinnaman, Churchless and You Lost Me, are must reads. I cannot put them down. The information is spot on and for our church very affirming.  For the last two years I have been leading the church I serve in the area of revitalization.  I have trained hundreds of pastors in this area. For me, it’s a three year commitment of revitalization. We just completed year one and we will begin year two January 1 of 2015.

The annual theme for the first year was, Step Up, Step In, Step Out.  Stronger is the theme for year two. We announced this past October the theme and added what we wanted to emphasize.  The emphasis for 2015 is that we want our church to; Think Biblically, Behave Biblically and Contextualize Biblical Teaching in Their Lives. Upon reading Barna and Kinnaman we were elated and affirmed. These books confirm what we suspected. Now, at this point we are just excited – we are still trying put solutions to perplexing situations.  We don’t have the answers – but at least we have a direction.

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Bring Back Revivals

As a kid I grew up in a great Christian home. My dad served as a part-time music director and my mom taught High School girls Sunday School.  I was always at church.  I loved it.  I have great memories of church revivals and listening to my Dad sing in many southern gospel groups. I have so many memories of church revivals. Gospel singing, covered dish meals and  multiple offerings taken until enough money was raised. I, along with my family, spent many nights at numerous revivals. Read more

11 Ways To Renovate the Future of the Church

The Church has a future. This we are guaranteed of in the Scriptures. The future, however, does appear like we are not doing that good of a job sharing our faith, reaching the lost and impacting culture.  Over the past twenty years have led four turn around situations. Each one of them in a different time zone with their unique culture.  This list of 11 things are common denominators found at each location. No matter the size, denomination, beliefs, or time zone you can practice these 11 things right now and begin to see a change. Read more

Six Steps To Starting a New Work in an Existing Church

Talk about a case study in the work of renovation, Joshua following Moses is a good study. Every renovating pastor serves in the shadow of a former pastor. Unless you are a church planter, you will not be the first guy on the scene. We, like Joshua, follow the work of someone before us. From Joshua we learn timeless principles that can help us all kick-start a new work in an existing church. From the words of God to Joshua, we learn how to navigate the process of turning people around and focusing them back on their mission. Read more