ReThinking Church, Part 5 – Biblical Conversions

The greatest missing element we witness today within the local church is the lack of actual biblical conversions. We have committed flesh, rock star leaders, motivational speakers, talented musicians, dedicated workers, religious skits and plays. In all of this we seem to lack the first and foremost part of a New Testament Church…men and women who are actually changed by the gospel through the regeneration of the Holy Spirit.

The modern church measures success by the numbers sitting in the seats. This is foolish and is based upon the wisdom and pragmatism of secular society. Success in the church is first measured by biblical conversions; not activity, small groups, outreach or any other effort. These efforts must come out of the heart of those who are born of the Spirit or they are nothing more than dead works. We see a lot of things being accomplished by the arm of the flesh these days and yet revival is not happening. We see very little happening out of prayer and the power of the Spirit, and this reveals that our techniques are motivating the flesh instead of pointing to the cross. God help us!

What are some of the signs that suggest that many we lead may be lacking a biblical conversion? There are several which demonstrate that we are preaching and spending our time prompting and petting the flesh rather than encouraging genuine believers. All of these are not innately wrong. They become a problem when used to coddle unbelievers instead of equipping genuine believers! Continue reading “ReThinking Church, Part 5 – Biblical Conversions”

Calvinism and Arminianism…Enemies or Brothers?

Calvinism and Arminianism…Enemies or Brothers? I love theology… everything about it. The spiritual pursuit of biblical balance by studying and evaluating various verses relating to sound doctrine ignites a passion for truth every time I engage in it. However, as much as I love doctrine, I love Jesus even more! Now, before someone blows a gasket with my last statement, let me say… Jesus can not be reduced to or separated from the disclosure and proclamation of propositional revealed truth.

Truth exists, it is universal, it is absolute, it is knowable, and it is descriptive through language. However, for Christians, truth is also embodied in the person and character of Jesus. When our proclamation and defense of truth abandons the character of Christ, we have failed to biblically proclaim the message. This fact is undeniable. (1Jn. 4:8) And yet, Continue reading “Calvinism and Arminianism…Enemies or Brothers?”

ReThinking Church, Part 4 – Flexibility of Meeting Places

A huge advantage we see when we look at the New Testament model of church is their flexibility of meeting places or locations. As we saw in a previous post, it was illegal for the early Christians to build facilities in the Roman Empire…they could not have a permanent location even if they desired one. However, we see that this limitation did not hinder the growth of Christianity, and it is very possible that it contributed to its expansion. Simplicity and flexibility are our friends in church planting, not our enemies.

The early church did not look for or depend upon permanent facilities. They simply adjusted to their situation and never missed a step. The interesting thing to know is that at the beginning, when the church was mainly comprised of Jewish converts, the Christians knew they were leaving their temple and pursuing Jesus “outside the camp.” (Heb. 13:13) However, they quickly discovered, as Jesus had taught to the Samaritan woman, that true worship was in spirit and truth…not in a mountain, temple or city. (John 4:19-24) Continue reading “ReThinking Church, Part 4 – Flexibility of Meeting Places”

Four Roads to Calvary

Down at the crossroads….a popular statement used mainly when someone is giving directions. The same can be said about Calvary. It is a cross-road given to us for directions for understanding our need of forgiveness and God’s offer of salvation. This crossroad is where four eternal truths intersected and revealed answers to the big questions of life.

Every intersection has four roads or paths leading to the crossroad. Regardless which one of the four roads one is traveling, he will cross the intersection. Likewise, Jesus suffering on Calvary’s cross has four roads leading to it, and regardless which difficult issue man is considering, the answer is always at the cross section of these four truths. Continue reading “Four Roads to Calvary”

What Kind of Leaders Are We Creating?

I’m finding a very sad pattern emerging. I have been blogging and tweeting fairly regularly since March of 2011. Since that time, I have friended and followed many leaders and pastors, including very young ones. Now, I love the excitement and exuberance brought into the church through these young visionaries and men called by God. However, in the midst of this energy, many of these young men seem to have ‘weak ears’ with the inability to hear hard sayings. When a post or tweet could press them into a deeper understanding of the heart of God, instead of considering and inquiring, they simply run off by un-friending or distancing themselves from those who may see things a little differently.

This got me to thinking, what kind of leaders are we creating from this young generation? Do those with an Arminian persuasion refuse to evaluate the verses which seem to support Calvinism? Do those with Reformed leanings refuse to honestly look at the verses which seem to support Arminianism? Are we creating unnecessary divisions between brothers? Are we creating an army of Penguins? Continue reading “What Kind of Leaders Are We Creating?”

ReThinking Church, Part 3 – People are God’s Building

We saw in Part 2 that, according to the NT model and mindset, the term church never referred to a physical location or building. We saw that permanent physical worship facilities were non existent in the early church for multiple reasons. That brings us to the following point: we must allow the Holy Spirit to re-establish the biblical meaning of church in our heart and mind.

In the NT, we are introduced to a plethora of terms used by the Holy Spirit to communicate the meaning of what church is. These terms reflect various images and thoughts which force us out of our natural perception and into the understanding and intention of God’s heart. Here is a list of some of the words the authors of the New Testament used to convey the Holy Spirit’s meaning of church. Let us reflect and pray over them as we ask the Lord to open our hearts to see His heart. This can be dangerous…but it will also be liberating! Continue reading “ReThinking Church, Part 3 – People are God’s Building”

The ‘Deaconized’ Pastor

John is a young man who responds to the call of God. The excitement of finally surrendering to the Lord’s will for his life is beyond containment. He spends years preparing and submitting to training for the work ahead and he can hardly wait for his release to reach people for Jesus and bring life to a local church.

He finally becomes the pastor of a church and he is ready to bring changes and life into a stale or nominal American church. He sees opportunities in the community and limitless potential to impact people with the truth of the gospel. He pitches his vision to the deacon board with all the surety given to him by the Holy Spirit. They listen with suspicious looks and granite flexibility. After much discussion and warnings of moving too fast and too extreme, the pastor’s vision is lost in an endless parade of excuses and small minded thinking.

Time and time again, the scenario above is played out until John finally becomes ‘deaconized.’ Church after church, he experiences the same thing. He may last 5 years or Continue reading “The ‘Deaconized’ Pastor”

When Jesus is Silent

She cried out in desperate need. Her life was dangling on the precipice of hopelessness and despair. This world could offer her neither relief or help…Jesus was her last hope. And yet we read, “…he did not answer her a word.” (Mt.15:23)

How could this be? How could the one who loves us so deeply remain so quiet during our greatest trial and affliction? These questions have been asked by many, including myself, who have gone through great suffering and found only silence from the Lord. I went for months crying out to the Lord in prayer concerning my condition…which eventually led to the diagnosis of cancer and the treatment of chemotherapy and radiation. Time and time again I cried out in desperate prayer and anguish of soul, and the Lord answered not a word. Heartbreak brings us to Jesus with our eyes and knees weeping for His grace. Continue reading “When Jesus is Silent”