What Your Pastor Would Love For You To Know!

I have been in full time ministry for over 28 years and would not take anything for that time. It has not always been easy or pleasant. Dealing with people and their lostness isn’t a walk on the beach. We must be willing to enter the soiled lives of those hurting in order to offer the righteousness of Christ to them. However, over the years I have come to realize there are things Leaders wished their flocks clearly understood. Here is a short list of 18 things Pastors would love to tell their congregations. They are in no particular order.

1. We struggle with temptation…just like you.

2. We don’t always feel like praying…just like you.

3. We get physically and spiritually fatigued…just like you.

4. We need some space…just like you. Continue reading “What Your Pastor Would Love For You To Know!”

Let Us Preach From Our Knees – Street Apologetics

America is a nation which loves arrogant personalities with shock jock and intimidating communication traits. We see this in sports, news commentaries and politics. Sad to say, we also see this in preaching. In spite of the instructions from God’s Word, we constantly observe preachers, who are supposed to represent the “Lamb of God,” spouting insulting and obnoxious antics and statements…their speech betrays their own claims. It is the Shibboleth of our generation. (Judges 12:5-6)

Truth, as beautiful and liberating as it is, has baggage which comes with it. That baggage is the ability to make us arrogant and high-minded, as if we invented it and are the source. Nothing wrong about proclaiming truth, however, when we declare it in an coercive and arrogant fashion, we contradict the very spirit and character of truth…which is the spirit and character of Jesus. He is the Truth! (John 14:6)

If we keep ourselves upon the altar of prayer, repenting and dealing with our inclinations toward self reliance and pride, the Holy Spirit will work through us by making us broken vessels which reveal the glory of Christ. Satan and his imps are constantly waiting to pounce upon our lack of brokenness and humility, and to entice us to move into a disrespectful and graceless mode of communication. Let us be careful to preach from our knees! Continue reading “Let Us Preach From Our Knees – Street Apologetics”

Does Man Have Free Will?

Extreme Calvinists say “no” and extreme Arminians worship free will. As always, there is a great need for balance! There are pitfalls as a result of the logical conclusions we will arrive at if we embrace either extreme. The greatest pitfall is the damage to a clear presentation of the gospel. We must, in order to remain biblically balanced, hold to both the Sovereignty of God and the Free Will of man. If we allow either truth to crush out the other, it will lead us to various levels of misrepresentations of the gospel.

The entire biblical text presupposes, implies and teaches free will. Biblical commands tell us the ‘oughts,’ and the oughts presupposes ‘choice,’ and choice implies ‘free will.’ This part is just very simple when we are not forcing conclusions by cherry picking verses to support extreme Calvinism.

When free will is denied, you’ll always hear and observe a struggling attempt to discuss people surrendering to Christ, especially if the teacher is honestly attempting to remain logically consistent with his position. Most brothers who are five point calvinists, will still present the call to repent and place your faith in Christ alone for salvation. Continue reading “Does Man Have Free Will?”

Really Want to Help?…Think Small

In the age of giant egos and “bigger is better” pop culture idolatry, it seems many evangelicals are biting into the same rotten apple as those who do not know Christ. The pride of man is always prodding individuals to become the big chief, head honcho or chief executive. The flesh loves to embrace the chief mentality… it makes us feel important without brokenness and powerful without the Holy Spirit. It must go to the cross and be put to death! (Rom. 6:11, Eph. 4:22, Col. 3:5)

Few things are as putrid to mature believers as the rock star promotion of so-called leaders. You’ve seen them…we all have. From the sickening ‘change the color of your hair every week peach fuzz prophets’ and the effeminate ‘gospel with a grin stage productions,’ to the uncouth ‘shock jock pulpit yuppies.’ Nothing new, every generation has them because the flesh loves to idolize and project itself through heros, even spiritual heros. However, when we as the church adopt it, it makes a mockery of the true message of Grace and Humility. Everything from book tours to church planting have become the latest fads for men to lift themselves, or allow others to lift them, to the status of idols. Continue reading “Really Want to Help?…Think Small”

Questions Concerning Calvinism and Arminianism

I get questions all the time via email, telephone and in person, as well as from postings on other blogs. I enjoy dialogue with men who think inside and outside the box, as well as investigating the need for biblical balance and maturity. These questions involve a wide range of topics from systematic theology and apologetics, to suffering and the Spirit Filled Life of the believer. Here is a response I gave concerning several questions relating to the division caused by some of the youthful church planters within the reformed tradition, followed by my responses. I think you’ll enjoy. Feel free to offer your comments.

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Are the Reformed trying to convert others with different theology?

In one sense, we all try to do this. The nature of truth and love is to communicate what we believe is accurately representing God. The problem seems, IMHO, to be the lack of maturity and balance. Today, as a good reformed friend said to me a couple of months ago, it is fashionable to be ‘Reformed.’ That way, young and prideful ‘church planters’ can raise the banner “reformed” and instantly feel they are John Piper or Continue reading “Questions Concerning Calvinism and Arminianism”

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”

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”

The 3G Network of Leadership Failure!

The 3g network refers to more than an advertisement for a cell phone company. After more than 27 years of full time ministry, I’ve also seen a 3g network of failure among Christian leaders. This network should be recognized and handled with extreme caution and discretion in order to preserve the integrity of leaders and their ministry. It has been the downfall of many leaders when not taken seriously.

The Gold – Leaders should avoid personally handling the finances. A finance team should be in charge of handling all monies and cheques. The freedom of financial impropriety is necessary to avoid being linked with the ‘Prosperity Gospel’ charlatans.  Continue reading “The 3G Network of Leadership Failure!”

Marks of Mature Leadership – #1

Mature Leadership – aspired to by many, reached by few. We are not in lack of leadership in our church settings and church planting. However, a quick glance at the churches around us, and the continual upheaval of ministry problems, reveals there is a great lack of ‘mature leadership.’ Discussions with believers from various denominational settings and house churches also reveal our need in this area. Now, it is obvious, that maturity is not instantaneous; but it should be continual. We all, myself first, want to walk more sensitive to the Holy Spirit, more compassionate to those hurting and more obedient to our Lord.

Mark #1 – An Inward Realization of the Depth of Our Depravity

What are some of the marks of a mature leader? We will look at several over time, but here is our first installment. A mature leader will continually grow, not just in theological Continue reading “Marks of Mature Leadership – #1”

Where Are The Prophets?

The modern church is in great need of prophets. No, not the self appointed and wild eyed fanatics we see on TBN and other religious broadcasts. You have seen them, they add their delusions to the revelation of Scripture. They equate sweating and laughter with anointing. They lead millions further down a road of deception and delusion. Instead, we need men in leadership who will spend time alone with God in prayer and get a living word to communicate to God’s people. Men of vision who are not selling out the church so they can become a celebrity in the ‘religious conference tour.’

A prophet doesn’t have a burden…the burden has the prophet! New Testament prophets do not go around as a one man show. In fact, the rock star promotion of ministers grates his spirit, because it offends the Holy Spirit. The prophet weeps when alone in prayer Continue reading “Where Are The Prophets?”

Mondays Are For Recovery

Pastors will understand how Mondays are a special day for spiritual recovery. Sunday has ended, you’ve poured your heart and soul out to the sheep in prayer and teaching, you’re tired and needing rest. Mondays offer a much needed day of recuperation. Whenever possible, this should be a day to set aside a volume of time to do several things for the spiritual health and vitality of the leader. Here a 4 things I have found to be essential for recovery.

Quiet Time – Nothing recharges me more than quiet time before the Lord in prayer. Learning the discipline of silence in His presence is a great value. No phone calls, no text messages, etc. Just quiet time before the Lord! Give me a couple of hours of quiet time and I’m amazingly refreshed. (Psa. 46:10; Isa. 40:31)

Devotional – Reading materials which encourages my heart. Not study or research Continue reading “Mondays Are For Recovery”

The Church Is Too Important To Die

Numbers do not guarantee life! In our server friendly and consumer oriented society, success is measured by numbers. It is the guiding force behind capitalism. However, in God’s economy the guiding force is LOVE.

As the modern church experiences an explosion of church plants, conferences for youth and leaders, let us not fall into the trap of the deception of natural success. Unless our hearts are aflame by the Holy Spirit and consumed with the Love of Christ we are only making lateral moves of insignificance. To be like Jesus, not in word, but in deed and spirit, is the only goal of Christianity…every thing can be distilled down to this simple truth.

Pastors are burning out, teenagers are abandoning the church, marriages among ‘believers’ are failing at the same rate as the world. Much of the anemic conditions of the Continue reading “The Church Is Too Important To Die”