Pray Big…Think Small

Yes, you read the title correctly; Pray Big… Think Small. After spending a lot of time with various people throughout many years of ministry, I find these two reversed in people’s life. Instead they are always thinking big, promoting big and wanting big, but are praying very little or in small measure. Many believers dwell in a cave of fear, pinned down by insecurities and fleshly barriers. Outreach is not as difficult as we make it, as long as we keep things in their proper order. Success as a believer is not measured by results, but by obedience. And each believer can be used if we remember these two simple issues.

Pray Big – Our Lord wants to reach those around us with the same redemption He has given us. The greatest impact we can have ‘now,’ is in the everyday, ins and outs, warp and woof of our daily life. Our biggest prayer should not be for opportunities with others, but first for our willingness to obey the great commission in the opportunities we already have in everyday life…we should pray for boldness! Why should the Lord give us more ‘doors of utterance’ (Col.4:3) if we are not taking advantage of the ones we already have? If our prayers are not dealing with our fears, insecurities, false self image, lack of gospel understanding and inertia in sharing Christ, then we are praying too small. Continue reading “Pray Big…Think Small”

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?”

Freedom to Question

The best disciples are made when those in training are really free to question the positions and beliefs of their teachers. Depending upon how secure the teacher is to receive such questioning will determine its fruitfulness. However, the freedom to challenge, investigate and question every belief will determine whether we are creating puppets of man or followers of Jesus. Cookie cutting disciples will not endure the test of this postmodern and post-christian age. Questions from unbelievers and heretics will rock their faith axioms if they haven’t challenged them with ferocity and are convinced of the soundness of their own doctrines.

Jesus allowed it… (John 3:4)

Paul applauded it… (Acts 17:11) Continue reading “Freedom to Question”

3 Questions Good Leaders Ask

During the first part of the 1980’s, while spending several years in preparation for ministry, I worked in sales. During this time I found I had a keen interest in the personalities and decisions which shaped my older clients. My interest involved the personal and business levels. Though I was in my early twenties, I knew that life was a fading vapor and that I would be their age before I could turn around. I found there was a wealth of knowledge to learn from the generation ahead of me if I knew what to ask. Also, I knew the Lord was calling me into ministry and that I had much to learn from those who were responsible for leading others, in the secular and the church world. I soon came up with 3 main questions to ask those I found interesting in order to extract wisdom from them. Continue reading “3 Questions Good Leaders Ask”

Learning From Pirates

Buccaneers and Swashbucklers offer a romantic view of life on the seven seas. Imagining a free lifestyle of no responsibility or accountability strikes the common chord of harmony with most in the west. Freelance movements and adventure are the actions of dreams and vision…giving opportunity for expressing oneself without answering to anyone or anything.

This fairy tale lifestyle is similar to the hotdog attitude expressed by many young believers, including immature church planters. However, upon closer examination, we actually learn the opposite concerning pirates. Their work and lifestyle was not the independent one, as envisioned by those who aspire to copy their romantic pattern of travel. Pirates had several rules which governed their code of conduct. These were essential for maintaining order. Here are nine things we can learn from Pirates! Continue reading “Learning From Pirates”

Fire Shut Up In My Bones!

It was 28 years ago, but I can still remember the text. (Jer. 20:9) I also remember the flame of the Holy Spirit in my inner man. I knew very little. In fact, I was unqualified to even be speaking but circumstances had placed me in the pulpit of a small country church to speak what was on my heart. The Lord had been dealing with me for 3 years concerning the call into ministry and the truths of God’s Word were alive within the core of my being! Thank God, that flame still burns today and is the single impetus to preach God’s eternal Word wherever He sends me.

There are no amount of emotions or human effort which can help a man genuinely survive the burden and calling into ministry. The demands are too great, the stress is too much and the expectations can be overwhelming. In short, it is a labor of love birthed by the call of God within a man’s heart. There will be times when the the fire in our bones will be the only impetus we can fall back on in order to continue in ministry! Continue reading “Fire Shut Up In My Bones!”

Signs of a Healthy Church

What are the signs of a ‘healthy’ church? We could single out many things, but here are a few which seem to be in every healthy church. Let’s list them and take a brief look why each one is so important. Every Pastor/Elder I’ve talked with, during my 27 years of ministry, either has these areas in mind to see them developed in the local church, or already has them in practice. Please feel free to add to the list in the comments. Look forward to your input.

  • Prayer – If our work is not built on prayer, it is just fleshly effort at best. This one seems obvious, but I see a lot of ‘successful’ works which demonstrate humanistic efforts rather than Spirit led wisdom and character. Discerning the will of the Lord through prayer will keep our vision/work faithful to character of Christ.
    Continue reading “Signs of a Healthy Church”

Jacob’s Limp

Jacob, whose name means supplanter or deceiver, met and wrestled with the Lord one night. (Gen. 32:22-32) Fear of his brother Esau had driven him to be alone. In this aloneness, God came and engaged Jacob…a battle of supremacy ensued. The Lord, after an all night wrestling match, touched the hip socket of Jacob, causing it to shrink and come out of place. Jacob would be a man who limped the rest of his life. It was a constant reminder of this night of wrestling and the change wrought by it. He had met God, and God had won. Jacob looked weaker, but now, he was actually stronger.

We need men in leadership who have Jacob’s Limp! That is, men changed by intense and faithful wrestling with God in prayer. Men changed from their old ways of manipulating circumstances to a new way–God’s way. We need marked men…men with a limp. Continue reading “Jacob’s Limp”

Jesus and Discipleship

Without question we know Jesus was the greatest teacher the masses had ever seen. We must also recognize His continued influence on His generation after His death. Of course, the pouring out of the Holy Spirit was the most influential element of the success of the early church. The question arises, did Jesus have a pattern for making disciples we can use? Yes. Plain and simple, Jesus poured Himself into twelve men and these turned the world upside down. I love this verse:

“…These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also…” (Acts 17:6)

Here a couple of simple principles we can learn from His example in order to make the best use of our life and talents to equip others.

1) Selection – Jesus personally chose the ones He poured His time and instruction into. He preached to the masses, but He explained the deeper things about the spiritual life to the twelve He hand-picked. (Mark 4:34)

Those who desire to receive intimate instruction, will be obvious. They will be ‘bumping’ up to us and continually inquiring about Scriptural truths and practical application. Our life is too short and our time is Continue reading “Jesus and Discipleship”