February 2009


Leadership questions: those of you within any leadership role, please consider the following questions I ‘borrowed’ from another blog I stumbled on this morning. These truly cause me to pause, pray and think.

Are you doing anything in your life that absolutely requires God’s help to accomplish it? If not, you’re probably not doing anything significant. (Yet)

What if today you pushed past your deepest fear with the confidence that God was with you?

What if you viewed all you had (your time, energy and resources) as things entrusted to you by God for which you had to give an account?

For the full post of these questions from the original blog click here

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What are your thoughts on sin in the believer’s life? At what point does one break fellowship with Christ? Can one loose salvation? If so, when does this occur? Instantaneously, at the commission of the slightest notion of sin? Or after traveling down the road of habitual sin? If so, where on this road? Must one commit apostasy to break fellowship? Was God’s righteous judgment on sin once and for all at the cross appropriated to all immediately at the cross (a sort of universalism), or immediately at confession (a sort of eternal security), or continuously accompanied with continual confessions (a sort of perfectionist legalism)? Does one need to live a life of spiritual paranoia repenting without ceasing? If sanctification is truly a process of being set apart and being made holy, is salvific grace nullified at the commission of one sin?

Is it not the enemy who accuses the brethren? Is it not the Spirit who sets us free? Does not the Spirit convict the world of sin, Christ save through faith/grace? Do we not grow in grace and knowledge (sanctification-purification) through the wooing of the Spirit in intimate agape relational peace, joy and deliverance?

Or is there a both/and grace-filled relational arena in which Christ judges the deepest recesses of one’s heart. (Who can know the heart but The Spirit?) Is it more about passionately pursuing His nature in intimate relationship with Him within the covenant community of the Body of Christ, than strict adherence to interpretative theological constructs one deems right?

My next post will address the second movement of Yielding to the Spirit in Bible Study: The importance of owning a shared (accountable) story with a community of faith as we search the Scriptures and listen to the Voice of His Spirit convict and transform. His Word moves us toward action. Never damning us to the prison of condemnation and paralyzing fear of hopelessness in obtaining His love through our works righteousness of filthy rags. Well, more on that later, for now let’s focus on the questions above.

Most Christians seem to live held hostage to lies of the enemy. We have grown accustomed to living in a prison of condemnation and mediocrity. It’s time to Break Out. Watch our intro video here:
Breakout. And let me know what you think! (Joe rocked the video—now just get a good speaker!!)

I’ve been thinking about pastors trying to be relevant. (Matt Cornett–don’t know it, but you helped spark this thought). All the shock and awe techniques are okay, if they are genuine and Spirit-inspired. I feel many pastors try shock value simply because it has worked as a gimmick for another leader. Crude language, sensitive subjects spoken about insensitively just reek of gimmick and marketing intentions. There are sexual topics, drug issues, spousal abuse problems and a plethora of other ‘hot topics’ the church must address. However, authenticity, integrity and maturity must be key ingredients for transformational leadership. Key thought: What leaders do in moderation, followers will do in excess. Where is sanctification in our leaders? Where is new creation fruit in our churches? Where is in the world not of it in our demonstration/presentation of the Gospel message?

I have read some pastors discussing drinking, cussing, listening to questionable music/entertainment, smoking etc. all in the name of relevance/transparency/humanity and freedom. I am not launching into a Scriptural assault/defense, though I probably should. (Romans 6, 8, 15)….good evil spoken of, examples, causing brothers to stumble..on and on and on.

I understand I am dealing with two issues. However, I sensed they are intrinsically connected. Hard-hot topics and relevance-integrity of leadership. Some ministers want to demonstrate street cred…”I was hard”, “I relate”, “I came from the streets too” mentality. One can do that without selling out the Gospel. Language and action often betray our leaders.

My dad was hard. He grew up rough. He carried a “piece” (Did that sound cool? Do I have some cred now?) Drugs, alcohol, porn, horrible language, bars, guns, fights, dead friends, incarcerated friends..and on and on and on. However, when Christ SAVED him, he also set him FREE. Christ broke the power and the penalty of the law of sin and death. No more crude language, course jesting, porn, alcohol, drugs etc. Sanctification, new creation, and holiness became a norm for him. Crucified with Christ. No longer he that lives but Christ lives through him. Where is the holiness, righteousness, crucified lifestyle? Those that know me know that I am not encouraging legalism, but fully devoted following Christ. I also know those who need to read this won’t…….what are your thoughts?

It’s truly amazing that atheists would spend soooo much time, energy and money fighting against something they believe doesn’t even exist. I don’t spend my time fighting and disproving the existence of Nessie, Big Foot, aliens or the like. How is it that the existence or nonexistence of God affects/effects agnostics, atheists and non-believers so deeply? Let me know your thoughts. Read the full article here about London atheists fighting God here

well, it’s been way too long since I discussed Bible Study? on here. It was this topic that drove me to start this new blog site. I began this discussion with the thought that we experience God when we approach His holy Word. We are not simply approaching a book of principles and ideals to apply to our lives for good living, success or even salvation. No, we are approaching God Himself. Christ is the Incarnate Word of God. This Book is inspired by God and infallible, inerrant and eternally alive and active. Our encounters with the Holy immutable God should demand responsive actions and engage our emotions. We are to taste and see that He is good. We actually become new creations-total life transformation-not mere behavioral-cognitive adaptation, but totally new birth and life IN Christ. Wow, bout to preach here a little!!! Well, on to the first movement of approach of His Holy Word. Cheryl and Jackie Johns have written extensively on this subject in Yielding to the Spirit: A Pentecostal Approach to Group Bible Study” Journal of Pentecostal Theology 1992 1: 109-134.
The first movement of corporate Bible Study is Sharing our Testimony
Sharing our testimony calls for each member of the community to share themselves with one another. There is a sense that one moves beyond sharing story to sharing one’s self. As we know one another we become one body with many members owning one another’s story and joining stories together to form the covenant community in the Spirit. As Johns and Johns explain “there is a commonness to everyone’s knowledge, struggles and expectations, a shared sense of incompleteness in time.”

Sharing our testimony is much more than story-telling. It is the participation of testifying about the tensions of life in Christ.
Finally, sharing our story is the offering of one’s self to the community of faith for the purpose glorifying God through ministering to the Body of Christ. The provision for opportunity for all members to contribute to the community of faith through sharing their story for reflection and future anticipation is crucial for transformation. This aspect of testimony brings the participants toward God’s future activity in response to and for the community of faith. Sharing one’s Testimony provides the Pentecostal basis and framework for participating in authentic community. (Gal. 6:2)

Are we to primarily read and study the Word individually or in community, as the Epistles were intended to be read? Is Scripture for private interpretation or communal exegesis in the power of the Spirit?

What do you think? I want to know….

Again, today, I will speak some about my new baby, Ella Kate. After reviewing the picture I posted in the last entry, I am more and more I am reminded we are to love one another. Luke and Elise truly love Ella Kate. Its amazing to see the joy in their eyes when they see their sister. Seems to me, we should rejoice with those that rejoice and weep with those who weep. Luke, often, will cry or give something up to please his sister. (Granted, we have to monitor this so he isn’t taken advantage of by an older sis!) Acts 2:42-ff displays Christ-like love for our neighbors. Romans 14 is a powerful reminder and a great read for loving each other.

Our church family rose to the challenge of the gospel again last night. Our Serve our City team saw EVERYTHING given away last night!! Our team faced temps down to 11-12 degrees, with a windchill of -2!! However, a couple hours out in the weather is nothing compared to giving coats and blankets and other necessities to those that sleep and live in this weather. I love our church!!! R

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