Category Archives: Church

Being Different

While you are learning how to be the eye or toe or heart that you are called to be in the Body of Jesus, it is good to be encouraged on days by other eyes or toes or hearts.

It is awesome to find comfort from an eye who has already been poked by a finger when you get poked for the first time. It is empowering to be taught how focused an eye really can be so that you can do it at the highest level of ability.

As you mature, it is wise to venture out of the eye tribe into the dangerous and scary place of the rest of the gifts. An eye is most useful when it is helping guide the body. Prophets or evangelists have great parties when no one but other prophets or evangelists show up, but when they start to party with pastors and teachers, the Body starts to be built up.

Hob nobbing with the rest of my tribe, I can learn a lot. If that is where I stay, it is possible that I will become satisfied with knowledge, which puffs up. I need love in scary places so that I can be built up.

When the Body really gets together, it is built up – by what every joint supplies. Joints are relationships with other Body members.

Ephesians 4.

Church Growth

If you ask an Evangelist “What produces Church Growth?”, the answer you get will likely sound like, “Leading people to saving faith in Jesus.”

If you ask a Teacher “What produces Church Growth?”, the answer you get will likely sound like, “Teaching believers how to rightly divide the Word of God and live by it’s commands.”

If you ask a Pastor “What produces Church Growth?”, the answer you get will likely sound like, “Surrounding new believers with fellowship and accountability so that they become responsible members of God’s Family.”

If you ask a Prophet “What produces Church Growth?”, the answer you get will likely sound like, “Confronting sin and holding carnally minded believers accountable for increasing in righteous behavior.”

If you ask an Apostle “What produces Church Growth?”, the answer you get will likely sound like, “Finding a way to get Evangelists, Teachers, Pastors & Prophets to equip the Saints to be the Body of Christ in the earth in effective ways.”

Super Vision Advisory

Scary toys usually have a disclaimer printed on the packaging: “Adult Supervision Required.” Another one made famous when TV was young was, “Kids, don’t try this at home! We’re trained professionals. You could get hurt!”

Those warnings were probably imposed by a board member’s lawyer, not his mom. The concern was likely for the company’s safety, not  for the safety of the targets of their marketing campaign.

My warning is because I love you, though! Super Natural makes sense to you – it defies natural laws. Super Rational may seem useful to you by now – it defies popular or typical rationales. Super Vision is what you get when you are born of God (John 3:3).

You need Perspective – the ability to see from more than one source. It is why you have two eyes. The result of two sources of visual data passing through your brain produces the ability to discern depth and distance. You have two ears’ data coming into your brain so that you can discern direction regarding sources of sounds.

Having other believers around you who see you as Yahweh does, who can see some of the future and interpret some of current situations, who love you and want you to succeed – this adds even more “perspective” to your input.

The fact that they are born of God means that they have Super Vision, and having them Supervise you in love and in prayer increases the likelihood of your destiny becoming real-ized. They can ask questions that help you find details or direction from the Spirit of God.

Invest in them and pray often for their ministry to you. Thank God for them.

Good Friends

Friends love all the time. That’s Proverbs 17:17. Agape. They don’t have to want to be around you all the time to still be loving you. Agape.

Friends will help you become your full level of awesome. They won’t let you quit. Your mistake doesn’t offend or alienate them.

Until we teach a generation of believers how to skate past religion and love one another it will be miraculous if you are loved by 5 friends your whole life. That is going to change.

You can’t effectively engage with more than 20 people at the genuine friend level at one time – in a way that you know what is going on in their lives. Invest heavily in the ones you can reach. Teach them how to do it.

When the unbelievers see us loving each other it will be such a contrast to what they have seen in the past that they will turn aside to see why the bush burns.

They will take off their shoes and meet the Lord.

Followers of the Way

Being a Believer in Jesus, a follower of Jesus, involves me in a WAY of doing things, a WAY of valuing relationships, a WAY of Life.

In Ephesians 4, Paul wrote prophetically about a time of maturity in the Body when every joint is supplying what it should to the Body, and therefore we are built up to the full stature of Jesus – an appropriate Bride for the Wonderful Son. A joint is a place where two parts come together and therefore can do something.

Failing to be assembled, as referenced by the writer to Hebrew Believers, means just being present in the box, not looking at all like a new bicycle or train track or doll house. Just showing up for all the meetings is not being assembled together. Becoming a fun or useful item is.

If I am not in new relationships, or deeper relationships, or more effective-in-ministry relationships than I was 2 years ago, I am failing to be assembled with other Believers.

I am just dressing the set.

Minimum Building Materials

The foundation of the Church, built with Jesus as its Cornerstone, includes prophets and apostles, as Paul described in Ephesians 2:18-22. There is debate whether the apostles and prophets he described there as part of the foundation are all deceased, but since there is no Scripture that declares that the time of needing apostles or prophets in the Church has come to an end, it is rational to presume that the time for their presence has not come to an end.

In contrast, to presume as some do, that the time for their presence has come to an end simply because I may not know someone with either one of those ministries, fits one of the definitive marks of a cult: basing core doctrine on extra-Biblical information or revelation. Someone said, “There are no apostles or prophets today.” Since there is no Scriptural statement declaring, “There are no apostles or prophets today,” only a cult would accept such a statement, basing it’s authority or truthfulness on something other than Scripture.

Paul wrote to the Church at Ephesus (quoted above in verse 13) that Jesus gave apostles to the Church “till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;”. Perhaps there was some period of time in the Church when that amazing condition was achieved, but I am not aware of it.

I am convinced, instead, that such a time has yet to appear, and that it is only going to become possible for it to appear when we not only allow, but approve and endorse and encourage, the Holy Spirit to give apostles, prophets, pastors, evangelists and teachers to the Church, so that all of the rest of the believers can be equipped for their ministries, empowered by the gifts the Holy Spirit wants to set each member in place with.

Based, then, on the fact that apostles and prophets are still required to be active in their ministries for the Church to function properly, and based on the fact that Paul took Barnabas and Silas with him as partners in Church planting, and that Paul called these two ministries part of the foundation on which the Church is built, I am deducing that a new congregation can be started with these two ministries as a minimum pair of foundational building blocks.

James the Apostle

There was James, the son of Alpheaus, who was an apostle.

There was also James, the son of Zebedee and the brother of John, who was an apostle.

There was also James the son of Joseph and Mary, who wrote the Scripture “James,” who was an apostle, and who was the leader of the church in Jerusalem when the decision was made about what of the law to subject believers to who had been gentiles. That is recorded in chapter 15 of Acts.

This James was not one of the original apostles. He is called an apostle by Paul (also not one of the original apostles) in Galatians 1:18&19. There were many others. There are many others today.

Pray for them.

Ghost Stories

Almost all kids love a good ghost story. They love hearing them and then telling them. We need to get better at telling them the best ones we can come up with.

Of course, our favorite ghost is not Casper. Our favorite is Holy Ghost! You should have some good stories to share with younger believers. There are lots of awesome ones in the Book for days when you don’t have a fresh one, but pay attention to the new ones He gives you so that you can hand them down.

Psalm 71:15-19
15 My mouth will tell about Your righteousness
and Your salvation all day long,
though I cannot sum them up.
16 I come because of the mighty acts of the Lord God;
I will proclaim Your righteousness, Yours alone.
17 God, You have taught me from my youth,
and I still proclaim Your wonderful works.
18 Even when I am old and gray,
God, do not abandon me.
Then I will proclaim Your power
to another generation,
Your strength to all who are to come.
19 Your righteousness reaches heaven, God,
You who have done great things;
God, who is like You?
(from Holman Christian Standard Bible®  ©  Holman Bible Publishers.)

 

 

Relations

I just read a story about one man’s attempt at building relationships that was a sad indictment of how shallow much of our experiences with community are.

He was planning a party. He thought it would be a great opportunity to get to know his Facebook “friends” better and even give them a chance to connect with each other. He invited all 700 of them to the party. He got 75 responses! 15 said they would come, and 60 said they might come. 1 came.

Some smart alec has said that Facebook is proof that it’s still OK to have imaginary friends.

The body of Jesus is made of relationships – connections of similar gifts, different gifts, and opportunities to manifest the Lord. Those real, powerful, effective relationships occasionally happen within congregational boundaries, but most congregations are made up of Facebook style relationships, leaving the Life to need to happen somewhere else.

Are you investing heavily in relationships that connect you to the Head of the body? Are you drawing and giving Life through the time you spend with a few genuine friends in the name and Spirit of Jesus?

It doesn’t take many real relationships to be wondersful.

Preaching the Kingdom

What difference does talking about the Kingdom make in ministry?

The Gospel of Salvation does not produce servants
The Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached everywhere before the end (Jesus: Matthew 24:14)
The Gospel of Salvation is related to reconciliation
The Gospel of the Kingdom is related to authority
If 80% of the teaching of Jesus is about the Kingdom, why isn’t ours?
The Church is called to reconcile the world through sacrifice
The Kingdom of Heaven is called to rule the world through authority
His Government and peace will never stop increasing. Isaiah 9:7
John the Baptist, Jesus, the Twelve, the Seventy, Philip, Barnabas, Paul and Peter preached the Gospel of the Kingdom as well as the Gospel of Salvation

Acts 28:30 – Regarding Paul incarcerated in Rome: “Then he stayed two whole years in his own rented house. And he welcomed all who visited him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching the things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with full boldness and without hindrance.”