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The Authenticity of Disciple Making

Month: January 2017

What is Time?

Paul Tripp blog

What Is Time?

We think so much of
moments
days
years
times past
things to come.
We deal with so much
regret of the past
fear of the future
confusion in the present.
For us
time passes quickly
we miss a moment
days drag on.
We
anticipate what’s coming
hold on to what’s gone.
Time
holds us
molds us
controls us.
Thankfully
God knows no time
never expects
never regrets
no looking forward
no glancing back
no surprises
no mysteries
nothing unexpected.
God dwells in an
eternal now.
All that he is
he has forever been
and will forever be.
With him there is no
growth
change
becoming.
He is security’s foundation
time’s sovereign.
In a world where
everything is ever
changing.
He is a rock of
secure
unchanging
eternal hope.

WHY SMALLER CHURCHES ARE GOING MULTISITE – RAINER ON LEADERSHIP #296

from Thom Rainer:

WHY SMALLER CHURCHES ARE GOING MULTISITE – RAINER ON LEADERSHIP #296

Multisite used to be something only large churches tried. Now, smaller churches are getting in on the strategy. Today we discuss why this is a good thing for smaller churches to consider.

Some highlights from today’s episode include:

All things being equal, “new” reaches people more than “old.”
You can start a new church/site/service and reach people you wouldn’t reach with an established church/site/service.
Going multisite is often better a stewardship of funds than building a massive facility.
The Millennial Generation is a leasing generation.
Leasing a facility for multisite makes it financially less risky and often assuages some concerns from church members.
Worship service gathering sizes are getting smaller to create greater senses of community and intimacy.
Multisite provides smaller churches the ability to grow while keeping worship gatherings smaller at the same time.
The multisite approach allows you to experiment.
The seven reasons smaller churches are going multisite are:

More effective at reaching people.
Better stewardship, especially with facilities.
Acceptance of non-churchy facilities
Acceptance of leasing instead of owning
They tend to be mid adopters.
The desire to keep the worship service smaller.
Processes and bugs are being worked out.

Happy 2017

25 days in, and 2017 has been full of drama.

Nationally, there are very public protests against our country and our President.

Nationally, there are people claiming to be afraid their rights will be taken away…you know…rights like the ability to murder the unborn.

Regionally, the newspaper celebrated a group of teachers from Austin College going to the protest…like they were heroes.

Locally, like in our church local, We have had people in the hospital every day since Christmas. Sometimes multiple folks in ICU. Several back surgeries, cancer, various other maladies.

My heart is heavy. The climate in our country is oppressive to thinking people on both sides of the argument. I am going to pray for our president and all of our leaders, even though I may not agree with every decision. My children deserve this much, but they deserve this from a free society as well as my home.

My heart is heavy. Our church family is hurting. There are genuine struggles in people I love and serve with.

The only answer is the same answer, PRAY. So that’s what I’m gonna do.

SEVEN STEPS TO TAKE IF THE CARTEL AND BULLIES RUN YOU OUT OF THE CHURCH

from Thom Rainer

SEVEN STEPS TO TAKE IF THE CARTEL AND BULLIES RUN YOU OUT OF THE CHURCH

A bully-led personnel committee ran Frank out of the church. They never told the pastor why they wanted him to resign. Jan was a very active layperson in the student ministry. A cartel of jealous church members pushed her out of the church.

I wish such examples were anomalies, but they aren’t. To the contrary, such incidents seem to be gaining traction. And, of course, they are both the cause and the result of the number of unhealthy churches in American.

I have written and spoken at length about this issue, but I have not yet addressed the aftermath of such bullying from the perspective of the victim. What is he or she to do after the horrific incident? Here are seven suggestions:

Take care of your family. That’s a tough order, especially when you are hurting so much already. But your family is in pain. They need you. They need to know all of you will be okay.
Pray with specificity. You should ask God for comfort, for strength, and for peace. You should ask him to remove the bitterness that such terrible abuse brings. Trust Him to do it, because you can’t.
Find a healthy church. You won’t find a perfect church, but there are many good and healthy churches. You can’t give up on churches completely because of the toxic cartel church. You need to remain in a local body of believers.
Move carefully before taking another ministry position. You need time. You need to take care of your family. You need to take care of yourself. The ministry position can come later, just not immediately.
Count your blessings. This saying is not trite. When we have been hurt deeply by church bullies and a cartel, it is easy and natural to focus on that hurt. Start focusing on your blessings. Ask God to open your eyes and heart to all the great ways He is working in and through your life.
Become an advocate for other victims. Don’t stay on the sidelines the next time you see bullying take place in a church. Stand up to the bully. Be a source of understanding and comfort for the victim. God can use your pain for His glory and others’ good.
Don’t give up. Don’t give in. Don’t give up on God and local churches and fellow believers. Don’t give in to bitterness and self-pity. Though it sounds cliché, you can become a better person and believer in the midst of the struggles you are experiencing.
I wish we didn’t have to talk and write about such issues. I wish they didn’t exist in churches. But the greater harm would be ignoring this evil and letting it run rampant.

Bullying is evil. Cartels are nefarious as well.

But God is good. And He is greater than anything the world or the local church can throw our way.

Please Read

Thom Rainer Blog from January 9, 2017:
6 statements that can kill a church
Words can kill.
Words can kill churches because they often have deadly actions behind them. As we begin this new year, please allow me to share six statements that I have heard from church members whose churches have died.
Please hear that last statement again: These are statements from church members whose churches have already closed their doors. I am convinced these statements were major contributors to the churches’ demise.
1 “We pay our pastor to do evangelism.” The common meaning behind this statement is that the members have no intentions of sharing their faith. A church with non-evangelistic members is a dying church.
2 “Without our money, this church would be in trouble.” Ouch! The key word here is “our.” Members with this attitude do not give with an open hand; they perceive the money they give to the church is their money, not God’s money. This tight-fisted non-stewardship, if prevalent in the church, is a sure sign of sickness or death.
3 “This church is not meeting my needs.” For certain, members’ needs should be met. But have you noticed that, often times, the most needy members are the first to complain and the first to leave? We should certainly care for the needs of the flock, but the attitude of the members should be that of serving instead of being served.
4 “We pay the salary of the pastor and staff, so they should listen to us.” This deadly statement has two major inflictors of pain. First, the money is treated with a tight fist, as I noted above. Second, the money is used to control leaders. I served in a church where a member made that statement to me frequently. Years after I left, I learned he never gave a dollar to the church.
5 “We will let the next generation deal with change.” When older generations make this statement, they are resolutely refusing to make necessary and immediate changes. Sadly, the next generations won’t stick around in such a church to make the changes.
6 “I was here years before the pastor came; I’ll be here years after he’s gone.” This statement is one of power and control rather than service and giving. It’s about out-lasting each pastor to keep the church just the way the member wants it. It’s a statement that was commonly heard in churches that have closed their doors.
I remain an obnoxious optimist about our local congregations. But, sadly, many will die in this year and the next. Most of them will have had members who made these six deadly statements,
I pray your church is not among them.

Don’t Make Resolutions. Make Commitments.

Paul Tripp blog:

Don’t Make Resolutions. Make Commitments.

I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions.

While I understand the desire for fresh starts and new beginnings, none of us has the power to reinvent ourselves simply because the calendar has flipped over to a new year.

But since the gospel of Jesus Christ carries with it a message of fresh starts and new beginnings – because of the forgiving and transforming power of God’s grace – looking forward at the year to come does give us an opportunity to give ourselves anew to practical, daily-life commitments that are rooted in the gospel.

Let me suggest seven commitments that all of us have been empowered, and should be excited, to make.

1. Be honest about your struggles.

Denial of your daily struggles with temptation and sin is never a pathway to change. The work of Jesus frees all of us to be honest about our weaknesses and failures without fear of God’s judgment.

The gospel welcomes us in our weakness to run to God and not away from him. The doorway to personal change begins with humbly admitting your need for the help that only God can give.

2. Rest in God’s presence and strength.

Refuse to load your personal potential and welfare on your small shoulders. Remember the Jesus is with you, in you and for you, and because he is, your welfare rests on his infinitely huge shoulders.

When you measure your potential, don’t forget that your life has been invaded by his power and grace. You could argue that Jesus is your potential.

3. Don’t look horizontally for what can only be found vertically.

Don’t allow yourself to be seduced into believing that life can be found in the people, possessions, situations, locations and experiences of everyday life.

Remember, the role of created things is not to give you life, but to point you to the One who is the Way, the Truth and Life. Refuse to try to satisfy your heart with things that will never offer you the satisfaction that you seek.

4. Deepen your relationship to the body of Christ.

You and I were never hardwired by God to walk with him on our own. God’s plan for us is deeply relational. We’re wired to be connected and dependent, not isolated and independent.

Live close to God’s people, inviting those around you to intrude on your private world and to function as God’s tools of comfort, encouragement, confrontation, growth and change.

Remember, sin makes it hard for us to see ourselves objectively and accurately. Personal spiritual insight and growth really is the result of community.

5. Argue with your own heart.

It’s a theme of my ministry that I will continue to repeat: no one has more influence in your life than you do because no one talks to your more than you do.

Don’t give way to self-talk that is marked by fear, despondency, futility, hopelessness or discouragement. Preach the gospel of God’s love, grace, presence, promises and power to yourself multiple times a day. Commit to carrying on a gospel conversation with yourself that never stops.

6. Work to assure that praise replaces complaint.

It’s sad, but true, that the default language of every sinner is complaint. Because sin causes me to think that life is all about me, it also causes me to constantly find reasons for being dissatisfied.

But when you and I are living for something bigger than our own pleasure and comfort, and when we’re committed to counting our blessings more than we count our complaints, praise will fill our hearts and punctuate our conversations.

How about committing yourself to beginning every day by counting the many, many ways God has showered you with blessings you could have never earned or deserved on your own?

7. Rest in the complete work of Jesus Christ.

You have reason for rest, because even though the calendar has flipped to a new year, your Savior still greets you with new mercies every morning, he still will not send you without going with you or call you to a job without giving you what you need to do it, and he still reigns over all things for your sake.

You can rest because you are in the good hands of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.

So, as the new year unfolds, don’t fool yourself with grandiose resolutions that none of us has the power to keep. Rather, celebrate the gospel of Jesus Christ and it’s huge catalog of graces.

Re-commit yourself to living every day in light of what you have been given in and through your Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Happy New Year!

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