Archives For church leadership

When I was thirsty…

October 16, 2014 — Leave a comment

I have, in the last 37 years, had the pleasure of attending, being associated with or speaking/leading in many kinds of churches. I have been in liturgical high churches, charismatic, pentecostal, ones that speak in tongues, ones that don’t, those that have bands and those that think music is wrong, ones that don’t allow food or coffee in the church and those that eat popcorn and serve lattes, ones that center around communion and others that never do it… You name it and I have seen it.

There is something I want to point out though…
The father LOVES ALL THE FLAVORS of His bride. Even if we as Christians decide which flavors are holier than others (which quite frankly is judging on non-essentials), the Father sees us all on level ground and ALL His children.

So what then marks us as “mature” Christians?

“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” – 1 Corinthians 13:1

Simply this: How you do Sunday means NOTHING if you are not LOVING people recklessly Mon-Sat.
You are a clanging cymbal and God wants His bride to sound like a band that is in tune!

In the end Jesus will say “when I was thirsty did you give me drink… when I was naked did you give me clothes… when i was in trouble did you come to my aid?”

He will NOT say “when you DID church did you….”

Don’t just go to church… try something radical and BE THE CHURCH!

Today, as I sat in the waiting room at the doctors office, I began to think thru some thoughts on Christianity. I have seen churches remove crosses because they wanted to make sure people feel comfortable. Some have decided communion is no longer valid and a bit creepy because it mentions the blood and flesh of Jesus. Then there are the christians that have learned to profess something they aren’t willing to walk out. Christians that are 100% on point to biblical text, but at the expense of loving others. Too often I have seen the church stand up for truth and then use that truth as a smoke screen and justification for anger and hatred.
This got me thinking about how I can sum up where I think we are going wrong and that we are turning people away from the ONE who can save them.
So here they are…

My top Two ways to do Christianity wrong:

1. Preach a gospel that doesn’t offend the lost
– 1 Corinthians 1:18-25
“the cross offends men and women, because it is contrary to their ideas of human worth” – C.H. Spurgeon

The cross is offensive. sin is offensive. our depravity and need for God is not an easy message, but its the ONLY one

2. Walk a life that offends people and doesn’t point to God’s grace
 – John 3:17-18
“You will find all true theology summed up in these two short sentences: Salvation is all of the grace of God. Damnation is all of the will of man.” – C.H. Spurgeon

Yes… we are suppose to speak the truth, but even more importantly we are to speak life. Our role is to show people that sin, while fun, without the cross equals death. We can’t point people to Jesus if we are preaching the wrong one. Jesus didn’t come to condemn the world, nor did He come to teach us how to condemn. He came to save it and we need to show people that:
OUR GOD SAVES. OUR GOD LOVES. OUR GOD PAID SO ALL COULD RECEIVE HIS GRACE.

Let us be careful to not get those two ways wrong. Don’t water down the gospel and don’t let your sin and pride keep others from the free gifts of God’s salvation.

OneEvent

Tonight I had the privilege of attending a service in Providence, RI called “ONE EVENT”. I heard about this event through a few brothers in christ that I know on Facebook, but have never met in person and they were both spearheading this with their churches. Andrew Mook from Sanctuary church and Jason Lee from Renaissance church along with pastors from a few other providence churches came together to meet, pray, and worship. They came together in unity to seek the face of God and to fight for their city.

If you have ever read my blog this heart should sound familiar. Not only is this something I think about daily and try to work towards in my own community/ministry, but it is the heart of God to see His body united.

We walked in and were greeted by some pretty cool/hip looking kids that made this prematurely bald worship pastor feel wicked old. Behind us was a mass of people piling into the building. There was something here that I don’t see very often in Newport area.

Anticipation.

Let that sink in for a second because it is key. They came in with expectation and you could see it on the peoples faces. Worship was great and so were the times of prayer. Nothing insane happened. Nobody rose from the dead. Nothing out of the ordinary to the naked eye. But for a guy who has been in ministry for 17 years and plowing through cement within the context of unity in the body there was something clearly out of the ordinary.

This group of people truly were there for the city. Every agenda, every theological difference, worship style, ethnicity, and cultural background was put aside for this time. There was a sense of purpose that I have not seen in the RI body of christ in a long time. There was an awareness that 5 churches being present in a building regardless of what they do is powerful in the spiritual realm. There was an expectation that the prayers would shake up the principalities in the area.

I have seen this hunger before in my area of RI and have seen the ebb and flow. We spend a ton of time praying for the church and for revival to happen. This body prayed that God would move in any way He chose and that they would be willing and repentant participants in His story.

They concluded with communion. There is nothing that unites the Church more than the cross.

Recently in our 1Prayer unity nights we have begun to do a very similar format.

I am blessed to have been able to have seen the Lord tonight. God is moving in providence. God is stirring up His people and calling them back to Him.

Monday night we have our own UNITY event in newport. I pray we continue to walk in expectation that God wants to do something amazing. I pray that the apathy that has enslaved our churches gets released.

I pray that our friends in Providence that are seeing God set the captives free intercede for their brothers and sisters in Newport County and the same way we are for them.

To God be the Glory.

Let end with this:
BEAUTIFUL BRIDE by FLYLEAF

Unified diversity
Functioning as one body
Every part encouraged by the other
No one independent of another
You’re irreplaceable, indispensable
You’re incredible, incredible

Beautiful bride
Body of Christ
One flesh abiding
Strong and unifying
Fighting ends in forgiveness
Unite and fight all division
Beautiful bride

Strengthen your arms now
Train your fingers for battle
Urgency’s here now

A funny thing happened the other evening at our mens group…

Let me preface this with the fact that our church has about 65 – 75 people coming on sunday morning so that you know that this is not a large church.

My dad, who is the pastor, and I were discussing doing a makeover on our drum kit. We were talking about getting new cymbals and heads and maybe throwing a shield on it and mic’ing it. We will be moving into a new building soon and want to get the best sound possible. Currently our drummer is also our pastor and while he is a professional drummer it isn’t always an ideal situation.

As we were discussing it one of the guys in our small group pipes up and says.

“I can probably get you some zildjian cymbals for really cheap.”

My dad and I whipped around. WHAT!

It was now time to drill this guy. How does he even know about drums at all? Why had he never told us that?

He proceeded to tell us that he would be happy to setup the kit for us and that he used to be a drum tech.

He worked with bands like alice & chains, Tool, and the black crowes among others.

Of course our jaws hit the floor.

Are you kidding. Why have you not..? huh?

He told us ways of making drums sound better that even we had never heard before. He told us you can put cotton balls in the bass drum instead of using a pillow so you can add and subtract to get the best sound and more.

We then went to get some coffee where this man also told us he played drums. I don’t know if he is good or not, but he just may be.

When we asked him why in the 4-5 months of being in the church, connecting with people, and coming to a mens meeting of about 7-8 guys had he not brought this up he answered.

“I was waiting for God to bring it up and for Him to open the door”

Wow.

I have to tell you I ride the fence with that reply. I love the faith aspect of it, but I also think there are people who have so much to offer and instead of laying everything out on the table they are waiting for God to present a situation.

Praise God this man opened up and he will have the opportunity to be used in the kingdom, but he is just one our people.

Remember we are a church of about 70 or so people and were in desperate need of a drummer. This man, who I really have grown to enjoy in our mens meetings, was completely untapped.

I can’t imagine how much more prevalent this situation is with the larger churches.

So how do we get people who are commited to the church to lay everything on the table, and let us know thier hidden talents?

How do we best utilize people if we don’t even know what they are skilled to do?

We have done the questionnaires and they have yielded little to know fruit.

This man was praying God would present the situation for him to open up about it. I think that is very admirable.

My question though is…maybe we are the situation. Maybe God is waiting for us leaders to get people to lay it on the table.

So how do we do it? Any thoughts? tried and true methods?