Thursday, February 26, 2009
Other churches are filled with hyperactive fanaticism! They find “demons under every bush". They have no sense of reverence at all. They have no form or fashion. They come off as “super-spiritual”, “facade”, and “superficial” in their worship.
Somewhere between an emotional frenzy that appears to be humanly motivated and spiritual rigor mortis, there is a church with spiritual vitality and health – a church filled with spiritual life & passion, as well as spiritual growth and maturity.
The Corinthian’s were in great need of vitality and church health. In Corinth, there were over one thousand prostitutes working the pagan temple of Aphrodite. They were in rebellion to the social elegance of the Corinthian women. They could care less about front-page coverage of the Corinthian Glamour magazine. This rebellious behavior undoubtedly infiltrated the church. And apparently, some women in the church decided to go unveiled to church. The Apostle Paul had his hands full as he addressed challenges and issues facing the early church. Can you imagine how the “church-folks” must have snubbed the newcomers?
Here’s the point: Paul would either prepare the church to become a dominant influence in its community & world, or he would allow the world to become a dominant influence in the early church! There was a balance between order and acceptance. In today’s church, we also need both. We need a climate where people are loved and accepted; but we also need a climate where people are passionate about becoming life-long followers of Christ. How we accomplish this is like walking a tight-rope!
Things to think about:
1) Do our people have a genuine love in their heart for the lost?
2) What process do we utilize to “make disciples”? What evidence is there that people are genuinely maturing?
3) How do we prepare someone in the church to embrace the newcomer without scaring them off with our rules and regulations; and at them same time, without ignoring the need for them to change?
4) What balance can we bring to our worship services, where the first-timer and the old-timer can benefit from our time together?
Problems have always motivated men and women to discover solutions. Again, problems are the catalyst for creativity. You were created by God to solve a problem. Men & women throughout the Bible were problem-solvers.
Eve was created to solve a companionship problem for Adam. Moses was created to solve a leadership problem for a nation. Joshua, Paul, Jonah, Elijah, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel, & others, were created to solve problems. In fact, in Jeremiah 1:4-5, “…The word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations…” Like Jeremiah, you are a walking solution to someone’s problem. You are an answer to someone’s prayer. You were created for God’s purposes!
There’s a sin problem in our world. There’s a divorce problem in our society. There’s a rebellion problem in the church. There’s a selfishness problem in relationships. There’s a morality problem on our campuses and in corporate America. You were created to solve a problem. When pastors and leaders get in the middle of fixing problems, it gets messy. We’re often misunderstood, judged, and criticized. Even when our hearts are right, we’re condemned for our methods, or judged for our motives. It’s not easy to solve problems; but that’s what we were created to do.
Perhaps the Psalmist felt some of this pressure as a leader. He said, “…Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous--and how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God! They are innumerable!” (Psalm 139:14-17)
Even when others aren’t thinking well of you, take comfort knowing that God’s thoughts about you are good. Remember…you’re not the problem. You are the solution!
Things to think about:
1) What’s the BIG problem that God created you to solve? What LITTLE problems have prepared you to solve the BIG problem?
2) Why are pastors & church leaders so often misunderstood? Do you (as a leader) find yourself in the middle of conflict on a very regular basis? Is that normal?
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
As I travel the world today, I see the absence of a father’s involvement in the day-to-day activities of their children. Whether children who are living in a dump-site in Manila (many of whom are being raised by their own siblings) – or villages in Ghana, West Africa – children everywhere are crying out for a father’s guidance, love, support, direction, and protection. I vowed that one day I would become the father to my children I hoped my dad would be to me.
Things that are seen in the natural can often be paralleled to the spiritual. In the early days of ministry, spiritual sons & daughters need guidance, love, support, direction, and protection. I once heard it said that denominations make great “moms”; but they are often without “fathers”. It seems to me that most of our Pentecostal families have become content to have “brothers” leading the “brothers”. The question is: Where are all the fathers?
In Dr. Mark Hanby’s book, “You Have Not Many Fathers”, he writes, “…Too many men and women of God have been born into the Kingdom without any spiritual father and live as orphans. Many denominations and ministry fellowships have become huge organizations developed to take care of these spiritual orphans. They are fed, clothed, housed, and educated by systems of men, not raised by fathers…” Again, we must ask the question: Where are all the fathers?
He goes on to write, “…These ministry orphans do not have a name of their own. They carry no spiritual heritage. Many bear the shame of illegitimacy, never being sure of their origins. They are ignorant of their identity and lack clear purpose because it is impossible to know where you are going unless you know from where you have come…”
I’m left to wonder:
1) Can denominations transition from “brothers who lead brothers” to “fathers who lead sons”? Is it necessary or not? If so, what are the transitional steps?
2) How can pastors with the “heart of a father” be equipped, trained, and released in their local churches to adequately father their ministry sons and daughters without being viewed as divisive? How do we transition from a mindset where leaders are expected to “support the fellowship”, when it seems that many leaders are left without the guidance and support of many fellowships? How are we different?
3) Is there a desire in the Pentecostal Church of God to lead the way, releasing the blessing of God spoken about in Malachi 4, with regard to this need in the end-time Body of Christ?
4) Am I “out to lunch”?
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
When I read that, it motivated me to build an on-campus bookstore, and to challenge the men of our church to do more reading. In the bookstore, we have one section labeled, “Top 25 in the Nation”. We stock the top twenty-five bestsellers in our nation’s Christian bookstores. We have a Marriage & Family section, Christian Living section, Children’s section, and more. There is one section with “Pastor’s Top Ten”, where I offer my top ten recommended books; and a “Staff’s Top Picks”, where the rest of the staff offers two or three books each. We have about twenty-five books in that section. On Father’s Day, our staff always presents a gift to the men – often the gift is a book. Each year, we’ll sell more than 100 “Through the Year” bibles at the bookstore, and we encourage our members to read their bibles with the staff each year. (By the way, you can view these lists at http://www.getnewhope.net/).
A good friend (he pastors in Colorado) hired John Maxwell’s reading coach about 20 years ago. She provides him with a list of 50 books to read each year. He reads one book per week. This year, I’m motivated to become more intentional about reading. I’m committed to reading at least two books each month. I need your help! Read any good books lately? Please give me your “Top Five” suggested books.
Monday, February 23, 2009
When there is honor in a home, or in the workplace, classroom, or church, we find God’s full blessing. Mark didn’t say that Jesus “wouldn’t” do many miracles in Jerusalem – he said that he “couldn’t”. In other words, Jesus was constrained. He was stopped! How? “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives and in this own house.” In Matthew 23, Jesus said that He wanted to gather children together. The house was desolate and in ruins. Why? He said, “You who have stoned the prophets I have sent to you.” What was the solution? He said that he would return to them and heal the house when they learned to say “blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord.” I wonder how many miracles we’ve missed because of dishonor. How many children are out of church today in their adult lives because of the dishonor they witnessed by their parents?
What separates average churches from great churches? What separates average denominations from great denominations? What separates average marriages from great marriages? What separates average relationships from great relationships? There are many answers to these questions. But one answer is certain: Where there is honor, there is also great blessing and reward. May we honor the leaders whom God has chosen to lead us! May we honor pastors and leaders who serve beside us! May we honor the men and women that God has placed beneath our care! May He return to us in power & glory, simply because we say, “blessed is he who comes in the Name of the Lord”.
Friday, February 20, 2009
I spoke with some men a few days ago who mentioned that they are coming to our General Convention in June to help us celebrate 90 years! This is a new day...this is a new season for our fellowship.
I can feel the wind shifting in our direction! Welcome Holy Spirit!!!!!
Bishop Scott - I call you blessed and appreciate your valuable leadership for "such a time as this!"
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Have you ever met the pastor who serves the church like his very life depends on it, often neglecting his own needs and the needs of his family to sacrifice it all for the life of the church? It seems that his identity is wrapped up in the life of the church.
There are also some churches that will place a large amount of expectations on their pastors. The demands are so great that it becomes a time bomb.
If your sole identity is the fact that you are "Super Pastor" well, you'd better start retraining yourself before you burn out, stress out and have an emotional breakdown.
Consider the following statistics that reveal the lethal danger of the pastoral office:
- 94% feel pressured to have an ideal family.
- 90% work more than 46 hours a week.
- 81% say they have insufficient time with their spouses.
- 80% believe that pastoral ministry affects their family negatively.
- 70% do not have someone they consider a close friend.
- 70% have lower self-esteem than when they entered the ministry.
- 50% feel unable to meet the needs of the job.
- 80% are discouraged or deal with depression.
- 40%+ report that they are suffering from burnout, frantic schedules, and unrealistic expectations.
- 33% consider pastoral ministry an outright hazard to the family.
- 33% have seriously considered leaving their position in the past year.
- 40% of pastoral resignations are due to burnout.
- Roughly 30% to 40% of religious leaders eventually drop out of the ministry.
- 75% go through a period of stress so great that they seriously consider quitting.
Jesus never intended for us to wear so many hats! None of us were designed to bare every load.
Several years ago while attending Tommy Barnett's Pastors/Leaders School - Pastor Barnett made a comment that has stuck with me from then till now. He said, "you can think about quitting as long as you know you're not going to".
Guys, It seems that the greatest attack to my mind is on Monday's. While I'm exhausted and just plain worn out, the enemy will say "why don't you just resign and do your church a favor".
However, I realize his tactics so I'm not swayed that easily ... but the thought has come more than once.
One of my spiritual fathers helped me in the area of trying to be "Super Pastor" nearly ten years ago. He recognized my need to please. He corrected me and gave me insight on how to steady the course and draw my identity on my position in Christ...not my position.
I'm healthier today...and the church is to - because we've established a culture that affords the body to be released to do the work of ministry...not just the pastor.
I no longer talk from the pulpit about all the ministry I'm doing. I brag on our people and the work their doing...and it raises the expectancy of them doing the work of the ministry.
I can be sitting in my office with my feet upon my desk and that's real ministry to me! While I'm sitting there, I'm visioning souls being saved, workers being sent forth, churches being planted, marriages being restored, systems being implemented, etc.
When you take time to sit still - you can dream again.
Work smart - not hard.
I gave my Super Pastor suit to Goodwill.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Forty eight percent of them think their work is hazardous to their family well-being. Another 45.5 percent will experience a burnout or a depression that will make them leave their jobs. And 70 percent say their self-esteem is lower now than when they started their position. They have the second-highest divorce rate among professions.
They are pastors.
- 80 percent of pastors say they have insufficient time with spouse and that ministry has a negative effect on their family.
- 40 percent report a serious conflict with a parishioner once a month.
- 33 percent say that being in ministry is an outright hazard to their family.
- 75 percent report they've had a significant stress-related crisis at least once in their ministry.
- 58 percent of pastors indicate that their spouse needs to work either part time or full time to supplement the family income.
- 56 percent of pastors' wives say they have no close friends.
- 45 percent of pastors' wives say the greatest danger to them and family is physical, emotional, mental and spiritual burnout.
- 21 percent of pastors' wives want more privacy.
- 40 percent of pastors considered leaving the pastorate in the past three months.
- Pastors who work fewer than 50 hours a week are 35 percent more likely to be terminated.
Source: "Pastors At Greater Risk" by H.B London Jr. and Neil Wiseman, Regal Books, 2003
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
1. Recognizing that SELF is not my focus.
- No longer motivated and moved by my wants and desires.
- Living for purpose and not possession.
- Using my time, talent and treasure as tools - not rewards in my hands.
- Serving - no being served.
- Don't want to be High-Maintenance.
- Believing that even in the midst of contradiction and circumstantial evidence - something great can really happen!
- Sit in peace while the world runs around in confusion.
- Draw my conclusions from what God says - not what the world says.
- This happens only when God is control, not me.
- Letting go of the reigns - so He can add super to my natural.
- Learning to receive the miracles rather than predict the blessings.
Monday, February 16, 2009
Then I came back to my real life and my real circumstances and found out that I still had to run my daughter to basketball practice, still had to balance my checkbook, still had to rake the leaves that came off the trees during the night.
All the while I'm lugging garbage down the drive way I'm saying, "I'm a man of purpose" - and now all of the sudden it doesn't sound so impressive.
All of my Bible heroes were men and women that did uncommon things while doing ordinary things when the call came to them.
- Moses was on the backside of the desert watching sheep.
- David was doing the same things.
- Elisha was plowing a field.
- Fishermen were just fishing for a living.
God meets us in the middle of our commonness and speaks an uncommon purpose to us!
Friday, February 13, 2009
2) Outreach Ideas
3) Follow Up Ideas
4) Anything else you feel would benefit.
Much love & respect to all of you!
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
This video is a must see. Penn from the famed duo Penn & Teller tells of a recent experience after a show in which a man gives him a bible. Penn proclaims to be an atheist and his response is quite interesting and his challenge to "Christians" is powerful. Thought you guys would like it if you have not seen it already. I showed it to my church in January and it rocked us big time!Watch it and let me know what you think
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Sunday, February 8, 2009
As I posted the blog previous to this one I CARE about this fellowship and as so many
of you have invested in it, I have as well. It is because of our investgment that we care so much.
I actually expected something a little different and would have liked to have seen something with a little more cutting edge design, different style, color or maybe something that would appeal to a younger generation but thats my opinion. It seems like a lot of text on many of the pages and not sure if many will take time to read all of it however I appreciate the change and compared to many organizational sites I have seen ours is a major step up.
I want to express my appreciation to our leadership for seeing the need to advance our media in all areas and making available many of the new features that were added such as on-line giving n such. Change is not always asy but necessary and appreciated!
I appreciate many of the changes which include not only our web-site but our messenger magazine and so much more.
What are some of the changes that you have noticed and that excite you?
Saturday, February 7, 2009
I have been in this fellowship since 1994 and have loved being a part of it for many reasons. There are also many things I have come to despise. Excuses, lack of follow through, egos, stupid traditions, memories that are bigger than dreams, pride etc.
I have invested alot of my time, energy and resources into this fellowship as much has been invested in me. I am a product of a few people that cared!!! People who CARED enough to get involved, who cared enough to reach out, give, speak up, take a shot for the team etc.
I have met alot of gifted, talented people in this fellowship but few seem to really care. Maybe they have been beat up, tired, heard one too many promises of change etc I don't know. I do know this, I CARE!
One of my new staff pastors said reently to me "I don't think you're gonna be PCG very much longer". I said "Really, why do you say that". He said "we might outgrow our need for it". I said kindly, "I will be PCG till Jesus comes back, I die or the PCG keeps me from doing God's will for my life and ministry. I cannot outgrow my need for the fellowship because my relationship to the fellowship is give and take. I receive from those who can lift me higher and I give to those I can lift higher.
I know several guys who I think are gifted in many ways, but aren't team players. They will only focus on what effects them. I see things shifting and changing all around me. I am thinking not only about me and my church now, but my church and our district and our fellowship in the future. Why? I CARE. I am in this with everything I have and I refuse to let lazy, selfish, inconsiderate behavior stop this fellowship from moving forward to be all it was created to be and that I believe is to network together to reach this world with the reality of Christ and His love displayed through His death. I need you and you need me and until we accept that and act accordingly we will continue to talk about all we could do instead of all we are doing!
I CARE...Do you?
I do alot of reading as i pursue spiritual, leadership & creative development. In 2008 this was the one book out of 10 or so I read that melted my face off. All of us at some point in time have had moments when we felt like God spoke directly to us. Well for me this was one of those times.
I was on a plane to the Philippines in September with Mike Hamilton to speak at 2 Pastor's Conferences for David Parkman. While being gone for 12 days on this trip this book slapped me in the face.
I want to share some thoughts and quotes from this book with you. Our Vision Team dissected this book for 3 months each week allowing the Holy Spirit (IT) to speak into our lives.
The Spirit wanted to know why I had turned to skill, experience, and knowledge instead of heart, passion and total dependence on God. The first 3 are great when used in dependence on the later 3 but not without them. I don't have the "IT" I once had, but God was already at work in me about that before i read this book.
"IT" is not a system, method, program , environment, technology, a model or a or a full color brochure. It cant' be bought, copied, hoarded or flaunted.
"IT" is unmistakenly God's presence, the Holy Spirit, the anointing, the unquenchable thirst for God, a single passionate heartbeat for God and His plan's, being a soul winner, being undone, Ruined for Him and by Him. People are drawn to the "IT" factor and they can't help it.
When a church has "IT" creativity flows. When they don't, they simply follow the same formula they have used year after year. This is where people become bored, uninspired and complacent.
When a ministry has "IT", the staff knows they are part of something bigger than themselves, part of a DIVINE ASSIGNMENT. They often show up early and stay late. They rarely fight and when they do disagree they grow through their differences rather quickly. When a staff doesn't have it they simply do their job and draw their paycheck. They are Territorial. Jealous. Griping. Even Bitter.
When a church has "IT" lives are changing and everyone around knows it. The best explanation given in this book for "IT" is this:
- A Passion for His presence
- A Deep craving to reach the Lost
- Sincere Integrity
- Spirit-Filled Faith
- Down to Earth humility
If you havn't read this book, i encourage you to allow "IT" to speak into your life.
Worse than being blind would be to be able to see but have no Vision.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
1. What are the causes of church growth?
- I fully agree with Bishop that one of the causes of church growth/health is the love that is displayed by the congregation & it's leaders. I feel this is a must. Many times I think the love that we proclaim to have is not as powerful as it should be. Sometimes we choose who we will love. Even though we say we love everybody regardless of who they are if we are not careful we guide our love to those who are more like us. We must love every person even though they might not be like us or been on this journey as a Christ follower as long as we have. There must be UNCONDITIONAL LOVE given to all who come into our churches.
2. What are the barriers to church growth?
- I feel one of the greatest barriers to church growth/health is our lack of discipleship training. As people come into this salvation experience, i believe many times we lack the discipleship that must come from the church. When we truly disciple them they will learn the process of going out and brining others into the same knowledge. They move from being spoon fed babies into fully devoted followers of Christ and therefore church will not be about them but about bringing others into the Kingdom.
3. What are the factors that can make the Christian faith a movement among some cultures and populations?
- Wow, i love what Bishop Scott said, Contagious Faith. If people are excited about their life change then give them the opportunity to share it. The shift Bishop was speaking of that it seems we are trying to keep people saved comes back to the previous question. We have not discipled them to the point to realize that should not be waiting to be spoon fed. They should be fully mature in their faith. The question goes back to what Bishop asked, "Where is our Passion to win the lost"??
4. What principles of church growth are reproducible?
- Holy Spirit moments are undeniably what is required for church growth. Are they reproducible?? The passion for Holy Spirit moments can without a doubt be reproduced. Where many people miss it is when they try to ONLY reproduce what other churches have done thinking that this will bring church growth/health and the fact is, It will not Happen. We must seek God for the Holy SPirit to work on our behalf in our situation and allow HIm to build the house.
Powerful words and challenge from Bishop Scott. Thank you for asking the tough questions and bringing to our thoughts what we need to do to cause Church Growth/Health. Without a doubt when people are excited about their life change and it is shared with others you CANNOT stop it being spread like wildfire.
My prayer is that this wildfire that is ignited by people lives being totally transformed by Christ, will spread through every church in the PCG and through every leader. I pray that it will burn out of control and that the wind of the Holy Spirit will cause it to burn that much hotter & spread soooo fast that NO ONE will be able to contain it.
McGavran devoted his life to the study of these four basic concepts
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
This is a few things i said Sunday in the message series i am speaking: Paradigm SHIFT!
- If you truly believe in the Life Saving Power of Jesus Christ, then why did you come to clc alone today???
- You want to know what bothers me, is that you have friends & family that are going into eternity without Christ and it doesn't bother you; that really bothers me!!!
- Faith without works is DEAD!!
As a Pastor it is important that we ask ourselves these same questions. It is very easy to get caught up in "doing ministry" that we forget really what the ministry is all about.
There is no greater satisfaction to me than spending time with those disconnected from God. Ask yourself what your priorities really are in ministry?? Are you spending sooo much time doing ministry that you have disconnected yourself from what ministry really is all about??
As Pastors, If you truly believe in the Life Saving Power of Jesus, then who have you shared it with today??
You want to know what bothers me, that we have friends & family on their way into eternity without Jesus and that doesn't bother you, that bothers me!!!
As people called to ministry it is very important to ask ourselves these questions and realign our purpose and goals accordingly. Narrow the FOCUS!!!
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
- Vision is a clear mental picture of what could be, fueled by the conviction that it should be.
- Vision is a preferred future. A destination.
- Vision always stands in contrast to the world as it is.
- Vision demands change. It implies movement. But a vision requires someone to champion the cause.
- For a vision to become a reality, someone must put his or her neck on the line. Vision requires visionaries, people who have allowed their minds and hearts to wander outside the artificial boundaries imposed by the world as it is. A vision requires an individual who has the courage to act on an idea.
- Charles Lindbergh flew across the Atlantic Ocean
- Henry Ford built the first car and took us from wagons to wheels
- John F. Kennedy & Martin Luther King Jr. both had daring Dreams that changed the nations course
- Thomas Edison invented the light bulb and the motion picture camera that was a huge success but failed at over 1000 other inventions.
In the PCG, it is time that we realize that Vision DEMANDS Change. Someone has to be willing to Champion the Cause. Leaders have to be willing to put their neck on the line for what they believe in. I have committed myself that i will NOT be put in a box of doing what we have always done and getting only what we have always had. I REFUSE TO ALLOW MINISTRY TO BE THIS WAY.
i am not sure if anybody else on this blog spot has made that decision or not. I believe there is some people who have and it is time that we challenge this movement and it's leaders to put their neck on the line for what we believe in.
So what is it that we believe in??? I believe in the Jesus Movement. The 3 1/2 years of the life of Jesus was the most radical time in church history. It was a movement that upset the standard of traditional religious thoughts that the Pharisees bled for. Everytime Jesus rubbed shoulders with the degenerates of His society, the Pharisee were ticked off. They questioned His motives and said He was a radical.
It was a 30 year old man with a group of 12 followers who were all younger than He was that blazed a trail as radicals to see the world changed. It is time that we become radicals. I will NOT be influenced by those who sit in their religious state of mind while allowing people to "GO TO HELL".
It is funny to me that in the PCG, Jesus along with all the disciples were not old enough to be a District Bishop much less a General Executive, but was the most radical world changer that ever lived.
If we are truly the leaders that we claim to be in the PCG and have Vision from God then let us put our neck on the line and be willing to die for the cause.