Church out of business

Posted: February 17, 2014 in Uncategorized

Special Thanks to Richard Jacobson for his amazing animations to Keith Gile’s  manifesto.  Pray this inspires you to think out the box……like it does for me.

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As this excerpt implies, all who know of or are seeking God’s truth are in need of the truth……in all places!

“A gospel-centered church is always about the gospel. It preaches the gospel in all places, at all times, to all people. The gospel is the defining element in every part of their ministry.

Nonbelievers need to hear the gospel to believe it and be saved.  Believers need to be reminded of the gospel so they can grow deeper in Christ. There really is no distinction, you see, between what believers need to hear and what unbelievers need to hear. Both believers and unbelievers need to get a glimpse of God’s majestic glory, a taste of His surpassing beauty, and a sense of how much grace God has shown toward them in Christ. Both believers and unbelievers need to be rebukes for their pride and self sufficiency, to be reminded of the all surpassing beauty of God. They both need to be stirred up to faith. The gospel is the center of the message no matter who you are talking to. It is everything. Christ is all.”

– J.D. Greear, Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary, page 240

Neil Cole  stated: “Ultimately, each church will be evaluated by only one thing. It’s disciples. Your church is only as good as its disciples. It does not matter how good your praise, preaching, programs or property are: If you’re disciples are passive, needy, consumerist, and not moving in the direction of radical obedience, your church is not good.”

enough said…………….

Dangerous?

So which is it? Really? With so many people today  accusing the local church of failure to reach them….. is it really the local church?

Matt 22:14
14 “For many are called, but few are chosen.”
Quoting Bernie Moore……

“The bible says that He takes us and He breaks us and He takes all the old junk that we used to carry around and then He then puts us back together and fills us with His life, His Holy Spirit, His love, His dreams, His goals, His desires, and then He turns us loose and feeds us to a sea of humanity that’s in need of the Gospel!  The question I ask you today is will you take part in this mission or will you quit and ring the bell when it gets tough and almost unbearable?  Will you stay with it, will you persevere, when others around you are dropping out of the race and screaming for you to do the same, will you listen to them or will you listen to that still small voice inside your heart that says “My yoke is easy and my burden is light”.  His grace is sufficient for any task or mission that stands in your way.  He says to us all, keep going, don’t quit; the world needs the message that’s alive in your heart!”

Matt. 16:24-25
“If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.
The key for me….is it’s about you and I. It’s about each of us living out a dangerous faith in HIM and having a real relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ. Trusting HIM in a dangerous, even perilous way. However,  dangerous church  exists when 2 or more of us gather together in coffee shops, bars, work, and home. There we can  share all our brokenness, how screwed up we are, and even better….celebrate the supernatural “stuff” that God has done, is doing, and will do in the future.  It’s not the building, or Sunday morning experience, or even small groups…..it’s each of us living a dangerous faith daily. Praying, reading, learning and “living sent”.
Almost selfishly, it’s all about me….(and HIM)

-Tom

The First Small Group

Posted: October 13, 2010 in Uncategorized

The importance of small groups (at Crossroads we call them Lifegroups) have been on my heart over the last couple of weeks. It’s the nearest to an Acts 2 community that we have, as I see it. Read this post for Alan Danielson’s blog questioning what does your small group resemble…?

-Tom

Strange things can happen to small groups when they step outside of our normal surroundings. Jesus and his small group had their first recorded gathering in Mark 1 and it was in a strange place. They met in one of the most public venues they could find: The Synagogue. Because of meeting in this public place, Jesus encountered an exciting ministry opportunity.

Jesus’ small group first met in this public place and it attracted attention. It’s doubtful that Jesus and his group would have found an exciting ministry opportunity if they were meeting in a home or in a back room of the Synagogue (Sunday school class).  Yet because they met in plain view of the public, they encountered an opportunity to minister to an individual in great need.  The result:  Jesus’ reputation exploded.

What is your small group doing to have an exploding reputation in the community? Are you meeting safely inside a home or church building, insulated from the rest of the world? Or are you doing life together in public, so that evangelistic ministry opportunities can be seized? Does your small group look look like Jesus’ small group, or does it look like something different?  I’m just asking.

They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out, “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are–the Holy One of God!”
“Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly. “Come out of him!” The evil spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek.
The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching–and with authority! He even gives orders to evil spirits and they obey him.” News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee.

~Mark 1:21-28 (NIV)

 In keeping with my previous marraige post, this was another post I wanted to share with you. It comes from Justin and Trisha Davis at Refine Our Marraige.  Sometimes a subject totally ignored, but God DOES come first before sex in marraige…….enjoy!

-Tom

A lot of couples have communication problems. Their conversations center around schedules or kids or “how was work?” They have a difficult time talking with one another. When they were dating, they’d stay up late and talk and laugh and dream, but now they only talk when they fight. We had communication issues.

There are so many couples that have problems in their marriage because of finances. They’ve mismanaged their money. They’ve put themselves in debt. They’ve made irresponsible decisions. Sometimes it has nothing to do with bad decisions and everything to do with a small salary and a growing family. We had so many problems in our marriage that revolved around money…not enough of it…accumulating debt…not being on the same page. Lots of problems.

Some couples have priority issues. They fail to prioritize one another. They have no problem working their schedule around business meetings and girls night out and fantasy football and Saturday morning soccer and dinner with friends and PTO meetings…but they fail to prioritize their most important earthy relationship…their spouse. We blew it in this area. We gave so many people, so many events, so many expectations priority over the other.

We talk to couples that have difficulty resolving conflict. They argue about the same things week after week, month after month, year after year. One spouse is passive aggressive while the other is a hot head and loses their temper. One spouse is aggressive and chases while the other is an avoider and tries to sweep issues under the carpet. We did a horrible job at resolving conflict.

A lot of couples have intimacy issues. Sex is infrequent. The withholding of sex is used as punishment. Husbands pursue their wives only when they want sex. Sex is seen only as a physical act and not an emotional and spiritual gift. We had so many arguments that revolved around our lack of understanding of one another in the area of intimacy.

Even with all of these issues, they weren’t the source of our marital problems. They probably aren’t the source of yours either.

More than communication; more than finances; more than priorities; more than conflict resolution; even more than sex:

Your relationship with God will affect your relationship with your spouse more than ANYTHING else.

You can try to communicate better…for a while. You can try to not argue about money and debt and who’s paying what bill..for a while. You can do your best to make your wife a priority…for a while. You can read a self-help book on conflict resolution and argue more effectively…for a while. You can overcome your sexual frustrations…for a while.

What we have realized in our own life is that when our personal relationship with God is sucking wind…so does our marriage. We have spent so much time and energy trying to fix all of these things in our marriage…when more than anything else, our relationship with God sets the tone and direction for every single area of our marriage.

A normal marraige? Not for me!

Posted: September 6, 2010 in Uncategorized

I was catching up on a couple of my favorite Pastor blogs this evening and couldn’t resist passing this along to those who read my blog posts. Many of you who know me, know that a just a few short years ago, my wife and I finally allowed God to take our marraige and make it His design, instead of our own.

It’s been nothing short of supernatural, and we always take the opportunity to share our story. With that said, I couldn’t resist sending David Foster’s post today concerning “normal” marriages….and what today’s normal truly looks like.

-Tom

I think “normal” is way overrated when you understand that most people you meet have settled for a life far below what they could have.

This is never more true than when you think about marriage.  Normal marriage in America means the following:

  • Miserable and stuck, but not sure why.
  • Hardly talking, except to argue.
  • Crushing debt, with no plan to get out.
  • Little sex, and even the little they have is not fulfilling.
  • Temptation to stray, flirting with strangers.
  • Stress at work, brought home.
  • Stress at home, brought to work.
  • A mild displeasure with life, but not enough energy to do anything about it.

So I don’t want “normal” for my marriage.  I want an above normal marriage.

  • One where we love each other and talk.
  • One where we enjoy being together.
  • We are best friends.
  • We praise and lift each other up.
  • Together we create something more from our lives that we could have ever enjoyed or created alone.

I dare you to refuse to accept a “normal” marriage.  Listen, no one gets married to a boring person not having fun, but most people wind up there.  If you refuse to accept normal and then pursue an extraordinary relationship, you just might end up with it.