Archive for the ‘Christianity’ Category

What is the Church?

August 28, 2007

I’ve been rediscovering the essentials of the faith, a discipline I should be doing regularly. Right now, I’m digging into what Jesus called “My church.”

To begin with, I am reading through Charles Colson’s classic Being the Body. Last night, I read a good chunk in it and tonight I am taking notes. My hope is to go through this with our community in September.

Here are some excerpts about the definition of the church. It’s not even close to everything, and does not fully define it like Colson does throughout the book.

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    In direct response to Peter’s confession, Christ announced: “On this rock I will build my church.”

    And to that church He promised a vast grant of authority, which He called “the keys of the kingdom of heaven.”

    “Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven,” Jesus said, “and whatever you lose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” The church was to be His instrument on earth, and whatever was done in His will would have eternal significance and consequence.

    Jesus’ response to Peter’s confession was to announce that He would build His church. And from that declaration we learn four crucial lessons about the church.

    First, the church is not a building. An ekklesia was a gathering of people. For the culture at large, ekklesia meant a public assembly of citizens. It was used when they were “called out” of the city to vote. Through its Hebrew counterpart, it also meant those whom He brought together and called by His name. The people of God.

    All references to the church, including the metaphorical “body” and “holy nation,” refer to God’s people.

    Second, the church is more than simply a collection of people; it is a new community. Many modern Christians see the Christian faith primarily, if not exclusively, as the gospel of “Jesus and me.”
    (more…)

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What One Hour Means to David Letterman

June 8, 2007

A few years ago, I was in Nashville and had a late dinner with a comedian named Mike Williams. During the conversation he brought up the human struggle a lot of us have of comparing ourselves with others. A perfect example of this is a fellow Comedian, The Tonight Show Host David Letterman. Mike friend and Letterman’s former line writer told him that Letterman is a man who lives for one hour every day, and for the rest of his day he is miserable. Purpose ain’t to be taken for granted is it, and it doesn’t just appear does it? I often ask myself: Do I know who I really am? Do I know what I am called to do? (that’s a trick question, since we all have the same one, right?)

God Rarely Works the Same Way Twice

June 8, 2007

One of my favorite quotes, that’s a good reminder:

“Christian organizations should take careful note that, throughout Scripture, God rarely worked in the same way twice. God’s activity was always unique to the people with whom he was dealing and the time in which he was working. God’s activity cannot be reduced to a formula because God is more concerned with peoples’ obedient response to his will than with what means of communicating his will.” Henry and Richard Blackaby, Spiritual Leadership, pg 59

Why it’s hard to say “I don’t know”.

May 15, 2007

Decisions:

It is hard to say “I don’t know.”

It is rare, extremely rare to hear those words come out of someone’s mouth, especially someone older. Yet it is a refreshing, even liberating thing to hear. I am impacted when I hear those words come out of someone’s mouth. I want to be able to be true to myself and often say “I just don’t know.”

Other liberating words: “It’s okay.” “It’s okay to make a mistake.” “Why are you afraid to make a mistake?”

Why is it that a man who is 40 feels the need to give his opinion to a man who is 25?

And…just because you are in a leadership position doesn’t make you a leader. Respect, yes, but it’s important to be honest with people. That is, respectfully honest.

I remember it just like it was yesterday.

I approached my friend Larry Green and he said to me these amazing words that still ring in my ear: “Why are you afraid to make a mistake?” That’s it. That’s all I needed to hear.

I was set free from my own victimizing pursuit of perfection.

He was right – I was afraid to try because I was afraid to make a mistake. I heard one guy say one time that those who do most make the most mistakes.

I was talking with someone the other night who was about to approach her supervisors with a kind of honesty she doesn’t normally share. But she’s grown in her leadership to know that it is imperative to be open and honest, plus for her own sanity. As she shared with me what she had in mind, I felt compelled to say to her “you are their leader as much as they are yours.” I mean just because they are in a position over you doesn’t mean you can’t lead them and just because they’re older doesn’t mean you can’t be honest and help them. This is a crucial moment for you, and for them to learn something profound. They need this, to be stretched.

Recently, I looked into my wife Amber’s eyes and said, “I will fail you. You will fail me. But our Heavenly Father will NEVER fail us. We’re all messy lives tied together by a perfect God.” While that may or may not seem like a profound thought to you, it was for me. I need those constant reminders of the grace of God, that it’s okay that I don’t know everything nor will I do everything perfectly.

Be graced.

Read. Think. Change.

May 4, 2007

An article that’ll make you think about the way we view and influence the culture. The author Mark Buchanan happens to be one of the best Christian writers out there.

So, consider his words. And think again, as I am, about how should we deal with culture. We should not be afraid to change.

Stop. Read. Think. Change.

Mere Christians

November 23, 2005

We are “mere” Christians, are we not? Thanks to C.S. Lewis, the man on my mind this afternoon, we can effectively coin the answer we need the most right now. Lewis was a man who lived “Mere Christianity” beautifully authentically. Today his books speak as strong as they did in the 40’s and 50’s. His writing resonates with the postmodern culture because he would fit truth in a story. A man whose legacy penetrates the culture long after he leaves this world.

How Are We Missing It?

November 23, 2005

I’ve often wondered lately if there is a need for a deeper muse about Christian sexuality. That there’s more to the story than what’s being told. Do you agree? Why do you think the younger generations and twentysomethings tend to buck what God says about sex? Presentation? Culture Saturation?

Sex, love, beauty and relationships can be better understood and so much more esteemed. In God’s world they are gifts to be cherished, not mountains to climb. We are prized with a treasure.

A gift isn’t given to someone to be misused, is it? It’s meant to be valued and appreciated.

This is a spiritual war.

We are placed in a war, where we have to fight to stay alive. And sex is one of Satan’s greatest tools.

But there is healing and hope and a revolutionary life we’re called to live, the life role we desire to play, the adventure we’re meant to take. All we’re used to is a backdrop message of don’ts. Now, we want something real. We want viable answers to our curious and perplexing questions. We want to have a real, honest conversation about life and love.

• Life is a journey. The destination is left in God’s hands.
• Life is a walk. The results are left in God’s hands.
• Life is an adventure. The mundane and boring are left in God’s hands to be challenged.
• Life is a revolution. The make it through the day type will be captured by the enemy.
• Life is about the heart. The moment you shut down the heart, you stop living.

You get the gist of it. There’s just more to purity than abstinence. How come the young people I talk don’t understand it like this?

Spiritual Environments

October 23, 2005

This morning I was interviewed in a leadership breakfast led by Travis Vaughn, who is a good friend and pastor of a church plant in Cumming called Lake Ridge Church. This discussion stemmed from Travis’ desire to see his leadership team create more spiritual environments where people could ask questions about life and God.

I’m not going to go into detail with where the dialogue went but I’d like to share a couple things that I seem to keep bringing up lately when people ask me about the conversations I’m having…

• They don’t like the church or even Christianity but they do like Jesus.
• We have this “thing” with assumptions. We assume people think like we do. No one – I mean no one likes it when someone assumes something about them.
• Why is our evangelism efforts focused on recievers, rather than real people?
• Why do we assume that when a person becomes a Christian they are automatically a disciple?
• From my experience the number one way to have lots of amazing spiritual conversations is humility. If you’re humble anyone will talk to you. How can we be an image-bearer without it?
• The message we must present today needs to focus on heaven and the honing device our hearts are already after rather than hell and the decietful heart. Jesus’ message is and was attractive!
• We must put our ideas into a language people experience on a daily basis.
• Is our goal to become better Christians or more Christ-like? The most important thing is to do what Jesus told us to do. We have got to get our heads out of cultural Christianity, if we are going to create powerful spiritual environments.
• People do want to have spiritual conversations! It all depends on how you go about it.
• The two hot bed topics in my conversations with 20 something’s: spirituality and sexuality.

Assuming

October 23, 2005

Question: Why do we assume that when a person becomes a Christian they are automatically a disciple?

Emerging Culture – Outline

October 13, 2005

Here’s the real outline. What’d you think?

I. Understanding Emerging Generations

How do we bridge the gap between the modern and postmodern cultures?

1) Our generation is now a missionary frotier
It’s time see the young generations as a missionary frontier.

2) Significant desire for experimental spirituality
We have chosen an extreme openness to experimental spirituality

3) Intense openness to spiritual things
We have become a deeply “spiritual” generative.

4) New Methodologies
Youth and College pastor must change their methodologies if they are going to reach the postmodern.

5) Christian Subculture
The Christian and non-Christian are becoming all too alike and this must come apart.

6) A Cultural and Global Generative
The leverage of the media and the Internet

7) A Disconnected Generation
Deep desire to be understood by their fathers and mothers.

8) Pluralistic Culture demands new approaches
Truth has to be personalized because we have been impacted by a pluralistic culture.

II. The Heart and Role of Leading Emerging Generations

What does this generation look for in a leader?

1) Relational vs. CEO Approach

Trinitarian-Shared Leadership

We have chosen Trinitarian leadership; instead of a hierarchy we should lead as a community of voices sharing each other’s roles unified in one direction.

2) Event vs. Process

Process Oriented Leadership

We have chosen to lead more by a process and less by events because that’s where real transformation takes place.

3) Being a “Poet and Gardener” Leader

Evolution of Leadership

We have chosen to embrace the evolution of leadership, understanding our role in God’s story.

4) Creative Innovators Artist Leadership
We have chosen to embrace our uniqueness so we artistically replicate our God.

5) Relevant Environments
We have chose to create environments that are conducive to the hearts of people. This will allow us to connect with people.

6) Organic Flow of Ministry

Participatory Leadership

We have chosen organic growth, ministry and movements instead of organizations and institutions. We live with a “tourist” mentality rather than a “maintenance” mentality.

7) Missional vs. Consumer Mentality

Reproduction Leadership

We have adopted the concept called missional living; therefore our theology has shifted from developing one system called “missions” to turning theology into one department of mission and moved from consumer church to missional church.

8) Leadership Conclusions

III. Spiritual Formation and the Emerging Church

How does this generation relate & connect with Christ?

1) Tribal Community Togetherness Formation
We have chosen to channel our growth through tribal communities instead of bureaucratic programs because we believe in a call to community where we live as one big family on a journey together.

2) Engage Culture Holistic Formation
We have chosen to integrate our faith into all areas of life Instead of separating the spiritual realm from normal life.

3) Return to the Sacramental Ancient Depths Formation
We have chosen to return to the ancient depths of our heritage.

4) Centralize Everything with Jesus A Jesus Formation
We have chosen to be like Jesus.

5) Greatness is Servanthood Slave Formation
We have chosen to walk by action and not theory.

6) Authentic Eyes Visual Formation
Reading the word through a refreshing lenses.

IV. Conversations and Communications with the Emerging Generations

How should we communicate with the emerging generation?

1) Moving from sin-management to kingdom-management preaching”

2) A new hunger for depth and theology vs. shallowness and anthropology

3) Who is truth? Vs. What is truth?
Apologetics focused on “Who is truth?” vs. “What is truth?”

4) Fellow-journeyer vs. problem-solver
The preacher as a “shepherd” and fellow-journeyer vs. a message presenter and problem-solver

5) Questions and Thinking Allowed

6) Use Visual eye-catchers in messages

V. 8 Postmodern Branding Trends You Can’t Afford to Miss

AS THESE SEVEN KEY CHURCH CULTURE TRENDS SHOW, BRANDS ARE LESS AND LESS ABOUT WHAT WE DO, AND MORE AND MORE ABOUT WHO WE ARE. THAT’S TURNING THE CHURCH CULTURE BRANDSCAPE INTO A MINEFIELD.

That’s turning the church culture brandscape into a minefield.

Evangelism replaced by “Spiritual Conversations”

Discipleship replaced by “Replication”

Good News, a Worthy “News Flash”

Sermons replaced by “Weekend Talks”

Church Membership replaced by “Partnership”

Conversion replaced by “Allegiance to God’s Kingdom”

Systematic Theology replaced by “Worldview”

Missions replaced by “Missional”

The New Lingua Brands that are being made new by the Emerging Culture:
• Communal
• Radical
• Revisionist
• Social Activists
• Tribal
• Revolutionary
• Emergent
• Participatory
• Image-Driven
• Apostolic

Rethinking Ministry for the Emerging Culture

October 13, 2005

Last year I wrote a series of messages for Josh on the emerging culture. I have some other ideas for it and would love to hear your reaction as you read this broad stroke outline. Does it spark your interest? Make you want to read more? (wish I could figure out how to use my fonts – but I’m still blog-illiterate)

Rethinking Ministry for the Emerging Culture
“…exploring ministry in a post-Christian world…”

Contents

Outline

Goals

1) Understanding Emerging Generations
A foundational look at our emerging culture, where it is heading and how it influences where the church is heading

2) The Heart and Role of Leading Emerging Generations
Ministries suffer from a great lack of quality leaders; this generation has to rethink how leadership is done

3) Spiritual Formation and the Emerging Church
Thinking through how this generation experiences and connects with God

4) Conversation and Communication with the Emerging Culture
Rethinking how to dialogue with this culture

5) 8 Postmodern Branding Trends You Can’t Afford to Miss
As these eight key church culture trends show, brands are less and less about what we do, and more and more about who we are

Appendixes

Bibliography

Branding and Evangelism

September 21, 2005

We must learn to leverage a copious of traditional and non-traditional stories alike to make a connection with the most people possible. We’ve got to leverage every potential point of contact between Christ and hearer. That’s why we use experimental marketing. Use muti-faceted, multi-sensory, multi… The greatest ministries are the best storytellers that tell it in a way that never completely tells it. They just keep adding value to them – week after week, filling up their thirst tank and they keep wanting more. That’s what Jesus did. He didn’t sit down and tell the whole thing at once, rather, he wetted their appetites to keep them coming back. That was the genius of Jesus. Everything we do is a means to a greater end. The problem arises in our strategy or lack of. You’ve got to be strategic when you evangelize. We’re good at presenting the problem, but bad at offering solutions. And we wonder why so few evangelize. The ones that do are the rare ones who maintain the right perspective.

We have the job of creating such powerful emotional ties that stick with people in a way that overlooks our humanness. That’s why the Scripture is so powerful – it takes us into a different world. We have to be careful how we handle that kind of power. Jesus did. He maintained a dependent humility even as his power with people increased. As he spoke the word his fame grew, but his dependence on God also increased. With that in mind, it’s not what we do, but how we do it. It’s not what we say, but how we say it. That’s what keeps the unsaved coming.
Whether you like it or not, we are a brand.

We must continually keep asking the questions: what are the intrinsic core values that are fundamental to our ministries? What are our guardrails for growth as we emerge into a new era? It’s important to have a deep understanding of sound doctrine and Jesus’ methodology before we develop our own dynamics for ministry. Otherwise, the brandwidth of ministry can become dangerous. As we grow into an era of globalization it’s ever so vital to keep all this in mind and sense. We must learn how people not only view us but feel us – an ever more intimate understanding of our target. As brand expert Scott Bedbury noted, “Success in the future will be achieved not just by doing things right, but by also doing the right thing.” I’d wholeheartedly agree.

Is Raising Support Crazy or Biblical?

September 9, 2005

Question: What do I do if God calls me to do something but I don’t have the resources to take care of my family? Paul answers these questions for us in I Corinthians 9.

{Note in introduction: Acts 6 – leadership genius of God. Separating everyone into there call and gift mix}

v6″Or is it only Barnabas and I who have to work to support ourselves?

Paul and Barnabas had a trade they could do to support themselves, while the other apostles didn’t. I have friends who have a mission from the Lord yet they also have a skill or gift in something that helps them pay the bills while serving the Lord in other ways.

When my Dad left the pastorate for the first time in 32 years last year to expand his ministry from a community to communities as an evangelist, he didn’t know how he was going to support themselves. He raised some funds for his overseas trips but didn’t feel right about raising his full salary until his vision had matured a little more. In the meantime, he continued to preach and serve where he could. Walking away from a capable and flourishing ministry to do what God called him to go out and do was no easy task, but he persevered, refusing to give into the temptations of other things. A vision was maturing, that’s for sure, just not at the pace he or any of us would have preferred. But God does things in “due time” so we did the best we could with what we had.

Dad, the natural salesman he is, felt the Lord leading him to take some real estate endeavors in Panama City, Florida where he had lived for over four years before moving back to Atlanta. He had dozens of quality contacts and the area all of sudden became one of the most booming in the country. Not only did his condo double in price, but in one month he connected over ten people to buy pre-sale condominiums. All he asked for was a finder’s fee. Dad had discovered that real estate could be his skill to support him while he began planting seeds for the vision God had given him. He’s even becoming a licensed agent in Georgia and Florida. Yet he continues to preach and will most likely be immersed into that again very soon.

I meet people all the time who are laboring with the vision God has given them and it’s easy to become confused when it relates to a money issue. It seems like everyone has a different outlook on it. I’m encouraged once again that the Word of God has all the answers to all my questions and I’ve got an ocean of em. I ask, “God, how? Should I really raise my own support or get a job or…?” The entire time I think God is looking right at me just simply whispering or many moments shouting in my ear, “My answers are found right there, see it…it’s called My Word…aka the Holy Bible, the spot where I said they would be.” “Oh! That’s a life-changing grip I now have.”

When God speaks to us all we have to do is trust and obey. And let me say, it’s not like this is a struggle we have to endure alone. Paul said in the next chapter, “And remember that the temptations that come into your life are no different from what others experience.” David journaled about his constant struggle all the time, “O Lord, why do you stand so far away? Why do you hide when I need you the most?”

And I think it’s just plain healthy to tell God exactly how you feel. When He says to cast all burdens on Him He means it. It’s a beautiful thing to me that men like David and Paul and Moses wrestled with God. He wants to be wrestled with. He’ll win but we’ll have answers and freedom and the knowledge that we are obeying our Heavenly Father. Read the Psalms and tell me he’s not fighting with God. He says things like, “Don’t rebuke me in your anger!…because of your anger, my whole body is sick.” If I were God I’d be annoyed, but our Heavenly Father is patient and understanding. Amazing.

7″What soldier has to pay his own expenses?”

The roman soldiers were paid in money and other things like corn. He’s using some common sense word pictures here.

“And have you ever heard of a farmer who harvests his crop and doesn’t have the right to eat some of it? What shepherd takes care of a flock of sheep and isn’t allowed to drink some of the milk? 8And this isn’t merely human opinion. Doesn’t God’s law say the same thing?”

This is God – not only human reasoning.

9″For the law of Moses says, “Do not keep an ox from eating as it treads out the grain.” F46 Do you suppose God was thinking only about oxen when he said this? 10Wasn’t he also speaking to us? Of course he was. Just as farm workers who plow fields and thresh the grain expect a share of the harvest, Christian workers should be paid by those they serve.”

God cares about us as he does oxen. There is a reward in our work.

11″We have planted good spiritual seed among you. Is it too much to ask, in return, for mere food and clothing?”

Every man has a right to support his family through others or work.

The rest of the chapter should be an encouragement as well. I’ll tackle it another day for sure…v. 12-27

Jesus was a Homeless Rich Man

September 7, 2005

Did you know Jesus and his disciples chose to stay homeless?

You know, while we were house hunting for the first time, my faith muscle got a workout. I had been putting off buying a house for 3 ½ years – mainly because we’re learning to save and felt God wanted us to live light & simple –something I didn’t have experience in, unfortunately. Lots of folks have opinions about when/why/how in the house-buying arena, particularly b/c SO many are building tremendous wealth in this real estate boom.

One morning I was struggling b/c God was trying to get my attention and teach me something.

Out of desperation I asked him for guidance and I think he gave me an answer. As I kept asking God “What?” I looked down and realized I accidentally (more divinely) grabbed a book on the way out and stuck it in my bag. It was Bonhoeffer’s “Cost of Discipleship”. So, I picked it up and noticed he had an entire section on how to live & use our money. I was awestruck. And so I decided that no matter what house we buy we’ve got to live like this.

Here are the notes I took from it: (Keep in mind – unedited notes between God and I always carry an extra dosage of boldness, bluntness and rambling. And any of you who know Bonhoeffer understand his passionate words)

We I think this home could be used to take my allegiance from where my heart is supposed to be – in Jesus Christ alone. I can’t let that happen as a love for myself, and protection from temptation that I might give into. No possession should stand in the way of my love and focus on Him. Worry twists the mind which puts a tremendous hinder on my heart. This home could become a possession I don’t need to store up. Even though it brings a great potential in equity, it will cause my heart to set on an accumulation of wealth, which is a wall between the Father and I. Where my treasure is, my heart is, Jesus said. A treasure includes anything my heart is set on. Intentions. People. Things. Anything! It becomes a treasure if it stands in the way of complete obedience. For me, that’s living by pure and complete guidance as he leads me each day. Anything that can cause worry should be avoided because worry saps our relationship with God. Bonhoeffer says it “dethrones God” and “puts ourselves in His place.” He wants us to be led by Him and Him alone. He wants to take care of us – to protect us. We try to help God and when we do we are saying don’t need Him. He wants to be needed. We should dare not try to get ahead of Him, nor stay behind Him, rather just walk with Him.

Bonhoeffer said, “Jesus does not prohibit possessing material goods, but they are to be used, not collected…the Christian must rely on God every day.” “When we store up our possessions, we not only spoil the gift but ourselves as well. When the heart is set on the accumulation of wealth, a clear barrier is put between the believer and God.”

How can I teach others to intensely focus on Christ while I am even remotely focusing on trying to accumulate wealth and live a misperceived more abundant life? Is an abundant life found anywhere besides our Lord? Now, there is nothing wrong with wealth or possessions, but the motive behind having them is essential. Are we using our possessions or collecting them for our own use?

“Earthly possessions dazzle our eyes and delude us into thinking that they can provide security and freedom from anxiety…when we seek for security in possessions we are trying to drive our care with care…the way to misuse our possessions is to use them as an insurance against the morrow…the only way to win insurance is by leaving tomorrow entirely in the hands of God and by receiving from him all we need for today” Bonhoeffer said.

Don’t Forget: Jesus and his disciples chose and stayed homeless, but they knew they were accumulating wealth that would last forever.

Tomorrow I want to touch on the area of raising your personal support team, and what the Bible has to say about it. You’ll be blown away. I was.

Power of the Marketplace

August 21, 2005

Been thinking a lot about the “engaging culture” mindset . Below is an excerpt from Bill Bright’s last book. These are the words he wanted to say to the church as he went home. I’d like to think this man (who influenced me in an incredible way) has earned the right to be heard. Personally, it struck me for several reasons. Read his words and allow me tell you why.

“I have been asked if I have any last words before God calls me to a new assignment, and I do. To the believing world, I would add this: in light of our failure through the years to be salt and light, as Jesus commanded, our generation is faced with a grave crisis. Anti-God forces have largely become the dominant voice and the major influence in our culture. My challenge to believers would be: reverse this tide. It is not enough to say, “I must live a godly life”—that is a given. It is not enough to say, “I must be a witness for Christ”—that is a given. Beyond these two, we must be salt and light in our culture, helping people to realize that the God of our Bible is our only hope.”

I don’t think he would have never said these exact words 20 years – especially 50 years ago. I’ve heard Billy Graham say numerous times that he thinks the greatest force the Christian cause has is in the marketplace. Very interesting when thinking about evangelism models. How does that make all of you feel who work in the marketplace?

The thought that comes to my mind is the way this affects those who work in the marketplace – the gatekeepers – who I’ll talk about tomorrow. How does this affect the way we lead our churches and ministries? It presents us with one option: to expect more out of them. We can’t by trying to raise up pastors – we need business leaders of steel who know how to penetrate the culture.

Thoughts?

Change the Heart, not the Mind

August 17, 2005

It’s important to change the way people think about things, but when it comes down to it, the mind war will always lose, whereas, the heart war will always win. As we enter a new era of ministry I recommend that we work harder at becoming authorities at changing the heart rather than the mind. This is a far off concept to the modern world and reasonably so, since for many years changing the mind has been an effective model, but today is a new day.

We’ve become a well-oiled machine at building great conferences and churches. We know how to attract people and we are surely knowledgeable at church growth, thanks to the Donald McGavern’s and John Maxwell’s. We’ve even put enormous attention on the inner qualities of the church called church health. Yet there is yet another wave growing amidst the church world, as God places holy discontment inside leaders, the same kind of righteous frustration that spurred church growth and church health movements. Without oversimplifying a big, complex thing, I’d like to think what is actually happening is a needed focus on relational health. This is because relationships change people, including hearts because they change what people care most deeply about. Churches are creating experimental environments, community societies, tools that replace our independence with dependence. Most people have holes inside of them because they miss-out on things that give them relational fulfillment. The business world is doing the same thing. Today, you can find gardens and bars, even a baby nursery inside of businesses. Whatever they can do to fulfill their employee’s needs they do. The church is trying to do the same thing.

This is something that is dear to my heart because for a few years I spent my ministry time dipped in trying to change people’s minds. My mentor has spent most of his journey trying to change the way people think about God, life and relationships. My respect for him is higher than almost any other person I know, but what I respect more than anything today is that he realizes how important it is to change the heart. I respect him for sticking to his calling – to help change the way people think because that’s important for vast reasons. Yet he admits today that it’s more important to change what people care about. You change what people care about through the relationship factor, building environments of relational health.

The reality is people don’t care about personally what they believe theologically and biblically. That is true because they don’t know how much it affects them personally and relationally. They believe good things but don’t care that much about it. Their loyalty lies in their membership rather than their heart.

Stats that make you go hmm…

August 15, 2005

Not that long ago, I attended a small pastor’s forum of 19-20 pastors led by John Maxwell and Ted Haggard. Ted Haggard who is President of the National Association of Evangelicals and pastors a mega church in Colorado Springs delivered an above & beyond inspiring lecture. It was so good – and informative – I decided to post ALL of my notes. I have to publically thank Doug Carter – Senior VP of EQUIP and Amber’s overseer for inviting me to attend such a forum. – thanks Doug! Enjoy!

I believe this is the greatest opportunity for ministry since Jesus’ day.
I believe this generation has been sovereignly prepared by God.

Interesting Facts:

For the First time ever…
• One world super power
• Economic explosion
• Trade Routes –The gospel traveled through trade routes to the world.
• Were we are today for the first time in the last 2,000 years all the forces are open to the gospel.
• US is freedom of religion
• More people today live under this special protection.
• US Navy keeps trade routes open
• UN fundamentally protects civil liberties which opens doors for missionaries.
• We have:
Economic Freedom
Military Freedom
Social Freedom

Amazingly, God has opened every force for freedom!

• We have more resources of communication, and travel ever before
• We have more radio stations, books, and leaders than every before.
• We distribute 170,000 copies of the Bible a day.
• We distribute 11 million Scripture portions a day. (Ex: 4 Spiritual Laws)
• 15,000 people are born daily. 150,000 people die daily.
• Net Growth is 2%
• 1/3 of the world identifies themselves as believers.

The 3 Most Powerful Men on Earth
1. President George W Bush A Committed Christian
2. Prime Minister of Great Britain A Committed Christian
3. Prime Ministry of Australia A Cultural Christian

We have to capitalize on this opportunity! We can’t become passive or distracted!

• Our greatest competitor is Islam – 1.2 billion
• We are growing at 9.3% a year.
• Islam is growing at 2.7% a year.
• The President has to identify it as a political conflict, but it’s actually a religious conflict (He knows that but can’t communicate that publicly).

The power of our advance is remarkable.

• More Wheaton College graduates are in the White House than any other college.
• Today there are more believers in the White House than ever before.
• We see missionaries → the number’s are amazing.
• God is raising up leaders with amazing influence.

This is why the Osama’s have great reason to be concerned. We are invading their world.

This is your Finest Hour!

Today, if you go to any nation with a prayer team and then follow it up you will see results. Our test saw 300-600% results. We are seeing this just about everywhere.

• Be outward focused, penetrate every system with the gospel because there are open doors everywhere.
• Everything you do will produce harvest if you’re in the spirit.
• It’s easier to win people to Christ than ever before.
• This could be the generation that could communicate to every person for the first time.
• Every day there are 460 martyrs (They are mostly in Asia and other unreached areas).

Books to Read→ Thomas Friedman’s “The Lexus and the Olive Tree” & “The World is Flat”
Huntington’s “Clash of Christianity”

Missiologists say that if we fail to do this in the window of opportunity Islam will prevail and we might not get another opportunity for 600-1000 years.
If we don’t our grandchildren are going to think → what was our grandparents thinking!

Examples
Cold War – We messed up! (We had the opportunity to stop them but we didn’t)
Hitler – We messed up! (Churchill warned the world but they didn’t listen and millions of lives were lost)

• There’s never been two countries with a operating McDonald’s where there has been a war. China – Nixon opened trade there and now it will go to a Democratic society.
• There are more churches in America than fast food restaurants.
• More Christians in media today.
• Mel Gibson is the Michelangelo of our generation. His movie has made the greatest impact than anything ever.
• John Maxwell– Christians are not to get into a defense mode—we are to penetrate by being salt & light.

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    For more information about Bryan or his writings, presentations and consultations, please contact bryan.davidson@mac.com. He is located in Atlanta, GA USA and can be reached at +1.678.777.6625
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