What Are We Trying to Revive in the Church?

What are we trying to revive when it comes to the Church?

“I was at a prayer meeting for revival in England. For three hours, people prayed for God to do something. Then suddenly, a young teenage boy stood up and gave a prophecy. I shall never forget it. In a penetrating voice, this shy boy— I found out later that he was quite retiring, not the sort who would get up, raise his voice and correct his elders — just got up and said, “Thus says the Lord: ‘I will not revive what I never built,’” and he sat down.

It transformed the entire prayer meeting; it came with such authority in the Spirit.

That word came ringing through. We realised we were really asking God to revive what we had built.

God was telling us that he would not revive what he never built and I cannot help but believe that while the Church is deliberately disobeying the commandments of the Lord, and has compromised in so many areas, there is no reason why he should answer prayers to revive it.

That is my problem.

The state of our nation is due to the state of the Church and we must take responsibility for what is happening around us. We are to be the salt and light but we need to acknowledge that we have not lived up to this ideal, and that we have compromised on the Word of God in so many ways already that it is almost impudence to ask the Lord to revive us.”

COMPLETING LUTHER’S REFORMATION  – David Pawson

 

Theology: Are you a Settler or Pioneer?

pioneer wagon

This is from Brennan Manning’s book Lion and Lamb: the Relentless Tenderness of Jesus. (As read in class by Murray Dueck of Samuel’s Mantle)

There are two visions of life, two kinds of people. The first see life as a possession to be carefully guarded. They are called settlers. The second see life as a wild, fantastic, explosive gift. They are called pioneers.

These two types give rise to two kinds of theology: Settler Theology and Pioneer Theology. According to Wes Seeliger in his book, Western Theology, the first kind, Settler Theology, is an attempt to answer all the questions, define and housebreak some sort of Supreme Being, establish the status quo on golden tablets in cinemascope. Pioneer Theology is an attempt to talk about what it means to receive the strange gift of life. The Wild West is the setting for both theologies.

In Settler Theology, the church is the courthouse. It is the center of town life. The old stone structure dominates the town square. Its windows are small and this makes things dark inside. Within the courthouse walls, records are kept, taxes collected, trials held for bad guys. The courthouse is the settler’s symbol of law, order, stability, and—most importantly—security. The mayor’s office is on the top floor. His eagle eye ferrets out the smallest details of town life.

In Pioneer Theology, the church is the covered wagon. It’s a house on wheels, always on the move. The covered wagon is where the pioneers eat, sleep, fight, love and die. It bears the marks of life and movement—it creaks, is scarred with arrows, bandaged with baling wire. The covered wagon is always where the action is. It moves toward the future and doesn’t bother to glorify its own ruts. The old wagon isn’t comfortable, but the pioneers don’t mind. They are more into adventure than comfort.

In Settler Theology, God is the mayor. He is a sight to behold. Dressed like a dude from back East, he lounges in an over-stuffed chair in his courthouse office. He keeps the blinds drawn. No one sees him or knows him directly, but since there is order in town, who can deny that he is there? The mayor is predictable and always on schedule. The settlers fear the mayor, but look to him to clear the payroll and keep things going. Peace and quiet are the mayor’s main concerns. That’s why he sends the sheriff to check on the pioneers who ride into town.

In Pioneer Theology, God is the trail boss. He is rough and rugged, full of life. He chews tobacco, drinks straight whiskey. The trail boss lives, eats, sleeps, fights with his people. Their sell-being is his concern. Without him the wagon wouldn’t move; living as a free man would be impossible. The trail boss often gets down in the mud with the pioneers to help push the wagon, which often gets stuck. He prods the pioneers when they get soft and want to turn back. His fist is an expression of his concern.

In Settler Theology, Jesus is the sheriff. He’s the guy who is sent by the mayor to enforce the rules. He wears a white hat, drinks milk, outdraws the bad guys. The sheriff decides who is thrown into jail. There is a saying in town that goes: those who believe the mayor sent the sheriff, and follow the rules, they won’t stay in Boothill when it comes their time.

In Pioneer Theology, Jesus is the scout. He rides out ahead to find our which way the pioneers should go. He lives all the dangers of the trail. The scout suffers every hardship, is attacked by the Indians. Through his words and actions he reveals the true intentions of the trail boss. By looking at the scout, those on the trail learn what it means to be a pioneer.

In Settler Theology, the Holy Spirit is the saloon girl. Her job is to comfort the settlers. They come to her when they feel lonely, or when life gets dull or dangerous. She tickles them under the chin and makes everything okay again. The saloon girl squeals to the sheriff when someone starts disturbing the peace.

In Pioneer Theology, the Holy Spirit is the buffalo hunter. He rides along with the covered wagon and furnishes fresh meat for the pioneers. Without it they would die. The buffalo hunter is a strange character—sort of a wild man. The pioneers can never tell what he will do next.

He scares the hell out of the settlers. He has a big black gun that goes off like a cannon. He rides into town on Sunday to shake up the settlers. You see, every Sunday morning, the settlers have a little ice cream party in the courthouse. With his gun in hand the buffalo hunter sneaks up to one of the courthouse windows. He fires a tremendous blast that rattles the whole courthouse. Men jump out of their skin, women scream, dogs bark. Chuckling to himself, the buffalo hunter rides back to the wagon train shooting up the town as he goes.

In Settler Theology, the Christian is the settler. He fears the open, unknown frontier. His concern is to stay on good terms with the mayor and keep out of the sheriff’s way. “Safety first” is his motto. To him the courthouse is a symbol of security, peace, order, and happiness. He keeps his money in the bank. The banker is his best friend. The settler never misses an ice cream party.

In Pioneer Theology, the Christian is the pioneer. He is a man of daring, hungry for a new life. He rides hard, knows how to use a gun when necessary. The pioneer feels sorry for the settlers and tries to tell them of the joy and fulfillment of life on the trail. He dies with his boots on.

In Settler Theology, the clergyman is the banker. Within his vault are locked the values of the town. He is a highly respected man. He has a gun, but keeps it hidden in his desk. He feels that he and the sheriff have a lot in common. After all, they both protect the bank.

In Pioneer Theology, the clergyman is the cook. He doesn’t furnish the meat. He just dishes up what the buffalo hunter provides. This is how he supports the movement of the wagon. He never confuses his job with that of the trail boss, scout, or the buffalo hunter. He sees himself as just another pioneer who has learned how to cook. The cook’s job is to help the pioneers pioneer.

In Settler Theology, faith is trusting in the safety of the town: obeying the laws, keeping your nose clean, believing the mayor is in the courthouse.

In Pioneer Theology, faith is the spirit of adventure: the readiness to move out, to risk everything on the trail. Faith is obedience to the restless voice of the trail boss.

In Settler Theology, sin is breaking one of the town’s ordinances.

In Pioneer Theology, sin is wanting to turn back.

In Settler Theology, salvation is living close to home and hanging around the courthouse.

In Pioneer Theology, salvation is being more afraid of sterile town life than death on the trail. Salvation is joy at the thought of another day to push on into the unknown. It is trusting the trail boss and following his scout while living on the meat furnished by the buffalo hunter.

However, this image below is key…

“Some people want to be slaves…”

…and what it means if we are not yet experiencing freedom…!

(Read the whole page below…)

IMG_7226

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Lion and Lamb: the Relentless Tenderness of Jesus, Brennan Manning, Chapter 3, Fleming H. Revell Company, Old Tappan, NJ, 1986.3

Letters to the Church – Francis Chan

Francis Chan – Letters to the Church ( #paradigmshift )

letterstothechurch.francischanA few quotes from Francis Chan that will get you thinking…!

“God designed the Church to be much more than what the majority of us experience in America. There are many of us who believe this and want change. The good news is that God wants this change even more than we do.

The early church didn’t need the energetic music, great videos, attractive leaders, or elaborate lighting to be excited about being a part of God’s body. The pure gospel was enough to put them in a place of awe.

If you think that sitting back and letting the church staff feed you will bring you the most fulfillment, you are so wrong. God promised that those who give will be most blessed (Acts 20:35).

When the Bible describes the power available to you, doesn’t it sound like hyperbole? It seems so extreme, yet we see so little of this in our own lives and in the Church. The discrepancy could challenge your faith in the Scriptures—how can the Bible promise things we never experience in real life? But are you willing to consider that the Bible is accurate and the Church has domesticated us to the point where we doubt our power?

Church, the answer is not to build bigger and nicer cages. Nor is it to renovate the cages so they look more like the wild. It’s time to open the cages, remind the animals of their God-given instincts and capabilities, and release them into the wild.

Alan Hirsch said, “In so many churches the mission of the church has actually become the maintenance of the institution itself.”

It’s time to train people to live in the wild again.

There are elements of modern churches that on the surface seem like good ideas, but they can actually keep us from the biblical vision of unity, true fellowship, mutual love, and pursuit of the mission. Too many look at these elements and insist you can’t have a church without them.

I believe God is leading a movement in this country toward simple, smaller gatherings, and I long to see this movement gain greater traction. I get so excited when I dream about the Church spreading in small, invigorating expressions that look and feel like the early church. My goal is to get you dreaming about this as well.

My hope is simply to convince you that there are compelling ways of living as the Church that look nothing like our traditional models. My goal is to get you dreaming, to keep you from settling, to affirm that nagging sense you can’t shake that God wants something more for His Church than what you’re experiencing.”

Learn more about the book: ‘Letters to the Church’ by Francis Chan

What does freedom look like?

worship

I recently asked Jesus this question: “What does freedom look like?”

He immediately brought to mind the picture of the Israelites walking through the Red Sea escaping slavery… BUT … NOT grumbling and complaining in the wilderness wanting to go back to slavery …which, sadly, is what the Israelites did …and as a result died in the wilderness, not entering the promised land. It was only the next generation who were allowed to enter the Promised Land.

Today, I reflect on this promise: “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”
– 2 Corinthians 3:17

And I read this from Nicky Gumbel…from his ‘Bible in One Year’ readings…

Love and unity go hand in hand. The Tower of Babel is the symbol of disunity (Genesis 11:1–9). The people said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves’ (v.4). This act of pride and power-seeking led to disunity, symbolised in the confusion of different languages in the world. ‘The Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth’ (v.9).

The day of Pentecost was the reversal of Babel. The Holy Spirit enables people to say: ‘each of us hears them [speaking] in our native language’ (Acts 2:8). The gift of tongues symbolises the fact that the Holy Spirit reverses the disunity of Babel and unites all peoples and languages.

This is a common experience today as we see the Holy Spirit bringing love and unity across churches, languages and nations.

Lord, may we never seek to make a name for ourselves or our own church, denomination or movement. Rather, may we seek to glorify your name. Pour out your Spirit, O Lord, on the church as on the day of Pentecost. May there be a reversal of Babel. May there be an end to disunity. May your Spirit and the values of the kingdom of God bring love, joy, peace, true happiness and unity.

Wow…

As I continue to reflect on …what God is calling us to BE as the church …building God’s kingdom, rather than our own little kingdoms, this rings so beautifully.

Questions to Reflect on:

Where have we been trying to make a name for ourselves? (Rather than lifting up the name of Jesus?)

Where have we settled, perhaps becoming complacent, becoming stuck in ruts?

Where have we been looking backwards to the past?

Have we perhaps been controlling or manipulating a ‘move of God’ without asking for more of Holy Spirit?

Are we open to God moving outside the box in the future, no matter what He brings?

Ask the Lord, “What do you have next?”

Invite Holy Spirit to fall on your family, your friendships, your gatherings and be ready for anything that looks different than what you’re used to.

Be prepared to fast and pray for days… God longs to invite us into friendship with Him rather than just giving us marching orders.

Did you know that in world history, all the Revivals look differently? They each look like Jesus but not like each other. People may reject Jesus’ move of Holy Spirit when He doesn’t fit their box. Let us not be people who reject God’s Spirit because He doesn’t fit our traditions.

My Prayer:

“Holy Spirit lead us to be ready for each new day of what you are doing. Thank you for your move in the past, but let us not settle and build our own little kingdoms around your movements. Let us instead, build your Kingdom by following your every move! Yes & Amen! 💗🙌

Quote Source: https://www.bibleinoneyear.org/bioy/commentary/3171

Are you ready for new wine?

What does it cost for new wine and new wine skins?

So often we want God to move but when He moves differently than we want, we shut the door on Him. Let’s not be stuck, but hungry for more of Him. You can’t see the new thing unless you let go of the old. God is on the move.
 
I enjoyed a delightful conversation this morning over coffee as a faithful friend and I reflected on all the changes we’ve experienced together. I found this video afterwards thanks to my friend and it reflects MUCH of our conversation. My friend and I both agree we are in better places today and yet grateful for the hell we both walked through together – feeling like we were ripped out of an old wine skin. (Definitely, we experienced the ‘tension in transition’ as Craig speaks of below…) Yet, today, we are hungry for more of what God has next! And what we’re experiencing today is thanks to being open to more of Him outside of any box we unknowingly put Him in.
 
God, what do you have next for us in this new year?

I’ve enjoyed reading Craig’s words on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/daily.prophetic/

and on Twitter…

Your heart is revealed under pressure.

I remember an Elvis Presley song and a line that sings…
“Sweetened through the ages just like wine…”
I’m pondering how going through trials and hardship makes one sweeter.
I was listening to a woman the other day share about a preacher she heard and something was missing. I asked if he was a green man? Basically, a preacher who knows only theology but has never experienced what he supposedly believes. She got it. Yes. Years of heartache and experience was missing from his teaching.
Today, I read this after listening to Murray Dueck speak on seasons in life…
Jeremiah 48:11  (ERV)
“Moab has never known trouble.
Moab is like wine left to settle.
Moab has never been poured from one jar to another.
He has not been taken into captivity.
So he tastes as he did before,
and his smell has not changed.”
One’s teaching and authority becomes sweeter when they have been sifted/ gone through trouble…
Character is who you are in the dark.
Your heart is revealed under pressure.
Gold refined in the fire – 7 x will burn out any dirt.
What kind of oppression does it take to get you depressed?
Do you believe the same thing about God when you go through trials?
The reward from a season of favour is a season of pruning to regift you, change your belief systems.
When God calls you into the dessert, He wants to spend more time with you! (I get this.)

God will ask…

Am I enough for you? If you never minister again?
Is your love for ministry greater than your love for me?
Often the very place we were wounded, is the place we are sent back to stand. But, we first must learn to rest in the Lord. He desires relationship with us and longs to teach us our value is not in doing, but in being with him.

When They Don’t Change?

What do you do when a person in your life doesn’t change…? What if it’s your leadership, your employee, a friend, a client, a date, etc…?

Here’s a great refresh from a message I heard long ago and again from a book I read a year ago. Thankfully, there are things you can do before it comes down to walking away or swimming away from a sinking ship. Some boats are repairable still longing for the wind to fill their sails.

Brief overview with video link below…

3 Types of People (Dr Henry Cloud):

There are three types of people you encounter in your life, and when you deal with them, you can’t always take the same approach. Research reveals 3 basic categories and we all can behave in these at times in our growth. They are wise, foolish and evil.

Here they are:

  1. Wise people: Resource them. Give them more input, knowledge, training, teaching, and whatever you have, because they tend to use it. They’re good people to invest in. You don’t have to do much with these folks except have a good tone, be specific and listen well, and you’ll get great results. They are people of good character. 
  1. Foolish (defensive) people: Remember, more feedback usually does not help. So, why continue to do what doesn’t help? You’re wasting your breath trying to continually talk about a problem that the person is not owning. This is when you have to focus on consequences. If they do A, then it will result in B happening. Sometimes using consequences will get a turnaround, and other times they will go away, as they do not like to be held accountable. 
  1. Evil (destructive) people: With them, not only is there no talking, there is also usually no hope. Get serious about protecting yourself and others from their agenda, and take appropriate action. While group #1 needs input, and group #2 needs consequences, with the third group, you have to go into protective mode. They are out to harm, so make sure your strongest boundaries are intact. 

To learn more tools, I urge you to read Henry’s book, Necessary Endings

Enjoy this clip too!

Life After ‘Church’?

Since stepping away from traditional church and pastoral ministry, my journey has taken me on a sweet adventure. God has led my family away, not to find membership at another institutional church, though we had visited many and were warmly invited by many, but rather to take note of what God is up to… outside of the box.

He is doing a new thing…!

(Resource below…)

God is amazing.

We are enjoying a rich time. My family and I are involved in a growing disciple-making movement it appears. I’ve got 4 discipleship groups right now I’m leading or co-leading. We are also enjoying street ministry (simply offering to pray for people) and feeding the homeless. We have seen people come to Christ and getting physically healed of various illnesses. My favourite was an older man healed of serious back pain in Jesus’ name. The look on his face! Or the conversation I had about Jesus’ view of women (using the story of the Samaritan woman at the well) after I was asked about being a female pastor. 😀

(Just had a thought… Being a woman sharing hope on the street is somehow a more acceptable thing in some circles than being a woman sharing hope on a stage behind a pulpit. Strange…? Yet, I’m having more fun on the street these days!)

For us, it has been life on life led by Holy Spirit. No pressure, no rush… I just wake up in the morning, ask God what He has planned, linger with Him in the Word and in prayer, and then go. (I work on the side as a Life Coach and Spiritual Director and have recently been invited to partner with another ministry.)

There are eleven people I only met this year just walking my dog, or going to a coffee shop, or brought to meet me with a friend. God is on the move, on the street, and in our homes. The running joke at home is that I take forever to get a few groceries. I keep having some incredible conversations with people. 😀

Below is another resource that helped me digest, reflect, and embrace this new chapter for ourselves of intentionally being the living church (which takes less energy then we were used to in the past. Although, when I look at the list above of what we are doing, it’s much bigger somehow! That’s totally God. Not us!)

We love the Church! And God uses institutional churches. But, if you’re struggling with confusion within an institutional church, church politics, meetings and meetings and a lack of fruit, and you’ve wandered from institutional church to institutional church, but you love Jesus perhaps more than ever, this help may be like a breath of fresh air…!

LAC-ads

Life After Church (Audio Download)
We are in one of the most dramatic reorganizations of the structure of THE Church ever in human history. That is because the King is on the move and there is a dramatic next chapter coming. This album is one perspective from researcher Arthur Burk on where the King is going and how we can live this transition season for fullest effect. You ARE in a transition. The question is whether you will transition well and be part of the new move of God, or will be caught short…?  ***Sneak peek:

5 basic reasons people leave the church:

  1. Abusive authority.
  2. Community is found outside church. Church then became just a ritual.
  3. Leadership was hired on credentials rather than anointing and gifting.
  4. Money going to consumer comforts and an old building rather than outreach. 
  5. No clue why you left?? You just did and don’t know why.

God is raising up a new army. We are seeing the merging of the Fathering Movement and Church in the Marketplace coming together, merging into one stream. As we head into multiple ticking time bombs, God is getting ready for it.

In the light of church history, we are getting ready for something really big.

THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A MOBILIZATION OF THIS MAGNITUDE IN THE BODY OF CHRIST EVER IN CHURCH HISTORY.

The Life ‘After Church’ signs are:

·         Decentralization- there is no human leader.

·         Design based, as each one of us dominates a small niche in our area of expertise.

·         People have learned to hear God directly for themselves (not relying on a pastor).

·         You don’t need structures, you can move NIMBLY, as Holy Spirit leads.

We are privileged to be in this season, to be a part of something so big it will rewrite human and church history. Each of us have been designed for this season, for such a time as this…  Learn more…

Jesus Longs for His Church to Come Alive

I loved reading a book over the weekend written by a pastor who was told he needed to leave his institutional church in order to protect his health. Today, he leads a movement that has reached multiple countries.

Below is a quote from his wife excerpted from his book:

set free butterfly

“The Revolution is happening – it’s happening all over the world.

We are in a Reformation.
Acknowledge it or not.
Be a part of it or not.

Jesus longs for his church to come alive, to become a living, breathing organism. He longs for us to be in a real, live, intimate relationship with Him, regardless of others – and then in real, live relationship with our families – earthly and spiritual.

And, He’s begging us to come alive, be who we are as individuals, alive and free in Him, telling the world who and what He has done for us…

The enemy accepts that Christianity is in the world… but if he can just contain us, keep us from contaminating others, there’s little to worry about. If he can contain us in buildings, then the world will not know the truth and few will be set free. But what I saw in Kenya, I also see in America and other parts of the world.

The virus is leaking.

The Reformation of the 21st Century, led by the Holy Spirit, is taking Christianity out of containers into the open spaces of the neighborhoods and nations of the world.”

(Brooks & Roger Thoman. Simple/House Church Revolution (Kindle Locations 137-141). Download and read for free at: https://www.simplechurchrevolution.com)

He writes on his website: 

“In time, we began to see that this ‘paradigm shift’ (from institutional church to disciple making movement) was preparing us to train leaders in the multiplication of disciples, simple churches, and leaders.  …we saw tremendous fruit as disciples could quickly reproduce disciples and churches…

God used a dark season of our life to birth new purposes that were far above and beyond anything we might have dreamed on our own!”

(Learn more at: https://appleseedministry.com/about )

What Does Your Anger Look Like?

angry
How good are you at your anger management?
Where would you be on this scale…?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The Anger Ladder ~ by Dr. Ross Campbell

1) Pleasant behavior;
2) Seeking resolution to the conflict;
3) Focusing anger on the source only;
4) Holding to the primary complaint, not to peripheral issues;
5) Thinking logically and constructively;
6) Unpleasant and loud behavior;
7) Cursing;
8) Becoming angry at someone else who is a bystander instead of at the source of the anger;
9) Expressing unrelated complaints;
10) Throwing objects;
11) Destroying property;
12) Verbal abuse;
13) Emotionally destructive behavior;
14) Physical abuse; and
15) Passive-aggressive behavior.

We should all strive to achieve the first 2 rungs of the Anger Ladder.
Which is ‘1’ ~ Pleasant behavior; & ‘2’ ~ Seeking resolution to the conflict; Dr Campbell suggests that we find out where we are on the Anger Ladder and move up one rung at a time.

The worst way for anyone to handle anger is through passive-aggressive (or PA) behavior. In PA behavior, a person uses indirect means to get back in anger at another person — for example, procrastinating, stubbornness, intentional inefficiency and “forgetfulness.” The person acts in these ways to provoke anger. A PA person refuses to accept responsibility for his or her own behavior.

Note that PA is at number ’15’ which is worse than ’13’ ~ Emotionally destructive behavior; & ’14’ ~ Physical abuse; because it is not easily noticed.

Note: Dr Campbell did mention a “16” which represents Homicidal attempts, homicidal threats and homicide which is worst but it’s not covered in the scope of his book  ‘How to Really Love Your Teenager’ (Amazon afflink).

After 2 unsuccessful attempts at mediation with someone who has hurt me in the past and looking at the scale above, I can see why trying yet another time is unwise. A person seeking true reconciliation should demonstrate the first two rungs on the ladder, and not 7, 9, 12, 13 and 15. I have forgiven and moved on, but see that for reconciliation to occur, honour and respect and sincere apology must happen. Forgiveness and trust restored/reconciliation are two different things. Sigh. I pray that they can also find the inner healing in order to restore their own broken relationships within their biological family.

How are you doing at expressing your anger? For deep inner healing, I recommend the following process…