Thursday, March 29, 2007

What We Don't Need From New Wave Pastors

Andy McAdams, over at The Mayberry Driven Church has written a great article on where the church is today, focusing on the smaller church in this culture. "The Condition of the Church In America" is worth a read, a clip, and many prayers. I can see Andy's heart for the church in it. Though the statistics are sobering, and the challenge is great, knowing that there are people who get what the life of a small church is about really helps.

Contrast that with the writings of some of the young, successful, and hip new wave pastors lately about their fellow workers for Christ.

I’m sorry I will never understand guys who do this because it is a job, because they are stuck, because they are to big of chumps to get a “real” job. I pray I never become the fat, cynical pastor who has “been around the block.” I will never understand how people who God has called burn out and are always sending resumes out looking for the next great thing. We have the greatest calling in the world and the large majority of pastors I talked to are to freaking busy whining about how hard they have that it is no wonder they aren’t making an impact for the kingdom of God. If that offends you I could care less.

If I have another church planter or pastor call me or email me telling me how hard it is I am simply going to kick the crap out of them. YES, it is hard. What the crap did you think you were signing up for? You are on the frontlines of the battle between good and evil. Did you think it was going to be a cake walk? What fantasy are you living in? When you are making an impact for God, the devil is going to come after you with everything you have.

I am so sick of excuse making pastors. I am talking about the ones who always think everyone else has it better then them and they can’t accomplish what they want to because someone else got “the breaks.” Shut up and do something for God.

You know, I'm not hearing much whining at all among my friends who pastor smaller churches. What I hear most often is an acknowledgment of just how tough the task is and how they are driven on depend more on God.

When we talk, we deal in reality to be sure.

That doesn't make us whiners, or burnt out, or looking for our next gig.

Frankly, the ministry isn't Ultimate Fight Club, so if the new wave would drop the "I'll punch them in the throat", "kick the crap out of them" bravado, they'd seem more Christ-like. At least.

What we need isn't opposition. What we need is support. What we need is your prayers.

Someone said the other day that what happens is we get blind - blind to our faults, but only blind in one eye, because those of others are plainly visible.

Well, I admit I am blind in one eye. Would it be too much to hope that the new wave would admit that they are too?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

List of Christian Bloggers

I've been remiss in not doing this earlier, but I wanted to mention that I added my blogs to a list of bloggers created by Mark Kelly from Saddleback. He and Rick Warren put together the Christian Bloggers list and I can say that many of these people are excellent resources for help, encouragement, and insight.

Monday, March 26, 2007

The 100

The 100... million

"You live and learn" is what people say.

But is it just me, or does much of what we learn not get used?

Algebra... now when is the last time you used that. (Don't get me started on Trigonometry etc.) Some of what we learn just gets outdated. I knew how to use a slide rule once upon a time, could run MS-DOS off a command line prompt, and could tell you a lot about handball. But none of those are in use anymore, at least not by me.

But once upon a time I was a wiz.

One of the areas of knowledge I still do use is statistics. So when I read this week about the 100 - the 100 million people who haven't been to church once in the last six months, my keen intellect determined immediately that first - 100 million is a lot, and second, people are inclined to stretch the truth about going to church. So I am very sure it's more than just 100... million.

And here's what bothers me about those stats.

I know some of them.

They are people I care about.

And if I have lived and learned, then why aren't I - and the church that I serve better at helping them find Jesus?

Why aren't we all?

100,000,000 souls..........................

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Why Fight?

Our church has found a great Web 2.0 social networking tool called MyChurch. Check it out.

We're using it a lot these days to keep people informed, distribute resources, build fellowship, and offer another front porch for people to sit on while they meet us.

Personally, I've really enjoyed getting to know some people who I probably never would have met. For example, one of the friends my wife and I have on MyChurch is a man in India. That's really neat.

I can see the potential of using sites like these to link and strengthen links with Kingdom partners across the globe.

But exposure to a wider number of Christians also means exposure to the people who hold weird theology, and want everyone to know how they are in error. Just a few minutes ago I read a series of posts by a King James only advocate, then what appeared to be a person denying the Trinity, and finally a person giving a "prophetic word".

There's a part of David Wilson who really wants to set those people straight. A BIG part of David Wilson.

The KJV only guy, God bless Him, is stunningly wrong in almost everything he copies and pastes. The Oneness advocate can't spell. And for a prophecy supposedly from God, well...

But why fight?

Refuse to get involved in inane discussions; they always end up in fights. 2 Tim 2:23

Stay away from mindless, pointless quarreling over genealogies and fine print in the law code. That gets you nowhere. Titus 3:9

It's just not worth it. I've labored for years under the false opinion that through the force of logic I would educate people out of darkness. No, what I did was raise my blood pressure and waste a lot of time.

Someone once told me, "You know, you don't have to attend every argument you are invited to."

So repeat after me... "The Lord's servant must not quarrel..."

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Can I Get An Amen?

“The churches that will cease to exist are not those who are doctrinally errant, but are spiritually errant. You can’t get away with it anymore. You can’t just talk about what the bible says, you better flesh it out or you are dead. That’s what’s exciting about the world in which we live. Only the viable church of Jesus Christ will survive, the inauthentic need not apply. I want to live in the world that if the church is not the revolution that Jesus died to establish 2000 years ago it ceases to exist. I want to live in a world where the church has no more crutches, or buffers to guard her from injury. I want a church where a culture no longer protects her. Whenever the gospel enters an environment, it prevails.”
- Erwin McManus

Monday, March 19, 2007

Little places

"Father, where shall I work today?"
And my love flowed warm and free.
He pointed out a tiny spot and said,
"Tend that place for me."

I answered him quickly,
"Oh, no! Not that!
Why no one would ever see,
No matter how well my work was done;
not that little place for me!"

The word he spoke, then, wasn't stern.
He answered me tenderly;
"Nazareth was a little place.
And so was Galilee."

-- Anonymous

from Revitalize Your Church by Mark O. Wilson

Mark, I just needed to read this today. I put it on my blog so I can be reminded from time to time that what those of us that serve in little places serve a Big God. Thanks for posting this.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Cloak of Invisibility - Church Style

Ever feel like no one knows your church exists? Here a list of things that one person sees as ways for churches to stay invisible. HT Church Redone

Here are 10 real ways I’ve experienced that churches keep from being discovered:

1. Don’t have a website
2. Be completely inactive in the community.
3. Don’t answer your phone
4. Allow misinformation
5. Lack clear signage
6. Have insufficient parking/seating
7. Ignore Visitors
8. Respond half-heartedly to inquiries
9. Be evasive about your beliefs
10. Lie to me : When all else fails, simply lie to me about your church.


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Like A Bear Fed By Tourists

Ed Stetzer gets it.

Today, the church is like a bear fed by tourists. It's lost its natural ability.

We need to share Christ in meaningful ways without just inviting people to a congregational event. I can just suggest one brief idea: let's get that back by starting where people are, listening to them, building a relationship, telling them about Jesus, sharing with them the story of redemption, and bringing them to a bloody cross and an empty tomb.
Ed Stetzer

HT: Catalyst
Love wins.

You need to know that. I need to know that. We look around and we see so many things that are broken - some irreparably. We look back and remember painful events that left scars on our soul. We look ahead and can only see more of the same.

I've been here this afternoon praying.

Praying for people. The young mothers with their children in foster care, because they can't break free of addictions. The children who suffer as a result. Families separated because of a war that seemingly will never end. People trapped beneath a mountain of wrong choices. People dealing with pain, with heartache, with grief. Young and old, everybody hurts. So I pray for them, that God would supply all their needs through Christ Jesus. That the author of all compassion and comfort will surround them with His love. That they will see God and know He loves them.

Praying for New Hope. We're the church in the neighborhood, with a heart for anyone who comes through our doors. We've seen many people come to faith here, and others deepen in faith here. I pray for understanding of where our church can see even more of God's mercy and grace shine around us. I'm praying for those who've come here for a season but who just cannot seem to put down roots. Like a child who breaks away from a loved one's embrace, they run outside. Again, and again, and again. And it breaks my heart.

So I'm praying.

There are times when being a pastor is sheer joy, and times when it plumbs the depths of sorrow.

In both the good and the bad, I remember -

Love Wins.

No one's ever seen or heard anything like this,
Never so much as imagined anything quite like it-
What God has arranged for those who love him. 1 Cor 2:9 The Message

Friend, do you love Him?

If someone new came into your life this week, and was around you most of the time, could they tell you love Jesus?


Visit with me at my blogs:
Or visit New Hope!

Thursday, March 08, 2007


Good reminder as we head toward Easter

USA TODAY recently reported on America’s religious illiteracy. The article included the following interesting statistics that shed light on how well Americans know the Bible:

60% of Americans can’t name five of the Ten Commandments
50% of high school seniors think Sodom and Gomorrah were married
8% of public high schools offer an elective Bible course

Remember that America is now a place of distorted truth and little knowledge of the Bible. If part of your sermon only references a Bible story, there is a good chance that people in the congregation may not be familiar with it or may assume it is about something completely different.

Hat Tip: Church Relevance

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Article In Christianity Today On Salvation

An article in Christianity Today this week has me wondering when the author sees salvation as occurring.

David P. Gushee

I suggest that we tend to confuse the beginning of the faith journey with its entirety. Yes, believe in Jesus—that's the first step. Yes, invite Jesus into your heart as your personal Savior. Then, empowered by God's grace, embark on the journey of discipleship, in which you seek to love God with every fiber of your being, to love your neighbor as yourself, to live out God's moral will, and to follow Jesus where he leads you, whatever the cost.

If Jesus is to be believed, inheriting eternal life involves a comprehensive divine assessment at every step along our journey, not just at its inception.

Mediocrity and hypocrisy characterize the lives of many avowed Christians, at least in part because of our default answer to the salvation question. Anyone can, and most Americans do, "believe" in Jesus rather than some alternative savior. Anyone can, and many Americans sometimes do, say a prayer asking Jesus to save them. But not many embark on a life fully devoted to the love of God, the love of neighbor, the moral practice of God's will, and radical, costly discipleship.

So my question is, then when are we saved? While I agree with the author that there is far too much easy believerism in our churches, I am not sure what his prescription would mean.


It is the first emotion I remember.

As a boy, standing beside the road as my father carried my beloved collie away, killed by a truck.

It is the only one I cannot put away.

Even now, just typing the phrase "my father" brings tears.

And yet it made me love Jesus more intensely - to cling to Him for life. To make me want to know Him more - to spend more time in His presence.

Because He knew... grief.

It was my first sermon. I had prayed, oh how I had prayed. Day after day I had opened my Bible and read, asking God to give me a "word" for the people at a little mill village town in Forsyth, GA. It was outside that mill that my grandfather had been struck by the car of a rich man's daughter. He died a few days later. I wanted to go there and speak a word of hope, of encouragement.

But God led me to a snippet of Scripture.

No great and lofty text. No commonly known passage. No safe, preacher's portion. I didn't do it justice that day. Perhaps no one ever could. For what it says about the Son of God is too wonderful for words.

11 Not long after that, Jesus went to the village Nain. His disciples were with him, along with quite a large crowd. 12 As they approached the village gate, they met a funeral procession— a woman's only son was being carried out for burial. And the mother was a widow. 13 When Jesus saw her, his heart broke. He said to her, "Don't cry." 14 Then he went over and touched the coffin. The pallbearers stopped. He said, "Young man, I tell you: Get up." 15 The dead son sat up and began talking. Jesus presented him to his mother.
16 They all realized they were in a place of holy mystery, that God was at work among them. They were quietly worshipful— and then noisily grateful, calling out among themselves, "God is back, looking to the needs of his people!"

Luke 7:11-16 (MSG)

That day, I said all I knew to say about that passage in about 6 minutes. I was young. No one in my family had passed away. Since then I've had too many occasions to remember how Jesus reacted to the widow of Nain.

You know, when I pray for those at the point of death, I pray for God's will to be done. That doesn't mean I haven't fought the fierce inner struggles we all do when we want our loved ones restored as Jesus did that day outside Nain. No one wants those they love to leave them. But I know that God's will is always best for His children.

Because He's a God whose heart can be broken over their grief.

Some of you know exactly what I mean. I wish all of you could someday. The days, weeks, and months after someone dies do help with the pain, but it never really leaves entirely. And at certain times, or on certain days, it leaps back into your mind. That's when I turn to Jesus. That's when He looks at me and I know He shares my pain.

Even in grief, our God is there, looking to the needs of His people.

And He's exactly what we need.

May God give you peace,

Visit with me at my blogs:
Or visit New Hope!

Monday, March 05, 2007

3 Questions

Monday Morning Insight is one of my favorite emails each week. It frequently causes me to think or teaches me something I didn't know. Today's article made me think and taught me something. Here's 3 questions.

1. If you weren’t on staff at your church, would you worship there?
I think we’ve all served at churches that we wouldn’t worship at. (I know I have). And many times we are in the process of transitioning them into a church that we’d love to attend. If you’re in that position right now, this is still a great question to ask. Why wouldn’t you want to worship there? And what is keeping other people away from the church that you serve?

2. If you didn’t know ANYTHING about Jesus, what would you know about him after a normal weekend at your church?
Think about your service yesterday. If you didn’t know squat about Jesus yesterday morning; what would you know about Him or think about Him today? This is a question that we need to ask each and every week. How does your church communicate Jesus?

3. If you had a loved one who didn’t know Christ, and they had one week left to live, would you take them to your church or another?
In this last question, it goes one level deeper. How’s your church doing at communicating the main message? Truthfully; would you take your dying unsaved mother to a service at your church or another church across town? How clear is the gospel presented in your church?

So what do you think?

Thursday, March 01, 2007


She was of dubious pedigree. Purchased as a full-blooded miniature schnauzer, it seemed obvious as she matured that she was all that - and a little bit more. Her coat was rough, her ears large. What else would you name a dog like that but Daisy?

And Daisy was wholly and dearly loved.

Chief among her admirers was her owner, Adam. As a young boy, his obedience to his chores had earned him enough points that he could have gone on a Toys R Us shopping spree, taken a trip to Six Flags, or get a puppy. He chose Daisy, and from the moment they met, the two were as one.

That's not to say that Daisy didn't have room in her heart for the rest of the Wilson clan, she did. After all, a dog's heart was created to love without limits. But for Adam, she reserved her utmost affection. At night, they'd go to bed together. In the morning we'd go in to wake Adam up, and find Daisy literally wrapped around his head like some sort of four-legged aviator's helmet.

Daisy was personality plus. Her antics kept us all laughing, but she could also be used to great effect to calm anyone down. Holding her in my lap lowered my blood pressure many times. So much so that when I was freaking out trying to balance work, school, church, and family, Bunny would tell the kids "Go get Daisy for your father. He needs a schnauzer break."

For all her awesome personality traits, Daisy had one that drove us crazy.

She'd run away.

We'd take her outside 100 times in a row without incident. But on that 101st trip, if you turned your back, she'd take off. Through the neighborhoods and to God knows where she would go. We would be frantic, scouring the neighborhood calling her name. Sometimes we'd get lucky and find her a couple of blocks over. Other times, though we searched on foot and by car, we couldn't find her. Hour after hour we would look, but it would get dark, and we'd pray that she would be found and promise each other we would look again in the morning. Adam would go to bed in tears as we reassured him that we would find her.

Then she'd come home, wet, muddy, and hungry.

And we'd love her again.

I thought about Daisy today because I was praying about others we know and love.

We've laughed together. We love things in common. When things are going well in their lives, they are great to be around. But they have one trait that relentlessly stalks them - they run away.

Every time they begin to make some progress in their lives, or their relationship with God, something deep within them begins the rebellion. It may be 6 days, 6 months, but one day you look up and they are gone.

And you're scared, it hurts, and you don't know what else to do.

That's when we have to put our faith in Jesus. No one loves the runaway more.

Jesus used this illustration: 4 "If you had one hundred sheep, and one of them strayed away and was lost in the wilderness, wouldn't you leave the ninety-nine others to go and search for the lost one until you found it? 5 And then you would joyfully carry it home on your shoulders. 6 When you arrived, you would call together your friends and neighbors to rejoice with you because your lost sheep was found. 7 In the same way, heaven will be happier over one lost sinner who returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven't strayed away!
Holy Bible : New Living Translation. 1997 (Lk 15:1-7). Tyndale House: Wheaton, Ill.

One thing about lost sheep, lost dogs, and yes, even lost people. It can happen again. And again. People get tired. Call it compassion fatigue. Call it a broken heart. But to overcome it, we have to call out to Jesus. Jesus said He came to seek and to save those who are lost. He never stops.

Only a heart like Jesus' can give us the courage - the hope to keep wanting to search when history, family, and friends are telling us to give up. Only a heart like His.

Friend, would you pray with me for a heart like Jesus?

For there are not enough searchers and too many who are lost.


David Wilson

Visit with me at my blogs:
Or visit New Hope!