Speak to the Heart and Not the Head

“If you talk to a man in the language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” Nelson Mandela – former South African president

This is true in all relationships – marriage, family, friendships, church or where you work. Good advice for public speakers and preachers alike. A truth we all need to learn. And especially if you want to increase your effectiveness when talking to others about the Lord Jesus.

Before telling others about Jesus listen to what language they speak. And, I don’t mean Russian , English or Japanese. Watch their body language, how they are dressed, who they are with, how they are acting. Then speak “their language” and speak to their hearts and not just their heads.

Some time ago I entered one of my favorite coffee shops (has a quiet corner for writing my daily blogs) and spotted an older man sitting by himself. I had seen him there a number of times before and there was always a lady with him (I assumed his wife). He was sitting alone this time. However, everything about his “language” told me that something was wrong – the way he looked, the way he sat, the way he held his head, the look in his eyes. So, I went over and asked if I could join him for a coffee as I had just purchased one and my favorite corner was occupied. He agreed. I listened further to his language as we briefly got to know each other. Something was wrong and his heart was heavy and sad.

In a brief conversation over one medium coffee (I must be getting old as can no longer drink an extra large or even a large) I discovered that his wife had just died and been buried and he was struggling with living as a single in a married world (his world at least) for the first time in 50+ years. I heard his heart and was able to speak his language – and I don’t mean English.

Christians should show the love of God and the compassion of the Lord Jesus in all their relationships. This is especially true even in “temporary” relationships which you begin in the hope of sharing the Good News. If you want to let people know that you really do love them and that they are not simply another ‘target’ or ‘trophy’ for you then watch carefully, look at who you are approaching and see what heart language they speak, and then listen first to see if you are right in your rapid assessment. Listen so that they know you care. Show them that you are sincerely interested in them (and not just interested in presenting your message) by “listening” to them, and then speak accordingly – speak their heart language.

The relationship may not remain “temporary” for long as you may find you win someone to the Lord and will then become involved in their lives as you disciple them in the Christian faith.

Hope For Tomorrow – Power For Today

One of the churches that I work with on a weekly basis is in the process of changing the name by which it is known. In September we will be announcing the new name – New Hope Christian Church. So, I will be preaching on the topic of “hope” during the time that the name is becoming known.

One of my mentors told me many years ago, “If there is no hope for the future there is no power today.” If we don’t think things are going to get better and life apparently is not going to improve – we find ourselves ‘hopeless’ and thus simply give up. We don’t sense any power to change the situation or even sense a need to try and change things because without some sense of hope why bother.

In my planning for this teaching I went through my substantial library (now taking over three rooms to shelve the books – and I only keep the good ones) and could not find one book with the word hope in the title. I’m sure there are a few books with a chapter on hope but I would have no idea which book or books might include that chapter. Nothing hit home or registered while looking carefully are the well marked up books in my ‘library.’ So, I went looking on the internet. Carefully choosing what to look at and what not to bother with – because, afterall, just because it is on the internet does not mean it is true or even biblical no matter the author.

The Bible says, “But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13). We know a fair amount about “faith” and a great deal about “love” but apparently little about “hope.” It seems to be something, however, that the Spirit of God is emphasizing today as so many are living without hope in so many aspects of their daily lives – especially in the realm of relationships. I believe we are entering a season when “hope” will be spoken about, preached on, imparted supernaturally, and become a key to much that the Lord is planning to do in this season.

If anyone should live with hope in their heart about their future (not to mention the present) it is the believers. We know the final outcome of the cosmic and spiritual struggle over the souls of lost men and women. We understand that Jesus won the battle on the Cross of Calvary. We know the love of God and have an assurance that we are walking with Him now and will continue to do so throughout eternity because we are born again Christians. We live with great hope. And, because of this we have power to overcome all obstances that we currently face with His help.

1 Peter 1:3 states, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…” There it is – we have, when born again, been brought into a place where we have a daily, dynamic and living hope because of all that Jesus has accomplished already for us on the Cross of Calvary.

I look forward to meeting some Christians who actually believe this and thus live with a tremendous sense of optimism and enthusiasm while working through today’s issues and as they face each and every tomorrow the Lord brings their way … living with the hope that is truly ours for eternity and thus empowering today!

Oh! And I did find substantial material on hope from one of my favorite preachers and Bible scholars who died in the 1970’s and whose material is now all on-line. God is good! I’m hopeful that the sermons will be ready on time and a blessing to those who hear them.

Let’s Buy a Desert Island and Disappear

A shipwrecked mariner had spent several years on a deserted island. Then one morning he was thrilled to see a ship offshore and a smaller vessel pulling out toward him. When the boat grounded on the beach, the officer in charge handed the marooned sailor a bundle of newspapers and told him, “With the captain’s compliments. He said to read through these and let us know if you still want to be rescued.”

We live in crazy times. Rapid changing times when things seem to get more wacko by the day. And often, as an introvert, I think it would be good to just disappear to a desert (and deserted) island – preferably in a warm area of the world – and ignore the stupidy and rapid change now happening in our world. You know, just ignore the real world and create an alternative one without all the people and thus rapid change and stupidy.

But then that is what, in many cases, the Church has been doing in the midst of the rapid change in society’s values and morals we are now experiencing. The Church’s usual response to cultural innovation and change is condemnation and isolation rather than incarnation and participation. God was born a man – the incarnation – so that He could share the life that we live as human beings and thus understand how we feel, how we think, what it is like to face temptation, and to experience the normal pressures and stresses of life on planet Earth. He wanted to identify with us.

We, as the Church, should be doing the same in society today. We are called to be incarnational – to live with, experience, feel, understand, share… so that we can relate to the people we are living beside and work with. This allows us to understand them, accept them and not condemn them. And this, in turn, allows us (earns us) an opportunity to influence them and encourage them to consider what God has done and is doing. Just as Jesus did within his culture and during His time on earth He now expects us to do as members of His Body, the Church.

Of course, we can’t just go away and rent or buy a desert island as inviting as that may be. Isolation, for the born again believer, is not acceptable. In fact, it is the opposite to what the Lord is wanting. He is wanting His followers to be involved in life – participation. To “get down and get dirty.” To identify with those who are living without Jesus and thus without hope so that we come to understand them and love them. To “dwell among them” as John’s Gospel, chapter one says that Jesus did with us.

As Christians we are called to be incarnational and to participate in today’s culture and interact with the people in the neighborhood in which we live and the places where we work. We are called to be salt and light in and to the world. We are ambassadors speaking on behalf of the Kingdom and the King of that kingdom. We are “sent ones” (apostolic) and although we may not always like the place the Holy Spirit has sent us to influence – we go in obedience and do not consider other options – like renting a desert island for a place to “get away from it all”.

Maybe I am thinking about desert islands and feeling like this because it is Monday morning and that is always an emotionally and spiritually down time for us preachers after a long Sunday…. Maybe it is because I am an extreme introvert. Maybe it is my age and I’m just getting tired. However, a desert island is not an option for me or for anyone who is serious about the faith. And, when I feel like this I remind myself of what the great evangelist and preacher of the Gospel C.T. Studd said, “Some wish to live within the sound of the chapel bell; I wish to run a rescue mission within a yard of hell.” I guess that means no desert island for me.

I am reminded of the man who had been marooned for years on a desert island. One day a large ocean liner appears and sends in a smaller boat to rescue him. Before leaving he gives those who have landed on his island a tour of his facilities. There in the middle of a clearing there are three huts. He tells them, with pride in his voice, how he had to clear this land by hand and how he built each of the three buildings… He shows them the first house and tells them this is his home where he has lived for many years now. The next building is his church where he goes regularly to worship the Lord. The captain asks him then what the third building is and he says, “Oh! That’s the Church I use to go to.”

But then that’s a topc for another blog, isn’t it?

Ozzy and Shaaaaron

Do you think of your world in terms of living in an “Ozzie and Harriet” world like the one that I grew up in or in terms of an “Ozzy and Shaaaaron” world that is actually out there. Maybe, like some church leaders, you view your surrounding, fast-changing culture, through “Ollie” glasses – “another fine mess you’ve gotten me into” – and feel helpless because you don’t know how to impact it.

The world has changed and many believers and churches have not adjusted to the changes – or even noticed them. The Church seems unable to understand the rapidly changing world in which we live. This results in the Church and individual believers having little to no impact on the culture in which we find ourselves and little opportunity to share the life-changing message of the Gospel. We are usually better at God-Talk than God-Walk in this new culture. We have failed at cultural exegesis while remaining decent at biblical exegesis. And, thus we speak many words but are not connecting and not really communicating.

I found it interesting to note how universities (and a few seminaries) are changing so that they can still connect to and communicate with their culture. They have recognized that if they hope to continue to train and equip their students they need to at least understand the “Ozzy and Shaaaaron” world in which we live. As someone trained in numerous seminaries and having earned (so far) two Master’s degrees I was amazed to learn that at Washington State University there is a “Taco Bell Distinguished Professor of Hotel and Restaurant Administration.” There is now at Stanford Univesity (Ivy League School, folks) a Yahoo! Chair with an emphasis on information systems technology. The most “distinguished” professors of marketing at the universities of Arizona and West Virginia hold the Coca Cola Chair and the K-Mart Chair respectively. They are adjusting to their changing culture so that they can continue to equip their students for life in the real world. The Church is called to equip believers!

The world is changing rapidly and if we, the Christians, hope to communicate and connect in ways that allows us to impact life today (without compromising our values, ethics, and message) we need to keep in touch with the people to whom we hope to preach on Sundays. They won’t come if we are not speaking into their world (and inviting them). And, if they do they won’t come back unless we have connected and communicated in a meaningful way to their world.

The message we have to share never changes but the methods we use and the way we speak it must constantly change and keep pace with the changes in our world.

I like what Leonard Sweet wrote. “I am horrified that when I went to school the press covered stories of how many coeds could cram into a phone booth; now that my kids are going to school, the press covers stories of how many men porn stars you can have sex with at one time.” (page 69 – Jesus Drives Me Nuts)

The world has changed. University has changed. Television has changed. The world that Hollywood portrays on the movies has changed (more on this tomorrow), what we accept as “normal” has changed. What we focus on and are investing time and energy in has changed. And, we need to study our culture and listen carefully to people (listen before you speak) to see what their world is like and then learn to speak to that world in a way that they can really hear us. This will take work, time, effort, investment of money (coffee anyone) and brain power as you learn, analysis, understand, adjust, relate (connect) and then practice speaking cross-culturally as missionaries to a foreign nation.

I’m not talking about going to a third-world country. You are called to take the Gospel to your own “world” first – and it is time to recognize that you are an ambassador of Jesus to the people you relate to every day. And, like any good missionary or ambassador you need to study and come to know the culture and the language of the people to which you have been sent. Otherwise you (and the Church) will remain a sub-culture that is simply written off and ignored by the mainstream of society and seen as not relevant and out-of-touch which, regretfully, if often very true.

So, we need to be always in tune with the Holy Spirit, but also in touch with the culture.

Picture – The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet (Nelson) and their two sons
Picture – Ozzie and Shaaaaron Osbourne of “Family Jewels” and also a member of K.I.S.S.

The Churched, the Unchurched and the De-Churched

The head of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales has announced that as a background for people’s lives, Christianity “has almost been vanquished.” Each day thousands of visitors visit the mother church of Anglicanism, Canterbury Cathedral. Each Sunday morning prayer service is attended by few more than a dozen worshippers. On any given Sunday in the city of Longdom more people visit the local IKEA store than attend all the churches in the city combined. In France and Britain less than 10% of the population attend church at least once a month. Attendance in Scandinavian countries is less than 3%. In Amersterdam the Dutch Reform Church is converting churches into luxury apartments just to pay the bills.

Statistics show us that the “average” Christian in the world today “is not White fat cat in United States or Western Europe, but rather a poor person, often unimaginably poor by Western standards, probably a poor, brown-skinned woman living in a third-world mega-city. So, as the Church apparently collapses in the developed nations it is thriving in the undeveloped and third-world nations.

The contrast between the collapse of Christianity in the West and the emergence of Christianity in the East could not be greater. In Scotland the percentage of Christians regularly attending church is less than 10%. In the Philippines that number is nearly 70%. South Korea has almost four times as many Presbyterians as the United States.

In my experience in many nations there are three groups of people whom I witness to.

1> There are those who are “churched.” They are nominal Christians. Believers in name only. Christian and Easter believers. Sprinkle believers – sprinkle some water (baptism), sprinkle some rice (marriage) and sprinkle some dirt (burial). They go to church to worship at Christmas and Easter. They think, because of this, that they are in good standing with God. Of course their church’s teachings also tell them this – “There are two sacraments necessary for salvation – holy baptism and the Lord’s Supper.” So, they are baptized as babies and attend the Lord’s Supper as adults twice a year. Ask them if they are believers – they will tell you they are. There are a large number of people like this here in a city where the major Christian witness is still predominately mainline denominations who have been here since the area was first settled.

2> A second group are those who are “dechurched”. These are true believers who have stopped attending Church. 12 years ago Ann Rice, the author, declared that she is a born again Christian. She stopped writing vampire books and began writing Bible-based novels. After 12 years of studying her Bible and attending a mainline denominational Church she announced on a CNN interview last Sunday evening that she has left the Church as she can no longer support their non-Biblical theology and teachings, practices and approach. She still believes in Jesus as the resurrected Son of God and the only way to Heaven but is now “dechurched.”

I meet and talk with people like this all of the time – daily. Most are born again and some are born again and spirit-filled. Yet they have stopped attending any and every church for one reason or another and are not interested in hearing what the Bible says about needing to be connected to Christian community. Often, a year or two later I speak to them again and they have moved to the third group and no longer claim to be a Christ-follower.

3> The third group are the “unchurched.” This group is growing in many nations in Europe and North America. They are often young and have seldom stepped inside a Church building. Afterall, weddings are now done outside and funerals are done from funeral homes or simply no longer held. This group has no “Christian consciousness.” They have no understanding of the Bible or the Christian tradition. Christian and Bible words means nothing and they have no context in which to understand that they are sinners in need of a Savior.

These are my favourite people to talk to as there are no barriers. They are real and not plastic. They are interested in what you have to say IF you are interested in them and are willing to listen to and care about them. They are looking for experience and not explanation; the supernatural and not the natural. They want to see the Christian faith being lived out by you and not just hear what the basic tenants of the faith are.

In most nations where I work today you will find all three types of people … and we need to be careful that we are investing our limited time and energy on those most open to the Gospel and ready to give it a fair hearing. Only you can determine who seems to be open to your message – but, in my experience, it is most often the unchurched. That does not mean I don’t listen to and work at ministering to the dechurched and the churched but I do invest my time mainly in the unchurched who often have never heard the Gospel.

Origen and Augustine observed and wrote in almost the same words, “There are many outside who appear to be inside, and many inside who appear to be outside.” An old Latin expression for this was Novit Deus qui sunt ejus: Only God knows who are His. Yes, but often we can discover who are and who are not simply by listening to what they are thinking and doing and by watching their lifestyle closely.

A Passionate God

Exodus 34:14 NLT states this about our heavenly Father… “God who is passionate about His relationship with you.” Did you know that? Did you know deep in your heart that God is passionate about you and jealous of your relationship with Him? Afterall, the Bible stats repeatedly that He is a jealous God. And, He is so pleased with you – not what you do but who you are. In fact, one of the neatest verses in the Bible is Zephaniah 3:17. It states, “For the LORD your God has arrived to live among you. He is a mighty savior. He will rejoice over you with great gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will exult over you by singing a happy song.” That’s exciting. And, good to know. I mean really know deep down inside.

Now, let’s look at the other side of the relationship. What are your thoughts toward God? Are you passionate and deeply in love with Him? Is He more than a convenience or inconvenience? Is He simply the One who answers prayers – sometimes? Is He your daily friend or more than that – your Lord on a daily basis? Have you let Him in to the depths of your life and allowed Him to be the “Lover of your soul” or are you holding Him at a distance and hiding things from Him?

I think that the statue of Jesus Christ that is on the mountainside in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil is really neat. It reminds me, whenever I see it, that Jesus stretched out His arms on the cross and died for our sins because He loves us that much – so much! This mammoth statue stands 125 feet high and is located at the peak of 710-m Corcovado hill in the Tijuca Forest National Park, in Brazil overlooking the city. It is always a reminder to me that Jesus is inviting us to be in an intimate relationship with Him. That He is saying to each and every person – born again, religious, seeker, saint or atheist – everyone to come to Him because He loves us.

Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message Version) “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me–watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Isn’t that what we all want and need? Well, the offer still stands. It is for everyone and it is available right now!

You know, even as believers we tend to slip back into doing things ‘religiously’ and we need to shake ourselves to the roots every now-and-then and return to our first love. Maybe for you – today is that day! Remember how much He loves you. He won’t reject you and will love you, accept you unconditionally, and forgive you.

And, keep religion at a distance at all costs as religion is the enemy of your relationship with the Lord. He came to destroy religion – we need to honor that and stay clear of anything that is religious as it sucks spiritual life right out of you. It’s regretful that such a beautiful statue was, on its 75th Birthday, officially recognized as a Roman Catholic shrine. Now it can host religious ritual rites like marriage and cremation ceremonies. Religion!

Never mind, it is meaningful to me as it still reminds me that the Lord is watching over me, you, and entire cities and want each and every person to come unto Him and find meaning, purpose and direction as well as an eternal relationship with Him.

Go Figure – Go Witness

If you have grown up as a church person – parents took you to church and eventually you made a decision to accept the Christian faith as your own – you are less likely to share your faith with others than if you switched from another religion and became a believer or follower of Jesus Christ.

29% of converts – people who switched religions – say they share their faith at least weekly according to Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. This is compared to 20% of those who adhere to the faith of their childhood who say they share their faith at least weekly. It seems that those who come to faith in Jesus Christ from another faith background are more willing and thus more active in sharing their new found faith with others. And, it seems, that those who are adhering to the faith of the household or home they grew up in are less involved in telling others of their faith and the role that this faith plays in their daily lives.

It appears to me that those who convert to the Christian faith are seeing this new-found faith as a “way of life.” Something to be embraced and walked out daily. While those who grew up in the faith simply see it as one of many pieces of the pie called daily life – separate peirces that need not touch or effect each other. Compartimentalized living! Private religion. It reminds of of advice I received as a young priest when first starting in the ministry. I was told there were two things you never talked about when on a parish visit – politics and religion – because these were private matters.

I appreciate what Leonard Sweet shares in his book “Jesus Drives Me Crazy.” He states, “…in native American languages there is no word for “religion.” The word that comes closest is “the way you live.” (page 84) Ah! That might just be the answer. Converts to the faith from other religions understand that if the basic beliefs of the Christian faith are true (and they are) then they are more than something to hold at arm’s length – they must be embraced and form the basis for an altered life-style now based on eternal values and biblical principles. And, they appreciate the life-changing message of the faith and the assurance of life in Heaven after they die and so are readily sharing this new found hope with others.

Of course, this begs the question – what about the other 71% of converts to the Christian faith and 80% of those who grew up being influenced by the Christian faith? More personally – what about YOU? Are you “going into all YOUR world” as you live your daily life and telling others about Jesus?

Go and Make Disciples

“There was a time when one could almost be afraid to call himself a disciple of Christ because it meant so much. Now one can do it with complete ease because it means nothing at all.” Soren Kierkegaard.

This is a sad commentary on most churches and the majority of believers. Sad but true. I agree that in our world today calling oneself a Christian or a believer does not automatically mean one is a disciple. Very few are truly followers of Jesus. This should not be the case.

Jesus said that if we would follow Him He would make us fishers of men. This means He would make us become like Himself. He came to “seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:10) and so as we become like Him – a disciple – we would be seen to be busy doing what Jesus does. This is not the case many times. Many claim to be followers (and thus disciples) but never share Jesus and His offer of hope with others they know and love.

Jesus said that we are to “go into all the world and make disciples…” (Matthew 28:18). This assumes that we are a disciple ourselves. We cannot reproduce something we are not. Sheep begat sheep and goats begat goats. To make disciples we must be one ourselves. And, the Church is in the disciple-making business. This is what we are all about – discipling, training, equipping, mentoring, releasing believers into the calling that is on their life. But it all begins with a disciple who is obedient and is becoming like his Master going out into their world and sharing Jesus. This disciple finds someone who is spiritually hungry and who receives the Good News of the Gospel of the Salvation and leads them to the Lord. This begins the discipling process as the older believer helps the new believer to grow in the Christian faith and the disciplines of that faith. Then, and only then, can the older disciple begin to train, equip, mentor and release.

The word disciple seems to have little meaning today – having been replaced by Christian or believer. But, biblically those words were not used to describe the followers of Christ until later in the history of the Church. Followers of Christ simply became His disciples (read the Gospel accounts).

To be a disciple means to be a follower – an apprentice – a craftsman learning a trade from a master of the trade. It means to pick up the skills necessary to do what the master tradesperson does. It means to become like the master who is teaching you – in thought, word, actions, lifestyle, focus, ability. To be a disciple means to have a close, intimate relationship with the one you are following and becoming like. To be a disciple means to be constantly learning and growing in your skills and abilities. To be a disciple means to be a follower – and to follow closely and not at a distance.

I agree with Soren Kierkegaard – many use the word disciple loosely and it has little to no meaning today. Many call themselves a disciple where nothing could be further from the truth. And, this is regretful because the business the Church is called by the Lord to be in is the business of disciple-making. “Go into al lthe world and make disciples…” Just wondering – who are you discipling into the Christian faith?

We are failing at our job!

Why Be Normal?

Once you encounter Jesus you can never “return to normal.” Whatever your normal use to be. Anyone who has had an authentic encounter with the living God as found only in Jesus Christ is instantly and supernaturally changed and can never be the same again. Can never be normal again.

Aristides, a non-Christian, defended the Christians before Emeror Hadrian. He said of them, “They love one another, and from widows they do not turn away their esteem; and they deliver the orphan from him who treats him harshly…And verily, this is a new people, and there is something divine in the midst of them.” And, he was right – Jesus was now both within them individually and in the midst of them corporately. Nothing normal here – nothing natural – simply supernatural.

Here is a fact – little recognized but needed to be grabbled with. “Authentic discipleship is all-of-life spirituality that interrupts all of life and interprets life on God’s terms.” (Leonard Sweet) So, as a believer, our life is interrupted – the Holy Spirit comes every day and interrupts what we are doing to let us know of something He would have us involved in. A word of encouragement to give to some who is discouraged; a prophetic word when it is desperately needed; a touch of healing. And, everything we do in life should be seen and interpreted on God’s terms. We should view things the way He views them. This means our values and the way we measure such things as success will be upside down from the way the world interprets them. We will no longer be normal in the eyes of many.

The problem with being a true disciple of the Lord Jesus and thus “not normal” is that many churches have been in a “return to normal” mode for many decades. The Church teaches the Bible in such a way as to encourage normal. The Bible is, in reality, a fantastic call to a radical and revolutionary lifestyle that will impact people – you first and then others through you. The Church encourages a comfortable style of worship that allows us to feel God’s presence in an unoffensive way and quietly tell Him that we love Him. In reality, worship should be extremely passionate and thus alive, dynamic, emotional, expressive. We have made it something that is “normal.” The Church is a place where we come to receive help, counsel, encouragement, inspiration … and yet, biblically, it was meant to be a place that equipped believers to be ambassadors in a foreign nation and to transform that nation by winning the lost. Not a place to counsel and inspire but a place to be trained and equipped. Not comforted – challenged! Not gathered – scattered. We have made it something “normal” and no longer something radical and revolutionary.

Normal means we judge ourselves according to worldly standards. Normal means we want to receive and to give as little as possible. Normal means accumulate belongings and wealth. Normal means we judge ourselves by North American standards and not global standards. When you encounter Jesus and have a life-changing experience of His love and power – you should no longer settle for normal. You learn it is better to give than receive and to give more than required of you, going the extra mile. It means to divest yourself of assets so that you are free to do what the Lord calls you to do and to give to the poor. It means looking at your life-style in light of the poor in most nations in the world and realizing that you are living in luxury when compared to global standards and thus should be giving more and wanting less, living on less. Not normal – just radically Christian. A disciple. A revolutionary.

So, no more normal. Out with normal. Normal is boring. Normal is not Christian. Normal is never life-changing. And, Jesus is not normal – and afterall, He is the One we are following and becoming like. We are His disciples.

The Five Basic Purposes For the Church That Jesus is Building

Jesus said, “I will build My Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18). He is the builder of the Church and He is building it according to a set pattern and for specific purposes; His pattern and His purposes.

 However, often when planting a new work for the Lord or moving an existing work forward we forget that He is the Builder and that He has very specific plans and purposes for His Church. And, as leaders of His Church we often forget, when pastoring, that He is the One building the work and that His purposes for His Church have not changed.

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