Business As Usual

You hear it said often from many different people and places. People are looking forward to getting back to normal. As Covid supposedly is coming to an end in a lot of nations people are hoping that things will return to normal – in other words, as they were before Covid. Of course, now we have a war that Russia started with Ukraine and that will impact the lives of many including ours as there are economic consequences, supply chain issues, and relational issues to be sorted out now and well into the future. Add to that rapid inflation and it seems like “normal” is not about to happen soon.

I would suggest that business as usual will not return in the near future – if ever. And that there is a need for many changes in the way we view and live life on Planet Earth. Foundational changes. And, as a result the Church of Jesus Christ needs to also make rapid and substantial foundational changes. For the Church it should never have been business as usual. And, certainly not now as we see the world changing in so many ways with respect to the essentials of life and liberty.

When looking at what the Church does and how it how does it, maybe it is just me, but so much of current church life seems totally irrelevant. Obsolete. Not relevant. Embarrassing. Antiquated. Even, in my opinion, stupid as it is so out of touch with the world around it. And will be more so unless it responds to the changes happening in the world. It can not be business as usual. It should never be business as usual.

We need to remove a lot of the programs we have and begin to build relationally. We need to stop preaching verse by verse, book by book and start to teach as Jesus did … using things that were happening in the world and worldly activities to speak bible truths in a way that people could understand and wrestle with the principles and truths. Less performance by a worship team and more leadership into His presence during worship. We need to stop yelling at the darkness – whatever version of darkness your particular branch of the church thinks is #1 evil – and start being the ‘quiet’ salt and leaven in the loaf of life. Instead of yelling at he darkness try being the light in the darkness. And, the list of foundational, basic changes needed goes on and on. 

    • No longer see pastors leading a church – but adopt the biblical fivefold ministry model
    • Stop using roles within the Church as titles for those in the ministry – Paul always said, “Paul, an apostle” and did not say, “Apostle Paul” using his role as an official title
    • Teach to touch the heart and not just fill the head – in another words, teach for life transformation and not head information
    • Cut out the performances – both in the pulpit and on stage during worship
    • The Church not being led by a single person but by a team of elders
    • Women taking their rightful role in ministry as allowed in the New Testament Church
    • Every member trained and equipped to be a minister and touch people with the love of Jesus
    • Becoming supernaturally empowered by receiving the Baptism in the Holy Spirit and stop fighting theologically over something that was taken for granted for believers in the early church
    • Stop thinking you are right and everyone else who does not think like you is wrong. Pull down the arrogant, prideful, opinions which, according to Paul, are strongholds that keep you from experiencing the fullness of the life Jesus wants you to have
    • Stop investing in buildings and start truly investing in people – the poor, those caught up in sex trafficking, the hungry, those in prison. And, not as a program but as a way of life

As I said, the list of needed and beneficial changes could go on and on. It just cannot be business as usual any longer. The world needs to hear and, more importantly, see the Gospel of the Kingdom.

This is the one thing that never changes….

What Causes Hunger in a Believer?

What Causes Hunger in a Believer?

Earlier this week I spent two hours with some young disciples of Jesus. I’m guessing they were between 18 and 30 and the leader was in his mid fifties. 

The young people had such a hunger for God. For more of God. 

They were attentive to everything I was sharing. They asked questions. They “leaned into” the material I was teaching and interacted with it and with me. 

It was an amazing two hours that blessed me and super-charged me. 

I felt encouraged and excited. Not drained and depleted as I often do after teaching. 

When people are hungry for more of God it is so exciting to teach. 

When they are not hungry it is like dragging a dead horse uphill all the way. An effort and very unrewarding for the teacher. For me. 

Read more

Let’s Not Complicate Things

I think that we often over complicate the Christian faith. I believe in solid Bible scholarship. I believe that preaching should be biblical, theologically correct, practical and rooted in the reality that we face today. I believe that the Christian faith is challenging and profound in its own way. I believe that any teaching of the Bible should have depth and not just be one’s opinion with a verse or two to “proof text” the opinion of the speaker or writer. But I believe we have seriously over complicated the basics of the faith.

The Christian faith is about love. God’s love for us. God’s love in us. God’s love through us to others. It is not about human love often seen as kindness, generosity, and gentleness. It is not a ‘feeling’ love. We often mix up God’s love with a feeling we have when we say we love sailing or love hockey or ice cream. Love is a decision. God decided that He would love us regardless. God decided that when we come to know Jesus as our personal Lord and Saviour that He would pour His love into us (Romans 5:5). And, after He has done this then we can truly love Him with a God-love because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). And because His love lives within us we can love others as He would and does.  Loving our fellow Christians, loving those who don’t yet know Him. And, hold on to your hat, loving even our enemies. 

Jesus said, “By this will all people know that you are My disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35). All people – fellow believers, unbelievers, and those that hate and persecute us. This is loving others with the God kind of love known in the Greek language as Agapé.

And based in this love we can then accept other people just as Jesus accepted us. His acceptance of us was based in His love for us and not in something we did or didn’t do. Our performance. He simply accepted us as we were – yet knowing what we had done as well as who we could become and what we could do in His Kingdom. His is an unconditional love. Love without conditions. No-strings-attached love. And we are to then, from His love residing in us, accept others unconditionally. Regardless of their status in society, their education, their wealth or lack thereof. We accept them regardless of their history, their cultural and social background, or what they have done – the sin in their lives. Jesus came to love the sinner and so must we.

As we accept others they will come to experience the love of God through us. As they see that love and experience the acceptance they will, with the help of the Holy Spirit, draw closer to the Saviour and begin to experience His acceptance and love. This will open their hearts to the conviction of the Holy Spirit which will, in time, result in godly sorrow and repentance (2 Corinthians 7:8-10) which will lead them to salvation.

The third element in the basics of the simple but profound Christian faith is total forgiveness. When a person encounters forgiveness in their relationships with believers they will begin to experience, in a small yet significant way, the total and absolute forgiveness that can only be found in knowing Jesus. As they encounter forgiveness in their relationships with Christians they will come to understand that forgiveness is not only possible but available. In the world they did find forgiveness. Revenge, yes! Rejection, yes! Judgment, yes! Offences, yes! Hatred, yes! Only in relationship with believers will they taste the total and absolute forgiveness that they seek and need in life. Because we, as disciples, have experienced total forgiveness we can offer our forgiveness to others when they speak or act against us, hurt us, or reject us. A small taste of the forgiveness they will receive when they come to know Jesus personally.

This is the Christian faith – Jesus loves us unconditionally, accepts us just as we are, and forgives us totally – past, present, and future. We are called to be like Jesus and do the same in our relationships with both believers and non-believers. Love, accept, and forgive. Let’s not complicate it. The Christian faith is profound and deep but it is also simple and practical.

The LAF Principle – Love, Accept, and Forgive.