Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Under Attack

"The greatest threat to the church is apathy. ... The American culture [especially] is messed up. It's going to get worse. There is an attack [on the church] from the Enemy. ... We are retreating a whole lot more than we ought to."

notes from another Dr. Gary Candlish session

So now observe how helpful the Word of God is to this attack!
"Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand."

Ephesians 6:13

Stand firm,


Monday, June 09, 2008

Church Growth The Way God Meant It To Be

There are many people who are selling the next best idea about how to raise up a church that excels in the areas of buildings, bodies and bucks. It has been called a "Glitz, Glamor, and Glee" gospel or the "health and wealth" gospel. But these things are no different than corporate America. So what does really make a great church?

Dr. Gary Candlish described a church that is growing God's way at a conference on prophecy that I attended a few months ago. Here are some of the points that he made from that session:

  • A growing church is a congregation of people that are committed to pleasing God "no matter what". We must never allow the culture to dictate what we will or won't do in church.

  • A growing church must focus on the stuff of the Scriptures, affirming that Biblical truth is not obsolete. We must think outside the box, but never outside the book.

  • A growing church cannot be built on a diet of spiritual cake and ice cream. We must place a premium on doctrine and serve spiritual broccoli and spinach with great regularity.

  • A growing church does not use pragmatism as the reason for doing anything in the church. We must never allow faith to be become less important than finances, family, friends, fun, freedom.

  • A growing church takes the focus off of their own sufficiency and comes humbly to worship and wait before the Lord. We must not draw our approval from the world's criteria for success.

So are we really ready to redefine church growth in Biblical terms? Are we ready to do the stuff of ministry with a focus on discipleship? Are we ready to move beyond surface level results and get God's heartbeat on the matter?

If there's something sickly or dying in our churches, what better place to go for wisdom than to its founder, God. We, as leaders of WyBC, have arranged our focus around a Biblical model of discipleship. We desire to see people built up in Christ through a process of "Come In, Put Off, Put On and Go Out". This construction of God's church through intentional discipleship is our mission.

We, therefore, are committed to pleasing God in every aspect of this growth cycle. We will endeavor to use the Scriptures as our standard of faith and practice at every phase of this cycle. We desire church growth to occur at God's speed and according to God's parameters. We understand that God, and God alone, is able to convict the hearts of men and bring about true heart change and life results. We are building an environment that is designed to offer every person that enters it a chance to begin or build his/her personal relationship with God. With God's help, I look forward to seeing many lives changed into the image of Jesus -- beginning with me!

Changing and growing for the glory of God,


Isaiah 6 -- When the Music Fades

I have always enjoyed hearing messages preached on Isaiah 6. This chapter contains a very yielded servant of God responding to the call. This chapter contains an awesome worship event complete with the smoking glory of God, angelic beings and an undone worshipper. But yesterday morning as I sat under some teaching in Sunday School, I saw something else. There was way more to Isaiah 6 than first met my eye. There were a ton of references and connections that began to pop for me from that passage.

1. "In the year that King Uzziah died" the throne was vacant or at least in transition. The establishment of order to the throne room would have seemed to be a high priority. Yet in that same timeframe, Isaiah saw a vision of God on His throne. I believe that God was sending Isaiah a message -- the throne is not empty! I am still in control. I am still sovereign even in these difficult political days. That is a great message for us as we face a transition of leadership nationally!

2. King Uzziah died. Do you remember what he died of? I didn't. In the second book of Chronicles, Uzziah was struck with leprosy as a judgment. This judgment with its consequential uncleanness was the result of Uzziah trying to offer incense before God. That was off limits for him, and people tried to stand in his way, but He insisted on blowing past God's servants, the priests, and offering the incense anyway. It cost him his life! The leprosy that he contracted (supernaturally) eliminated him from even entering the temple from that day forward. That is a great message to anyone who wants to blow past their pastor's proper spiritual leadership!

3. King Uzziah got leprosy from a proud attitude. In 2 Chron 29, it says that he had gained strength and became proud. How easy it is to get sucked into the vortex of power and accomplishment. His sin of pride and arrogance cost him all that he had been entrusted with. His response must come up against Isaiah's response in Isa 6. Isaiah bows in humbleness before God. He anticipated that he would probably die since he was so unworthy to see such a vision of God. He was humble. God, the exalted and high lifted one, reached down to the lowly Isaiah and cast down the haughty Uzziah! That is a great message for leaders who think that this great kingdom (whatever God has blest most recently) is of their own making. There was another king (Nebuchadnezzar) who had a similar mindset and he ended up out in the field like a beast! (see Dan 4 to read about Nebby's vision)

These are just a couple of aha! moments that I gleaned from Sunday School. What a refreshment to hear and apply God's Word. You don't have to be a kid to get something from SS! :) I hope that your study of God's Word yields similar insights and applicable lessons for your world. Drop me a note and let me rejoice with you!

True worship is bowing in humble adoration before my Sovereign who has brought me success and showered me with His favor.

I bow in humble adoration,

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Struggling with Unbelief

Want another test? :) This time it is your faith!

Whenever doubts creep into your world, check your faith level in these three areas:
  • God's wisdom
  • God's love
  • God's power
When you figure which area(s) that you are struggling to keep focused in, read Scriptures to reinforce these truths and shore up the area of unbelief. Pray and ask God to help your unbelief and to build the faith that you have. With faith the size of a mustard seed you can move mountains!

growing in my own faith,

What really ticks you off?

Here's a test for anyone who struggles with anger.

If you are ever angry with an inanimate object, you are really mad at God.

Test out the theory! When you get angry and kick the washing machine ask, "What am I angry about? What do I think God has shorted me on? Why am I taking my anger out on this washing machine/computer/rainstorm/etc.?"

Working through it myself,