Saturday, December 31, 2005

Why People Do Not Like Church

Recently I have talked with and read about a lot of people who do not like church but who deeply love Jesus and who would be qualified as ‘True Disciples or Revolutionary Christians’ by George Barna in at least two of his recent books. (Revolution and Growing True Disciples) I have been thinking and praying about writing this article for some time and a conversation yesterday sparked a fire to jump in and address this issue. Let me say that understanding what Jesus wants for His Church and the people he has called to lead it have been one my passions ever since I was a young believer.

In my Christian life, I have read many books, articles and attended seminars, classes and conferences on various aspects of the Church. I have taken different personality, behavioral, and spiritual gift test which were advertised as tools to ‘Help me be a better Christian’. I have also had the opportunity to be a part several Churches and other Christian organizations.

Many times we want to blame ‘God’s people’, for the lack of growth or success in our lives. If we do decide that perhaps we could do better at being a ‘Christian’ in some way, we decide that we need to be ‘More Successful’. Let me say that there are many other issues that have to do with growth and success in the Christian life and we will discuss them later in a latter article.

The issue I want to address is this whole idea of ‘Success’. When faced with our own lack or perceived lack in the area of ‘success as aChristian’ we often run to be like the people who are said to be successful by other people we know. They are seen as winners in churches, sports, Hollywood or business because they have accomplished certain objectives with positive results. The results we often look for are more popularity, power, influence or more money.

What Would Jesus Do?
Some time ago there was a popular movement that asked the question, “What would Jesus Do”? Perhaps believers should ask that very same question about what success looks like as a believer, or what did Jesus say and what did Jesus do that made Him successful?

The Super Star and Survival of the Fittest Model vs. What Jesus Did and Taught
There is a great need for people who can get things accomplished. Having said that, there is a tendency to get it done without paying attention to what Jesus demonstrated to be His and the Father’s priorities, setting people free and bringing true life to them. When our success is the number of people we have applauding us and how much we have to give we are in danger of neglecting ‘the building up one another' and nurturing those we have influence on in life. Too often, we want God’s people to survive on there own, be mature and do something to help us succeed. There was even a recent article in a leading Christian magazine which basically implied to believers that only the ‘Strongest and Best Survive’ (sounds like Darvin not Jesus) in Church and they needed to get strong all by them selves or they were not measuring up.

Make Disciples of All Nations?
We often think that making disciples is the teaching of doctrine, church tradition and a personal evangelism program. There is much we can learn about making disciples from observing that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are One. They are distinct in person and in function but they are One. This oneness involves relationship even as Jesus examplified, while He was on the earth. The New testament Church was very relational in how it existed and we as believers are taught by example and Biblical teaching that our relationship to one another is important if we are to succeed at accomplishing what, Jesus came to do and teach! The Spiritual Gifts are operational in believers as a group as the Spirit works among us as well. Believers are said to be the body of Christ which requires each other functioning well to accomplish what Jesus began to do and teach. While certain people have various functions all are required and all need nurture, training and release to be living Gospels(stories of the good news) or living epistles (letters).

One reason ‘People do not like Church’ is because we who are believers are not doing ‘What Jesus Began to Do and Teach’. We need to be growing up in God’s grace and helping others to fulfill God plan for their life as well by having healthy relationships with them.

It is not that getting things done well is not important; it is however, that they need done in a way that builds up and encourages people.

Questions for Believers?______________________________
1. When is the last time that the people who are in your immediate sphere of influence were nurtured by you?
2. When was the last time you followed up with one of those people if they did not attend a regular gathering that they were usually at?
3. How long after they missed did you seek to contact them?
4. Was your follow-up out of obligation, rebuke or love and concern?
5. How often do you get together for relaxed fun and fellowship with other believers in which they feel like family and not projects or obligations?

PS. These are not style issues! Your gift or personality profiles are no excuse to neglect the people in your immediate circle of influence?

One reason people do not like church is they are not finding what Jesus said they would find! Life!

For a leadership perspective on SUCCESS please go to

Artwork from

Thursday, December 22, 2005

The Encampment of the Lord

I recently had the honor and delight of attending some meetings with a few hundred other believers in which a humble and wildly in love with Jesus women of God who has been used mightily by God in some of the most interesting places in the world led us into greater intimacy with God.

The numbered points that follow are areas that need to be considered as a result of this fresh outpouring of God's presence and should lead us to a greater understanding and ability to yield to God's Spirit, whenever God is doing a fresh work or is manifesting Himself and His presence to His people.
1. There was a process over the course of three days.
2. The process led us to a point of a fresh committment and celebration the likes of which I have not experienced in more than 35 years of being a believer. In fact it was my early days as a believer during the Jesus movement when I last enjoy such a time of freedom, joy, commitment and celebration.
3. Many of us have experienced those times of soaring to great heights in God which we cherish and which are intended to lead us deeper and encourage us to go further in God.
4. There are issues that arise out of such experiences and that follow such experiences.

Biblically speaking we can gain the wisdom needed to deal with such high times in God by examining three such experiences in scripture.
A. Israel following the 'Pillar of cloud by day and fire by night.'
B. Isaiah in the Temple, 'In the year that King Uziah died.'
C. Jesus, and the Disciples on, 'The mount of transfiguration.'
A study of the principles in these three Biblical examples of God's manifest presence among His people will follow in the next part of this article. For now let's continue our current line of thinking.

5. Throughout history we have been faced with the challenge of what to do when God moves upon His people in power and majesty.
When these occur there are dangers that lie in:
A. Trying to repeat in the flesh what God did in the Spirit
B. Not remembering that it took several days and steps to get to the high point or climax of theexperience.
C. Establishing a formula based on what occurred or how we felt.
D. Not realizing that the timing, circumstances and events preceding the current work of God can not be duplicated and therefore the resulting work or move of God will be unique and not a clone or repetition of any other previous one.

There are elements of each move or fresh outpouring of God's presence which pertain to the character and nature of God.

6. We should ask ourselves these questions as we reflect on a specific fresh move or outpouring of God's presence:
A. What should our attitude be about what God is doing?
B. What should we have gained from what God was doing?
C. What should we expect now and as we move ahead after the experience?
D. How do we go forward, honoring what the Lord has done while not attempting to build a shrine on the experience or it's location?

The question arises,"What next" and "What are we to do in the meantime or with the results of the work of God both personally and as a group of believers who have shared in the experience?"
I believe the answers to these questions are in the three passages listed above. I will examine these in part to of this article.

Artwork by John Campbell

Friday, December 16, 2005

A Season of Spiritual Growth and Fulfillment

The Times and the Seasons of the Expansion of God's Work are beginning to be poured out! I am expecting a fresh outpouring of God's Spirit for each person and ministry that is willing to recieve it in 2006.

We experienced the beginning of this out pouring as we went to Him with humble and expecting hearts in our December believer's gatherings. The Fresh flow of the River of Life, that flows out from under His thrown is flowing to bring all we need to walk in "The Times and Seasons He is Unfolding for Each of Us.

"Below are the notes from our December gathering. We began by asking each one present to ask themselves these questions.

1. Is your Vision Big Enough to Fulfill God’s Call on your Life for the year ahead?
2. Are you ready to let God extend the stakes or expand the borders of His work in you?
3. God wants to Expand the Territory of His Spirit's work through you, are you willing?
4. Do you have God’s Perspective on His calling on your life?
5. Is your perspective limited by what He has done so far in your life?
6. Do you think the time for Him to work is latter but not now?

In Job and in Isaiah we find examples of two people who were serving God and even declared to be righteous by God, but when they had a fresh encounter with God they realized that in comparison to God's glory and holiness they were unclean and did not grasp the wonder and awesomeness of who God is and the scope of His majesty.
Job 38-42 Isa. 6:1-12

The results of these experiences was for them to humble themselves before God again. God in response blessed them both and renewed His work through them in greater measure than before these encounters.

Today God is looking for people He can pour out His river of life through, people who will once again humble themselves and cry out to Him. People who are willing to allow His Spirit to work and who will not let their own understanding of things limit what He wants to do.

Today He is ready to expand the working of His Spirit in and through you!


Get Ready by pressing into Him now! Prepare yourself for the next Season of His mighty work in the Earth. It is closer than you may have thought or hoped!


Artwork: The might Herald

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Experience God's Glory Today

There is are two lines from an old Petra Cd, "Beyond Belief" which says " We're content to pitch our tent when the Glory's evident. Seldom do we know the Glory came and went."

In the Old Testament the people of Israel had the 'Cloud of God's presence by day and the Pillar of Fire by Night to lead them. They had to be ready at all times to follow His Presence.

In the New Testament on the Mount of transformation The disciples saw the glory of God in Jesus. Peter wanted to build tents for the heavenly visitors and hang out within the Glory.

How can we experience His glory today?
Just as in Bible days God has continued to show Himself more evident in some places and times throughout History. There is as as always, debate on the when and where dynamics of these times of God's Glory being revealed. We can and should be doing all we can to position our cities for the visitation of His Glory.

We can also experience His Glory on an individual basis as we develop our relatioship with Him.
Today Jesus has made His Spirit available to all who believe in Christ. We however, do not do all we can to build our relationship with him and therefore do not experience His Glory and wonder as he desires for us in our realtionship with Him. This is where I want to concentrate our time today. I will address God's glory for cities at another time.

To have His presence in all it's fullness we must continue to build our relationship with Him according to His plan, (Bible).
1. We must come to Him as our Lord and Savior. This requires believing in Him as God's Son and turning (repenting) from sin. It also means giving our lives totally to Him.
2. We must continue our renewal and transformation into His likeness. This require us to read, meditate on, study and obey His Word, the Bible.
3. Our relationship must be developed through times prayer, praise and worship.
4. Healthy fellowship and relationships with other believers also is a key part of our growth.

As we continue to develop our relationship with Him we will move from blocks of time in which we are building our relationship into a true marriage relationship, in which we are one with Him and discover our selves in relationship through there practices throughout the day. This will then develop into a 24/7 relationship where there is no time in our day when we (God and us) are not in communion-relationship.

From our relationship with God comes behavior like His. This is a giving out of the Christ life in practical form. Caring for those in need around us. This may be a simple smile and kind word or it may mean helping those in need of food and clothing. It also includes praying for one another and our governmental leaders if we want to live in peace as expressed in timothy.
As we give out we will receive more of God's goodness and glory.

One of the things that often keeps us from continual growth with God is our inner hurts and the wrong deeds and words of others from our past. These can not be left alone. Repentance on our part and forgiveness toward those who have harmed us must take place. We will be healthier and be able to grow in our relationship and experience His glory more as we get our inner life healed and cleaned up.

For the Christian there are two different truths at work here.
1. God can and does display His Glory and wonder to groups of people.
2. We can individually develop a personal relationship with God in which we can experience His glory. The presence of God is a part of our New Life in Christ.

Keep working on your relationship with Him. He desires you to have it as a part of your inheritance!
Keep praying for those times of visitation when your whole city will experience His Glory and presence!

Please take a look at some of the new books listed on the right side of this site. They will help you to grow in relationship with Him and develop a life open to His Glory!

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Looking at The Faith Revolution

There have been a lot of comments about George Barna's book Revolution and I wanted to make some additional comments and send you to read another article concerning today's Church.

1. For many Barna's book is old news to some who have been doing Church in many different ways. Barna has discovered some but not all of these who have been doing revolutionary Churches for years.

2. Barna states clearly that He discovered these revolutionary Christians in His research and that he is not forcasting there future existence.

3. He is however saying to those of us leading the people of God that the cloud of God's presence is not stationary and that people want real faith and not mere shadows of what was once alive.

4. I have written and taught in the past that there are many streams that flow from the river of God that flows out from His thrown in His Temple.

In addition Barna does not state these things to bring condemnation but awareness of these trends and hopes to alert us who lead so that we will seek God for the unique way He is building His Church in the towns and cities in which we live to meet the needs of all people groups.

This means that Churches must be prayerful and wise in reaching and ministering to the people around them.

New wine requires new wineskins. Not exactly a new idea but one we often forget.

Later this week I will post another article about The Presence of God and How we are to keep up with what "The Cloud by Day and the Fire by Night." This article will look at the spiritual principles involved in doing Church today.

I believe there are many 'models' of church today which can be effective and that discussion about them is useful in helping us to accomplish the work of Jesus in the earth today. There are also good reasons to give up on models that are not effective and that no longer are allowing us to accomplish the work that Jesus gave us as leaders of the church to accomplish as listed in
Ephesians 4:11-13 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. NASU

Below are a few pieces of an article from the Elijah List by Robert Ricciardelli as a follow on article to Barna's Revolution book. In other words, more to think about.

Please click on the links to read the entire article. and

Every Day-Every Way Church
Here are a few highlights.
"In case there are some who still have not seen it, there is a shift going on in our Father's house, inside and outside of the four walls. Most of us realize there is only one church and one body of believers of our Lord. There are many diverse personalities, all wonderfully made in all different sizes, shapes, colors, cultures, and rule books of life. I want to talk about two distinctive segments of the Church of our Lord today."

Nuclear Church
"The term "nuclear" literally means a cluster or nucleus. Many of us have been raised by a cluster or nucleus of a specific denomination. For the most part, the good, bad, and ugly denominational structures have brought many of us to where we are today. We all have been saddened by the liberal shift of some of these structures, as well as the shift of making the gospel of Jesus Christ palatable and un-offensive for all. In some cases, repentance is optional and a profession of Christ, without the true Lordship of Christ, supposedly brings one into the kingdom."

"It is hard for them to see or to understand how to support and partner with the Marketplace Church."

Extended Or Marketplace Church

"This is the body of Christ that operates outside of the four walls of the Nuclear Church, not separate in any way but in application. The Marketplace Church is distinctive but also supportive of the Nuclear Church. The Nuclear Church, for the most part, gathers one day a week, and the Marketplace church is in operation 6 days a week. They are still one church, but they are to a degree, two distinct cultures. They operate out of two different sets of cultural rule books. Before you cast any heretical stones, let me explain."

"It is hard for them to see or to understand how to support and partner with the Marketplace Church."
"Many Nuclear Church leaders still ask of those in the marketplace, "Are you considering to go into the ministry?"

"Ed Silvoso identifies four lethal misbeliefs that minimize the impact of believers in the workplace:
1. There is a God-ordained division between clergy and laity.
2. The Church is called to operate primarily inside a building, often referred to as the temple.
3. People involved in business cannot be as spiritual as those serving traditional Church ministry.
4. The primary role of Marketplace Christians is to make money to support the vision of those "in the ministry."

We Need to Understand the Kingdom of God!
This is where we affirm that the Kingdom of God is not confined to the four walls of the local church. Where is the kingdom of God? Jesus said in Luke17:21, "The kingdom of God is within you."

"God's people are His people seven days a week in many different functions and jurisdictions."

Robert Ricciardelli Vision to Advance

Thursday, December 01, 2005

The faith Revolution is Upon Us

A Faith Revolution Is Redefining Church, According to New Study by the Barna Group For many in the Kingdom of God this will not come as a surpise or Revelation. For many It will be either be a shock because they would not see it or confirmation of what they have seen coming in one way or another.

This article about the book by George Barna comes on the heels of an article in Charisma Magazine earlier this year about 'Drop Out Christians', who want real Life in Christ and are having a hard time finding it in the local Church.
It appears obvious to a growing number of Christians that there is a REVOLUTION going on in the Church (people of God) and there is a desperate need to Equip and mentor these revolutionaries for the adventure ahead of them.

Many of today's Seminaries and Bible Colleges are unprepared to Equip these People who will be the Leaders of the Revolution in faith! Not because they lack faith, knowledge or Education but because they are not apart of the revolution and therefore not prepared to lead others where they will not go! Below are some pieces of the article with a link to the Barna Group Site where you can read the whole thing.
The transitioning nature of America's spirituality 'For decades the primary way that Americans have experienced and expressed their faith has been through a local church. That reality is rapidly changing, according to researcher George Barna, whose new book on the transitioning nature of Americas spirituality, entitled Revolution, describes what he believes will be the most massive reshaping of the nations faith community in more than a century. '
Growth of A New Church: Relying upon national research conducted over the past several years, Barna profiles a group of more than 20 million adults throughout the nation labeled revolutionaries. These are people who are less interested in attending church than in being the church, he explained. A common misconception about revolutionaries, he continued, is that they are disengaging from God when they leave a local church. Instead of going to church, they have chosen to be the Church, in a way that harkens back to the Church detailed in the Book of Acts. Big Changes In the Making: One of the most eye-opening portions of the research contained in the book describes what the faith community may look like twenty years from now. He projects that by 2025 the local church will lose roughly half of its current market share. Although there will be millions of people who abandon the entire faith community for the usual reasons hurtful experiences in churches, lack of interest in spiritual matters, prioritizing other dimensions of their life a growing percentage of church dropouts will be those who leave a local church in order to intentionally increase their focus on faith and to relate to God through different means. Seven Passions of the Revolutionary In the effort to increase their obedience and faithfulness to God, Barna discovered that Revolutionaries are characterized by what he identified as a set of spiritual passions seven specific emphases that drive their quest for God and a biblical lifestyle. Challenges and Opportunities While the Revolution brings with it some very promising qualities an intense pursuit of godliness, new networks of believers supporting each other, heightened financial giving to ministry endeavors, greater sensitivity to the presence of God in the world, a greater sense of freedom to be a genuine disciple in the midst of a secular society Barna also pointed out that the Revolution brings great challenges to those who choose that pathway. Barna contends that these are very serious challenges faced by Revolutionaries but that they are no more serious than the threats to the spiritual health of regular church-goers.
This new movement of God demands that there be new forms of leadership to appropriately guide people in their faith journey.
An Introduction to the Revolution
In the course of doing his customary national research studies, he stumbled onto the Revolution. Having been personally frustrated by the local church, I initiated several research projects to better understand what other frustrated followers of Christ were doing to maintain their spiritual edge
Revolution, published by Tyndale House, is what the author calls a brief introduction to the most important spiritual movement of our age. He believes that fifty years from now historians will look back at this period and label it one of the most significant periods in American Church history.
Source of This Material
The Barna Group, Ltd. (which includes its research division, The Barna Research Group) © The Barna Group, Ltd, 2005
To purchase online go to the right side of my site and go down until you see the book's picture and click on it.

It appears obvious to a growing number of Christians that there is a REVOLUTION going on in the Church (the people of God) There is also a desperaterate need to Equip and mentor the revolutionaries. Join the Revolution and Get equipped: