Friday, 31 August 2007

Innovative Church Leaders Move Into the Neighborhood

The following article was taken from Christian Post:

Innovative Church Leaders Move Into the Neighborhood

Christian Post Reporter
Fri, Jun. 29 2007 07:16 AM ET

WASHINGTON - Jesus moved into the neighborhood, according to the Gospel of John. So, innovative church leaders today are moving into the culture.

Craig Groeschel
(Photo: The Christian Post) senior pastor Craig Groeschel addresses nearly 300 church leaders on innovative leadership at The Buzz Conference in Washington, D.C., June 28, 2007.

For Granger Community Church in Indiana, that means conducting sermon series on popular TV show "24" or box office hit "Spider-Man 3."

"We can't afford to be out of touch with our culture," said Tim Stevens, executive pastor at Granger Community Church in Indiana, at the second annual Buzz Conference in Washington.

On another level, it means breaking the rules when so many churches are trying to stay inbounds.

Granger broke the rules when his church plastered billboards around the local city, which stirred debate among Christians and a media storm. went out of bounds when it launched the multi-site movement, which includes an internet campus for worship services. And Life Church's senior pastor, Craig Groeschel, broke the rules when he went into bars to meet "the sick" and tell them about Jesus.

"We have to care more about reaching people than about obeying man's stupid rules because that's what they are," said Groeschel.

“Innovative” is a term largely used to describe these churches that are at the forefront of creative and cutting edge ideas when it comes to growing a church and its impact. Some may label them as part of emerging church movement as they are trying to reach emerging generations and those right in their community who don't know Jesus Christ. Emerging churches are often criticized for breaking traditional church rules when drawing people by appealing to the culture.

But Mark Batterson, lead pastor of National Community Church in Washington and host of the Buzz Conference, doesn't like labels because they come with stereotypes. And new ideas will likely "offend Pharisees," as Groeschel put it. What new idea is hated today, however, will be embraced tomorrow, according to Groeschel.

"I consider it one of my greatest honors to be one of the people that so many people hate because of the multi-site movement," he told a crowd of nearly 300 pastors and church leaders. Groeschel believes that years or decades from now, when churches are emptying out, the multi-site model will be one of the ways that God uses to carry on His message.

Groeschel's, which currently has 11 church campuses across the nation where attendants listen to Groeschel preach live from Edmond, Okla., through live video feed, was named this year the most innovative church in the nation by Outreach magazine. But he doesn't give himself credit for the multi-site model, the 18,000 total weekly attendants or innovative ideas. In fact, he discourages such credit.

"We can't be impressed with ourselves," he said. "We must become less impressed with our latest program, less impressed with our latest website, and less impressed with our own what we call creative idea and become more focused on becoming less and making Jesus more in everything that we do."

He went further to reject building attendance to a megachurch size being defined as success.

"We need to stop trying so hard to build attendance and we need to think about building the Church," he said as he encouraged pastors to redefine success. "When we redefine it and say 'look at how many people are being lost (rather than counting those being saved),' that's going to change everything." and a host of other cutting-edge nondenominational and independent churches are not aiming to copy strategies or models that churches already created and have been successful at reaching more people for Christ. Instead, they're aiming for a road untraveled.

"If we're going to reach the world, we're going to have to sit in the smoking section," Groeschel stated plainly.

"In order to reach those that no one else is reaching, we will have to do things that no one else is doing," he said.

For today's innovative churches, that means moving into the neighborhood, breaking the rules, offending Pharisees and redefining success so that the world can know Christ.

For your surfing pleasure I have the links to Lifechurch, Granger Community Church & Buzz Conference

I look forward to your comments : )

Too Busy For God?

The following is a post from the Catalyst blog site:

August 24, 2007

Too Busy for God

A Charleston Southern University School of Business study concludes Christians worldwide are simply becoming too busy for God. The Obstacles to Growth Survey found that globally more than 40% of Christians say they “often” or “always” rush from task to task. About 60% say it’s “often” or “always” true that the busyness of life gets in the way of developing their relationship with God. While busyness afflicts both men and women, the distraction from God is more likely to afflict men. Pastors are the most likely (65%) to rush from task to task and experience adverse effects in developing their relationship with God.
Christian Post 7/30/07

How busy are you?

admin @ 6:00 am |

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Causes of stagnation

I got this article from Jeremy Sargents blog... awesome stuff!!!

What causes people to repel against the most natural thing in life – to grow and develop? What causes people to surrender the very thing that makes them uniquely human – their ability to adapt, change and invent?

I believe this article provides a compelling reason

One of the reasons so many surrender to the multiple lures of stagnation, is its familiarity. Former Executive and President of Hewlett-Packard Co. Carly Fiorina succinctly outlined the seductive danger of comfort zones in the following illustration about “querencia”.

“In bullfighting” she writes, “there is a term called querencia. The querencia is the spot in the ring to which the bull returns. Each bull has a different querencia, but as the bullfight continues, and the animal becomes more threatened, it returns more and more often to his spot. As he returns to his querencia, he becomes more predictable. And so, in the end, the matador is able to kill the bull because instead of trying something new, the bull returns to what is familiar, his comfort zone”.

Where do you or I return when we feel threatened? Where is our “querencia”? Chances are wherever that place may be is the same place that holds the greatest threat to our growth and development. Querencia’s are not built to advance us but to comfort us. They are not constructed to make us think, dream, dare and change, but they are places of retirement, familiarity and predictability. Tragically like the bull, the more predictable and comfortable we become the easier it is for the matador’s of life to kill us.

To kill every dream, dismantle every vision and terminate every aspiration we possess to become more than we are. When that happens LIFE , real LIFE as it was always intended to be lived, becomes extinct. We each need an element of chaos in our lives, an element that leaves us in anticipation of a surprise.!

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Are You Free To Love?

I was watching an awesome DVD series on Marriage yesterday by Andy Stanley called I-Marriage.
In it Andy taught something so profound I just had to share it with you.

Andy was talking on how we have desires before we get married (maybe to own a nice home, who will do what around the house, etc.). The problem is that somewhere along the way these desires become expectations.

When we have expectations on others... we are in a debtor - debtee relationship.
By performing such acts as housework, working at the job, etc. we are merely paying the 'debt' of expectation that we owe to the person. We get a 0 balance. But when the expectation is not there (although the desire for it will still be) when we perform that action it is out of love. We score a 10!

How do we know when we have slipped from desire to expectation?
When we are no longer thankful (why would you be thankful for what you thought was owed to you?!).

Luk 17:11-19 MSG
(11) It happened that as he made his way toward Jerusalem, he crossed over the border between Samaria and Galilee.
(12) As he entered a village, ten men, all lepers, met him. They kept their distance
(13) but raised their voices, calling out, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!"
(14) Taking a good look at them, he said, "Go, show yourselves to the priests." They went, and while still on their way, became clean.
(15) One of them, when he realized that he was healed, turned around and came back, shouting his gratitude, glorifying God.
(16) He kneeled at Jesus' feet, so grateful. He couldn't thank him enough--and he was a Samaritan.
(17) Jesus said, "Were not ten healed? Where are the nine?
(18) Can none be found to come back and give glory to God except this outsider?"
(19) Then he said to him, "Get up. On your way. Your faith has healed and saved you."

How often are we like these 9 lepers... thankless. We take God's great gifts of Grace for granted... 'God owes us' after all.
And so we kill the Love that the Father wishes to lavish upon us!

Perhaps it is for this reason that we are told that it is God's will for us to be thankful...

1Th 5:18 ESV
(18) give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

I look forward to your comments : )

Monday, 27 August 2007

God Speaks To Me In The Movies (Part 3 - Amazing Grace)

Firstly to all my readers an apology for the long absence and lack of regularity... I have been without the internet for over a week thanks to Telecoms retarded service...
I won't say any more... otherwise I might start ranting...

My last post was all about how slavery is rife in our world today... millions and millions of people who have been denied the basic human rights of freedom and dignity. This is an egregious sin not only on the part of those who are involved in the slave trade... but also ... dare I say it... equally by us who do nothing about it!
Those are some tough words, any my fingers are pointing directly at myself!

But there is another slavery that concerns me even more... its the slavery of people's souls. The god of this world - Satan - has enslaved over 5 billion people. His one mission is to steal, destroy and kill man kind...
and not just steal, kill and destroy in this short vapor of our lives in this world... but to have mankind join him in his eternal suffering... where there will be total darkness, aloneness, misery, suffering and the absence of God's presence. Unthinkable... unbearable.

But there is a line of offense that our loving Father has provided... His church! He has placed all of His authority in us, His Holy Spirit lives within us, and He has left us with a mission... push back the gates of hell, free people from their slavery, bring life in abundance.

Will you accept your mission?
Joh 10:10 ESV
(10) The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

Mat 16:18 MSG

(18) And now I'm going to tell you who you are, really are. You are Peter, a rock. This is the rock on which I will put together my church, a church so expansive with energy that not even the gates of hell will be able to keep it out.

I look forward to your comments : )

PS: If you are committing to take your mission seriously... check out this link!

Monday, 20 August 2007

God Speaks To Me In The Movies (Part 2 - Amazing Grace)

Amazing Grace is an outstanding movie! It really helps you to understand (in a really small way) what it was like for slaves back in the day. I'm so glad that slavery was abolished some 200 years ago. It helps me to feel civilized... a human being.

But wait a minute... although slavery has been abolished in almost every country... it has been estimated that there are some 27 million slaves today (some would say as many as 200 million)! Each year over 900 000 are trafficked across borders!
Some are used as slave labor, some are used for sex. All of it is despicable. Atrocious! A travesty.
In the 1850's in America, a slave could be purchased for a sum of US$1000 dollars (thats US$38 000 in todays equivalent) but today you can by a slave in Mali for as little as US$40 in Mali and an HIV free girl in Thailand for US$1000! Thats a dramatic 1/38th of the price of some 150 years ago!!!

Slavery is alive and well... the question is... what will be our response?
We can throw up our hands and simply give the excuse, "Well what could I possibly do about it?"
As the well known saying goes:
All it takes for evil to prosper is for good men to do nothing.

The truth is that by doing nothing... we are actually agreeing with this practice!
Do you agree with this practice?

Rob Harley, a well known TV presenter in NZ, said this interesting quote at Eastside church on Sunday morning: "People who make a difference are the one's who vote with their lives."
William Wilberforce's life work is shown as a great struggle in the movie. He poured out his life as a drink offering as Paul would say in Phil 2:17.

Will you choose to make a difference?

Here is a site to get you started:

I look forward to your comments : )

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Awesome Video Doco: My Brother The Christian

Follow THIS LINK to view an awesome, honest & challenging view of Christianity from an agnostic's viewpoint.

I'd love to hear your comments : )

Friday, 10 August 2007

Comedy From The Bible

Jewish Olympic Swimmer

On Circumcision

On Directions

Thursday, 9 August 2007


On Cambell Live tonight (Wednesday) they did a piece on properties for sale on second life. One of the estate agencies has bought an island and is selling off the virtual land.
An interesting comment was made by the estate agent being interviewed... he said, "By 2011 80% of internet users will have an aviator (character) on second life."
[Now I'm not sure if that is a Kiwi stat or a global stat].
{Thursday morning stats for second life: There are over 8.5 million people registered with second life. Over US$1.3million was spent during the last 24 hours in the second life virtual world. There are at least 4 Universities who have a presence with virtual class rooms in second life - Wellington Uni being one of them}

It got me thinking... what presence do we as the church have in second life?
This certainly is a vast field of opportunity for those Christians who will be onto it enough!
Check out lifechurch's blog about their second life campus.
[Life church is a phenomenal church that is seriously savvy. Check them out, just click here.

Good on Lifechurch for blazing the way... but will we take up the opportunity?
Or will the internet be another wasted opportunity like TV was when it first came out (Christians were offered free channels, but declined as television was evil and from the devil!)

I look forward to your comments!

PS: If you want to find out more about second life then follow this link.

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

So what did you think of part 1? Are you dancing with comfort? Have you embraced it?

Have you noticed how often we struggle when we are faced with challenging times our first response is, "How could you do this to me?" or the ever popular, "Why is this happening to me?"
We kick and buck, we complain and lash out at God when we are not experiencing blessing...
but did you know that our promise was not comfort!

Jesus told us to expect something quite different:
Joh 16:33 MSG (33) I've told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I've conquered the world."
We are promised difficulties... hardships... challenges in this world. Jesus had to face them and so will we!
Mat 10:24 MSG (24) "A student doesn't get a better desk than her teacher. A laborer doesn't make more money than his boss.

The secret to having peace is surrendering your life to God and His will (not your plans for comfort). In fact we must die to our lust for comfort:
Mat 10:34-39 MSG (34) "Don't think I've come to make life cozy. I've come to cut-- (35) make a sharp knife-cut between son and father, daughter and mother, bride and mother-in-law--cut through these cozy domestic arrangements and free you for God. (36) Well-meaning family members can be your worst enemies. (37) If you prefer father or mother over me, you don't deserve me. If you prefer son or daughter over me, you don't deserve me. (38) "If you don't go all the way with me, through thick and thin, you don't deserve me. (39) If your first concern is to look after yourself, you'll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you'll find both yourself and me.

Peace is found in accepting God's will... whatever that may be.
Peace is found in the revelation that God's will is the best place for me.
Peace is found in the daily surrender.
From this peace springs true joy.

I look forward to your comments : )

I Want To Give You Peace - Part 1

Today, we are willing to go to almost any length to get comfort.
But often, the cost of our comfort is way higher than we ever bargained for.

We prefer to live an easy life and so we settle into mediocrity and take the long slow meaningless road through life... so void of meaning and adventure that is slowly suffocates the life out of us.

We prefer to rest in the comfort of avoidance and live a lie rather than face people with the honest truth.

We prefer to have our house with a white picket fence, 2.5 kids, 2 family cars and a batch... rather than join the adventure of sowing financially into God's Kingdom... investing in people.

We prefer our cheaper goods made by slave labor rather than pay an extra $10 for a product made by free workers.

Comfort is killing us of our soul.
How is your romance with comfort?

Saturday, 4 August 2007

The Marks Of A Righteous Man:

No, I ain't talking about tats... but check out these markings:

· He gives generously (Ps 73:21) An evil person borrows and never pays back; a good person is generous and never stops giving.

· He praises God generously (Ps 66:1-3) Tell everyone on this earth to shout praises to God! Sing about his glorious name. Honor him with praises. Say to God, "Everything you do is fearsome, and your mighty power makes your enemies come crawling.

· He leaves a blessed memory (Prov 10:7) Good people are remembered long after they are gone, but the wicked are soon forgotten.

· He speaks wisdom and builds up people generously (Prov 10:20-21) The words of a good person are like pure silver, but the thoughts of an evil person are almost worthless. Many are helped by useful instruction, but fools are killed by their own stupidity

· He receives his due on earth as well as in heaven (Prov 11:31) If good people are rewarded here on this earth, all who are cruel and mean will surely be punished.

Friday, 3 August 2007

God Speaks To Me In The Movies (Part 1 - Amazing Grace)

What struck me in this movie is that if we are to change our worlds... it aint gonna happen overnight.
Its going to take passion, a great team around you, devoted friends and persistence that makes the bull dogs grip look like child's play!

In the movie Wilberforce was so close to giving up on his life mission after 15 years of 'failure' (although those 15 years was creating a sweeping movement and thought across the British empire). Without the encouragement of his wife and his closest friend the Prime Minister, Wilberforce would have sold out on his mission.

  • What is your mission in life?
  • Who have you surrounded yourself with? Are they supporters and lifters of your mission?
  • Do you have devoted friends who will challenge you when you give up?
  • What is your persistence quotient? How easily do you give up?

What lessons did God speak to you about in the movie?

I look forward to your comments : )