Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Maybe He is Right? What if?

His words to me, not exact, but this is what I heard, "Get a Job and still do what God is calling you to do in creating a Disciple-making Movement and prove your commitment to it." Those words haunt me. Am I committed without being bi-vocational? Or is the bi-vocational thing a real test of my metal and faith and determination?

Here's what I will do. Before I will let the vision of creating a new wineskin of ministry die for lack of funding "wherever" in my fundraising efforts, or at the denominational level, or with each planter, I will step aside and free up resources to fund the movement. What will I do? Whatever I can to provide for my wife Michelle, and I will trust God for the rest, the most important part will be God's part. These are my thoughts, that's all. You are hearing what I have been thinking since hearing from ?. His thoughts are timely since we are where the rubber meets the road. We have several guys, they are called and ready.

We are at a critical pass, we have guys ready to move totally by faith, but they need resources to relocate their families, they need start up funding for housing and money to live on while searching for jobs. They are willing to be bi-vocational and will likely be just that. And they are willing to move by faith -all the way. It stirs my heart and breaks it at the same time.

Maybe He is right, what are your thoughts? Maybe the cost is greater than I expected!

Willingly A Fool for Christ,

Prayer Letter - June 1

Dear Faith Partners,

In the morning I am off to Portland, Oregon to attend the Northwest District
Conference and Healthy Church meetings. It's a quick trip and I'm due to be
back on Saturday night. Your prayers are always appreciated. A week ago I
got stuck in Chicago when United cancelled my flight to St. Louis. So it
never hurts to pray.

Michelle and I have both been to the doctor for relief for poison ivy.
Apparently we have it in our woods behind our house. When I was a kid I
used to roll in poison ivy but not here. All I have to do is have the wind
blow my way past those plants and I'm covered. I'm now on a mission to kill
that stuff before it kills me.

Good news today. I'd like to introduce you all to Pastor Todd and Yolanda
Bush and their children; Elijah, Levi and Joel. It was through God's grace
and providence that we got connected. Pastor Todd & Yolanda have 10 years
of Church planting experience. We recently sent them to the TeAmerica
Assessment Center in Wisconsin and they have received a full recommendation
for Church planting. We assess everyone because the assessment gives
indicators of the likelihood of success in Church Planting. This couple
graduated at the top of the class of those present for this assessment. We
and they are so excited.

Please pray for Pastor Todd Bush and his family. They have by faith sold
their home -trusting God to open doors for Kansas City and are now living
out of boxes in temporary housing in Kentucky. They will be in Kansas City
June 18 - 21 to look for housing and work. We have very little resources
and they are joining our team by faith with no guaranteed salary or
benefits. It is remarkable that they have this kind of faith and that God
sent them our way to make disciples who make disciples who give birth to

Please pray as we hurry to get Todd Bush credentialed in the Missionary
Church. Please pray for housing, and for a job and for further fundraising
efforts on his part for salary support. And last, if any of you would like
to jump start Pastor Todd's ministry you can do so by giving gifts large and
small. All I ask is that you pray and give as God speaks.

Any gifts for Pastor Todd and Yolanda's Church Planting ministry may be sent
Midwest District Missionary Church
Church Planting Kansas City
Rick Yaussi, Treasurer
P.O. Box 94
Bentley, Kansas 67016

Checks made payable to Midwest District -Missionary Church
Please put Todd Bush K.C. in memo

I have the itchies so I need to run before I drive you and myself crazy.
Please pray for this wonderful family as they prepare to move by faith in
early July. Be sure to pray that the Lord of the Harvest will send workers
and resources to the harvest fields of Kansas City and St. Louis.

I love you all,


Bob Carder
Mission District Leader
Missionary Church, Inc.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Both And (or is it) Either Or?

Whn it comes to ministry which is it? Some people think God should work within denominational structures while others insist that God only works in non-denominational settings. Some people see God only working in new structures while seeing the ineffectiveness of being in a structured organization in or outside of denominations.

Well, I've been thinking. Is it Either Or (or is it) Both And? Is it either denominational structures or is it Non Denominational Sturctures? Is it no structures and just free-wheeling? Or could it be Both And? Could it be that God is working in established denominational structures, non denominational structures and even in places with no formal structures?

Give me your thoughts on this. Are we not in this together? Does God choose to work with everyone who chooses to work with Him? While there are pros and cons to all organizational questions, the issue is really, does God do His thing - His way wherever and with whomever He chooses?

I have concluded that we are all instruments in God's hands. I think I know what is better, but in the end, God will reveal the success and failures of all systems who are or are not reaching and discipling people for Christ. I am for Both And when it comes to ministry.

Whatever happened that resulted in beleivers and pastors thinking that they have the market on the best way or only way to do ministry? We should celebrate God working wherever God is working.

Just because I want to see a new winskin ministry for America doesn't mean God is not working in other wineskins and places and vica-versa. Since we are losing ground for Christianity in America I do believe we need a new wineskin for making disciples who make disciples. On the other hand let's try to make disciples who make disciples wherever the Gospel is shared in old wineskins and in new.

Does anyone want to go on record here? Is it Both And (or is it) Either Or?

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Programs or Passion>

Which is it in your Church, Programs or Passion?

In most Churches in America the answer is sadly- Programs.

If we are to launch a disciple-making Church multiplication movement in America we will need to facilitate a major reformation in the Church that reprioritizes around the theological and practical supremeacy of the Great Commission.

The Supremacy of the Great Commission demands that we give it our attention, obedience, and resolve.

It is not another program, method, strategy, formula or idea to ad to our already programmed filled ministries. It is (Should Be) your ministry and mine!

It is the supreme, defining, authoritative and specific mission to which we have been called by the Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, we must know it, understand it, own it, and do it. Anything less is to dishonor the One who gave it.

The Great Commission is one verb and three particibles. "Making Disciples" is the verb and it tells us what to do. Three particles are "Go", "Baptize", and "Teach" tell us how to do it. So we make disciples by Going or Bringing People To Jesus, and Baptizing - By bringing people into the Church and by teaching or bringing them into Mmaturity by discipling them.

Is your ministry Program or Passion oriented? Programs almost always result in status quo. But engaging the Supremacy of the Holy Spirit is where Passion grows.

Programs or Passion, which is it in your life and your Church? Before you answer think about those whose lives are being transformed by your witness and or your Church ministry.

Love you,

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

If You See the movie -"The Da Vinci Code"

If you see the movie will you please post your comments here for all to read? I have not yet seen the movie, I will see it though. Presently I am reading an excellent resource for those seeing or not seeing the movie. It will help everyone address the talking points that will follow the film.

This resource is a quick easy read and written in the form of a novel. You will see what is true and what is fiction in the movie. We know that Dan Brown wrote the book and the film is based on his book and the book and film are fiction with some facts -so I guess it is faction. Anyway, Josh McDowell helps us sort fiction from fact in the film.

Give your responses ASAP, please!

RESOURCE: "The DaVinci Code -A Quest for Answers" by Josh McDowell (100 or so pages)

My Team, Our Team, God's Team

Who's team is it anyway? Is it "my" team, "our" team or is it really "God's" Team? When I was pastoring I at times would refer to the Church I pastored as "my" Church. How wrong could I be? It is clearly God's Church not "my" Church.

As we work together to impact the close to 5 million people living in Kansas City and St. Louis you will hear me referring to "the team" and I may even call it "my" Team. Anyway "the Team" is God's Team and it will consist of a large group of people across denominational lines and outside of denominational lines, in established Churches and in ministries that may not look like the Church, consisting of people who are willing to take responsibility for making sure all 5 million people have the opportunity to receive or reject Jesus Christ as Savior.

In my blogsite and in my prayers letters I will celebrate with praise to God anything I can that will bring glory to God. I will celebrate happenings in the Missionary Church and outside the Missionary Church. I will celebrate disciple-making everywhere it is happening. We will make disciples in the Missionary Church and we will make disciples outside the Missionary Church. Knowing that God ultimately plants Churches -we will serve with God in planting Churches in the Missionary Church and outside the Missionary Church. Some of the Churches will look like Churches as we know them and others will be vastly different -in a new wineskin and because it will be new, I cannot tell you what it will look like -only God knows. Some will ultimately carry our denominational label while others will not. We are making disciples. We are building the kingdom under any name or label we can.

In my recent prayer letter I referred to "our first" team that just started their second home group. While they are not yet under the Missionary umbrella they are on "my" team or I am on "their" team or really we are on "God's Team". I care not what label they will end up carrying if any, what really matters is that they are making disciples who make dsiciples who make disciples. Isn't this good stuff?

Please pray for me as I navigate through the unchartered waters of building a coalition or a "team" of men and women who are willing to make it our responsibility for giving every person in Kansas City and St. Louis the opportunity to receive or reject Jesus Christ.

As we take this posture of caring more about the kingdom than we care about the Missionary Church - I believe souls will be reached, unity will be established, and I'm certain God will also bless and strengthen The Missionary Church.

We are desperate to redeem a lost world for Christ as Christ works through us. There is no time for barriers and boundaries and labels that divide. These days call for unity and serving together across denominational lines for the sake of lost people.

Are you on the team, "My" Team, "Your" Team, "God's Team"? All three are His!

Keep Praying,

Monday, May 22, 2006

Exciting News

Dear Faith Partners,

This week I am in Portland for the first part of the week and then in Indiana the remaining part of the week. I'm in Portland because I love God's Church and I am striving to make a difference by helping Churches become healthy disciple-making movements. I'm in Portland because later today I will meet with four Pastors for the purpose of personal support, personal development, and helping them lead healthy reproducing disciple-making Churches. Later this week I will be meeting with Faith Partners and doing some fundraising efforts in Indiana. Please pray.

Last week was very fruitful. The Bush family is planning on moving to north Kansas City in or around June. Here is a family that is willing to move their family from Kentucky to begin a disciple-making movement where Jesus transforms lives. They sold their house and are moving totally by faith that God will meet their financial needs. We have another guy who is also moving by faith to Kansas City later this summer -He is serving a Church so I will withhold his name until everyone is notified. This leader is moving by faith and will be bi-vocational. We are working with others who are praying about a relationship with us. Either way, we will connect with anyone who shares a passion to reach and disciple lost people, in or our of the Church as we know it today.

Another development: Last week I was in Kansas City and I met with Chris Pinion, pastor in K.C. with the Missouri Baptists. We found a common vision and heart passion to see lives transformed and disciple-making movements begun. He and I agreed to take responsibility for the 2 million people in Kansas City -taking responsibility for giving all 2 million people an opportunity to receive or reject Jesus Christ. This means we need a huge miracle from God and also we need to network spiritual leaders who care about the lost to join hands and hearts with us across denominational lines to reach the city for Christ. Pastor Chris is highly connected to leaders in the right places both in Kansas City and St. Louis. One of the vehicles we will use to bring leaders together will be through Vision USA. Vision USA is an organization the Missionary Church has partnered with, an organization that raises millions of dollars for Church Planting as well as uniting leaders around the cause of Church Planting. We have informally invited Vision USA to Kansas City and St. Louis and plan to have our kick off meetings in the fall in both cities as soon as we can get the VisionUSA team scheduled. We envision hundreds of leaders (business leaders and Pastors) working together to take responsibility for reaching the lost in these cities.

Can you believe it. By the end of the summer we pray to have three team/leaders in place in Kansas City and we will have leadership patners in place across denominational lines who care about creating a disciple-making movement for Christ in both Kansas City and St. Louis. I am in awe at how God is working His miracle power. We said early on that if we are to see lives transformed and Churches planted, it would take all of God, and if God doesn't show up it will not happen. Guess what? God is showing up and He is honoring all the faith of your prayers and blessing all the dollars you give toward this ministry.

Please keep praying for our protection, wisdom and fundraising and recruiting efforts. Please pray for the Lord of the Harvest to send forth leaders and resources to these harvest fields.

Your Missionaries to Kansas City & St. Louis,

Bob & Michelle Carder (click on the link and read on)

Bob Carder
Mission District Leader
Missionary Church, Inc.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Here's What Bill from Georgia writes;

Movements & Monuments

It all started for me in the summer of 1997. I was working for a newspaper in downtown Jackson, TN when the prominent downtown church packed up and moved out of the downtown area to relocate outside of the city, far away from people and places that most needed the Kingdom of God living and breathing in their neighborhood. I'll never forget the procession that they had planned for their final day in the old building. After services on that Sunday everyone piled into their cars to form a parade toward their new building. Traffic came to a halt for about 7 miles as a parade of about 1000 Lexus' & BMW's & SUV's made their pilgrimage.

Very soon after this I felt God defining my ministerial calling to that of a church planter who would intentionally bring the Kingdom into the forgotten places and to the hearts and minds of the forgotten people. I remember driving around downtown Jackson looking for empty store fronts that I could rent and open up to the hookers and dealers and gang-bangers and homeless as a place where they could experience the love and restoration that is found in Christ and in community with those who know him.

This began my church-planting ministry which didn’t come to fruition in Jackson, but did very soon after emerge in Columbus, GA and later in Carbondale, IL. As I’ve spent the past 10 months or so in Augusta, GA listening for God’s direction for the next chapter of our ministry, I’ve begun to notice a re-kindling of that frustration I felt in Jackson, TN as I live among a quarter-million or so people. That frustration is once again a shaping force in the church we are about to begin forming here. A church that will be for the unchurched. A church in which the churched see themselves as missionaries to the city rather than privileged card-carrying members of the club.

I just don’t get it sometimes…often times. All around me, almost everywhere I look I see churches filled with Christians who have drawn away from the world around them, tucked themselves away in an insulated, out-of-sight cocoon where they don’t have to actually interact with anyone who is not a Christian, to gorge themselves (they call it “being fed”) on teaching, polish their monuments, perfect their personal preferential styles, and never give a second thought to the hopelessness, fear, death, and destruction that is going on right outside their closed door.

Christ has called us to be the makers of movements, yet we occupy ourselves with the making of monuments. A monument can be a building, a pulpit, an organ, a pew, a musical style, a baptismal font (remind me to tell you my absurd baptismal font story sometime), or a multi-million dollar "prayer tower" like one that currently defiles the skyline in Columbus, GA, or anything else that we erect and revere (all for the Glory of God of course!) I was recently reading through the Book of Discipline for my particular denomination and came across all of the liturgies that are written for the purpose of “dedicating” buildings and instruments and furniture and thought to myself, “How silly.” Of course we need to remember that everything placed in our hands by God is meant to be used for His purposes. But when all of this ceremony is carried out by a church that has isolated itself from the people who need Christ most…the whole thing smells of hypocrisy. It’s like saying to God, “We dedicate all of our furniture and instruments to you…but we have no intention of using them for the purpose that matters most to you; seeking and saving those who are lost.”

I’m reminded of the time Peter, James, & John stood with Jesus on the mountain and experienced with him a visitation of Moses & Elijah and a voice booming from Heaven. Peter’s first thought was, “Lord, we have to build a monument to memorialize this holy moment (my paraphrase)!” Jesus, on the other hand, had other plans…to get off the mountain, get back to the "sinners;" the hookers & thieves, and continue getting the movement underway.

A movement begins small; with one person, then three, then twelve, then one hundred twenty, then a few thousand and it continues “moving,” refusing to turn inward, refusing to be distracted by the building of monuments, until everyone who can be touched by the movement is reached. The church Jesus inaugurated is a movement than began with him and twelve others, swept the world, and continues today. It is a movement intended to put followers of Christ face-to-face with hurting people who are far from God so that we can be agents of reconciliation, love, and restoration from God to those people.

I’m amazed at how many Christians do not have one single friend who is not a Christian. I’m amazed at how many churches go for weeks, months, even years without a single non-Christian present in their gatherings - yet exuberantly celebrate and proclaim success in the mission when a Christian transfers in from another church. I’m amazed at how many churches intentionally design everything they do around their own personal preferences rather than designing everything they do around whatever will be most effective in seeking out non-Christians and creating environments where they can experience the life-changing power of Christ. A guy named Paul once said, “I have become all things to all people so that by any means I may reach some.” He got it! His preferences, his agendas, his comfort were all rubbish if they got in the way of introducing one lost person to Christ.

If we stop coming face-to-face in relationships with people who are far from God, the movement stops. God’s anointing lifts and moves elsewhere because we are no longer engaged in what He is engaged in. Churches shrink and die. And we all sit around wondering what went wrong. Did we need a better band? Did we need small groups perhaps? Was the teaching not good enough? Did we need more money? No, it’s simple. What went wrong is that we left the movement, took the off-ramp, found a quiet shady spot, spread out our blanket where nobody would bother us, and spent our time feeding ourselves.

The Planter said: All on all I say "Amen" for a well written and true Article. Maybe is someone says it-you will be able to better understand why I am so passionate with becoming a movement again. Will and can the American Church make the shift it must begin making? The time is ripe and there is no room for a status quo - non effective Church that cares little about the harvest. You can read more of this caliber of writing by visiting:

Friday, May 19, 2006

I Just Witnessed Real Ministry in America...

Would you believe, I went to Kansas City and met with a leader of another Chruch in another denomination and we decided we will work together to take responsibility for the nearly 2 million people in Kansas City metro. We agreed that it will be our responsibilty to see that every person in Kansas City has the opportunity to accept or reject Jesus Christ as personal Savior.

I loved spending time with Chris Pinion, a leader of leaders. I also admired and appreciated the fact that His church doesn't look like a Church or even act like a Church. Instead of meeting on Sunday's for themselves -they are mobilized everyday in the community and people are coming to Christ, saved from addictions, saved out of abusive relationships, saved from a life a sin and bondage. People are coming to Christ. When someone is sick in the hospital the small group that person is in -goes to the hospital. The Church is different, the people (the congregation) meets the needs of each other. The Pastor is a prophetic voice of Truth and people hear the Truth when He speaks to them in a sermon, at a restaurant or in their homes. How refreshing! The Church is not like the Church but yet they are a Church -a real New Testament example of what it means to make disciples who make disciples and actually be the Church in the world - a world hungry for Truth and God.

This NT Church clearly knows that the Church is made up of believers but it is not just for them. They know they exist to impact lives for eternity, they know that Jesus is coming back and that souls are hungry, bruised and battered and lost eternally without Jesus. They live as if today could be their last day. Whew, how refreshing to find a Church that doesn't look like the Church but is the Church very much like that described in the book of Acts.

The Pastor told me..."I tell my people that if they have to choose going to a Sunday worship service or go to their small group -They must go to their small group." This pastor believes that it's in the small group where community is built and real service begins. It's not about the service on Sunday -it's the service every day that counts.

I witnessed NT Church happening in America and it stirred my heart. And, further this pastor and I share the passion to do ministry the Jesus way-a way that is in direct contradiction to doing Church the American way (pew sitting, self serving, Sunday going etc, little Great Commission priority.) Why in the world would we place value on the Great Commission anyway? I know why?

This new friend and I are in different denominations but we are brothers and we have agreed to work together and get other leaders to agree to work together and get other leaders to work together so that together we can take ownership for reaching the 2 million people in Kansas City metro. We cannot reach them alone, but with Jesus and others who share our passion and fervour -everyone can have the opportunity to accept or reject Jesus!

I think some of the people in the Bible would like this post. Do you?

What if I challenge your thinking, What if?

What would happen if I challenge your thinking, or if I am overly zealous at communicating clear Biblical truth and it challenges you or causes you to feel angry or even get defensive? Should I instead soften my position or present it with a sugar coating to help you see the Truth I wish for you to see?

I think not! I am confronting with boldness the Americanized version of Christianity because somehow we think in America we have it right and we are doing Church right. What would Jesus say? Would He in His attempts to communicate bold truth -turn around and sugar coat the cleansing of the temple? Would Jesus be satisfied with our taking His death and sacrifice so lightly- by not using it to reach others?

I now find myself making people uncomfortable in a cause to do "Christianity" Jesus' way and not man's way. This is making people angry, I may even lose support over it, I may even be labeled a heretic over it. But you know what? I am doing it Jesus' way and I refuse to do it man's way ever again. Overly zealous - not unlike Jesus or Paul!

If we are not winning and discipling the lost we not in God's will -period. There is value in the supremacy of the Great Commission. Jesus gave it for all -even the already reached are suppose to take the Gospel -share it and disciple those who receive it or the Savior.

Do I sound harsh -yes! It needs to be harsh because sugar coating it doesn't work and there must be a prophetic voice in America to share her up. Am I a prophet -No! Am I communicating in a prophetic voice -only God knows if He is using me to speak truth even if it brings disaster in my life. I just know we are losing ground with our man made approaches in ministry and we are failing. When will we wake up and see it?

One more thing, if I am speaking the Truth and what if God is working through me to communicate Truth the way He wants me to communicate Truth and you decide I'm too harsh or not loving enough in my position and then you walk away from the Truth. What happens then?

Perhaps it is time to do "Christianity" the Jesus way and not our own.

I also know I am not being a stumbling block to anyone. To be a stumbling block one needs to keep people from finding Jesus! Actually some believers are stumbling blocks and maybe even some churches are stumbling blocks. To be a stumbling block you must keep people from finding Jesus. Are people finding Jesus where you live and worship?

Timely thoughts for those stuck in ruts...

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Did you ever stop to think...

Did you ever stop to think that some people have actually done good things for the God while also hindering the spread of Christianity in America. Oh, we can drop alott of names and we can tell each other what those recognizable names (people) have said in their pulpits or on their radio or television broadcasts. But have you ever thought about the damage they may have done or are doing to turn people away from Christ?

I do think we have it wrong. We focus on a few things that we must not do so that we are never stumblings blocks to them. Did you ever stop to think that the content of "Not being a stumbling block" may have everything to do with hindering them from becoming a Christ follower? Some of the things we choose as markers of holiness and godliness are actually hindrances.

Could we be hindering people from becoming Christ followers by our pride, arrogance, judgemental spirit's, among others things?

While we attempt to look pure we may be hindering the spread of the Gospel by our own arragance, pride and judgement of others. Could you sit with a professed gay or lesbian and love them because Jesus loves them?

Could we be hindering the spread of the Gospel by our response to the world? I know I have failed in this in the past. I refuse to let it control and determine my future. I choose to love, accept and forgive because that is what Jesus would do.

So sinners are welcome in my life because I am the chief sinner of all. You will find my welcome sign out and ready for company. Even you are welcome because you are like me and we are like each other and we also share the struggles of the unreached more than we like to admit.


Everyday I take a walk and I meet a new neighbor or I speak to a neighbor I have already met. These are the days of seclusion. We pull into our garages and hide out in our fenced in yards.

Now is the time to meet my neighbors and build relationships with them. In time I will be able because of relationships to share Jesus with them.

Everyday I take deliberate steps to build relationships with my neiborhood.

This is what Jesus has taught me to do. The interesting thing is that everywhere I go and stop to talk, people are always receptive, no matter what they are doing.

Everyday, I do something relationally with someone and I know in time the investment of time and relationships will pay big dividends for the harvest.

Everyday, I meet someone and I befriend them.

Isn't this what Jesus teaches us to do? Will someone give me their thoughts? Or would you rather use all you energy up -going to Church and being satisfied? While thousands sit in a pew on Sunday mornings and go home feeling good about their accomplishments and service - millions in our our world are still without Christ.

It's not about Sunday ---It's about Jesus. When did you last take a walk in your neighborhood? The weather is pretty nice and people are out. Will you join me in meeting our neighbors?

Monday, May 15, 2006

Why I'm going to see the movie, "The Da Vinci Code"

I'm going to buy a ticket and I'm going in to see "The Da Vinci Code" and do you want to know why?

First, it is time for believers to engage culture and this movie gives us an opportunity to be informed and to answer the questions that are raised. My old friend Harold spoke to this issue in a recent message. I liked some of what he said, and I didn't like some of what he said. And the parts I didn't like were not Scriptural issues, really. I like the point he made that this upcoming movie based on the writings of Dan Brown, is fictional with enough truth to make it dangerous. He called the book Factional -some fact and alott of fiction. I read the book from cover to cover in a couple of days. I was glued to her pages and was challenged in my faith and my search for truth. The thing I didn't appreciate from Harold was his challenge for believers to stay home and not waste their money on the movie.

Why is it that when our faith is challenged or when Jesus is portrayed in bad light we run and hide and boycott? This is an opportunity for us to engage in talking points with our culture. So I encourage every believer to see the movie and read the book and be challenged. You will be shaken but you need to be shaken. Then read and re-read the Scriptures and then address the lies this book & movie present us. As this movie is talked about -let's engage our culture with the Truth of Scripture. We will never be prepared with Scriptural answers if we hide our heads in the sand.

When you do go to see the movie wait until the second week to see it. We don't really want to help the opening ratings. Someone suggested seeing another movie on opening day to boost someone elses open instead.

As believers we need to mingle with the unreached and meet them where they are. There are believers who do not mingle or associate with unbelievers because they think to do so is to be unequally yoked. Such nonsense in misunderstanding of Scriture is costly to the kingdom.

My neighbors and I are going to have a great time discussing "The Da Vinci Code", the movie and book. I'm getting prepared and informed and ready to Engage My Culture. How about you?

Finally - Someone Is Making Sense related to "The Da Vinci Code" And the upcoming movie

'Engaging' Heresy
Contrary to precedent, few plan to boycott The Da Vinci Code.
by Peter T. Chattaway | posted 05/12/2006 09:30 a.m.

• Related articles and links

Twenty years ago, Christian protesters compelled Paramount to abandon Martin Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ. When Universal produced the movie a few years later, Bill Bright offered the studio $10 million to buy the movie and destroy it.

But today, many churches are taking a different approach to a controversial film. Leading up to The Da Vinci Code-Ron Howard's film adaptation of the Dan Brown bestseller-pastors and scholars are writing books, preparing sermon series, and creating websites devoted to "engaging" this pop-cultural phenomenon.

Michael Licona, director of apologetics and interfaith evangelism for the Southern Baptist Convention's North American Mission Board, created a 65-minute video lecture to foster discussion about some of the book's claims. He remembers telling people to avoid The Last Temptation.

"I think we made a mistake back then," he says. "I think we communicated that we're not interested in having critical discussions-that if you mention Jesus in a negative way, we're just going to pick up our ball and go home.

"If you look at Acts 17, Paul was familiar with the secular poets, because he quoted them. When he spoke to the philosophers at Athens, he never quoted the Scriptures; he quoted their own poets. And if we're going to relate to nonbelievers as Christians, we need to be familiar with what's coming out, movies and books."

In addition to the many Da Vinci Code-related books filling Christian bookstores, several resources have sprung up online. More than 40 commentators representing Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox churches have written critical essays for, a website sponsored by Sony Pictures Entertainment, the studio behind The Da Vinci Code.

However, some observers take a dim view of the opportunities for "dialogue" created by the book and upcoming movie. Barbara Nicolosi, executive director of the Act One screenwriting program in Los Angeles, says Christians have become so concerned with appearing "hip" and not being rejected by the secular world that they have allowed themselves to be co-opted by the corporate forces behind the movie.

"Is slander an opportunity for dialogue?" she asks. "Everything is an opportunity for dialogue, but the question is, are we framing the dialogue? And the answer is no, and anybody who thinks otherwise is kidding themselves. The dialogue is completely being framed by Sony Pictures and Dan Brown."

Nicolosi says Christians who believe they need to see the film should wait until at least the second weekend.

"All Hollywood listens to is the box office," Nicolosi said, "and if Christians don't see this movie, it tanks."

Darrell Bock, a professor of New Testament studies at Dallas Theological Seminary and a contributor to, says he would have advised people not to see The Da Vinci Code if the public had not "embraced" the book's ideas to such a large degree.

"I have a very strong feeling that we should go read the book or borrow the book from someone to read it," he says. "If we're going to engage the culture and interact with a point of view, we need to read the point of view that we are interacting with. It undermines our credibility to say that we have never read the point of view or seen it."

Brian McLaren speaks to the Church

Underneath the Cosmetics
Before asking how church should look, let's make sure we're clear what the church is for.
by Brian McLaren

I'm often asked by pastors, as I was recently, "Should our church adopt a more emergent approach?" Often the assumption is that adding certain forms (candles, incense, a particular style of music) will make a church "emergent." But I want to reply: "What would it profit to gain the cosmetics of an emerging church and lose the deeper opportunity?"

As churches seek reinvigoration, many are finding inspiration from emerging/missional approaches (the plural is important). But many focus on the forms and miss the foundational issues. The deeper opportunity is more than rethinking how church should "look" or be "done." It's the chance to ask what the church is for.

Most of us have our "theologically correct" answer. The church's purpose is worship, or evangelism, or making disciples, or some combination. But deeper than our conscious answers are our unspoken, unexamined, perhaps even unconscious beliefs—four of which are especially powerful these days:

The church exists to …

1. Provide a civil religion for the state

2. Preserve and promote certain social values

3. Provide a living for religious professionals

4. Promote the satisfaction of its members.

It is on this deeper level that the emerging/missional conversation has, in my opinion, the most to offer.

The civil religion approach in America speaks much of America as a Christian nation, or at least one with "Judeo-Christian roots." It frequently speaks of "going back" to days that were supposedly better.

But this approach fails to realize how compromised those supposedly Christian roots are—by slavery and racism, for example. What Native American would like to go back to the nineteenth century? What African American would like to go back to the 1950's? Dr. King used to say that the church must be neither the master of the state nor its servant, but rather its conscience.

If we seek to reinvigorate our churches but fail to be a prophetic voice in our nation, we miss an important opportunity. Or, put another way, if in ten years more of our churches are thriving and growing—but racism is intact and no less entrenched, will we be satisfied?

Closely related to the civil religion approach is the "social values" approach. Nobody is against things like the health of the family, but what happens when the church lets someone else—a political party or a cultural patron—set its agenda? The emergent conversation is asking whether we can bring together the positive values held by both social and theological conservatives and liberals.

For example, conservatives have a lot to say about fighting divorce, but they've had less to say about caring for creation. Liberals have a lot to say about fighting poverty, but they haven't said much about fighting the sexualization of our pre-adolescent children. A convergent conversation would stop looking for patrons on either the left or right to set the agenda, and would instead seek to combine strengths while challenging the conscience of both.

Nobody would ever say—overtly—that the purpose of the church is to provide employment for religious professionals, but we would be naïve to think that this assumption isn't hiding within us and our institutions. Colleges and universities can subtly come to think of themselves as existing for faculty and administration, not students or the world to be served by those students. And religious professionals can certainly drift into this unintended self-absorption, especially during hard times when self-preservation is threatened.

Likewise, few would say the church exists for the benefit of its members alone. No pastor I know would claim the title "purveyor of religious goods and services to a discriminating spiritual clientele." But pastors know what happens when they ask members to sacrifice personal tastes or preferences for the sake of mission. (Often they become ex-pastors!)

The emerging church is raising these deeper questions and proposing that the church exists to be a catalyst for the kingdom of God as a transforming force in the world. This doesn't minimize worship, evangelism, or making disciples; it puts those elements within their grand purpose.

Not everyone is interested in this exploration. But just about everyone would agree it's more substantial than candles and cosmetics.

Someone Said I Was Getting Predictable

Can you believe someone would tell me of all people, such a thing. Who me, predictable?

When looking for a pastor or a church planter what are we looking for? Do we ask the right questions? Are we interested in how they preach, look, how large of a church they can handle, how well they take care of the people they have in their flock, leadership or managerial strengths?

Wrong questions? While somewhat important I think so. The real question lies in the passion of their heart. What makes them burn with passion for God and for His purposes for our lives. When they preach or speak do they preach with an outward focus toward the purposes of God or do they speak to the already reached. Sometimes when they speak to the already reached and their needs -it could be an indication of what is to come. Is he focussed on pleasing mankind or God and the fulfillment of His purposes for us? Did he tell you about a recent soul he won to Jesus? Did the Great Commission ever come up?

The other day I was following up on a lead. I was asking some probing questions. What have you done recently to fulfill God's purposes by way of the kingdom? His answer was something I have heard over and over again. When we get a building, or when I get this or that, our home is too small to have people over-so when we get a bigger home, when I become full time in the ministry -then I will be able to reach the people.

I'm not interested in those who are waiting to expand the kingdom. We are looking for people who demonstrate passion for the kingdom and are already doing it. They have the passion of God in their hearts and they are moving with an outward focus to fulfill God's mandate and to expand the kingdom.

Sure the already reached are important. The question is, are they expanding the kingdom or are they hindering the expansion of the kingdom. Sometimes they are hindering the kingdom and you can certainly tell me a hundred ways the Church in America is hindering God's work. What you may not include in your list is how self-centered and self serving we the already reach can be. When it revolves around our needs and wants it cannot revolve around Jesus and His desires for the Church.

When are questions are self-serving -they are the wrong questions.

Why would anyone want or hire a Church planter or even a pastor who doesn't have a proven track record of personally leading people to Jesus with up to date stories to tell? Sadly, Churches across America hire without ever asking the right questions.

Predictable, not me.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

My Newest Collectibles

Harry Ramsay has prayed for me daily for about 8 years. When I was his pastor he prayed during the services behind the platform on the steps many Sunday's. In fact when the service was over, he often had a carpet impression on his forehead from praying with his head to the floor. Anyway, Harry found these keepsakes and gave them to me last weekend. I will cherish these wonderful items from Harry.

Prayer Letter - May 11, 2006

Dear Faith Partners,

Thanks again for being willing to lift us up before the Lord as often as you can. We sure feel the prayers and we are seeing things come together as God moves our hearts and the hearts of the unreached people in the metro cities of America. we are praying for God to send us workers and He is doing just that. (Workers = those who pray and give, those who come and serve).

Michelle and I just returned from Bedford, Indiana where we began the process of sharing the vision for our work with our wonderful friends there. I said began the process because we have so many friends it will take several more visits to reconnect with them. We met with a great group of friends, we shared in large and smaller settings. We were invited to dinner on several occasions with Harry & Avis Ramsey, Joanne Adams, and Jean Medley where we ate to our full of wonderful southern, Indiana cooking and baking. I just finished my last piece of German chocolate cake baked by Carol Lewis. I think I must have gained about 10 pounds on that weekend.

We went to check out of the hotel and our entire bill (a large bill for the whole weekend) including the large supper meeting we held for our friends was paid in full by an anonymous friend (s). Who would have thought that God would speak to someone or some people who heard God speak and then obeyed and a very large bill was paid in full. Praise God for the one or ones who gave us this special blessing. I am blessed to tears. Thank you God and Anonymous friend(s).

Let me take this moment to welcome new Faith Prayer and Financial Partners from the Bedford, Indiana area. As all of you from many states pray, please pray God's blessing over our new partners in ministry. Please pray with me for God's protection and blessing upon each one.

Please pray that God will give us more Faith Prayer and Financial Partners. While we need large financial gifts -we strongly value the smaller gifts given each and every month with sacrifice and love. It takes the large and small gifts to help us raise the remaining half of our needed support. Please pray for God to send lost people into our lives so that we can share Jesus and continue the discipleship process. We will lead people to Jesus and then disciple them to lead others to Jesus and teach them to lead and disciple others. Our new disciples will not just sit in a church service they will live in service everyday to the King.

One final praise to God. We just got word that a Disciple making couple has joined our Kansas City Discipleship network. This couple has a small group filled with unsaved people. People ask Pastor Jim where he pastors and he tells them He doesn't pastor a Church but then invites them to his home where they study God's Word together. People are accepting their offer. This group has grown so large they now have to start another group in another part of town. People are finding Jesus and being Discipled to make other Disciples.

God is using you through this ministry and your prayers and gifts are making a difference. We have only begun to see the magnitude of life transformation that will occur in the days ahead.

We are honored to be Your Missionaries to the large Metro regions of St. Louis and Kansas City.

Thanking God For Your Partnership,


Bob Carder
Mission District Leader
Missionary Church, Inc.
P.S. If you or anyone would like to partner financially the information is on my blogsite in the right hand corner under Giving.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Would It Make Any Difference?

Would it make any difference in your Church if Jesus never showed up? If you took Jesus and or the Holy Spirit out of the average or even out of your Church on Sunday morning would anything change? Is there any life transformation taking place in your Church? If your Church is operating in the flesh -nothing would change and the service would go on as usual because we can do a service without Him.

On the other hand, if your Church is living in the Spirit - the entire feel of the service will change and feel different and exciting with a sense of anticiplation. With the Spirit there is life transformation and miracles very often when you meet. With Jesus the worship experience is God focussed and life transformational. When you depart you know you had been with Jesus and not just another man made service.

If Jesus never showed up at your place on Sunday -would it really make any difference in how your worship service goes?

I still love you and that's why I ask the question? Are you doing it without Jesus - and are you doing ministry in the flesh? Or does everything depend on God showing up?

This is heavy but when grasped it can make all the difference on Sunday.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Isn't Discipleship A Process?

I wonder after 23 years of pastoral ministry experience and many observations about the Church in America if we really even have a clue about discipleship. I spoke with a pastor the other day, a pastor I met via the phone as we discussed ministry here in Kansas City and St. Louis. As we talked about new believers and the baggage they carry, I suggested that Discipleship is not a one time event and you're in line with other believers. Discipleship is a process is a process is a process. Do we draw a line in the sand and at an unbelievers first encounter with God tell him or her what he or she should look like. I do believe that at conversion a person must confess sin and admit sin and repent of sin. I do not believe we have a saint at conversion. I'm not really sure we ever become a saint in this fallen world. Anyway, that's an argument or discussion for another post.

What I do believe is this...If we take the time to disciple new believers one on one (is especially good) we will expose them to enough Word that the Holy Spirit will do the life transformation. I fear that we have assumed it our job to transform people into believers or the type of Christian we think they should be. What if, and I mean what if, we simply taught the Word of God in a personal way and led them to Jesus and then continued to teach the Word of God on a personal basis and then allowed the Holy Spirit to lead the transformation process? What if?

I have learned that transformation may not occur at a trip to the altar in a one time setting. Discipleship is a process and life transformation is not a once and for all and it's done and complete. And, it is the Holy Spirit's job to lead in the life transformation process and He'll even use our time with unreached people to begin that life transformation process.

With that being said, we should expect people dealing with heavy sinful issues to be in our homes and small groups studying the Word of God together with us without us being judgemental or critical at their lifestyles.

I may get in trouble for this one. So blog me to death or near death if you wish. I said BLOG and not FLOG!

Blessings until next time...

Monday, May 01, 2006

Prayer Letter - May 1, 2006

Dear Faith Partners,

After a few days of rain here in St. Louis the sun is peaking through at least for this morning, showers are expected for later today. This is one of my favorite times of the year. The only thing that would make it better would be a pile of morel mushrooms frying in the skillet. (Haven't found any this year.) :(

Here's what I am working on this week. I have decided to take responsibility for making sure the five million people living in the metro regions of St. Louis and Kansas City have the opportunity to accept or reject Jesus Christ. I also know that I cannot reach all these people by myself. I need others, so I am praying for and working towards building an inter-denominational team of people who will also make it their mission to take responsibility for reaching every lost person in each of these metro cities.

In the next two weeks I will be focusing on and meeting with leaders who share my passion for making disciples. Please pray that this network will grow or that I will connect with other networks already in place. Actually I have some strong contacts already in Kansas City that I am going to follow up on. The same is true of St. Louis.

This week I am also meeting with some friends and sharing the vision for St. Louis and Kansas City. Please pray for God to stir hearts with passion for the lost in this region.

As you pray for these things also pray that God will protect us from the enemy and that God will give us the wisdom we need to engage a movement in this region of America. Also, last but not least, please pray for my fund-raising attempts to be fruitful. I hover around half of where I need to be and the clock is ticking. Please pray that hearts will be stirred as presentations are made.

Again, be assured of my love and appreciation for each of you.



We Will Help Anyone...

That's right, we will help anyone reach lost people for Christ. It makes no difference if you are Missionary, Nazarene, Baptist, Evangelical Free, Catholic, or whoever. We will help anyone and everyone who seeks to reach and disciple lost people. We want to create a Disciple-making movement that reaches our cities for Christ. Can you imagine a Church that is the Church made up of many denominations and or movements that join together in making disiciples? Can you imagine all of us working together making disciples who make disciples who make disciples?

What if instead of primarily building our denomination we focussed on building the kingdom? Wouldn't everyone grow if we did that? And wouldn't it be right if we made disciples who made disciples even if they didn't connect with our own denomination?

Here's my deal. I will help anyone and everyone make disciples who will make disciples who will make disciples. To prove it I have decided to be responsible for pulling together a team of people from differing denominational perspectives for the purpose of working together to engage a movement that takes responsibility for the nearly 5 million people living in the metro regions of Kansas City and St. Louis.

I'm wondering if anyone else would want to do this in your city? Would some of you like to join this team here in St. Louis or over in Kansas City? Would you pray with me that God would send workers (who care about lost people) into this harvest field?

Would you share your thoughts with me?

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