Friday, August 31, 2007

Bono (of the band U2)

"If Jesus were on earth you would find him in a gay bar in San Francisco. He would be with the suffering from AIDS. These are the new lepers. If you want to find out where Jesus would be hanging out, it'll always be with the lepers."

Thursday, August 30, 2007

True or not?

From Edward E. Nigma to You (with love)

Okay, so post one we said we'd be honest. Post two we looked at statistics which reveal that less and less Americans are going to church. From 1990 to 2006 the percentage dropped from about 26% to somewhere between 18 and 20%. The number continues to decrease and it’s expected that in 2050 there will be 10% or less of Americans in church.

So today it all comes together. Ready? (You’re not. You really don’t want to read this.)

* Question: How many churches grew into the thousands between 1990 and 2006?
* Answer: Tons of them. (For instance, from 2000 to 2005 the number of churches with attendance over 5,000 doubled).

* Question: How many churches were started between 1990 and 2006?
* Answer: Tons of them. (Approximately 21,000)

So riddle me this: If, since 1990, hundreds of churches have blasted into the thousands (some into the tens of thousands), and over 20,000 new churches have been started (many of them growing into the thousands) … how is it possible that there are less people going to church now than in 1990 in every single county in the United States? And how is it possible that there are 8% less people going to church cumulatively? (If you do the math, the number of people in church is down since 1990 by over 8 million). Answer that one Batman!

Here’s what I think: Our churches aren’t reaching lost people. Or, as I said it on day one of this blog: “We absolutely suck at reaching people who are far from God. There are lots of things our churches do well, but if we’re being honest, leading lost people to Jesus is not one of them.” (I just quoted myself. How cool am I?)

Sure, some people who were going to church back in 1990 have stopped, and others have died, and some babies have been born since then who aren’t showing up on Sundays, but still … if we were bringing in people who weren’t going to church the numbers couldn’t look like this. Seriously – think about it - there are hundreds of thousands of people now attending churches they weren’t attending sixteen years ago (many in churches that didn’t even exist) and yet 8 million less people are in church.

Our churches are almost exclusively reaching people from other churches.

Want more proof? I’ll give you some next time, and then we’ll start thinking about how we might be able to turn the tide on this and really start helping people who are far from God find their way to Him.

Until then don’t let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya.

- Featured on

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


I'm not ever, I mean ever opposed to the Church -the family of God. Why would I hate something I am a part of, a world wide family of God.

I am pointing out a Great Commission deficiency in the Church Jesus Christ died for. I am pointing out a selfishness within each of us that often hinders the fulfillment of the Great Commission.

My greatest joy would be for the Church of which I am a part(around the world) to do what Jesus left us to do. Advance the kingdom by fulfilling the Great Commission of making disciples who make disciples who make disciples.

Am I clear on my confession?

My Mother-in-Law speaks

Dear Bob,

From my for what it is worth department:

I hope you know that we support ALL of your endeavors,
and you have always demonstrated wise thinking,
adaptation, responsibility to all, and many other
wonderful qualities. All your current inconveniences
are perplexing, but I feel that the things that I have
no control over are things for which I cannot feel
responsible. I hope you feel that as well.

Sometimes I think that your writings are very strong
about your previous life experiences. You did what
you were given to do at the time, and you meet many
needs. You raised the kids well in a good, safe, and
wholesome environment. Perhaps the church is not as
bad a place as you make it sound sometimes. It meets
the needs of many people and has served society well.
It is like education, the steel business, some
manufacturing and other things. The bigger the
corporation or organization the more impossible it is
to change. Education is moving toward home schooling,
private schools, etc because the public school is so
unweildy it cannot adapt. The steel business laid off
its people to retool from manual or computerization,
The manufacturing places put themselves out of
business and to other countries to meet the needs. So
it is with the church. However, some kids are still
learning, people adapted to new technology, yet some
of the old and the transitioning remains while life goes

As I see it, you are an innovator to modify the
churches, but meanwhile some continue on as needed for
many people and others push into the next area of
progress, transitioning, and adapting.

The following message seems to point to those who are
trying to change as being very negative to those who
remain in position to assist in the transition. The
one who is accusing the old is doing the same thing
and becomes the offensive. If that makes sense. My
thought for the day.

Hope to hear from you soon and that you are surviving
all of the decision making. I would be glad to help
or hinder if we were closer.

Other Mom

Neil Cole thots

"The church in the West, unfortunately, is usually in
a defensive posture. Christians are notorious for
being against another institution. If it is not
enough, we are often threatened by one another. Some
of us don't feel comfortable unless we are on the
defense, as if defensive a sin. We are so defensive
that it has become offensive."

The KEY!!!

I found the key I have been looking for. In a pure disciples making other disciples movement all of the members in the movement are always being discipled and held accountable by someone.

Pastor Terry, our first pastor here in St. Louis metro added this important piece to our foundation of disciple-making. The light came on bright in my mind. This is the starting point. And this is a starting line everyone can crawl up to.

It is wrong (I believe) to expect anyone to disciple others if they are not in a discipling relationship themselves. It's in the discipling relationship that one learns how to disciple others. It's in this discipling relationship that one finds the support and accountability they need as they disciple others.

And now as I write, the family of True Vine have all agreed to ask someone to disciple them and hold them accountable as they disciple others.

Now what would happen in the Church abroad if all members of the Christ family were in a discipling/accountability relationship while also making disciples themselves?

It's pretty easy and hard. The easy part is meeting with your discipler and taking time to meet with someone who needs to be discipled. The hard part is being held accountable by someone who asks you the hard questions we hope no one will ever ask.

Really, what do you think about this revelation?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

What about female pastors???

All I can say is this, from personal experience, women do not follow other women, they do however, follow men. That should tell us something.

Sorry ladies, the ladies do not follow you.

Do you really believe this? I just thought it was time to get some action here.

The church in America does allot of good.

Okay, I come across with a harshness toward the church in America. First, someone needs to. Maybe in doing do some church leaders will also join the band wagon and help push for change.

The church in America does allot of good. A Presbyterian Church in St. Louis made front page news the other day. The title of the article, not exact, "Churches come through when FEMA didn't. This group of servants made a difference in many homes needing upgrade repairs, cleaning and painting. Of course we need the church, a whole lot of people are touched and served. I'm never proposing that we give up the church, we need her. If the church in America disappeared from the face of the earth there would be a huge void. My motto: Better to have a broken church than no church at all.

While the church does a allot of good, it is missing out on doing the most good. The most good is unleashing the church to individually and intentionally build relationships that lead to friends with relationships leading friends to Jesus who also lead friends to Jesus.

Imagine the Sunday morning excitement when a believer friend bring his new believer friend to church and announces and introduces his new believer to the congregation. My friend George accepted Jesus Christ and I am discipling Him to know and pay the price in following Jesus so that He can quickly befriend another and lead him to Jesus and his friend befriend and lead his friend to Jesus and on and on down the line.

The church in America does allot of good. BUT, the church in America misses out on doing the Greatest Good. Do you want to do good or the Greatest Good!Actually you can do both, but neglecting the latter is leaving spots empty in heaven.

The message is changing...

I've been trying to process why my dad and I did not need one on one discipleship when we got saved. I came up with a thought. In our church we were taught every Sunday and Sunday night how to live for Jesus. What it means to be a Christ following disciple. We were taught the cost of following Jesus.

Today in many pulpits we are taught how to live. We use friendly language. We preach messages to draw in the unsaved and relate to them. We preach messages on how to live, messages more in our society need to hear and learn from. But at what price for not teaching the message and cost of the cross?

While I was growing up were not just taught to how to live, we were taught how to live for Jesus, the cost of following Jesus. How we need a mind and heart and lifestyle change. I see this missing in our search to be seeker sensitive. We preach from the Bible but a clear discipleship component is now missing. We end up teaching churchiology -how to be a good member of our church. We miss teaching people how to follow Jesus with sacrificial living. I suspect the seeker sensitive priority is the reason for the weakening of deepening discipleship. Instead of inviting people to Jesus the goal has become inviting people to church, so they can hear a relevant message on how to live.

Instead of teaching newcomers just how to live. We may want to go back to teaching our people what it means to live for Jesus with sacrifice and repentance. Actually the latter is what really matters. There are allot of venues that teach people how to live. We must not give up the venue of teaching and leading people in how to live for Jesus with the cost of following Jesus included.

If we primarily teach people how to live versus how to live for Jesus we end up with professing Christ followers who never know the sheer joy of living repentant lives while paying the price (which is great) in following in the footsteps of Jesus and breathing the dust from His footsteps.

Let's just pray the prayer...

I've been thinking about this post for a reasonable amount of time.

On many occasions after during the 10:00 p.m. local news there is this commercial of a guy who is apparently a pastor with a great heart to win people to Christ. But he does something that concerns me greatly. I've done it more than I care to admit because now I see how wrong or misleading it can be. He talks about Jesus, what Jesus came to do, how much Jesus wants to change us, forgive us and I love this part. Then He says, if you want to become a Christian, or know Jesus, pray this prayer. He then leads the Television audience through a sinners prayer. Upon the Amen his countenance changes and a smile comes on his face and he tells everyone if you prayed the prayer you are now a follower of Jesus Christ. I must ask, are they really a follower of Christ without repentance (turning from sin and redirecting their life towards Jesus and walking in His footsteps of obedience)?

What if I am right, which I always think I am and of which I am not always, what happens if I ammmm right on this one. What if, the message is pray the prayer, now I know Jesus, I'm going to heaven, but then there is little or no transformation of mind, heart and lifestyles? They need to know how to follow Jesus. They need to know that what follows in their life is what affirms the intent of their prayer to Jesus. Wen someone prays the prayer, and does not know the cost of praying such a prayer we just misled them and may actually seal their own eternal fate/doom.

I think this approach cheapens the Gospel message of redemption down to a prayer with little or no transformation because those praying the prayer do not understand the ramifications and or cost of following Jesus. Many I fear, pray the prayer, think they are saved because of the prayer but have little or no life, mind and heart change. Jesus to the rich man, "If you want to follow me, give up your riches, all of them" My paraphrase, do this because your riches are your God and you cannot serve God and mammon.


Sunday, August 26, 2007

Pray for my Hindu neighbors

We have these wonderful Hindu neighbors in our apartment complex. We will be moving in 4 or 5 weeks. Before that, we will be guests at their table and later they will be guess at ours in our own home.

When we have to be gone for a weekend, their 6 year old daughter waters our flowers. Her name is Bra-thee (pronounce breathy which means "Promise"). She did such a good job we gave her a planter of blooming flowers.

Now I find out that they use the flowers we gave her to decorate the idols of their god. Who would have thought? My gift of flowers now is a gift to their god. YIKES

They are Hindu's but they do not believe in reincarnation. They use logic, they do not know what happens after death. You just die, mom said. They live their lives to do good. That is their purpose for living.

Will you pray for mom and dad, Bra-thee and Bra-haul (means Joy) to meet Jesus! Over the next years we are reaching out to them and we pray a strong relationship with be watered with the Holy Spirit.

Pray, will you?

They would need no flowers for their idols if they had Jesus!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Thought maybe some could benefit...

I guess it's the pastor in me that makes me want to post this. These are thoughts and prayer prompts to help you pray for your marriage in specific ways. (by my friend, Gil Stieglitz)


Pray that you would be a full husband to your wife

Pray that you would meet your wife's top needs.

Honor: Ask God to show you new ways to add value to your wife.

Understanding: Ask God to show you new aspects of your wife you need to understand.

Security: Ask God to give you practical ways to increase her security.
Ask God to give you a growing physical desire for your husband.

Recreational Companionship: Ask God to show you how you can meet your husband's need for companionship.

Non-reactive listening: Ask God to give you a new ability to control your emotions when your husband shares his dreams.

Adaptation: Ask God to give you a new energy and insight into how to adapt to your husband in the areas of his strengths and weakness so that your marriage would be whole.

Domestic Support: Ask God to show you how to be a more complete answer for you husband's need for domestic support.

Pray that your wife would be a full Godly Wife to you.

Pray that both you and your wife would move to the deepest levels of intimacy.

Pray that both of you would have the energy to really Listen - Understand --- Validate.

Pray that you would understand and support each other as they are not seeking to change the unalterable temperament of the other person.

Pray that your finances would be a powerful testimony to the Christian life.

Pray that your kids would be an honor in how they act, speak, conduct themselves.

Pray that God would highlight areas of personal development that need to be worked on: Divorce, Addictions, Relationships, Relatives

The Planter: This looks like a refrigerator post.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

What would Jesus say...

What would Jesus say about the growing trend to:

*Give to the needy, only if they attend our church?

*Support the missionary, only if they grew up and out of our church?

*Support the ministry, only if they are connected to our church?

There is a growing trend that says, we'll support ministry only if they are members of our church family! What does Jesus have to say about this?

Shame on us for such exclusivity and short sighted kingdom vision.

What say you?

Monday, August 20, 2007

Why is baptism important?

Why do we need to be baptized?
What is the correct method?
Should children be baptized and when?
Should infants be baptized and why?
If you were baptized pre-conversion should you be re-baptized post conversion?
What significance (if any) in your mind does baptism play?

The DragonSlayer did a post on this and it brought varied responses. It would be interesting to
see what you have to say.

Are church altar calls effective or not?

I spent 24 years giving altar calls in my pastorates? So you could say I have allot of experience in this area. But, do they produce authentic/transformed followers of Christ?

Is there manipulation by the person giving the altar call.
Is there follow up and flesh on flesh discipleship that follows.
Is there transformation or just a feel good, I'm glad I got that sin off my chest?
Would Jesus give an altar call?

How much?

How muc is the yearly budget of your church?

How much money goes out of your church for benevolence?

What percentage do you end of with?

Are their brave ones who would share such information>

It's Monday, Sunday's Coming!

The planter thoughts and questions: In the life and days of a pastor, His week starts, continues and ends with getting ready for Sunday, a scene played out all to often in a pastors life. No time for much more, Sunday is coming.

Can you see what He is preaching about this Sunday? Did Jesus spend his week this way?

The longer he does this week after week the worse he looks, can't you tell?

Willow Leadership Summit quotes

Brandon Bruce attended the Willow Leadership Summit and took these quotes with him:

Some of the speakers were John Ortberg, former president Jimmy Carter, former secretary of state Colin Powell, Marcus Buckingham, Michael Porter (Harvard strategy professor), and Carly Fiorina (former CEO of HP). Here's a few notes I took away from the Leadership Summit...

>Unless a vision is owned deeply by large numbers of people it will not happen. -Bill Hybels

>Vision formed quickly and independently handicaps that vision from being deeply owned. -Bill Hybels

>Leadership is about seeing and unlocking potential in others. -Carly Fiorina

>Build around your strengths and manage around your weaknesses. -Marcus Buckingham

>Most organizations do too many things. What are the few things we do well? -Michael Porter

>We can't be all things to all people. -Michael Porter

>The single best way to motivate those around me is to stay motivated myself. -Bill Hybels

>A leaders's role is to identify and reduce any demotivating factors in the job of their employees. -Bill Hybels

>There's nothing like the local church when the local church is working right. -Bill Hybels

ThePlanter: Why are or are not these quotes good for the church?

Sunday, August 19, 2007

I'm against ....

I'm against bigger buildings, more and more paid staff, larger budgets, more butts in pews and more controlled programs.

Can you guess why??

Would you survive?

If government persecution hit your church, would your church survive? How would you survive?

What if going to church and owning property was attacked by the government? How would you have church or be the Church?

How much?

How much of your church budget goes to maintain your program, staff and ministry versus how much goes into missions, disciple reproducing, church planting and benevolence?

I think you will be shocked.

And yet, missions, disciple-making, church expansion and benevolence are the Jesus priorities.

Why do we spend so much time gearing up?

Why do we spend some or most of out time gearing up for the Sunday event?

What can we do?

If you could offer suggestions on how the church could improve and become more disciple-making and focussed on the Mission of the Great Commission, what what would suggest? Any ideas on how to get us back on track?

Neil Cole thots

"The church in the West, unfortunately, is usually in a defensive posture. Christians are notorious for being against another institution. If it is not enough, we are often threatened by one another. Some of us don't feel comfortable unless we are on the defense, as if defensive a sin. We are so defensive that it has become offensive."

Who is Jesus to You?

If we can get this one right we can get the Church right. The Church should not be about style or models. If it is about styles or models we are focusing on the wrong thing.

Why do we speak about models or styles when we have the King of Kings and Lord of Lords to speak of?

Earnest God seeking people will not be drawn to models or styles, they are drawn to Jesus. Let's consider making Jesus the focal point and let Him lead as He wishes.

Later this morning people will attend worship services. Are they attending more out of style and models interest or more out of love for for Jesus? Interesting question, worth considering.

If those who attend worship do not have a Jesus encounter I would rather they didn't attend church until they do. Why? Because once they meet Jesus they will not be drawn to business as usual. Once they really focus on Jesus the style or model carries little significance.

I long for the Church to look at the question, "Who is Jesus to you?" Answering this question tells it all. Is our focus on styles and models or is it on Jesus. Jesus is all we really need. Jesus is who the world longs for. We can do our great man thing, but in the end it is the God things that matter.

Man models and styles or Is It Jesus?

Friday, August 17, 2007

Some random thoughts on children...

*Parents should disciple there own children. We teach them how to live work and play, why not include how to live for and love Jesus and fulfill His mission in the world?

*Parents should be the spiritual leader of the their children and refuse to let the Sunday School teacher take away that place.

*Parents should consider bringing their children to the entire corporate worship gathering instead of sending them off for the other gigs. Children need to learn how to worship, they need the inter-generational involvement, they need to hear the hymns of the faith, the need to see their parents sing, pray, cry and praise Jesus, not to mention communion.

*Stop and think about it, some children are carted off to the nursery and they never experience corporate worship entirely until they graduate and then it is so foreign they enter the workplace or college scene and often gravitate to the familiar and the familiar is not fulfilling corporate worship.

We let other people provide spiritual follower-ship training for our children and then we wonder why we have no spiritual influence in their lives as they grow older.

Does any of this make sense? Children may not understand everything, but they are getting more than we can imagine from the corporate gatherings. I can prove it, if you wish.

Think about this

A disciple is one who follows Jesus so closely he/she breathes the dust of His footprints hitting the dusty trail.

A disciple is one who actually puts his feet in the very footprints of Jesus.

Keeping in step-

Quote of the day!!

"I long to be a part of a body of believers who truly understands what it means to be in loving, selfless community with one another.

I long to see the Body of Christ truly spending themselves on behalf of the poor and oppressed. I long to see the culture of my city, my nation impacted by the Gospel in undeniable, observable ways.

We American Christians experience so little of what it truly means to be a child of God and follower of Christ." My friend - Bill Huffhine

In memory of..

Today I received a get well card from my mother with pictures of my brothers grave marker. Some of you will remember that on January 28th of this year he successfully ended his life. My parents found him in his home with his prayer book on his chest and his bible by his side. We can debate until eternity ends on where he is today. I'd rather not go there. My brother Glenn was a great brother and friend. I miss him greatly. Maybe this is the reason I cannot sleep. My youngest brother and only sister picked out and designed the grave marker. It reveals his simple lifestyle, his love for the outdoors, his love for deer hunting and the fact that he worked with his hands as a carpenter.

Tonight I post here in memory of Glenn, my brother and friend, whose life abruptly ended, but whose memory will be forever with me. I grieve deeply at this incredible loss for me and for our family and for others.


Before I post, this is not directed at anyone. It is a common theme in the American church which is worthy of conversation. Whenever a flaw is pointed out in my life -it's natural for me to get defensive. But...

*How many of you would agree that Satan has undermined the church?
*How many of you would agree that because of Satan we have weak spots in the foundation of the church and her mission?
*How many of you would agree that Satan is behind the problems in the church?
*How many of you would agree that Satan has and does detour us from the mission of Jesus regarding the Great Commission?
*How many of you would agree that Satan would love to see the church go through the motions without Great Commission fulfillment and even love for Jesus?
*How many of you would agree that Satan loves for us to accept salvation without transformation? I call this easy believing or believism (maybe a new word). Say a pray and stay on the same old track, if you get what I mean.
*How many of you would agree that Satan loves to make counterfeit Christians who do not really know Jesus?
*How many of you would agree that Satan is behind our losses in America?

Of course this is getting boring, we all know these things to be true. Of course we agree to all of these points. Satan is destructive in the church and the church has veered off course from time to time due to his influence and now is one of those times.

Now if Satan is behind it, why do believers defend it when it is revealed? Why do we personalize it and become threatened when the weak spots are revealed. I've worked in the Christian community long enough to know that we all know the church has room to improve but I also know that when as pastor I pointed them out, people got defensive as if to say, we are fine.

If Satan is the destructive force behind our missional/disciple-making ineffectiveness and consumer driven church, why do we side up with him in defense of his work? If disobedience in the body of Christ is the result of our ineffective disciple making why do we defend and condone it?

I'm just asking for help with the why.

What do you think. As pastor I often told my staff, the minute you get defensive with a church member, we all lose.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Let's take a break -What is the meaning of stupid?

Oh, America, America, Why?

We sings the songs, we dance to the music, we listen to the sermons, we pay our staffs to do the ministry, we give our tithes or at least some or none, we are so faithful.

We say we are here for the lost, but we like the services our way. We do fine until the newbies overcome the oldies. Soon there are more newbies doing what the oldie stakeholders used to do. People are threatened. Not the newbies but the stake holding oldies.

We hear those great sermons on the Great Commission and we say "Amen". We even give accolades to the pastor for a sermon well done, right and timely. Unfortunately that sermon goes into our heads where it often stays.

Oh America, America, where are those who say they believe in Jesus and who never give wings or flight to those beliefs? Many say they obey Jesus but sadly a growing number know the truth but never incorporate that truth into the core of their lives and actions? It almost like a head salvation instead of a life transformation.

We know we should be compassionate, but we walk passed the begger on the street corner. That begger could be Jesus you know. That begger may need Jesus you know.

Oh America, when will what you say you believe become translated into your actions. A hundred "Amens" do not support a case for disobedience.

I sense Jesus saying, Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem, WHY? Oh America, America, why?

Why must more die with out Jesus? Why? Jesus said,Why?

Will you and I let another day go by without trying to stop the trend of lip service at the price of active obedience. How can it be so hard to build friendships with those who are hungry and searching for answers. It is not, no matter how you are wired.

These are just thoughts from tear filled eyes over a harvest of lost and dying people who are like sheep without a shepherd. I'm overwhelmed by the magnitude of lostness within 500 feet of my apartment. When will those who do not know Jesus find Him? My heart breaks for those who hunger and search but have not yet found Jesus.

My heart breaks for Jesus and His sacrifice, such a sacrifice that is taken ever so lightly.

I pray: "I'm sorry, Jesus, for not taking your heart, message ans passion to reach the world more fervently and passionately." While we argue over the trivial, someone has died without Jesus. Your neighbor, friend, work associate, a mother of seven, a neighbor in need and searching. Someone has died! Without Jesus!

I grieve with Jesus over our lack of concern ( me too at times) for people who matter to God.

Your prayers and thoughts are ever so welcome here. Let's feel the pain of Jesus over one soul who has not come home to Him who in the end is lost for eternity.

It remains to be the tears of the saints who make way for the soil to be prepared for the hungry to bear the fruit of redemption.

Are you with me? Let our focus be on Jesus and His magnificent sacrificial gift and let's take that free gift to those God has prepared and has placed in our lives.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

What about...

What about the church you attend, do you most appreciate. Would you also tell us where you serve in ministry or if you do not serve?

Keep the keys pecking along!

Do you long for more??

Since we have heard from those who are happy/sort of or satisfied in there approaches to making disciples and even serving through the traditional American Church structures as we know them. I would like to see if there are those of you who were raised in the church or in the church now (maybe serving on staff) or recently out of the church who have a deep sense that something is wrong in the church. You are hungry for more.

Tell your story and what are you hungry for more of.

I expect that this could be a learning experience for all of us, if you will speak up.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

My nurse...

My nurse came to draw my blood this evening for the infectious disease doctor. She asked me what I did for a living. I told her I was a missionary serving God to establish disciple making movements in the greater St. Louis area. She asked me how large my church was. I told her we were not trying to build large buildings to house large numbers of people nor were we trying to build large congregations. I told her we were trusting God for clusters of smaller churches who make disciples making disciples the main thing. She was not impressed.

She was quick to move on. She told me how great her church was, how wonderful her pastor was, how great their follow up is and how they are exploding in growth.

I was saddened, that while she drew my blood she was unable to focus on the one who shed all of His blood for our redemption. All she could see was her church, her pastor and how well they were growing. Jesus was not in her story...

The one who came to draw my blood was unable to talk about the one who gave all His blood for all of us. Why? Her pastor and her go to church on Sunday was much more important. What is wrong here? What is wrong with me? I am no longer satisfied with what satisfied my nurse. I long for so much more.

Monday, August 13, 2007

This is reality, folks! A young adult speaks out.

Jessica writes:

I didn't know it was so easy!

Today, I retrieved our mail and was excited to find the Willow Creek Association's Fall 2007 Resources & Events catalog. Even more exciting was the full color page of bar graphs, promoting a church leadership book and disclosing some findings from three years of research that Willow Creek conducted within 7 congregations, including their own.

In the last bar graph, people were compared in their spiritual growth by compartmentalizing them into 4 groups: Exploring Christianity, Growing in Christ, Close to Christ, and Christ-Centered.

These four groups of people were then polled to see how well they performed three spiritual behaviors: Tithing ("I give 10 percent"), Serving ("I serve one time per week"), and Evangelizing ("I have six or more meaningful spiritual conversations per year with Non-Christians.")

I guess I am way too hard on myself, because I never thought it would be so easy to be Christ-Centered. Less than 40% of these "Christ-Centered" people tithed. Little more than 40% of Christ Centered people serve in their church once per week, and little more than 50% of Christ Centered people have six or more meaningful spiritual conversations with Non-Christians per year. PER YEAR.

Man, I guess I need to lower my standards a little. It's a relationship, not a religion.... right?

Read more of Jessica

Let's take a straw poll...

In your opinion do you think most believers place going to church on Sunday over and above being the Church in the world every day?

If you can, give some examples.

Come on, let's do the straw poll.


*If you went to church yesterday how was it?

Tell us, please!!!

*If you didn't go to church, tell us why.

Tell us, please!!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

whatever happened to...

Whatever happened to the cost of following Jesus? Where did deny yourself and follow Jesus run off to. We have raised up those who profess Jesus but never learned how to serve sacrificially.

Whatever happed to the serious price that accompanies following Jesus?

In modern circles...
*We would rather watch TV than help a neighbor clean up his woods.
*We would rather be on time than stop to help someone broke down along side the road.
*We would rather buy groceries for our family instead of giving food to the family you know who is in need.
*We would rather pass someone by when you know you should stop and engage conversation.

Christianity with sacrifice on our part is a cheapened/lazy Christianity.

No devotions in the morning, not giving sacrificially to the needs in the world,no practice of the spiritual disciplines, not falling on our faces before God pleading for someones soul.

The higher you go in commitment to God -the less wiggle room you/we have, our rights are diminished. Whenever God calls, we answer yes and drop everything, that's what I mean by the price of following Jesus. Whenever God asks us to give to help pay someones rent, you give. When someone calls us crying and defeated at 3:00 am we get out of bed and meet them somewhere.

Going to church isn't a once in for all "I've done my duty and paid my price/dues" for following Jesus. It is tomfoolery and not sacrifice as Jesus demands of us.

How deceived must we be, before we wake up?

let's get it done once a they say

What a great idea, a church came up with this great idea in light of ever growing busyness in schedules among their church family. Do you want to hear it? They came up with a plan to get everyone involved in outreach one day a year. You can get it all done in one day and that will be our yearly outreach. One day and it's over.

Really I misled you in my positive raving on the above.

*It was/is a stupid idea
*People are too busy to interact with their neighbors because they are to busy serving inside the church within their bigger and better programs that help them have bigger buildings, budgets, better programs for even more butts in pews/or theater seating.
*How can you reach people for Christ without building a relationship with them first?
*Oh I forgot, it is the churches/Sunday job to win the lost. All I have to do is serve the church on Sunday and let the staff rake in the sheaves of new converts. So they think.

Actually busyness in the church doing good things is just plain trickery of the devil to keep you/us from doing the eternally important things.

Again this outreach once a year deal crap is a stupid idea that rates up with buying a new church sign to grow your church.

Now my blood pressure is at an acceptable level I can now proclaim:



Friday, August 10, 2007

What does a healthy church look like?

What does a healthy church look like? Is there such a thing?

I used to measure church health by man's measures. Now I look back and all that success I had in the eyes of men was not success at all. As I reflect with sadness, I measured some/lots of the wrong things. What is a healthy church?

Thursday, August 09, 2007

I Just Knew It...

Those of you following my blog know we have had some tested times, nothing of the likes of so many who suffer in the world. But nonetheless, trusting times. Actually I find it sort of amusing, no discouragement or depression. Just wondering what the next thing will be if any.

Anyway, my personal prayer partner of not so long ago, when I was in the last traditional church, told a good friend of mine that I will be persecuted like this until I get back in the pulpit of the traditional church. If he is right, which I do not believe, I'm in for a long term of suffering.

Isn't it funny or sad how the church looks at pain and then judges the reason for it in others? There is no way God works this way. What gives him the right to make such a statement of accusation? And to think, when I pastored my last church I counted on the prayers of this guy. Maybe he's just and old fart after all. I still love that old fart. After all, he was probably taught to believe such nonsense.

Quote of the day

"Can the church stop its puny,hack dreams of trying to "make a difference in the world" and start dreaming God-sized dreams of making the world different? Can the church, invent and prevent, redeem and redream, this postmodern future?" Neil Cole (Soul Tsunami)

The Four Marks of a Disciple

The four marks of a disciple as taught by Richard Green, Terry Goodwin and Bob Carder.

Here are the four marks of a disciple:

A Disciple is Obedient (Hebrews 5:8).
A Disciple is Faithful (Hebrews 3:1-2).
A Disciple is Loving (John 13:34-35).
A Disciple is Reproducing (John 12:24,32).

Now which one would you say we fall down on in the local church. If there is one deficit in any one of the four, which would you say it is and why?

Is it funny or sad??

Is it funny or sad when people disappear from your blog posts because you hit a nerve that hits close to home. It amazes me that when people get hit hard between the eyes that they run from it. I have seen this lately, and I sort of feel sorry for the runners. Truth is hard to take so instead of taking it for what it is worth they run.

I call this living like a coward, what do you call it?

Come on kids!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Out of the mouths of children

OUTreach is dying while INreach is like a breath of fresh air.

I think we have it backwards. OUTreach versus INreach

As believers we might want to reconsider the term "OUTreach" and what it actually says. OUTreach appears to be reaching out from somewhere for the specified purpose of grabbing something or someone to bring them/that into where you are.

Perhaps a better term to consider is "INreach". It implies that we live "In reach" of people who need the Lord. Instead of doing an OUTreach to bring people into where we are. Why not release people to live INreach of those who need the Lord. When people are INreach of others while living incarnational Christ following lives many people will be reached. INreach involves sacrifice of time and resources to gain conversations, relationship, real life encounters with people. Living INreach is an intentional, organic, free flowing, natural way to reach people for Christ.

OUTreach is something planned by man. It is specifically a go through the motions event that is governed to produce a certain goal of bringing people in. We do OUTreaches because few believers get outside of themselves to do something that helps further the mission of the organization.

INreach is something spontaneously led by the Spirit of God where believers are taught and set free to be used by God as we come INreach of those the divine appointments. We live our lives striving to live INreach of some Spirit led need to connect with. INreach involves personal sacrifice, something those doing outreaches lack.

God puts us INreach of those who need our love, our relationships and mostly Jesus and His mercy and grace. When people see Jesus in us, they long to meet the Jesus in us.

Mike forgive me for making up a new word: "INreach"

Allow me to be cantankerous...

What is often labeled Outreach is merely a church reaching out to the world with some interesting something to get the attention of those in the world for the purpose of drawing people into something. I'll do this, but you must know who is doing this for you.

Neil Cole nailed it with this one. Neil says, "I saw an article in a denominational magazine highlighting the outreach idea of a local church. At Christmastime they sent their choir to a local mall to sing Christmas carols as a means to get the gospel out. This was paraded as a successful outreach. *No one was spoken to. No relationships were made. *No one was able to ask a single question of the religious people standing there singing in strange robes. *All that happened was that people heard songs sung that were already playing over piped in music throughout the mall. Like a flight attendant at the start of every flight, the choir was announcing important information of life and death significance to people who took no time to listen because they'd been inoculated to it. And the churched people are convinced that this was a great work of God? Come on! We have a problem." (* added by the Planter)

Do you agree with Neil's assessment of this outreach?

Houston, we have a problem!!

On the day of yet another shuttle launch into space I am reminded of those famous words, "Houston,we have a problem." While the statement carries the serious and necessary negative overtones the end result was positive.

Reminds me of something Neil Cole writes in his book, Organic Church. "With Apollo 13, a dedicated team of desperate men came together at NASA and faced a difficult problem. Using simple components on board the space capsule, they found a creative solution to bring the astronauts home. What was quickly mounting to become the greatest tragedy of NASA'S history instead became it most heroic moment. What would have happened if people involved refused to recognize that a problem existed? Unless we recognize the problem, there is no creative energy to devote to solutions."

(The Planter) With reference to the church in America we are facing one of those, "Houston, we have a problem" serious times. Unless we recognize the problem there will be no heroic moment for the church.

So what is that problem we face in the church today? Tell us what you think it is.

"Heaven we have a problem, Show us the solution and open our hearts to receive it." Neil Cole

Let the Church be the Church...

Theologian Lesslie Newbigin rightly says, "The Church is sent into the world to continue that which He came to do, in the power of the same Spirit, reconciling people to God." Jesus said, "As the Father has sent me, so I send you." (John 20:19-23)

Neil Cole says something that resonates with my heart passion. He says, "Let the Church be alive, organic, in the flesh. Let the Church be birthed in places where it is most needed. Let the Church be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth as Jesus intended, as Jesus paid for."

While this is true, and I agree whole heartedly agree with such truth, it seems that believers can read this and say the same thing. Yet for many, even a majority, they continue living as they are, believing that they are living this truth in the context of no fruit to show for the fruit they claim to have.

Oh my goodness there I go again, picking on the fruitless church. If the church had fruit I would pick that fruit but instead I have to pick on the lifeless tree (the church). Lifeless trees have one purpose, firewood, trampled and cast into the fire.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Why do bad things happen to good people?


Why, did my brother commit suicide in January?
Why, did my house, motorcyle, car and truck burn down in March?
Why, did I get burned so badly I needed skin grafts on my left hand and arm?
Why, did I get lymes disease in May?
Why, did I get a seriouse infection requiring surgery, hospitalization, and I.V. antibiotics for the next three weeks and 4 times a day.

I want to know what you think!

Some will say I should not be in St. Louis doing what I do for God, like God is trying to tell me something. Others may say that Satan is attacking. What do the others of you say?

Let er go!

Such disbelief...

I continue to be amazed at man's idea(s) for making disciples. Never do I find in Scripture that making disciples has anything to do with a classroom experience. Programmed disciple making courses do not produce reproducing disciple makers. At least it is a rarity if they do. In my circles in three different denominations I have found that the success rate is way below any acceptable level.

I see such disbelief in the American church with reference to disciple making within the context of new disciples making new disciples immediately following their conversion. Because of our disbelief in a new converts ability to lead and disciple others we would rather do one of two things. One, don't do anything but encourage church attendance. Two, Put them in a 6 or 12 week discipleship class.

Such disbelief seems at odds with the teaching and promises of Scripture. We say we believe God has the ability to transform people from darkness into light. But then we ignore God's ability through His Holy Spirit to lead a disciple to lead another disciple to lead another disciple all with the anointing of God. Whoever taught us that new disciples were not supposed to reproduce quickly upon their conversion?

Example: As I lead you to Christ, I disciple you by walking with you to lead your someone to Christ and then as I continue walking with you you walk with your disciple and your disciple does the same with his disciple. As we lead people to Jesus we walk with them as long as it takes while all the time pouring our lives and the Truth they need to become and build strong disciples themselves. It is a Holy Spirit filled and led process.

*You (the church) believe a God can transform...YES
*You (the church) do not believe God can lead new believers to lead others to Christ immediately upon their conversion...NO
*You (the church) do not believe that God's Holy Spirit can lead a disciple making process without the man made agenda (classes) for making disciples even when what we do our way isn't working. Man programmed disciple making classes do not reproduce disciples who make disciples. They instead make good church members who invite their friends to become good church members who look like and act like all the others.

If God can transform a person from darkness into light He can also lead that disciple of light to lead those in darkness back into the light. If God can win them through you, He can disciple them through you and they can reproduce quickly by doing the what they see you doing and by teaching what they hear you teaching by allowing the Holy Spirit to lead it all and all the time.

The Spiritual DEATH of a disciple making movement is found in a classroom.

BOTTOM LINE: I trust God to transform lives who can lead and disciple others to Jesus immediately upon their conversion. Jesus loves to work through me to redeem his lost children so that through me the Holy Spirit can disciple them to lead others and disciple them as others come to Christ they lead others to Christ and the others lead the others so that the others can disciple them to do the same.

Do you believe God can transform those from darkness into light?
Do you believe that God can release and empower those new disciples quickly so that they can lead and disciple others who do the same?
Or are you stuck in a classroom rut?


I'm writing my first official blog post since last Monday a week ago. Both arms arm bandaged from my hands over the elbow. I have an I.V. permanent line in my left upper arm. My left arm has the skin graphs and my right arm has the infection bandage. I look like quite a sight, for sure.

It has been a weird week since I last wrote. It feels great to be back in our apartment while we wait for our home to be completed from the fire. The nurse comes daily to change my elbow dressings and Michelle and I have been taught to do the IV antibiotic treatments every 6 hours. So far so good. The only bad thing was that our training on the I.V. was at Midnight on Saturday and when 6:00 a.m. the next morning rolled around I couldn't get all the bubbles out of the line and before I could stop them, well, they just went through. So now I'm just a couple bubbles off. Otherwise we are doing this now without any trouble. My pain is decreasing from where it was so that is a praise. The antibiotics seems to be working on this time of gram negative infection.

We will be glad when this ordeal is over for us. Less than 3 weeks more to go on the self administered I.V. treatments. We will continue the daily nurse wound care and every week another crew come sin for lab work.

God has been good through all of this. I'm so much better. Still not there but getting better every day.

See, God does answer prayer.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Health Update -Serious Infection

Dear friends,

Bob in desperate need for your prayers.

Last Saturday, July 31st, Bob contracted an infection in his right elbow, believed to have come from a park picnic table. That evening due to incredible swelling he went to the emergency room and received two shots, pain and antibiotic medicine. As the infection continued to worsen he went to our family doctor on Monday who again gave him two shots and different pain and antibiotic medicine. The infection continued to worsen and on Wednesday our doc sent him to an orthopedic surgeon who quickly rushed him into surgery to explore and remove infected tissue from his elbow. After that he was admitted to the hospital for serious I.V. therapy and pain management.

To make a long story short, Bob was released from the hospital today (Saturday, August 4th) because they can treat this long term infection at home. Starting this evening and every six hours he will receive an I.V. antibiotic medicine treatment and will have to do this for 3 weeks from a home health care nurse. When the cultures come back they may change his medicine but either way he must have the I.V. for this type of infection even when the strain is identified.

Aside from the pain and temperature fluctuations he seems to be doing O.K. His elbow swelling has gone down some. The infectious disease doctor and orthopedic surgeon do not want this infection to get our of control because it can be life threatening and even cause loss of limb if the infection is not cured. We feel certain that the docs are on the right track and we are trusting God for the complete recovery.

Please at this time your prayers are important and very much appreciated.

Bob and Chel

Thursday, August 02, 2007

out of commission (a message from my dad)...

My dad is in the hospital with a serious undetermined infection in his right elbow (freak thing?) and had surgery yesterday. They are currently trying to discover the right antibiotic they need to prescribe to fight the infection. He will be in the hospital until at least Sat or Sun and will have to wear a splint for 4 weeks and possible IV for that time as well.

We will update soon, but for now he's out of commission and we wanted to let you know so friends and family can pray.


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