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Month: October 2006 (page 1 of 2)

Preaching the Gospel to Yourself

At Kaleo Church we teach that the Gospel isn't just a means of salvation, but it is the very way we grow as Christians.  When Paul writes his letters to the Galatians or Corinthians, he addresses each problem in the Christian community with the gospel.  (eg., Peter, who eats stops eating with the Gentiles isn't told to 'stop' which would be legalism, but is told that his actions aren't walking in line with the gospel.  His motivation for change is a reminder of who Christ is and what he has done for us and how that sets us free by grace.)

preaching-gospel-diagram.gif From this a term used is, 'I need to preach the gospel to myself'.  It refers to the need to go through the same process Paul does when he addresses sin.  But how do we preach the gospel to ourselves, what exactly is the process?  I decided to create a diagram to illustrate it (click on thumbnail for larger Preaching the Gospel diagram)

preach-gospel.gif UPDATE: David Fairchild preached an excellent sermon based on this, you can see the sermon at Sermon Cloud: How to Preach the Gospel to Yourself.  It includes (1) a Word document handout that outlines the process, a (2) PowerPoint slide (click on image to the right), (3) the sermon notes and (4) the mp3 for you to download.

How to Preach the Gospel to Yourself

The two critical events are repentance and faith.  Errors people commonly fall in are (1) only dealing with the surface sin instead of the root sin and (2) preaching moralism to ourself instead of the gospel.   

PART I  DOWN THE SLOPE OF REPENTANCE – Objective: To see and confess that I am a bigger sinner than I thought. 

1. See and Own Your Sin:  Examine yourself in the mirror of God's Word, your negative emotions and attitudes, and the responses of others to you.  Guard yourself against sin's deceitfulness: the tendency to water down God's standard, compare yourself to others, shift the blame or commit ourselves to trying harder.

2. See the Sin Beneath the Sin: Don't move too quickly to confess and receive forgiveness for the surface sin (cheap grace, "I'm just a sinner" attitude.  If you are anxious, yes go to Phil. 4, but what is causing your anxiousness?)  Push the 'Why?' question until you find what you are looking to other than Jesus (your functional messiah) for meaning and value in life.

3. Expose the Idols of your Heart: Idols always disappoint 

They are weak: They can't deliver when you succeed; they can only raise the bar. They can't forgive you when you fail; they can only lower the boom.
They are harmful: They hurt you spiritually, emotionally and physically.  They hurt others by undermining your ability to love.
They are Grievous: Most importantly, by going after these idols/other lovers you are saying to God: "Jesus is not enough.  I also need _________ in order to be happy.

EXAMPLE: Athletics
Sin: I get frustrated when I don't win at sports.
Sin beneath the sin: I need the approval of others to feel better about myself.
IDOL: ACCEPTANCE of others/Self Worship

Weak: The approval is always based on your performance.  If you fail, you get angry/rejected.  When you succeed you need more/to continue to perform and receive value.

These idols will lead you into slavery James 4:1 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? 2You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. 4You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.

CONCLUSION: I am a much bigger sinner than I thought.  I am a worthy recipient of God's judgment.  Trying harder won't cut it.  I am helpless and hopeless in myself.  BUT there is One… 

PART II UP THE SLOPE OF FAITH – Objective: To thank God that Jesus is a much bigger Savior than I thought.  

1. Repentance is a gift: Pray for the gift of repentance.  Do not 'try' to stop sinning, but ask God to change your heart.  If the Holy Spirit does not address your heart, your repentance is only 'horizontal' and true gospel change will not happen.  You may change for a season by your own 'will-power' but eventually you will become resentful or fall back into worshiping your false idols, which are your true 'functional messiahs'.

2. See Jesus as the only true Savior

Jesus lived for me.  Think about and give thanks for specific ways Jesus has lived obediently where I have failed.

Jesus died for me. Think about Jesus' death on the cross for my specific sins and idolatry.  Thank God that my sin has been punished once and for all.

God sees me in Jesus. Think about how God sees me in Jesus, clothed with His perfect righteousness.  Thank Him specifically for how He provides for me in Christ that all my idols promised but could not deliver.

Jesus lives in me.  Thank God that He does not leave me to live the Christian life on my own, but the Spirit of Christ now dwells in me.  Ask Him to live His righteous life through me, specifically in the areas where I have confessed sin.

3. Gospel-motivated living: Embrace and know that the gospel is how you change (2 Cor. 3:18b), it is the gospel that empowers you to serve (2 Cor 3:5) and it is through the gospel that you meet God (2 Cor 3:18a; 4:6)

CREDITS: The pastors of Harbor, Tim Keller @ Redeemer and David Fairchild at Kaleo. 

2007 National New Church Conference

church-planting-conference.gifThe 2007 National New Church Conference website has launched.  This years theme: Exponential:  Moving Beyond Addition

It was Jesus that cast the vision for this emerging, seeker-targeted house church that would soon exponentially grow to impact the world.  As Jesus spoke it was very clear that this church had an unlimited potential – the potential to alter eternities and to change the world.   In the midst of the resulting chaos, the church experienced explosive growth; growth well beyond addition, and even beyond multiplication.  Exponential growth characterized by a spirit-led, missional, and reproducing DNA.  The conference experience is designed to inspire, encourage, train, equip, and connect church planting leaders.

Speakers include: Bill Hybels, Wayne Cordeiro, Ed Stetzer, Dave Ferguson, Bob Roberts, Bil Cornelius, Mark Batterson, Jim Putman, Rick Rusaw, Matt Chandler, Darrin Patrick, Shawn Lovejoy, Vince Antonucci, Bob Logan, David Putman, and more. 

This year their will be several different 'tracks' for people to choose between:

  • pre-launch track – If you are considering planting or you've already decided to take the plunge, this track is for you. You will learn Biblical principles that will shape the way you think about church planting and how you shape the DNA of your new church. As leaders and influencers for the work of the coming harvest, it is crucial that we prepare well. Regardless of the church planting model you pursue, the next generation of church plants needs healthy DNA.
  • post-launch track – You survived the stresses of launching a new church and now you face a whole new set of challenges. In seeking to establish traction and momentum, you experience a range of emotions including joy, anxiety, frustration, fatigue, peace, humility, rejection, encouragement, discouragement, and fear.
  • reproducing churches track -The Reproducing Churches Track is all about expanding your influence to help more people find their way back to God! This track will inspire and equip you in whatever stage of church life you now find yourself. You will discover the basics and innovations in Reproducing Leaders and Artists which will revolutionize your local outreach and is foundational to reproducing at a macro level.
  • networking track – The National New Church Conference is like a reunion for many church planting leaders. It's a great networking opportunity, a chance to catch up with friends, and to take care of a little business. Recognizing that up to 25% of conference attenders may choose to spend their time networking rather than participating in other tracks, we've added a networking track. Although attendees selecting this track are in charge of their own schedule, there will be several special optional sessions of interest to people taking the networking track.

Their is a Super Early Bird Registration Special for $99 for those who sign-up now.  This is a great gathering of church planters, those who are considering church planting and churches looking to grow in their ability to plant churches.

Second Life Virtual World – Will there be a Virtual Church?

second-life.jpgFor those who are unaware, the online virtual world industry is booming.  As America recently hit the 300 million mark, Second Life, launched in 2003 reached it's 1 millionth resident.  By the tens-of-thousands users are creating an alter-ego of their real self, they can choose to be ripped, lean and beautiful in another world.  According to one article:

The population and economy of Second Life have grown so massive that major corporations are paying attention. Companies such as Sony/BMG Music, Nissan and Toyota have converted marketing dollars to Linden Bucks to buy virtual real estate. Nissan built a Second Life campaign around its Sentra car, hiring programmers to create a gigantic driving course and digital cars that players can drive, as well as billboards and other promotional spots throughout the virtual world. Retailers including Reebok, Nike, Amazon.com and American Apparel have set up shops to sell digital as well as real-world versions of their products.  A few recording artists have used Second Life as a performing venue.  (Source: San Diego Union-Tribune Second Life)

You laugh at the absurdity of this?  Just last week Reuters news service announced that it would have a full-time “embedded” reporter covering the virtual news on a new Web site, www.secondlife.reuters.com. The economy of Second life recently reached $500,000 exchanged a day, and it's growing by as much as 15 percent a month.

How should the church respond?  Most would agree that Christians living missionally inside this community should be a witness as they build relationships online.  I imagine it won't be long until a church broadcasts a virtual service inside the game.  This wll most likely create more controversy than the use of video venues.  As the world embraces more and more virtual worlds, the church is going to be faced with many difficult challenges as how to respond.  Being the church requires that we be in community, but could it be a virtual community? 

The Dangers of Confession while in the Pulpit

confessions.jpgShould a pastor confess their sin behind the pulpit?  I have heard people tell pastors that they should not confess their sin while preaching.  These (often a-little-too Reformed) pastors believe it diminishes the office.  This conversation took place when a friend (Tim Berroth) was discussing  Confessions of a Pastor: Adventures in Dropping the Pose and Getting Real with God by pastor Craig Groeschel.  Groeschel states in his book that often the most impactful sermons he has are the ones where he offers real personal confessions of sin. In the book, Groeschel candidly describes the struggles and sins that he fights daily as a pastor–not surprisingly, the sins that beset him are the same ones that beset us all: lust, fear, worry, a judgmental spirit, selfishness and self-centerdness to name a few. In his effort to "drop the pose and get real," Groeschel paints a vivid picture of a reality that many in the church may not readily accept or choose to ignore altogether.

Should a pastor confess their sin behind the pulpit?  How should this be done?  I recall a pastors meeting here in San Diego with Dick Kaufmann who stated something to the effect:

A pastor who confesses sin without illustrating how the gospel dealt with the sin is doing a very harmful thing.   To say, "I struggle with lust" as a confession alone is mean.  Sin should be confessed behind the pulpit, only when the pastor has gone through the process and is able to communicate how they've been changed by the gospel. 

Richard Foster in The Celebration of the Disciplines writes:

Without the cross the discipline of confession would be only psychologically therapeutic.  But it is so much more.  It involves an objective change in our relationship with God and a subjective change in us.  It is a means of healing and transforming the inner spirit.

5 Blogging Questions

blogging101_5questions.jpgCory Miller has launched a blog dedicated to church communication.  His current ongoing series is Blogging 101 for Pastors is to assist pastors on how best to use blogs in their ministry.  Cory is wise, he sought many well known bloggers (Church Marketing Sucks, Strategic Digital Outreach, Mark Batterson, Tall Skinny Kiwi, Internet Monk…) to post early on, and often they would link back to him.  Meaning Cory's site is sure to become a powerhouse. 

Here's the request I received:

I'm currently doing a blog series on the subject of "blogging 101 for pastors" … I'm hoping to help other ministers (a) see how easy it can be to get a blog and (b) show them how they can blog without killing themselves.

As a prolific blogging pastor, I'd love to share some of your insights in a future post … here are the five questions I'd like to share with my readers if you're available to give a brief answer for them …

Why (or how) did you start blogging?
What subject do you post most about?
What are your favorite blog tools? (from platforms, to feedreaders to stats, etc.)
How often do you post?
What one piece of advice would you give for prospective blogging pastors?

My Response: 5 Blogging Questions with Drew Goodmanson

Christian Venture Capitalists

How would you like: (1) Access to capital and entrepreneurship networks. (2) Theological foundations. (3) Professional consulting services.  These are three of the components of Redeemer's Entrepreneur Incubator.  Here is a church leading the way in thinking through how to connect 'capitalism' with 'Kingdom'.  Keller connects how investment banking can be Kingdom minded in his seminar Cultural Renewal: The Role of the Intrapreneur and the Entrepreneur.  He argues that God is keenly interested in this world and restoring it from the fall.  We are called to bring about this change, but ultimately, it will be fulfilled when Jesus returns.  He goes so far as to say, "the purpose of salvation is to make this world a great place.  Salvation is only a temporary means to an end."

This thinking is most certainly novel.  Are there Christian venture capitalist who desire to seek both earthly and spiritual returns?  A search for "christian venture capitalist" brought only one 'venture capitalist' organization, Kingom Ventures, that "is a philanthropic venture capital firm focused on supporting emerging Christian ministries around the world."  The search also brought an article (Venture Capital and God: Commentary on Kingdom-Based Investing ) by Ken Eldred, who has founded many successful companies including Ariba Technologies, Inc (NASDAQ: ARBA) the leader in the Internet Business-to-Business industry and which has reached a market valuation as high as $40 Billion. He was also Founder, Chairman and CEO of Inmac a company which he took Public in 1987 and grew to $400 million in yearly revenues as the first business to sell computer products, supplies, and accessories by direct mail and later merged with MicroWarehouse.  kingdom-business.jpgI searched for 'Ken Eldred ' and found his own venture capital company, Parakletos Ventures.  Ken served as co-editor of the book, On Kingdom Business: Transforming Missions Through Entrepreneurial Strategies.

On Kingdom Business proposes a new model for using business in missions: kingdom entrepreneurship. Kingdom entrepreneurs are "job-makers," starting for-profit businesses of all sizes–real businesses that meet real needs. This book provides a conceptual foundation for kingdom entrepreneurship and explores its contemporary development using case studies of kingdom businesses and reflecting on the lessons kingdom entrepreneurs have already learned.

I don't know why there aren't more Christians rallying behind the physical expression of God's restorative plan.  It is encouraging to see Al Weiss form Vision USA, with the aim to raise $300 million over the next 10 years for aggressive church planting in 50 of the country's most influential cities.  kiva.gifWeiss is reaching out to business leaders to invest in this necessary plan.  But…

how great would it be to login to a site like Kiva to provide funding support to Kingdom-minded entrepreneurs, church planters, missionaries and the lot.  

Gospel-Centered Entrepreneurship

Gospel Business IncubatorAs Christians, we need to be concerned with the needs of the people in the city. The Bible is greatly concerned with the economics of the poor and their well being.  I believe one powerful way for Christians to represent the already/not yet establishment of God's plan for earth is to be entrepreneurial, starting companies rooted in our desire to see the gospel transform the city for the common good.  (I preached a sermon dealing with some of this, entitled, The Christian Social Revolution based on much of Keller's/Clowney's influence.)  In fact, Redeemer already is doing this:

Redeemer’s vision is to cause cultural renewal in all the institutions and professions that comprise New York City and impact the world around us. As part of this vision, we hope to not only empower intra-preneurs, who create change within existing companies and organizations, but also support entrepreneurs, whose new ventures challenge or augment the services of existing institutions and help advance both the private and public sectors.

The Entrepreneurship Initiative is designed to equip, connect, and mobilize entrepreneurs within Redeemer’s congregation to create new ventures that bring about gospel-centered transformation for the common good.  The Entrepreneurship Initiative plans to form a community that will support entrepreneurship through workshops, conferences, mentoring relationships, and The Redeemer Incubator.

I'd encourage you to visit Redeemer's Center for Faith & Work. Or listen to a few of their presentation on how the gospel impacts the creation of business:  (Their Entrepreneurship Forum lists a few add'l presentations on this.)

Cultural Renewal: The Role of the Intrapreneur and the Entrepreneur (click on title to listen)
Rev. Dr. Timothy Keller, Senior Pastor, Redeemer Presbyterian Church

Gospel-Based Leadership: Total Integration of Faith and Work (click on title to listen)
Dennis Bakke, Co-founder of AES Corporation and Founder of Imagine Schools 

Principles for Action (click on title to listen)
Rev. Dr. Timothy Keller, Senior Pastor, Redeemer Presbyterian Church 

If this is a topic that interests you,  I spoke with Justin Browne @ Redeemer, who said the next forum will be on March 10th, 2007.  Redeemer is planning a Business Plan Competition within their church to select, fund and become incubators for companies & non-profits.  It is similiar to Urbana's Business Plan Competition:

InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA is sponsoring a business plan competition for triple-bottom-line businesses: businesses that have financial, social, and spiritual impact. A total pool of $40,000 is available to winning business plans! Two-page Executive Summaries are due October 27, 2006.

There are many opportunities for Christians to impact society, for churches to find catalystic leaders who are missional in their field, but also seek to redeem their area of expertise.  Don't just reach the accountant seek to change the accounting industry by the gospel.

Question – How is your church going to equip and send business leaders that seek to redeem your city's industries? 

Triperspectival Ministry Assessment

Today the elders of Kaleo Church met to discuss the different ministries.  We agreed that we needed to assess the current state of the ministries and we needed a framework of how we would keep an ongoing tab on the health of the ministry.  We can determine the state of each ministry using analysis from a triperspectival framework. 

Don't know the triperspectival framework?  This framework is based on John Frame's The Doctrine of Knowledge of God.  John writes: “The knowledge of God’s law, the world, and the self are interdependent and ultimately identical” (The Doctrine of Knowledge of God, Presbyterian and Reformed 1987, p.89). “Human knowledge can be understood in three ways: as knowledge of God’s norm, as knowledge of the situation [environment], and as knowledge of ourselves. None can be achieved without the others. Each includes the others.” (p.75)

Normative: the Word, authority
Situational: the World, environment
Existential: our self

These perspectives were perfectly fulfilled in Jesus Christ as a Prophet, Priest and King. 

Role
Prophet – Jesus declared the norm/Word with authority
Priest – Jesus ministered God’s presence to the people perfectly redeeming them.
King – Jesus exercised God’s control and had full dominion over creation.

It is from these perspectives that we must evaluate the ministry as Prophet, Priest & King.

Triperspectival Ministry Assessment 

Prophet Analysis – What is the purpose/goal/vision of the ministry?  Do these goals agree with the Bible?  Are those involved in the ministry aware of the theological convictions guiding their ministry?  Have we taught on these areas as needed? 

Priest Analysis – Is the ministry grace centered?  What is the motivational structures people use to serve in the ministry?  Is it the gospel?  Does the ministry take the needs of the people into account?  

King Analysis – What people, systems, resources does the ministry need?  What needs to happen to improve the ministry?  What development, training or other coaching would benefit the people involved?

Other Triperspectival applications: How triperspectivalism should shape your worldview, How triperspectivalism shapes Church Leadership and how you staff a church, Triperspectival Leadership Conflict Resolution, Triperspectival church planting, Triperspectival Deacon Training & Development

Also see David Fairchild's posts, such as Ministry through the lens of Multiperspectival Epistemology

Church Dashboard – The Future of Church Apps

Church DashboardChurch Dashboard (a group I am part of) is creating one page that church administrators, pastors or other leaders can view to look at many different of their backend systems.  The goal is to allow easy access to their church membership reports, content management system, financial reports and any other reporting system that integrates into ChurchDashboard.com. This system will be similiar to Google Personalized Homepage where users can build the reports they would like to see.

Phase I will allow vendors (Content Management Companies, Church Management Systems, Financial Systems and others) to provide secure feeds.  Phase II will provide a schema to communicate and allow one-source editing capability from this secure environment.  Contact information is provided for companies interested in participating and there are already a number of companies signed-up to participate.

Why God is more glorified by Web 2.0

web20logos.jpgThere is so much conversation about web 2.0; the term is losing its significance.  Yet something powerful is behind the internet shift that Christians should be aware of.  God is more glorified by Web 2.0 than Web 1.0.

At this point hopefully you either think I'm nuts or you are confused.  First, let's define Web 2.0 and for that we'll go to Wikipedia (a Web 2.0 application):

"Web 2.0 refers to a supposed second-generation of Internet-based services – such as social networking sites, wikis, communication tools, and folksonomies – that let people collaborate and share information online in previously unavailable ways." (Source Wikipedia: Web 2.0 )

Now let me explain why I believe Web 2.0 is more God glorifying.  For that I turn to C.S. Lewis' book "Four Loves" as he discusses a group of friends that we was extremely close to.  Yet in response to one of these friends (Charles) dying Lewis writes:

"In each of my friends there is something that only some other friend can fully bring out.  By myself, I am not large enough to call any person completely into activity.  I want other lights of my own to show all the facets.  Now that Charles is dead, I shall never see Ronald's reaction to a specifically Charles joke.  Far from having more of Ronald, far from having him all to myself now that Charles is away, I have less of Ronald." 

Lewis argues that he has less of Ronald because there was something within Ronald that only Charles could bring out. 

"In this, friendship exhibits a glorious nearness by resemblance to heaven itself where the very multitude of the blessed, which no man can number, increase the fruition which each has of God for every soul in heaven seeing Him in her own way communicates the unique vision to all the rest.  That, says an old author, is why the Seraphim in Isaiah's vision are crying out Holy, Holy, Holy, to one another." 

What C.S. Lewis tells us is that it takes a multitude to know an individual.  You can't know an individual the way a group can know an individual.  Only a group brings out the whole spectrum of that person.  This is even true of God.  You are not going to know God in a significant way, unless you are in a community with other believers.  By yourself you can only see God through your own eyes.  Further, those who remove themselves from Christian communities are holding back their particular perspectives that would show God in a unique way.  The community needs what you have, and you need what they have to see a fuller picture of who God is. 

This same fullness of community and conversation is provided in Web 2.0.  I quote O'Reilly Media, Inc. who coined the term 'Web 2.0':

If (blogging) were merely an amplifier, blogging would be uninteresting. But like Wikipedia, blogging harnesses collective intelligence as a kind of filter. What James Suriowecki calls "the wisdom of crowds" comes into play, and much as PageRank produces better results than analysis of any individual document, the collective attention of the blogosphere selects for value. (Source O'Reilly Media )

Web 2.0 is at it's heart about a fullness of community learning, interacting and growing together.  It is in this fullness we can share ideas and reflect our own perspectives that benefit the whole.  It is here that I believe God is more glorified in the community of Web 2.0 than in the singular voice of Web 1.0.

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