Tag Archives: Cultivation

Focused on Heaven

Today I heard Levi Lusko on the radio today. He said that when a Christian truly realizes that he or she is a pilgrim the Christian will start reacting differently. No believers will say, “You are different know.”

Lukewarm Christians will say, “Back down you are too fanatical.”

Then he went on the compliment this mindset of being a pilgrim and looking to heaven. The little that I know about Lusko I do not think he is saying that we need to take out focus off of the earth to focus solely on Heaven but hearing his message made me wonder what many Christians would think. I really feel like many Christians will hear his message and feel like they should focus so much on heaven that they are not relevant and reliable to reach the world.

If God wanted all of our focus to be on Heaven, he would have zapped us to heaven when we got saved. Nevertheless, God left us here to work as his hands and feet. We are called to be witnesses. We are called to fulfill the role of Christ in the world. Don’t ever let yourself be conned into believing the seduction that you are supposed to set tunnel vision on heaven, and miss the work Christ needs us to do here.

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What’s love got to do with it?

I have been around a lot of churches in my life. I have noticed one thing for sure. There are many people in the church today that would not know what love was even if it jumped up and introduced itself to them.

Why is it so difficult to love one another. I mean, if we can not live in peace with other church members on earth, why do you think that we could live with them in the here after.

John 13:35 says, “They will know that you are my people because of your love for one another.”

Far too many ministers and churches are known by their preaching style or their great music. They try to have the latest and the greatest. They attempt to demonstrate the best performances they can. However, none of this means anything if it was not for love. Everything is about love.

Think about your life. Are you demonstrating love?

Halloween and church

I recently had a conversatoin with a Pastor who was very opposed to having Halloween activities at church. (This same pastor speaks against the traditional secular Christmas and Easter celebrations at church.) I am very opinionated and so I try to avoid confrontations. It is better to avoid the problem in most cases. However, I have a severe problem when a pastor allows their own dogmatic convictions to overrule their opportunity to reachout.

Churches can capitalize on events such as Halloween, Easter, and Christmas. I understand that the traditional secular events were taken from nonchristian holidays. I also understand that these events have little to no connection with the Christian part of the holiday. But if my child wants to hunt easter eggs, go trick-or-treating, or share Christmas gifts, I am going to visit a church that will let them do that.

If you want to reach out to the nonchurch, support activities that they are going to be involved in. If you tell the nonchurch, “We do not have candy for Halloween because it is of the devil”, then you are essentially saying, “We do not want you at our church.” That may not be what you are saying, but that is how the take it. That’s how I would take it, and I have been a pastor for years.

I am not saying change your belief system and acept things you do not agree with. I am telling you to capitalise on an opportunity to reach out. Instead of Halloween have a trunk or treat, a fall fest, harvest celebrations, or another activity that will give families the opportunity to be involved in your church. But when you refused you have told them that you are not interested in them being at your church.

I had a situation a few years ago when a pastor where I served wanted to force the city to move trick-or-treating from halloween night which fell on a Sunday, to the saturday before. It was not a big deal. It was only one night different. The problem, it told everyone in that town that the church was not willing to support things that people are interested in. It would be just like a church trying to force the High School to cancel a football game because the church had something going on. What bothered me more, the church in question did not even have Sunday night services. 

To win nonchurched we have to understand how the nonchurch think. When we understand how people think, we can reach them.

Has Holiness gone too far

I recently was at a Church where the minister had talked to a female singer about her low-cut dress. I agree there are somethings that we should not see in church, but it was not the clothing complaint that bothered me. The Preacher said, “You can tell that she was not raised Holiness.”

When was Holiness perverted into a standard people should live?

The only standard that the Bible mentions is to live like Christ. No one can live up to the standard of Christ even with a set of rules. So there must be more to it than a set of rules.

The Bible says that Holiness is a way of life that comes from a devotion for God. It is being set apart for God’s use. Furthermore, Paul made it very clear that one person’s understanding of holiness should not be forced on another person.

Holiness is not a level to be achieved. If it were, we would be adding to the work that Christ has already done. Legalism always says, “I can add to the work of Christ.” It is a precursor to pride, arrogance, and then a fall.

Holiness on the other hand is a natural demonstration of God working in one’s life. In Ephesians 2:8-9 it says that we are saved by grace, not by works. If we were saved by grace we could boast about it. He wraps it up by saying in verse 10, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

He juxtaposes our works to us being the work of God that he prepared for us to be. The changes of our heart come from God working in us not by our attempts.

In other words, the closer our relationship with God, the more the acts of God will be demonstrated in our lives.

BTW:

If a church sees fit to mandate the dress code for people on the platform they have that right. But it needs to be on the premise of continuity and decency, and not because of rules.

21 Century Revival

I have a theory, for a new 21 Century style of revival. It is not a service or set of services, instead a combination of relationship building tools that offer accountability. Over the past decade more and more churches have realized that real revival starts when build relationships with one another and offer accountability.

This can be done in many different ways. Most churches use small groups to connect people. It may be a men’s ministry, singles or seniors ministry, or young couples or college age ministry. The influx of such ministries have offered people a connection with other people. It provides a safe place and offers accountability.

Also, people realize that they are just like everyone else. They are able to relate to one another, and when they stumble they have friends who can catch them. More lives are changed in these environments than most if not all revivals.

The basis of 21 Century revivals is not whooping and hollering, though that may happen. It is now crazy emotional services or damning people to hell. It is discipleship. Working one on one to help building life changing relationships.

Revival vs salvation

As mentioned in our first post about Revival, many churches invite evangelists to preach revivals. They then have strong evangelistic (in many cases hell fire and brimstone) services.

It is good to evangelise for the sake of catching those who are not saved in the service, but that is not a revival. The revival is to revive the church. People in the church hopefully have experience with salvation.

Even backsliders in the church, know about salvation. Backsliders do not need salvation, they need to know how to revive the work of God in their lives. Even if they have never been saved, they have heard the word of salvation and apparently it didn’t work when they heard it before, why will it work now.

A revival should never be about salvation. It should have the primary focus of restoration. Even though evangelistic works are done, the focus should be on renewing life to the people of God.

 

Real Revival

First, we need to define real revival. Revival means to revive, to make live again. I have been in a dozen or more revivals in the past few years. Very rarely have I seen the emotionally charged penticostal services bring a real change in the lives of the individuals. Furthermore, I have never seen them spawn a real revival of the church.

It is sad, but people are slain in the spirit for hours praying and worshiping God. They are so excited and happy because the move the work of God in their lives. Nevertheless, they wake up the next morning in the same boat they were in.

I have not seen a real change in the lives of individuals who get caught up in the emotionalism of the services. However, I have seen real change occur in the lives of individuals who did not get caught up in the emotionalism of the service.

People who get caught up in emotionalism tend to trust their emotions, which are easily swayed. Emotions are not real; They can be happy one moment sad another. Emotions are fake and can lead people to believe and to do things they would not normally do.

Nonetheless, the people who see real change are those who have a mental adjustment. They may get emotional, but they are making a real mental heart and mind change.

Fifty years ago when revival services started getting big, there were dramatic manifestations of the spirit and real change made. But today, we are trying to live on the skirtails of the past generations. However, our drive through, microwavable society wants change here and wants it now. Unlike the previous generation that developed a true longing for God over time we want the spirit of God to hit us now and change us.

Changes do not happen all at once. Real change occurs when there is a change of the mind.