New Website – PathsofReturn.com

18 03 2011

Howdy anyone who may still have me on your RSS feed.

I just launched a new website – PathsofReturn.com where I’ll be posting my thoughts going forward.

See you over there!

 

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Family-Based Discipleship

4 08 2009

Here’s a teaching I gave on August 2, 2009 on Family-based discipleship training.

Audio – Family-Based Discipleship Audio

Slides – Family-Based Discipleship Slides

By the way I’m working on a completely new blog based more on 30 page articles, videos and mp3s with blog posts being simply one of the mediums but I need a custom platform in order to design and organize the content correctly so it’s taking some time to launch.  Stay tuned.





Designing a Weekly Rhythm with God’s People

1 05 2009

I believe God intends us to design our lifestyle in a rhythm of seven days.  God demonstrated this through creation as a model for a healthy way to live (Exodus 20:11).  The day of rest is the culmination of a seven day rhythm.  Jesus reaffirms this gift by saying, “God created the sabbath for man not man for the Sabbath.”  We’re not bound to live life in a seven day rhythm but it is a gift from God to bring balance to our lives.

So what are the things you do EVERY week?  What does a weekly rhythm look like as a church (a body of interdependent disciples).  I wanted to share the four things I’m committed to doing with the body of Christ on a weekly basis.  I also have a weekly rhythm designed in my relationship with God, with my family, my business life etc. but this post is limited to the minimum I’m committed to do every week with Christ’s body.

My weekly church rhythm mirrors the following verse from Acts 2:42 – “All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.”

I know many of you probably would like to ideally see these four things happen in your life by accident as you value them more but I’ve found, for myself, if I commit four time periods to these elements every week, they actually happen pretty much every week.  In the past, when I committed myself to these things but refused to design them into my rhythm (hoping they would “just happen”) I would look back at months where they just didn’t happen.

OK, so here is how I do these four –

1. Devoted to the apostle’s teaching.  I do this through repeatedly teaching and training through the 10 areas of the Story.  I always have a group I’m either taking through the 10 weeks of the Story-Formed Life or I’ll train through a 4-5 week intensive on one of the 10 topics (right now I’m developing a 4 week intensive training on Sonship). (Currently Monday mornings and Tuesday nights)

2. Devoted to the Fellowship.  One way I do this weekly is by gathering with a body of believers and engaging in a 1 Corinthians 14:26 style open participatory meeting.  I currently to this with about 30-40 disciples in Bellevue, KY and it is extremely encouraging every week.  There is no agenda we just all bring things the Spirit has given each to build up the body. (Currently Sunday nights)

3. Sharing in Meals including the Lord’s Supper.  Every Saturday night our family hosts a Shabbat dinner where we host different families and groups into our home (usually members of the body).  We have a family liturgy we go through every time where I go over the Gospel by asking the kids various questions, we sing hymns and take the Lord’s supper together.  We then eat the most amazing meal we can make and usually are up until midnight enjoying, talking, drinking, sharing, eating, smoking, laughing etc.

4. Praying Together.  The development of a rhythmic prayer gathering is my most recent obsession.  I’ve taken several stabs at this that haven’t lasted but here’s what I’m working on currently.  I’ve been interested in the way Jesus often took Peter, James and John away with him to pray together.  I feel led to find 3 other men that will commit to being totally vulnerable and then deeply intercede for one another and together for the Kingdom.  I’m organizing this group right now as I feel I’ve neglected this part of my rhythm for too long.

What you might find missing are leadership meetings, worship services etc. which are a part of my monthly rhythm but not weekly.

What elements are a part of your weekly rhythm with other disciples?  How do you engage in these areas?  How have you determined what elements are essential to do every week?  I love comparing rhythms instead of mission statements because what we do in a week better demonstrates what we are actually committed to.





A Thousand Splendid Sons

12 03 2009

picture-7

I’m fascilitating a training on Sonship tonight and I’m consistently amazed at how hard it is for me to receive this identity.  But this is what makes sense of everything.  It explains why Christ came for us and why we must train disciples.  Watchman Nee said it best in the Normal Christian Life when he wrote –

God is seeking full-grown sons; but He does not stop even there. For He does not want His sons to live in a barn or a garage or a field; He wants them in His home; He wants them to share His glory. That is the explanation of Romans 8:30: “Whom he justified, them he also glorified.” Sonship—the full expression of His Son—is God’s goal in the many sons. How could He bring that about? By justifying them and then by glorifying them. In His dealings with them God will never stop short of that goal. He set Himself to have sons, and to have those sons, mature and responsible, with Him in glory. He made provision for the whole of Heaven to be peopled with glorified sons. That was His purpose in redemption.

So what is the purpose of my life – it is the same Christ’s purpose – to “bring many sons to glory.”  The greatest thing that could be said about the fruitfulness of one of God’s children is that his life resulted in a thousand splendid sons.





The Meaning of Missional when only 9% of Americans have a Biblical Wordview

10 03 2009

Barna recently released a survey demonstrating that less than 9% of Americans have a biblical worldview.

This is why I canNOT agree with statements like –

“The last thing Christians need is more training.” or

“Being missional means mainly reaching those far outside the church”

When the question was narrowed to people who considered themselves “born again” (evangelicals) the number with a biblical worldview was only 19%.

A biblical worldview was defined as –

believing that absolute moral truth exists; the Bible is totally accurate in all of the principles it teaches; Satan is considered to be a real being or force, not merely symbolic; a person cannot earn their way into Heaven by trying to be good or do good works; Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth; and God is the all-knowing, all-powerful creator of the world who still rules the universe today. In the research, anyone who held all of those beliefs was said to have a biblical worldview.

I can’t help but feel that those who go outside the churches in their community to make disciples are like a doctor who has a thousands patients dying of preventible diseases in a hospital yet, instead of curing them, he chooses to spend 90% of his time going door to door to look for more sick people.  This is what my missional friends are missing.  We must put our own house in order.





What if we are already one?

9 03 2009

I’m often asked questions like –

  • Why do you think church planting is often divisive?
  • Why do you work with many churches instead of sticking with one?
  • Why do you refuse to recognize denominational walls?
  • Why do you identify yourself with this unseen “city church”?

Because I believe we ARE one.  I’m not trying to unify the church, I’m simply trying to work with a church that is already one.  Just because many of God’s children act like we’re not members of the same family it doesn’t change these realities.  Two kids in a family may squabble and wish they were not siblings but its the father who holds his family together.  Their momentary strife isn’t going to change the fact that the father sees them as members of the same family and neither should it change the prospective of the Father’s servants – you and me.

Roland Allen nailed this in the below paragraph in “Missionary Methods” –

St. Paul began with unity.  In his view the unity of the Church was not something to be created, but something which already existed and was to be maintained.  Churches were not independent unities: they were extensions of an already existing unity.  There could be no such thing as two churches in the same place both holding the Head, yet not in communion one with another…If a member was united to the Head he was united to all the other members.

What would happen if we all adopted this as the one true reality concerning our relationship to one another?





5-fold Ministry Appreciation Sorter

13 11 2008

If you feel a special call by God you may have realized you’ve received one of the 5-fold gifts from Ephesians 4 – Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teacher but which one?  In my never-ending attempt to find ridiculous generalizations for these 5 here’s another.

  • Apostles have an unusual appreciation for white boards
  • Prophets have an unusual appreciation for off color humor
  • Evangelists have an unusual appreciation for unique pubs and exotic coffee shops
  • Pastors have an unusual appreciation for comfy homes
  • Teachers have an unusual appreciation for cash back credit cards