Small is the New Big

Church as we know it in the West isn’t working; I don’t mean people don’t enjoy themselves (as that seems to be the main directive), some do. What I am talking about is our prime directive to go into all the world and make disciples, our current understanding of church is most certainly failing in this respect. It was this understanding that caused me to make such a radical shift of direction in my life. Whilst I really don’t have all the answers I feel I am closer to what Jesus had in mind when He said ‘church’ than when I ‘pastoring’.

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The Mythology Of Church Leadership

 

 

Myth – “an unproved or false collective belief that is used to justify a social institution.” Dictionary.com

John Maxwell (who told me that he is my friend) says that “everything rises and falls on leadership”, and you know what? He is absolutely right. Everything from our schools to our homes, from our businesses to our sports teams need to be led – The thing is what should church leadership really look like. Does the Bible give any clues, should we be like a corporation or is that the very opposite of what the Jesus had in mind? Read more

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Don’t Call It Church!

We have all heard it again and again, following Jesus is a relationship and not a religion – To this I say a hearty “amen”. The thing is how does this pan out in our daily living, do we ‘follow Jesus in the way’ or ‘visit Him on a Sunday’? Ironically, the very thing that advertises as being a help can actually be very detrimental to following after the Lord Jesus; I am of course talking about church. Read more

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Israel’s Temple Has Been Rebuilt!

Why did Jesus have such zeal for the temple?

There is much conjecture as to how and when we will witness the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem. The thing is we are about 2,000 years too late; God has fully rebuilt the temple and it has become a house of prayer for all nations.

Now I know I might be treading on some toes and I don’t pretend to be an authority on the ‘End Times’, but hear me out.

What did Jesus say?

After turning the tables and freeing the animals in the Gentile Court, the Jews demanded to know by whose authority Jesus created such chaos. His response is fascinating:

“Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” John 2:19

Jesus is being very deliberate in His words, He knew the Jews would think He meant the building they were standing in, but verse 21 tells us that He was speaking of His body. The question then is why would He say this and leave the Jews believing something different?

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Religion and Church Don’t Mix

When the kids get sick, you lose your job, someone you love dies, your house gets flooded or whatever, it is absolutely vital that you understand that these have no bearing on how God feels about you. Let’s ask ourselves a question, was Jesus’ sufferings a sign that God was displeased with Him because He fell short in His performance? Did Paul suffer more before or after He chose to follow Jesus? I am not saying that all life is supposed to be bad and that we shouldn’t do our best, but I am saying a challenge free, pain free, get my own way all the time utopia in this life is nothing more than a flesh inspired, childish pipe dream.

In so many places today God is seen as a means to get the comfy life we desire, many agree to His commands as a way to live a better life. The problem with this is that we take God’s call to holiness and reduce it to a formula for success; the irony being of course that because of this we often become total spiritual failures. This is however a very tricky line to walk because without doubt God answers our prayers, He blesses us with provision, healing and all kinds of marvellous works but these do not guarantee us the Hollywood Celebrity Lifestyle we so often crave.

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What did Jesus mean when He said ‘church’?

Jesus didn’t speak much of the church in the Gospels but when He did, He said He would build it and it would have authority over the resistance of hell as well as the ability to self govern. Over the last couple of years or so, I have been asking the Lord what did He see when He said church. His answer has turned my understanding upside down… or should I say the right way up?

Having given three articles over to why I don’t want to go to church, I now want to take a more positive approach as to what church is and why I want to be totally involved. A contradiction? No, not really because there is church and then there is church. 😉

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But I don’t want to go to church…

In my mind there is a difference between being the church, (God’s people on earth and in heaven) and going to church (a religious exercise sometimes attached to self-righteousness and a sense of well-being). As I have progressed in my journey I have come to question many of the things I used to take for granted, including the habit of church going.

Of course I am not against people going to church but I am questioning the reasons behind it and how effective it is in bringing the people of God to maturity; it is probably worth noting that I have been a ‘pastor’ for over ten years, I have planted two works and have preached in any number of churches around the world, I am forty eight years old, married with two married sons and two daughters at home. Along with my wife I oversee two Christian schools as well as the churches and I am asking the question “why would I go to church?”

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WARNING! The Ten Commandments Can Kill…

During the last supper the Lord Jesus set in motion the New Covenant; man was no longer going to have to relate to God through the Law of Moses but by the indwelling Holy Spirit. This was a massive change in the way God was going to deal with mankind; under the new covenant God makes people right with Himself (righteous) apart from the law, He literally gives righteousness as a gift to all those who believe on the Lord Jesus no matter who they are or where they are from. This is really good news 😀

There is a misunderstanding that should be cleared up at this point; mankind has only ever been saved by grace, even those under the law. The law of Moses was given to teach man that there is a difference between sin and holiness and to protect Israel until Jesus the messiah came.

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Smoke and Mirrors?

My Dad used to have a saying, ” if it aint broke, don’t fix it”. In other words if something is working well don’t mess around with it in case you break it. With that in mind, why did I go to all the trouble of breaking two apparently successful churches that were growing and enjoying great meetings? The key for me was all to do with what do we mean when we say that something is ‘successful’?

Success surely has to be when a plan or a project delivers that which it was designed to do, it is when we get what we set out to achieve? What happened to us was, I changed how I defined success, and therefore our churches went from success to failure overnight without anything in them being changed. To be honest there was more of as process than I have suggested but the result was the same.

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It’s Church Jim, but not as we know it…

Over the last few years my world has been turned upside down when it comes to church and what we mean when we say church.

After all we can ‘go to church‘, we can be ‘church goers‘, we ‘visit churches‘, we raise money for ‘church buildings‘ we can feel bored whilst we are ‘at church’, we can feel better after ‘we have been to church’,  and we can insist on a certain standard of behaviour whilst we are ‘in church’. Of course we can add to this list the special clothes we might wear, or the particular words we say, and what about the music, the songs, the hierarchy, the order of service, the money, our favourite seats and the funny way the preacher says God?

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