Church Unleashed

I've been a part of some great works of God. When God's kids get a vision of life in Christ, the Holy Spirit can launch something truly amazing. 

One of the challenges is discipleship. How do we help people grow in a world that is loaded with distractions and many opportunities – even good ones? While we are overstimulated in this tech saturated world people are as lonely as ever. We need relationship – to know and be known. 

What if we dared to let the church be the church? What if we trusted God to raise up a passion for impact in the hearts of people? And then what if we managed this passion rather than creating too much structure that ultimately stifles the power of the church as an organism? 

This Sunday I'm going to cast a vision for something that's potentially more dynamic than any structure we could as people to fit into. Come get a taste if you're able.

Walk in Truth

Truth is the anchor of substance. Without truth, there is no baseline or starting point. People who can't speak or live the truth are in a race to the bottom - and there is no bottom.

We've all seen that people who can't be truthful or persist in embellishment for their own ends are bound by the law of bravado and movement. They race to diminish one person and soon move on to the next big thing. Drama becomes the necessary mode of operation. Noise is the friend of liars. Quiet reflection on communication is too risky - it may result in the need for confession.

What should we do? Truth telling must begin "in our heart". A heart that is hurting needs to be tended to by God. The unattended or unnurtured heart perpetuates the very pain they've encountered. But here's the real danger – a heart that is not in step with the Holy Spirit will serve almost any other spirit. From the overflow or abundance of the heart, "the mouth speaks" (Luke 6:45).

I have a close friend who saw a need to break the habit of lying and twisting the truth. This happened shortly after they surrendered to Jesus many years ago. They decided to double back and correct any falsehood or half truth immediately upon realizing that they had not been truthful. It took some people off guard and blew away others with their candor. But soon lying or twisting the truth was no longer a part of their life - the pain of confession was replaced by the habit of truth.

Truth is solid ground. We sleep better in truth. The need to justify and dramatize dissipates - peace fills the void. Truth is the bedrock of hope. Truth is the launching pad of a healthy legacy. Walk in Truth!

Who gets to sleep is a sacred tent or live on a Holy Mountain? "He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart; who does not slander with his tongue and does no evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his friend." Psalm 15:2-3

 

Grace - Safety Net for Sin and a Whole Lot More

When Christians think of grace it's often assumed that Grace is God's favor to us and that this favor is unmerited. But we tend to think of Grace only being leveraged when we're losing not when we're winning – Grace becomes the safety net for sin. There is more, a whole lot more!

God's Grace was so overflowing in Stephen that it gave him an uncommon power to proclaim the gospel. For Stephen, Grace was so powerfully at work in him that it cost him his life – he would say the tradeoff was worth it as many surrendered their life to Christ and the gospel spread like wildfire. 

But the power to share the gospel is just one of the many ways Grace is at work in our life. Justin Holcomb, an Episcopalian professor from Knox Seminary, has assembled a comprehensive list of the ways God's Grace works in our life. Here's a look at the list:

"God’s grace grounds and empowers everything in the Christian life. Grace is the basis for:

  • Our Christian identity: “By the grace of God I am what I am.” (1 Corinthians 1:10)
  • Our standing before God: “this grace in which we stand.” (Romans 5:2)
  • Our behavior: “We behaved in the world … by the grace of God.” (2 Corinthians 2:12)
  • Our living: those who receive “the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ,”(Romans 5:17) by the “grace of life.” (1 Peter 1:7)
  • Our holiness: God “called us to a holy calling … because of his own purpose and grace.” (2 Timothy 2:9)
  • Our strength for living: “Be strengthened by the grace that is in Jesus Christ” (2 Timothy 2:1) for “it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace.” (Hebrews 13:9)
  • Our way of speaking: “Let your speech always be gracious.” (Colossians 4:6)
  • Our serving: “serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace.” (1 Peter 1:10)
  • Our sufficiency: “My grace is sufficient for you.” (2 Corinthians 2:9) “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” (2 Corinthians 2:8)
  • Our response to difficulty and suffering: We get “grace to help in time of need,” (Hebrews 4:16) and when “you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace...will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” (1 Peter 1:10)
  • Our participation in God’s mission: As recipients of grace we are privileged to serve as agents of grace. Believers receive grace (Acts 11:23), are encouraged to continue in grace (Acts 13:43), and are called to testify to the grace of God (Acts 20:24). Jesus says, “As the Father has sent me, even so, I am sending you” (John 20:21). God’s mission is to the entire world.
  • Our future: God, and his grace, is everlasting. “Set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:13)
  • Our hope beyond death: “grace [reigns] through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 5:21)

The gospel is all about God’s grace through Jesus Christ. That’s why Paul calls it “the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24) and “the word of his grace” (Acts 14:3)."

Yes, when we sin, Grace, is there to pick us up. But Grace is whole lot more. Grow in the grace of God today. I've learned that humility is the posture of receiving in the kingdom of God. Humble yourself under his hand and watch you life grow.

Blessings,

Karl

Mary - The Ultimate "Favored" Mom

Mary, the mother of Jesus, lived a favored life. Luke's gospel is clear that she was plucked out of obscurity, spoken to by an angel, and told that she had found favor with God (Luke 1:28 & 30). Mary's life proves a point that Isaiah 66:1-2 spikes home...God is searching for people to place his favor. Some facts about favor from Mary's life and other biblical heroes 

God’s favor is…

  • Attainable – Within the reach of anyone
  • Brutal – Plenty of trials and challenges
  • Epic – Front row seat to see God’s power

How Did Mary Find Favor With God? We have the answer in her response to the angel Gabriel. "Behold , I am a servant of the Lord; let it be according to your word." (Luke 1:38)

Mary was from Nazareth…
but she lived in Surrender!

Why risk living surrendered?

  • When you own your weakness you discover true power.
  • The impact of your surrender will be felt for many years.
  • God sees everything and he’ll see a surrendered you.

Surrendered people are favored people…will you surrender your life to God?

The Essential Conversation

Prayer is such a beautiful gift and evidence of God's genuine love for his greatest creations. That God would give us speech to share our fears, dreams, and questions with him is amazing. And the promises of God to get us aligned with our deepest desires as we delight in him is almost unbelievable.

Isn't that the tactic of evil? To plant such doubts in our minds about God's true intentions that we neglect the simplest and sweetest conversations?

Isn't it the moments of utter silence after a prayer from our heart that deludes us to question whether God could possibly care? And aren't the daily conversations we have forgotten that we had with others, the very thing that causes us to think that God will soon forget our needs?

But our human experiences with conversation should never keep us from a conversation with the one who gave us breath, voice, and language. He spoke the world into orbit. He spoke promises beyond compare. In the presence of God is a steady stream of wisdom and love. God wants to talk with words both spoken and our words responded to...join the conversation.

Ps. 37:4, Gen. 1:3, Is. 65:24

Powerful Message

Self-love is popular but is it biblical? Francis Chan explores this and so much more in a powerful message. I found this to be challenging and confirming. If the church were to adopt the heart of this teaching and the biblical text, it would explode in power. Please take the time to listen. 

Special Prayer Note: It's almost time to roll! We're close to launching a new church in Chicago. I'd love it if you prayed and share the word. If you're hungry for a spiritual adventure that will change your life...click the link, get signed up here, and bring a friend. 

Revitalize Your Life with Prayer and Fasting – by Ronnie Floyd

When times are desperate, fasting can help us focus on the Father.

There is a story in 2 Chronicles 20 that illustrates the attitude we must bring to prayer and fasting.

Jehoshaphat's Powerful Declaration to God

The people of Judah were in trouble. It looked as if it was going to be total devastation for God's anointed. Even Jehoshaphat, the warrior king, was afraid. He became so fearful that he turned all his attention toward seeking the Lord in his life as he began to pursue God more intently than he'd ever done before.

In his terror at the prospect of massive defeat, Jehoshaphat proclaimed a fast throughout all of Judah. He asked the people to stop eating until God prevailed in their situation. He understood the spiritual practices of fasting and praying, and he knew that to fast before God was the best way to show his complete helplessness and humility before God.

In verse 12, he makes this powerful declaration: "Our God, will You not judge them? For we are powerless before this vast multitude that comes to fight against us. We do not know what to do, but we look to You."

The Revival Principle 

Jehoshaphat learned something you and I must never forget: we must renounce the natural and invoke the supernatural.

He declared, "God, I don't want food; I want You. You are more important than food." This is a revival principle, a resurrection principle; and a resurrection always is most credible in a graveyard.

Worldly counsel teaches us that whoever ends up with the most toys wins. We want our cars, our bank accounts, our stocks and bonds, our toys, our recreation, our steaks, and our mashed potatoes with gobs of gravy. Sometimes we want these things more than the bountiful riches and promises found in the Word of God.

But when we're desperate, we cannot have it both ways.

The Truth About Idols and Fasting

Whatever stands in the way or is idolized in our lives has to go and take its rightful place.The truth is this: We are powerless in and of ourselves. And because physical food is not our ultimate source of nourishment, then physical food must be seen in its physical perspective: we must be willing to renounce the natural to invoke the supernatural.

Jehoshaphat proclaimed a fast for his people so they could once again see the face of God. He said that they sought Him and kept their eyes on Him. When they became desperate, they shifted their focus to God and away from their hopeless, degenerate, discouraging, depraved situation.

It was their choice and it's also ours.

It's Time for a Spiritual Breakthrough 

I define fasting as "the abstinence from food with a spiritual goal in mind." It is when we deny ourselves the most natural thing in order to pursue the God of heaven to do something powerful and supernatural in and through our lives. When a person engages this age-old biblical principle, he or she will wake up and experience revival personally.

Like Jehoshaphat, when we become desperate enough, we, too, will drop to our knees, seek the Father, and keep our eyes fixed on Him. We will experience spiritual breakthrough when we understand that one of the gateways to His supernatural intervention in our lives is through fasting and prayer.

God wants to give us hope for the present and confidence in our future. He wants to do something mighty in our lives, and that's why He provides us with moments of desperation—to push us toward Him.

A Personal Invitation

There are millions of people in Chicagoland who are looking for the life Jesus wants to give – they need to see & hear the truth that can set them free!

We are pulling together a launch team for a new church, 180 Chicago. We're looking for imperfect, passionate people who have tasted the power of God and want to pass it on.

God is still changing lives! If you have a passion for adventure and this strikes your heart, it just might be God calling. Join us on March 12th for "Vision Chicago". Click HERE and get signed up.

ALLIES (Part 2): A Pastors Perspective on Relationships in the Church

The only way to receive God's vision for our life and get on with it, is to find people who will help us get there. One of the values at 180 Chicago, new church we'll be launching in the next few months, is the critical need for Allies: Align your life with God and allies who want you to win.

But here's a few questions that will help us think through relationships: Who is the church? How many friends do I need? What should I expect from all the people in attendance? Where do I go for help?

The church (in general) has lacked clarity around these questions. Because we've lacked clarity we find ourselves giving extraordinary amounts of resources to some, at the expense of others who suffer in silence. The goal must be to care for the needs of the whole body and not let anyone suffer alone. We also can't fall prey to thinking that we should or could have intimate relationships with an ever growing number of people. This requires we see relationships/Allies in the church through a few different lenses. 

Benefit Allies - Allies that benefit us are those who we may know little of, but when we see them or hear of them we are the better for it. These are those brothers and sisters across town or across the world who are on mission but not in our congregation or our daily lives. They send messages or we hear word of their faith and it emboldens us to stand strong on the rock. The Iranian underground church is that kind of benefit to us. To hear of saints who smuggle and share pieces of a bible so everyone will have something and no one is caught, is a direct benefit to our faith. These allies are in the battle – all around the world!

Builder Allies - Some Allies build us up. This is why Paul wrote to a central group of followers in a city who were meeting together and encouraged them to each use the gifts God had given them. Some of the phrases Paul used were, "varieties of gifts", "are one body",  "the parts of the body that seem weaker are indispensable" (I Cor. 12). Here's the bottom line: In the local congregation, it's all hands on deck, or whatever part you are. We can't have anyone on the sidelines because we are stronger when we all do our part together.

Buddy Allies - There is a level of relationship that can only be shared with a few. Jesus modeled this with Peter, James and John, and he did it for a reason – we're not designed to have more than a few really close friends. These buddies are people who love you no matter what you've done, are doing, or will do in the future. They are in for the long haul. There are unfazed by your blunders and not overwhelmed by your victories. They love you and you love them enough to say, "wait a minute", and they always believe God for big things in your life. Everybody needs a buddy or two, or three. But not many more than that. Unapologetically pray for a few close spiritual buddies, your vitality in Christ is riding on it. 

These lenses can help us see relationships in the church with fresh eyes. We'll be the better for it.

 

 

 

 

"WHO'S OUT THERE?"

I’ve wondered from time to time, “Who’s out there?” Radio is a strange and powerful tool of communication. You sit in a room with just a few people and speak into a city of many millions. I’ve closed my eyes to get a mental image. I whisper in my thoughts, “Who’s out there?”

Recently, on Karl and June Mornings, we set up the topic of pornography. Amazingly, Metallica front man, James Hetfield is narrating a new documentary about the ravaging impact of porn on the life of an addicted soul. (Addicted To Porn: Chasing The Cardboard Butterfly, releases in April.)

It was a Freedom Friday broadcast so we asked the risky question – Have you been set free from a pornography addiction? I thought in that moment, “Who’s out there?”

The phones lit up with nearly 20 first-time callers. Each person scorned shame for the sake of sharing hope – and hopeful it was. The stories of miraculous change blew us all away! But one person was “out there” who didn’t call. He sent us an email and here it is…

Dear Karl and June,
I was driving when you were speaking about porn addiction. I struggle with a double whammy: I suffer from same sex attraction and addicted to gay porn. It's been a life long battle. It's getting better lately. Your comments on the program this morning struck me. I just want to be loved and affirmed and encouraged by a man. My dad was abusive and emotionally absent. My mom was cruel and abusive as well. Today at the train station I prayed that Jesus would fill the void in my heart. I could keep going, but that's enough for now. Please pray that God would be my deliverer, healer, and Abba Father.
Very best and kind regards,  __________

Today I’m not wondering, “Who’s out there?” There are untold millions of people who need to hear that God loves them and wants to be right there with them. I prayed for this man on-air. He sent another email…God allowed him to hear the prayer and it brought on the tears.

It’s because of who is out there that I can’t turn from my calling to both radio and the church. Radio is like a tip of the spear into this present darkness. The church is the place where hugs are given, tears are wiped away, and the audacious vision of God is clearly shared – hope can be spoken through eyes of compassion and into the souls of man.

This all leads me to ask you for some prayers. We need about 40 more people who are cut to the heart and filled with compassion when they hear stories like this sweet man. These 40 people will fill-out our launch team for a new church in Chicago – 180 Chicago. This kind of heart is what’s needed at the core and I ask you to pray that God would bring in his hand-chosen workers – the fields are ripe for harvest!

If you, or someone you know, want to prayerfully consider joining this ragtag group who believes God for huge things in the lives of all people…come find out more! Just click HERE and we’ll see you on the 19th.

Many Blessings,

Karl

Fight with Light

Get in the fight for faith and never leave until we break through to the other side! The only thing worse than facing an enemy is the wounding we receive when we turn away. Don't walk away from the goals you've discovered. Never stop dreaming. Don't doubt your gifting. Never neglect your calling. The price God paid to get you on this path was high and the promises of God are too rich to be denied. Each day may appear like a flat-line trajectory, but even holding the ground we've gained can be a lift-hands-high victory. Fight for faith!

There is one thing that changes everything in our fight for faith. God shines light into the darkness. He doesn't leave us groping and guessing. God let's us see that our fight for faith is..."against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places." So let God's illumination be your ammunition. If you have a sliver of God's light of truth, stand in it. If you hear the darkness uttering lies, speak the light of truth into it. If you feel the forces of evil deceiving you, ask Jesus to shed the light of truth directly on it. The greatest way to fight for faith is with light.

Every word of God you speak into "this present darkness", lights a torch of truth that let's you make a little more progress. God's word is "a lamp to our feet and a light to our path", so get some light on every situation. Guess and grope no more. Open up the truth, pour in the truth, speak out the truth, and watch your world light up! In our fight for faith, God is not constrained by the weapons of common warfare. Flip on the switch of truth, fight with light, and I'll see you on the other side!

Eph. 6, Ps. 119

Hope for the Disillusioned

The Church has an opportunity like never before in our nation. We have millions of people who are grasping for answers to life. People are longing for more and they have yet to hear and see that Jesus is the more they're looking for. 

Change can happen. The world has yet to feel the full force of God's power. But with a shift in our thinking and a fresh commitment to loving, we can touch the lives of people who long to feel the transcendent love of God – even if they can't put words to it.

A Church that is organically committed to loving people as they are and courageous enough to share God's vision for where he wants them to be, will be a church who reaches the lost and expands the kingdom of God.

Jeff Vanderstelt has some great thoughts on why people are disillusioned with the church. Enjoy this short video.

Personal Note: I'm following God's calling on my life. On February 5th I'll begin leading a core group of a new church in downtown Chicago. It's called 180 Chicago. I invite you to prayerfully consider joining us if you see your need for God and want to part of a church that organically reaches out to people with the love of our Father and courageously offers God's greater vision for every area of life. Our next orientation is February 4th. Click here to get signed up. See you then.

Never Try to Hit a Bully - Confront evil with Truth

Intimidation is a tool of evil and it's very effective. It attempts to beat us down and hold us there. Sometimes we can no longer get a glimpse of our God-given dreams...because we're buried under mounds of accusation and condemnation. Satan doesn't need to get physical because his most lethal assault is mental.

That's why he "roars like a lion". Bullies, Satan and demons have something in common, they fight with words and bravado. Evil is a real and powerful spiritual force. Believe in it or not but we're sure to get smacked by it. The blows it throws are always low. It connects well with its target and it always plays dirty.

The reason Satan wants to intimidate us mentally is so we won't get on our feet emotionally. And he will accuse us of almost anything. Here's the problem: Some accusation has an element of truth to it. And evil's plan is to "magnify the memories of our spiritual failures". But no matter the amount of times we fall or the depth of our failure, we have a Savior!

This conflict will never end in this life. The enemy can't be underestimated: Satan is cruel and masterful. And when these two horrendous character traits come together it can be deadly to our dreams. But we are never a slave to evil's intimidation. The wounds are survivable, the chains are breakable, and the dreams God has for us can be reclaimed...if we fight the bully with truth!

This is why we must never try to hit back at evil...we must confront the bully of our soul with truth. 

I Peter 5:8, A.W. Tozier

Get Wisdom

We’ll face several critical decisions in our life that require some deep wisdom. Where we turn for answers will dictate our direction. And the direction we take can have significant downstream impact on both our life and our legacy.

God never intended for us to have a flip-the-coin decision making process. God is much more available and directional than we might imagine. Life should never be a “throw of the dice” for Christ followers. He wants to pour wisdom into us so we’re headed in a healthy direction and making decisions that are measured, prudent, produces immense joy, and overflowing life.

One of the biggest reservoirs of wisdom is God’s Word. The proverbs are loaded with truth that can give us nuanced insight and specific steps. But often we need wise counsel. Words from someone who has lived longer and has diligently applied the scriptures can shed light on a situation so we don’t step into a mirage of blessing.

This is exactly where King Rehoboam blew it. He’s the son of Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, but he opts for the wisdom of his friends. Rehoboam “abandoned the counsel of the old men”. This was a huge misstep that derailed his leadership and divided the kingdom. What we can learn from Rehoboam’s folly is powerfully preserving.

Wise counsel will tell us what we need to hear, not always what we want to hear. Find people who fear God more than they are enamored with us. Recognize that our peers usually have our same perspective and motivations. But don’t just find older people. Seek out counsel who is measured, has a good track record and wants us to get a win. We may well get some decisions wrong, but God has grace for those as well. The goal of seeking wise counsel is not perfection, but it is getting enough wisdom so we can feel confident in our decisions. Getting wisdom at the front end will give us confidence to move through trials to the very end.

Here's two classic books, full of wisdom and spiritual insight:
The Release of of the Spirit - Watchman Nee
Humility - Andrew Murray

I Kings 12

Let God Take You There

Never apologize for how God has hardwired you. People have a need to live, design, plan, and build. To hold hope, receive love, and to see how our life matters – you're designed to thrive and God can take you there. 

This is why Jesus offered "abundant" life, not mere survival. He offered more than a little joy, but that our "joy would be full". Jesus offers a life that fulfills our deepest needs. He designed us to live an extraordinary life and the scriptures are loaded with evidence, we just need eyes to see. Let God take you there. 

I've been challenged recently by Watchman Nee. He was a church leader and evangelist in China who was used powerfully by God. The underground church credits it's beginnings to a handful of faithful pastors, Nee is one of the most prominent. 

Nee spoke of the deep things of God. He saw that many read the scriptures in a detached manner. What he proposed is profound. The need we have is to read the words of God as they are – a living message from God designed to pierce our heart with a vision (message) from God and a clear path to take hold of it.

Reading the scriptures needs to become worship. I'm learning how intimate and powerful the message can be when we ask God to speak to us directly and to shepherd us into the deepest truths of his love and plan for our lives. 

Make an appointment to meet with God in his word. Prepare for it like you would to meet with a King – he is! Listen to every word and allow him to speak into your spirit by his Spirit. The Holy Spirit will "guide you into all truth" so allow him entry into every corner of your life. 

God designed you to thrive. His word, led by his spirit, is a guided tour into a world yet undiscovered by too many Christians. Take the road less traveled today. Let God take you there and the word of God will be "at work in you".

John 10:10, Hebrews 4:12, John 16:13, I Thessalonians 2:13

It went so well last week...we're doing it again! Come get a cup of coffee and a shot of vision for a new church launching in downtown Chicago. Join us..This Saturday, December 10th. Click here for more info!

 

 

Race to the Bottom (remix)

God has a plan for greatness and he's not shy about sharing it. The only challenge is that we're not naturally wired to understand it. Everything we've learned in life has taught us that greatness is reached by climbing. When we think greatness, we think blue ribbon, king of the mountain, top chef, gold medal, nicest abs, highest compensation and the list goes on. These aren't inherently evil and often times they're the result of God's grace and a good work ethic. But our natural born measurement of greatness leaves too many feeling like we're losers. God's plan for greatness is totally unique and not one person has to sit on the sidelines of life. That's because it's a race to the bottom...anyone can fall down!

Here's God's plan for greatness: "Whoever humbles himself like a child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." It's this simple. In God's economy, self actualization, self determination, self gratification and most of the other self-tions have no place at the table of true greatness. This is for one simple reason: True abundance of life and the richest souls that walk this planet have found that a Christ-centered life beats a self-centered life every single day. We were made for something more than we can achieve in our own strength. We were designed to be conduits of transcendence. And when we become "like a child" we posture ourselves for greatness. That posture is utter dependence.  

Want true greatness? Don't settle another day for the best life you can make for yourself. God has more. Realize your need for someone bigger, stronger, and yes - greater than you. Reach out to God from a posture of need and witness God fill you up with all he has. God has a plan for true greatness and oh baby, you can have it.

Matthew 18:1-4

Breaking Free from the Illusion of Salvation

I was not only raised in a good church, I was a good kid. I walked the aisle, attended youth group, went to conferences, memorized verses, and even help lead a youth ministry – but I didn't know Jesus. I hadn't truly experienced the life-changing power of God. 

Yes, we can be so close and yet so far away from saving faith. The illusion of salvation is so blinding that no one is beyond the reach of its deception. Jesus says that preachers, demon casters, and even Christian workers can claim the name of God...and not be his kids.

Matthew 7:21-23 21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

Here’s what this means for us practically:

  1. Don't make "getting to church" the goal for your kids. Settle for nothing less than "their life transformed by the power of Christ".
  2. Look at how God describes and defines new life (Soak in Gospel of John).
  3. Resist trying to convince yourself that spiritual activity equals spiritual life.
  4. Pray for spiritual clarity and freedom from deception. We can pray this, for ourselves and those we love.
  5. Never stand in judgment over someone's salvation, that's God's job. But do hold high a biblical vision for the power of the gospel.

God bless you in this season. May the life of Christ transform you and those you love!

They Just Need To Hear!

I can't wait to connect again with my new friend. I just met him briefly after a meeting I had with some other pastors. He shared with me that he loved what he overheard us talking about...but that he didn't know too much about Christianity. 

WOW! A young man hungry to talk with me more about life in Christ? He truly wants to know more and the passion in his eyes was amazing. I'll be meeting with him soon!

I firmly believe the church is missing something big. Our nation isn't as much post-Christian as it is unreached. Most people I meet who aren't Christian have no real idea what Jesus wants for them - to be freed from constraints of sin and experience abundant life.

We must be courageous because many millions simply haven't heard the gospel for all it is. Our hopes must be lifted and our vision must expand. Jesus came to seek and save lost people. We can't wait for them to visit church, we need to confidently reach out in love.

I have two simple, but powerful, ways to help equip and inspire people to share the gospel:

  1. The church needs to celebrate life-change stories every weekend service. I'm not big on doing something "all the time", but this is an exception. In the church I was lead pastoring in Anchorage, Alaska, we had these stories every week. It created of culture of expectation and I believe life-change stories help spur a booming church. We had "many added to our number" year after year.
  2. People need to be equipped and encouraged to share their story. If you look at Acts 26 you'll find Paul sharing his story. That's it, just his story! It took him all of 3 minutes, I timed it. The most powerful and relevant tool we have to reach people who are unreached is our story. No one can steal it and no one can deny it...it's our story! 

Sure, there's more to do like arming people with central passages of scripture, having outreach events, caring for the poor, and on it goes. But we can't forget the two big basics: Celebrate life-change as an expectation in our churches and unleash people to share their stories. Many millions of people are hungry to hear the gospel...let's tell them the whole story.

If you want to join a church that will live this out...you're invited to prayerfully consider joining me in a new church plant. Signup right here.