How to Start a Cult

Recently, a conference speaker said, “If your experience is exalted above God’s Word, you are wrong.” In my opinion, this was the most important statement that I heard at the ministers’ conference. The conference speaker led pastors in an organized session of practicing spiritual gifts, speaking in tongues, interpretation of tongues, prophecy, visions, laying on of hands, and other experiences of inspired speech and prayer often associated with the Pentecostal baptism in the Holy Spirit. Imagine a meeting room filled with ministers praying in unknown languages and then taking turns speaking any message that God may have placed in […]

Who Are We? [The Re-branding of Discipleship] E

A disciple is crucified. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.[a]The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 10:38–39). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles. Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man […]

Who Are We? [The Re-branding of Discipleship] D

Discipleship is supernatural. I once saw a little sticker that still makes me laugh when I think of it. “The two great facts of life: 1) There is a God. 2) You are not Him.” There is a difference between man and God, a vast contrast between the methods of human ingenuity and the work of the Holy Spirit. Coaching a softball team is human and natural. Discipling Christians is miraculous and spiritual. The task of discipleship requires a miracle. The Apostle Paul contrasts the natural flesh[a]Flesh is a synonym for carnal nature, sinful nature, old nature, natural man. […]

Who Are We? [The Re-branding of Discipleship] C

KOINONIA The biblical words for fellowship and communion are identical and indicate a “commonness” or “community.” Every believer is a participant in a larger, much larger, organism. There are characteristics and functions that all believers share in common. It is interesting that the New Testament shows fellowship happening in conjunction with sharing a meal. Never underestimate the value of sitting down together to share bread and share your life. This seems to work in smaller church groups, but large groups seem to succeed at providing great banquets and buffet lines, but if they only provide surface relationships and fail […]

Who Are We? [The Re-branding of Discipleship] B

The Disappearance of Disciple The word “disciple” is not used after the first five books of the New Testament. The followers of Jesus are not called “disciples” outside of the Gospels and Acts. Twenty-one New Testament books don’t use the title “disciple.” Twenty-two books don’t use the verb “disciple” or “make disciples.” I would think that after the Great Commission (“Go and make disciples”) that the Apostles would have emphasized that specific word. We sure like that word today. We keep writing books about disciple-making. Churches keep studying how to be a disciple and how to disciple disciples. If […]

Who Are We? [The Re-branding of Discipleship] A

“And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.” [a]The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ac 11:26). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles. We call ourselves “Christians.” Yet, it is a word that is cited only three times in the entire Bible. [b]Χριστιανός – Acts 11:26; Acts 26:28; 1st Peter 4:16. The word “disciple” is used 267 times in the New Testament, a significantly more frequent usage than the three uses of the word “Christian.” One verse uses both words, “And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.” A new word was created at Antioch as a label for […]

How Not to Build Your Team

Don’t be an insecure leader when building up your team. A team is a collection of diverse individuals with shared objectives and shared resources. Each individual team member must have freedom to perform different tasks, use different methods, explore different ideas. If the team leader desires creativity, he must encourage diverse styles, diverse expression and communication, conflicting opinions, authentic individualism. The team leader’s function is to provide this mixed group with the tools to work in harmony. The team leader must be able to know the difference between individualism and rebellion. Squelching diversity is a bad thing. There is a […]

Divisions Are Not Always Bad

by A. W. Tozer God Tells the Man Who Cares, c 1970, Christian Publications Inc, pp 45-48 When to unite and when to divide, that is the question, and a right answer requires the wisdom of a Solomon. Some settle the problem by rule of thumb: All union is good and all division bad. It’s that easy. But obviously this effortless way of dealing with the matter ignores the lessons of history and overlooks some of the deep spiritual laws by which men live. If good men were all for union and bad men for division, or vice versa, […]

How to Euthanize Your Fervor

The nineteenth verse of First Thessalonians chapter five advises us: Do not quench the Spirit. I quickly thought of six ways that we can put out the flame: Lack of communication Starvation Isolation Distraction Misinformation Lack of participation Lack of Communication When we neglect to talk with God, it is like withholding oxygen necessary for combustion. Prayer is not a dull religious duty, it is a privilege provided for those who want to talk to God. Don’t waste the privilege. Eventually, a prayer-less follower of Christ stops following Christ. Starvation The Word of God is like spiritual nourishment. When we […]

How to Preach Foolishness

Preaching is rightly dividing the Word of God with a view to persuasion – a balance of all things that make a preacher one who is persuasive. In 1941, J. Harwood Patterson defined preaching: Preaching is the spoken communication of divine truth with a view to persuasion. Patterson explained his definition had three aspects: THE MATTER: divine truth | what to preach THE MANNER: spoken | how to preach THE PURPOSE: persuasion |why we preach Patterson modeled after Guthrie’s Three P’s: Proving Painting Persuading Preaching must be more than a lecture or a talk. A sermon must tell us how […]