Someone Is Waiting On You To Start A Movement

Maybe The Fart Smeller Movement?

Back in October 2011, my wife Julie and I were in New York City during the time of the Occupy Wall Street protests to attend a conference on ministering to immigrants that are arriving daily in the United States.  While walking through the area around Wall Street in Manhattan, I came across the guy above and asked if I could snap his photo. Apparently he was wanting to start his own movement (no pun intended). Today, several years later I came upon the photo and began to wonder, “What type of movement could I begin that produces change.” Change for myself, my family, my friends, people I coach and train that are planting churches in Cleveland. I believe that we have the ability and capability to begin movements that create change. Change that is temporal as well as eternal. This has me asking the question, how?

In my thought process, either wrong or right, a movement can take on the nature of a business, a political agenda, or a movement that is spiritual. Some people might call a movement a cause, but I think that is really one dimensional. A movement is more than a cause, it is different. A movement changes me, the individual. It changes others.

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You Are Not As Good As You Think Either!

What if there was only one rule you had to keep, in order for everyone to be happy and life to be great. Think about it kids, your parents only have one rule. Students just one rule – no dating until your 20! On your job – just one rule. In your home, just one rule. You would be asking, ”Where do I sign up?” In my last post, I shared how I thought I was really good at tennis back in my younger years only to be proven that was not the case. But what about my life? I mean, at one time or another we think, “I’m just as good as him or her.” It’s only natural to compare ourselves to others when it comes to morality, looks, and life in general. The problem in that, is that we are using the wrong measuring stick to compare ourselves to. If there were only one rule I had to keep to be good…

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I Am No Longer Calling Myself A Christian

mS7sNRL3I7ptXHEoChristian. A very descriptive word within itself. It can stand alone on it’s on merits and paints a picture in the mind that varies from person to person. But, what does it mean? Who does it describe? Is it an accurate word to describe those who use it?

The American Heritage Dictionary defines a Christian as “one who professes belief in Jesus as Christ and follows the religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus; one who lives according to the teachings of Jesus.” Sounds pretty reasonable and correct. That is if you want a dictionary version. Don’t get me wrong, this is a definition that many Christians would work around to eventually and mutter robotically if they had to verbalize their faith.

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How To Completely Change The Way You Worship

worshipIntroduction: What happens in your life Monday-Saturday?

• Kids to school
• Work
• Cook
• Sleep
• Entertainment
• Social life
• Clean house
• Check Facebook a thousand times 😉
• Etc.

How do you worship God Monday through Saturday? Or, is worship confined to Sunday when you walk through the church doors?

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A Critique of T4T for Disciple Making

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Most churches today are searching for the next magic pill, the next great program or the pastor who seems to make it look easy as a way to grow their congregations. What they seem to neglect is the power of the Word of God and the Spirit of God to make an impact. Why do churches struggle with making disciples that make disciples? It’s not that hard. I want to introduce you to the beautifully simple method of making disciples that make disciples through a church planting movement that is happening around the world today in every continent on the planet.

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Will Christians Ever Be Happy With The Government?

I want to start off by saying that I have been attending church nine months before I born, if you know what I mean. Personally I made the commitment to follow Jesus and be known as a Christian some forty-three years ago when I was a boy of nine. To be honest, I had no idea what that meant and in my teenage years drifted into things I should not have which meant I drifted from Christianity. It wasn’t until several years later after I married my wife, that we both made comprehensible decisions to follow Jesus and dedicate our lives to serving and loving him.

I am about to hit a raw nerved with both my liberal leaning and my conservative leaning friends when it comes to our government and the decisions that are made in the Executive, Judicial, and the Legislative branches of our government. I believe that Christians will never be happy with the government and we should stop trying to pin our country’s hope on politicians.

Here’s why:

If you are wanting the government to be filled with Christians who believe the way you do, and pass laws that dictate Christian values, you are putting your hope in the wrong place. We cannot and should not legislate personal morality. What happened with the SCOTUS in Hobby Lobby case this week is definitely a win for religious freedom, but don’t we as Americans have that anyway?

We want the government to do what Jesus left the church to do – change the world with the gospel of Jesus. It almost makes me nauseous to think that Christians today are in many ways similar to the Jewish zealots of Jesus day. They wanted rulers in high places to overthrow those who would lead the charge to cleanse their country of those wicked godless Romans.  We think God in government is going to solve our problems? Dear friend, that will only happen, when the King of Kings sits on His throne. Remember the words of Jesus, “If the world hates me, it will hate you also.” I have news for you, if you are a bleeding heart liberal or a die hard conservative, the government is not your Savior.

If the Christians I know on Facebook would spend as much time sharing Jesus with those who do not know him instead of knocking the Democrat or Republican parties, then we would fulfill the Great Commission. Jesus didn’t say that he left the organization of government to change the world, he left his church – “I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

Sometimes I think there are knuckle head Christians who don’t read and understand the Bible.  If you are like most evangelical Christians I know, you believe Jesus will return very soon. If that’s how you believe, guess what? Then you believe it is going to get worse before Jesus comes back. Look around!

Yes, I get mad at the way the spineless politicians run our country. It makes me angry that men and women have died for four hundred years to protect this country and we have wimps in state capitals and in Washington DC called politicians who are more interested in their net worth than the worth of the people of the United States.

But, I am called to show grace and mercy. To focus on what really matters. To spread the good news of Jesus and his forgiveness to everyone who will listen and pray they turn to him and turn away from their sinful life.

Is America A Christian Nation?

I have on several occassions made the comment that I believe that America is no longer a Christian nation. I based that comment and belief on the documented research of The Barna Group and The MIssional Research Center. Basically, we are a nation with a population of 300 million plus people and it is estimated that the large majority of the population are not Christian as defined by evangelical standards. Those standards which are rooted in biblical scripture include, but are not inclusive: the belief in a Creator – God, the belief in the existence of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit existing as one entity in the form of three individuals, that the Son Jesus came to earth to atone for men’s sins, that Jesus is the only way to the Father and thus eternal life in heaven, the belief in a literal heaven and hell, the belief that Jesus will return and judge humankind, and the belief that we re to follow and imitate Jesus and live out his teachings.

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Moral Cowards

Have you ever heard any of these statements?: “Religion is for weak people” or “God is a crutch for spineless wimps” or “Christianity is for cowards.”Whenever I hear that I laugh. The absurdity of that statement. It is ludicrous. It is a statement of ignorance. The fact is it takes enormous courage to just become a Christian.

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What A Christian IS

Yesterday’s post on What A Christian Is NOT was one of the most popular posts I have written in some time. At the suggestion of one of my readers and friends, I want to follow up with this post on What A Christian IS. I want to make a disclaimer upfront, this post is not about how a Christian is supposed to act nor is it about the charitable things Christians are supposed to do. The definition of who is a Christian varies from religion to religion, group to group. I want to pinpoint in this post what a Christian looks like, acts like and lives like.

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What A Christian is NOT

It is absolutely amazing how many wrong ideas there are concerning what it means to be a Christian. It would absolutely astound you, I hope, to hear what many people think makes them a Christian. In my country of the United States which is filled with political correctness, the high majority of people consider themselves Christians, but are they when you look at the biblical definition? The Bible after all is the defining  standard for the definition of Christianity, not churches, denominations, governments, presidents, or pastors. Let’s look at a few things that some wrongly believe.

From eastsideorlando.org

From eastsideorlando.org

I am not

a Christian because I was born in America. You might call this salvation by geography. Some believe that because they were born in the right place, that is enough. Although some believe that since they were born in a “Christian” nation they therefore must be a Christian, it is simply not true. Of course, an excellent argument can be made that America is not a Christian nation at all. Even so, Christianity has been the dominant religion in America. But that does not make you a Christian. Salvation by geography doesn’t work.

I am not

a Christian because I had Christian parents. You might call this salvation by heredity. Some believe that Christianity is like the family business–– passed down from one generation to another. That is not true. Each person must make that decision individually. Unfortunately, parents cannot make that decision for their children. I wish they could, but they can’t. Salvation by heredity doesn’t work.

I am not

a Christian because I don’t do really bad things. You might call this salvation by subtraction. Some believe that if you just stay away from the really big sins that you are all right. They think that because they have not committed murder or adultery or grand theft auto that God will have to let them in. I’m sure it is better to have not done those things, but not doing him will not get you into heaven. Salvation by subtraction doesn’t work.

I am not

a Christian because I try to live a good life. You might call this salvation by morality. Some believe that trying to do your best is enough. They believe that if you are sincere and that if your intentions are good you will meet whatever standard God has. The problem with morality is that it is always relative. You may be more moral than someone else but then again there is always someone more moral than you. The problem is that your morality must be perfect. You must be without sin. Salvation by morality doesn’t work.

I am not

a Christian because I do good works. You might call this salvation by addition. Some people believe that doing more good things than bad things is what makes the difference. Again, you run into that gnarly little problem of perfection. We are all sinners and those sins cannot be overlooked. The penalty for those sins must be paid either by you or by someone without sin. It is not enough to do a few good things to try to offset the bad. Salvation by addition doesn’t work.

I am not

a Christian because I go to church. You might call this salvation by osmosis. Some believe that by sitting in a church service enough Christianity will penetrate their lives somehow. But sitting in a church doesn’t make you a Christian anymore than sitting in a garage makes you a car. Standing in the rain will make you wet but it won’t turn you into water. Salvation by osmosis doesn’t work.

I am not

a Christian because I join a church. You might call this salvation by association. Some believe that making a commitment to the organization of Christianity is enough. Now I believe that true Christians ought to join a local church. But I do not believe, on the other hand, that joining a local church makes you a Christian. It’s similar to marriage. I believe in marriage. I believe that people who love one another and want to live together in an intimate relationship ought to get married. It is the expression of their commitment to one another. But the ceremony of marriage does not itself cause them to be committed and faithful.

I am not

a Christian because I believe God exists. This is a tricky one. You might call this salvation by intellectual agreement or knowledge. You see, we are not talking about faith here. You can believe in the existence of God without making any life commitment to him. The demons believe in God in this way.

All these things really boil down to a person trying to achieve salvation by his or her own self-effort. It is what I do or don’t do that really matters. This is salvation by works. This is the essence of religion–– our attempt to please God. True salvation is never a matter of works. Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV): For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–– and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–– not by works, so that no one can boast.

What’s your opinion/thoughts?