Love in Action

Love in Action

It is exciting to be part of this great church family!  Last Sunday was the most powerful experience of the Holy Spirit’s presence in a worship service that most of us have ever experienced.  In all truth, we experienced Pentecost, and on Pentecost Sunday of all things!!

What is almost as exciting is the transformation taking place on Sunday mornings and Wednesday Evenings.  I want all of us to be excited about what is happening in our family!

  • We are adding adult short-term classes on both Wednesday nights as well as Sunday mornings.  These classes, like the Men’s class on Wednesdays, or Darren Ford’s new class on Spiritual Gifts on Sunday mornings, are a great way to grow as disciples and to get to know new folks.  They also give the significant number of gifted teachers in our congregation an opportunity to operate in their Spiritual gifting.  Our goal is to have at least two adult classes running at any given time on both Wednesday evenings and on Sunday Mornings.
  • Wednesday evenings at 5:00 a new Life Group/Prayer Meeting is meeting in the Sanctuary under Catherine Cate’s leadership.  The presence of the Lord in this gathering is overwhelming!
  • A new Pre-School Children’s class has formed on Wednesday nights from 6:00 to 7:30 under the leadership of Carissa Houser, in addition to Connie and Donna’s K-5 class, Tina’s 6-8middle school class, and John Cahill’s senior high life group and class.  There is also a Nursery provided.
  • Our Children’s Sunday School Classes are now using new curriculum coming from Bethel Church in Redding California.  The Curriculum focuses on Children experiencing the Lord and learning how to truly hear Him.   Reports from our Sunday Schools and Son Seekers are exciting as Children focus on hearing and journaling as they see and hear the Lord.

PARENTS – this means your children are part of a Sunday School experience that is fluff-free and Jesus-full!

ADULTS – this means that coming Weds. evenings and Sunday mornings at 9:00 is well worth your time.

FOR ALL OF US – this is what Love in Action looks like in the life of a church.  Our Children are learning the deep things of Jesus in fresh new ways.  Spirit-gifted teachers have new opportunities to use the gifts God has placed in them.  Spirit-led people of all ages have new and ongoing opportunities to grow as disciples.

THE HOLY SPIRIT – is moving in new ways in our Family as we move in renewed ways by His leading.  AVAIL yourself to HIM!  Join a new class.  Invite friends and families to church.  Receive a fresh Baptism!

SERVE in the Children’s Sunday School Ministry!  See Tina Green for info and opportunities!

SAVOR the awakenings happening in our Family as the Awakening of all awakenings unfolds before us!

FINALLY, MARK YOUR CALENDERS FOR:

KINGDOM MINISTRIES HEALING SCHOOL – October 16-20

REAL LOVE HEALS CONFERENCE – October 20-22.


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Healing School/Real Love Heals

School of Healing/Real Love Heals

As we begin June, I want you to be aware of a life-changing week that will be here before we know it.  I’m talking about October 16th through October 22 – when we will host two amazing events as one…

Starting Monday evening, October 16 and continuing through Friday evening, October 20th, Rev. Dr. Bobby Cabot will be here as we host her Healing School, Encounter the God Who Heals.  Many of you remember Bobby as the leader from our second Real Love Heals Conference four years ago.  She is a fantastically gifted teacher and prayer warrior!

Tina and I were part of the School in January in Nashville.  It was a tremendous week of learning about how to operate in Healing gifts of the Spirit, experiencing those gifts firsthand, and witnessing those gifts set others free, and we cannot recommend too strongly for you to plan on attending—and on bringing others with you.  This is the most in-depth and hands-on School of Healing I know of anywhere…!

Friday Night, October 20th we will close out the School by having a Healing Service open to the community, in which all those who attended will be the prayer teams for those who come to the service.  THIS IS CERTAINLY THE NIGHT TO BRING THOSE YOU KNOW WHO ARE SICK—PHYSICALLY, SPIRITUALLY, OR EMOTIONALLY—TO COME AND RECEIVE HEALING FROM THE LORD!

But the Healing Service has a double function and blessing, as it kicks off our 2017 REAL LOVE HEALS CONFERENCE!  Continuing Saturday October 21st, Real Love Heals will feature Garry Ingraham, the national director of Transforming Congregations, an organization which helps congregations and individuals present the full Gospel of Jesus’ healing to those struggling with sexual brokenness and other life-controlling issues.

Garry—as well as his wife—both came out of homosexual identities, “and know hundreds of others who have chosen the narrow path of surrender to Jesus, rather than the wide path of what the world tells us is good, healthy, and unchangeable.”

“This is what our ministry is all about—helping Christian leaders develop environments that allow people to be known in their brokenness and be restored to sexual and relational wholeness according to God’s design.  We want to help stop all the lying and pretending that we (the Church) are engaged in, and return with repentant hearts to the One who wants to forgive, heal, and restore through the transparency of His community.”

So mark your calendars—and get the word out—because October is going t be an amazing month of healings, deliverances, breakthroughs, and joys as LOVE HIMSELF teaches us, through Bobby, what New Testament healing looks and feels like; and, through Garry, what the REAL LOVE of GOD does in the hearts and minds of broken people!

  • Healing School:  Monday October 16-20
  • Healing Service: Night of Healing/Real Love Heals Start:  Friday, October 20th 7pm
  • Real Love Heals Conference: Friday evening & Saturday (9-5), Oct. 20-21
  • Special Guests Sharing in the Sunday Services Oct. 22

Together, this promises to be a week of true Awakening; a time to operate more fully as an Eastern Gate; a time to be a Lighthouse Church.  October may well mark the end of our “Wilderness Wanderings,” and the beginning of a mighty Kingdom season…!


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Our Identity in Christ

Our Identity in Christ

I felt the Lord say these words to me last week as I was asking Him to clarify our identity as a Church and my identity as a pastor: “My Church has an identity – ME!  You can identify My people by the wounds they bare; not just the Name they claim…”

In Jesus, we are a new creation.  In baptism, we put on Christ Jesus.  In HIM we live, and move and have our being…  Scripture is clear – “Christians” are thus called by being first and foremost identified IN and BY and THRU Jesus!  HE is the point of our being; HE is the center of our existence; HE is the Alpha and Omega—the beginning and end of all life, meaning, purpose and destiny!

Though wounded (and finally executed) for following Jesus, the great leaders of the faith like Peter, Paul, James, and so forth were and are known for being IN CHRIST, not for what they did or whose family they were from or how much money they made or what school they graduated from or…

Paul is NOT known as the tent maker who taught about Jesus; Paul will forever be known as the Apostle who gave his life for the Good News of Jesus—and happened to make tents to allow him to do so more freely….

Peter is NOT known as the fisherman who “worked Jesus in” around tilapia season; Peter will eternally be known as the Rock who preached and taught Jesus until the day they crucified Peter upside down…

James is NOT known as the slow-to-come-around half-brother of Jesus; James will perpetually be known as the mighty prophetic leader of the Jerusalem Church who left his former life and hometown behind to live—and die—for the Truth who is Jesus Messiah!

I could go on all day, but you get the point.   Or maybe, we don’t…

We sometimes forget the social sacrifices and changes that are required of us if Jesus is truly going to be first in our life—truly LORD of our lives.

Peter struggled mightily with the Lord before he could even associate with Gentiles—much less enter their homes or eat their meals.  His world was turned upside down as Jesus lowered the sheet—and the gantlet—to no longer call what God calls clean, unclean; those who God calls neighbor, enemy.

Paul struggled mightily as God called this well-educated man from a well-known (read that affluent) family to hang out with the most impoverished and least-educated folks in the entire Empire.

James struggled mightily as a country-boy relocated to an urban center leading an incredibly diverse congregation of new believers “from every nation.”  Think of the social adjustment—not just for James but for the whole church!  Social adjustment can be a painful wound—one that identifies us as Christ’s!!!

You see, the Church of Jesus is built upon the rock of HIS IDENITY, with social structures and constructs adjusting accordingly.  Yet, the American Church is often—even usually—built upon the sands of people’s social comfort first, with faith in Christ adjusted—or relegated—to a lower place.   

People segregate along educational, social, economic, and racial lines in this country with horrifying consistency—failing to recognize that this segregation comes at the expense of Jesus being FIRST…

As I look at what Father has done in our congregation, I am deeply amazed by the diversity God has brought us to.  We are as diverse on every level as you can get in Livingston Tennessee!  We have become a congregation that is built on our JESUS IDENTITY before our Social Identity…!  It takes the Holy Spirit to pull something like this off—just as it did in Jerusalem.

When Jesus is truly our identity, we are willing to sacrifice our social status and even the friends we hang out with (Paul certainly did!) for the sake of something far higher—Jesus as truly the LORD and CENTER of our lives!


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Returning to First Love

Returning to First Love

As I was plugging in this laptop computer to write you this note, the oddest thing happened.  I dropped the cord on my foot—just the plug-in part—and it hurt something fierce…

You see, as one of the lingering side-effects to the Chemo treatments, my fingers and toes are numb—and yet overly sensitive—all at the same time.  Medically, it is called neuropathy.  Physically, it is (for me) just a minor inconvenience.  But spiritually, it can be incredibly dangerous…!

Spiritual numbness—neuropathy—can be caused by any number of “chemo” treatments, such as becoming offended (see blog entitled Love Overcomes Offense), or extreme trauma, or perhaps most commonly in our culture, busyness and exhaustion.

When we become numb to the Spirit—numb to the presence and Person of God—we almost always become hyper-sensitive to the slightest bumps and the smallest snubs from the people around us. 

Ironically, you can’t suffer from numbness if you haven’t first enjoyed feeling.  Superficial Churchianity “protects” people from becoming spiritually numb by never leading people to genuine and deep experiences of the Lord and His Spirit in the first place.  Hopefully, however, we all recognize that shallow spirituality isn’t a good “solution!”  I am grateful to have toes, even if they are currently numb!

Deep experiences of the Lord, then, lead us to feel—to LOVE—deeply.  But life-inflicted neuropathy causes us to become hyper-sensitive to even small amounts of irritation…

This is the heart of what the Lord Jesus was speaking to the Church of Ephesus in Revelation 2.  This church had drunk deeply at first of the Lord’s presence and Love, feeling with incredible sensitivity His heart and His heart for others.  But the church had become numb in love over time.  And in that numb place, they were in danger of becoming hyper-sensitive to the perceived slights of their own brethren, and insensitive to the needs of the community around them…

Our congregation has been called by the Lord to be a place where people really and genuinely experience the Lord deeply.  We have a congregational expectation to feel and soak in the LOVE of God—and then to share that Love with our neighbors.  In those deep experiences of Jesus—in Life Groups, or while listening to the Word using the Life Journal, or at the Lord’s Supper, or in a prayer circle—wherever—we develop a deep sense of feeling, spiritually—and we Love extravagantly because we bask in the presence of the One who first loved us!

But, like the Church at Ephesus, we are in danger of numbness—precisely because we first learned how to feel…  Because we have felt Love deeply—we can become numb to it.  We can suffer from temporary—or even permanent—spiritual neuropathy.  Numb to the presence of the Lord, we become overly sensitive to loved-ones around us, hurting fiercely simply because of an inadvertent slight…

THE CURE?  END THE NUMBNESS!  When the numbness is gone, so is the hyper-sensitivity to slights.  SO HOW DO WE CURE THE NUMBNESS?  By leaning in again to the One who gave us feeling in the first place.  We must fight through in prayer and worship and Word until we feel—really feel—again.  And once we are restored to sensitivity in our hearts, we quit being overly-sensitive in our flesh…!

For this reason, Jesus told the Church at Ephesus to Love like they did at first.  We must, too!


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Love Overcomes Offense

Love Overcomes Offense

And Then (in the last days) many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.  Matthew 24:10 NKJV

Jesus makes clear that the most obvious signs of the days leading up to His return will be offense, betrayal, and hatred.  You can’t turn on the television without seeing the clear fulfillment of this prophecy as people march in protests over almost everything, with levels of hatred in speech and action unheard before.  But my major concern (and Jesus’!) isn’t with the world in general; it’s within His Church…!

The word “offense” denotes a tripwire to a trap.  Becoming offended at persons or situations traps us in a place where betrayal and hatred become natural and love and forgiveness seem impossible.  Truly, as John Bevere has made clear, it is The Bait of Satan.

Bevere is reintroducing his book and teaching series on the subject and as part of the promotion has established a test on the internet to see if one is holding on to offense.  Remember, you cannot operate in Love and Offense at the same time; offense is like a cancer that consumes those trapped in it, destroying hearts and making for “a root of bitterness (Hebrews 12:15)” that draws many others into the trap.

TAKE THIS TEST TO SEE IF YOU ARE HOLDING ONTO OFFENSE:

The website is:  https://www.messengercourses.com/p/are-you-holding-offense

I encourage you to take the test, and if there is interest, we’ll teach The Bait of Satan here again.  In the twenty years since the book was first released, the problem of offended hearts has only grown exponentially.

There are a few things that we need to make sure we are clear on concerning this end-time plague…

  1. Offense, betrayal, hatred, bitterness—these can literally destroy your walk with God.
  2. If you go looking for offense, you will find it.
  3. Once offended—caught in Satan’s trap—our perspective on all of life becomes warped, and bitterness quickly replaces forgiveness and love as our “default” setting.
  4. Offense justifies all kinds of ungodly behavior, language, and gossip.  True and complete forgiveness is marked by an absence of these poisons.
  5. Offended people walk away from their churches, marriages, and relationships—but find it almost impossible to walk away from their offended hearts…
  6. Offense is a contagious disease, trapping people as they take on other’s offense.
  7. “Offended Christian” is ultimately an oxymoron; offense and Christ’s Love are mutually exclusive…
  8. Justifying offense is like justifying murder; killing others in our hearts because they “hurt” us leads us to a prison every bit as real as death row…

If you are human, you have been offended.  But absolute forgiveness releases the trap.  Restored relationship breaks the bars.  Letting go of the hurt releases the hate—and opens the gates of release.  Don’t take on another’s offense; rather love them enough to confront the disease!   Don’t justify offense; don’t delve into betrayal; don’t glorify hatred.  These are the very things that killed Judas Iscariot—and they can as easily kill followers in our day!!

LOVE is the answer—but it CANNOT cohabitate with offense.  Repent, forgive, restore—until only love is left!

 


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Giant-Slaying Love

Giant-Slaying Love

When I grow up, I want to be like David…

David answered, “You come at me with sword and spear and battle ax.  I come at you in the name of God-of-Angel-Armies, the God of Israel’s troops, whom you curse and mock.” (1 Sam. 17:45 Msg.)

King Saul and all the troops of Israel were terrified by the taunts of Goliath, not to mention his massive size—all, that is, except for David.  This teenaged shepherd from podunk Bethlehem looked at things differently than the rest of the men—including his own brothers.  David looked upon the situation, as Eugene Peterson shares, “with a God-dominated, not a Goliath-dominated imagination.”

Fixating on the “giants” in our lives is a common human condition.  It certainly was for Israel as the entire army was paralyzed with fear for forty days as Goliath baited and belittled them relentlessly.

I have certainly been there—and I bet you have been, too.  A “giant” problem or situation arises and all I can see, or think about, or worry about, or get sick over—is that giant.  The taunts and the fears can be paralyzing as the problem seems to be mocking me day and night.

One top of Goliath’s taunts, David had to deal with the hurtful way his own brothers rejected and mocked him.  Like the rest of the Israelites, they were focused on Goliath rather than God, and on top of that, they had an extreme level of disdain for their youngest brother (talk about sibling rivalry!).

But David…  David was so focused on the Lord and so unimpressed with that loud-mouthed giant that he brushed aside the jabs from his family, the disbelief of his fellow countrymen, and the jeering of Goliath himself…  And picked up five rounded stones.

I have shared before the significance of five stones.  The Bible makes clear that there were five giants left on the earth in David’s day—Goliath, and his four brothers.  David the teenager was not only a bold young man—he was already a Prophet of God.  The five stones spoke prophetically to the demise of the five giants—and the end to such flagrant demonic taunting of God’s people Israel.

But David…  David was so focused on the Lord that he could see past the problem and into the Eyes of the Solution Himself—the Lord.

When I grow up, I want to be like David…

When giants arise; when the night seems the longest; when there is no light at the end of the tunnel… These are the times we must—by God’s grace—learn to see through a God-dominated, not a giant-dominated imagination.

How did David develop such a God-focused view so early in life?  He was a worshipper.  He was a prayer.  He trusted the Word.  He developed early such trust in the Lord that the Giant… didn’t seem big at all…!

I am a bit slower than David in terms of becoming a Man after God’s own Heart.  (No one would accuse me of being a teenager!)  Still, I want to be so God-focused, with such a God-dominated imagination, that no “giant” will be able to mock me into submission.  I KNOW that is your prayer, too.  We are collectively tired of giants wanting to make us feel like we are defeated.  We are tired of big-mouthed goliath’s trying to rob us of our joy…  We are tired of being mocked by troubles; we are ready to pick up God’s weapons for victory!

When I grow up, I want to be like David!  Join me in that desire!!


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Secure Love

Secure Love

Jesus knew that the Father had given Him authority over everything and that He had come from God and would return to God.  So He got up from the table, took off His robe, wrapped a towel around His waist, and poured water into a basin.  Then He began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel He had around Him (John 13:3-5)

Jesus was absolutely secure in who He was and where He was going.  Security—as in knowing who we are in the Lord Jesus and where our eternal home is located is essential if we are really going to serve the Lord.

Peter was the poster child of insecurity in this story.  He first rejected Jesus’ attempts to wash his feet, and then asked Jesus to wash his hands and head as well as his feet—all of it because Peter felt so unworthy.  Peter’s insecurities got him in frequent trouble—until Pentecost—when the Holy Spirit assured Peter of the authority He had given him, along with the confidence of knowing he was chosen and destined for eternity.

So there are two main points to this passage:

1)       Believer’s need to be firmly secure in who they are in Christ Jesus.

2)      Once truly secure, they should “wash other’s feet,” serving others from a place of secure humility, rather than insecure pride or fear or control.

Now, let’s contrast this with what the American Church so frequently does.  Conventional Church wisdom dictates that we should put people to serving (doing) as soon as possible—or risk “losing them to another church.”  Insecure and barely saved is no problem—as long as a soul is willing to work.

Problem:  Most people, like Peter, love to serve—even if their insecurities trip them up at every turn.   For the fear of losing a person to another church, the institutional church finds a place to work them—even if that “ministry” takes them away from spending time with Jesus… Even if their “serving” becomes an idol (as it tends to do for people who are rushed in to doing before they mature into BEING a Christian) and causes them to elevate a ministry over Jesus—and over everyone else in the congregation.

So many good folks get terribly bent out of shape because they feel others are infringing on their ministry territory; others quit and go elsewhere if a change in their pet ministry (or class, or social structure) should ever occur; still others replace any other connection to the church with their involvement in a ministry—thinking the ministry—rather than the Lord and His Bride—is the point.

Does this sound like the spirit of foot washing?  Of course not.  Congregations have been split and even destroyed because insecure people fought against each other rather than “washing each other’s feet.”

UNLESS AND UNTIL WE ARE SECURE IN JESUS—MORE IN LOVE WITH HIM THAN WITH ANY MINISTRY OR POSITION OR TITLE—WE ARE IN DANGER OF DOING GREAT KINGDOM DAMAGE.

Unless and until we KNOW we walk in Kingdom authority, KNOW we have been chosen by God, and KNOW we are destined to live with Him forever—we WILL fight and balk and whine like Peter…

Again, did “doing ministry” make Peter secure?  NO!  He had “served” for three years by this point, and was still terribly insecure—and therefore a terrible candidate for doing ministry!  ONLY deeply intimate exposures to the Holy Spirit can bring the necessary maturity and security needed.

SO, you feel led to wash feet?  Good!  Go spend time with Jesus in the power and flow of the Holy Spirit, and you will soon come to the place of KNOWING you are truly ready to wash feet—not drawing attention to yourself, but rather to Father God!!!   THAT is the true spirit of foot washing…!


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Misunderstood Love

Misunderstood Love

When Yeshua had come closer and could see the city (Jerusalem), he wept over it, saying, “If you only knew today what is needed for shalom!  But for now it is hidden from your sight… all because you did not recognize your opportunity when God offered it!” (Luke 19:41-44 CJB)

Misunderstanding love is the hallmark of the fallen human race—regardless of how God presents love; regardless of how explicit He is in foretelling it.  Not only are we guilty of misunderstanding His love, we are guilty of redefining His love—even though He has clearly defined what real love is—and is not—in His Word…

Jesus wept over a city that should have known better.  Zechariah 9:9 clearly states that your King comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey.  The crowd outside the city got it…sort of.  They covered the ground with palm branches and clothing and shouted praises as King Jesus rode toward Jerusalem.  But they misunderstood the Messiah coming in humility, regardless of what the prophet had said.

That misunderstanding caused Jesus to weep over a city that would be utterly destroyed—with enormous loss of life—less than forty years later.  Many in Israel never did come to see their Messiah…

I wonder if Jesus’ second coming—this time as the King of Kings riding on a white horse—will be equally or even more misunderstood…

While the religious leaders and most of the public two thousand years ago could not fathom a Suffering Servant as the Messiah (despite the prophet Isaiah’s clear words), most of our current world can’t seem to fathom a mighty victorious King coming in perfect authority and righteousness in His Second Coming.

In perfect humility—or in perfect glory, honor, and strength—Jesus is still… Perfect Love!  His love is equally evident in suffering for our sin (as He did on the cross), in calling us to righteous holiness that finds victory over sin (as He does now), to returning in all glory and power to restore perfection (as He will soon).

The Love of God is still misunderstood and it is still being redefined as people long to manufacture a god who serves our needs and scratches our itches rather than submit to the one true God who—in humility and in all power—calls us to surrender to Him, as if… He is God and we are not! 

Both, I believe, make Jesus weep as multitudes miss the peace Jesus brought, brings, and will bring.

  • He came as a humble servant, but they wanted a militant king…
  • He is now the King of righteousness who demands transformation by the Word and Spirit, but many bristle at the suggestion that HIS definition of righteousness and love, not ours, is the standard.
  • He will come in all glory as God the King, but many will balk in full-blown rebellion.

This Palm Sunday, perhaps the thing to do is to lay down our lives before Him (rather than palm branches), and to receive HIM until our misunderstandings and redefinitions are overpowered by His enormous and perfect love…!


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Discipining Love

Disciplining Love

One of the most telling areas where the modern church not only fails to act like the early church but actually rejects outright a major tenant to New Testament life is in the area of Church Discipline.

As Scripture makes clear in 1 Corinthians 5, wayward church members, like the man in Corinth who was having sex with his stepmother, were disciplined with expulsion from the body—with an expectation that repentance and restoration would follow.  In fact, that is exactly what happened to the fellow mentioned above.

Real love, Agape love, New testament love… kicked a sinner out of the church, leaving him open to satanic attack—until he repented.  In doing so, the man was actually healed instead of petted… his sin actually exposed, instead of excused… his heart and soul actually transformed, rather than deformed…!

In the early Methodist Movement, behavior like heavy drinking, missing a Class Meeting (Life Group) too often, or failing to attend to Sunday Worship and the Sacraments was met with similar love—disciplining love—that called people to holiness rather than showiness…!  The early Methodists kicked out many—and saw a nation moved by the revival, even as most of the removed came back repentant and healed!

Our modern American Church is all about show, with little depth of character or faith and absolutely no taste for calling people to accountability.  The result?  Lots of people sitting in churches who are trapped in life-destroying sins while the church pretends everyone is good.

Why can’t we pull off discipline anymore?  Here are at least a few reasons.

1)       We live in a consumer culture where there are dozens of church “choices.”  If one congregation dares to call a member to accountability or discipline, they simply choose to go elsewhere, badmouthing their former church all the way.  Do they get healed?  Almost never.  But most churches are more than willing to welcome “that poor lady who was so mistreated down at …”

2)      Churches that attempt to employ church discipline are often called “cults” and belittled as legalistic.  Was Corinth legalistic?  Was Paul legalistic? Were the early Methodists legalistic?  No.  They just loved people enough to want them to be free in the Spirit rather than free to keep on sinning.

3)      Power-hungry pastors and legalistic, cultic churches HAVE arisen—and given a bad name to any form of discipline and accountability.  It is a shame, but the bad ones—usually “non-denominational” and therefore under no headship outside themselves—have really made it hard on the rest of us.

4)      Finally, it is easier to look the other way… to ignore bad behavior even when we see it destroying a person or a family, rather than to confront, in love, with discipline.  That is exactly what the Corinthian Church was doing until God through Paul commanded them to quit playing around with sin.

For all these reasons and a few others, I have never been able as Pastor to pull off much in the way of meaningful discipline.  I have been laughed at, called legalistic, and a few other names.  I have been ignored, as if being Pastor means nothing to a person or Class or wayward “life group” that wants to do…whatever they darn well want to do…

We in the American Church, like Corinth, have mistaken grace for license and will doggedly refuse to be corrected—even in the gentlest terms—if it makes us uncomfortable or embarrassed.  It is truly a shame—and millions of American Christians are in bondage because of it.

So are we doing something new or different here?  No.  This is one area where I honestly don’t know how to buck the prevailing trends.  But trust me in this:  I love you enough to call you out if you are doing something stupid that I am aware of.  You and I both trust my Pastor (the D.S.) and Bishop to do the same for me…

Awakening will look like many things, but this is a hallmark:  When the Church can discipline in love and its members receive with love said discipline, then a true move of God is happening!


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For the Love of the Children

For the Love of the Children

I am very pleased to announce to you that your Staff-Parish Relations Committee (SPRC), after careful prayer and deliberations, has promoted John Paul Cahill to be our new Children’s and Youth pastor.  Tina Green, our Counselling pastor, will assume some of the responsibilities previously fulfilled by Jennifer Officer, and John and Tina will be assisted on a part-time basis by Carissa Houser.

John brings a deep love for children, not to mention his deep love for the Lord, to the job.  His passion to see kids experience God and thrive in the presence of the Holy Spirit promises to not only continue the great legacy of Son Seekers, but to usher us into a new season.

Tina’s love for children comes with 30 years of experience as a teacher and as an administrator.  She brings all those years to this job—along with her profound love for the Lord, and her strong desire to build on the legacy already in place.

Carissa has served on the Son Seeker’s team for years, loves the kids, and will help with many of the day-to-day chores.  Her maturity in the Lord will be a great asset to the ministry.

The Son Seeker’s Team, which gathered a couple weeks ago to brainstorm, continues as the heart of this ministry.  John and Tina will work with the team to continue a smooth transition and to dream God-sized dreams for our children’s ministry!

I would like to commend our SPRC for the careful and prayerful way they approached this decision.  They came up with a creative solution to a difficult problem in less than a month—by listening to the Spirit and thinking outside of the box.  We will continue to have a fantastic children’s ministry—and even move forward in new ways which will make it easier for church members to serve, and for our kids to experience the Lord in profound ways at an early age.

I also want to thank and commend the servants who make up our Son Seeker’s team.  You have given of yourselves to the Lord unselfishly—many of you for years—and the fruit of that love is amazing.  I am grateful for your excitement going forward!

Finally, I want to thank this entire congregation—which has been the “incubator” all along—allowing a creative children’s ministry to be birthed and to thrive.  God continues a unique and amazing work here which allows and calls all of us to a place of mature relationship with the Lord which is truly biblical—and truly rare in our consumer-driven church culture.  Thank you for loving children, loving Jesus, and loving each other!


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