Breathless

Breathless

Head full of folly
Mind full of wishes
Alive in my skin but quiet in my soul
Heart paused and waiting between beats
… breathless

Time running onward
Time running out
Weight of my history settling into past
Waiting under shadows of the might’ve-beens
… breathless

Life moving forward …
… Life standing still
breath moving in …
… breath moving out
Watching and waiting as she strolls to another
… breathless …

my heart beating
my heart breathless
my heart clenching
my heart breathless
… I wait … breathless

Photo Credit

Photo by Dave Young

Wholiness in the Church

Wholiness in the Church

I read a lot of blogs and talk to a lot of people about the church.  Folks are jazzed about many different things, but one element I see missing from most every conversation is a discussion of holiness.

There is a giant gaping hole in the church!

Some folks are changing their models, others are concerned about who owns the building where the church meets, still others want to see less preaching and more discussion,  while many are focused on emerging into a new culture–and still there is a silence about holiness.

As I read through the book of Corinthians, I am struck by how important holiness is to Paul.  Here is Paul’s response to the immorality of the Congregation.

1 Cor 5:1-2 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father’s wife. And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this.

When is the last time your church leadership took this approach to sin among the Family? When is the last time you heard your leaders teach or preach on this issue? (If you are a pastor/Elder, when is the last time you actually dealt directly with this issue of holiness vs. sin?)

Have we become so enamored with serving our communities and doing good deeds that we have forgotten the holiness of the God we serve? Have we put so much emphasis on where the church meets, that we have forgotten why we meet in the first place?

Now I know the complaint of some, “but are we not all sinners? Are we not all broken followers of Jesus? Should we not have more grace?” Paul’s answer was yes and no.

1 Cor 5:9-13 I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat. What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked man from among you.

Yes, we must have grace with the world (those outside the Way of Jesus). They should not be held to any standard or expectation of holiness. it is God who will judge them. BUT, for those in the fellowship of Christ, the standard is clear and with those who forsake God and rejoice in their sin, there is only one answer–we must stop living a divided life and start embracing a holistic view of church.  We must seek out Wholiness (holiness + wholeness) in the Church!

How To Build The Church

How To Build The Church

It is disturbing how much of our Church is built around the cult of celebrity. In some circles, church planting has fallen into that trap, but Henry Blackaby reminds us of something oft forgotten,

“There is a big difference between drawing a crowd and building a church; marketers can draw a crowed, cults can draw a crowd, but only God’s people can build the Kingdom.”

If you are going to grow God’s Church, then this story from the Old Testament offers some good insight.

“[During a great time of famine,] a man came from Baal-shalishah, bringing the man of God bread of the firstfruits, twenty loaves of barley and fresh ears of grain in his sack. And Elisha said, “Give to the men, that they may eat.” But his servant said, “How can I set this before a hundred men?” So he repeated, “Give them to the men, that they may eat, for thus says the Lord, ‘They shall eat and have some left.’ ” So he set it before them. And they ate and had some left, according to the word of the Lord. ” – 2 Kings 4:42–44, (ESV)

This story is a model of movement; meeting a man where he was (the city of Baal’s provision) and taking him where he needed to be.  If we are gong to be integrous leaders who build Churches; not personal followings, then model this approach.

First, Leaders must recognize that people will come because of some need. In preceding story, the man left behind his city god, “Baal-Shalishah:” not because he had a deep inner need for “God”, but because his life was messed up and he needed help.

Second, Leaders must help people move forward past their need. Elisha did this by introducing this man to his God (Elohim) and letting the man know that Elisha’s God could meet his need.

Third, Leaders must move forward and recognize that people need role-models. This man did not take a step of faith because he loved God, he moved forward because he saw in Elisha something to be trusted and admired.  There is nothing wrong with being a charismatic leader who draws people to the church.  There is nothing wrong with designing programs that will connect people to the church.  But…

Fourth, Leaders must move forward and connect people to their Creator. The man in our story trusted Elisha and experienced a blessing.  Elisha then taught this man not to follow him, but to follow “God” (YHWH).

Fifth, Leaders must move forward and allow people to enter into God’s Dream. It is great to have a well thought-out Philosophy of Ministry and statement of purpose, but ultimately God’s dream is bigger.

What are you building?

Listen to my talk about the DNA of Leadership on my podcast, “Leadership Starts With Faith“.
Read more articles like this on my regular Column @ ChurchPlanting.Com

Read more here: How To Build The Church – ChurchPlanting.com

Pin It on Pinterest