Married To Jesus…

I am currently reading through the book of Romans with my “LTG partner”. I came across a neat little piece of insight this morning in Romans 7:2-4 that I thought I’d share with you all…

2For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. 3 So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man. 4 Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God.”

Wow. I am daily humbled by the fact that we, as The Church, are the Bride of Christ. He is the Bridegroom, and is making His Bride ready for His return. It says that we have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that we may be married to another-Jesus! Just as the woman above is released from the law of marriage to her husband upon his death, we are released from our marriage to sin because of the law through the death/resurrection of Christ. Just as she is released to marry another, WE are released to marry another-Him who was raised from the dead.

We are released from our marriage to sin, and set free in our marriage to Christ because He has died, and is risen for the redemption of our sin. He is our Bridegroom, and we are daily being sanctified/made pure/holy for His return. My favorite part of this passage is at the very end…

“…that we should bear fruit to God.”

We are released from our marriage to sin because of the law, and set free to marry Christ…SO THAT WE MAY BEAR FRUIT TO GOD! I love it. May we walk in this freedom today, realizing our freedom from sin, and marriage to Christ for the purpose of His Kingdom!

Student CPx – Lawrence Baptism Video…

A few weeks before Student CPx-Austin began three of our partnering organizations (All Nations, Student Church Movements, Campus Church Networks) kicked off the second annual Student CPx training in Lawrence, Kansas at Haskell Indian University. I was fortunate enough to be a part of this particular Student CPx last summer, and it was a life-changing experience for many. I heard this past summer was no exception. Check out this video of a new believer being Baptized as a result of one of the SCPx students putting to practice what he was learning during the training…

The Lord is raising up an army of ordinary radicals who are viewing themselves as missionaries right here in the states; their campuses, neighborhoods, apartment complexes, etc. are their mission fields. They are reaching the lost, and making disciples. New disciples are being Baptized, and new churches are birthing as a result. Lord, continue to grow this movement.

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The Church Planting Fad Continues…

“…Somewhere along the way the focus shifted OFF of the disciple and ONTO the number of new churches being started…”

I know those of you reading this blog have heard me harp on the issue of making disciples vs. planting churches many times. We can all agree that if we start with “church” we do not always, or might I say, very often at all, end up with a true Disciple of Jesus Christ. However, if we start with the Disciple we will ALWAYS see CHURCH planting follow close behind….

We have seen “church planting” become quite the fad in America over the last 20 years. In the past 5 or so years we have seen the trend shift a bit…Now, it’s not just planting a church, but planting a church that plants other churches. Somewhere along the line we decided that planting a new church is good, but we’re still just ADDING churches. To see the Gospel spread rapidly we need to see Churches multiply. For that to happen we must see the new churches planting newer churches, and so on and so forth. I believe that as the CP Fad has shifted, and we’ve created a new “scorecard”, or criteria for success we have still fallen short of the principle we agree upon in the first paragraph. Unfortunately, churches that plant churches are still not the answer…

In the past few years I’ve had the joy & pleasure of watching many of these trends unfold. I’ve watched myself fall into many of the traps myself, and seen behind the scenes of what happens to guys when we fall victim to an inaccurate metric for success in the kingdom of God. The very thought of a phrase like “metric for success”, or “scorecard” brings with it the illusion that we must perform to earn God’s favor. Obviously, this goes completely against the message of the Gospel, and purpose of Christ’s death on the cross. We must be VERY careful that we:

“…do not perform to earn God’s favor, but OBEY because we are overwhelmed that we ALREADY have His favor.”

There are obvious scriptural references that lead us to believe, as followers of Christ, our lives should bare much fruit. In order to bare fruit it is wise to have goals, and ways to “measure” the fruit of those goals. However, we must constantly be open to whether or not the goals we were pursuing were the right goals in the first place. Are they producing Biblical fruit based upon what Christ has commanded us to do, or a worldly product that men have declared as “fruit”?

What I am submitting with this post is that our “pursuits/goals”, & the “measurement system” that follow are still far from what Christ had/has in mind. (Perhaps the goal in and of itself is a good one, but the order, and/or route we choose to get there is where the problem lies…?)

The problem with the “new fad”/goal/measure of success being a “church planting church” (A church that intentionally plants more churches out of it) is that it STILL does not start with the disciple. Somewhere along the way the focus shifts OFF of the disciple and ONTO the number of new churches being started. Guys, we can TALK all we want about how we’re about “fulfilling the great commission” and “starting with the disciple”. However, our actions, budgets, time, energy, conferences, books, sermons, blogs, twitter posts, etc. PROVE that we are about planting churches (NOT the goal) and NOT about making disciples (The GOAL). Again, the D will result in CP. We have, once AGAIN, bi-passed the initial/root PURPOSE of focusing on the DISCIPLE-trusting that as we MAKE DISCIPLES Christ will “build His Church”.

Let’s face it-a large church with lots of money, people, & and an influential leader can plant lots of churches…and God help us, those new churches can be started without many TRUE Disciples of Christ being raised up. When the goal/fad that sells the books and gets the attention is on church planting-we, as sinful men, will do all that we can do to be successful in that goal-even if making disciples is set on the back burner.

I have been, and am still fighting against falling into this trap on a daily basis. Let’s face it: Intentional Gatherings looks much much more successful as an organization if I tell it’s supporters that we’ve seen “40 new lay-led simple churches started in the last year”. When that becomes the goal, how we measure success, and what causes people to believe in what we do we will accidentally start frantically trying to plant more churches instead of obediently making disciples…ouch.

The point here is that the professional staff of a church, or “church planting organization” continue to be the ones planting the churches. Money is thrown around like candy at guys in the name of “church planting”. No new lay-led communities of faith are birthing from the Harvest. The entire body of Christ is not being equipped to BE the Church & live out their faith in such a way that acts as a conduit for the Gospel to spread rapidly. In fact, you might find that if you interviewed “members” of a well-known “Church Planting Church” that “Church Planting” is foreign to them, and not “on their radar” at all. It may be an important goal/pursuit of the staff/leadership, but hardly thought about by the lay members.

Not everyone is called to be a “church planter”, or “apostolic leader”. However, EVERYONE IS called to make disciples. If we KNOW that the result of disciples being made will be new communities of faith being birthed then we should be seeing thousands of new faith communities starting all over the place as the Gospel invades the lives of unbelievers.

I have seen tons of churches started in the past few years, and even started a couple myself in name of “church planting”…Did God use them for good, and His glory? Of course. Were some disciples made, and others matured in their faith? Of course. Is it good? Yes. Could it be better? Always. Should we pursue GREAT? I want to. If we know that it starts with the Disciple, and the “church plants” will follow as disciples are made then why in the hell won’t we start focusing on the Disciple, and stop focusing on the church? Again, most of us want praise, recognition, etc. You don’t receive that type of recognition/praise for doing this…

Child Sex Trafficking…

It breaks my heart that such a thing even exists on this earth…

If you are in Vegas then GO REGISTER for the “Stop Child Trafficking Now” Walk on Saturday, September 26th! The information is posted below. A close friend of ours who is a part of our Simple Church is heading up this initiative in Las Vegas. There are many ways you can be involved.

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Click Here to join the group of FaceBook. Click Here to RSVP to the EVENT on FaceBook.

Please read below, and add any thoughts/comments…

Many of us are broken over these issues, but feel very helpless when it comes to doing anything about it. It seems so far away, and too difficult a problem to solve. Let me crush that mentality by first saying that it is NOT far away. Human trafficking is taking place all over OUR Country-yes, the UNITED STATES, on a daily basis. This is a multi-billion dollar industry.

Second, it is NOT too difficult a problem to solve-especially if you claim Christ as King. Each of us carries the keys to the kingdom of God if His Holy Spirit dwells inside of you. Our role as kingdom ambassadors is to USHER in the “kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven”. We do that by walking in confidence in the authority Christ has given us-things that do not match up with His Kingdom do not belong on this earth. Our job is to BRING that authority to the broken places of this earth that don’t align with the Kigdom-in Jesus’ name.

We MUST, as the Church of Jesus Christ, stand up against this injustice. There are many organizations you can partner with to make a difference. One of those is the above organization called “Stop Child Trafficking Now”. They host benefit “walks” in cities all over the country to raise awareness and funds to fight against this injustice. They work with governments and hire trained professionals to go into these brothels and rescue children out of sex slavery. You CAN play a part in ending child trafficking on this earth…