Do you have a limp from God? God must often break us deeply to truly use us greatly.
Jacob got his name changed at the climax of the pressures he had been living with. God forced him to face his character issues. He carried a limp after that, as a reminder of the Lord’s severe mercies. But he also carried more of the favor of God.
God was not only birthing a nation through the man, He was making the man a demonstration of the process He uses to make His servants fruitful. Fruitfulness usually must take place inwardly before God risks doing much with us outwardly. And fruitfulness, among other things, is a product of brokenness.
I don’t really trust a man who doesn’t have a limp somewhere. If you haven’t been through some storms, failures, and persecutions, I wonder if anyone really knows what you’re made of? If there’s not brokenness, there’s very little room for God’s pure power to be understood and demonstrated.
I think this is why Paul said, “For this reason I delight in persecutions, trials, afflictions….For when I am weak then I am strong…” 2 Cor 12. He understood what I call the law of acknowledged weakness.
Paul definitely walked with a limp!
Somebody once said, “Before God can use a man greatly, He must first break him deeply…” I think it’s true. Only I would say that we must let God define what being used “greatly” looks like! If we’re broken by our Lord, we begin to look at things differently and don’t necessarily concur with the world’s definitions of significance and success anymore.
Actually, anything God is in is great! The old hymn says, “little is much if God is in it…” I don’t say this so that we will put limits on God, but so we can be freed from worldly preconceptions that often hinder us really hearing what God is saying. Let God be God and everyman a liar. His opinion alone matters.
Some of the greatest servants of God in the Bible were overlooked or rejected in their own settings. For every Elijah who is a public figure (unpopular, nonetheless), there are 7,000 humble servants of God who have not bowed the knee to Baal (Rom 11:1-6).
God is pleased to keep most of us in obscurity.Â After all, though God went public in His Son, the Father hath no man seen. He’s happy to be hidden.
But obscurity will one day be reversed.
God in his wisdom keeps many of His choicest servants hidden…until the last day. That’s when the first shall be last and the last shall be first.
The following is an excellent list of pastor interview questions. Although this is written from a very conservative baptist perspective, there are a lot of great questions here… feel free to modify to your situation and particular interview.
Read the other pastor interview questions here: 55 Questions for a Prospective Pastor.
Johnnie Moore is the author of Dirty God (#DirtyGod). He is a professor of religion and vice president at Liberty University. Keep track of him @johnnieM .
Johnnie thinks that Jesus was a lot more like you than you think, and a lot less clean cut than this iconic image of him that floats around culture.
He thinks that despite the Christian belief that Jesus was both fully God and fully man, Jesus was a rather dirty God.
Matt Steen and I discuss the book and the concept in this short video.
From the CNN article:
Jesus was a lot more like you than you think, and a lot less clean cut than this iconic image of him that floats around culture.
You know the image. It’s the one where Jesus is walking like he’s floating in robes of pristine white followed by birds singing some holy little ditty. He’s polished, manicured, and clearly – God.
But despite the Christian belief that Jesus was both fully God and fully man, Jesus was a rather dirty God.
He was the “earthly” son of a carpenter, and life in the first-century was both more lurid and unfinished than our collective religious memory seems to recall.
To that end, I suggested recently to several astounded colleagues of mine that Jesus actually had to go to the bathroom, perhaps even on the side of the road between Capernaum and Jerusalem.
What tipped them over the edge was when I insinuated that Jesus, like almost every other human being living in the rural world in that time, might have even had dysentery on an occasion or two.
Someone said, “You mean that Jesus might have had severe diarrhea?”
“Yep,” I replied, “That’s exactly what I mean.”
It seems like an obvious statement if you believe that Jesus was “fully God” and “fully man” (as most evangelicals believe and call the Incarnation), but to some of us it seems in the least, inappropriate, and at the most, sacrilege, to imagine Jesus in this way. We might believe that God was also man, but we picture him with an ever-present halo over his head.
But, actually, the Jesus of the Bible was more human than most people are conditioned to think.
I call this the dirty side of Jesus. He was grittier, and a lot more like us than maybe we believe, and that’s one of the reasons why so many thousands of people followed him so quickly.
They could relate to him.
Ponder if you will the state of our world; and in particular the condition of America. Although one can easily argue the United States is still the greatest nation in the world and a country so many desire to come to— even risk their lives to enter into—there is no denying America’s social, moral and spiritual fabric continues to deteriorate at an accelerated pace. For many this is an alarming and discouraging trend.
Now consider the fact that 76% of Americans claim to be Christian, making the United States one of the highest per-capita Christian nations in the world. A nation full of Christians in a deteriorating society? If this indeed be the case then WHERE ARE THE CHRISTIANS? To solve this conundrum author Eric Shuster gives us a book that bears this question as its title with the promise of answers and unique journey for readers.
Where are the Christians? uses the classic format of who, what, where and how to explore Christianity and the dynamics that unite and divide the religion into the unrealized potential it suffers from today (thus the subtitle of the book—the Unrealized Potential of a Divided Religion). The book enlightens readers as to who the Christians are from a historical perspective; what a Christian is from a spiritual perspective; where the Christians are from a behavioral perspective; and how Christianity can be strengthened and more united from a societal perspective. Where are the Christians? examines hundreds of Biblical and scholarly sources, analyzing data from a multitude of studies leading to unique perspectives and solutions to the challenges facing Christianity in the modern era.
Where are the Christians? contains 17 chapters arranged into four sections:
SECTION 1: WHO ARE THE CHRISTIANS?—a history: 4 chapters providing a concise history of Christianity spread across four distinct periods: Evangelization and Formation, Legitimacy and Codification, Corruption and Division, and Reform and Denominational Proliferation.
SECTION 2: WHAT IS A CHRISTIAN?—a definition: 4 chapters examining the definition of a Christian from the perspectives of the world, the Bible, landmark religious studies, and what Shuster refers to as Modern Day Pharisees.
SECTION 3: WHERE ARE THE CHRISTIANS?—a categorization: 5 chapters profiling the five types of modern Christians including a unique and enlightening exercise to help readers understand what type of Christian they are among the five.
SECTION 4 – HOW IS CHRISTIANITY TO UNITE?—a vision: 4 chapters describing the ways Christians in America can unite into a force for good by focusing on individuals, families, churches and communities.
To watch the book trailer, take a survey to find out what type of Christian you are, and to pre-order the book go
I’m not sure that Louie wanted all this publicity after being chosen to pray at the inaugural.
He’s now being lamblasted as antigay. From the Advocate:
The most LGBT-friendly president in U.S. history will once again have a minister with a history of antigay statements deliver a prayer at his inauguration ceremony.
Pastor Louie Giglio of the Passion City Church in Atlanta, chosen to give the benediction, or closing prayer, January 21 at President Obama’s second inauguration, gave a sermon in the mid 1990s in which he said being gay is a choice and a sin that merits eternal damnation and that Christianity can help gays can become straight,ThinkProgress reports.
In the sermon, available on a Christian website, Giglio says the Bible clearly teaches that “homosexuality is not just a sexual preference, homosexuality is not gay, but homosexuality is sin,” and it is among the factors that “prevent people from entering the Kingdom of God.” He also says, “The only way out of a homosexual lifestyle, the only way out of a relationship that has been ingrained over years of time, is through the healing power of Jesus.”
When the item was posted, Giglio had yet to respond to a ThinkProgress inquiry about whether the sermon represents his current thinking. The Advocate has also asked the Presidential Inaugural Committee, which plans the ceremony, for comment on the choice of Giglio, but there has been no response so far. A “Beliefs” section on Passion City Church’s website describes the church as “conservative and evangelical,” apparently with a literal view of the Bible, as it says, “We believe in the accuracy, truth, authority and power of the Holy Scriptures as the Word of God.”
Have you thought much about what you will be concentrating on in your church in 2013?
Joe Buchanan gives some practical advice on how to plan our your preaching calendar for the year. See if this is helpful:
1. Spend time fasting, praying and preparing yourself spiritually to hear from God
The amount of time and the way you do this will depend on the individual. There is no substitute, however, for getting yourself spiritually prepared to hear from God.
2. Identify the key issues and needs facing your congregation
I like to take an afternoon to simply pray through our church directory, asking God to call to mind the needs of individual needs of my congregation. As the Lord calls various issues to my mind, I make a list of issues and needs. Once I have prayed through every name in the directory, I then go back and categorize the needs and identify the most pressing issues facing our church.
3. Outline your preaching strategy
One of the key factors for effective preaching is to have variety in your styles and approaches… You will have to adjust the plan to meet your needs but I try to include the following in my yearly plan:
What do YOU have planned for 2013?
How far do you normally plan ahead?
And what are you MOST excited about for the new year?
Google is partnering with the Israel Antiquities Authority to launch the Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library, an online collection of 5,000 images of scroll fragments. Among the texts is the Book of Deuteronomy, which includes the Ten Commandments, and part of Chapter 1 of the Book of Genesis, which is seen in the picture above and measures in at about 10 cm.
Google said the initiative will shed “light on the time when Jesus lived and preached, and on the history of Judaism.”
“Millions of users and scholars can discover and decipher details invisible to the naked eye, at 1215 dpi resolution,” Google said in an official blog post. “The site displays infrared and color images that are equal in quality to the Scrolls themselves. There’s a database containing information for about 900 of the manuscripts, as well as interactive content pages. We’re thrilled to have been able to help this project through hosting on Google Storage and App Engine, and use of Maps, YouTube and Google image technology.”
In what is being called a hate crime, three elderly women (between the ages of 84 and 90) were tied up, tased, and their hom ransacked.
According to the Christian Post:
Three Mennonite women were attacked with a stun gun simply because of their faith, police said on Sunday. Dereck Taylor Holt was charged with aggravated assault, ethnic intimidation, burglary and other offenses and is being held by Lancaster, Pennsylvania police.
While police chief David Steffen told the Associated Press that Holt did not know the women personally, he did know that they were Mennonite and attacked them for that reason. During the assault, which lasted several hours, he tied up the elderly women, used a stun gun on them, ransacked their home, and read Bible verses before destroying the book.
“There is no direct information that linked these individuals to targeting by the suspect. The only thing that linked them was his bias based upon their faith. They suffered multiple electrical shocks, were incapacitated and left. They were unable to move for a long period of time. That could have led to bad things like blood clots and positional asphyxia,” Steffen told the Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era.
Holt allegedly told the women that he was a former Mennonite but gave no further information as to why he would attack them. He allegedly told the women he was a previous member of the faith and had significant anger towards all members since leaving the tradition.
From The Inquisitr:
A former janitor at a Tulsa megachurch was sentenced to 55 years in prison Wednesday after he pleaded guilty to raping a 13-year-old girl in the church’s stairwell.
Chris Denman was sentenced to an additional five years of probation and a $12,000 fine.
Denman was accused of the August rape of a 13-year-old girl on the campus of Victory Christian Center, a megachurch in Tulsa that has 17,000 members. He was also charged with making a lewd proposal to a 12-year-old girl and molesting a 15-year-old girl.
Denman quoted Bible verses at his Wednesday sentencing and said he wanted to go to prison. Prosecutors said at the hearing that Denman was arrogant and used religion and the safety of the church to prey on young girls.
A second former employee, Israel Castillo, awaits trial on a charge of making a lewd or indecent proposal to a child. Prosecutors said Castillo sent explicit Facebook Messages to a 14-year-old girl he had known for at least two years.
Five church employees accused of waiting two weeks to report the alleged rape are facing misdemeanor charges. They include the son and daughter-in-law of the head pastor, Sharon Daugherty. All five have pleaded not guilty.
The 13-year-old victim’s mother sued the church and accused employees of trying to cover up the rape. She said the church was more interested in damage control and making her daughter feel as if she were to blame for the rape.
What a black eye on:
The church community in Tulsa
The megachurch movement (all the headlines mention MEGACHURCH in the headline)
All those that serve God faithfully.
I hate that.
Casey Graham thinks that there are 5 key reasons people aren’t giving as faithfully or consistently to your church as you want them to:
1. People don’t feel NEEDED
At one time, I remember church funding being ALL about need! The “weekly need” was published in the bulletin and the goal was to meet the weekly need. I believe we have swung the pendulum too far away from this.
We don’t want to be “that” church so we try to make our churches look like everything is professional and “done”. People park the cars in the parking lot, we have nice signs, and have great children’s workers. We are trained to create a culture where everything feels “done” and people feel welcomed more than needed.
2. People don’t understand
I truly believe if people just had a clear picture of where the church is headed, you could solve most of your funding issues. People need VISION and CLARITY about the future more than we think they do. People’s giving rarely increases unless you give them something to stretch for. We find that when a church has 3-4 objectives they want to accomplish through their operational budget and they highlight them to the congregation and make a SPECIFIC ask, people move their giving! Ask this question:
3. People feel like the church wants something from them, not for them
I have found that pastors think they are closer to their people than they really are. You know who I learn the most from when meeting with staff teams? The spouses. The spouses that are not on staff give me more insight into the relational credibility of the senior leadership more than the staff team. Here is the deal; most of the time we stay quiet about money until we need some. This is why you have to create RELATIONAL EQUITY with your donors each day, week, month and year.
4. People aren’t educated
I have met with over 1,000 people in a 1-on-1 financial coaching environment. I never met with one person that was tithing. Most people would say to me, “We can’t tithe.” About 90 minutes later they would walk out of the meeting knowing they COULD tithe, but they are choosing not to. In reality they are choosing five magazine subscriptions over giving to God. That is just reality.
5. People don’t know what is expected
It is so funny that we want to reach all these lost people, but we rarely tell them what the Bible says about giving. It is 100% expected of us to give to God & be generous. How are you helping people understand the theology of giving and all the Bible has to say about it? When people know what is expected, they will often times meet that expectation.
// Read more from Casey here… 5 Reasons People Aren’t Giving Faithfully To Your Church.
What do you think are the main reasons people aren’t giving consistently to YOUR church?
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