Romans 1:16 - "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile."

Friday, January 30, 2015

My question is this. Is the parachurch replacing the church? Well I would say in some ways it is and has and in some ways it isn't and hasn't.

First the definition of a “parachurch” from Wikipedia (not always a good source) ~ Parachurch organization. Parachurch organizations are Christian faith-based organizations that work outside of and across denominations to engage in social welfare and evangelism, usually independent of church oversight.

The reality is that parachurches have really taken up a portion of what was and still is the responsibility of the church. Things like feeding the poor, clothing the poor, hospital visitation, tending to the sick, and supplying the funds to do this work.

I guess the real question is why has the parachurch taken over these responsibilities? I would say that it is because there is a lack of desire to fulfill these commands within the church itself.

Now I am not saying that all churches have veered from these responsibilities but for the most part most have.

Many churches are vocal about their concern about the parachurch and its significance in Christianity and how it is taking away from the church itself. What these churches should be asking themselves is why is it that they as the church have not followed what God has laid out for them to do. Most churches will say, “we will pray for you.” Great! Prayer is an important part of the Christian faith. But when it comes to financing ministry most churches will decline calling for those who are doing it to be self supported.

Now I understand that the church can't finance everyone who has been called to ministry but most churches will not finance any ministry that is outside the walls of the church.

As we look at nonprofits and if they are a good nonprofit or not we look at how much of the money taken in actually goes to the cause. Many will say a good nonprofit will have 90% of the money coming in going out to the cause. If we look at the church how is it doing if held up to the same standards?

Now churches do have responsibilities to itself and the costs associated with it but how many churches do you think give 50% to outside ministry? How about 40%, 30% even 20%? I'm not sure most would even meet the 20% level or even 10%.

So the parachurch has stepped in to fill this command that the church as a whole has avoided and has determined not to fulfill. The parachurch has become a vital part of the Christian faith and will continue to be as long as the church avoids its responsibilities.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

What are you afraid of?

What are you afraid of?

This question is for those who do not understand the purpose of Gods Word. By "Word" I do mean both Christ and the Bible.

There is nothing more that irritates me than a believer both pastor and non, who for some reason is either afraid or ashamed of teaching Gods Word.

I hear excuses such as we don't want to cause division or we want to create an atmosphere where non-believers are welcome.

My question always to these people is "Do you think that you know better than God what his people should hear or not hear?" I would hope not.

Matthew 10:34 - "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword."

Jesus came to seperate those who believe and will believe from those that will never believe. The truth about Jesus is meant to cause a reaction that is life changing. That doesn't happen with bland meaningless words that come from mans mind and out of his mouth. Our words are shallow and have no hope for salvation and at best only provide comfort for a brief amount of time.

You want to see true change in people? Do you want to see true change in your church? Then see to it that Gods Word is preached the way it was meant to be, the way He laid it out for us. Being soft on people is doing them more harm than good. You are more of a stumbling block to that person than a help.

People need to know the truth.... and the truth at times can be harsh. But that truth if they hear it can make a change in the rest of their life and their life ever after.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Willow Creek Confession

I came across the article the other day and found it very interesting, I hope you do also.

A Shocking ???Confession??? from Willow Creek Community Church

Bob Burney
October 30, 2007

If you are older than 40 the name Benjamin Spock is more than familiar. It was Spock that told an entire generation of parents to take it easy, don't discipline your children and allow them to express themselves. Discipline, he told us, would warp a child's fragile ego. Millions followed this guru of child development and he remained unchallenged among child rearing professionals. However, before his death Dr. Spock made an amazing discovery: he was wrong. In fact, he said:
We have reared a generation of brats. Parents aren't firm enough with their children for fear of losing their love or incurring their resentment. This is a cruel deprivation that we professionals have imposed on mothers and fathers. Of course, we did it with the best of intentions. We didn't realize until it was too late how our know-it-all attitude was undermining the self assurance of parents.

Something just as momentous, in my opinion, just happened in the evangelical community. For most of a generation evangelicals have been romanced by the "seeker sensitive" movement spawned by Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago. The guru of this movement is Bill Hybels. He and others have been telling us for decades to throw out everything we have previously thought and been taught about church growth and replace it with a new paradigm, a new way to do ministry.

Perhaps inadvertently, with this "new wave" of ministry came a de-emphasis on taking personal responsibility for Bible study combined with an emphasis on felt-needs based "programs" and slick marketing.

The size of the crowd rather than the depth of the heart determined success. If the crowd was large then surely God was blessing the ministry. Churches were built by demographic studies, professional strategists, marketing research, meeting "felt needs" and sermons consistent with these techniques. We were told that preaching was out, relevance was in. Doctrine didn't matter nearly as much as innovation. If it wasn't "cutting edge" and consumer friendly it was doomed. The mention of sin, salvation and sanctification were taboo and replaced by Starbucks, strategy and sensitivity.

Thousands of pastors hung on every word that emanated from the lips of the church growth experts. Satellite seminars were packed with hungry church leaders learning the latest way to "do church." The promise was clear: thousands of people and millions of dollars couldn't be wrong. Forget what people need, give them what they want. How can you argue with the numbers? If you dared to challenge the "experts" you were immediately labeled as a "traditionalist," a throwback to the 50s, a stubborn dinosaur unwilling to change with the times.
All that changed recently.

Willow Creek has released the results of a multi-year study on the effectiveness of their programs and philosophy of ministry. The study's findings are in a new book titled Reveal: Where Are You?, co-authored by Cally Parkinson and Greg Hawkins, executive pastor of Willow Creek Community Church. Hybels himself called the findings "earth shaking," "ground breaking" and "mind blowing." And no wonder: it seems that the "experts" were wrong.

The report reveals that most of what they have been doing for these many years and what they have taught millions of others to do is not producing solid disciples of Jesus Christ. Numbers yes, but not disciples. It gets worse. Hybels laments:

Some of the stuff that we have put millions of dollars into thinking it would really help our people grow and develop spiritually, when the data actually came back it wasn't helping people that much. Other things that we didn't put that much money into and didn't put much staff against is stuff our people are crying out for.

If you simply want a crowd, the "seeker sensitive" model produces results. If you want solid, sincere, mature followers of Christ, it's a bust. In a shocking confession, Hybels states:
We made a mistake. What we should have done when people crossed the line of faith and become Christians, we should have started telling people and teaching people that they have to take responsibility to become 'self feeders.' We should have gotten people, taught people, how to read their bible between services, how to do the spiritual practices much more aggressively on their own.

Incredibly, the guru of church growth now tells us that people need to be reading their bibles and taking responsibility for their spiritual growth.

Just as Spock's "mistake" was no minor error, so the error of the seeker sensitive movement is monumental in its scope. The foundation of thousands of American churches is now discovered to be mere sand. The one individual who has had perhaps the greatest influence on the American church in our generation has now admitted his philosophy of ministry, in large part, was a "mistake." The extent of this error defies measurement.

Perhaps the most shocking thing of all in this revelation coming out of Willow Creek is in a summary statement by Greg Hawkins:

Our dream is that we fundamentally change the way we do church. That we take out a clean sheet of paper and we rethink all of our old assumptions. Replace it with new insights. Insights that are informed by research and rooted in Scripture. Our dream is really to discover what God is doing and how he's asking us to transform this planet.

Isn't that what we were told when this whole seeker-sensitive thing started? The church growth gurus again want to throw away their old assumptions and "take out a clean sheet of paper" and, presumably, come up with a new paradigm for ministry.

Should this be encouraging?

Please note that "rooted in Scripture" still follows "rethink," "new insights" and "informed research." Someone, it appears, still might not get it. Unless there is a return to simple biblical (and relevant) principles, a new faulty scheme will replace the existing one and another generation will follow along as the latest piper plays.

What we should find encouraging, at least, in this "confession" coming from the highest ranks of the Willow Creek Association is that they are coming to realize that their existing "model" does not help people grow into mature followers of Jesus Christ. Given the massive influence this organization has on the American church today, let us pray that God would be pleased to put structures in place at Willow Creek that foster not mere numeric growth, but growth in grace.

Bob Burney is Salem Communications' award-winning host of Bob Burney Live, heard weekday afternoons on WRFD-AM 880 in Columbus, Ohio. Contact Bob at

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

It Is Finished!

John 19:28-30

28Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, "I am thirsty." 29A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus' lips. 30When he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

During a discussion the other day I came to the unfortunate realization that far to many who would call themselves Christians do not believe that the atoning work of Jesus Christ on the cross was enough to cover their sins, that it did not fully pay for their sins and that it needed something else.

What I specifically am talking about is the belief that salvation is something that could be lost at anytime. Believing that every time you sin you fall back into a position of needing your sins to be covered again.

The Bible does talk about confessing and turning from our sins:

1 John 1:5-10

5This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 7But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

8If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.

Mathew 21:32

Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.

This message is a message of not living a life filled with repetitive daily sin, of not thinking that there is not a need for a changed life or that grace covers us or in this case Abraham to the Jew so that we will not need to have a changed life. These verses are about the importance of confession and repentance not of a loss of salvation.

It is unimaginable for me to think about the daily torment of not knowing if you are going to heaven or not. We would need to be in constant 24/7 confession and repentance never coming from our knees in fear that at that one moment our minds would overcome us and a sinful thought would enter our minds and just at that very moment we fell dead being cast into hell.

This very thing is what tormented Martin Luther to the point of madness until God revealed to him through his Word in the Bible that Christ only needs to pay for your sins once and not time and time again.

And that it is not about our perfection but the perfection that could only come from Christ Himself.

Romans 6:10

The death he (Jesus) died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

1 Corinthians 1:17

1 Corinthians 1:17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

What has the modern day church come to when it feels that human wisdom spoken by mere man could ever compare or replace the Word of God.

Excuses such as creating a message that can better reach those seeking Him are used as if Gods Word is out dated or no longer significant in some way.

The Apostle Paul tells us here that using "words of human wisdom" empty the cross of Christ of its power, and I would say rightly so. When a church decides that they know better than God what His people need to hear, then the church becomes unable to deliver the message of Christ in a manner that can truly save. The cross has been emptied of its true meaning and power so how can it do anything but maybe create some surface feeling without any true depth.

Colossians 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.

We cannot deliver as a church a message designed to be understood and accepted by worldly people and expect it to some how reach them in the manner that Gods Word will. Only God Himself can do this through His Word, we are incapable of this to any extent.

And as followers and believers in God and Christ we cannot allow ourselves, family or friends to be drawn in to such damaging and counterfeit practices.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Perseverance of the Saints

Perseverance of the Saints - God has promised the elect two things. First He promised never to forsake them. Second, He promised to work in the lives of the elect in a way that will not allow them to turn away from Him.

John 10:28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.

Jeremiah 32:40 I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me.

The elect are secure in the hands of God and of Christ, the elect like the kitten who is taken by the scruff of its neck by the mother cat, is secure for she will never allow the kitten to fall to its death, she is in complete control not the kitten.

Christ himself states the fact that the elect are secure and that He will never even loose one who has been chosen by God.

John 6:39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day.

Those who "fall away" were never saved to begin with. Had they been truly saved God would not have allowed them to fall but would have insured their perseverance.

1 John 2:19 They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.