Tuesday, June 30, 2020

How to Lead a Church Meeting (John Piippo)







You are LEADING by BEING LED.



If you have questions, please email me: johnpiippo@msn.com.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

The Differences Between American Christianity and Biblical Christianity

(Sea of Galilee, Israel)



(I'm re-posting this, to keep it in play.) 

***


From Joseph Mattera's "13 Contrasts Between American and Biblical Christianity." The differences are:


  1. American Christianity focuses on individual destiny. The Bible focuses on corporate vision and destiny. Correct. It's the tribe, the community, and less the individual. American churchianity is individuated. Note that the apostle Paul's use of the pronoun "you" is overwhelmingly plural.
  2. American Christianity focuses on individual prosperity. The Bible focuses on stewardship. "Much American preaching today focuses on "our rights in Christ" to be blessed. However, in Scripture the emphasis regarding finances has to do with being blessed by God in order to be a blessing by bringing God's covenant to the Earth (Read Deut. 8:18; 2 Cor. 9:10-11). Jesus promised material blessing only in the context of seeking first His Kingdom (Matt. 6:33)."
  3.  American Christianity focuses on self-fulfillment and happiness. The Bible focuses on glorifying God and serving humanity. In contrast to the Bible "much of the focus from the American pulpit has to do with individual fulfillment and satisfaction."
  4. American Christianity appeals to using faith to attain stability and comfort. The Bible encourages believers to risk life and limb to advance the Kingdom. Read Hebrews 11, THE premier biblical text on the meaning of "faith," the kind of faith that, without which, it is impossible to please God.
  5. American Christianity usually focuses on individual salvation. The Bible deals with individual and systemic redemption.
  6. The American apologetic focuses on human reason. The Bible's apologetic focuses on the power of God and experience. "If the foundation of your faith is human reason, then the first person that has more knowledge than you in science could talk you out of being a Christ-follower. Truly, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, not human reason (Prov. 9:10; 1 Cor. 1:17-23)." BTW - anyone who reads apologists like Bill Craig and J.P. Moreland (and even myself), and thinks our interest in rationally defending our faith is about the primacy of human reason over the God-encounter, has misunderstood us.
  7. American believers have a consumerist mentality regarding a home church. The biblical emphasis is being equipped for the ministry. See here, and here. Mattera notes: "Americans shop for a church today based on what meets their personal and family needs the best. It is almost like a supermarket mentality of one-stop shopping." The Consumer Church, as Eugene Peterson has said, is an Antichrist Church.
  8. American Christianity promotes a culture of entertainment. The Bible promotes the pursuit of God. See here.    
  9. American Christianity depends upon services within a building. The biblical model promotes a lifestyle of worship, community and Christ following. Mattera writes: "Most of the miracles in the book of Acts and the gospels took place outside a building in the context of people's homes and in the marketplace. In Acts 2 and 4, the churches met house-to-house, not just in the temple. The man at the gate was healed before he went into the temple (Acts 3), which caused an even greater revival to take place."
  10. American Christianity is about efficiency. The biblical model is about effectiveness. "Often, the American church is modeled more after the secular corporate model rather than the biblical model. The church is not an organization, but an organism that should be organized!"
  11. In American Christianity the pastor is elected. In the biblical model God calls the pastor. 
  12. In American Christianity the individual interprets the Bible. In the New Testament the hermeneutical community interprets the Bible.
  13. American Christianity trains its leaders in Bible colleges. Biblical Christianity nurtures leaders through personal mentoring. "Biblically, leaders were not sent outside of the context of a local church to be trained for the ministry. They were nurtured personally in the context of congregational life by church leaders acting as mentors (as the Apostle Paul did with Timothy; as Aquila and Priscilla did with Apollos in Acts 19; and as Barnabas did with John Mark in Acts 15)."
This is going to be a tough one. Most people won't want the biblical model. They won't recognize it. 

Pastors - if you transition from the American Church to the Biblical Church you will lose some people, and gain some disciples.



**
My three books are:

Leading the Presence-Driven Church

Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God

Encounters with the Holy Spirit (co-edited with Janice Trigg)

After a break I'll continue writing Transformation: How God Changes the Human Heart.

Then: Technology and Spiritual Formation.

Then, the Lord willing, Linda and I will write our book on Relationships.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Who I Am in Christ

(On The Badger - Ludington to Manitowoc)

(I am reposting this for a friend.)

Print this out and carry it with you. 


WHO I AM IN CHRIST
I am accepted

I am God's child.
As a disciple, I am a friend of Jesus Christ.
I have been justified.
I am united with the Lord, and I am one with Him in spirit.
I have been bought with a price and I belong to God.
I am a member of Christ's body.
I have been chosen by God and adopted as His child.
I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins.
I am complete in Christ.
I have direct access to the throne of grace through Jesus Christ.

I am secure...
I am free from condemnation.
I am assured that God works for my good in all circumstances.
I am free from any condemnation brought against me and I cannot be separated from the love of God.
I have been established, anointed and sealed by God.
I am hidden with Christ in God.
I am confident that God will complete the good work He started in me.
I am a citizen of heaven.
I have not been given a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind.
I am born of God and the evil one cannot touch me.
I am significant...
I am a branch of Jesus Christ, the true vine, and a channel of His life.
I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit.
I am God's temple.
I am a minister of reconciliation for God.
I am seated with Jesus Christ in the heavenly realm.
I am God's workmanship.
I may approach God with freedom and confidence.
I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me

What I Do When the Conference is Over



It's Wednesday morning. 

I'm basking in the afterglow of three fire-filled nights with my HSRM colleagues, and Robby Dawkins and James Goll. We will never be the same again!

All the activity and worship and spiritual and mental intake...  it's in the past. Wow! And, thank you Jesus! 

What now? What will I do now? The answer is: what I am always doing

Which is:
  1. I will Abide in Jesus today, tomorrow, and the next day. I'll be a branch connected to Jesus the Vine. "Conferences" are not what I am attached to. The same Jesus that spoke to you and me over the past few days will not stop speaking just because we're not at the conference. I have great hope and expectation... now! The God-encounter is a daily thing for me.  
  2. I will Saturate myself in Scripture. God meets me in Scripture. I am more Scripture-focused than I have ever been in all my Jesus-days. I study it. I meditate on it. I ingest it and, by God's Spirit, it gets into me. I'll just keep doing this. The three-day conference has ignited new hope in me. But I do not need a conference to saturate myself in Scripture. This has become my habit. 
  3. I will Listen for God's voice, speaking to me. When God speaks to me today, I'll write it down in my spiritual journal. God has so much to tell me! God is not thinking, "John's no longer participating in the big conference so I won't speak to him in his own home." My view is this. Today is the day of the Lord's activity in my life. Jesus is not the great "I was," he is not the great "I will be," he is the great "I am." Now. 
  4. I will Obey when the Spirit directs. I am not God's perfect servant, as Jesus was. But I do obey God, and find it a delight. I am God's servant. Transform me, Lord, into greater obedient servanthood!
The conference is over. 

I continue doing four things. 

ABIDE
SATURATE
LISTEN
OBEY

A.S.L.O.

Thank God for inspiring conferences, the God-intent of each one being daily, inspirational, Jesus-loving, Jesus-following and life more abundantly. (John 10:10) Thank you Robby and James and others for giving us so much! Through you, I am on fire! 

This 3-night conference is over. But God is not gone. He is with me, his rod and staff, they comfort me. For me, life is all about abiding in him, being connected to him, and being where he wants me to be.

God is a good conference speaker, a very present help in trouble. And, meeting with God is free! (Except that it will cost you everything).  

Sit at God's feet today. 

Conference with God. 

Spiritually, it gets no better than that.