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Do You Know What’s Wrong with the Church Today?

Do you ever get enticed into a conversation about something you later feel kind of yucky about? It happened to me recently. I met someone who wanted to talk about politics right away. He told me his take on Donald Trump and why he wouldn’t be voting for him — unless his vote was actually the deciding vote, in which case he said he would vote for him (I didn’t understand his logic… but it made sense to him). Anyway, I’m a sucker for political and philosophical talk (I don’t like admitting that, but it’s true), so I engaged with him in discussion. So after my new friend told me about Trump he proceeded to say a phrase that I’ve also uttered many times before: “Do you know what’s wrong with the church?” It doesn’t really matter what he said after that (if you’re curious he said the main problem is that we’ve tried to argue social issues based on what the Bible says vs using logic and reason.) We bantered back and forth until I finally got my turn to tell him “what I thought was wrong with the church” (which was that we’ve neglected to transform the 7 Mountains of Influence in culture like the media, the entertainment industry, etc.). I thought about our conversation later and realized what was really wrong with the church. Do you know what it is? I’ll tell you… What’s really wrong with the church is saying, “here’s what’s really wrong with the church.” I’ll explain.   Newsflash: We Are the Church The ironic thing about criticizing the church is that we are the church!...

Attraction Rather Than Promotion: A Better Way to Grow a Church

A.A. and the 12-Step Program has a special place in my heart because that’s where I first became open to “spirituality.” It’s also the first place I experienced grace from people. I remember opening up my heart and really letting people know what was going on inside of me. And the strangest thing happened… nobody judged me! They didn’t even give me “concerned” looks. It was like they were saying,”Josh, it’s OK. You’re not alone. We know what you’re going through. And you’re not a bad person.” It was certainly an “attractive” culture. And later on I learned that this was part of their “growth strategy.” In other words, the founders of the program made a deliberate decision to focus on “attraction rather than promotion.” You’re probably familiar with A.A.’s “12 Steps” but they also have “12 Traditions” they use to govern their groups. And Tradition 11 is all about attraction vs promotion. It reads: “Tradition 11: Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion. There is never need to praise ourselves. We feel it better to let our friends recommend us.” The crazy part about this “attraction growth strategy” is that it worked in a big way. In fact, as of January 1, 2015 there’s an estimated 2 million people in A.A. in 175 countries. After attending well over 100 A.A. meetings and even more church meetings, I often think about some things churches could learn from A.A.’s culture. And this whole “attraction over promotion” is one of the most important. And if you’re a Christian reading this and you don’t think there’s anything to learn from a...

One Of The Biggest Lies The Church Believes

Do you want to know one of the biggest lies the enemy has told us? Lie: you’re playing defense, not offense (as you hold the ball in your hands and say, Really?) Truth: you’re on offense (that’s why the ball is in your hands) and the only hope the enemy has is to convince you otherwise. Here’s what I mean. God has all power and all authority. Not only is He winning. He’s already won. Jesus defeated the enemy at the Cross and recaptured the keys of the kingdom. In other words, Jesus stripped the enemy of his power and authority (which he received when man fell) and delegated it to the church. Yet many Christians live contrary to this reality. They’ve believed the lie that says, “You’re not powerful. You’re weak and defeated.” They think they’re destined for a continual struggle against the enemy. So instead of running the next play they bow their heads to the ground and accept defeat, “I guess you’re right. I thought I had the ball in my hand but I guess I don’t.” But it’s time for God’s children to wake up. It’s time to stop listening to the lies. It’s time to use the power and authority we’ve received to destroy the works of darkness. No more ‘hiding out until Jesus comes back!’ It’s time to take the ball and make the next play. The church is a church of power. That’s why Jesus says in Matthew 16:18, “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” Did you catch that?...

When Christians Disagree: Unity, Facebook and False Teachers

Last week an old friend, and fellow Christian, messaged me on Facebook to let me know he thought some of the Christian charismatic leaders I followed were “false teachers.” I didn’t (and still don’t) agree with him. But that’s not the point. There are enough blog posts, Facebook comments and even entire books dedicated to, what I’ll refer to as “Christian Disagreements.” But so few resources on how to walk in unity and how to honor those you disagree with. It’s like we’re experts at arguing, persuading and debating (which I confess, I do a lot of) but almost entirely ignorant on how to walk in unity. And I think something is wrong with that. So instead of writing my friend back right away, I took a day to think it over. I wanted to not only get my thinking right but also my heart right before I responded. 3 Ways To Respond To Christian Facebook Disagreements As I considered the different ways I could respond I decided there were 3 main approaches: 1. Aggressive: Engage in a full blown frontal attack. I could build a case why I’m right and he’s wrong. I could open up my “Debate Toolbox” and pull out proven tools that have helped me win arguments before: identifying flawed logic, using the psychology of persuasion, pointing out scripture that supports my case and of course my favorite… powerful writing that’s concise and to the point. 2. Passive Aggressive: Completely ignore him. Come on all you Passive Agressives out there… you know what I’m talking about… “Screw you. It’s not worth my time to even reply to you.”...

Why Do You Go To Church?

A couple of days ago I was working from a coffee shop. It was very busy that day when a couple of men walked in. The only place for them to sit was across the counter from me. So they sit down and start to talk business. Then after they finish with their business transaction the conversation drifts towards church. The one man said, “You know, the reason I go there [his church] is because of the teaching (he made sure to really emphasize the word “teaching”). When I sit down with those guys we’ll all bring our concordances and references books. We’ll cross-reference verses and look up the Greek. You know [name of friend] went to Multnomah Bible College and [name of another friend] went to [name of some other well-respected Bible school].” The conversation continued like this. It was all about how good they could analyze the Bible. There was no talk about God or people. No mention of the friends this man had at church or the bond they had in the spirit. No discussion about how his life had been changed. It was 100% based on the “teaching” and how many “scholars” were gathered in one place. As I sat there listening to this conversation going on 2 feet from me I thought, man, is that really the best part of being born again and going to church? To analyze the Bible and be impressed by the fact that the people we agree with went to a prestigious Bible school? Now I don’t think there’s anything wrong with an intellectual pursuit of the Bible. But I...

Why Should Anyone Make a Covenant with Another Person?

I think it’s important to answer the “why?” question before we go out and form covenants with people. Should we form a covenant because we go to the same church or because we’re part of the same ministry? Should it be based on proximity — if you’re a Christian in my town is that enough to form a covenant relationship? Or are these foundations too shallow to build such meaningful relationships on? In my quiet time this morning I was reading 1 Samuel 18 and in it Jonathan and Davide make a covenant. Here’s what it says (verses 1-3): “And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. And Saul took him that day, and would let him go no more home to his father’s house. Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul.”   So in this situation the Bible answers the “why?” — the motive — behind this covenant. Verse 3 says it was “because he loved him,” so we learn that love was the motivation for their covenant relationship. It didn’t say, “Jonathan perceived it would be wise to form a strategic alliance with David.” But how many times do we try to form covenant like relationships with others because it “makes sense?” The wisdom of the world teaches that relationships should be formed only when both parties will benefit from it. ‘You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours’ kind of mentality. But God’s...