Work Place

Make God Your Senior Business Partner

Board Room--b&w

I believe that one of the greatest ways that God is going to move is at work and in our businesses. Here are some principles to consider in running your business or your part of the business if someone else owns it.

PRINCIPLE #1 – To Obtain Wealth It’s Best to become an Owner

There are different ways to own. But the main idea is you have to get to the place where money works for you – you do not work for money.

For example, employees working for you when you are not, people paying rent on your buildings when you are not, investments paying you interest or dividends when you are asleep.

Definition of Wealth:I am not talking about being filthy rich. I am talking about having enough money coming in that you don’t have to work if you don’t want to. How long can you go without working? That is how wealthy you are?

Becoming a business owner does not guarantee that you will make more money than an employee. But it is the only door that you can go through that makes that opportunity possible.

One note to business owners. Don’t form 50/50 partnerships. They are trouble. We formed a 51/49% partnership. Somebody has to have the ability to make the final decision.

PRINCIPLE #2 – Commit your Business to God

Commit the business to God that He would be glorified.

Many people think God is only in the church. That He doesn’t care about anything outside the church.

Make God a Senior Partner. Ask Him how to run the business.

The Lord can help you with everything in life. He wants to and  is actually a very good business man. The book of Proverbs is full of things that you can use in business.

PRINCIPLE #3 – Apply the Golden Rule with Your Employees.

Treat your employees like you would want to be treated. I want to say that it does bring gold. Treat them like God treats you. You may say, “they are just employees!” They are people that are valuable and God wants to show them His love through you.

If you will care about your people too then they will help you make money and not waste it.

PRINCIPLE #4 – The Lord Can Give You Business Strategies

Have you heard about the story of George Washington Carver. It is the story of how God can give you new strategies. George Carver was an American in the 1800’s whose mother was sold to slave traders. He had to figure out how to make a living.

The land was bad from growing cotton for hundreds of years. People were realizing that the land would be good for peanuts, but people didn’t know what to do with peanuts 150 years ago.

He cried out to God, “Mr. Creator, help me.” He asked the question, “Why did you make the peanut.” in frustration. The Lord gave him strategies over the next many years of 300 products from the peanut that he could sell – like peanut butter and peanut oil. He is considered one of the greatest inventors in our history.

PRINCIPLE #5 – Don’t Compromise in Your Morals

How many of you know there are legal ways to make money and illegal ways? There are also ways that are not illegal but also not quite right.

How many of you know you can sell anything if you will only give something back to the person you are buying from? Some of these things are OK like meals. Some of these things can be bigger like money for bribes or parties, etc.

Do what is right and the Lord will take care of you.

PRINCIPLE #6 – Use the Golden Rule with Your Customers.

Always give in sales what you would want to be sold. Many business people will see how much they can get out of their customers. We have to make money but if you cheat your customers they will eventually find out. This will cause you more business lost than is worth.

Realize that one satisfied customer will tell 1 other person. 1 dissatisfied customer will tell 7 others.

Your best advertising is word of mouth and a good reputation. In America the best form of advertising only results in 3-4% sales. If it’s a local business you will get most of your sales by treating customers with the golden rule too.

Give them the best service, give them the best product you can, treat your customers like you will be treated. It may cost you a little money now, but you will get it back in return sales.

The great department store Rich’s in Atlanta (which is now a part of Macy’s) grew because in the 1960’s they were the first store to allow a no ask return policy! They treated their customers with the Golden Rule philosophy and were greatly blessed. Their policy is now standard at any store.

Do business with honesty and integrity. If things aren’t going good and the customer found out be honest with them. Customers can tell if you are lying, if not they will very soon.

Several years ago a big survey was done of the Fortune 500 companies in America. It was asked, what is the number one thing you look for in top leaders in your company. Guess what the answer was? Not management skills, not money skills, not ideas –  Integrity! A man of his word.

Men who live by lying and cheating do not last long in business. People will eventually avoid them.

PRINCIPLE #7 – There is no Way to Get Rich Quick

You don’t get wealthy or prosperous quickly. It is built by making lots of small decisions correctly over time. If you try to get rich quick you will only do something that you will regret over time.

Make being a good and Godly business owner a long term thing. In the end you will have a business and livelihood that you will be proud of. You will also give the glory to God because you know that He gave you so many creative ideas, endurance, and favor.

Miscellaneous

Special Forces in God’s Army

special forces--bw

We are all in the army of God with different positions. In the US military there are a group of positions called the Special Forces. These include the Delta Force, Rangers, Seal Team, etc. In God’s army some of the Christians are in the Special Forces division too. This blog is about those of you who are spiritual Special Forces.

The 1991 Gulf War was an example of how the kingdom of God grows on earth. The kingdom of God is expanded when God’s principles are lived out in all areas of our lives and society. It is the responsibility of Christians to carry these principles to all areas of society. He has limited His sovereignty to work through us.

In the Gulf War, U.S. Military Intelligence did reconnaissance (recon) work on strongholds before the main war started in Iraq to identify heavy concentration of troops, military bases, communication centers, key bridges and roads. After the recon work was done,  the Air Force was sent in to destroy or at least weaken these strongholds. Special Forces troops were sent in next to help “soften” up the enemy for the main army that would come in and occupy the land.

The recon personnel and Air Force are the first people in a territory but the first troops on the ground are the Special Forces. They could be Green Beret, Black Beret, Delta Force, Seals, Marines, or Rangers,  whoever is needed depending on the stronghold being attacked. After the Special Forces troops have carried out their missions it allows the rest of the Army to come behind them and “occupy” the entire land. The Special Forces troops are used to open or close “gateways” or “strongholds” so that the main army troops can move into the land.

Attacking the enemy this way minimized casualties in the war and shortened it’s duration. It also allowed separation of duties among troops according to how they were trained.

The goal of any war is for the main infantry troops to “occupy” the entire territory of the enemy. At this point the war is won. God wants us to “occupy” our entire territory—to spread His principles into every corner of society. When this is done the kingdom of God has fully come upon the earth.

It is the same way with spiritual war for a region. Special forces people and churches are not to just have great events. Their mandate is to free the people of the region from the territorial spirits that control people’s lives. Often these strongholds demonic spirits of control (especially through religion), lust, poverty, and apathy, etc. To change a region recon work has to be done to identify how these territorial demonic spirits have put people into bondage.

“Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world”, Eph. 4:3 (KJV)

Reconnaissance work identifys how the strongholds have affected the areas of communication, civil, legal, religious areas, and thought processes. They then ask God for strategies on how to free the people. Strategies are a necessary stop to dethrone.

Most of the recon work in the church is done by prophetic insights and wisdom. The earthly Air Force is equivalent to the church’s intercessors. Prophetic insights reveal the enemy’s strongholds and plans.  The intercessors then send in prayer and declarations that “soften” up the enemy. The Bible is full of stories where the enemy’s plans were revealed and the dreams of the kings were interpreted by the prophets to further God’s plans. Through the prophetic and intercession, wisdom and revelation are given to formulate a plan to take out the enemy.

Everyone in the Lord’s army has been trained for a specific job. When we realize our place it keeps us from striving and allows us to reach our full potential. God picks what gifts to hand out to individuals and to churches. Special Forces people go in ahead of the massive army that God is raising up to “occupy” the land and open up “gateways” and tear down “strongholds” that the army would have to encounter.

Special Forces through the prophetic and intercession identify enemy strongholds and “high places” that have to be dealt with in the power of God or the casualty count of the “occupying” army will be much higher than needed.

When we understand the recon work (prophetic), aerial bombardment (intercession), and Special Forces required at the beginning of a war, it helps us understand why your group or church is “different”. It is different because your mission is different. You are like recon and prep teams that are smaller in number, focused, and travel light.

The main army that comes in to occupy the entire land requires much in the way of support. There are medical teams with hospitals, extensive food supplies with kitchens and cooks, transport and fuel supplies. There are huge logistics with armies of people to just support the army.

If you understand this dynamic it will may help to explain your group or church. You may not have all the programs that other churches have. You are focused on only a few things. But those few things you execute very well. Special forces have be agile and flexible to hit strategic enemy positions quickly and in whatever manner that is necessary.

What you do is not better or worse than any other job. It is just your job. Many times people ask, “Why do you do what you do? Nobody else does that?”. Your answer is now simple, “Exactly”.

Special forces Christians are often asked, “things are going well, why are you constantly changing things?” This is a good question but it is the wrong question. The right questions are, “has the kingdom of God come into your region yet? Has God’s perfect will been accomplished? Has the people in this region experienced Jesus as the Bridegroom. Have they become free in their expressions to their God? Is the majority of people even saved?” You will constantly be changing in order to find the most effective strategy to take over our assigned territory.

That is why you are here with the assignment you have. We need more prophetic insight than we have now to identify gifts, strategies, and strongholds. We need more intercessors to declare freedom and “soften” up the enemy. We need more troops (group leaders, etc.) to “shock” the enemy and open up gateways for the main army to occupy. As you stay focused on your special forces call it is opening “gateways” for people to know God. The revival and invasion of God is coming! If you are in the Special Forces be encourage in your calling. It is a high calling indeed!

Miscellaneous

Supernatural Power Through Humility and Fasting

fasting - why should we--bw

Each of us has a mission. That mission is to multiply spiritually into others. Part of that process is to set people free from the bondages that they are in. In order to multiply in others and free them it will take supernatural power.

We do not naturally have supernatural power. Our only power is no more than flesh and blood.

But we need more than flesh and blood. We live in a natural world that is full of impossible situations. We are often in bondage to a sin, thought pattern, or addiction. Our relationships are many times dysfunctional. We find ourselves lacking the knowledge and wisdom to move beyond our current circumstances. Simply put, we have gone as far as we know to go and nothing is working.

What we need is a supernatural move of God. We need God to bring the supernatural into our natural world. We need the power of God, revelation knowledge, deliverance, hearts changed, and souls saved.

It should be obvious, but the natural cannot go into the supernatural without help from the supernatural. Supernatural beings can come downinto our world, but natural beings cannot go upinto theirs.

As Christians we are blessed to have the Holy Spirit as our intermediary. He bridges the gap between the two worlds.

There is a basic scriptural principle we need to know to walk with the Holy Spirit. That principle is found in James 4:10.

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

Humility is a basic principle needed to walk with God.  Without it there is no access to Him.

Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matt. 18:4

For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. Matt. 23:12

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 1 Pet. 5:6

What does it mean to be humble?

A definition of humble in the dictionary shows two things:

1. not arrogant or prideful

2. deferential or submissive respect.

We have to Humble Ourselves

A major point from James 4:10  is that wehave to humble ourselves. The Holy Spirit doesn’t do it for us.

What good is humility if we don’t do it ourselves? If we are forced to be humble, then are we really humble? We cannot pray, “God make me humble.”

The same process that we came through to become a Christian is the same process that we need to continually live in.

Humility is saying that I am nothing without Jesus and everything with Him. When we voluntarily acknowledge this and walk in it we are humble. When we don’t we are arrogant and walk according to the natural.

Actions Alone Do Not Move God

Actions alone with out the right motives will not move God. The earth is full of people of various faiths performing ascetic and self-mutilating things with out moving God. Humility moves God. Humility is acknowledging that God is God and we are not! It is an internal attitude that will produce external actions eventually.

We have much movement in the Western church but no powerbecause we are not humble. We do external actions without the internal attitudes. We are arrogant and not submissive towards the Holy Spirit. Busyness does not necessarily mean godliness.  We put our confidence in our buildings, structure, education, and money.

How do we Humble Ourselves?

There are 4 major ways to humble ourselves:

1. Prayer

2. Worship

3. Living a Submitted Life

4. Fasting

The first 3 have been talked about a lot in the church – but not the 4th — fasting!

Fasting is always linked in Scripture with humility.

Yet when they were ill, I put on sackcloth and humbled myself with fasting. When my prayers returned to me unanswered, Psa. 35:13

It is a topic that is almost never talked about in the Western church. It is almost a foreign concept. Something that civilized nations don’t do. It is thought about as only something that desperate people do. But I submit to you that the Western church fulfills this verse:

having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. 2 Tim. 3:5

This perfectly describes most of the church today. Why? Because we are not desperate. We think the formis Christianity and is enough. But it is full of movement and actions but God is not impressed with these things.

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Rev. 3:15-19 

If we want the supernatural, we must humble ourselves. Fasting’s primary purpose is for self-humbling. To go where we want to go and see God move like we want Him to move we have to become humble people—we need to fast.

Fasting was practiced regularly by God’s people throughout the Scriptures. The essential nature of fasting is renouncing the natural to invoke the supernatural. The most natural thing for us to do is to eat. When we give up eating we are deliberating turning away from the natural and asking God for the supernatural.

No Formulas

Fasting in and of itself if done as a formula or ritual will notmove God. Fasting shows us our weaknesses. Fasting reveals our heart attitudes. As we take those weaknesses and heart attitudes to God for correction thenthis produces humility and the movement of God.

When we fast we are acknowledging that He has to move or we are doomed. There is no natural strength in us to make anything happen.

REPEAT — A Major Purpose of Fasting is self-humbling.

When we humble ourselves then God will promote what we are praying for.

NT Examples of God moving through Fasting

Jesus starting off his ministry with fasting. Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. Luke 4:1-2

Commissioning of 5-Fold Offices was done with fasting

In the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen … and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off. Acts 13:1-3

When there was fasting they got supernatural revelation

Raising up Elders/Leaders.

Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust. Acts 14:23

Major decisions were accompanied by fasting! How often does this happen in the church today? These were regular occurrences in the early church.

3 Duties of the Christian

3 duties we find of the Christian are to give to the Needy, Pray, and Fast.

“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full….And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full…. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, Matt. 6:2, 5, 17

Notice in all 3 instances Jesus used the wordwhen. Do we doubt that we should pray or give to the needy? It is equally our obligation to fast. It is not just ifbut when.

The Hindrance to the Supernatural is our Flesh

So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. Galatians 5:16-17

Our flesh is the hindrance to God.

The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. Romans 8:6-8

It is an Issue of Showing Who is in Control

When you fast you quickly realize who is in control – your flesh or the Holy Spirit.

because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. Rom. 8:14

It is a very humbling thing when you can’t fast food for any length of time. Many people can’t go without food for more than a couple of meals. This shows that in the end your stomach will rule you not the Holy Spirit. It reveals who our real master is.

Our flesh has to become subject to the Holy Spirit. The final goal is not to go without food but to be totally led and sensitive to the Holy Spirit. The “I want”, “I think”, and the “I feel” has to be replaced by what the Holy Spirit wants, thinks, and feels. Fasting very quickly shows us if this is a reality.

To do otherwise is saying that the body is actually our God because we are driven by it’s desires not God’s. Derek Prince says, “Your body makes a wonderful servant, but a terrible master.”

Fasting quickly shows us who is the Master. As we learn to make the Holy Spirit the master we start to enter the supernatural world!

Latter Rain– We are wanting the latter rain! This is an agricultural symbol of the best rain of the season. It was the rain that brought in the final and biggest harvest for the year. In the church we need a harvest of holiness, passion, and souls. It will take much rain for this to happen. It will take much supernatural!

“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there. 2 Chronicles 7:13-16

23Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month. 24And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with wine and oil…. 28And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: 29And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. Joel 2:23-24, 28-29 (KJV)

When you need a supernatural breakthrough humble yourself and fast!

Leadership

4 Ds for a Leader to Move Forward

move-forward

It is not easy to be a leader – for yourself or for others. You have to continually ask and answer, “What do I do? When do I do it? Why am I doing it? How will others react?”It is easy to become paralyzed and not move forward.

I have created a short mnemonic that I remember to help me keep moving called the 4 Ds.

4D’sof Leadership – Discern, Do, Dump, Destiny

  1. DiscernDirection
  2. Do Direction
  3. Dump Distractions from the Direction

4.Destiny is arriving at your intended Direction

Every person has their own leadership style based on their personality. How you implement the 4 D’s will vary. For example, to discernwill be different for each person. Some people need to get quiet before the Lord, others do a lot of research, and others will ask many people. We all do a mixture of this but whatever method is best for you follow it to get discernment.

After discernment start doingin the direction of your discernment. Take little or big steps but take a step. Adjust your doing as you move as needed but keeping doing unless you need to get more discernment on your discernment.

While you are doing, every distraction possible will come your way. Deal with your distractions by dumpingthem as soon as possible. Avoid getting hung up, side steps, procrastination and delays. Keep your eyes on the direction you have discerned.

You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks. ― Winston S. Churchill

It will not be long before yourdestinywill be in sight.

Leadership

Making Leaders is Like Making Wine

Making Leaders is Like Making Wine-b&w

I researched how to make wine and I believe that making leaders is very similar to making wine. Here are the actual steps to making wine. See if you can see the similarity between making wine and training leaders. Here is the list with spiritual implications in parenthesis.

Steps to Making Wine

Prepare soil and trellises to hang vines on (Create an environment for people to grow)

Plant the Vines (Encourage believers to become disciples)

Manage the Vines using Canopy management (Umbrella of Protection under Spiritual Authority)

Pick the Grapes When Ripe (Let disciples start to minister)

Crush the Grapes to get the Juice out (Process of life puts people through trials)

Filter the Grape Juice (Passing of tests and increase of skill)

Mix with other Grapes to Balance out the Flavor (Mix with other gifts for humility and appreciation)

Put Yeast into Juice to Ferment. Creates actual wine. (Increase in anointing and Holy Spirit Power)

Age wine in a barrel (Be hidden away to grow in true identity and right motivations)

Pour the wine into bottles (Help them find their true calling and location to live out)

Put label on bottle and ship out (Release of individuals to their place)

Wine Makers of Northwest Georgia

This is a good description of the process we go through to become leaders.

Our goal is to raise leaders. Another way to think about is that we are winemakers of North West Georgia! Northwest Georgia is our wine making region. As leaders we are wine makers and our city is the winery!

Thoughts on Making Wine

Here are some other thoughts on making wine and leaders.

Wild Grapes can become productive if they allow themselves to be tied to a particular vineyard and managed by the Wine Makers. When wild believers enter into covenant with other believers and submit themselves to authority they will become grapes that can produce wine.

Small groups and discipleship training are the Bottling Plant.

Wine makers can’t make the grapes grow. They can only provide the place to grow the grapes, trellises, the right soil, the right irrigation, and the right wine making process to turn a vine into fine wine.

Leaders are responsible for pruning, canopy management, right soil, right drainage, etc.

It takes much oversight or the batch of grape juice will not taste right. Producing wine (disciples) is a complicated process that requires the right timing, understanding the condition of the grape, and the right mixture of a few key ingredients.

No mechanical processes allowed. Note, grapes are picked by hand one at a time.

How can you lead if you don’t know your label? A wine (disciple) will take on the taste characteristics of where it was grown, mixed, and bottled.

Teamwork is required. There is no wine with just one grape! A grape has to be willing to be blended with other grapes to provide a satisfactory drink to others.

If the grape (disciple) refuses to become a wine you become dried up over time – no juice -wrinkly – a raisin!

Some leaders are white wines– lighter, goes well with many different types of food, usually sweeter, enjoyed by more people. This is the mercy, giving, serving, pastor, teacher types. They are to be enjoyed right away. These are your rieslings, chardonnays, pinot noir wines.

Some leaders are red wines – heavier, stronger, more acid. Need to be aged longer before they can be enjoyed by others and then not liked by everyone. This is the Apostle, Prophet, ruler, Admin, etc. They are not good served immediately. They need some aging depending on how strong their acid (gift) is. These are your cabernet sauvignon, merlots, and Syrah wines.

Let’s make a toast to making great wine – I mean leaders!

Hearing God

How to Know God’s Will

How to Know God's Will - b&w

God wants you to know His will! Listed below are 6 steps of guidance in descending order that you should take in finding His will. Start with step 1 and end at step 6. If any steps are not met then don’t go in the direction you are considering.

1. Bible

Is it Biblical?

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” 2 Timothy 3:16 (KJV)

2. Voice

What is God Saying to You?

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27(NIV)

3. Counsel

What do Wise People Say?

“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed” Prov. 15:22 (KJV)

4. Circumstances

Are ‘Doors’ Open or Closed?

Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. Acts 16:6-10 (NIV) 

5. Desire

What is your Desire?

Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Psalms 37:4

6. Peace

Do You Have Peace?

“And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from the Christ rule (act as an umpire continually) in your hearts — deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds — [in that peaceful state] to which [as members of Christ’s] one body you were also called [to live]. And be thankful — appreciative, giving praise to God always.” Colossians 3:15, (Ampl)

Church

3 Transitions Happening in the Church

3 Transitions Happening in the Church-b&w

The Church is in the middle of a major transition. The transition has 3 purposes:

3 Purposes

  1. To teach people how to know God’s voice and walk with Him in intimacy.
  2. To build a Church where He will come and rest with His people.
  3. To let Jesus be the Head and build as He wants.

It’s easy to look at these statements and say, “Aren’t we as a Church doing that now?” It has been my experience that very few know how to, let alone do it. Over 10 years ago the Lord challenged me in 3 ways:

3 Challenges

  1. Realize a disciple is defined by how well He knows and walks with me, not by ministry skill.
  2. Would I stop asking what attracts people to the church and ask what attracts Him
  3. Would I stop doing what I or others think is wisdom, and build the Church as He said?

Most of my time has been unlearningwhat I had learned. It’s not been easy. We have totally realigned our church around these three principles. These are the lessons I am learning:

6 Lessons

1. I have had to learn that our standard of success is not in the number of people and programs – but how much of God showed up.

I had always assumed that God showed up at every church event. Since then, He has shown me differently. He has shown me that most of what we call the presence of God is people’s soulish responses – emotion only.

2. We are to build what He wants not what will get people to attend.

This has been a radical and fundamental mind change.

3. God’s presence is indeed growing stronger in our church as we ask Him what does He want to do.

Many of our services have a tangible presence of Him that you can almost see. This is becoming our standard of success. The first question we ask after a service is now widely, “Was God’s presence here today?” When it is, we are rejoicing in this fact alone because when we know His presence is enough.

4. I have learned that as God’s presence grows people leave.

This was probably the biggest surprise to me. I don’t think it will always be this way, but at this time in America, people don’t want the heart of God, just His hand. It’s no different than when Moses was on the mountain top experiencing God. When he came down the people said we don’t want to meet with God directly, we want you to do it for us. They were scared by His presence.

5. Most Church growth experts in America give out methods of growing that appeal to people’s souls (emotions and mind) only.

When Jesus leads His church, it is always Spirit to spirit. The best way to describe it is found in John 6. I have read John 6 more times in the last 3 years than any other passage in the Bible. Jesus appealed to people’s souls and bodies by supernaturally feeding the 5000. But at the end when He challenged them to partake deeply of Him (by eating His flesh and drinking His blood) they left. When Jesus challenged them on a spirit level He was left with 12 disciples who were trying to decide if they wanted to go too.

We have been growing in how to minister to people on a spirit level. What we have found is that most people don’t want God. They just want the problem or pain to leave, so they go when you don’t immediately fix them. In the American church this is considered a failure because you lost people.

I am continually asked by God, “Do you want numbers or disciples?” I’ll be honest, this is not an easy question to answer when you live in the atmosphere of where only bigger is considered God. But I can honestly say that as our numbers have dropped we have grown in disciples who know the voice of God and follow Him.

How do we balance numbers and disciples? It’s a fact that God wants the whole world to be saved. But He asked us in the Great Commission to go and make disciples, not get people saved. So I believe that one day, and it’s not that far away, the number of discipleswill radically increase in the churches that know how to make disciples. We have a lot to learn, but I want to thank everyone because we are much better at making disciples than even just a few years ago. God’s grace is on us to do this and it shows.

6. Our approval as leaders comes by doing what the Head, Jesus, has asked us to do and nothing else.

Not understanding this principle is why you see so much hype in the American church. Pastors are doing whatever they can to get ‘big’ because then they will get approval by the religious system. Small, even if highly anointed, churches aren’t put on the magazines and TV shows, only the large churches. We have made an idol out of size. God is tearing down our idols and realigning our motives. Jesus managed to turn a crowd of 5000 men (not counting women and children) into a meeting of 12! He would have been considered a failure in our society.

In summary, I want to say good job leaders! We are learning awesome principles which Jesus will build something lasting on. I am absolutely convinced that we are on the path to the Church that He is building. We will see confirmation of this more and more.

There is a quote below that confirms that this thinking of how to build a church is changing. It is by Henry Blackaby. Henry Blackaby has become one of the most influential people in the denominations and especially the Southern Baptist church. He is God’s voice to that segment of the church. He highly influenced the denominations to point their face to the first commandment with his widely selling best selling book, “Experiencing God.” The Southern Baptists and other denominations listen to Henry Blackaby.

QUOTE:“We are not leading people into that immediate relationship with the living Lord. If you listen to most sermons, that intimate personal relationship is missing. If you talk to many church members, they feel they are in the right relationship to God when they attend all the worship services, they tithe, they go on a mission trip. And many a pastor would evaluate a member, not from the intimate relationship with the Lord, but for how faithful he is in all the activities of the church—and does he tithe? It’s activity. Many of God’s people have moved from the relationship to religious activity. We are content to live without the manifest presence, power and activity of God. … There’s a huge gap in the teaching ministry of pastors. We have put on them a huge sense of the priority of evangelism. We had an evangelist in our church not long ago. He said the thing I thought he would say: that the No. 1 priority above everything else is to reach out to the lost. I would say that’s not true. The priority of every congregation is the lordship of Christ and everything else will come out of that. Many a pastor would not know how in the world to guide their church under the lordship of Christ … because his life doesn’t function out of that mindset.” —longtime pastor and best-selling author Henry Blackaby [Baptist Press, 5/12/09]