Tag Archives: New Testament

The results are in – people prefer short sermons followed by discussion.

To me this is ideal! What do you think?

Posted on January 18, 2014 at Church in a Circle

This week, I conducted some research on Twitter. I asked which people would prefer; short sermons with the opportunity for discussion, or long sermons without. The results of my poll were resoundingly conclusive – 100% of respondents would like to have short sermons or even long ones followed by the chance to respond and explore the topic together.

Now, I’m not going to pretend these are statistically significant results. This was a small sample group, and a very biased one. But I still think this is a simple and easy-to-implement strategy most pastors and churches can take on board, with the potential to equip and empower God’s people.

Next time you are preparing a sermon, think about stripping it back to the essential points, then letting people break into groups of 4 or so to discuss what they have learned. They could answer questions such as;

What stands out to you?

What did you learn about God?

About people?

Any life-lessons to apply?

How do you plan to apply them?

How can we pray for one another?

The advantages to this approach are huge. You are training God’s people to have spiritual conversations. You can give them the tools they need to think for themselves, and to communicate their knowledge to others. You are sending the message that the church is an equal laity under the headship of Christ, not artificially divided into “professionals” and “consumers”. You are giving them a chance to respond to God’s Word and message, and to teach one another.

However – please take note – this suggestion comes with the following warnings;

WARNING 1: Once people get used to participating and having a voice, they’re not going back. They will find it difficult to sit passively through lengthy monologues, once they realise they can be actively involved.

WARNING 2: Some people won’t like this. They think the current format for church is the way it has always been. They don’t realise the early church meetings were interactive, multi-voiced and participatory.

WARNING 3: Dialogue is an open floor, not a pop-quiz. People are allowed to give any answer at all. Pastors may have to go through a period of “unlearning” – instead of having all the answers, they have to learn to shut up and listen. Get used to a whole new way of thinking as you move away from performance towards facilitation and empowerment.

Don’t rely on the results of my not-very-reliable research – conduct a poll of your own. Ask your congregation whether they would prefer a 40 minute lecture next Sunday, or a 10-15 minute presentation followed by a chance to explore and discuss it together. Your ego may take a bruising if they tell you to shorten your sermons – but it could be the start of a new journey for you and your church community.

Read more great articles via Church in a Circle.

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House Churches

I first posted this article on my blog in November 2011. As I perused some other stuff today on Facebook I was reminded of this and thought it would be good to re-post.

I found this on an email that was sent to me and I intend to buy the book. I challenge you to read the entire piece and then share your thoughts.

Chapter four of a book by David S. Kirkwood titled The Disciple-Making Minister

Here is great question to ask ourselves: How did the early church succeed so well at making disciples without any church buildings, professionally-trained clergy, Bible schools and seminaries, hymnals and overhead projectors, wireless microphones and tape duplicators, Sunday school curriculums and youth ministries, worship teams and choirs, computers and copy machines, Christian radio and TV stations, hundreds of thousands of Christian book titles and even personally-owned Bibles? They didn’t need any of those things to make disciples, and neither did Jesus. And because none of those things were essential then, none are essential now.

When people first hear of house churches, they often mistakenly imagine that the only difference between house churches and institutional churches is their size and their relative abilities to provide “ministry.” People sometimes conclude that the house church cannot offer the quality of ministry provided by churches with buildings. But if one defines “ministry” as that which contributes to the making of disciples, helping them become like Christ and equipping them for service, then institutional churches have no advantage, and as I pointed out in the previous chapter, they may well be disadvantaged. Certainly house churches cannot provide the quantity of multi-faceted activities of institutional churches, but they can excel at providing true ministry…….read more

Boycotts – More Carnal Weapons – by Rick Frueh

Found this over on Walk Worthy and thought it might be of interest.

by on Saturday, August 18th, 2012

Brothers and sisters,

Anything that attracts a Sarah Palin appearance and recommendation is bound to be suspect. Now that the Chick-Fil-A hysteria is over, we here at Walk Worthy post this piece by brother Rick Frueh.

Years ago I was listening to John Scully, ex-CEO of Pepsi, relate how he changed the cola wars by getting Coke to play on another playing field by leaving the one they knew best. Pepsi won great market share.

The lesson?

Satan is the ultimate master of distraction…and deception…and deceit. He distracts well meaning Christians all the time with all sorts of nonsense. Then we dress it up as “biblical,” march it out for our church and children to see, and force it down the throat of all who are close by. And, to add insult to injury, we “demonize” other brethren who rightly point out the distraction and futility of these failed strategies.

Why not just obey the Word and do what is says in Matthew 5-7? Good idea, no? Would you covenant with me on that since God knows best?

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Boycotts – More Carnal Weapons –  By Rick Frueh

A little over two thousand years ago God came in the likeness of human flesh. He was called Yeshua, or Joshua, or as we call Him, Jesus. He would come surreptitiously and with no fanfare. Only ancient prophecies and angelic hosts would witness His birth. He was the Messiah.

During His 33 years upon this earth, he did many miracles, but His words would have much more of an impact. But His death paid for the sins of mankind, and His resurrection left no doubt as to Who He was. His message was powerful, but His methods were unorthodox to say the least. He lived and taught a life of self denial and humility. When attacked, he did not respond in like kind. Many mistook His ways for weakness, while others were inexplicably drawn to His words and His Person.

He lived and spoke in ways which were completely different than the ways of the world, including the religious systems. And when He left, he sent His representative called the Holy Spirit. This Spirit was not just a force, but He was a divine person as well, and one of only three. His mission was to speak of Jesus to lost sinners, as well as bring truth, guidance, and comfort to those who would believe on Jesus.

In a mystery, He would come and reside in the very beings of believers. And the New Testament would teach us that we are not supposed to engage this world with the same methods and weapons that are used by the kingdom of darkness.
The history of Christianity contains many chapters where believers……read the rest of this via

BOYCOTTS – MORE CARNAL WEAPONS – BY RICK FRUEH [AT THE BATTLE FRONT 106]

Finding Ekklesia | Crossroad Junction

AUGUST 11, 2012  BY JIM WRIGHT

Several weeks ago, I was asked how to find “ekklesia” (the Greek word in the New Testament often translated as “church”).

Many today are frustrated because they can’t seem to find authentic fellowship, or feel stuck in the “wilderness” after leaving the institutional church.

As I’ve thought about this, it’s been hard for me to know how to respond. The last thing anyone needs is another “program”, “method” or “three easy steps” to find something that God designed to be authentically birthed, and sustained, organically.

You see, God intends that life reproduce life. That principle is built into the very fabric of creation. Like all things that impart life, real ekklesia is organic, through and through.

And by “organic”, I mean simply this: The authentic and diverse life of Christ in me, which is then expressed among us and through us as we become the wonderful, dynamic, multi-gifted and participatory Body of Christ.

The key to finding this, I think, is found in those two words: authentic and diverse.

So here’s my response on how to find ekklesia, rooted in my own experience of finding, and then helping others find, real life and real fellowship – not as one who’s arrived, but simply as one who has been on the path maybe a little longer.

The Authentic Life of Christ

I think the greatest challenge facing Christians today is the prevailing tendency to create Jesus in our own image – based on our own hurts, sensibilities or whatever.

Without an authentic Jesus, you will not find authentic fellowship.

That’s because the foundation for true “ekklesia” must be this, and this alone: i the authentic life Christ in us, which is then authentically expressed among us and through us; ii as confirmed by the internal witness of the Holy Spirit which is concurrently subject at all times His authoritative external witness of Scripture.

That’s just my complicated way of saying what Jesus said much more simply: If two or three of us gather in His name i.e., in the authenticity of who He really is and has authoritatively revealed Himself to be, He is there, alive among us. Matt. 18:20

Apart from the authentic life of Jesus – where we continually are being created in His image through a dynamic, transforming relationship with the Living Word which conforms to the authority of His written word – entering into true Christian community simply is not possible.

Otherwise, you are reduced to seeking “fellowship” around the need to affirm your own hurts, biases, attitudes, ideals, aspirations or even your own “better selves” – and that simply doesn’t work.

Oh, it will feel validating, comforting and even liberating at first, but eventually, at best, you will end up being just another anemic, insular “meet up” of cookie-cutter look-alikes trapped in your own shared sensibilities.

I have heard from too many Christians who can’t seem to ever find healthy fellowship. Unless they are in legitimate transition and I’m not talking ten years, folks, more often than not they share the same characteristic – they only want or know a Jesus of their own creation.

I also have visited too many “organic” or similarly-described fellowships that are anemic and insular. More often than not, they too share the same characteristic – they only want or know a Jesus of their own creation.

Finding Fellowship

So you want life and real fellowship? Good. Let the dynamic, authentic life of Christ be birthed in you – and then seek out…… read more via Finding Ekklesia | Crossroad Junction.

Pray One For Another

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
(James 5:13-16)

To pray one for another means….

INTERCESSION: which is the act of intervening or mediating between differing parties; particularly the act of praying to God on behalf of another person.

The New Testament teaches that intercession is expected of all believers (1 Tim. 2:1-3). Intercession for the sick is especially important (James 5:14). Paul constantly referred to his prayers for the readers of his letters, and Jesus set forth the supreme example of intercession (Luke 22:32; 23:34; John 17).

The Bible shows us that the Holy Spirit, Christ, and believers perform intercession.

Romans 8:26-27 shows that the Holy Spirit works to sustain the burdened believer, to intercede, to carry even inexpressible prayers to God.

Romans 8:34 offers the truth that the risen Christ will maintain His intercession for the believer, being the Mediator between God and humanity.

God accepts a believer’s prayers and praises through Christ’s intercession.

His death secured removal of sin;

His resurrection bestowed life on those who believe in Him;

His ascension brought exaltation to power in heaven and on earth.

Now He intercedes for us at God’s throne of grace.

Hebrews 7:25 proclaims the complete deliverance that comes through salvation accomplished through Christ and notes that He is ever present in heaven to intercede for those who come to Him.

So then, we are pretty much commanded, exhorted, and encouraged to PRAY ONE FOR ANOTHER!

If you or someone you know is in need of prayer please click here or the Request Prayer link in the above menu. You can be assured we will pray!