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Reformed. Christianity. Evangelism. Modern Culture.
Church growth strategies have been named many things by many pastors. Others call it “vision casting” others call it being “purpose driven” and others merely call it what it is….pragmatism. I came across these ten interesting myths that made me chuckle:
1. If You’re Not Growing, Something’s Wrong
If growth and a bigger crowd is “always” the result of obedience then some of the OT prophets will have some serious explaining to do.
Of course, if you’re not growing—or you’re declining—I think it is cause to evaluate what you’re doing, but it’s not a given that something is always “wrong.”
God could be doing something different—more Jeremiah and less Peter…
2. The More You Grow, the Healthier You Are
We would love to believe this one. It certainly feels good to have a bigger crowd. There’s a built-in justification for ministry leaders when more people show up, I know. However, just because your church has more people attending doesn’t mean your church is completely healthy. In fact, it might be cause to closely evaluate the message the crowd is hearing…
3. Contemporary Music Will Save Your Church
It can help at times—depending on the community and the people you’re trying to reach—but it’s not always a help. In fact, sometimes it’s an obstacle.
Changing your music and the feel of your worship gathering should have a reason bigger than, “We want to reach young people!” or, “We want to stay hip.” Hopefully, the music you sing is an authentic expression of your distinct makeup as both a church and a community and not a grasp at straws for church growth. …Read More!
By Charles Spurgeon
An evil is in the professed camp of the Lord, so gross in its impudence, that the most shortsighted can hardly fail to notice it during the past few years. It has developed at an abnormal rate, even for evil. It has worked like leaven until the whole lump ferments. The devil has seldom done a cleverer thing than hinting to the church that part of their mission is to provide entertainment for the people, with a view to winning them. Read More
At Leicester Square:
Preaching in Leicester Square tonight with Josh and the team. It totally kicked off, the crowd got really hostile, but praise God, after reasoning with the authorities and standing our ground, we have been allowed to preach. Please pray the gospel would continue to go forth in grace and truth.-R. Hughes
We all know how IT guys think they are gods (insert smiley face here) but well here is one who is taking things literally and actually getting away with it:
A man claiming to be Jesus is gaining followers and causing concern among cult experts in Australia.
Former IT specialist Alan John Miller, or AJ as he prefers to be known, runs a religious movement known as the Divine Truth from his home near the small town of Kingaroy in the state of Queensland.
Mr Miller claims that not only is he Christ, but his partner, Australian Mary Luck, is in fact Mary Magdalene, who according to the Bible was present at the crucifixion.
He told Sky News: “I have very clear memories of the crucifixion, but it wasn’t as harrowing for me as it was for others like Mary who was present.
“When you are one with God you are not in a state of fear, and you have quite good control over your body’s sensations and the level of pain that you absorb from your body.”
Mr Miller holds seminars near his home and also travels around the world teaching people how to have a personal relationship with God, often by delving deep into their emotions.
Dozens of his followers are understood to have bought properties in the area to be closer to him.
After his crucifixion the Australian claims he entered the spirit world where he met Plato, Socrates, popes and presidents.
Now, I didn’t see that coming. Jesus tucked away in the sunny out backs of Australia!
G’day, mates! Meet me in Kingaroy! Without further ado I am off to the land down under!
I always knew Oz was God’s own country – how dare you judge me when I now have confirmation from some one from IT? 😉
I will learn to play a musical instrument this year. I know my family have heard me say this every year. Truth is I always “mean it”. Sadly, and strange enough no one seems to have a clue what happened to the bass guitar I got or the electric piano or even the harmonica. Grrrr! Am really that bad?
Well, now I think I am pretty much really really really serious! Yes, and I am going to really reaaaaally prove every one (who thinks I am the world’s best procrastinator) wrong. Just wait till I have one more cup of tea and maybe tomorrow morning we will begin to tackle this one consuming passion.
Speaking of which I have dusted down my old Acoustic guitar, re-strung it, shone its fret board and ripped off a few chord lessons from music gurus ( thanks You-tube)! I know a few skeptics are stifling giggles in the next room (my five year old daughter sighs and walks out of the room at this point as she has seen me go through this routine many times) – but I think by the end of this year I can be as good as the kid in the photo. 🙂
Do you have any links or advice for a beginner with an Acoustic guitar? Please help me out A.S.A.P ( I have less than 365 days before I am made to take the sad chief procrastinator’s title for another year running).
It’s a few minutes past 11.00Am and it’s the 21st December 2012. Nothing has happened here! Nothing happened in Australia (who are rather doing well down under and enjoying 22nd December) by the way. But a little chuckle about this Mayan calender craze and a hat tip to soccer fans for this rib cracker.
If the world were to end on the 21st December 2012, the only place you would want to be is next to Sir Alex Ferguson. He ALWAYS gets extra time! ~ Anonymous soccer fan
By the look of things we seem to be in ‘Fergie time’ now. 🙂
If you’re going to be good at fishing, you’ve got to learn to think like a fish. If you’re going to be an effective fisher of men, you’ve got to think like a lost person. Here’s the problem. Unfortunately, the longer you are a Christian, the less you think like an unbeliever…To catch fish, you’ve got to know their habits, their preferences, and their feeding patterns. Certain fish like smooth water. Others are bottom crawlers. Some like rushing water. Others hide under rocks. You’ve got to know what the fish you’re trying to reach like to do. If you’re going to understand and reach non-Christians, you’ve got to begin with their mindset.-Rick Warren
Still scratching my head till I can get my hair cut straight enough to become hip and “relevant”. I think I will reach there next year! Trying!!
On a lighter note, next time you listen to announcements or read the Church bulletin you might double up in laughter. Looking back at some bloopers, here are some Lutheran reminders…
·For those of you who have children and don’t know it, we have a nursery downstairs.
·Due to the Rector’s illness, Wednesday’s healing services will be discontinued until further notice.
·Evening massage – 6 p.m.
·The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare’s Hamlet in the church basement on Friday at 7 p.m. The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.
·Potluck supper: prayer and medication to follow.
·Don’t let worry kill you off – let the church help. …Read More!
On a lighter note, here is why the Arminian and Calvinist did not cross the road….
15. We are not sure if the Arminian will cross or not. No one knows. Not even God.
14. The Calvinist believes that “road crossing” ceased with the death of the last Apostle or the completion of the New Testament.
13. He has felt the draw of the other side of the road and the Arminian has resisted thus far.
12. Calvinists were not elected to cross before the foundation of the road.
11. The Arminian heard someone yell at someone on the other side calling him a dork. He thought he said “Dordt.” It scared him.
10. The Calvinists said road was called Tiber Ave.
9. The Arminian shipwrecked on his way across therefore he never made it.
Prosperity preachers and politicians are alike. They promise what they know they cannot fulfill. They say if you give them your votes you will see how they will make the birds sing louder, turn the grass green, make the sky blue and build bridges in deserts, make the chicken of farmers lay more eggs. Nick apparently made a couple of promises to students that he knew he wouldn’t keep….no, never keep. Once they gave him their votes and he had won the elections, he didn’t do what he promised – he actually did what the students had feared all along. Then the poor students realised they had been sold hot air. Nothing became of all the promises. So Nick was “poked” to explain…you will love this. He came clean…told them he had taken them for a long long ride.The students liked his embarrassing apology that they immortalised it in a hit song….
At least some one was honest! Who is next then? 😉
Strange happenings in China this week…
For a river known as the “golden watercourse,” red is a strange color to see.
Yet that’s the shade turning up in the Yangtze River and officials have no idea why.
The red began appearing in the Yangtze, the longest and largest river in China and the third longest river in the world, yesterday near the city of Chongquing, where the Yangtze connects to the Jialin River.
The Yangtze, called “golden” because of the heavy rainfall it receives year-round, runs through Chongqing, Southwest China’s largest industrial and commercial center, also known as the “mountain city” because of the hills and peaks upon which its many buildings and factories stand.
The red color stopped some residents in their tracks. They put water from the river in bottles to save it. Fishermen and other workers who rely on the river for income kept going about their business…
I think I will ask Pat Robertson why this river has turned red. He always has an explanation. Maybe somebody made another pact with the devil.
The opening ceremony of the Olympics in every host nation always tells the story of … whatever! The Summer 2012 London Olympics opening ceremony celebrations were whatever you wanted to make of them. That may sound post modern but look, we all got what ever we wanted. Didn’t we? Booms, blasts and Bond! Oh yes, we even saw Her Majesty become a Bond girl. There was a high speed river chase in a super boat. An adrenaline pumping helicopter dash with a heroine leaping into a gaping hole of pyrotechnics. Industrial action (pun intended)! Health care service was given a make over. Ancient pagan worship and modern dance entertained us with one titillating love story. Or so we thought. Even the conspiracy theorists got enough fodder when they saw Illuminati pyramids surround the arena. How about the Christians? Well there was the Christian hymn “Abide in me” to keep conservatives happy. It was a vague after-note some still say after it was edited out by American media. The bigger story was to be a diverse celebration of Life, humanity and death.
Speaking of which do we ever think of life here after? Maybe the answer was hidden in the tallest animated symbol of all in the Olympics stadium. Do you mean the hideously monstrous “death” effigy?
There’s never a dull day when Rick Warren gets to tweet ‘pearls of wisdom’. He is the Evangelical pope isn’t he? He is of course America’s pastor and what he says will trend in the high ways and byways of evangelicalism. Ever since we exchanged our bibles for that good, well written and inspired church growth purpose driven manual of his we have never looked back.
Why do many people think that Jesus was the fulfilment of the old testament prophecy and expectations? They think He is the one that the Bible is all about! And I am very happy that Rick put these people back in their place with a very well timed ‘tweet’. And that settles it. Yippee!
If only I could walk with a wise man like Rick on the road to Emmaus and he would exegete Scripture. I would ask him to begin in the Old to the New Testament and explain to me what verses like these ones by (umm Jesus) mean:
And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. (Luke 24:27)
You search Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of me (John 5:39)
On a lighter note…don’t read this while sipping coffee infront of your computer:
Sign #1: You’ve given up smoking your pipe because you want to actually be able to afford term life insurance.
Sign #2: Your ‘Jonathan Edwards is My Homeboy’ shirt is faded and now simply reads, ‘Jonathan Edwards is My Home.”
Sign #3: You now read your ESV Bible more than you read John Piper.
Sign #4: You’ve considered writing a book (for P&R rather than Crossway), Old, Well-Rested, and Reformed. [Copyright: Adam Parker, 2010] (You want the name, Collin Hansen!? Come back in 30 years and just try to get it!)
Sign #5: You find yourself warning newbies about ‘the cage stage,’ and then you find yourself reminiscing about terrorizing unsuspecting Arminians back in your day.
Sign #6: You actually know who Van Til is.
Sign #7: You have decided that is is okay to plod.
Sign #8: Your iPod now has more sermons by Sinclair Ferguson than it does of Mark Driscoll. …Read More!
My highlight indeed was meeting with the one and only ….Charles Darwin! We had a chat but he is rather quiet these days. You see …Read More!
On a lighter note:
Hank: Did you boys hear all of that racket & commotion this morning at church? It was like a bomb went off on the stage, I tell you what…
Dale: Hank, that is what we contemporary worshippers call praise &
Bill: I kind of liked it when the guitar player set his guitar on fire while he played the solo to In-A-Godda-Da-Vida.
Boomhauer: I tell you what, man, that ol’ boy, he played that, boom! …that wuz good stuff.
Re blogged from The Truthinator’s blog.
A local pastor Jodwell K. Olsteen has renounced prosperity gospel in a sudden turn of events. Known for his sell out stadium events that always drew the elite of society and celebrities, this is surely out of character for the always smiling and positive talking pastor.
In a press release circulated around Hollywood the remorseful man of God said he had come to realise the depth of his own depravity and sin. He had realised he had given many people false hope in preaching “prosperity for all” in the name of Jesus. Jodwell said that the prosperity gospel preachers create a ponzi scheme. He likened it to clouds with out water and a road to no where. But his biggest remorse came from the fact that his messages had corrupted the gospel and inoculated people to the message of the cross. Hence forth, Mr Olsteen’s ministry has been dissolved the money has been used to buy bibles for Christians in North Korea and the rest donated anonymously to churches in Timbuktu and Kwazulu Natal (Africa). If he has defrauded any one he has requested that the person be re-paid four times the original value. Mr J. K Olsteen listed a number of former cronies and millionaire pastors and called them out to preach more about “sin, righteousness and judgement”.
Visitors to the pastor’s website were greeted by this Puritan poem prayer:
Lord Jesus, give me a deeper repentance, a horror of sin, a dread of its approach. Help me chastely to flee it and jealously to resolve that my heart shall be Thine alone.
Give me a deeper trust, that I may lose myself to find myself in Thee, the ground of my rest, the spring of my being. Give me a deeper knowledge of Thyself as saviour, master, lord, and king. Give me deeper power in private prayer, more sweetness in Thy Word, more steadfast grip on its truth. Give me deeper holiness in speech, thought, action, and let me not seek moral virtue apart from Thee.
Plough deep in me, great Lord, heavenly husbandman, that my being may be a tilled field, the roots of grace spreading far and wide, until Thou alone art seen in me, Thy beauty golden like summer harvest, Thy fruitfulness as autumn plenty.
I have no master but Thee, no law but Thy will, no delight but Thyself, no wealth but that Thou givest, no good but that Thou blessest, no peace but that Thou bestowest. I am nothing but that Thou makest me. I have nothing but that I receive from Thee. I can be nothing but that grace adorns me. Quarry me deep, dear Lord, and then fill me to overflowing with living water. –The Deeps, A Puritan Prayer
Majors news outlets still cannot deny or confirm the validity of all these accounts. Some say this could just be a satirical prank. But could it be true? 🙂
DISCLAIMER: ALL CHARACTERS, NAMES, LIKENESSES AND EVENTS IN THIS STORY—ARE ENTIRELY FICTIONAL AND ANY RESEMBLANCE TO PERSONS LIVING OR DEAD MAY BE PURELY COINCIDENTAL.
It was the year 2050. The office of pastor was now obsolete. Instead the most glamorous office of “worship leader” had taken over the leadership of the seeker sensitive church. This office was more in touch with the emotions of the people. A few qualities were a MUST for this office:
HT. John K. Langemann via FB.
Recently one little bird got himself in a spot of a bother with a couple of elders. 😉
Looking at the auditions some one seems to have made it through with a unanimous approval.
Er, what a mess of the reformation but well who cares? We want higher ratings and more excitement. 😉
Just as I was wondering what I will be doing with all these hymn books that we hardly open, (thanks to the latest brand of rock guitars and beat boxes) guess what smacks me on my way off the stage? Ooops pulpit. In my never ending bid to keep up with other celebrity mega churches I have decided to cast caution and throw it into the wind. I am living it BIG…no BIGGER!! I want to rub shoulders with the relevant and up and coming of my generation. Ask me why? Well the word is ‘I am contextualising the gospel’. Shhh….it just means I want to be dead but appear cool. That is why when they announced recently that 3D screens are out and done with, my heart sank as I ran to see my mentors. Did you hear that…
The show is the biggest event in the year’s technology calendar – attended by technology giants including Panasonic, Sony, Samsung and LG.
Tech companies were beating the drum for 3D with a little less enthusiasm than previous years – but instead, new ultra-slim OLED TVs and ‘Ultra HD’ sets offering four times the resolution of normal hi-def were on offer to tempt TV fans. …Read More!
I am currently reading a very interesting book, Scripture Twisting: 20 Ways the Cults Misread the Bible by James W. Sire. Its actually not a guide to help you become a guru or Swami. Far from it. You see, “Jesus” is co-opted by almost every one who wants some one from the past to confirm their own vision of the ideal future. To Eastern –oriented religious groups, Jesus is an avatar – one of the may incarnations of the gods; to Christian Scientists, he is the great healer; to political revolutionaries he is the great liberator; to Spiritualists, he is a first rate medium; to one new consciousness philosopher, he is a prototype of a sorcerer who can restructure events in the world by mental exercise. It seems there is a “Jesus” for everyone.
Jess Stern in a book on Edgar Cayce quotes the following conversation he had with Eula Allen, one of Cayce’s followers. The topic was re-incarnation and Stearn suddenly thought of a problem:
A thought struck me. “Why, if people have lived other lives, don’t they remember anything from them?”
“But they do,” she said. “It’s just some times that they don’t remember that they are remembering. Jesus said, ‘I will bring all things to thine remembrance,’ but he didn’t say how.”
A number of errors are made here. First, this is not what Jesus said. Let us put the clause quoted into its immediate context. …Read More!
About two years ago I started a blog. I wrote mostly about issues that revolved around modern day Christianity. It scratched the itch in evangelicalism. It tackled theology and had a satirical twang to it at times. Okay most of the times. It took about a year to come up with a name for the blog.
Do you know how difficult it is to get a name for a blog? Hmm. I thought of cool names like “Elevation blog” or “Your best life now blog” or “Elephant in the blog” but I just thought I wouldn’t be able to live up to the hype. Or would I?
I will never be able to explain why I decided to call the blog Twisted Crown of Thorns and later A Twisted Crown of Thorns (as of 2012). I probably liked the irony in the name. In retrospect it almost sounds like a spoof rock and roll group band. It sounds dark … but light hearted. I have known of a few misguided wanderers who have adventurously stumbled onto the blog thinking it’s a Roman Catholic sacred relics collection website. Grrrr! …Read More!
The first lesson in successful marketing and entrepreneurship always underscores the fact that the customer is king. I have always told my self if I were to start a church it would be the world’s best church. It would be the epitome of tolerance and relevance. Who says the church cant be geared towards increased attendances, happier people with numerous self sustaining projects and great reputation among the un-churched and still bring people closer to God? Then Read More
Enough of all this banter against modern Christendom’s latest prodigal and most loved opulent brat. Ed Young Jr. is officially the most google-d and U-tubed Christian celebrity pastor. Gone are the boring days of being an obscure youth pastor left to follow up new converts and pray for toddlers who don’t finish their breakfast cereal in the church back garden. Gone are the days of watching re-runs of Veggie Tales and Tom and Jerry in Sunday school.
The other day he took a bold step in being the honest and transparent man of God that he has become and indulged viewers in a personal tour of his parsonage or is it vicarage. And look how many bloggers treated him as though he had invited Bin Laden to the White House. He had simply allowed a TV Crew to have a glimpse of his humble 10,000 square foot, $1.5 million estate. Read More
LANCASTER, Pa. — Maria Holsapple thought she was attending performances at the local community theater, but after twelve weeks, she was angered to learn she had been attending Oak Grove Center, a 3,000-member church.
“I would never willingly go into an evangelical church,” says Holsapple, a practicing Catholic.
She came after Oak Grove mailed her “tickets” to upcoming “drama presentations.” She enjoyed the “mini-concert, the play and the motivational speech they threw in at the end,” she says.
“It worked well as performance art,” she says. “I was convinced it was a groundbreaking new theater company.” Read More
When Pastor Feve Sturtick took his church for a safari trip, he hadn’t anticipated that the ferocious
non cessationist animals in the game reserve could name and claim. Well, it’s said that some even demonstrated the gift of word of knowledge (or did they?)
In our never ending bid to remain relevant we really had to get the right youth pastor. The qualities we were looking for were actually very simple. Young, restless and creative. Yup, we got our anointed man (though he has to work on his pony tail). 😉
Next we need an assistant youth pastor. …Read More!
When we commercialise Christmas…
I hope this reminds who ever it is that there is only ONE STAR (of Christmas)!
I would like to ask you a very personal question….
Duh! …Read More!
A large cross that had been prominently displayed outside a chapel on an isolated military base in northern Afghanistan was taken down last week, prompting outrage from some American service members stationed there.“We are here away from our families, and the chapel is the one place that feels like home,” a service member at Camp Marmal told POLITICO. “With the cross on the outside, it is a constant reminder for all of us that Jesus is here for us.”“Not having it there is really upsetting,” added another. “I walk by the chapel daily on the way to chow and the gym, and seeing the cross is a daily reminder of my faith and what Jesus accomplished for me. It is daily inspiration and motivation for me to acknowledge my faith and stay on the right path.” …Read More!
Mesmerising! This is going to be the next must have gadget for every relevant and purpose driven youth pastor. Just imagine how many kids will remain entertained for hours.
I still remember the day sister Martha came for Sunday service in style. She had just started reading her bible that month and there was a twinkle in her eyes.
No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments. 1 Tim 5:23
I must add Martha was a literalist. She also has several ailments. …Read More!
Stevie stopped praying for revival. Instead he decided he will make them happen. It all started on the day he was ordained. Oh what a happy day that was:
He became ….radical! …Read More!
It’s never a dull Sunday when Osteen is in the pulpit. Infact every day feels like a Friday. If you come early and stretch your neck long enough you could catch a glimpse of (guess who?)… Yup. Oprah. If you have your
bible autograph book handy you could actually get it autographed by Oprah or even Tyler Perry! Oh can you see me in the video? (Hyperventilating) I am the one next to that guy high up in the rafters. (Grr some one stood infront of me when the camera panned over Oprah’s shoulder) Hey never mind atleast Joel introduced Oprah to Jesus. Okay, almost. 🙂
Finally a bible version that I actually like (not in the Facebook kind of way). No, I like it with my tongue in cheek. (Add a wink here)
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever things are generally acceptable, whatever is tactful, whatever things show sensitivity, whatever things make you feel good, whatever things are sensuous, whatever things are personally satisfying; if there is to be any ownership, and if there is any good self-esteem, think happy thoughts on these things.
Do the things that you have felt, and realized and experienced and justified within yourself: and the god of touchy-feely happycrap shall warm your tolerant, sensitive, enlightened soul with wonderful ignorant bliss. …Read More!