The Cult of Success Learning to Dream Small

Dream Small: How to Have Success in Ministry

Dream Small: How to Have “Success” in Ministry

If you have spent any time at all in Western/Evangelical/Charismatic Christianity, you have heard things like these:

  • God is big, you need to dream big.
  • God has big dreams for you.
  • Your faith needs to be big.
  • You need to be a dream chaser.
  • Your faith is too small.
  • You are destined to be a world changer.
  • Overcome your ministry limitations.
  • Take your ministry to the “next level” . . . and so on. 

American cultural values of success: size (numbers in attendance), finances, and fame (sff) –bigger is better–more is “God,”  have spread through Western (American) popular Evangelicalism like a bad outbreak of athlete’s foot fungus in a men’s locker room.

Continue reading

The Nones and Dones – Part Two A Tidal Wave of Change

The Nones and Dones - Frustrated with Church and Gone

The Nones and Dones – Frustrated with Church and Gone

My friend, Greg Albrecht, provided the following. It’s a fascinating, and sobering, postscript to my previous blog on “Nones and Dones: “The number of unchurched people in America would make the 8th most populous country in the world!”

Continue reading

Rat Park or Rat Cage? Attending Church, Still Alone, and Living in Misery

Rat Park or Rat Cage - Attending Church, But Still Alone

Rat Park or Rat Cage – Attending Church, But Still Alone

Dr. Bruce Alexander of Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, BC reconsidered a famous lab experiment done in the 1970s involving addiction. He pondered that the presumptions behind the science could be flawed and incomplete. The scientific experiment in the 1970s involved a lone rat in a rat cage with two water bottles. One was laced with cocaine and the other just water.  In this well-known experiment, it was allegedly proven that nine out of ten rats in the rat cage will go back, again and again, to the cocaine bottle until they killed themselves. The conclusion taken from this experiment was that the rats were hopelessly chemically addicted to the point of suicide. Not so fast.

Continue reading

Lydia – Seller of Purple Cultural Insights for Apostolic Mission

Lydia - Seller of Purple

Lydia – Seller of Purple

Acts 16:14 speaks of a woman named Lydia who was a “seller of purple” who responded to Paul’s preaching and offered to host Paul and his team in her home. Lydia’s gender, her being a “seller of purple,” and her means to be able to accommodate Paul and his band are significant to understanding the implications of this passage.

Continue reading

Revising Revival – Part 1 2 Chr. 7:14 in Context

2 Chr. 7:14 in Context

Revising Revival – Part 1. 2 Chr. 7:14 in Context

“Revival” is a charged term. It can mean different things to different people. When egos, identities, money, and insecurity get into the “revival business,” things go unhealthy quickly. In this series we will look at 2 Chr. 7:14 in CONTEXT and from a NT perspective. It has nothing to do with “revival.”

Continue reading

Noah: The Movie and the Christian Right – My Contribution to the Noise

There’s lots of “hubbNoahs_Ark_2ub” in the culture on the Noah movie. Here’s my contribution to the noise.

I think evangelical Christians that get all flustered on the Noah movie,  just need climb off the wall, take a deep long breath, take their blood pressure medication, spend some time in a nice relaxing sauna, and go home and pet their dogs. There are far more important things in this life to give our attention to than a product of Hollywood.

Continue reading

Please follow and like us:

Rethinking Matthew 18 Conflict Resolution The Importance of Context and Culture

I like to joke that I would view my life worthwhile if my tombstone read:

“He got them to pay attention to context and culture!”

Matthew 18 conflict resolution

Rethinking Matthew 18 Conflict Resolution

Working a crowd into an “amen-ing” frenzy with a proof–text having no biblically legitimate application is a widely practiced and learnable skill. A shoe salesman’s persuasion, with Tony Robbins’ charm, and a breathy evangelist’s passion can entrench a good bit of doctrinal and methodological nonsense into the Body of Christ. Accuracy sometimes suffers in direct proportion to heart rate and goose bumps: an adrenaline rush being equivalent to “the anointing” or “the Spirit moving!”  Mmmmmm . . . maybe . . . maybe not . . .

Continue reading

It's Just a Bag of Beans

It’s Just a Bag of Beans Bible Knowledge Without Application

The individual goal in this life is transformation into the image of Christ so that the life of Christ might be manifest in the earth. The goal is not “doctrine and Bible study.” Few things are more inoculating against the manifestation of the life and ethics of Christ, than listening to sermon upon sermon without any correlated obedience to the one we heard last week. It is like collecting coffee beans and believing you have a cup of coffee. We don’t. We have a potential cup of coffee.

Continue reading

Equipper’s Survival Guide

PressureSpiritual abuse is like finding a coin in your backyard. There are two sides to it, and they are both dirty.

I certainly have no time for ambitious, authority-addled manipulators who use and abuse the ekklesia in the name of God to satisfy their own need for greatness: pimping the saints for their own needs, milking them of their time, talent, and treasure for ego-validating dreams and plans.

Yet, there are also thousands of humble, self-sacrificing, and faithful men and women who tirelessly serve the ekklesia in love, who struggle to keep their sanity as they face the onslaughts of the adversary, their own brokenness, and alas, miserable treatment by the ones they serve: being pimped for other’s needs and being told it is “serving the body.” Sacrifice for others? Yes. Pimping? No.

Continue reading

Please follow and like us:

Looking for Family . . . Finding What?

MP900289918Imagine being a member of a loving and healthy extended family. Every Christmas time, the extended family gathers at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Gifts are exchanged. Carols are sung. A meal is taken together. Love is renewed. Hearts are touched. Generations are connected. History is shared, Stories are told.  A good time is had by all. Even crazy Uncle Eddie, who annoys everyone and never shuts up, finds a few moments of love and tolerance through others learning to . . . grow in love and tolerance!

Would you call that gathering a “meeting?” Of course not. Why not?

Because when a family gathers, it is not a “meeting.”

(Geek alert!) Imagine trying to run a Windows only specific application on a MAC OS 10 operating system. What would be the outcome?  Without some helpful “mediating software,” it wouldn’t run. It’s no different in “church world.” Many of the frustrations and dysfunctions experienced within “Christianity” are due to trying to get God’s kingdom to operate on a platform that He will never allow it to run on. In fact, He resists (James 4:6 KJV “resists”- dresses himself in battle array against)  “successful implementation” because He is interested in raising up a family, not franchising an organization. He wars against all efforts that hinder His family from coming forth, even the well-intended efforts of the innocently ignorant.

Continue reading

Please follow and like us: