Monday, November 26, 2007

A Growing Church

James Meeks is the senior pastor of Salem Baptist Church of Chicago and it started in 1985 with 200 people (wow). They now have over 22,000 members (double wow).
Meeks has stated "We can all have growing churches."

Meeks has preach that the kingdom of GOD is compared in the parable to planting and growing. Everything that is planted is supposed to grow. If a church is in the Kingdom of God, then a church is supposed to grow. Now, this thought gets me thinking. There are huge ramifications to this thought.

But since we are walking through Ephesians as a church, and we recognize the reality of spiritual warfare, and our battle is not flesh and blood….Here are some enemies of a growing church according to James Meeks.

1. Lack of faith -- We must believe growth can happen. We have to expect it. "I would be ready to quit if there were no conversions."

2. Lack of knowledge -- We don't know that church growth is possible. We haven't been exposed to the principles of church growth. People perish because of a lack of knowledge. What you don't know can kill you. What you don't know can stifle your church's growth.

3. Failure to realize that God is no respecter of persons -- God doesn't love just a select group of people. God told Joshua, "As I was with Moses, so I will be with you." You will be anointed also.

4. Failure to realize growth is always the goal of a new testament church -- It doesn't matter how small your town is--your church is supposed to grow. "The city doesn't need to be big if the church has big ideas." People have cars. They will drive to your church. See John 15:5. If it's not growing, it's not healthy. People are afraid to count because they don't want to know how bad things are.

5. An unsure pastor -- You have to demonstrate that you're in control. People are looking to you as the person with answers. You have to be sure about your leadership. We lead with too much ambiguity. We have too many politically correct pastors. We don't say what the Bible says. We're afraid to offend people.

6. Failure to build upon small victories -- Small victories lead to bigger victories. David killed a lion and a bear before he killed Goliath. When a church gets used to victories, it will have no doubt that there isn't anything too big for God.

7. Failure to preach the announcements -- Whatever you want the masses to know, it can't be announced--it must be preached. It has to be a sermon. After the message, you give an invitation to involvement.

8. Lack of corporate fasting and prayer -- Some things will only come about through fasting and prayer.

9. Failure to get started -- "Go with the going crowd." If you can't influence anyone, you're in the wrong profession.

10. Poor motive -- Why do you want a big church? You should want it. You have to want it for the right reason. God knows your heart. Church growth should be about bringing glory and honor to God. If God is not pleased and satisfied, it doesn't make a difference.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Rules of Fighting

A friend ( of mine sent the following out...

"A pastor in Kamloops wrote this. He's also a medal winner in 'ultimate fighting'. I present it unedited.

I have always been a fighter. My grandfather and step-dad taught it to me. Stand up for things you believe in. Stand up for family and friends. Stand up for yourself. Fight for what you think is right and true.I was taught to box and wrestle. They taught me rules of fair play. No dirty fighting. No hitting someone from behind the back. A fair fight should be one on one. Only cowards need a pack of friends to join them in a fight against one person. When the fight is over, its over. Shake hands and be friends.

I wish someone would have taught church people this. I have seen Christians get offended and hurt. I have seen them get mad and bitter. I have seen them fight. They rarely fight one on one. They normally fight behind your pack and need to spread their offense to get people on their side. They need a pack to feel brave and right. They do not work out their issues one on one. No not at all. That is why offense and bitterness spreads like cancers through churches. Most offenses are second-hand offenses picked up from someone else.

They also rarely fight fair. They take cheap shots, below the belt. They get personal and mean. It normally starts as some small issue and blows into something huge. I have seen huge ugly personal fights break out over views on drinking, or music, or church attendance, or doctrine, or any myriad of things. It's not that these issues do not matter. It is fine to get mad and disagree over some of these things. I have gotten mad and even told someone to kiss mine, so far be it from me say there is no room for fiery conflict. However, it is wierd how something small becomes not a small fight but a huge offense. Small things like a root of bitterness spread like the dandelions on my lawn. People are hurt and mad like you had just beat up their mom, not merely disagreed over doctrine.

They want to start a war like America after 911. The only thing is it is not 911, nobody died, feelings merely got hurt. Not quite worthy of a war. Call each other a bad name if it makes you feel better and get over it.The last rule I was taught is that when a fight is over, it's over. So many seem to carry on fighting for years. Let it go. You had a fight. Its over. It takes two to fight. You played you part. Let it go. Fighting hurts. Heal. Forgive. Go forward. If your a real big kid, even shake hands and be friends. Maybe have a beer, or a pop, or something, but let it go."


Thursday, November 15, 2007

Too Good Not to Share Bono Intimate

If you are a U2 fan you need to go to and watch U2- Wave of Sorrow.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Reflection of 24 and of Self

Reflection of 24:
Man my life was boring. But that was what happened in one day. Sharon and I were able to attend the National Outreach Convention in San Diego and I must say that if there ever was a conference that we needed, this one was just for us (Soul Sanctuary and me…and Sharon) at the right time.

I am not sure where to start, but I want to avoid saturating you with unnecessary details but here is ONE thing that I am working through.
Reflection of Self:
What I came back from the conference is; that there are many Christians that I cannot stand. No, seriously…my prayer is like the bumper sticker “Jesus, Save Me from your followers!” There are times where I would rather hang out with “foul mouth heathens” than self righteous, hyper critical, narrow minded so called Christians.

Here is a list as to why I don’t like a lot of “Christians”
They can be so judgmental and condescending and they tend to fight about the stupidest things.
-“You using the wrong version of the bible”
-“Your churches worship style is sinful”
-“You don’t teach enough from the Book of Revelation”
-“Your church is not evangelistic enough”
-“Your church eats meat sacrificed to idols”
-“You are focused too much on outreach”
-“All R- rated movies are off limits” (can you say The Passion?)
-“If you listen to ‘secular’ music, you are of the devil”
-“Don’t get a tattoo”
-“Don’t watch Harry Potter”
-and for some of my denominational friends….”Don’t go to Disneyland or Las Vegas!”
Hey is not "MY CHURCH" it is Jesus'. Also, if you really think about it...YOU ARE THE CHURCH! I can go on, but I won’t. The fact is that Christians can be just plain strange. If you are offended, please don’t be…watch Christian Television…that is an affront!!!!

Another reason is that Christians can by so hypocritical. Yes, the big “H” word. You know what I am talking about. Now, there are a few reasons I dislike a lot of “Christians” and to be fair there are a lot of them who don’t like me. I am too radical, my theology is of question, I break the unpardonable sin (I pastor a growing church), I am an egomaniac, I only care about myself, I am unapproachable, I am stuck on myself, I am a Lion (eh James!!!)…and the list goes on….

There, now that is all out in the open…but there is still one Christian out there that bothers me the most. Keeps me awake at night, makes me want to puke…and that person is…………………

No seriously, there are so many things that I detest about myself. How about you? I hate it when I am less that Jesus would want me to be. I hate it when I put my selfish desires over the needs of others, especially my own family. I hate it when I say something that is inconsistent with scripture, and I hate it when, as a leader, I make decisions that hurt people, I hate myself when my sinful actions hurt other believers or turn away nonbelievers…there are many things that I hate about myself…

I don’t like a lot of Christians and my name often tops that list. While others can drive me nuts, it is easier to point at them. But if we are to take a honest look at the contradiction inside of me, it shows me exactly what I need to do about it. Instead of following my instinctive course of self defense and preservation from outward criticism, I commit to opening my heart bare to GOD and ask Him to change me, cleanse me and work in me.

How about you?

Thursday, November 08, 2007


If you have been following the latest craze entitled will notice that the time is up. So, I must change the series will now be called 48! As is it written, so shall it be.
See you later!

5:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m.

The following happened from 5:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m.
Nothing really changed here people........what did you expect?

4:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m.

The following happened from 4:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m.


I heard this before, I finally turned off my TV.....

3:00 a.m. to 4:00 a.m.

The following took place between 3:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m.
Now, are watching me sleep?

2:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m.

The following takes place between 2:00 a.m. and 3:00 a.m.

You must be really bored in that you are watching me sleep!

1:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m.

The following happens between 1:00 a.m. and 2:00.
Nothing has really changed....

12:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m.

The following happens between 12:00 a.m. and 1:00 a.m.

11:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m.

The following happens between 11:00 p.m. and 12:00 a.m.
Ok, my eyes are I turn on the tv..... it is like a sleeping pill. You watch it and then you fall asleep....I begin to drift off to CNN and what is happening in Pakistan...not cool....

10:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

The following happens between 10:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m.
I was reading.....
"GOD is where you least expect Him"
"GOd wants to be known, but not in a way that overwhelms us, that takes away the possibility of love freely chosen."
"Meister Eckhart said 'GOD is like a person who clears His throat while hiding and so gives himself away."
"This can be the greatest moment of your life because this moment is the place where you can meet GOD."

9:00 p.m to 10:00 p.m.

The following happens between 9:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.

After a wonderful supper with myself, talking and eating with myself. Myself and I decided to go for a walk. We needed to walk of all the calories that somehow found themselves around my mid section. Myself and I headed back to my hotel room. Sure enough, I am here to realx, not to really think....but I pull out my book and I read...

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

The following happens between 8:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.

So, I am watching CNN and then I got bored, because I am supposed to be relaxing. So, I thought a work out was in order and I began to surf the stations. Sure enough...I saw commercials that were calling to me, like the Hungry Man TV dinners. Hey, I am a hungry man! I need to eat....after all my thumb is having a workout on the remote control. So, I got up and I went for supper and the only place close by is a place named Kelly's. So, there I am, by myself in the place and I order a steak! Ummm, steak. I take my time because I know that when I am done here...I go back to my room and relax.....sounds fun......actually, being by yourself is really boring.

7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

You guessed it....I was watching his interview and listening to apologies for the language that he was using. simply is just sad. Can you imagine if he appeared before Judge Judy?

BTW I am still relaxing.....

6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

The following happens between 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

I was watching more tv…Judge Judy!!!! Oh yes, some common sense on tv!?

5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

The following happens between 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.

Nothing really, I was watching TV a new show called Judge Alex. I could swear that this guy is really a president of a bible college in Saskatoon. (
Anyway, I am supposed to relax. I was told by my doctor that I needed to take at least a week off. Yeah right….so now, I am relaxing….with a remote in my hand.

4:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

Eating at the California Pizza Factory, retruning email, talking with my family on the phone. I hate travelling alone. Then I spent some time walking the mall. It is an outdoor mall, it is very cool. All upper class stores…very interesting...glad my dollar is worth more than then the American green back!

3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The following happens between 3:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.

I walk around the airport trying to figure out where the cabs are. I need to get to the hotel that I have booked. I finally see the signs, follow the people and find another line to stand in….I wait for my cab.

Now, when I have traveled in the past, prior to getting into any cab I have always asked…”Do you take Visa.” I never like giving cabbies cash….just my preference. But, there is this sign that says “ALL CABS TAKE VISA, MASTERCARD AND AMERICAN EXPRESS” so, did I ask? NOOOOOOOOOOOO, why should I?

So I finally get a cab, tell him “Town and Country Conference Center please.” And off we go. I try to talk, he does not want to, as a matter of fact, he turns up the radio!!!! REALLY NOW! What a hint!

So we get to my destination and I give him my card and he says…”I don’t take credit cards. You should have asked me before you got into the cab” To which I responded, “The sign at the airport says that you do. I always ask, but I saw the sign and it told me that you do” He then says “I want cash, I cannot do credit.”
To which I said “I think you have a problem then, because the sign said that you do take credit.” He asked me “Don’t you have cash?” my reply…”I have a credit card.” At this point I felt that he is…..out of luck.

Guess what he does? He pulls out a Credit Card slider and some forms. Personally, I thought the guy was a jerk! I was not impressed. Anyway, I get out and finally get to the front desk.

An easy time to get to my room…I unpack and go for a walk. I have been in this city and hotel before, but it has been years. I go to the local shopping mall where I know there is a food court and wouldn’t you know it…I was HUNGRY! The cranapple and pretzels have not done it for me. I found a number of resturants and eateries and I went to the California Pizza Kitchen....ummm pizza....

2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

The following happens between 2:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.

30 Rock, a show I have never watched before, but again, I laughed. Not sure if it is the type of show I would make the time to watch. Then Ugly Betty came on….ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.
I wake up and my mouth was open….man, I hope I didn’t snore…man, I hope I didn’t drool!!! I check my chin…nope, I am ok.

It is 12:30 Pacific time as I am landing at my destination. Did I mention that my neighbor in my row did not want to talk? Not even eye contact! Did I intimidate him? Did he know that I was a minister? Fact was he didn’t want to talk…

So we get off the plane and I walk through the airport, I follow those in front of me, like cattle, man I even want to "MOOOOO" in the airport. Off we go to slaughter, I mean to claim my baggage. Claim my baggage…we all have baggage that we come to grips with, that we claim. Oh I feel a sermon coming on…..i just need to focus on getting my suitcase. Got it…now where….?

1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

The following happens between 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m.

So the stewardess comes down the aisle and asks me what I would like to drink…and I say “Cranapple, no ice” in my James Bond/Jack Bauer voice. And what a wonderful surprise…she gives me the whole can and not only that I get a little package of munchies…you guessed it….pretzels, not just any pretzels but Mini Pretzels. Synders of Hanover Mini Pretzels. So guess what I do? I count each pretzel again and I noticed that there is exactly 10 in the bag. How cool is that? Not 9, not 11 but 10. Twice it has happened to me…ummmmm…
Then after The Office was over, 30 Rock came on and that too made me laugh….

12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.

The following happens between 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m.

I am boarding my plane and I am walking down the isle…I look at my ticket stub….NO, NO WAY…I am in a middle seat! I am 250 pounds of twisted steel and sex appeal and the middle seat is not made for me…NOOOOO!

So I find my seat and to my left is a little woman with a runny nose. "B-E-A, awesome." But I look to my right and the seat is empty….I thought that maybe I was the last person to board the plane….”Oh GOD please close the plane door so that I can have the window seat.” So this is one of those times when you think that everyone is one the plane but you know that is not true. And you wait and wait and wait. Then a person walks on the plane….is it them? Nope, a sigh of relief as they walk by my row. What about her? Nope, another sigh. What about him? Nope, another sigh and a prayer that GOD will close the plane door…

I am so selfish!

Sure enough…I can always pick out the person who is going to sit by me…I just knew it. I could tell by the way he was looking for his row and seat number. Sure enough…”this is my seat.” We get out and he gets in…and it is not that bad because he is a very short man….more room for me. Now I wait for take off.

The door is closed, the crew walks through the cabin, closes the overhead containers and Miss Runny Nose looks at me and says “The seat behind me is free.” Whoa….why don’t you just slap my face? It was her kind way of saying get out and move behind her. I wonder if she was just calling me fat or a chair hog! So I got up and moved behind miss runny nose and I now have an aisle seat! YESSSSS!

We take off and I dose off. Our flight is to be 2 hours and 4 minutes long then the TV’s drop out of the ceiling, I have my headset with me…I plug in and I begin to watch The Office. Oh this is funny…I am laughing out loud….Michael is taking the office to the beach for a party but he is really planning that he is going to be promoted and wants to replace himself…very funny….

11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

The following happens between 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m.

So, I am watching CNN, sipping my latte, ummmm pumpkin spice. Here are some thoughts from GOD is Closer Than You Think.

“The central promise in the Bible is not “I will forgive you.” The most frequent promise is “I will be with you.”

“Once you see GOD in an ordinary moment at an ordinary place, you never know where he’ll show up next.”
“Spiritual growth, in a sense, is simply increasing our capacity to experience the presence of GOD.”
“Brother Lawrence wrote ‘The most holy and necessary practice in our spiritual life is the presence of GOD. That means finding constant pleasure in His divine company, speaking humbly, and lovingly with Him in all seasons at every moment, without limiting the conversation in any way.’”
Think about it this way…what if GOD could be that close? “Maybe I miss Him because I fail to see Him in the ordinary moments of my life. Maybe every heartbeat is not just the mechanism of a sophisticated plumbing system but the echo of GOD’s voice, the murmur of God’s love.”
It is 11:55 a.m. and I have been called to board the plane…must run….

10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

The following happens between 10:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.

I have arrived at the Denver International Airport. What a big place. I love it here, however my wife has not liked this place since she got stranded coming back from a conference in California. So I have some time to kill and I arrived at gate 52. My connecter takes off at gate 25 so I must find that gate. Guess what? The times has changed,,,,but for my purposes, the time has not changed….

So I turn on my phone, get my emails, get a phone call and begin to walk Terminal B…for exercise because my butt hurts. I walked to one end of the airport and turn around and walk to the other end with one thought in mind. I am looking for SB. I finally found one hidden in a small concourse on the way to gates 95! I order a blueberry muffin and a quad, venti, pumpkin spice latte…..ummmmm a quad, venti, pumpkin spice latte….I found a TV with CNN on, pulled out my lap top and started typing…..
Ummmmm latte…..

9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

The following happens between 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m.

The cart is finally here, and he really cares about what I want to drink….I want Cranapple….I love cranapple when I fly. It is so refreshing and tasty!

I would have ordered a coffee, but as I said earlier, it smells burnt. So, I am waiting until I get to Denver so that I can go to SB. So, Chris ( our flight attendant) asks me if I want ice with my Cranapple…and then he calls me “sir.” SIR! Man, I feel that I am in my twenties, I am not a sir…am I?

Anyway….Cranapple….ummmmmm cranapple. Then Chris gives me a bag of pretzels. Not just any pretzels but Mini Pretzels. Synders of Hanover Mini Pretzels. They taste like…..pretzels. They are actually good. And now I am bored…so what do I do…I count each pretzel and I noticed that there is exactly 10 in the bag. How cool is that? Not 9, not 11 but 10. So I am having a breakfast of champions…cranapple and pretzels. I have brought a book with me, by John Ortberg, “God is closer than you think.” I will mention a few quotes that stuck out to me as we go on…. But I am getting sleepy, shutting my eyes now....zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

9:58 There is a tremendous THUD! The landing gear is down…I have arrived….

8:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.

The following happens between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m.

“I am a minister!” There, I said it! I confess! I am religious. Things got quiet as I expected. My new friend paused, looked out the window (for she had a window seat and I looked around for some comfort, some strength, I just bared my soul and now I am left hanging. My new friend then asked a really interesting question…. "Was your father a minister?” What was with that question? Well, the door opened up and began to give my new friend a family history lesson right up to where we are today with Soul Sanctuary.

My new friend began to tell me of her friend who is a “Jehovah” and who was trying to convert her. She like how I described Soul Sanctuary and felt that too many churches were not meeting the needs of people and that too many pastors were “presumptuous” when they were preaching. She said that she believed in GOD but was not pleased with the church. (OUCH).

Then out of the blue my friend said she got up at 3 a.m. and proceeded to fall asleep. So off she went and I went napping as well….off to save the world in my dreams.

Man, I hate small planes…not enough room for me…250 pounds of twisted steel and sex appeal! (I have been waiting to use that one…and it made you laugh)

8:45 a.m. I am woken from my dream…the drink cart is moving down the isle. But guess what they are selling on a morning flight? It is not even 9 a.m. and some alcoholic is paying his $5. What a crazy commentary on our culture…why have a coffee when you can have Jack Daniels!

8:55 a.m. The cart is two rows away….ummmmm I smell coffee…it smells a little burnt…but I smell coffee…
What should I do, what should I have? Wine, tea, Jack Daniels, coffee, beer, milk, coke or juice…oh the choices….oh the humanity!
During all this, my friend sleeps…I smell the coffee, they are one row away….
Then as I am tyoing this I am asked...
"What can I get you sir?"

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

7:00 a.m. - 8:00 a.m.

The following happens between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m.

“Next please”
I move to the counter, pull out my electronic ticket…show it to the Air Canada ticket agent, only because I am flying Air Canada! But wouldn’t you know it…I am standing in the wrong line at the wrong counter. The ticket agent asks me “why don’t you have an electronic boarding pass” to which I responded, “I tried but I couldn’t log on.” To which she promptly responded “Sir, you are in the wrong line, you need to go to counter 25, the United counter….please hurry sir, you do not want to miss your flight.”

If only you could read my mind at that moment! Like, I choose to stand in the wrong line for who knows how long. "Don’t you know who I am!!!??? Jack Bauer!!! I am on a mission to save the world," I thought, but alas, I am just me……

So I move to the next line…at the United counter…only because I am stupid….(no comments please) Then I made it through customs and security and proceeded to the waiting room …
At 7:45 a.m. I boarded my plane and found my seat…

A young woman sat beside me but wanted to sit with her boyfriend and so she switched seats with an older woman….full of perfume. I mean full of perfume…I actually sneezed. She is a nice older lady and she noticed that I was typing these notes into my Crackberry….Then came THE QUESTION….
Do you know THE QUESTION? The question is somethings that causes people like me cold sweats. THE QUESTION is something that makes or breaks the flight. THE QUESTION means we will continue our talk or it is over right now! WHAT DO YOU DO? IT IS THE QUESTION.

I froze in mid type…”what do I say?” Does she watch the Simpson’s? Will she know who Rev. Lovejoy is? I am in a dilemma…will she even talk to me if I confess that I am a MINISTER, a PREACHER OF THE GOSPEL, A REVEREND, A DOCTOR (without medicine) a... a... a... minister… I say……

November 06, 2007 6:00 am - 7:00 am

The following happens between 6:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m.

6 a.m. the alarm goes off and I roll out of bed. I go down stairs to make sure things are in order…the lunches for my family. I am in a bit of a fog, but this usual every morning. Upstairs I go, to shower and get dressed. Soon, I run into my boys one at a time, taking time to hug me and tell me that they love me and say that they are going to miss me. 6:30 am the door bell rings…my dad is at the door…so I kiss my wife good bye and leave the house.

It is cold outside as we drive to the airport. Dad and I have good conversation, it is good, very good. He drops me off at Air Canada…I see the line…I join…I wait. Everybody has a place to go, eye contact with strangers is limited, people hate standing in line, I hear some complaining….it is now 7 and my plane leave at 8:15 am… and I am still in line.

Monday, November 05, 2007

New Post Coming Tuesday

Now that the writers on Hollywood have gone on strike...I will be giving you my own rendition of 24...I am off to save the world....keep checking in....