Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit

I received the following blurb in an email today. To be honest, I couldn’t agree more with the premise of this new book from Francis Chan. I have really noticed this growing trend in our churches.  Of all the ways Jesus is packaged and presented these days, the Holy Spirit is usually not part of the package deal. What do you think?


“A follow up to the profound message of Crazy Love, Pastor Francis Chan offers a compelling invitation to understand, embrace, and follow the Holy Spirit’s direction in our lives.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and … the Holy Spirit. We pray in the name of all three, but how often do we live with an awareness of only the first two? As Jesus ascended into heaven, He promised to send the Holy Spirit—the Helper—so that we could be true and living witnesses for Christ. Unfortunately, today’s church has admired the gift but neglected to open it.

Breakthrough author Francis Chan rips away paper and bows to get at the true source of the church’s power—the Holy Spirit. Chan contends that we’ve ignored the Spirit for far too long, and we are reaping the disastrous results.”


Tonight is the Night (Open Mic Pre-Thoughts…)

openmicI’ve had a knot in my stomach all day today.  Tonight is all I can think about.  My iPod has my two song choices playing on repeat.  Here are some of the thoughts that have been going through my head leading up to this evening.

  • What are these people going to think?
  • How will they respond to songs about God’s love?
  • Does the eye contact rule apply in this setting?
  • Most of these people would never darken a church doorway yet I have this opportunity to bring church to them.
  • How do I set the songs up?  What should I say?
  • The bridge of “By Your Side” is so high, even for me.  I hope I can pull it off.
  • I have friends coming down to support me which I appreciate a lot.
  • Will the cigarette smoke blur my contact lenses?!
  • I sure hope I start the songs off in the correct tempo.
  • Maybe I should sing “God With Us” instead of “By Your Side”…
  • I should have been more prepared.
  • I hope the sound guy knows what he’s doing.
  • I NEED the Holy Spirit with me tonight.

I was reading the bible last night and found this passage very comforting:

4 Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him!5 Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute!6 Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns.7 Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

Philippians 4:4-7


Leading Worship at a Church Plant

Check out this great post from Bob Kauflin about leading worship at a church plant.

1. Because people will be coming from different churches, backgrounds, and experiences, I’d plan to take extra time  to explain our philosophy of worship. Every other Sunday I might take 3-5 minutes to talk about some aspect of what we’re doing. I’d want guests to understand that worship is more than singing our favorite songs. I’d cover topics like  why we sing about Jesus dying for our sins so much, the importance of God’s Word when we sing, why we sing songs with lots of words, the place of physical expressiveness, and how the primary sound we want to hear on Sundays is the congregation.

2. I’d start with a list of about 60 songs that included hymns, meatier songs I thought we’d sing a lot (In Christ Alone, Before the Throne of God Above, etc.), and a few familiar songs (Passion, Paul Baloche, etc.)

3. I’d plan to repeat songs frequently so that we could build a “musical memory” together.  If I was introducing a song most people were unfamiliar with I’d try to sing it 2 or 3 more times in the coming month.

4. I’d build music team membership slowly. I wouldn’t feel pressure to add people to the team because of musical gifting or past experience. Itʼs always easier to wait to add people than to have to remove them later for character reasons.

5. At some point in the first six months I’d invite any interested musicians over to my house for a meal. I’d lay out a vision of what kind of team we’re seeking to build, and then we’d probably jam and spend some time worshiping the Lord in song.

6. In that meeting (and there might be more than one) I’d want to establish a culture of biblical values, including humility, encouragement, servanthood, and excellence, all in the context of wanting to live a life worthy of the gospel. I’d stress that anyone who is front of the church on a regular basis needs more than a musical gift as a reason to be there. I’d also try to encourage every one I could in any way I could without making it sound like they were going to be playing on the team next Sunday.

7. While the church is small, I’d be willing to sacrifice a degree of musical excellence. What I wouldn’t be willing to sacrifice is the pursuit of humility as a group.

8. If I was a pastor planting a church with an inexperienced worship leader, I’d mention all these things, but play a more pronounced role in song selection and what was said between songs, hoping to train my worship leader in the process. I’d also give a message or two to unpack the part congregational singing plays in the broader category of biblical worship. Probably use a passage like Col. 3:16-17 or Ps. 150.


Funding a Church Plant

Dear Church Planters,

You know very well that it can take a few quid to get a church plant off the ground.  You know that finding that money is not always easy.

I’ve had a friend suggest the pastor preach as a guest in other churches.  He could share the vision of the church plant and afterwards lift an offering from people who wanted to partner with that vision.

Another friend informed me about ARC which I had heard of just hours before.  This essentially is an interest free loan which you repay by sending ARC 10% of your weekly tithes and offerings.  When the debt has been repaid you continue to contribute to ARC a small % each week.

I’m thinking that you who have walked this road already may know some neat ways of raising some dosh.  Would you please consider taking just a moment to share some things that worked for you?



Sons Of God

sonsofgodI received Sons of God (by Rebecca Kurtz) in the post last week and I’m looking forward to reading it.  I haven’t read anything remotely like this since my last Frank Peretti book many years ago.

Sons of God tells the story of Raechev, the most powerful female Nephelim still roaming the face of the earth. Two and a half thousand years ago, she incurred the wrath of Elohim when she disobeyed his command: the Nephelim–an ancient half-breed race, the children of angels and mortals–must destroy any of their kinsmen who commit atrocities against mankind. She was weak in her love for her mother, the wanton goddess Ishtar, and was therefore barred from the Creator’s protection in the Cities of Refuge. Still steadfast in her devotion to Elohim, Raechev wanders the mortal realm, exterminating those of her fallen brethren that hunt her and seek to breed an army of a size unrivaled since before the Great Flood.

This is a work of fiction….. or is it?


Global Food Crisis Day

This text for this post was lifted from the Compassion Web Site. Please consider giving today to this very worthy cause.

What is the global food crisis?

The World Food Programme calls the global food crisis a phenomenon, a “silent tsunami,” that is affecting families in every nation on every continent. Food prices for popular menu items like rice, wheat and beans have doubled in the last year. Though increases in food prices have hit all budgets, it’s the poor who bear the brunt of price inflation. The higher prices are forcing people who survive on just $1 a day to spend upwards of 80 percent of their budgets just on food. As a result, many people, including millions of children, are going hungry. The longer food prices rise, the more people will be plunged into hunger and poverty.

Why is the global food crisis happening?

Food shortages have affected developing countries for generations. It’s a cyclical problem. But this global food crisis is more rapid, urgent and devastating. Since 2005, food prices have risen a whopping 80 percent. Why?

  • rising fuel costs
  • rising food demand from populous nations like India and China
  • natural disasters destroying crop yields all over the world, including the United States
  • growth of biofuels

How has the global food crisis affected Compassion families?

The global food crisis is forcing poor families to spend more of their household budgets on food, leaving little for anything else. In Bangladesh more than 90 percent of the 12,179 children we serve in 82 Compassion-assisted centers are affected. Many children are eating only at the church-based center. Compassion Haiti estimates it will need at least $2 million and up to $6 million to feed the 60,000 registered children and their families over the next few months.

What can I do to help fight the global food crisis?

Give to Compassion’s Global Food Crisis Fund. Your gift will help provide:

  • food vouchers to children and families needing immediate relief.
  • seeds and agricultural tools so that families can grow their own food as well as earn extra income.
  • supplemental nutrition services offered at Compassion-assisted centers around the world.

Video: O Lord You’re Beautiful (Keith Green Cover)

I’ve been covering a few Keith Green songs recently and putting them on my YouTube channel.  I learnt the guitar playing these songs constantly, so they are forever part of me!

Direct Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1rIQXYCh8L4