Church

  • bigstock-Missing-the-target-7478874
    The Purpose Of The Church Pt. 1 The Purpose Of The Church Pt. 1

    The Purpose Of The Church Pt. 1

The Purpose Of The Church Pt. 1

What is the purpose of the church?  This is an interesting and complex question that I believe deserves some attention.  So over the next few weeks I am going to post some thoughts about this here on the blog.  If you agree, disagree, or have other things you would like to add to the list along the way please feel free to comment. Rather than discussing all of these in one post I want to spread them out so we have time to consider each point and cover it thoroughly.   The points below and in upcoming posts are in no particular order.  So what is the purpose of the church? To produce disciples: God has always intended that His church would produce disciples.  This evolves the eternal transformation of one’s soul though the blood of Christ.  As well as the daily sanctification that comes when we walk in the Spirit.  Perhaps the most well-known verse on the subject is Matthew 28:19 when Jesus says “go and make disciples of all nations.”  Most believers and church leaders know that we are supposed to make disciples but many churches have ceased to even attempt to make disciples.  Why? To put it simply, because making disciples is hard work.  It takes lots of time, resources, and patience along with many other things.  As a result many simply go about making other things.  They put their focus into making good people, polite people, or politically correct people. Instead of making disciples they are more into making friends, nice church programs, a comfortable atmosphere, or just making excuses as to why they can’t make disciples.  These things are not bad things until they become the central focus in a church, […]

  • businessman pointing finger
    Dealing with critics… Dealing with critics…

    Dealing with critics…

Dealing with critics…

There is always someone who thinks they can do it better.  Sometimes your critics are really trying to help you and other times they are trying to hurt you.  Some critics want to see you improve, and others just want you to give up and move on.  This is what makes it so hard when we are dealing with those who criticize a sermon, leadership decision, illustration, or something else.  It is almost impossible to determine whether or not the critic is attempting to be helpful, or just hurtful.  With over fifteen years of ministry under my belt I can honestly say that I have dealt with my share of critics.  So here are some helpful hints that might help you discern between those that honestly want to help, and those that are set on your destruction. Consider the past – Is this a person that is always criticizing you, or someone who in the past has been helpful and encouraging. If it’s the later you probably are facing a critic that is trying to be helpful.  However if grumpy George critics your sermon every week and tells you how well he could have preached the same message, or how when he was a supervisor at work his decision-making was so much better for this reason or that, then you likely have a hurtful critic on your hands. Consider frequency – Helpful critics generally speak up every now and then.  Hurtful critics are always sending you emails, knocking on your door, or calling your cell phone. Consider the criticism –  Does is seem like another petty complaint or is their some validity to their issue? To many leaders after facing years or decades of criticism […]

  • bigstock-Man-Fustrated-and-ashamed-with-27249041
    Why Leaders Fail…Part 2 Why Leaders Fail…Part 2

    Why Leaders Fail…Part 2

Why Leaders Fail…Part 2

I recently posted part 1 of Why Leaders Fail.  Below you will find the final five reasons many leaders experience failure. They fail to prioritize– This is one I have seen destroy leaders from all walks of life.  When I say they fail to prioritize I am speaking of a failure with their families.  Many leaders both inside and outside the church lead at the expense of their children and spouses.  They miss sporting events, cut vacations short, leave before breakfast, and arrive home after dinner.  Failing on the home front leads to more than just leadership failure, it can lead to the collapse of your family as well. Every leader’s family will suffer in some ways, but no family should have to sacrifice their father, mother, or loving spouse for the sake of leadership. Learn to say no to things, so you can say yes to those who love and need you the most.  Make your family a top priority or face the fate of many failed leaders. They fail to communicate– After you have been a leader for some time, it is easy to start to think that everyone knows what you think.  This is especially true when you lead a single organization, company, or department for an extended period of time.  When a leader assumes everyone understands, they tend to start cutting corners when it comes to communication.  The results of poor communication in this scenario are very slow to mature into real problems, but they always do. Eventually things start to breakdown.  People become frustrated, ill informed, and unaware of the leaders expectations.  Clear, constant, communication is essential for any leader who desires to avoid failure. They fail to acknowledge– When […]

  • the-legs-of-runners
    Tragedy In Boston Tragedy In Boston

    Tragedy In Boston

Tragedy In Boston

Yesterday while on vacation I learned of the massive tragedy at the Boston Marathon.  Immediately I began, like many Americans, to do they only thing I could which was pray.  Late last night I was finally able to watch some news reports from various networks covering the Boston tragedy.  While most of what I initially heard from word of mouth proved to be untrue, the scope of the devastation and loss of life was still heartbreaking.  How should we respond in times like this?  What should we do? As I prayed over this issue and these kinds of questions this morning, I was reminded of several posts on this blog that might prove useful.  Below are the titles and short explanation for each post.  Feel free to click the links and read more.  May God bless those who have been affected by this tragedy! 10 Great Things About God– I wrote this post and scheduled it to be published over two weeks ago.  I had no idea that Monday, April 15th would bring such devastation.  However nothing catches God by surprise and all 10 of the things mentioned in this post about God’s greatness remain true despite any hardship or tragedy we might face. I Will Trust– When tragedy strikes, many ask God “why” and we naturally lose some trust in our Creator. This post addresses such feelings and issues. It’s Good To Know– This short post talks about how wonderful it is that God hears our prayers.  If you are praying for those affected, God will answer and honor those prayers.  Don’t stop praying, it’s not the only thing you can do, but it is the most powerful thing you can do! Help Me […]

  • dry drought mouth skin taken by katie tegtmeyer fliker commons
    Surviving the Drought Surviving the Drought

    Surviving the Drought

Surviving the Drought

It’s dry again!  It seems like it’s always dry here in South Texas.  Dry times bring about many hardships for those who depend on the rain for their livelihood.  When the rain fails to fall from the sky it seems like everyone suffers.  For some the struggle is keeping the animals feed or crops alive.  While others deal with water restrictions that effect business, and personal comfort.  The bottom line is when its dry things are harder. Many have experienced what we might call a spiritual drought as well.  Maybe you are even in one of those times right now.  These times are marked by our difficulty to hear and understand God.  They may be marked by personal, financial, or moral failures we bring on ourselves. Sometimes we simply lose step with God and as a result we find ourselves in a dry place spiritually, longing once again to live in the oasis of God’s grace.  If you are not in a spiritual drought today, you will likely experience a time like this before you life is over.  I don’t think I have ever known a single honest Christian that had never been through a rough, dry, hard time spiritually.  But the good news is you can survive a spiritual drought.  I have been there, and while in the spiritual desert I learned some valuable lessons that perhaps will help you during your own dry time.  Here are a few of the lessons I learned, when it come to surviving a spiritual drought. Seek the right source– When things get hard spiritually it is critical that you continue to seek Christ.  Resist the temptation to allow your flesh to rule.  When we become spiritually dry […]

  • Overload
    Overload Overload

    Overload

Overload

Have you ever felt the pressure, stress, anxiety, burden, and tremendous weight of being overloaded in your life?  Every place we turn there is opportunity for overload to occur.  Many are overloaded at home, work, church, and school. We are overloaded with debt, bills, social media, news, and technology.  Overload is constantly around us and seemingly never ceases to threaten our sanity and even our faith.  Jesus gives us some clear direction when it comes to overload. Matthew 11:28–29 (NET) —28Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. [1]   His Call– COME TO ME! That is the first thing we should do, it is the key to defeating our overloaded lives. Jesus does not say, go to church, go to your pastor, go to your mom, or your spouse.  Instead he says COME TO ME! His Promise– I will give you rest. When you are overloaded and need rest Jesus says come to me and I will give you the rest you need!  He does not say that He will consider giving you rest, instead He says I WILL give you rest! His Character– Ultimately, Jesus is offering each of us a choice in this text.  You can choose my yoke, or the yoke of overload, but you must make the choice.  As you consider your options take a look at His character.  He is gentle, and humble in heart.  Notice in the text that Christ says “take my yoke.” We must make the choice to embrace the yoke of Christ, […]

  • friend, helping hand
    Ittai The Faithful Friend Ittai The Faithful Friend

    Ittai The Faithful Friend

Ittai The Faithful Friend

2 Samuel 15:21 (NET) —21But Ittai replied to the king, “As surely as the Lord lives and as my lord the king lives, wherever my lord the king is, whether dead or alive, there I will be as well!” [1]   What do you do when things get tough for a close friend?  Do you stand with them or flee from them?  Sadly many in today’s culture are quick to abandon each other.  As soon as things get hard, or start going the wrong way even our closest friends frequently vacate the area.  Scripture is correct when it says… 24A person who has friends may be harmed by them, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.[2] (Proverbs 18:24 (NET).  You may have many friends today, but you will be lucky to have a single friend in your day of trouble.  The truth is we need more men like Ittai in our lives, and in our churches.  Men who will stand for what is right, even when standing is hard, dangerous, and costly. Ittai did not have to flee with King David, he could have stayed behind and been safe, but doing so was not an option.  His loyalty, and devotion to his friend was stronger than his desire for safety, comfort, and even life.  So he chooses to leave the city along with David and a few other men.  David must have been so blessed by the devotion of his faithful friend Ittai who made the choice to stand by his side even in the hard times. Who is it in your life that needs your backing, encouragement, and public support right now?  Will you stand with them, or abandon them?  […]

  • Man worship god
    I will worship… I will worship…

    I will worship…

I will worship…

  Come! Let’s bow down and worship! Let’s kneel before the LORD, our creator! —Psalms 95:6 NET I believe that everyone worships something in life.  There is a great deal of worship going on in our American culture today, sadly most of our worship has nothing to do with spiritual things.  We are quick to worship fame, athleticism, TV, bank accounts, vehicles, and many other material things.  In the church we have reduced the word “worship” down and defined it as the 20 minutes of singing that takes place before the sermon.  I firmly believe that this is indeed worship in most cases, however there is certainly more to worship than this. Jesus Christ said You are to worship the Lord your God and serve only him (Matthew 4:10).   This is the way I want to worship in 2013.  I know that there are three things I must do if I want to worship God this new year. First I must be present, I have to show up, I must prepare to worship!  Life is not easy, it’s full of curve balls and tough days.  If I don’t wake up each day with worship on my mind I am certain to be distracted by the devil.  It was after all Satan who came and tempted Christ by saying. “I will give you all these things if you throw yourself to the ground and worship me.” (Matthew 4:9) Scripture records that Jesus’ response was swift and firm,  “Go away, Satan! (Matthew 4:10).  Christ did not consider the offer, weigh the odds, or think about how to respond.  He was fully focused on worshiping God and only God, so all other offers would be rejected.  Like Christ […]

  • dont do it!
    The Uncommon Church Is NOT… The Uncommon Church Is NOT…

    The Uncommon Church Is NOT…

The Uncommon Church Is NOT…

In “The Uncommon Church” we talk a lot about what “The Uncommon Church” looks like, how it functions, makes decisions, and advances the gospel.  The titles of the chapters of the book are below and outline the characteristics of “The Uncommon Church” that are discussed in the book: Chapter 1: Basic Questions Chapter 2: Uncommon Mindset Chapter 3: Uncommon Relationships Chapter 4: Uncommon Prayer Chapter 5: Uncommon Caring Chapter 6: Uncommon Forgiveness Chapter 7: Uncommon Sharing Chapter 8: Uncommon Attitude Chapter 9: Uncommon Giving Chapter 10: Uncommon Commitment Chapter 11: Uncommon Work Chapter 12: Uncommon Discipleship Chapter 13: Uncommon Victory In this post however I want to discuss a few things that The Uncommon Church is not.  There are many misconceptions about what it means to be uncommon and I hope this post will clear some of those up. 1)   “The Uncommon Church” is not always big.  Our culture has become infatuated with numbers and statistics.  The culture of the church has come to believe that big automatically equals success.  We evaluate the success of our programs many times based solely on the number of conversions, or people who attend.  Being uncommon however is not measured in numbers.  There are many small churches that are practicing the Christian faith in a wonderfully uncommon way.  Likewise there are medium and large churches doing the same.  You can’t tell if a church is truly uncommon from the numbers alone, only when you evaluate the people that are represented in those numbers will you find out the degree to which they represent “The Uncommon Church.” 2)   “The Uncommon Church” does not always have the most dynamic, impressive, inspiring, pastor or leader.  Leadership is important for all churches.  However […]

The Uncommon Mindset At Work

 Do not be conformed to this present world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may test and approve what is the will of God—what is good and well-pleasing and perfect.  Romans 12:2 NET I have been so blessed over the years to see many of the Disciples at Cowboy Fellowship display an uncommon mindset when it comes to serving Christ.  I have seen it at work, in schools, on ranches and farms, in restaurants, the grocery store, and on our church campus.  In fact I caught a church member in the act just today!  While I don’t have time to elaborate on all of these living illustrations of the uncommon mindset at work in this blog; instead I thought I might share a few of the common characteristics I have found in believers who consistently have this uncommon mindset. They are in the word- People with this uncommon mindset are readers of the Word.  They are people who know what the Bible says and they follow God’s written directions. They are in fellowship- They are connected to other believers.  These men and women make time to develop relationships with other believers.  They are open to accountability as well. They are in prayer- Disciples with this uncommon mindset are people of prayer. They are in God’s will- These people live right; they don’t play around with sin, or operate in the grey areas of life.  The men and women I have seen over the years who consistently possess the uncommon mindset of Christ do everything possible to stay in tune with God, and remain inside of His will. They are in Church-There is no doubt in my mind that church […]

Facebook Iconfacebook like buttonTwitter Icontwitter follow button