June 15 News Letter

June 19, 2018 by  
Filed under Newsletter

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Date in History

1607 – Colonists in North America completed James Fort in Jamestown, VA. (I have a very informative Power Point on this Fort. Contact me!)

BLOG – Who Shares the Gospel?

Read and respond. THANKS!!

Read my BLOG – www.thetextsays.blogspot.com.

Also on the Home Page www.igniteus.net - A Monday Morning BLOG. (Currently – “Who Shares the Gospel?“) New post on the 1st & 15th of each month. Comments welcome!

Home Page - Click on this link to go to our Home Page: http://www.igniteUS.net/

US Update

This Update is sent to you on the 1st and 15th of each month. Please send comments or questions to us at info@igniteUS.net. Or, you may go to our BLOG on the home page of our Web Site – click on Newsletter. THANKS!

News Letter June 1 2018

June 14, 2018 by  
Filed under Newsletter

Under The Elmtree

In This Edition

 

* The Judgment Of God

* Leading Transformation

* Seminary @ Expositors.Org

* Pastoral Placement – FIT

*Tithe.ly for Ministry Support

* Book Review – ‘Unhitched’? – Nope

* Pod Cast – - Thrive

* This Date in History – Harbor Closed

* BLOG – The Judgment of God

 

 

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The Judgment of God

 

The past several weeks (May 1 – May 25) have been an absolute blur of indictments on the Evangelical Church in America and the Southern Baptist Convention specifically. The link following this paragraph is an article addressing this circumstance written by Dr. Al Mohler. The SBC is not alone in the American Church scene to which God’s judgment may be rightly applied. Read Dr. Mohler’s post first.

https://albertmohler.com/2018/05/23/wrath-god-poured-humiliation-southern-baptist-convention/?mc_cid=45b3897781&mc_eid=d299093093

 

The three words that describe our conduct considered in this article merit God’s Judgment. There are many more Covenant violations we are guilty of as we express daily the sin nature imputed to us as a result of Adam’s willful disobedience. Pray for Repentance, Reformation and Renewal.

 

In Isaiah 53 there are numerous words in the English language that express sin; iniquity, transgression, transgressions, etc. These terms in the original Masoretic Text of the OT convey a much more graphic portrayal of our sin. When you read this article and comprehend the messages conveyed by these words, you will readily understand why the church and sinners deserve God’s Judgment!

 

I included the original language in this article but IContact will not accept them so the best I can do is a transliteration of the words. In most cases I cite lexical sources so the reader may do further research if desired. The sins delineated in this article surely merit God’s judgment.

 

Word #1 – Isaiah 53:5 - (avone) (used 215 times in the OT) But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.

 

Isaiah 21:3  - (avone), to bend or twist, used 215 times in the OT = crooked perverse behavior. Used as a Portrait of the anguish of a woman in labor.

 

Isaiah 21:3 Therefore my loins are filled with anguish; pangs have seized me, like the pangs of a woman in labor; I am bowed down so that I cannot hear; I am dismayed so that I cannot see.

 

Someone distressed, bent double; NKJV – distressed

 

The parent verb, (avone), means ‘bend, twist’, making the noun mean ‘crooked behavior, perversion.’ In the total vocabulary of sinfulness, it is the “internal” word – strictly, therefore, the warped human nature from which all wrongdoing derives. . . . (J. Alec Motyer, Stricken for The Transgression of My People, Chapter 10, From Heaven He Came And Sought Her, p.257) This word gives clear expression to our twisted conduct and motives, the consequences and resulting guilt of our deeds.

 

That which is injustice, false and idolatrous – LOGOS7 word studies

 

The remarkable ambivalence between the meanings “sin as an act” and “penalty” shows that in the thought of the OT sin and its penalty are not radically separate notions as we tend to think of them.  Rather in the OT the action of a man and what happens to him are presupposed to be directly related in one process within the basic divine order (TWOT, Vol.II, p. 651)

 

…the total man, the whole sum of human life and being, is perverted; that all the faculties of man are more or less twisted out of shape by sin; that each man, from the whole is turned from God rather than toward God; so that the whole nature of man, as it now exists, is warped and twisted by sin. (E.C. Dargan, SBC 1900 ish)

 

Man is both in mind and heart, in purpose and in deed apart from God, lost and straying. (Dargan as quoted in By His Grace and For His Glory, Nettles, p.210)

 

?Have you ever confessed your ‘iniquity’ (crookedness) to the LORD and sought His forgiveness for your warped sinful nature?

 

Word #2 – Isaiah 53:8  (pasha) Used 90 times in the OT The fundamental idea of the root word is a breach of relationships, civil or religious, between two parties. It expresses the ‘casting off’ of allegiance’. The verbal form indicates a casting off of allegiance, a rebellion against rulers (TWOT, Vol. II, p.741) Sin is rebellion against the reign of Jesus Christ in your life.

 

Israel was accused of rebelling against her divine king and the established Covenant between them.

 

Isaiah 48:8  You have never heard, you have never known, from of old your ear has not been opened. For I knew that you would surely deal treacherously, and that from before birth you were called a rebel.

 

Hosea 8:1  Set the trumpet to your lips! One like a vulture is over the house of the LORD, because they have transgressed my covenant and rebelled against my law.

 

Acts of transgression, going beyond the limits of God’s laws, have the impact on inner attitudes which create deceitfulness or a distorted love for this “independence” from God.

 

Amos 4:4  ”Come to Bethel, and transgress (rebel, break away from legitimate authority); to Gilgal, and multiply transgression; bring your sacrifices every morning, your tithes every three days.

 

No matter how much we make an excuse for the fallen nature which prompts actual sin, the fact remains that in cases far too numerous to recall, a choice was presented to us and we chose the path of deliberate, conscious, willful rebellion. We sinned because we wanted to!!!

 

?Have you ever confessed your ‘rebellion’ to the LORD and sought His forgiveness for your wicked rebel nature?

 

Word #3 – Isaiah 53:12 - (katah) (used 34 times in the OT) This word focuses on the fact of sin as a short-coming, missing the mark.

 

In the moral use of this word, ‘sin’ is the specific matter we find that we have to confess – whether thought, word or deed, inward imagination or outward act. We have “missed,” fallen short of the Lord’s command.

 

Judges 20:16  Among all these were 700 chosen men who were left-handed; every one could sling a stone at a hair and not miss.

 

One of our grandsons took up archery in High School. Each shooter fires 30 arrows at the target from increasing distances resulting in a total possible score of 300. Our grandson scored about 210 in the beginning. He progressed and qualified for the National Championship held in Nashville which we attended. He shot 289. The young man that won that competition shot 299. But – that still misses the mark of 300.

 

The fall rendered all of us poor marksman. We consistently miss the mark.

 

?Have you ever confessed your ‘missing the mark’ to the LORD and sought His forgiveness for your failure?

 

Summary & Application

The Fall rendered us all:

1. (avone) crooked, twisted, idolators

2.  (pasha) rebels, we rebel against the reign of Christ in our lives

3.  (katah) poor marksman, we miss the mark consistently

 

What is God’s standard?

 

Matthew 5:48 -You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

 

?? How can a crooked, rebellious, poor marksman live up to, accomplish this perfection?

 

Acts 4:12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

 

Luke 9:23  And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.

 

Leading Transformation 

The decline of the American Church is an indisputable reality. Many pastors and church leaders are profoundly aware of this decline. The quandary they wrestle with is ‘what must we do to address and correct this persistent reality?’

 

When you have a cavity, you go to the Dentist. When you have a foot injury, you go to a Podiatric Surgeon. Such actions are reasonable and lead to a favorable resolution to your problem.

 

The IgniteUS Transformation Process provides abundant resources that bring exegetically supported correction to the existing dysfunctions in ministry. Each church presents distinct challenges. Our Process is tailored to the church you are leading. We have helped many pastors and churches go from decline to robust effectiveness in making disciples. Individual people and the church as a body are transformed. The Process begins with an objective Assessment that enables you to know the true condition of the church you serve. This makes it possible to effectively address the causes of decline.

 

We will come alongside of any church that has a high view of Christ and a high view of Scripture. There is no long term contract. There is. a very modest monthly fee. .Continuous decline is not the only option. Give me a call to investigate this process for implementation where you serve.. I have an article titled Measuring What Matters Most that will facilitate genuine Transformation that I will send to all who make such a request You will be very glad that you called. (800 472 3764 or info@igniteus.net).

 

Pastoral Placement 

Leadership is crucial. When a church is seeking a Lead Pastor there are multiple critical areas that must be considered. Tragically the traditional approach to this process has produced brief pastoral tenures (3 1/2 years is the current average) and less than robust effectiveness. A positive trend is to seek the services of a proven Consultant and Process. IgniteUS provides such a service. Our goal is to guide the church to a man that fits the church and the church fits the man. Contact us @ 800 472 3764 or info@igniteus.net.

 

Ministry Support $$

 

We are asking you to give – $10 a month. These funds enable us to provide  Scholarships to Pastors & Churches. Christ gets the Glory!  On our Home Page (www.igniteus.net) click on the banner labeled Online Giving and follow the prompts. THANKS to each one who gives! Appreciated!

 

Book Review –

Book Review – Motyer, Alec. 6 Ways The Old Testament Speaks Today – An Interactive Guide. Wheaton IL: Crossway, 2018, 240 pp. $19.99 ISBN # – 978-1-4335-5851-1. Available May 31, 2018.

Recently Andy Stanley stated that the church, specifically pastors in their preaching ministry, need to ‘unhitch’ from the Old Testament. This comment unleashed a flurry of criticism. To be fair, this comment was in the third message in a series of three. He insists that if taken in context of the three (3) messages, not to worry.

 

I’m not so sure. There are no new heresies, just new heretics. Marcion was perhaps the first to promote the bifurcation of the Old Testament from the New. He lived from 85 – 160 AD. He was excommunicated from the church in 144 AD for cause. His specific comment on this issue was:

 

. . . we need to distinguish between the “stern law-giving Creator God of the Old Testament and the good merciful God of the New Testament.”

 

I will accept Pastor Stanley’s explanation regarding the context of this comment. Having taken the high ground and being gracious, I will state that such a comment at the very least is profoundly unwise and he should expect the furor that followed. Now we turn to the content of Motyer’s treatment of the Old Testament.

 

This is the second edition of this title. It was first published in 1994 under the title A Scenic Route through The Old Testament. From the Introduction:

 

Actually, it is a rather spectacular piece of countryside, full of interest, and wonderfully speaking directly to us, our situations, and our needs. Did you ever notice a striking thing Steven said in his speech in Acts 7:38, that Moses “received the living oracles to give to us” – the vital word of God itself relevant to each successive generation right up to “us”? Paul insisted on the same truth in Romans 15:4: “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction.”

 

And when we turn to the highest authority of all, the Lord Jesus Christ, what do we find? Well, if we had asked him, “why do you keep quoting the Old Testament? “He would have replied, “the old what?” And when we explained, he would have corrected us: “you mean the word of God (Mark 7:13), the Scriptures, (John 5:39)” –  nothing old about that as far as Jesus was concerned, for it is actually the applicable truth of God by which he was content to plan his life and accept his cross (Matthew 26:53-54). The big word he used was “The Law” (Luke 10:26), a word that actually means “the Teaching”, and “the living directions of a caring parent to a beloved child (“instruction,” Prov. 4:1) in the case of our Lord, his heavenly Father’s voice in his ear. Should we not prize –  and go all out to understand – what was so precious to our Savior?

 

The author presents the very beneficial text and readings in six headings as follows:

I.               The Voice of History pp. 15-36

II.               The Voice of Religion pp. 37-54

III.              The Voice of Worship pp. 55-76

IV.              The Voice of Prophecy pp. 77-100

V.                The Voice of Wisdom pp. 101-120

VI.               The Voice of God pp. 121-142

 

There is then an Appendix that supplies ‘daily readings’ in each of these subject areas; pp. 143-208. I suggest that a pastor will be encouraged and equipped in his study of the Old Testament by purchasing and applying this material in his sermon preparation and personal study. This material will be very beneficial in establishing biblical literacy in the lives of the people a pastor serves.

 

In closing it would be profoundly foolish and heretical to discard the rich history and background of our faith by ignoring the Old Testament. Read it. Study it. Apply the Truths recorded in it to inform, encourage and equip God’s people. This title is a wonderful tool any pastor may use in that glorious task.

 

A testimonial regarding the value of this title in the life and ministry of a pastor.

I have lost count of the number of times I have read this book. Priceless wisdom and exquisite summaries of Old Testament genres, with the added bonus of Motyer’s wit and wisdom, make this a book a treasure in deed. ”

Derek Thomas – Senior Minister, First Presbyterian Church – Columbia, South Carolina

Pastor Tom Fillinger

 

Expositors Seminary

 

Expositors Seminary is truly cutting edge in the Theological Training & Equipping of men for ministry. Those that attend and complete the required courses receive a full M.Div. in four (4) years complete with both languages. Students attend Tuesday AM through Wednesday at 2PM. The cost is $200/hour. The men attending are able to continue their current ministry and do not need to relocate their families. They have 9 campuses around the country housed in local churches. They have the most current technology which facilitates the instruction. Dr. George Zemek is the Academic Dean and one of the Professors.

 

I encourage you to go to their web site and examine what they offer. Their web site is www.expositors.org.

 

Pod Cast – THRIVE

 

The title of the Pod Cast is THRIVE. That is our desire for every pastor and every local church. We want you to thrive in making disciples, and developing leaders, all of which is to Glorify Jesus Christ. There is a banner on our web site – - www.ignitues.net – - just click on that banner. This Pod Cast has the potential to reach 35,000 listeners. If you listen and find benefit in the content, encourage folks in your sphere of influence to listen as well, then contact us. THANKS. I want to hear from you; info@igniteus.net or 800 472 3764.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Date in History

1774 – The British government ordered the Port of Boston closed.

BLOG – The Judgment of God

Read and respond. THANKS!!

Read my BLOG – www.thetextsays.blogspot.com.

Also on the Home Page www.igniteus.net - A Monday Morning BLOG. (Currently – “The Judgment of God“) New post on the 1st & 15th of each month. Comments welcome!

Home Page - Click on this link to go to our Home Page: http://www.igniteUS.net/

US Update

This Update is sent to you on the 1st and 15th of each month. Please send comments or questions to us at info@igniteUS.net. Or, you may go to our BLOG on the home page of our Web Site – click on Newsletter. THANKS!

News Letter May 15 2018

May 15, 2018 by  
Filed under Newsletter

Under The Elmtree

In This Edition

 

* What Is The Church?

* Leading Transformation

* Links to Fruitful Deliberation

* Pastoral Placement – FIT

*Tithe.ly for Ministry Support

* Book Review – Christian Ethics – Grudem

* Pod Cast – - Thrive

* This Date in History – America Launched

* BLOG – What Is The Church?

 

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What Is The Church

 

“The Church is puzzled by the world’s indifference. She is trying to overcome it by adapting her message to the fashions of the day. But if, instead, before the conflict, she would descend into the secret place of meditation, if by the clear light of the gospel she would seek an answer not merely to the questions of the hour but, first of all to the eternal problems of the spiritual world, then perhaps, by God’s grace, through His good Spirit, in His good time, she might issue forth once more with power, and an age of doubt might be followed by the dawn of an era of faith.”  (J. Gresham Machen)

 

On Saturday morning, April 28th I received an early morning call. The caller was a member of my first pastorate back in the 70′s. The purpose of that call was to solicit wisdom on the callers planned departure from the church they had been attending for a number of years. The essence of Machen’s quote frames the multiple reasons for this caller’s departure from that church. Machen’s quote is now nearly 100 years old. Imagine what he would write today.

 

The sermons in that church are vacuous. They are largely devoid of exegetical substance that produce transformation in the lives of the congregants. They give no evidence of diligent personal study and scholarly research. The caller discovered that the sermons were in fact copied word for word from a ‘popular’ public speaker – I hesitate to describe him as an Elder/Pastor. In fact, several years ago this individual declared that the term Pastor/Shepherd is now passe. This same individual recently declared that ‘oneness in the faith is more important than being theologically correct’. The music in this assembly is often popular songs from the culture, not hymns that teach theological Truth as the congregation worships the True and Living God.

 

The caller said – ‘Pastor, you taught us well.’ Be encouraged men. When you honor God’s word and proclaim it line upon line with precise exegetical accuracy and genuine compassion for those you lead, it does equip your people to live with discernment that honors Christ.

 

This article is endeavoring to answer the question ‘What Is The Church?’ My prayer is that this material informs, encourages, and equips you to lead with integrity in the Church, The Body of Christ and the Family of God. My prayer is for you as a pastor that you find incredible JOY in your leadership. There is much that is needed under each of these headings but this is a News Letter not a dissertation. I leave my readers to flesh out these issues. Remember, the Church is a Theological entity/organism and ministry must be shaped by ‘what the text says!’

 

I begin with a declaration of what the church is NOT.

 

The church is Not merely a ‘Preaching Station‘. Preaching is vital. The word of God transforms his people. But the church is much more than Preaching. Perhaps this is part of our problem. Many have the attitude that ‘I went to church and listened to preaching’ therefore I have paid my dues for this week.The church fails to understand that Special Revelation is not mere information. It is to produce Transformation!

 

The church is Not a Social Agency servicing all the material needs of the community. We do well to provide a Food Pantry and other similar beneficial functions but never let the tail wag the dog.

 

The church is not A Christian School. I support Christian Schools. I believe in teaching TRUTH to children from the day they are born. But, be careful. Do not permit the school to run the church, or the tail to wag the dog!

 

The church is Not a welfare agency. We do well to provide assistance to needy people but the focus of the church is the redeemed of the Lord, not every citizen in a given community.

 

The church is Not a Country Club. In a Country Club you pay your dues and participation is optional. Tithes and Offerings are not dues and participation is not optional in the church. Contributions do not purchase power to be wielded in the decision making process.

 

The church is Not a Democracy. No where in the text of the NT can it be demonstrated that the church ever voted on anything. The church does not make decisions by ‘popular opinion’ and God is not impressed with nor will he ever bless a 51% majority. The practice of ‘voting’ in the church is imported (may i say syncretized) from the culture at large and has no exegetical validation. The people affirm decisions the Elders have reached. They must be well informed, always treated with dignity and respect, but, that does not mean they vote. cf. the issue of those who are members but clearly unregenerate.

 

The church is Not a belong – then believe assembly. This mentality is driven by a false Metric for effectiveness – Numbers! More is better and Biggest is Best. Wrong and lethal!

 

What the church Is. (The issues are simply listed. No order of importance is implied.)

 

The church Is the gathered body of God’s chosen redeemed people. A characteristic of the true church through the ages has been one of regenerate membership. There are numerous people today that have membership in a local church – BUT – they are tragically not redeemed.

 

The church Is the Bride of Christ, The Family of God, and The Temple of the Living God.

 

The church is rooted and grounded on the inspiration, inerrancy, authority, and sufficiency of Scripture.

 

The church Is the household of God, the pillar and buttress of the truth.

 

The church graciously and consistently practices church discipline. The design of this is restoration of the offender, not punishment.

 

The Church Is Elder led. The offices in the church are Elders/Pastor Shepherds and Deacons. No where in the NT are Deacons shown to be a Board of Governors. Their function is to serve the congregation as set forth in Acts 6:2-3. (cf. Acts 14:23 & Titus 1:5)

 

The church Is to display true Life in Community. There is genuine Transparency and Vulnerability among the members. They exhort, encourage, rebuke, bear with one another, and bear one another’s burdens. Jesus said the world will know we are his disciples by the way we love one another.

 

The Purpose of the church Is to make Disciples who make Disciples. This is the singular imperative verb (command) in the Great Commission.This tasks is the privilege of every believer.

 

The church is a place in which there is a continuous process Of Leadership Development that trains and equips men for future leadership roles in the church that are capable of planting healthy churches.

 

The church treats all people with dignity because they are created in the image of God.

 

The church recognizes, affirms, and requires expository preaching. There is a place for exception but this principle is the norm for week to week exposition of God’s word.

 

The church embraces with passion and consistency the practice of Intercessory Prayer. The church openly petitions God with the confidence that he hears and responds to their petitions.

 

Conclusion – Every dysfunctional ministry practice diminishes the prospects of the church being and doing what God has designed His church to be and do. Teach your people the true profile of church. Do this exegetically, graciously, systematically, and persistently. Those in whom the Holy Spirit dwells will delight to learn, honor, and obey the LORD!

 

Leading Transformation

 

The decline of the American Church is an indisputable reality. Many pastors and church leaders are profoundly aware of this decline. The quandary they wrestle with is ‘what must we do to address correct this persistent reality?’

 

When you have a cavity, you go to the Dentist. When you have a foot injury, you go to a Podiatric Surgeon. Such actions are reasonable and lead to a favorable resolution to your problem.

 

The IgniteUS Transformation Process provides abundant resources that bring exegetically supported correction to the existing dysfunctions in ministry. Each church presents distinct challenges. Our Process is tailored to the church you are leading. We have helped many pastors and churches go from decline to robust effectiveness in making disciples. Individual people and the church as a body are transformed. The Process begins with an objective Assessment that enables you to know the true condition of the church you serve. This makes it possible to effectively address the causes of decline.

 

We will come alongside of any church that has a high view of Christ and a high view of Scripture. There is no long term contract. There is a very modest monthly fee. .Continuous decline is not the only option. Give me a call to investigate this process for implementation where you serve.. You will be very glad that you did. (800 472 3764 or info@igniteus.net).

 

Links To Fruitful Deliberation

The two links that follow display with integrity the theme we are addressing – What is The Church? The Link from Challies contrasts two ministries that clearly display the profile of a true church, Matt Chandler (The Village) & Steven Furtick (Elevation). The second link displays the significant changes taking place in our nation. These changes have a profound impact on the church.

 

https://www.challies.com/articles/matt-chandlers-radical-reminder-that-god-is-for-god/

https://www.amren.com/news/2017/09/americas-changing-religious-identity/

 

Pastoral Placement

 

Leadership is crucial. When a church is seeking a Lead Pastor there are multiple critical areas that must be considered. Tragically the traditional approach to this process has produced brief pastoral tenures (3 1/2 years is the current average) and less than robust effectiveness. A positive trend is to seek the services of a proven Consultant and Process. IgniteUS provides such a service. Our goal is to guide the church to a man that fits the church and the church fits the man. Contact us @ 800 472 3764 or info@igniteus.net.

 

Ministry Support $$

 

We are asking you to give – $10 a month. These funds enable us to provide  Scholarships to Pastors & Churches. Christ gets the Glory!  On our Home Page (www.igniteus.net) click on the banner labeled Online Giving and follow the prompts. THANKS to each one who gives! Appreciated!

 

Book Review –

 

Book Review. Wayne Grudem. Christian Ethics – An Introduction to Biblical Moral Reasoning. Wheaton IL: Crossway, 2018,  1225 pp.  Available June 30, 2018. $60 Hardcover.

 

Grudem poses questions that serve well in providing justification for this title. How should Christians live when the surrounding culture is increasingly hostile to moral values? How can they know God’s will in the ordinary decisions of life?

 

This title has the endorsement of many Christian Leaders. Here is the affirmation of Sam Storms. “This nearly exhaustive treatment of Christian ethics is destined to become the standard evangelical text for many years to come. It is wide-ranging, thoughtful, and unafraid to engage with controversial issues and with those who take a different approach.

 

Grudem presents the material under seven headings. I provide them as follows.

 

Part One – Introduction

Part Two – Protecting God’s Honor

Part Three – Protecting Human Authority

Part Four – Protecting Human Life

Part Five – Protecting Marriage

Part Six – Protecting Property

Part Seven – Protecting Purity of Heart

 

Don’t let the price deter you from securing this title. If you turn to the Subject Index (p. 1216) you will be provided with a plethora of resources that have exegetical substantiation. This volume will aid the serious exeget in sermon preparation by supplying credible data in the areas Grudem has researched and that provide focus for the issues of the day  Your people will benefit and be equipped by possessing current research with exegetical validation on the multitude of issues swirling around us in the culture in America today. You will be equipped to preach with authority that transcends mere personal opinions.

 

Pod Cast – THRIVE

 

The title of the Pod Cast is THRIVE. That is our desire for every pastor and every local church. We want you to thrive in making disciples, and developing leaders, all of which is to Glorify Jesus Christ. There is a banner on our web site – - www.ignitues.net – - just click on that banner. This Pod Cast has the potential to reach 35,000 listeners. If you listen and find benefit in the content, encourage folks in your sphere of influence to listen as well, then contact us. THANKS. I want to hear from you; info@igniteus.net or 800 472 3764.

 

IgniteUS APP Coming Soon – Stay Tuned! I anticipate this will be available by June1st (??)

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Date in History

1787 Constitutional Convention delegates begin to assemble

BLOG – What Is The Church?

Read and respond. THANKS!!

Read my BLOG – www.thetextsays.blogspot.com.

Also on the Home Page www.igniteus.net - A Monday Morning BLOG. (Currently – “What Is The Church“) New post on the 1st & 15th of each month. Comments welcome!

Home Page - Click on this link to go to our Home Page: http://www.igniteUS.net/ 

US Update

This Update is sent to you on the 1st and 15th of each month. Please send comments or questions to us at info@igniteUS.net. Or, you may go to our BLOG on the home page of our Web Site – click on Newsletter. THANKS!

 

News Letter April 1

April 5, 2018 by  
Filed under Newsletter

Under The Elmtree

In This Edition

 

* What Is An Evangelical?

* We Serve The Risen Christ

* Tithe.ly for Ministry Support

* Book Review - Biblical Theology

* Pod Cast – - Thrive

* IgniteUS APP Coming Soon

* This Date in History – Persecution of Jews

* BLOG -  What Is An Evangelical?

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What Is An Evangelical?

 

What and Who is an Evangelical? What is the Gospel?  What and Who is truly orthodox? As the American Culture swirls in the grip of moral corruption and the decline of precise theological inquiry, these questions plead for an answer that has clarity and theological integrity.

 

About 1900 the evangelical community produced what came to be known as The Fundamentals. I have a four (4) volume set of books by this title in my library. This material was produced to counter the corruption of sound theology being promulgated by those correctly labeled as Liberals. The concerns of the leaders of the Fundamentalist Movement were validated in 1923 by the publication of Christianity and Liberalism by J. Gresham Machen. Machen’s book has long been a classic defense of the orthodox Christian faith against Liberalism. Published at the height of the Liberal onslaught against orthodox faith, Machen established the traditional teaching of the church on Scripture, God, humanity, salvation, and ecclesiology. The theology  he promoted is not only defensible but orthodox and preferable to those propounded by Liberals

 

In 1978 the Chicago Statement On Biblical Inerrancy was produced. It begins – - The following statement affirms the inerrancy of scripture, making clear our understanding of it and warning against its denial. We are persuaded that to deny it is to set aside the witness of Jesus Christ and of the Holy Spirit and to refuse that submission to the claims of God’s own word which marks true Christian faith. We see it as our timely duty to make this affirmation in the face of current lapses from the truth of inerrancy among our fellow Christians (??) and misunderstanding of this doctrine in the world at large.

 

Since the first century the attacks on orthodoxy have focused on The Inerrancy of Scripture and The Substitutionary Atonement of Christ. This onslaught has not changed to this very day. Once the veracity of Scripture is abandoned, those that embrace such a posture are on a slippery slope to apostasy. One need only look at the current condition of what historically have been labeled the ‘mainline denominations’. The links that follow provide examples of this scenario in the present day. I urge my readers to read each of these articles and discern the core theological corruption that each portrays and/or warns against. Forewarned is forearmed.

https://www.christianpost.com/news/belief-jesus-is-only-way-to-heaven-is-insanity-megachurch-pastor-michael-a-walrond-jr-says-221123/

 

https://www.challies.com/articles/what-counts-as-a-gospel-issue/

 

http://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2018/march/excalibur-conservative-underground-taylor-university.html

 

http://www.heraldsun.com/opinion/article206682209.html

 

Elaine Heath is the Dean at the Duke Divinity School at Duke University. Since 2016 she has promoted what she calls Generous Orthodoxy which is in fact absolute theological corruption. Beware of such Apostasy and the people that promote it!

 

The following link takes the reader to a list of eleven (11) titles that provide a path for your faith that is orthodox. The battle rages and the intensity in this struggle to preserve orthodoxy will only escalate as we go forward. I leave you with the exhortation of the Apostle Paul: Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.(1Cor. 15:58)

 

https://corechristianity.com/resource-library/articles/11-classics-every-christian-should-read

 

An additional source that provides insight into this struggle to preserve and serve with orthodox integrity. Evangelicalism Divided – A Record of Crucial Change In The Years 1950 to 2000 by Iain Murray.

 

We Serve The Risen Christ

 

Luke 24:1–9 (ESV) – The Resurrection

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?  He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” And they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest.

 

Ministry Support $$

 

We are asking you to give – $10 a month. These funds enable us to provide  Scholarships to Pastors & Churches. Christ gets the Glory!  On our Home Page (www.igniteus.net) click on the banner labeled Online Giving and follow the prompts. THANKS to each one who gives! Appreciated!

 

Book Review – Biblical Theology

 

Book Review. Roark, Nick and Cline Robert. Biblical Theology – How The Church Faithfully Teaches The Gospel. Wheaton IL: Crossway, 2018, 158 pp. $14.99, ISBN # 978-1-4-335-5606-7, Available April 1, 2018.

 

This title is timely and makes a much-needed contribution to the current confusion in the evangelical community. Questions swirl such as ‘What is an Evangelical?’, and ‘What is The Gospel?’. This title provides clarity on both of these issues. This is one of the titles in the series produced by 9 Marks – Building Healthy Churches.

 

The church of Jesus Christ is a theological organism and ministry that is effective and honors Christ must be ordered and directed by theological constructs. In my ministry as a Consultant I encounter a host of principles that pastors and church leaders apply that have little or no foundation in the text or in sound orthodox theology. This title provides a refreshing corrective to such unorthodox and syncretistic corruption of the Gospel.

 

The authors are both engaged in ministry, Roark as a pastor and Cline as a denominational leader with the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.

 

In the opening chapter (The Need For Biblical Theology) Roark addresses a salient reality that pastors and preachers face today. People are missing the point. Biblical literacy is in precipitous decline. Words are symbols and when the listener has no proper understanding of what those symbols represent, the message conveyed by those words is lost. Roark offers the following to make his case.

 

When I was in elementary school, one of my classmates gave a book report about a story written by CS Lewis featuring four children, a lion King, a white witch, and a hidden magical land accessed through a wardrobe. I was mesmerized. So I purchased the Chronicles of Narnia for myself and read them with pleasure. But years later after my conversion to Christ, I realized I had been missing the author’s obvious intentions to point his readers to Jesus.

 

The chapter titles are:

1 The Need for Biblical Theology

2 What Is Biblical Theology?

3 What Is The Bible’s Big Story? Part 1

4 What Is The Bible’s Big Story? Part 2

5 Biblical Theology Shapes a Church’s Teaching

6 Biblical Theology Shapes A Church’s Mission

 

A weakness from this reviewer’s personal perspective – end notes rather than footnotes. A strength is the eight pages of Scripture references provided which is beneficial.

 

The appendix section (pp. 119-139) provides numerous correctives to faulty interpretive methods applied by ”Prosperity Preachers’ and other less than Orthodox pseudo theologians.

 

Roark provides a brilliant example in the conclusion that paints a portrait of where we are as a culture in relationship to hearing the message of the Gospel. He tells of a world class violinist, Joshua Bell. He played classical music in the Washington DC Metro Station for 43 minutes at morning rush hour. His instrument is a $3.5 million dollar Stradivarius violin. Yet, only a handful of people stopped to listen that morning.

 

The music played in Biblical Theology is of far greater value than those classical pieces that Bell provided. Yet, very few are listening. Theology was once accorded the status as ‘Queen of the Sciences’. It still is but few are tuned in. This title provides a genuine corrective to the message of the Gospel delivered by sound theology.. May the Sovereign God of the Ages bring the symphony of salvation to the USA and the nations of the world as shaped by the theological substance in this title

 

Reviewed by Pastor Tom Fillinger, CEO of IgniteUS Ministries.  www.igniteus.net. info@igniteus.net or 803 413 3509 (cell).

 

The Title to be reviewed in the April 15th News Letter will be 15 Things Seminary Couldn’t Teach Me. Foreword by Dr. Al Mohler, Edited by Collin Hansen and Jeff Robinson. 15 Contributors and very beneficial.

 

Pod Cast – THRIVE

 

The title of the Pod Cast is THRIVE. That is our desire for every pastor and every local church. We want you to thrive in making disciples, and developing leaders, all of which is to Glorify Jesus Christ. There is a banner on our web site – - www.ignitues.net – - just click on that banner. This Pod Cast has the potential to reach 35,000 listeners. If you listen and find benefit in the content, encourage folks in your sphere of influence to listen as well, then contact us. THANKS. I want to hear from you; info@igniteus.net or 800 472 3764.

 

Be sure you go to our Web Site (www.igniteus.net) and listen to the Pod Cast for 03/27.. You will be encouraged to have and be a true friend to others in pastoral ministry.

 

IgniteUS APP Coming Soon – Stay Tuned! I anticipate this will be available by April 15th.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Date in History

1933 :Germany begins the persecution of German Jews by declaring a boycott of Jewish owned businesses

BLOG – What Is An Evangelical?

Read and respond. THANKS!!

Read my BLOG – www.thetextsays.blogspot.com.

Also on the Home Page www.igniteus.net - A Monday Morning BLOG. (Currently – “What Is An Evangelical“) New post on the 1st & 15th of each month. Comments welcome!

Home Page - Click on this link to go to our Home Page: http://www.igniteUS.net/

US Update

This Update is sent to you on the 1st and 15th of each month. Please send comments or questions to us at info@igniteUS.net. Or, you may go to our BLOG on the home page of our Web Site – click on Newsletter. THANKS!

 

February 15 News Letter

February 16, 2018 by  
Filed under Newsletter

Under The Elmtree

In This Edition

 

* Actuarial Assessment For Church – Part 2

* Tithe.ly for Ministry Support $$  IGTAM

* Book Reviews – Crossway Publications

* IUS Purpose – Inform-Encourage-Equip

* Pod Cast – WKUL.com/IgniteUS

* Links to Beneficial Articles

* This Date in History –

* BLOG-5 Reasons Churches R Dying Fast

 

Actuarial Assessment For Church Part 2

 

“The fundamental problem in the evangelical world today is not inadequate technique, insufficient organization, or antiquated music, and those who want to squander the church’s resources bandaging these scratches will do nothing to stanch the flow of blood that is spilling from its true wounds. The fundamental problem in the evangelical world today is that God rests too inconsequentially upon the church. His truth is too distant, his grace is too ordinary, his judgment is too benign, his gospel is too easy, and his Christ is too common.”
–David F. Wells, God in the Wasteland (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1994), p.30.

 

In the February 1 issue of this News Letter we began a consideration of Actuarial Assessment of the church. In this edition of the News Letter we provide a partial list of  issues causing the decline of the church. We provide a proven process and resources that develop an accurate and clear portrait of the “life expectancy” of the church in which you serve. Facts are Facts. To ignore them is to cast yourself a victim of the issues that are rendering the church impotent. Intentional refusal to confront these issues will lead to  a church closing the doors sooner rather than later. Guaranteed.

 

What do we call people that have a serious life threatening malignancy yet refuse to seek treatment? FOOLISH – - and dead very soon! The number of churches with fewer than 100 in Sunday AM Services went up 9% from 2010 – 2015. There has been a 61 year unbroken decline in participation/attendance in the American church since 1956.

 

Please listen to the wisdom provided by Jim Collins, author of How The Mighty Fall. (All Pastors and Church Leaders would benefit greatly by purchasing and studying this book!) This is a study he completed on “Why some organizations embrace the change necessary to thrive and others die”.

 

I’ve come to see institutional decline like a disease – harder to detect but easier to cure in the early stages; easier to detect but harder to cure in the later stages. An institution (Church – tcf) can look strong on the outside but already be sick on the inside, dangerously on the cusp of a precipitous fall..

 

The following is a partial list of causal issues producing rapid and persistent decline in the American Church. If the church you lead has the majority of these issues it is already impotent and headed for hard times soon.

 

A Faulty Metric - Nearly ALL churches determine ministry effectiveness by numbers and activity. How many attend, how much do they give, how many did we baptize? This is due to embracing the wrong PURPOSE. The purpose of every church is Make Disciples! Just reading the bulletin in some churches will produce absolute exhaustion. The proper measure of ministry effectiveness is Transformation. Are people becoming more like Christ in Character and Conduct? Is there an objective process that equips people to measure with accuracy their transformation?

 

Demographic Age – The average composite age of many congregations is 65+. The ideal age of a healthy assembly is 36-42. When a church has an average Demographic Age of 65+ – their days are numbered. They may well close the doors in 3-6 years. Some will hang on for many years, but, they are impotent and ineffective. Yet, the refusal to focus on Transformation increases as the average Demographic Age goes up.

 

Absence of Conversions – Reliable research reveals that fewer than 5% of professing Christians ever share the Gospel with even one person in any given year. I challenge every pastor to systematically discover the reality of this fact in the congregation in which you serve. Pastors must both train their people and monitor their participation in the ministry of evangelism. Life produces life. No reproduction means ? ? ?

 

Community Connection – It is quite common in assessing the ministry of local churches to discover that they have little or no connection with the people and communities in which they exist. No connection results in no Christ-centered relationships and few if any genuine conversions.

 

Impotent Pulpits – “The broader problem is that a great deal of popular preaching and teaching uses the Bible as a pegboard on which to hang a fair bit of Christianized pop psychology or moralizing encouragement, with very little effort to teach the faithful, from the Bible, the massive doctrines of historic confessional Christianity”. (D. A. Carson)

 

Biblical Literacy – It is impossible to obey the Word of God when you have no knowledge of what God’s word says. Recent research on this topic reveals a continuing decline among professing evangelicals regarding a functional proficiency in applying Truth to life and ministry. Catechism 101 is a good place to begin.

 

Leadership DevelopmentLeadership is both caught & taught. When there are no leaders being groomed and prepared, it is not surprising that the church flounders for lack of Leadership. Credible leadership must be Modeled. Pitchers & Catchers are reporting to Spring Training in the next week or so. Professional Baseball has a strategic approach to discovering the next Sandy Cofax, Bob Feller, or Corey Cluber. They have a Farm System in which they prepare men to perform at the highest level. The church must encourage and equip men with competence for Leadership roles. Failure in this realm insures that the future of such a church is bleak.

 

Funding – Inadequate Funding is the cumulative impact of all of the above. When churches reach this plateau, several key factors come into play. They postpone or totally ignore facility maintenance issues. Major systems become inoperative. The aesthetic condition of the facility declines. They invest nothing in outreach and evangelism. They often reduce support for ministries outside of their own local church. They ‘survive’ by reducing the compensation of Staff. They become a poor imitation of what a church is designed to be and do. In this condition they disgrace the church and Christ Jesus as they flounder along in this pathetic state. Yet, their favorite theme is ‘We Shall Not Be Moved!’

 

Resource – Collins wrote an article titled The Silent Creep of Doom. This reveals the five stages of the death spiral that leads relentlessly to closure. I will send this to those who make such a request.

 

Tithe.ly For Ministry Support $$ – IGTAM 

A major challenge for every no-profit ministry (501-c3) is funding. Ministry is not money, but, it does require funding. We must generate additional revenue to fund travel as an important part of ministry expansion. When we are face to face with pastors and church leaders the prospect of them engaging the Leadership Development and Intentional Disciple Making Process we provide goes up exponentially.

This reality requires that we raise funds. We do this by appealing to people that believe in the value, importance, and Kingdom contribution of our ministry. They want to participate in the transformation of people and churches from cultural lethargy and spiritual impotence into maturing disciples and thriving assemblies. These churches grow numerically. Most importantly, people in these churches are transformed into the fullness of the image of Christ in Character and Conduct. That is the purpose of the church. That glorifies Christ.

Permit me to share a funding process employed by Clemson University. This simple process has raised millions of $$ for scholarships at this University. This has benefited many thousands of students. Read the following paragraph.

 

Originally, the letters IPTAY stood for “I Pay Ten a Year.” Begun in 1934 to give the Clemson athletic program the support it needed, IPTAY is now one of the most successful athletic fund raising organizations. IPTAY donors provide millions of dollars in scholarships for student-athletes and non-athletes alike. It also has provided substantial support for programs and facilities that help Clemson Athletics stay competitive in collegiate sports.

 

We are launching an important funding initiative for IgniteUS Ministries. This initiative is titled IGTAM = I GIVE TEN A MONTH. Most people reading this message can do this with ease. I once received this advice on Fund Raising – - “Never ask people to consider giving – - Ask them to give!” So, I am asking you to give – $10 a month. When each person receiving this message does so, our ministry, the pastors and church leaders we equip with leadership and disciple making skills, will be the benefactors. Churches will thrive and Christ will get the Glory! 

 

Here are several convenient ways to do this. Two of these are on our Web Site – www.igniteus.net.

 

1. On the Home Page click on the banner at the top labeled DONATE. Follow the Pay Pal Prompts.

 

2. On the Home Page click on the banner on the right labeled Online Giving. Follow the prompts. There is a process at this site that enables you to set up Automatic Monthly Contributions – very useful, simple, and user-friendly.

 

3. You may also mail contributions to IgniteUS PO Box 865 Cullman AL 35056. Thanks you for becoming a donor-partner in IgniteUS Ministries through IGTAM. Your greater reward will come from the Lord himself when you stand before him face to face. We believe the resources and encouragement you receive with each issue of our News Letter make this a very reasonable exchange. Thank You for being a faithful reader and a faithful leader in the Lord’s church. KUDOS!
Book Reviews 

Crossway Publications sends me pre-publication titles. I will write a review in the IUS News Letter of each title. I will publish a review in the March 1st News Letter of John Piper’s most recent title – Expository Exultation – Christian Preaching As Worship. This will be available in April. All those who love exposition and preaching will celebrate this resource. Piper makes a compelling case for the priority of expository and exegetically based preaching. This title will enhance your pulpit ministry and bless your efforts in this vital ministry. It will also cause you to rejoice in the privilege of preaching!

 

* IUS Purpose – Inform-Encourage- Equip

 

The ministry of IgniteUS was founded for the purpose of equipping pastors and other church leaders to lead with competence and excellence in every aspect of local church ministry. The purpose of every church is to Make Disciples fully formed in the Image of Christ in character and conduct. The persistent decline of the church in America is an undeniable fact. The vast majority of churches fail to measure ministry effectiveness with the proper Metric – Transformation. The evidence of regeneration is continuous transformation. No transformation should alert pastors to the probability that there has been no regeneration. Cf. the link below that addresses this issue. Are the pews filled with sheep or goats? Where you serve the Metric is?????

 

 

Pod Cast – WKUL.com/IgniteUS

 

IgniteUS began Pod Casting in January. These are posted on our web site every Tuesday. The content is a mix of resources for revitalization and interviews with Evangelical Leaders and pastors that have found the courage and stamina to embark on this risk-filled journey to ministry effectiveness. The radio station (WKUL FM 92.1) that broadcast my M-F and Sunday Radio programs is our host this for this endeavor. You will benefit by this resource.

 

The title of the Pod Cast is THRIVE. That is our desire for every pastor and every local church. We want you to thrive in making disciples, developing leaders, all of which is to Glorify Jesus Christ. There is a banner on our web site – - www.ignitues.net – - just click on that banner. This Pod Cast has the potential to reach 35,000 listeners. If you listen and find benefit in the content, encourage folks in your sphere of influence to listen as well, then contact us. THANKS. The address for the Pod Cast is www.wkul.com/igniteus. These messages are shaped by four factors. 1) Focus – each post will feature one single issue. 2) Theological Substance – our desire is that we provide information, encouragement, and equipping for ministry. 3) Just Plain Fun – it is wise and prudent to laugh and sometimes at ourselves. 4) Dialog – real communication is two-way. I want to hear from you; info@igniteus.net or 800 472 3764.

 

Here are some of the Christian Leaders that have agreed to participate in this endeavor and provide information, encouragement, and equipping to those who listen.

Dr. Don Whitney, Southern Seminary, Author and Professor.

Dr. Tom Ascol, Founders Ministries.(interviewed on 1/23)

Dr. David Wells, Gordon Conwell Prof. & Author of six titles from 1993 – 2014.

Dr. Nathan Finn, Prof. of Church History at Union University.

 

Numerous courageous Pastors who will share the truth about Reformation & Renewal in the local church – both success and failure. This ain’t for sissies folks! God can and will cause your ministry to THRIVE – - if and when you embrace and apply the ministry initiatives that the text requires for genuine transformation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Links to Beneficial Articles

This post by Thom Rainer fits hand in glove with the theme of this Newsletter.

http://thomrainer.com/2018/01/dying-churches-common-revitalized-replant-025/

 

This post by Tim Challies on music is excellent. My Philosophy of Music is “If it is not TRUE – DO NOT sing it! Tim agrees!

https://www.challies.com/vlog/how-to-choose-worship-songs-three-minute-thursdays-14/

 

This post by Thom Rainer is intended to be optimistic. You decide if his points are valid.

https://thomrainer.com/2018/02/nine-reasons-im-hopeful-church-revitalization-replanting-north-america-revitalize-replant-027/

 

A thought provoking article from Tim Challies regarding the distinctives of a Reformed Perspective. Read and respond.

https://www.challies.com/articles/themes-or-challenges-for-reformed-christians-in-2018/

 

Are your pews filled with SHEEP or GOATS? David Platt speaking.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U_GDUZKuSOw

This Date in History

1798 The first serious fist fight occurs in Congress.

BLOG – 5 Reasons Churches R Dying Fast!

Read and respond. THANKS!!

Read my BLOG – www.thetextsays.blogspot.com.

Also on the Home Page www.igniteus.net - A Monday Morning BLOG. (Currently – “5 Reasons Churches R Dying Fast“) New post on the 1st & 15th of each month. Comments welcome!

Home Page - Click on this link to go to our Home Page: http://www.igniteUS.net/

US Update

This Update is sent to you on the 1st and 15th of each month. Please send comments or questions to us at info@igniteUS.net. Or, you may go to our BLOG on the home page of our Web Site – click on Newsletter. THANKS!

 

Finishing Well

November 15, 2017 by  
Filed under Newsletter

Under The Elmtree

In This Edition

 

* Finishing Well – Will You?

* IUS Purpose – Inform-Encourage-Equip

* Scripture-God’s Word Living & Powerful

* Christian Hymns – O Worship The King

*  Links to Beneficial Articles

* Leadership Lessons – Prov. 16:18

* This Day In History – Africa Colonized

* Read My Blog – Consequences of Pride

 

Finishing Well

Hebrews 10:36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.

 

Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,

 

Statistics say that 60% to 80% of those who enter the ministry will not still be in it 10 years later, and only a fraction will stay in it as a lifetime career. Many pastors – I believe over 90 percent-start off right with a true call and the enthusiasm and the endurance of faith to make it, but something happens to derail their train of passion and love for the call.(http://www.intothyword.org/apps/articles/?articleid=36562)

 

In the ministry God has granted me I encounter with unwelcome frequency the work of that ‘roaring lion’ who seeks to devour pastors. This is always a painful reality. As Linus teaches us – - ‘we have met the enemy and it is us!’ This News Letter is focused on alerting each of us concerning the importance of Finishing Well. The article that follows was produced by Chuck Lawless. My prayer is that my readers are challenged by this post and equipped to Finish Well to the Praise & Glory of Jesus who is LORD!!

- – - – -

Today, I’m thinking about pastors I knew who finished well—those who faithfully served God all the way to death. Here are some of their characteristics that challenge me to live differently today.

 

1. They oozed humility. Though they, like all leaders, at times wrestled with a desire to be somebody, they knew from the beginning that the work of the gospel was not about them—it’s about Jesus.

 

2. They always knew they could be steps away from a fall. They weren’t so foolish as to think they could not fall. Their honest recognition of the possibility made them ever alert and prayerful.

 

3.  At the same time, the thought of failing Jesus was almost a foreign thought. They just loved Jesus, and serving Him meant more to them than anything. Even the thought of letting Him down broke their hearts

.

4. They planned to finish well. That is, they didn’t end well by accident. They made a commitment to finish well each day, and the faithful days became years.

 

5. They were firmly committed to their families. They adored their spouses and children, and everybody knew it.  Serving God meant building their homes on His Word, praying daily with their family, and protecting their time with them.

 

6. They had some kind of mentor in their lives. These relationships weren’t always formal, but they were intentional. The pastors I’ve known who finished well always had somebody walking with them and encouraging them.

 

7. They lived in the Word and on their knees. They knew the Word so well that it naturally flowed from them. Prayer was not ritual to them; it was relationship.

 

8. They were committed to integrity. Their “yes” really did mean “yes,” and their “no” really did mean “no” (Matt. 5:37). Never once did I question the truthfulness of their lives or their words.

 

9. They evangelized regularly. This characteristic may be surprising, but I can’t deny what I saw in their lives. These pastors wanted others to know about Jesus. Their world was first and foremost about Him.

 

10. Their only ambition was to please Jesus. Some of these pastors were elected to significant denominational positions, but none of them sought those roles. Hearing “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matt. 25:21) was more important to them than hearing the accolades and applause of man.

 

My prayer is that you and I finish well, too. What characteristics have you seen in pastors who ran the race well?

 

http://chucklawless.com/2017/11/10-characteristics-of-pastors-who-finished-well/

 

http://www.acts29.com/pastors-who-finish-well/

 

* IUS Purpose – Inform-Encourage- Equip

 

The ministry of IgniteUS was founded for the purpose of equipping pastors and other church leaders to lead with competence and excellence in every aspect of local church ministry. The purpose of every church is to Make Disciples fully formed in the Image of Christ in character and conduct. The persistent decline of the church in America is an undeniable fact. The vast majority of churches fail to measure ministry effectiveness with the proper Metric -Transformation. The evidence of regeneration is continuous transformation. No transformation should alert pastors to the probability that there has been no regeneration. Where you serve the Metric is?????

 

 

* Scripture – God’s Word is Living & Powerful

 

 

Luther, Calvin, and others greatly used of God in bringing Reformation to the church were unanimous in the conviction that it is the Word of God itself, the Special Revelation of our God to us, and not the messenger that produces Reformation. Each edition will present a portion of God’s Word for meditation and edification.

 

 

Jeremiah 20:7-9 O LORD, you have deceived me, and I was deceived; you are stronger than I, and you have prevailed. I have become a laughingstock all the day; everyone mocks me. For whenever I speak, I cry out, I shout, “Violence and destruction!” For the word of the LORD has become for me a reproach and derision all day long. If I say, “I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,” there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.
* Classic Christian Hymns –

 

 

One of the primary teaching resources of the church is Hymnology – what we sing. Choose wisely and with theological integrity what is sung in the worship of the LORD! O Worship The King.

 

 

O worship the King, all glorious above,
O gratefully sing His power and His love;
Our Shield and Defender, the Ancient of Days,
Pavilioned in splendor, and girded with praise.

 

Links to Beneficial Articles

 

According to Roman Catholics the greatest ‘heresy’ in the Protestant faith system is ??

http://theaquilareport.com/greatest-protestant-heresies/

 

Recently my wife and I reflected on how The Gospel and The Reformation has shaped our lives for 60+ years. How about you?

http://https://founders.org/2017/11/02/8-ways-the-reformation-has-shaped-my-life-and-ministry/

 

Expository preaching systematically through books of the Bible. I personally believe this is the most beneficial means of establishing Biblical Literacy in the lives of the people you serve.

https://founders.org/2017/10/25/the-value-of-preaching-through-books-of-the-bible/

 

Leadership Lessons – Pride will bring you DOWN!

 

Proverbs 16:18 Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. (gawown – arrogance, majesty, pomp, swelling = PRIDE) Crucify this beast daily the first thing every morning. 1 Peter 5:5 . . . Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

Pride is insidious. It is baggage from the Fall. Every pastor/teacher must engage in continuous awareness of the destructive potential of PRIDE!

 

This Date in History

1884 Colonization of Africa organized at international conference in Berlin

 

BLOG – The Consequences of PRIDE!

Read and respond. THANKS!!

Read my BLOG – www.thetextsays.blogspot.com.

Also on the Home Page www.igniteus.net - A Monday Morning BLOG. (Currently – “The Consequences of Pride”) New post on the 1st & 15th of each month. Comments welcome!

Home Page - Click on this link to go to our Home Page: http://www.igniteUS.net/

US Update

This Update is sent to you on the 1st and 15th of each month. Please send comments or questions to us at info@igniteUS.net. Or, you may go to our BLOG on the home page of our Web Site – click on Newsletter. THANKS!

 

November 1 News Letter

November 7, 2017 by  
Filed under Newsletter

Under The Elmtree

In This Edition

 

* A History of Luther’s 95 Theses

* IUS Purpose – Inform-Encourage-Equip

* Scripture-God’s Word Living & Powerful

* Classic Christian Hymns – Holy Holy Holy

* Book Reviews-Some Pastors & Teachers

* Leadership Lessons – ID Dysfunction

* This Day In History – The Reformation

* Read My Blog – Reformation & Revival

 

A History of Luther’s 95 Theses

The following material is provided by a pastor friend of many years, Jack Williamson. This is from his book “Luther’s Hammer–a concise history of the Reformation.”. I trust this is challenging, informative, and enjoyable as we celebrate the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation. Praise God for his Sovereign Providence and his infinite Grace.

 

It is tradition that the Protestant Reformation began on October 31, 1517 when the obscure Augustinian monk, Martin Luther, nailed a list of 95 theses to the front door of the cathedral at Wittenberg, Germany.  Luther prepared his list that he wanted to discuss and debate with Catholic colleagues who were supportive of the status quo.  On that Wednesday afternoon, he walked down to the Cathedral and nailed his list to the church’s front door.  Such an act sounds very bold, defiant, and rash; but it actually wasn’t.  The front door of the Cathedral was the community bulletin board where common notices were routinely posted.  If a local farmer needed to buy a cow or wanted to sell a used plow, he would post a notice on the church’s door.  But history will demonstrate that Luther’s list was no routine posting.

 

Luther’s theses presented an invitation for a robust discussion or even a formal debate.  Such public debates and discussions were quite common.  These were the days long before newspapers, radio, television, or any electronic devices.  Watching a debate was one of the more popular forms of entertainment of the day.  Martin wanted to initiate a discussion on one, any, or all of these ninety-five points.  He believed that these were issues where the Catholic Church’s teachings departed from the teaching of the Bible.

 

The content of his theses was nothing short of startling, defiant, and revolutionary.  Among the points were several that denied a human priest, or his work, was necessary for salvation.  The Church believed and taught that salvation could be obtained through its sacraments, but only properly ordained priests could perform them, therefore, as they saw it, a regularly ordained Catholic priest was essential for salvation.  Luther insisted that repentance should always be accompanied by a visible change in lifestyle and a person’s salvation could be legitimately questioned if there was no visible or tangible evidence of repentance.  He severely criticized the pope for not following the laws, policies, and regulations of his own Church.  He specifically singled out the pope for threatening dying people with centuries of languishing in Purgatory.  He wrote that the forgiveness of sins came only from God, and while the pope may reassure people that God has forgiven them, no pontiff had the authority to forgive sins.  In his list of theses, Luther seemed to equate Purgatory with Hell and stated that Heaven could be assured to an individual, which were both sharp departures from Roman Catholic orthodoxy.  He wrote that the veneration of relics was an evil practice and most of the artifacts were probably phony anyway.  After all, there were thousands of antique, square, and rusty nails that were being venerated as one of the three authentic nails used on the Lord’s cross.  How could dispensations be granted for the veneration of all them when it was obvious that very few, if any, could be authentic?

 

The theses also presented a much different picture of human nature than did Catholic dogma.  Luther insisted that there was no biblical proof that a person is ever freed from sin while alive.  He took the view of Augustine that human sin had rendered man dead in trespasses and sins totally unable to contribute to his own salvation.

 

He saved his most caustic remarks for his prime irritation—the sale of indulgences—which he boldly stated deceived people.  He wrote that they cannot save anyone, and they had no effect upon the dead.  Luther even suggested that the price of indulgences purchased for the dead ought to be returned to the purchasers by the pope, and the notion that punishment in Purgatory could be removed or even lessened by giving money to the Church was utter nonsense.  A person who thinks he or she is saved by purchasing an indulgence is damned along with the cleric who sold it.  Martin pointed out that the whole concept of indulgences removed the need for contrition and humility.  It created the impression that salvation can be obtained by earthly riches, which he labeled as a thoroughly absurd and a conspicuously unscriptural teaching.  If one person could afford to purchase an indulgence and have his or her sins forgiven, and another person was too poor to afford such a certificate and could not afford to have his sins forgiven, the whole idea of grace was utterly destroyed.  It wasn’t grace that saved, but gold.  Such a concept, Luther wrote, contradicted real repentance.  Exercising Christian love may make one a better person, but buying an indulgence doesn’t improve a soul.  He flatly said that indulgences were a waste of money, and that money was being sucked out of the hands of people who couldn’t afford such needless expenditures.  Martin went so far as to label Indulgences as ecclesiastical intimidation.  Never one to mince words or hide his opinion, Luther also wrote that if the pope knew how much indulgences actually cost people, he would destroy St. Peter’s that was largely built on funds derived from indulgences.  He even suggested that the pope, instead of using tithes and gifts, should use his own vast wealth to build St. Peter’s and give it to the people as a gift of pontifical grace.  This fiery monk observed that in his day the Gospel of Christ was being preached less and indulgences were being preached more.

 

This posting became the single act that ultimately pried the Catholic fingers off of the neck of Europe and ushered in freedom of religion throughout the region.  There is no question that this act was responsible for the popularity of America, the New World, as a safe refuge from the religious and civil turmoil of Europe.  It also catapulted religious freedom into the foundational documents of the United States of America, making it an essential value in American society.

 

 

* IUS Purpose – Inform-Encourage- Equip

 

 

The ministry of IgniteUS was founded for the purpose of equipping pastors and other church leaders to lead with competence and excellence in every aspect of local church ministry. The purpose of every church is to Make Disciples fully formed in the Image of Christ in character and conduct. The persistent decline of the church in America is an undeniable fact. The vast majority of churches fail to measure ministry effectiveness with the proper Metric -Transformation. The evidence of regeneration is continuous transformation. No transformation should alert pastors to the probability that there has been no regeneration. Where you serve the Metric is?????

 

 

* Scripture – God’s Word is Living & Powerful

 

 

Luther, Calvin, and others greatly used of God in bringing Reformation to the church were unanimous in the conviction that it is the Word of God itself, the Special Revelation of our God to us, and not the messenger that produces Reformation. Each edition will present a portion of God’s Word for meditation and edification.

 

 

Daniel 4:34-35 At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?”

 

* Classic Christian Hymns – Holy Holy Holy

 

One of the primary teaching resources of the church is Hymnology – what we sing. The following hymn has been a favorite of mine. It was sung many Sundays as the opening hymn in the worship service of the church I attended. It presents a glorious and accurate portrait of the God we worship

 

Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee.
Holy, Holy, Holy! Merciful and mighty!
God in three persons, blessed Trinity!.

 

 

 

Book Reviews – Some Pastors & Teachers by Sinclair Ferguson 

Effective Leaders are readers. A recent survey of effective leaders revealed that they read 60 books each year. The only way you will accomplish this important element in your leadership is to establish a plan and faithfully do what you set out to do. You may begin with a modest goal, 12 books a year, and then incrementally increase that number. Note – the issue is NOT the number of books you read. The issue is do you glean valuable insights as you read and apply them in your ministry? We provide a Learning Covenant that facilitates this objective.

 

Some Pastors and Teachers is a volume for every minister’s study and indeed for the bookshelves and bedside tables of everyone who has a concern for the ministry of the gospel and the well-being of the church in the twenty-first century. In many ways, it reflects the biblical vision of what every minister is called to be: pastor, teacher, counsellor, and example—but also a man who is growing spiritually, both in understanding and in character, before the eyes of his congregation.

 

In five sections and thirty-nine chapters, Sinclair B Ferguson writes on pastor-teachers whose life and work have left an indelible mark on his own life, and then leads us in a series of chapters on the teaching of John Calvin, John Owen and the seventeenth century Puritans. This is followed by studies of Scripture, the ministry of the Spirit, the nature of Biblical Theology, the work of Christ, adoption, the nature of the Christian life and other important doctrines. The final section discusses various aspects of preaching, including preaching Christ from the Old Testament, the importance of theology, reaching the heart, and concludes with a decalogue for preachers. All this, as the epilogue makes clear, is set within the context and goal of doxology.

 

Here is a book to return to again and again, for instruction, for challenge, and also for enjoyment. While written particularly with ministers in view its style makes it accessible to all. Dr Ferguson describes Some Pastors and Teachers as a series of small gifts for fellow-ministers and others, written as an expression of the love of Christ. It is calculated to help both ministers of the gospel and entire congregations to realize Paul’s vision of churches growing up into Christ as they are nourished and taught by their pastors and teachers.

 

https://banneroftruth.org/us/store/christian-living/some-pastors-and-teachers/

 

Leadership Lessons – Identify Dysfunctions

 

Every church has some level of dysfunction. It is crucial that the leadership team identifies and corrects these areas of dysfunction. Failure to do so renders that ministry less capable of maximum effectiveness. If you do not know how to do this, call 803 413 3509. We will be happy to provide resources that produce an objective and accurate profile of the dusfunctions and a means to correct these ministry killers.

 

This Date in History

1517 Martin Luther posts 95 theses on Wittenberg church – that action launched the Protestant Reformation

BLOG

Read and respond. THANKS!!

Read my BLOG – www.thetextsays.blogspot.com.

Also on the Home Page www.igniteus.net - A Monday Morning BLOG. (Currently – “Characteristics of Genuine Revival”) New post on the 1st & 15th of each month. Comments welcome!

Home Page - Click on this link to go to our Home Page: http://www.igniteUS.net/

US Update

This Update is sent to you on the 1st and 15th of each month. Please send comments or questions to us at info@igniteUS.net. Or, you may go to our BLOG on the home page of our Web Site – click on Newsletter. THANKS!

 

October 15 2017

October 24, 2017 by  
Filed under Newsletter

Under The Elmtree

In This Edition

 

* History of the 95 Theses

* IUS Purpose – Inform-Encourage- Equip

* Scripture – God’s Word is Living & Powerful

* Classic Christian Hymns

* Assessment & Ministry Effectiveness

* Book Reviews

* Current Issues of Importance

* Leadership Lessons

* This Day In History

* Read My Blog

* History of 95 Theses

 

* IUS Purpose – Inform-Encourage- Equip

 

The ministry of IgniteUS was founded for the purpose of equipping pastors and other church leaders to lead with competence and excellence in every aspect of local church ministry. The purpose of every church is to Make Disciples fully formed in the Image of Christ in character and conduct. The persistent decline of the church in America is an undeniable fact. The vast majority of churches fail to measure ministry effectiveness with the proper Metric -Transformation. The evidence of regeneration is continuous transformation. No transformation should alert pastors to the probability that there has been no regeneration. Where you serve the Metric is?????

 

* Scripture – God’s Word is Living & Powerful

 

Luther, Calvin, and others greatly used of God in bringing Reformation to the church were unanimous in the conviction that it is the Word of God itself, the Special Revelation of our God to us, and not the messenger that produces Reformation. Each edition will present a portion of God’s Word for meditation and edification.

 

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any any two- edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

 

* Classic Christian Hymns

 

One of the primary teaching resources of the church is Hymnology – what we sing. I often caution people concerning the danger of adopting a ‘hymn book theology’. Many of the hymns sung each week present theologically corrupt doctrine. Example – The Savior Is Waiting.

Time after time He has waited before

And now He is waiting again

To see if you’re willing to open the door

Oh, how He wants to come in

 

This portrays the Sovereign of the Ages as an impotent deity. The Scripture states clearly that Jesus sacrifice was to purchase a people for Himself, an accomplished fact (Rev. 5:9-10). Be conscious of what you sing!!

Leadership Insight

Cultural Awareness Pastors and church leaders would do well to conduct some training on the current factors shaping the culture. Train people with the wisdom and resources to confront these factors. Remember – - lost people are not the enemy!!

Calling a Lead Pastor

“We are going to go it alone!” These words spell trouble ahead for any church that adopts this attitude in calling a Lead Pastor. The results are more often than not nothing short of tragic. I recently was made aware of a church that has ‘fired’ their three most recent pastors. Yet, their response is ‘We will go it alone’. The result of this unwise posture – they will get more of the same.

A key factor in the process IUS provides is FIT — the man fits the church and the church fits the man. The higher the degree of FIT the higher the probability there will be a lasting and fruitful pastoral tenure.

There is a better way. The Process that IgniteUS Provides to the local church applies multiple Assessment tools in discovering the current ministry profile of the church and the corresponding profile that the new Lead Pastor should meet.

If you or a church you know of is preparing to call a Lead Pastor or any other Staff personnel, I urge you to contact us. We have testimonials from churches that have used our ministry in calling a pastor. Our Process is Theological – the church is a Theological organism. We provide ‘Letters of Affirmation’ from churches that have used our process with great satisfaction. Our fees are very reasonable (less than 1/3 of other providers of this service) and the call of a Lead Pastor and Staff is one of the single most important factors in the future ministry of a church. 803.413.3509 or info@igniteus.net.

Links - Pastoral Resources

One of the objectives of this News Letter is to provide resources for pastors and the church that are beneficial, theologically orthodox, and encouraging. What does it mean to be ‘Orthodox’? My prayer is that the following links do just that. God’s best to all who serve in this capacity and do so with passion, diligence, and integrity! For a clear perspective on those who do not accept the content of the Nashville Statement read the final link in the links list below.

The message by Dr. Hershael York on ‘What is the role of the Holy Spirit in Preaching?’ is 5 minutes long. You will be brought to your knees with gratitude for the privilege of preaching if you watch this powerful message. Just Do IT!! IgniteUS prays for the church and her pastors.

The message of the Gospel is God’s ordained means of claiming and transforming lost people. Read Dr. Mohler’s article on urgency.

https://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/kevindeyoung/2017/09/26/seven-characteristics-of-liberal-theology/

https://cbmw.org/nashville-statement

http://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/pelagian-captivity-church/

http://www.albertmohler.com/2017/08/28/urgency-preaching-5/

http://equip.sbts.edu/video/role-holy-spirit-preaching/

https://townhall.com/columnists/michaelbrown/2017/09/02/why-the-rejection-of-the-nashville-statement-on-sexuality-is-a-rejection-of-the-bible-n2376638

Scholarships $$ – Transformation for YOU The most frequent reason I am given for pastors and churches not engaging the Leadership Development Process is Funding. We have generous Scholarships that provide funding for those who are earnest in their desire to see God bring Transformation to the pastor as a Leader and the church as a Disciple Making ministry. Contact us for details – 803 413 3509 or info@igniteus.net.

This Date in History

1908 – Henry Ford introduces the Model T car (costs $825)

BLOG Cultural Analysis

Read and respond. THANKS!!

Read my BLOG – www.thetextsays.blogspot.com.

Also on the Home Page www.igniteus.net - A Monday Morning BLOG. (Currently – “Cultural Analysis”) New post on the 1st & 15th of each month. Comments welcome!

Home Page - Click on this link to go to our Home Page: http://www.igniteUS.net/

Numerous articles related to Pastoral Ministry.

US Update

This Update is sent to you on the 1st and 15th of each month. Please send comments or questions to us at info@igniteUS.net. Or, you may go to our BLOG on the home page of our Web Site. THANKS!

October 1, 2017

October 1, 2017 by  
Filed under Newsletter

Under The Elmtree

In This Issue:

* Culture – Gospel & Great Commission

*  Leadership Insight – Cultural Awareness

*  Calling a Lead Pastor or Staff

*  Links – Pastoral Resources

*  Scholarships $$ – Transformation for YOU

* This Date in History – Model ‘T’ Ford

Read My BLOG – Cultural Analysis

Culture – Gospel – & Great Commission

I write this article very early on the Lord’s Day 09/24/17. I listened to the radio this AM as I do frequently on Sunday morning. Putting it mildly, what I hear broadcast in our area that passes as ‘Gospel’ makes my blood boil and my heart weep. The corruption of the Gospel that saturates the air waves of our community is deplorable and exhibits a serious absence of sound doctrine and precise exegesis. My assumption (with reasonable certainty) is this is true across America.

The church in America is not fulfilling the Great Commission. The church is declining – rapidly. It is my purpose in this article to identify some of the causal issues that contribute to this failure and the resulting decline. A Process that God uses to bring Reformation & Renewal to stem the decline is provided by IgniteUS. This is a News Letter and not a Doctoral Dissertation. Therefore, space constraints permit only the citation of these issues. Further research and investigation is required to elaborate on each factor. As you read, engage in an honest assessment of the church where you serve. As these things are present take strategic steps that lead to correction of these dysfunctions.

These issues will be stated in National Cultural Factors and Local Church Factors.

National Cultural Factors

No Fault Fallacy There is now ‘No Fault’ everything; Divorce, Automobile Accident Insurance, etc. No one is held responsible for anything. This mentality has a serious deleterious impact on the church.

Anarchy There is a significant and growing spirit of anarchy in America. The loss of a transcendent authority (God’s Word) has produced a culture in which opinions and feelings are the predominate arbiters of reality. We witness continuous riots and the destruction of entire segments of our cities as a result of this ‘spirit of the age’. (Prov. 29:16).

Entitlement many segments of our society embrace the perspective that they are ‘owed’ certain privileges. This is not merely a generational issue. Rather, it pervades all social and generational elements of the USA.

Cultural & Biblical Literacy In the mid 80’s (1987) Hirsch produced a title, Cultural Literacy. In this treatise he cited 1,000 terms and dates of significant historical events that a person must have knowledge of if they are to be considered ‘culturally literate’. The absence of a functional knowledge of history is nothing short of stunning among the populace of the USA. When preaching, cite events from history and note the blank stares among the gathered assembly.

Antinomianism The USA was founded on the basis of Truth and that Truth being Absolute. The USA is now a nation in which the perspective of Law is similar to the culture which pervaded the book of Judges – - ‘every man doing what is right in his own eyes’! The principle of ‘Case Law’ now dominates our system of Juris Prudence – cases are decided on the basis of previous decisions rendered in similar cases not on the basis of what the Law (Constitution) states. This has produced an atmosphere of creeping (Racing to quote Judge Bork) immorality.

False Teaching I referenced the content of many radio programs. One program speaker in our area recently cited a listing of 25 False Teachers. The list included Creflo Dollar, Joyce Meyer, Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn, and Jesse Duplantis. This man’s name appeared as #25 on this list. He was PROUD of that fact. He expressed pride of the designation as a False Teacher. How tragic. Believe me if you listened to his program the designation ‘False Teacher’ is accurate! This is possible because of the pervasive biblical illiteracy. People lack the capacity to discern truth from error and they suffer the consequences. (cf. Jer. 23:15).

Local Church Factors

Purpose One of the tasks I ask people to perform in my Consulting Ministry is to define the purpose of their church in three sentences or less. The responses are all over the map. The majority of churches are dysfunctional because they are focused on activity not on Making Disciples, This means that each and every ministry venues MUST contribute to disciple making. When this fundamental component is absent all other aspects of ministry are inevitably flawed.

Metric When the purpose of a local church is not Making Disciples the inevitable result is the application of a dysfunctional and flawed Metric. Nearly all local churches measure ministry effectiveness by applying one dimensional factors; attendance, offerings, baptisms, etc. The NT Metric is Transformation. Are lost people being redeemed and are regenerate people being transformed into the fullness of the image of Christ? Paul tells us this is a reality for those who are truly regenerate (2Cor. 3:18). A recent quote by Dr. Paige Patterson, President of Southwest Seminary in Fort Worth TX, reveals the inevitable result of this flawed practice:

“In the process of this race for numerical achievement, our church rolls have become gorged with people who “walked the aisle” and were baptized but remained as lost to genuine conversion as Judas”— Paige Patterson

Unregenerate Membership The evangelical church through the ages has practiced the principle of regenerate membership. Many/most congregations apply what they term ‘congregational polity’. This means that all members ‘vote’ on ministry initiatives. When there is a large compliment of unregenerate membership the Holy Spirit and the Word of God is not directing such decisions. This factor alone has contributed to schisms and conflict in a multitude of churches. As a challenge to my readers – can you identify any instance in the NT where a church voted on anything?

The Loss of Awe In my consulting ministry I interview Staff members. I simply ask three questions, one of which is ‘What do you want me to know about this church?’ Recently 3 of 12 staff member told me that ‘we have lost the awe of God’. OS Guinness when speaking at a Lausanne Conference in South Africa said ‘in today’s evangelical church you can start a church, function for 50 years, and never once need or realize the ministry of the Holy Spirit’. The church has become a business pure and simple. I regret to say he is correct. Read the testimony of Isaiah (Isa. 6:1-7) for a description of the awe of God in the Prophet’s life.

Life In Community The church has become a collection of islands that go bump in the night. There is a profound absence of genuine Christ honoring relationships. There is a series of One Another Commands in the NT. Not only do church members not obey them, they for the most part do not even know what they are. The church is God’s Family and we are commanded to care for one another in transparent and vulnerable relationships. Jesus said that it is by this kind of intimacy that the world will know that we are his disciples (Jn. 13:34-35).

Incompetent Leadership Leadership is an issue of Modeling. There is a phrase ‘As in the pulpit, so in the pew.’ The Francis Schaeffer Leadership Institute conducted an extensive survey of pastors. The results of that survey validate the existence of leadership incompetence.

(http://www.intothyword.org/apps/articles/?articleid=36562).

Application

The Gospel is what it has always been. It has not and will not change. It is the power of God unto salvation. Declare it with the utmost confidence.

The culture in the USA is saturated with immorality and decadence. Leaders MUST recognize this in equipping their people to function effectively in the marketplace.

The atmosphere in which the church exists today is similar in many ways to that of the First Century. The church flourished then and it can flourish now.

As you complain about the barriers you face in a post-Christian era, don’t forget that the gospel once exploded on a pre-Christian era and did unimaginable good. The gospel is yet the power of God and we must not lose it or muffle it or distort it when the world needs it most, whatever the context. (Jim Eliff)

Leadership Insight

Cultural Awareness Pastors and church leaders would do well to conduct some training on the current factors shaping the culture. Train people with the wisdom and resources to confront these factors. Remember – - lost people are not the enemy!!

Calling a Lead Pastor

“We are going to go it alone!” These words spell trouble ahead for any church that adopts this attitude in calling a Lead Pastor. The results are more often than not nothing short of tragic. I recently was made aware of a church that has ‘fired’ their three most recent pastors. Yet, their response is ‘We will go it alone’. The result of this unwise posture – they will get more of the same.

A key factor in the process IUS provides is FIT — the man fits the church and the church fits the man. The higher the degree of FIT the higher the probability there will be a lasting and fruitful pastoral tenure.

There is a better way. The Process that IgniteUS Provides to the local church applies multiple Assessment tools in discovering the current ministry profile of the church and the corresponding profile that the new Lead Pastor should meet.

If you or a church you know of is preparing to call a Lead Pastor or any other Staff personnel, I urge you to contact us. We have testimonials from churches that have used our ministry in calling a pastor. Our Process is Theological – the church is a Theological organism. We provide ‘Letters of Affirmation’ from churches that have used our process with great satisfaction. Our fees are very reasonable (less than 1/3 of other providers of this service) and the call of a Lead Pastor and Staff is one of the single most important factors in the future ministry of a church. 803.413.3509 or info@igniteus.net.

Links - Pastoral Resources

One of the objectives of this News Letter is to provide resources for pastors and the church that are beneficial, theologically orthodox, and encouraging. What does it mean to be ‘Orthodox’? My prayer is that the following links do just that. God’s best to all who serve in this capacity and do so with passion, diligence, and integrity! For a clear perspective on those who do not accept the content of the Nashville Statement read the final link in the links list below.

The message by Dr. Hershael York on ‘What is the role of the Holy Spirit in Preaching?’ is 5 minutes long. You will be brought to your knees with gratitude for the privilege of preaching if you watch this powerful message. Just Do IT!! IgniteUS prays for the church and her pastors.

The message of the Gospel is God’s ordained means of claiming and transforming lost people. Read Dr. Mohler’s article on urgency.

https://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/kevindeyoung/2017/09/26/seven-characteristics-of-liberal-theology/

https://cbmw.org/nashville-statement

http://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/pelagian-captivity-church/

http://www.albertmohler.com/2017/08/28/urgency-preaching-5/

http://equip.sbts.edu/video/role-holy-spirit-preaching/

https://townhall.com/columnists/michaelbrown/2017/09/02/why-the-rejection-of-the-nashville-statement-on-sexuality-is-a-rejection-of-the-bible-n2376638

Scholarships $$ – Transformation for YOU The most frequent reason I am given for pastors and churches not engaging the Leadership Development Process is Funding. We have generous Scholarships that provide funding for those who are earnest in their desire to see God bring Transformation to the pastor as a Leader and the church as a Disciple Making ministry. Contact us for details – 803 413 3509 or info@igniteus.net.

This Date in History

1908 – Henry Ford introduces the Model T car (costs $825)

BLOG Cultural Analysis

Read and respond. THANKS!!

Read my BLOG – www.thetextsays.blogspot.com.

Also on the Home Page www.igniteus.net - A Monday Morning BLOG. (Currently – “Cultural Analysis”) New post on the 1st & 15th of each month. Comments welcome!

Home Page - Click on this link to go to our Home Page: http://www.igniteUS.net/

Numerous articles related to Pastoral Ministry.

US Update

This Update is sent to you on the 1st and 15th of each month. Please send comments or questions to us at info@igniteUS.net. Or, you may go to our BLOG on the home page of our Web Site. THANKS!

September 15, 2017 by  
Filed under Newsletter

Newsletter Update: September 15, 2017 (t)”>(e)”>(d)”>(o)”>
Fri, Sep 15, 2017 4:18 am
IgniteUS, Inc. (newsletter@igniteus.net)To:you (Bcc) + 1 more Details

Under The Elmtree

In This Issue:

*  Defining Orthodoxy

*  Leadership Insight – Exegetical Precision

*  Calling a Lead Pastor or Staff

*  The Kraynak Family – Contributions

*  Links – Pastoral Resources

*  Scholarships $$ – Transformation for YOU

* This Date in History – Mayflower sets Sail

Read My BLOG – Doctrine & Downgrade

Defining Orthodoxy

The term evangelical has lost the distinctiveness it once communicated. Those who love the TRUTH and have full confidence in the Inspiration & Authority of Scripture must declare with compassion and precision this perspective. We must not capitulate or surrender a single centimeter of territory on this issue.

1 Corinthians 16:13 Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.

When you speak with clarity and certainty, you will be charged with all manner of inaccurate terms and false labels. This was true of Spurgeon. It was also true of Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Note the following quote regarding Lloyd-Jones on this issue:

Opponents of Lloyd-Jones accused him of being the opposite of humble. They interpreted the authority with which she spoke as pride; he was, one critic asserted, a pope. Professor F .F. Bruce once heard Dean Matthews of St. Paul’s describe an address the preacher had given as ‘extraordinarily bad’. What Matthews did not understand, said Bruce, was that Lloyd-Jones assurance was based on his confidence in the God whose message he was commissioned to proclaim. And Bruce added: ‘he was a thoroughly humble man. Those who charged him with arrogance were wildly mistaken.’ (Seven Leaders, p. 149)

Here is a quote from the ministry of Lloyd-Jones concerning the true Gospel message. It bears repeating today in our culture dominated by ‘feelings’ rather than sound doctrine drawn from careful and precise exegesis of the text of Scripture.

Let me solemnly remind you of this: the gospel of Jesus Christ does not start even with the love of Jesus Christ. It starts with God. It is no use going to people and saying, ‘Come to Jesus’, or ‘Come to Christ’. They say, ‘We couldn’t care less.’ Why? Because they have never seen any need of him. That is why they do not come to Christ. The only people who truly come to Christ are those who have seen their own condition under the condemnation of the law of God and know that one day they will face God and eternal judgment. (Seven Leaders, pp. 139-140).

The 09/01 News Letter focused on Spurgeon and The Downgrade Controversy. The article that follows, written by Peter Jones of The Truth Xchange validates my concern that the evangelical church in America is in the grips of a monumental downgrade! In the links provided in this letter is one that takes the reader to the Nashville Statement.

This is the oddest time for me to be writing a book that warns the church that the affirmation of homosexuality will lead many Evangelicals into liberalism. The recent Nashville Statement on Sexuality (made public August 25, 2017), has, oddly enough, provoked an embarrassment of riches for my research into the decline of evangelicalism.

The internet is rocking with responses of “Christians” denouncing with righteous anger the Scripture-honoring Nashville Statement. Written and endorsed by leading evangelical theologians (such as J. I. Packer and Al Mohler) this statement is dismissed by “Christian” movements as a hateful attack on people with variant sexual identities. So the Nashville Statement raises two crucial questions: 1. What is God-honoring sexuality? and 2. Who is truly Christian?

Sojourners Magazine article has the title: “Thousands of Christians Respond to Nashville Statement with Emphatic ‘No.’” Sojourners’ own president, Jim Wallis, declares: Nashville Statement Damaging to People and to the Evangelical Witness.

Pastor and writer Nadia Bolz-Weber and her Colorado congregation offer a point-by-point refutation called the “Denver Statement.”

The Liturgists drafted a statement called “God is Love”, signed by Christian writers Rachel Held Evans and Nish Weiseth, among others. They affirm: “We can no longer project first-century notions of sex and sexuality on people today.” They further state: “We believe that people of all sexual orientations and gender identities are fearfully and wonderfully made, holy before God, beloved and beautiful as they are. We believe all people have full autonomy over their bodies, sexual orientations, and gender identities, and the diversity of identities reflects the creative power of a loving God. We believe that God is love, and that ‘anyone who loves is born of God and knows God’.” (I John 4:7)

The group, Christians United in Support of LGBTQ+ Inclusion in the Church immediately proposed its own statement that begins: “As followers of Jesus Christ, we are compelled to bear witness to the love, grace, and truth of God in every generation…So it is that we, like each generation before us, are called to reflect, repent, and reform our teachings and practices to be ever more closely aligned with the heart and will of God revealed to us in Jesus Christ.”

See http://www.christiansunitedstatement.org/

This group not only claims to be Christian, but claims to be the most Christian expression of what God is now doing. It goes so far as to state that Evangelical orthodoxy is “resist[ing] the Spirit’s leading in various ways and cling[ing] to the dogmas and traditions that God is calling us to rethink and reform.” For these “Christians”, “Evangelical orthodoxy” is a heresy.

One of the signers of the Christians United document, Colby Martin, in his book, UNclobber, tells how he left conservative Evangelical orthodoxy over the issue of homosexuality. Eventually, he founded a welcoming community that was “uniquely Christian” but “not exclusively,” a community that gives space to people “regardless of ethnicity, orientation, age, creed or socioeconomic status.” (UNclobber, Westminster John Knox Press, 2016, 142–3)

One can only wonder what the 16th century Scottish reformer John Knox would have said of a church that was multi-creedal, and thus not exclusively Christian. What does it mean to be Christian in today’s world? In the final pages of his book, Colby Martin. [UnClobber, 178]. acknowledges the important influence on his thinking of the following people:

 

  • Glennon Doyle Melton, a popular “evangelical” author and social media speaker, who divorced her husband in 2016 and, in 2017, married the famous female soccer star, Abby Wambach.
  • Rob Bell, who has abandoned orthodoxy and the sufficiency of Scripture.
  • Brian McLaren, who champions interfaith spirituality.
  • Doug Pagitt, pastor of Solomon’s Porch in Minneapolis that sees Christianity as an evolving system and has no doctrinal statement. The church is attended by Tony Jones who was once the national coordinator of Emergent Village.

At the 500th anniversary of Protestantism, some protestant churches reject the “five solas” of the Reformation: Scripture alone, Faith alone, Grace alone, Christ alone, to the Glory of God alone. As in the time of the Reformation, the church today is being asked once more to define orthodoxy.

At the Reformation the question was, “Can I save myself by my good deeds”? Today the issue of sexuality has emerged as a key issue, because it raises three questions: 1. What defines each individual’s deep personal identity? 2. How does sexuality relate to the heart of the Gospel, and 3. Who is faithful to Christianity? Because these questions are so controversial, many pastors, even orthodox pastors, do not want to or do not know how to touch the issue. But silence is deadly. The flames of this current apostasy are raging through our churches.

We must find a discourse that avoids emotionalism, moralism, hatred or bigotry, while reaching to the heart of the issue. Many Millennial Christians need a clear statement of the truth. If we are to understand sexuality, we need to hear all that the Bible says about it. Of paramount importance is a focus on biblical cosmology and the being of God. Sexuality must be seen in the context of the way God structured the cosmos.

In a recent article entitled “Why I, Peter Jones, Signed the Nashville statement,” I stated that “the cosmos is structured on the principle of unity within genuine distinctions. The Bible presents a world of distinctions: a hetero-cosmology not a homo-cosmology. The created universe is based on “otherness,” not “sameness.” This is true for everyone. In that sense, the Bible’s view of sexuality is not small-minded, unloving moralism, discrimination, violence, or bullying, as much criticism claims. It is, rather, a theistic understanding of the universe, deeply founded on the being of God Himself. This is ground zero for everyone. We are made in His image, male and female, to reflect His image of unity in distinctions, as ultimately expressed in the Trinity. Homosexuality is not only immoral but “unnatural,” as Paul says in Romans 1:26. It is out of order with the physical cosmos and thus a rejection of the natural world, and of God, who is both the moral judge and also the intelligent Creator of all things.

This essential aspect of the biblical revelation must be an important element that defines what it means to be an Evangelical Christian who honors the Scripture and Christian orthodoxy. We must pray for courageous theologian-pastors who will take up the challenge of defining orthodoxy in our modern world and of training the next generation in a full understanding of the Christian faith for the difficult days ahead.

https://truthxchange.com/2017/09/defining-orthodoxy-modern-world/

Leadership Insight

Exegetical Precision One aspect of the ministry of IgniteUS is a Pastoral Placement Process. I advise churches to include in the profile they develop that describes the man they will call, competence in the original languages; Hebrew & Greek. Since about 1975 many Seminaries have abandoned the requirement in their M.Div. program the original languages. This principle simply declares that the better equipped a man is, the higher the probability that he will be able to properly exegete the text and declare with precision and competence in the marketplace (1Peter 3:15) what God has revealed in his word. This translates to Applied Theology – what we must believe and how those convictions are incorporated in our daily life of faith without compromise. Then we must defend the faith with grace, humility, and tenacity.

 

Calling a Lead Pastor

“We are going to go it alone!”

These words spell trouble ahead for any church that adopts this attitude in calling a Lead Pastor. The results are more often than not nothing short of tragic. I recently was made aware of a church that has ‘fired’ their three most recent pastors. Yet, their response is ‘We will go it alone’. The result of this unwise posture – they will get more of the same.

A key factor in the process IUS provides is FIT — the man fits the church and the church fits the man. The higher the degree of FIT the higher the probability there will be a lasting and fruitful pastoral tenure.

There is a better way. The Process that IgniteUS Provides to the local church applies multiple Assessment tools in discovering the current ministry profile of the church and the corresponding profile that the new Lead Pastor should meet.

If you or a church you know of is preparing to call a Lead Pastor or any other Staff personnel, I urge you to contact us. We have testimonials from churches that have used our ministry in calling a pastor. Our Process is Theological – the church is a Theological organism. We provide ‘Letters of Affirmation’ from churches that have used our process with great satisfaction. Our fees are very reasonable (less than 1/3 of other providers of this service) and the call of a Lead Pastor and Staff is one of the single most important factors in the future ministry of a church. 803.413.3509 or info@igniteus.net.

 

The Kraynak Family Contributions

Anyone that would like to donate to the family of Pastor Tim Kraynak may send your donations to:

Mrs. Tim Kraynak

109 Plum Hill Road

Peach Bottom PA 17563

 

Links - Pastoral Resources

One of the objectives of this News Letter is to provide resources for pastors and the church that are beneficial, theologically orthodox, and encouraging. What does it mean to be ‘Orthodox’? My prayer is that the following links do just that. God’s best to all who serve in this capacity and do so with passion, diligence, and integrity! For a clear perspective on those who do not accept the content of the Nashville Statement read the final link in the links list below.

The message by Dr. Hershael York on ‘What is the role of the Holy Spirit in Preaching?’ is 5 minutes long. You will be brought to your knees with gratitude for the privilege of preaching if you watch this powerful message. Just Do IT!! IgniteUS prays for the church and her pastors.

https://cbmw.org/nashville-statement

http://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/pelagian-captivity-church/

http://www.albertmohler.com/2017/08/28/urgency-preaching-5/

http://equip.sbts.edu/video/role-holy-spirit-preaching/

https://townhall.com/columnists/michaelbrown/2017/09/02/why-the-rejection-of-the-nashville-statement-on-sexuality-is-a-rejection-of-the-bible-n2376638

 

Scholarships $$ – Transformation for YOU

The most frequent reason I am given for pastors and churches not engaging the Leadership Development Process is Funding. We have generous Scholarships that provide funding for those who are earnest in their desire to see God bring Transformation to the pastor as a Leader and the church as a Disciple Making ministry. Contact us for details – 803 413 3509 or info@igniteus.net.

 

This Date in History

1620 Mayflower departs from Plymouth England with 102 pilgrims

 

BLOG - ”Doctrine & Downgrade”

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Read my BLOG – www.thetextsays.blogspot.com.

Also on the Home Page www.igniteus.net - A Monday Morning BLOG. (Currently – “Doctrine & Downgrade”) New post on the 1st & 15th of each month. Comments welcome!

Home Page - Click on this link to go to our Home Page: http://www.igniteUS.net/

Numerous articles related to Pastoral Ministry.

 

IUS Update

This Update is sent to you on the 1st and 15th of each month. Please send comments or questions to us at info@igniteUS.net. Or, you may go to our BLOG on the home page of our Web Site. THANKS!

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