What kind of faith do you have?

April 30, 2008 by  
Filed under Transformation

Jesus asked a probing and straight forward question. When He comes again, will he find this kind of faith on the earth? What kind? The kind that always prays and never acts badly in difficult circumstances. The kind that does not become weary, or tired of doing the work of the kingdom. The kind that holds out successfully. The kind that does not give up, does not become discouraged and does not lose heart!

So pastor, the question to you on this May morning is this -’What kind of faith do you have’? Peter, writing in the midst of some profoundly difficult circumstances, tells us that we have been birthed into a ‘living hope’. The application is this pastor. God will use YOU as His instrument to bring Transformation to the ministry in which you serve. Are you willing to surrender and do what is required to see Transformation birthed where you serve, or, are you SKEPTICAL?

“Beware in your prayers, above everything else, of limiting God, not only by unbelief, but by fancying that you know what He can do. Expect unexpected things ‘above all that we ask or think –Andrew Murray

“To the man who prays habitually (not only when he feels like it-that is one of the snares of religion-but also when he does not feel like it) Christ is sure to make Himself real.” –James Stewart

How would you rate your “Persistent Prayer” quotient on a scale of 0 — 10?

Are you a hearer and a doer?

April 1, 2008 by  
Filed under Transformation

Well Pastor, do you hear and do what the Scripture says, or, are you a hearer only?

Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock (Matt. 7:24, ESV).

Jesus speaks with profound clarity. The one who hears and does builds a house that survives the ravages of the storm. By implication, if you merely hear, the house you build will be reduced to rubble by those same storms. There is a very important parallel in this account for local church ministry and for those who profess to be Leaders. The ‘house’ in this analogy represents the lives of God’s people. Jesus has immense concern for these people. He has given Leaders the resources necessary to produce Transformation which is clearly the goal (Col. 1:28).

If you merely know about Transformation, but do not offer and implement the ministry structures and venues that God uses to produce the image of Christ in the lives of His people, you are forming sand castles rather than fortresses. You are focused on those things that matter least. You are producing disciples who are shallow, impotent and subject to every influence the culture throws at them (Eph. 4:11-16).

So what has been your experience? What would you share with other pastors about glorious victories or even lessons learned as you make this journey?

Challenge – Change – Courage

September 29, 2007 by  
Filed under Transformation

Pastor,

Yesterday I spoke with a Denominational Leader concerning the critical need in the churches he serves to step up to the ‘challenge of change’. When he addresses pastors with this reality, he encounters a variety of responses. Almost all of those responses include a reason (excuses) as to why they cannot engage change. They have a family. That family will experience hardship if they launch a change initiative, it fails, and they are dismissed. These concerns are not without merit. This scenario is played out 19,000 times a year in the church in America. Lets examine this together. Then, you tell me what should be done.

ChallengeBetween 2007 & 2010 12 -20% of the churches in America will simply close their doors (Barna, Olson , Rainer). Worse, almost none of these churches measures ministry by effectiveness – - fulfilling the Great Commission. They have no intentional process to transform people or to measure that transformation. In short, the have activity that will wear you out, but, no ministry venues that make a difference for eternity.

Change - The focus of ministry must be change (transformation Rom. 12:2; 2 Cor.3:18). Most pastors KNOW they need modification in ministry structures and focus, but, they are utterly unwilling to lead the initiative to incorporate those changes in ministry. In short, they are captive to the fear of man.

CourageAsa faced wickedness and spiritual declension on all fronts. God sent the Prophet Azariah to him (2 Chron. 15:2). Asa ‘took courage’ (2 Chron. 15:8). He led a sweeping renewal, removing the detestable practices that dishonored the LORD Jehovah. He had the chutzpah to fire his grandmother (who was erecting phallic symbols across the land as symbols of worship to the fertility gods). Think about it pastor – firing Grandma. Way to go Asa!

So pastor, where are you in this trilogy of “Challenge-Change-Courage? God will bless your efforts as he did Asa (cf. 2 Chron. 15:2,7). You will look back on this time in your ministry and rejoice that you found the courage to ACT. Do it today, right now.

Tom Fillinger