Finders are Losers while Losers are Finders

The business of the church is to be busy with the commission given her by the Christ. The present concern and occupation with self organized and campaign for protection can’t be spiritual. I doubt if that fits into WWJD (what would Jesus do?) considering the context in Matt 16:22-27.

Peter rebuked him and gave a “prophetic word” of that shall not be your portion, when christ spoke of the challenge awaiting him.

His response to Peter: “Get behind Me satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”

He that loves his life will loose it, he that looses it will find it.

I taught my sons early enough to remember from the words of Christ that finders are losers while losers are finders (Matt 16:25).

I think the church is concerned with the extinction of a religion and how to organize its safety. A religion may go into extinction but not the way. The Christian faith is not a religion; it can’t go into extinction. The history of the church was punctuated with various assaults like the ones being witnessed now globally. The church only gets stronger against the assaults of the gates of hell.

We are His concern (Acts 9:4-5), any attempt against us is one against Him; His work and desires are our concern, He asked us to occupy till He comes. That charge cannot be carried out with self pity and appetite for security.

These are part of the signs of the times. Political calculations and organizational planning cannot change them.

If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.

I understand why we are wrongly concerned.

A pastor once told me he dislikes the hymn with the lines: I’ll be a good soldier, I’ll die at my post.” For Him it is not spiritual being negative confession.

I was scared! With this type of thinking we will see more of mixing the preaching of the gospel with political and organized fight for protection.

Let us discern the sign of the times!

#HeThatHasHearsLetHimHear
#IATBoluwatise

Vital Signs: 3 Bad Tests Pastors Use to Measure Ministry

How do most churches measure the health of their ministry? Very few leaders have an accurate method. Most rely on an unhealthy test to determine whether or not they are leading well. Have you ever used any of these three tests?

1. The Full Room Test

Ever looked around on Sunday morning to see how many people showed up? Many pastors are asking, “How full was the room?” While I join you in hoping that people attend, your church’s attendance barely provides a glimpse of its true health.

2. The Gut Check Test

Many pastors base their perception of the church on the way they feel at any moment. Unfortunately, our feelings are affected by whatever we most recently encountered. An accurate measure of church health requires something more consistent.

3. The Bank Account Test

Too often, it takes a financial struggle for a church to realize that it is unhealthy. As long as the bills are paid, everything seems fine. But once the bank account starts running low, leaders suddenly scurry to fix issues. Unfortunately, The Bank Account Test reveals problems after it is too late to solve them.

So how can you get an accurate measure of your church’s health? My latest eBook, Vital Signs: Meaningful Metrics That Keep a Pulse on Church Health, offers an objective tool to heighten your perspective. With 12 key benchmarks built on nationwide data, you can quickly get an objective outlook. These Vital Signs will help you see deeper into four key areas: attendance, involvement, finances, and facilities.

Are you ready to get a true measure of your church’s health? Learn more about Vital Signs on Amazon.com

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Can’t wait to measure the health of your church? We’ve created a worksheet to automatically calculate all 12 of your Vital Signs. You can access it for FREE right here! Then utilize the eBook to better understand your results!

Build Healthy Senior Leadership Teams!

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The Ideal Relationship Between Husband and Wife

Paul S. Rees said, “Marriage is not an end in itself; it is a means by which we may grow in the Lord, and realize His glory. Selfishness breaks communion, destroys prayer.”

In marriage, you are not just in relationship with each other; you’re in relationship with God. Consider how a husband might guard that trajectory of the relationship:

The Early Church father, Tertullian, wrote this letter to his wife around A.D. 202. It represents for all time the ideal relationship between husband and wife.

“How beautiful, then, the marriage of two Christians, two who are one in hope, one in desire, one in the way of life they follow, one in the religion they practice.

“They are as brother and sister, both servants of the same Master. Nothing divides them, either in flesh or in Spirit. They are in very truth, two in one flesh, and where there is but one flesh, there is also but one spirit.

“They pray together, they worship together, they fast together; instructing one another, encouraging one another, strengthening one another.

“Side-by-side they face difficulties and persecution, share their consolations. They have no secrets from one another, they never shun each other’s company; they never bring sorrow to each other’s hearts … Psalms and hymns they sing to one another.

“Hearing and seeing this, Christ rejoices. To such as these He gives His peace. Where there are two together, there also He is present, and where He is, there evil is not.”

If husbands do not properly relate to their wives, Peter says their prayers will be hindered. Failure to live considerately and appropriately with your wife negatively impacts your relationship to God.

Unlike Tertullian, Sam Shoemaker once talked about the fact we may not find utopia in the Christian home, that “the Christian home is not one in which relationships are perfect … but one in which imperfections are acknowledged and where problems are worked out in prayer and obedience to the light God sends. In such homes there is great freedom for people to say what they think and express what they feel. … People are allowed to grow up, to make mistakes, to be themselves, to laugh.”

Do you allow that of your spouse?

Extend grace to your wife or husband, and you’ll begin to experience an atmosphere of grace in your home.

George Wood is General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God.

The Problem With Structure

by Ryan Stigile, the Unstuck Group

Regardless of your church’s size, there’s no doubt it is built on an organizational structure. To effectively lead a large number of people, you need a way to protect your circle of influence and the decision-making process. This is why most church boards and leadership teams were created.

Over time, however, a structure meant to protect your progress can actually begin to get in the way. When a structure overly-directs which people are involved in decisions, it will box out the new perspectives you need. Eventually, leading strictly according to structure will get your church stuck. You may have experienced one of these side effects:

  • You leave staff meetings feeling like you barely moved the ball forward.
  • The thought of board meetings creates more stress than excitement.
  • You know you need new ideas but you’re not sure what they are.

To keep a church moving forward, leaders must see structure for what it truly is: Structure provides protection but often blocks out new perspectives.

Are you feeling the pains of an overly-directive structure? Here are 3 ways you can let in the new perspectives you need:

1. Promote the best, not the next in line.

The view of organizational structures as a ladder has ruined our approach to promotions. When a position opens up, we naturally look one rung down for a replacement. But the best person for the job isn’t always next in line.

Who deserves to be promoted beyond their seniority?

2. Value leadership capacity over expertise.

Our natural tendency is to put the person who knows the most about a ministry in charge of it. But leadership is more about influencing people than knowing the right decisions to make. High capacity leaders will figure out what they need to know.

Which high-capacity leader deserves greater influence?

3. Build tables for the right perspectives, not the right positions.

We tend to organize meetings based on leadership levels. But same-level leaders often have too much of a similar perspective. If you want to change the way your team makes decisions, you have to change who is seated at the table. It doesn’t matter what title they hold or whether or not they get a “vote” at the end. It matters that you involve people who will push you to see beyond where you are.

Who else do you need to invite to your next meeting?

If you’re starting to feel like your church’s structure is over-directing the people you involve, take steps to break out and let fresh perspectives in. Here are a couple resources from The Unstuck Group that can help:

Take The Lid Off Your Church: This eBook from Tony Morgan is designed to help you build a healthy senior leadership team.

Staffing & Structure Review: This process will help you get the right people in the right roles to move your church forward.

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Build Healthy Senior Leadership Teams!

The post The Problem With Structure appeared first on TonyMorganLive.com.

The Way of Love and Interdependence

Jesus set a little child in the midst of the disciples who had been arguing about who was the greatest among them, and taught them a lesson about being servants. I think what He told them is, “If you really want to be great, then put your arms around the next generation and serve them. My way is not self-fulfillment, but self-denial. My way is not independence, but interdependence.”

It took awhile for the disciples to realize the world would know them—not by how smart they were, not by how cutting-edge they were, not by what their generational and cultural preferences were—but by their love for one another.

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35, NKJV)

The New Testament never takes for granted that we know how to love. In Romans 12:9–21, a list of prescriptions is given to help us love one another—from entertaining strangers and showing hospitality to honoring one another and returning good for evil. The New Testament is very clear in outlining how we ought to love. So Christ reaches into us through our prayers, attitudes and actions to shape us and help us become loving people.

There are non-Christians who are very loving people. What makes Christian love different is that it does not flow out of emotion and feeling. It flows out of commitment. Christian love is known by its extent, by the degree to which it will go.

You may not be where you would like to be in your capacity to love and serve with love. But the fruit is developmental. It will take you where you are now and grow from there.

The post The Way of Love and Interdependence appeared first on Dr. George O. Wood.

Anglican Church crumbles: Archbishop of Canterbury removes sin from Baptism rights

welby

Justine Welby: Parents and godparents no longer have to ‘repent sins’ and ‘reject the devil’ during christenings after the Church of England rewrote the solemn ceremony in a move backed by Justin Welby

NAIJA NEWSSWEEP – Parents and godparents no longer have to ‘repent sins’ and ‘reject the devil’ during christenings after the Church of England rewrote the solemn ceremony in a move backed by Justin Welby

*Parents and godparents no longer have to ‘repent sins’ and ‘reject devil’
*New wording is designed to be easier to understand – but critics stunned
*Redesigned to attract people who only attend for weddings and christenings

Parents and godparents no longer have to ‘repent sins’ and ‘reject the devil’ during christenings after the Church of England rewrote the solemn ceremony.

The new wording is designed to be easier to understand – but critics are stunned at such a fundamental change to a cornerstone of their faith, saying the new ‘dumbed-down’ version ‘strikes at the heart’ of what baptism means.

In the original version, the vicar asks: ‘Do you reject the devil and all rebellion against God?’
Prompting the reply: ‘I reject them.’ They then ask: ‘Do you repent of the sins that separate us from God and neighbour?’, with the answer: ‘I repent of them.’

But under the divisive reforms, backed by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and already being practised in 1,000 parishes, parents and godparents are asked to ‘reject evil, and all its many forms, and all its empty promises’ – with no mention of the devil or sin.

The new text, to be tested in a trial lasting until Easter, also drops the word ‘submit’ in the phrase ‘Do you submit to Christ as Lord?’ because it is thought to have become ‘problematical’, especially among women who object to the idea of submission.

The rewritten version – which came after reformers said they wanted to use the language of EastEnders rather than Shakespeare in services – is designed as an alternative to the wording in the Common Worship prayer book, rather than a replacement.

But insiders predict this draft will become the norm for the Church’s 150,000 christenings each year if, as expected, it is approved by the General Synod. It may discuss the issue as early as this summer.

But the idea has angered many senior members of the Church, who feel it breaks vital links with baptisms as described in the Bible.

Writing in The Mail on Sunday, former Bishop of Rochester Michael Nazir-Ali said the reform should be scrapped before it further reduced Christianity to ‘easily swallowed soundbites’.

And one senior member of the General Synod, who did not wish to be named, said: ‘This is more like a benediction from the Good Fairy than any church service.

‘The trouble is that large parts of the Church of England don’t believe in hell, sin or repentance. They think you can just hold hands and smile and we will all go to Heaven. That is certainly not what Jesus thought.

‘There is so much left out that one wonders why do it at all? If you exclude original sin and repentance there is very little substance left.

‘It doesn’t just dumb the service down – it eviscerates it. It destroys the significance of the rite by watering down the concept of sin and repentance.

‘A humanist could say “I renounce evil.” If you take out repentance you immediately strike at the heart of the whole idea of needing to be baptised.

‘John the Baptist only baptised those who came and were repentant. This rite is saying to people you don’t need to be particularly repentant. Just come and join the club.’

Alison Ruoff, a lay member of the General Synod from London, said the new version was ‘weak and woolly’ and lacked conviction.

She said: ‘By removing all mention of the devil and rebellion against God, we are left to our own vague understanding of what evil might or might not mean.’

The draft was drawn up by the Church’s Liturgy Commission to redress fears the current version was too off-putting for lay people who only go to church for baptisms, weddings or funerals.

The Bishop of Wakefield Stephen Platten, who chairs the commission, said repentance was implied in phrases urging people to ‘turn away from evil’, and defended the omission of the devil by saying it was ‘theologically problematic’.

He said: ‘We are certainly not dumbing down. Far from it. What we are concerned about is to make sure that people who are coming to baptism understand what is being said.’

Release of Kingdom Proclaimers

As LIFE Theological Seminary churns out 240 graduates, church leaders emphasise the relevance of passion and love in the propagation of the gospel

By OLUSEGUN ADEOSUN

Emecheta Onyeka, a young devout Christian, was once a popular cart-pusher and a load-bearer at the ever-busy Onitsha Main market, Anambra State. But the income from that business could not meet the financial demands of his secondary school education, having struggled to pass through a community primary school in Nnewi, hence Onyeka took to meat selling and few other businesses in the same market. “I worked at the slaughter as a cow butcher, I had identity card of barrow pusher, load-carrier. I have done many things because I had nobody to support my education,” he said.

The ambitious Onyeka worked as a butcher for some years until he finally heeded the divine call to serve God in His vineyard after declining for some years. That was about four years ago, and today Onyeka is now a qualified pastor. On Saturday, November 9, Onyeka emerged one of the three best graduating students at a graduation exercise of LIFE Theological Seminary, Ikorodu, Lagos, where he had undergone a pastoral programme. Onyeka was announced the best graduating student in Greek language.

Reacting to his success, Onyeka said, “I am happy God has made everything perfect. I never knew I could make it to this level. I am so excited.” Asked how he managed to scale through, Onyeka said he maximised every opportunity that came his way. “I was the least in my class when it comes to academics, but I had to put extra efforts into everything I did. I made sure I wrote and spoke Greek virtually every day.” Folukemi Daramola was the best student in Hebrew Language, while Peter Lawani emerged the overall best out of the total 240 graduating students.

Lawani, an education consultant, who also holds a doctorate degree in Mathematics from the Olabisi Onabanjo University, OOU, Ogun State, said passing through LIFE theological seminary was demanding and very rigorous “because the academic standard is very high; there is no opportunity for you to cheat. So you have to really do the job and work hard.” Ifeagwu Elizabeth, a graduand of Masters in Theology, corroborated Lawani: “You just have to know what you are doing if you must graduate here. As a wife and mother, it was tough, but I give God the glory today.”

Cletus Orgu, provost of the seminary, said apart from meeting the academic requirements, a student of the school must be disciplined in character, spiritually and emotionally, “he must also be a church worker who is convinced about God’s plans for his life.” However, Lawani who surprisingly seemed unflustered by his covetable feat said his major achievement at the seminary is not coming out with the best grade, but helping people to be the best they can be in life. Lawani, who is also a proprietor of a secondary school, urged the newly admitted students to focus on God and be hard-working, “and help as many people as you can. You will meet people on your journey, help them and God will help you grow,” he counselled. For Onyeka, the new students should strive and go the extra mile. “It is the little extra that will make them extraordinary.”

Speaking on the subject, Proclaimers of the Kingdom Mysteries, theme of the event, Orgu said the word “mysteries” signifies what is hidden in past generations but has now been revealed to “us by the Spirit of God.” Having understood the mystery, the provost urged the ‘proclaimers’ to exert themselves like Apostle Paul and herald the message of hope to all nations. “They should also be worthy ambassadors of Christ, worthy ambassadors of the school and they should make impact in the society and help in transforming it for better,” he charged.

However, Felix Meduoye, general overseer, Foursquare Gospel Church in Nigeria, believes that for a proclaimer to effectively propagate the mysteries of the Kingdom, he will need passion and power, adding that such person with passion would pray, evangelise shamelessly, and “will be ready to go anywhere, any time, because he has completely sold himself out to Christ.”

As the four-hour event drew to a close, the 240 graduands marched to the rostrum to receive Diploma, Certificate, Degree and Masters of Theology certificates in various courses amidst intermittent ovation from the audience. The graduation ceremony also featured the dedication of the newly built two-storey female hostel and LIFE Music School.

The Lighthouse of International Foursquare Evangelism, LIFE, Theological Seminary, formerly known as LIFE Bible College, was founded in 1954 by late Reverend and Mrs. Harold Curtis, Foursquare missionaries serving in Lagos. The school has since inception graduated over 10,000 students including Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo, senior pastor, Kingsway International Christian Centre, KICC, among other renowned ministers of God in Nigeria and other West African countries.

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