Epic Shift Coming!

Jesus asked a question, when I return, will I even be able to find the faith on earth (Luke 18:8). When we look back to what has happened to Christianity in other parts of the world, we get a good indication of what will happen in our country in the future. In my last writing, The Church of the Future, I described what I see the church could look like.

So, I ask, how does the present day church prepare for the inevitable? Imagine walking away from your church facilities because it was no longer safe to go there. How long would it take for the facility to fall into total ruin? Is the present day, facility focused church sustainable for the long haul? Is having a church budget that requires $50,000 to a $1,000,000 dollars weekly for facilities and staffing sustainable? I don’t think so!

Every significant ministry in America should start developing an infrastructure of leaders and home groups for the day when that may be all we have. At least we will be prepared and be good stewards of THE CHURCH. When I think about the church, all it is, is the people. We are the church. Not the staffing structures, not the facilities, not the big productions that wear everyone out but the spectators, not the massive budgets, it is only the people.

I think the church will be much healthier and much stronger when all we know of church is the people, the relationships and the mission to share what we have with those that don’t have it yet. When as a living organism, we go about doing good, not to check a box that I serve a function at the church machine, but that Christ lives in me and I love him and I love you. Then we live with eyes wide open to opportunities that abound every day for me to be the heart, hands and feet of Jesus to a broken world.

The more I’ve pondered this over the weeks the more I’m seeing the machine siphons off the resources that could be going to impact the world in much more significant ways. The time, energy and money that is spent to sustain the machine actually keeps us from being the church Christ envisioned when he said, I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. The strongest representations of the church in the world is in those countries where it is not legal to exist. They have no facilities, just a network of people who love Jesus enough to risk their lives to meet together. Until it costs us something more than busy work to belong, I’m not sure we will ever value what it means to be the church.

What is your church doing that is more than rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic? What is your church pursuing that a match and thirty minutes can’t destroy?

Ponder this,

Scott

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The Church Of Tomorrow?

I just spent two days at the Global Leadership Summit. I was taught leaders see more and see further than others. I was challenged to learn the way our businesses or churches operate today won’t work in as soon as five to ten years. I’ve been pondering this for a decade, what do I see as the church of tomorrow? After seeing another mega-star pastor bite the dust, I thought there needs to be a better model of ministry than what we have now.

Here is what I see the church of tomorrow will look like and some pioneers may want to start moving that direction now. The church of tomorrow will value people and ministry more than anything else. Therefore the following must happen.

It must become streamlined and ready for persecution. No money will be tied up in facilities or salaries. Sorry pastors, no more opportunity to become a super star, celebrity pastor, writing books and speaking at conferences and pulling down the big bucks. You will work a regular job like everyone else and so not lose touch with life outside the church bubble. Plus, you won’t be leading alone. No more solo hot-shot pastors with a staff, there will be a team of leaders, all with equal status.

There will be no paid staff! That will contribute to a healthier group of leaders. It will contribute to a much more engaged body, and smaller more mobile teams of Christ followers.  There will be no bought facilities. People who have will share, a business, a storefront, a backyard. Where you meet will not be about how great the show or how comfortable the constituents. It will be about drinking deeply at the well of Scripture, worship, recharging and reaching and serving your neighbors.

There will be a team of people who share leadership and teaching based on gifts and availability but not on personality or charismatic leader to draw a crowd. The leaders will be loved, but so will everyone else. No part of the body will be more important than another.

All contributions will go to ministry efforts and needs. No salaries, no facilities, no insurance, utility costs, or multi-million dollar sound and light systems. The show is over it is time to get serious. If you want to follow Christ or learn more about Him, come with us. If you are more into what is in it for you, go to one of the dinosaurs in the neighborhood.

Hundreds of churches are going out of business annually. I can count at least a half-dozen senior, rock star pastors who screwed up and are gone just in the last couple years. When that happens your offerings can’t pay for your cushy facility and all energy now goes to survival so you can meet payroll and pay for a building. That is the future of today’s church if nothing changes.

The model of ministry I’m presenting, will be light and lean and ready to move at a moments notice. I would love to be part of that church!

blessings,

Scott

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What Couples Do To Destroy Their Marriage

I asked Gayle to marry me in ninth grade, we were engaged at seventeen and married at nineteen. We agree with the statement, anyone married more than six months can find grounds for divorce. I’m going to share some of the most critical things we do as humans to sabotage our own marriages.

  1. We Believe Our Spouse Can Complete Us. Both partners need to do the hard work of developing joy and happiness within themselves. If you were unhappy as a single person, lonely and unfulfilled or chasing thrills so much you didn’t realize how miserable your were, you will be unhappy when married. Your personal contentment is your issue, not your partners. Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott have a quote that is powerful. Until you do the hard work to make yourself whole, every relationship becomes an attempt to complete yourself and is destined to fall dismally flat! Your satisfaction level in life will be yours and God’s to grow. Anything your spouse contributes will be icing on the cake. Do the work!
  2. One Or Both Partners Take Parenting Roles Rather Than Partner Roles. This often happens when faith comes into play. Most women are more relational and quicker to connect at a church and in their efforts to practice their faith. When hubby doesn’t share the same passion, the wife can turn into the mother mode. In any arena of life that happens by either partner it is terribly destructive. No adult wants to feel like they are being parented by a spouse. Accept your spouse as they are and trust God can do any changing that needs done! It’s not your job to fix your partner!! Work on being the best you can be!
  3. Take A Short Cut To Misery! It can be difficult if you are in some of the above traps, your partner isn’t measuring up nor are they willing to listen to you. They won’t go to counseling, they aren’t trying and no matter how hard you press, nothing helps. You become vulnerable at this point to taking the short cut that ultimately leads to more not less misery. Confiding your hurt to someone of the opposite sex at work, church the club, wherever has to potential to end your marriage. Someone who has never become whole through the hard work of maturity, who desperately needs someone else’s approval or affirmation, after being starved in a struggling marriage is like dry kindling wood and the attention from another attractive person is enough to actually make you lose your mind, yep, you go crazy. You are willing to sell yourself cheap because you’ve never felt like this before. Let me tell you, a train wreck is coming and a badly damaged life to follow! A better approach is to seek counseling by yourself. Work on you, let your partner alone! You are responsible for you. Your misery is your problem. Do what it takes to fix it, don’t blame it on your partner. They will never be enough to meet your needs, nor will the new person you’ve run to. Tap the unlimited reservoir!

Blessings,

Scott

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Two Amazing Encounters

Last week, I was in Boston. One night after dinner, I was walking around Back Bay, just taking in the city. I saw a man, Jack from East Boston, sitting on a plastic crate rattling a cup of change. He looked like he could be any man I know. He wasn’t dirty, he was dressed decently and he looked young. I said to him, you are too young to be here on the street, he said, I’m not that young. He shared with me he was 41. I said, tell me your story, how did you get here? We spent a good thirty minutes together that ended with a hug and a hand shake. Jack had made some poor choices and boom, his wife booted him out, she and the three boys stayed in their home and Jack couldn’t afford two places. He was beating himself up for what he had done and lost.

Saturday, we had a men’s event at our church. 250 men came out to enjoy some BBQ and a good time together. We were all done, cleaned up and I was getting ready to leave, when I man walked up to me, I’ve known him from a distance for several years. He clearly had lost weight and I mentioned that to him. He said my wife of 27 years, left me 45 days ago and I don’t have any appetite. He said, I came here hoping to see you. He poured his heart out to me as many broken men have before. He has been humbled and broken. Now he is fully surrendered to the Lord. He told me, he always avoided me. He feared me in some ways. He didn’t want to open up to me and knew that is what I’m known for. He told me how poorly he treated his wife but how much he knows he loves her. Now, he wishes he would have sought help earlier but thought he could handle it.

I wish guys weren’t so stubborn and prideful. I wish we could see in our wives eyes the longing for closeness. I wish we could hear their heart’s cry BEFORE the bomb drops. I’ve had so many men over the years come to me in exactly the same way. Far too many times by the time they wake up, by the time they become willing to listen and work on their marriages, it is too late. The wife’s heart is closed and too many times it never reopens.

What if you lost everything you value in life today? What if tomorrow you woke up and it was still all gone?

How would you feel if after a few days it all was given back? Act like that today!

Blessings,

Scott

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Hath God Said?

God created Adam and Eve in His image. They were loved, valued and given meaningful work tending the garden. There was only one test to give them the opportunity to demonstrate their love and faith for their Creator and Father. His word was crystal clear to them. Then the tempter came and asked the question, “Hath God said?” The original sin was made before the fruit was taken. They chose by faith to believe the enemies lie over the Father’s truth.

Fast forward to the present. God’s word says we are created in His image. Psalm 139 says the Father was actively knitting us together, creating a masterful tapestry while we were in our mother’s womb. His word teaches us that His love for us is unshakeable. Nothing could ever separate us from the love of God. He openly demonstrated His love by giving His Son to die for us while we were still active in our sin. Through Christ’s work we are redeemed, when we accept that death and resurrection was for us. We are fully accepted by Him even on our worst day!

He has equipped us to be adequate for whatever He wants us to do. We can do all things through Christ who gives us strength. The same power that resurrected Christ resides in the believer.

The enemy whispers, hath God said? The enemy is called the accuser of the brethren. He whispers how could anyone ever love you. If they really knew who you are and what you’ve done they would reject you. We strive to be accepted because we believe we are not acceptable. We fear failure. So often we don’t risk stepping out to try anything.

We have a choice every day. The same choice as our first parents, will we believe the clear word of God about us or will we believe the enemies lies? If you have trusted Christ as your Savior. His thoughts toward you are you are loved as much as He loves Jesus. You are fully accepted into the beloved one and you are adequate for what He has for you to accomplish.

Start each day affirming the truth! I am created in God’s image. I am loved. I am accepted. I am adequate through Jesus! Our greatest sin is not the acts we do, it is in believing the enemy’s whisper, hath God said? By faith we will accept God’s truth about us or by faith we will believe the enemies lies!

Blessings,

Scott

You can read more in my new book. Click the link below.

Journey To The Core

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Journey To The Core!

JourneyCoverAmazon I wrote this book several years ago but stalled out at the editing phase. Through the wonders of technology, I was able to finish it this past week and it is now available on Amazon! Thank the Lord for Grammarly and KDP publishing.

The lessons and stories in this book are very personal. It is a culmination of all the hard work I have done since my train wreck. Well not all the work, much was captured in my first book, Connecting The Dots, Facing Pain; Finding Peace.

This work is what I continued to learn from that point forward in my journey to become what the Lord desires for all of his followers.

The measure of spiritual maturity in most churches today involves, attendance at services, serving in some capacity, involvement in a small group and giving. You can do all those things and not be close to spiritually mature.

This book takes you far from surface areas and goes to your core. The outcome is a person who is comfortable in their own skin, a sense of connection to the Lord and ministry that is genuine. Do something productive for your spiritual development and buy a copy and take your time working through it! You can find it here in paperback:

Amazon Paperback   Or in the Kindle Format here:  Amazon Kindle

 

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Three Personal Questions Answered!

I’ve been on a spiritual journey for almost sixty years. A friend recommended I read, The Critical Journey, Stages in the Life of Faith, by Janet O. Hagberg and Robert A. Guelich. The book has helped me answer some questions I’ve had for some time. Here are my questions.

1. Why The Last 14 Years, I Could Take or Leave The Church.

2. What One Thought Stunts My Spiritual Progress.

3. What It Looks Like To Become A Mature Christ Follower.

A quick overview of the book is in order here. The authors highlight six stages of spiritual development. They are not clearly delineated or once and for all. There can be movement back and forth between stages and times of stagnation. The part of the book I found most interesting is the discussion of the wall.

The six stages adapted to my own language are as follows:

  • Stage One, The awareness/awakening to God (Could have begun in childhood or any other era.)
  • Stage Two, The beginning of discipleship, early commitment and desire to learn. Early learning usually comes from listening to others and is seldom self-study. Often have more zeal than knowledge.
  • Stage Three, The beginning of serving. Often in stage three service is done because there is a sense of duty, a desire to be accepted into the fold or some other motive less than God’s love compelling one to serve.
  1. The answer to my first question came when the authors claim most church ministers and ministries operate in the first three stages. Fourteen years ago I was forced into stage four and ever since, the church seemed like it wasn’t ever getting beneath surface issues to me. My experience has been the church is stuck in the first three stages largely because most ministers have never gone beyond the first three stages. Many ministers who find level four are removed from ministry by churches. Paul was driven to brokeness, Peter’s denial pushed him to level four and our public failures often are what causes one to move beyond the first three levels. An ignorant church disposes of those people right when they are about to become useful at a much greater level!
  • Stage Four, The journey inward, usually comes after practicing the first three stages for some time. It is often precipitated by some crisis, either personal or a faith crisis. This phase begins a journey inward to discover who I am and what I really believe. It could be referred to as a time of being broken or brokenness. Everything you’ve known to this point is challenged and questioned. The purpose of this stage is for a person to come to complete surrender of everything to God.

The Wall, is our stuckness in stage four until we come to complete surrender. Stage four can take a long time! Anytime, in stage five or six, I take my will back, I get to return to the wall.

2. The answer to my second question was answered here. Whenever the thought comes to my mind, I’m a grown man and if I want to . . . I will. Even if the action is not called sin in the Bible, that statement is me taking back the right to choose for myself what I will or won’t do and is the beginning of insubordination. That ultimately will move me back to being stuck at the wall.

  • Stage Five, after resolving everything internally in stage four and going through the wall, the movement is now back out. Humbled, surrendered and broken to ask, what do you want me to do Lord? Whom can I serve? This service is now fueled by God’s love and at His command. It is similar to stage two but really quite different as well.
  • Stage Six, a life fueled by the love of God. Position, prestige, recognition, no longer matter. All that matters is my heart is filled with God’s love and it spills over from a humble servant wherever we are. Contentment is a benefit, acceptance and gratitude are qualities seen at this level.

3. The answer to question three, a mature Christ follower lives in stages five and six. They feed their own souls, they have intimacy with God and their lives are very in tune with His promptings. Their service is more about listening for the promptings and serving out of love and obedience than about holding a position or title. Their lives touch others. They may occasionally revisit the wall but it only reminds them how to move through it again and it goes much more quickly. They can never settle for less than level five and six living.

blessings,

Scott

 

 

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