So, here we go again with the What?! Stuff. The next concern that I would like to address has to do with guidance. Some people have asked me if I have sought any council about the whole idea of planting a church. I think that their idea may be that in my enthusiastic youth, I just decided to start a church because of some hair brained idea. I must say that if anyone ever thinks that, then they are far from the truth. As I began to deal with the idea of church planting early in 2007 I sought several friends who are also in the ministry. Later, after I really began to realize that God might have been calling me into church planting, I spoke with Frank and David, my pastors. Then David and Frank were supportive enough to allow me to go to the state convention and learn more about church planting, and I would like to say thank you to them for that. At that point I knew that God was calling me into church planting. As time went on I sought council from a plethora of sources. In the course of time I spoke with approximately 4 Associational missionaries and former Associational missionaries. Several other pastors and associate pastors, and at least 20 or more church planters or former church planters. Not to mention many, many other Godly men and women who have had a great influence in my life over the years. As a matter of fact I still seek council on a very regular basis in this process of planting a church. I have received a tremendous amount of support and advice throughout this process. Please, if you are at all thinking about supporting Oasis church, and you are wondering if I have been hasty and fool hearted, just know that there are many older and wiser people in my life who give me solid advice. By the way, I do always seek council from the ultimate source of wisdom through prayer. I am committed to do everything that I can to honor God in everything that I do. If any of you who genuinely care about me ever think that I am out of God’s will, you have my full permission to confront me. Otherwise, I’m assuming that you will be fully supportive. Thank you all for your generosity and support.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Monday, July 21, 2008
In my previous posts I explained what I have been teaching to our core group. Now I want to address some other possible legitimate concerns with our church plant.
First question. "What are you doing to teach the children in your church plant?" Well,...
You need to know that I am very passionate about children and youth. I have no intentions of cutting our children short. My belief is that any children who are involved in a church should be taught exactly what the adults are being taught, for the most part, but on a different level, using the same principles. We have currently set up a volunteer led ministry for our children, which is led by two very capable and passionate individuals. By the way, thank you to those two persons! Everyone who is involved in our core group is expected to volunteer about once every two to three months. What are we teaching our children?... well, the exact same thing as our adults. Love God, Love others, Serve the World and Make Disciples. We are teaching them what it means to BE the church. We are teaching them about evangelism, missions, service, Christ crucified and anything else that we teach our adults. I am very passionate about seeing every ministry in a church tied into the vision of the church. Many times we allow our children's ministry to become a baby sitting service and I don't think we should ever be satisfied with that.
One last point to leave you with. Do you think that there were children's ministries in the New Testament churches?... I don't... Well... I don't think there were. Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think that there was any organized form of ministry to children. How did children learn in New Testament culture? Well, they learned through an apprenticeship program, and their teacher was usually their mom or dad. Kids learned how to do what their parents did. It was built in their society for parents to teach their kids. Who teaches our kids today?... Usually just about everyone other than mom and dad. Now we can get into a whole argument about home schooling and public schools, but that's not the issue here. My kids go to public school and my wife is a public school teacher, but I don't think that should ever be an excuse for me to not teach my children. In today's society I think we want everyone else to take care of what we are responsible for taking care of, like our children. Maybe, just maybe, we should be teaching our children at home and not always expect schools, coaches and the church to teach them everything. If you haven't figured out my next statement yet, here it goes. Our greatest ministry as a church plant is to teach our parents to love thier children with every ounce of their being and to teach their own children about Jesus and what He has done for them. Should we have a children's ministry in a church?... Yes, but it should never stop there!
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Tune back in next time for the next blog in the series “What?!” Where I will address some possible legitimate concerns with my teaching.
In Numbers 21:4-9 The people began to complain about God and as a result God sent venomous snakes among them to kill them as a punishment. They later asked for forgiveness and God instructed Moses to make a bronze snake and put it on a pole. If anyone was ever bitten by a snake, all they had to do was look to the bronze snake and they would be healed. For the Israelites at this time, the bronze snake was very much their salvation. I think that we can all agree that the bronze snake was a very good thing. Jesus even referred to the bronze snake when he spoke about Himself on the cross in John 3:14. So, was the bronze snake a really really good thing…yes, I’m pretty confident that it was. There are some pretty wonderful things about the church that exist; music, preaching, worship services, air conditioning and many other things. These are all good things. Will they still be good things tomorrow?...Yes. My question for you is "at what point is a good thing no longer a good thing?"...Well, when it is no longer useful, it is no longer a good thing. I think that this occurred with the bronze snake. In 2 kings 18:1-4 King Hezekiah actually breaks the bronze snake. One has to wonder why he broke the bronze snake which was such a wonderful salvation to the Israelites, right along side other objects that were completely pagan idols? Well, first, the bronze snake had served it’s purpose. I think that is very obvious. But I do believe that it went much deeper than that. I would imagine that Hezekiah would have had no problem keeping the snake around, I mean wouldn’t it have been wonderful the keep the statue around to remind the people that God delivered the Israelites from a punishment that they put themselves under?...Wouldn’t it have been great to remind the Israelites of the compassionate God which they serve?... I believe that there was a much more important reason that Hezekiah broke the bronze snake. More in the next post.
Sunday, July 6, 2008
As soon as I felt God calling me to plant a church, I followed Him with much hesitancy. At first my delay in following His call was simply because I loved doing what I was doing where I was doing it. Many people knew that about me. But through the process of following God’s call on my life to plant a church I became hesitant for an altogether different reason. I know that in the history of church planting there seems to be a level of controversy that follows most any church plant. Why?... Well, I have my speculations that I may share later, but for right now we’ll just chalk it up to what I think is the biggest one…New church plants are usually different, and we all know that anytime something is different people are hesitant to accept it as valid. Noah, built a boat…different, David was passionate about defending his God even though he was a little kid…different, Paul preached against circumcision…different, Jesus…well…He tore down almost everything known to be sacred to the Jews…very very different. What do all of these guys have in common? Well, if you haven’t guessed yet, they were different. But more than just that they were different, they were not very well accepted. So anyway, church planting is different and not always accepted very well. Don’t get me wrong, I do understand where most Christians are coming from. Of course, some just want to cut the head off of anything that doesn’t look, act, smell, dress, talk, sing or think like them. Anyway, for the simple reason that controversy seems to follow church planters, I didn’t want to be a church planter, I’m not very big on dealing with controversy, I’m not a confrontational type person. But let’s get to the point. Over the past few weeks I have heard a few accusations leveled against Oasis church. The number one accusation and worst so far, is that we seem to have the characteristics of a cult.
The next series of blogs will deal with some of the concerns that have been shared with me by people who I believe genuinely care for me, my family and our church plant. For that reason, the blogs that I will write over the next few days are for two types of people. #1. People who are legitimately concerned about me, my family and the Core team. #2. The core team. The next few blogs are not for people who don’t genuinely care about me, my family or the core team. They are not for anyone who is just looking for some juicy gossip. They are not for anyone who is not willing to at least entertain the idea that I may be teaching biblical truths. If you already have your mind made up that I am trying to start some sort of cult, then don’t waste your time reading this, just keep on spreading your gossip and maybe you will get a life one day.
THE PURPOSE OF THIS BLOG SERIES.
#1. To address possible legitimate concerns to people who actually care about what we are doing.
#2. To solidify what I have already been teaching to our Core group.
A FEW THINGS THAT YOU WILL NEED TO KNOW.
#1. How long will this series be?
I don’t know, I’m guessing about 8-12 blogs
#2. How often will I blog?
I don’t know, maybe once every couple of days
#3. Will there be any name calling?
Maybe…Na, just kidding.
My desire is to help people understand what I have been teaching and what I will be teaching. It’s not to stir up anymore controversy. So don’t get your hopes up if you are looking for some great gossip…I mean, great conversational information.
P.S. If you have any questions or comments, please be honest, don't back down. You can even leave it anonymous if that makes you feel better...that's why I allow that option on my blog.
Thursday, July 3, 2008
So, I am reading through Psalms right now and tonight I read Psalm 29, and as I read the last part of verse 9 where it says “and in His temple all cry, “Glory!”, I couldn’t help but wonder “Is it possible to enter into the presence of God and not cry out to Him “Glory!”?... There have been times in my life where I felt like I simply caught a glimpse of Him and in those times I was simply in awe of Him…I could only say “Glory!”. But really, have any of us really been in the presence of God?... Have any of us really experienced His awesome power in its fullness which David speaks about in the 29th Psalm?... I wonder sometimes if some of us have actually been in His Temple, but we just refused to open our eyes… God is such an awesome God. He is so far beyond our understanding… More than we can ever conceive… How can we encounter Him in any way without being completely changed? How can we enter into His presence and go back to who we were before? The capability of humans or the lack there of absolutely leaves me so speechless. Do we at all understand the God we serve? I think we have a long way to go. Thank Him that He is patient, abounding in love and slow to anger, otherwise we’d have no hope…none!