Wednesday, August 26, 2015

War Room...the movie

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against...the powers of this dark world...."  (Ephesians 6:12)

My wife and I just witnessed an advance showing of the movie, WAR ROOM.  We give it, "Two thumbs up, 8 more fingers and a side of 10 toes!"  The flick hits national screens this Friday, August 28th.  I highly recommend YOU see it as well!  But, just like following Jesus, don't witness the movie alone.  Instead, use this great tool to invite (even pay for) others to join you.  You have my word, the movie will inspire and challenge you in a manner that few movies are able.  After that, I invite you to consider developing small ministry group(s) to not only discuss the movie's impact, but to pray together in how its story-line can develop a renewed prayer-life-power for your church and your city!  

In case you men are wondering if this is some feel-good marshmallow-movie, I'm telling you it is anything but soft.  It hits the heart hard...penetrates the enemy of apathy...and blows it up!  I believe this flick will empower you with the scriptural-weapons you need to win life's daily battles over your family. WAR ROOM equips men, women and children to receive the truth of Jesus as warrior king, calling us to join him in the Holy Spirit of conquering the darkness that seeks to consume our families, work places and cities.  In Christ, we always win on the battlefield of life--- so watch the movie and experience how!

WAR ROOM is another family-friendly, Christian film written, produced, and directed by the Kendrick Brothers, Alex and Stephen.  They are the creators of such films as, Facing the Giants, FireProof and Courageous.  All previous Kendrick movies have been used by churches around the nation to ignite new ministries.  For example, while I was pastoring my Minnesota church plant, we used FireProof to jump start a marriage ministry, then a couple years later used Courageous to inspire our men's ministry to emulate the movie and develop courageous-covenants.  I now invite you to watch and experience WAR ROOM, in theaters today, and let the Holy Spirit direct you, and your church, in making a prayer-packed impact!

Check out a trailer preview here:

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Sunday Morning vs. the Boat

Dave Jacobs, a church planter from southern California, recalls a time when he first started his church:  "Some of my leaders had chosen to go boating instead of coming to church (Sunday morning worship time) and I was upset.  I said to my wife, 'Don't they realize I'm trying to do something here?  How am I going to grow this church if my leaders aren't as committed as I am?"

His wife responded with the wisdom of the Lord: "Dave, this church is your life.  Your whole focus is on it.  Nobody cares about this church like you do.  No one will be as committed as you are.  They've got church and then they've got their lives out of the church.  You don't.  For you, it's all church.  You better understand this and get over it or you're going to push your leaders away, be unhappy all the time--- and make me unhappy!"

Church planters: I can relate to Dave response, and to his dear wife's retort as well--- mostly because once-upon-a-time, that was me!  Starting a church from scratch is hard enough, but when others aren't appearing to "appreciate" the difficulty of the mission, it hurts.

What might YOU do in such a situation?  Bellyache about it?  Yell at people?  Guilt them?  Go ahead and try all that if you wish, but I'll tell you right now--- it will only make matters worse for the momentum of your church start.

So here's what I believe can be one remedy for such dis-ease: start a church where its DNA is all about training, equipping and encouraging people to be daily disciples in the marketplace (practicing Ephesians 4:11-13).  This way, your folks are never only "in or "out" of the church (facility).  Instead, they are being the Body of Christ everywhere they go--- including boating!

Here's an example: let's say the above true story was the only time the new church leaders could go boating together with another couple from the neighborhood who are not Christian.  If trained well by the planter, the leaders see this outing as a grand opportunity to develop a trusting relationship with the unchurched couple.  The leaders see it as "an act of worship."  So, not only have they been trained by the planter to minister to each other on the boat, but they are boldly sharing ministry over the new couple as well!

This way your boating members become boating missionaries of your message.  They are living out worship as "fishers of men."

The same can be true for your countless families that follow their kids to weekend softball, baseball, volleyball, soccer, basketball, chess, checkers and hopscotch tournaments.  Instead of letting their absence drive you nuts, you focus on intentionally building-up your church body to BE JESUS to those other parents who are also at the weekend games, but are not familiar with the hope only Christ offers.  The same practice of faith can be implemented by your church youth towards their friends!  So planters: equip your members to pray over other people in the daily marketplace--- and be ready at all times to share the hope they have in Christ Jesus!

Perhaps, over time, these newly connecting, faith-sparking relationships will lead more people to showing up for the Sunday morning gathering--- to hear YOUR great messages!  Bottom line for this blog entry: please don't think I'm not advocating for Sunday morning worship time--- indeed it's crucial to faith development.  I'd prefer that no one ever missed!  If believers, however, are going to reach unbelievers, then we planters need to focus on equipping our people to be marketplace ministers on Monday, and not just pew sitters on Sunday.  It's a both/and outlook of faith.

This way, Dave's earlier laments (see paragraph one) are cancelled in the power of Jesus:
-Your people WILL SEE what you're doing--- and will be thankful.

-Your church WILL GROW in numbers and influence because others are serving with you.

-Your leaders WILL BE more committed because they are personally participating in the new church's mission.

                       For past blogs on church planting, see 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Planting Workshop at the Annual Gathering


Featuring 3, 1-hour breakout sessions during the 2015 LCMC Annual Gathering, October 4-7, in Frisco, TX (Dallas).  Each breakout leads to the next, so be sure to sign-up when you register for the gathering (see for registration information), or simply drop-in as you are led.

Who Should Attend?
Anyone who is sensing a Holy Spirit nudge to at least investigate and discern the possibility of planting a new ministry of any sort.  Teams are encouraged to attend!

Two Reasons NOT to Plant...
1). It's perceived as the cool thing to do.
2). It's perceived as the easy thing to do, or a quick fix to problems.

Two Reasons TO PLANT...
1). You're so compelled by the Spirit, that it feels like high treason against God not to plant!
2). No other existing ministry is doing what YOU are suppose to do in your domain to reach the lost!

Workshop Topics:
How to missionally reach a city...
How to hear from God for vision, values and strategies...
How to prep for a launch and sustain momentum...
How to fund-raise and develop discipleship...
How to lead in a Holy Spirit, biblically-inspired manner...

Led by the Rev. Dan Clites, LCMC's Coordinator for New Ministry Development.  
Questions?  Contact Dan at:  

ALSO!  Church Planter's Reunion during the Sunday night dessert gathering, 8:30 pm.  Interested in planting?  Come to meet and talk with our current planters, their spouses and leaders!

Friday, June 26, 2015

The Quest for Missional: Kingdom Life, part-5-of-5

This is the last of a 5-part blog series on The Quest for Missional--- written to inspire individuals and church bodies to access the power of God at work within them, through the faith life-style of Luke 10:1-9 and Prayer Evangelism.  This is not about implanting another program, but igniting a daily life-style of being missional.  

I have sadly found too many churches that believe and act as if their particular church's mission is to create really good in-house programing--- mostly for the sole benefit of it's own members.  Biblically, the opposite is true: the mission of God has a church for the sake of the outside!  Programs inside a church facility aren't necessarily a bad thing--- but inside programming must create disciples of Jesus for the sake of blessing the outside of the church facility!  Otherwise, the congregants are no longer a church body of a missional God, but an institution that only serves religious goods and services.  After all, God's first love isn't the church, it's the world (so says John 3:16).  But, so the whole world may know His love, God created the church (John 3:17)!

When we pray, "Your kingdom come, your will be done," we are asking the Lord of the harvest to include us in what He is doing to bring His kingdom life into our cities.  Our prayer is that kingdom life come through the living Body of Christ--- as God's Church sent into the daily marketplace!

That's why Step-4 of Luke 10:1-9, and Prayer Evangelism, ends with verse 9 as Jesus empowers us to share with others, "The Kingdom of God has drawn near to you."

Before moving forward, though, let's take a second to work backwards in this blog series...
After we pray peace and blessing (Step-1) over spheres of the enemies control (verse 5), God breaks the darkness with His light.  This is God's power through our obedience as we participate in God's kingdom heart to change the spiritual atmosphere of an area.  When that occurs, the cultural climate is being transformed, allowing you to practice with a home field advantage of Step-2, making meaningful and lasting relationships with those around you (verse 7).  From that kind of trust development, comes Step-3 and a doorway to healing (verse 9).

Now...go ahead in the permission and power of Jesus to connect heaven's provision with earth's poverty, praying for people's felt needs (verse 9)!  Let them hear first-hand how you trust God's provision.  Let them receive first-hand how God wants to give them healing: physical, emotional, relational, motivational, material and spiritual healing.  Then, expect God's kingdom to come and His will to be done...somehow, someway.

According to Jesus' evangelistic blueprint of Luke 10:1-9, outsiders will be way more open to knowing the hope you have when they smell freshly baked bread on your life (you're smelling so good because you've been following the one who calls himself the bread of life!).  Be ready, then, to share the hope you have in Jesus.  Tell folks your story of God's grace in your life!  Indeed, the kingdom of God is near and life as God intends it to be is for all who believe and receive what God gives!

Friends: I have personally seen and experienced the power of practicing Prayer Evangelism in my personal life, and in the life of the church I planted.  This is why I advocate for Luke 10's  implementation everywhere I go!  It takes churches away from becoming stagnate, spiritual institutions, and turns them into transformational movements that change cities and beyond.  I've seen first-hand how a city can be totally against an evangelical church, but then be turned completely around when the church decides to follow Jesus' patterns of fighting against the principalities of darkness with Prayer Evangelism.   I pastored that church!  The flesh only creates possible temporary victories....but living in kingdom life ushers-in God's permanent victory in Christ.

With all the divisiveness our nation is experiencing these days as we head into our 239th birthday, can you imagine what practicing Prayer Evangelism might do to bring real healing and hope?

Our Quest for Missional is to be faithful disciples of Jesus.  It's what it means to be a missional church that follows a missional God.  Missional means SENT.  God sends Jesus into us, and Jesus sends us out!  No longer do we have to expect outsiders to press their faces against our windows (from blog-1)...instead, the church has already left the building, and gone to them.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Quest to be Missional: Heal the Sick, part 4-of-5

The following is part-4 of a 5-part blog series on The Quest to be Missional.  I'm sure it would be quite helpful if you were to take a moment and read blogs 1-3 before taking-on blog-4 and Step-3 of Prayer Evangelism.  The Outsider/Insider jargon comes from blog-1. 

The word missio is Latin for "mission".  It means sent or sending.  The phrase Missio Deo means "Missional God."  According to the Bible, we have a Missional God who sends himself into the world so that we can participate in His kingdom work.  One key way for believers to share this hope with those who do not know such good news, is to practice the game-plan Jesus lays-out in Luke 10:1-9.  After all, God sent Jesus...and Jesus sends us (see John 17:18).

Starting in blog-2 of The Quest to be Missional, I've been expressing the daily-practice steps to what can be called, Prayer Evangelism.  It is a biblical life-style for Church Insiders to live the faith on the Outside, so that Outsiders can know and experience the life-changing love Inside the Father!

Step-1 from Luke 10:1-9:  Speak Peace, verse 5.
Step-2 from Luke 10:1-9:  Remain in that house...make connections and relationships, verse 7.
Step-3 from Luke 10:1-9:  Heal the sick who are there, verse 9.

You see, once you've been praying peace over a sphere of influence, the peace of Jesus (in power) breaks the curse of darkness and bleeds forth the hope of light.  This is an act of faith working in the spiritual realm.  It's spiritual climate change!  It leads to a home field advantage for you as the Holy Spirit now guides you in making trusting relationships with others--- within your neighborhood, work, school, etc.  Once Outsiders realize being a Christian isn't about condemning or judging them OUT, the Outsiders are way more interested in hearing about Jesus IN your life.  Often times they will directly ask you to pray for them!  You didn't have to force them and you didn't have to talk them into it, they just became open to being prayed for because the Spirit has led them to trusting you through your relationship with them!  (You are in relationship with them, of course, because you have a relationship with Jesus!)

At this point, pray for them in person!  They may, or may not, be ready to receive Jesus as Lord, or even go to church with you...but they are at least trusting you for something greater--- and God is greater!  Pray for their felt needs that require some sort of healing (as expressed by them, to you).  Obviously healing comes in many forms.  There's not only physical healing, but emotional, relational, motivational and spiritual healing.  Continue to build-up peace and continue to build-up trust (Steps 1 and 2).  Love them as Christ first loves you.  The Holy Spirit will crack them because you've been asking the Holy Spirit to crack YOU into HIS plans!

This means Step-4 is now ripe and ready to enter.  The kingdom is near!  Tomorrow, I'll share more on that.  Thanks for staying tuned in!     

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Quest to be Missional: Making Connections, part-3-of-5

Hi Friends.  This blog is part-3 of a 5-part series on the Quest to be Missional.  If you haven't done so already, I invite you to take a moment to review blogs 1-2 as we head into part-3.  The Outsider/Insider terms come from my "church window story" in blog-1.  

For outsiders to ever know and experience the love of God from inside a church facility...the Body of Christians must live-out the same love and hope they receive from the inside, to the outside.  Otherwise, how will outsiders ever be able to trust that Christianity is anything more than an institutional insiders-club for religious types?

But the question I often hear is...HOW CAN WE BRING FAITH OUT?  Especially for shy folks....

Practicing Prayer Evangelism is one of the most powerfully biblical means to change the world.  It's foundation is to obey in faith what Jesus instructs us to do.  After all, he and the Father are the creators of the world.  Therefore, who would know more about what works best for all creation, than the original creators!?   In my last post, I laid-out Luke 10:1-9 and the 4-steps of Prayer Evangelism.  Step-1 from verse 5 is "Speak Peace."  Step-2 from verse 7 is "remain in that house."  But, what is Jesus saying to us in verse 7?

Too often Christians have been more interested in winning outsiders to Christ by simply having them "pray a salvation prayer," rather than also discipling them.  This occurs when some Christians get confused to what it really means to be missional.  They believe it's their job is save someone.  It is not.  That's Jesus' job.  Our job description as believers is to disciple others.  Jesus says so in Matthew 28. When we don't do as Jesus instructs, it often leads to discouragement in ourselves, and to someone else's disappointment in the Christian faith.  It creates insiders vs. outsiders...and neither represent God's heart.

Step-2 of Prayer Evangelism, however, is Jesus' way of saying, "hang in there with people.  Get to know them and vice versa.  Don't just jump from house to house."  In Jesus' day, "house" was more than a personal place to eat and sleep, but often a person's business headquarters, or school, usually centered in the marketplace.

Quality time with people is more apt to lead to quantity success.  Churches may have great attendance in Sunday worship, but are the attendees also being discipled well enough to have a great faith impact on Monday?  In the Great Commandment, Jesus calls us into God to worship.  In the Great Commission, he sends us out to make disciples.  Both are needed, but we can't automatically equate worship attendance with disciple making.  Worship can be a great start, but discipling others requires personal patience, mentoring, prayer, accountability and loving training.  Jesus knows that long-standing relationships through the thick-thin of daily life is what speaks volumes of a person's mature faith--- as well as how that mature faith can be contagious for the sake of others.  That's missional!  Think about how easy this really is.  Step-1 says pray for the spiritual climate to usher-out darkness and escort-in light, giving you better access within other people's daily lives.  This develops trust, and when you have someone's trust, you often have their ears for discipleship.

In my next blog, I will speak to the ear.  That is, Step-3 of Prayer Evangelism that takes insider faith, out, in order to bring healing to many.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Quest to be Missional: Speaking Peace, part-2-of-5

The following is the second of a five-part blog series on, "The Quest to be Missional."

In part-1 of this blog series, I spoke to the reason that more church outsiders don't want to come inside a church facility, is because the insiders aren't living their inside faith on the outside!  However...changed lives in-Christ, lived-out in the daily marketplace, is always attractive to those who know they are missing something.  We have, after all, a missional-God who SENDS himself to us, so the world may know Him!

The following is called, "Prayer Evangelism."  It is God's directive, through Jesus, into believers for the sake of pre-beleivers.  It is Jesus' blue print to how to evangelize his good news in the power and the love of God.  Nothing is forced.  It is Spirit-led and Word powered.   I believe that when Christians begin practicing the following 4-steps as a daily life-style process (and not a rigid procedure or another program), the spiritual climate of a city, or a certain sphere, is transformed in the Spirit--- opening the gate to God's kingdom presence!

Begin by meditating on Luke 10:1-9...and note how many times the missional words "sent," or "send" are used!
"...the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go.  2-And he said to them, 'the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.  Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. 3-Go on your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves.  4-Carry no money bag, no knapsack, no sandals, and greet no one on the road.  5-Whatever house you enter, first say, 'Peace be to this house!'  6-And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest upon him.  But if not, it will return to you.  7-And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages. Do not go from house to house. 8-Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you.  9-Heal the sick in it and say to them, 'The kingdom of God has come near to you.'"

Step 1-of-4 of living-out Prayer Evangelism comes in verse 5.  Jesus says that when we enter a sphere of our influence, declare PEACE!  Now, peace is not necessarily the absence of crisis, rather the hope of Christ despite the crisis.  Therefore, peace is a person--- Jesus.  His name is the name above all others.  In simply proclaiming the name of "Jesus"--- his powerful presence begins to move in and push out anything anti-Jesus.  It's like a bulldozer pushing-out a bolder to escort-in a new landscape!

When we practice step-1 of Prayer Evangelism on a daily basis, the first thing that is transformed is...US!  We are no longer cursing, mocking or judging; but instead, speaking "peace."  When this happens, the spiritual climate of a space is radically changed.  It's OUT with the darkness of the spiritual enemy that's been sitting over an area, and IN with the light and rule of Christ!  Think of it as having the home field advantage for sharing faith in a manner that is no longer perceived as judgmental or hypocritical, but natural and real.

Imagine if all Christians in the body of Christ (The Church) were to practice this biblical directive on a daily basis!  What an impact it would have on our hurting nation and world!  Outsiders would start seeing Insider's faith on the outside, opening a path for Step-2 of Prayer Evangelism....

For Step-2, and what it means to daily walk in the home field advantage of the Holy Spirit, stay-tuned for my next blog, tomorrow.  Thanks!