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Showing posts from October, 2005

Mr. Wilson goes to Brooklyn!

I just returned this evening from a wonderful week in New York City, with the beautiful brothers and sisters of Pilgrim Wesleyan Church. Rev. Pierre Ferdinand, their pastor, is an amazing man! He is almost 75 years old, and has pastored this congregation for about 35 years.

On Sunday there were over 400 people present -- and they are ALIVE!

The most amazing thing is that Rev. Ferdinand grew this thriving congregation from scratch -- and has never received a salary from the church.

Have you ever heard of a bi-vocational pastor leading a church to several hundred?

On top of that -- they have "mothered" at least seven other congregations -- and some of those have multiplied as well!

I think that beats Joel Osteen!

Going Away

I'm taking a break from my daily blogging -- as I am flying out to New York City to speak at special services for Pilgrim Wesleyan Church, Brooklyn.

I'll be back at it upon my return next week.

Dr. Quack

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Martin Wells Knapp, in The Double Cure, writes about the quack spiritual physician -- Dr. Imputation!

"He teaches that none can be pure; that the purity of Jesus is imputed to the believer and covers him like a white robe might be thrown over a man that was covered with putrifying sores, or as the pure snow may cover a foul yard."

Dr. Imputation is stuck in diagnosis, without delivering the medicine.

Christ's righteousness is both Imputed and Imparted.

Give us both the diagnosis and the medicine!
Let us have both the statement and the reality.

Imputation is speaking it.
Impartation is doing it.

A mother says to her little son, "I'm going to give you a bath and make you clean." And she's good to her word! She moves beyond "declaring" to "doing"!

Christ is our righteousness. He doesn't just wink and "call us righteous" -- but rather, he rolls up his sleeves and really changes our hearts!

As in the Genesis 1 creation, God speak…

Take A Hike

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Nature is joyful. Just take a walk in the woods and you will experience the majestic symphony of God's orchestra - a far better production than anything originating from Carnegie Hall.

The heavens declare the glory of God. The birds, the trees, the sunsets, the lakes remind us that all is well.

Do you want a good remedy for troubled heart? Go take a hike!

Get out into nature and observe - watch - listen. You will find peace there. It's hard to be all worked up when you are quiet in a woods.

The Bible says, "Be still and know that I am God." Somebody bigger than me is in charge of the universe. I don't have to panic when situations arise beyond my control.

Joy is the natural state of the soul. The absence of joy indicates some kind of soul disease.

"Entanglements" keep us bound in turmoil. Sometimes, we let our negative emotions get the upper hand, and distract us from the path of peace.

Fear and anger are both major entanglements, which can tie us up in…

Two Perspectives

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A little lad and his weary dad
watched autumn leaves falling from trees
outside the picture window.

"Oh, great." the dad sighed,
"I'll have to rake those things."

"Oh great!" the lad replied,
"I'll help you!
And then, let's jump in them!"

ICHTHUS

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Lori Bubb, who works in our church office, took this amazing picture the other day!

Motivating Others

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"Before you can inspire with emotion, you must be swamped with it yourself. Before you can move their tears, your own must flow. To convince them, you must yourself believe."

­ Winston Churchill – British Prime Minister

Vegetarian

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"Vegetarian. That's an old Indian word meaning 'lousy hunter.'" - Andy Rooney

Arsenius on Board Meetings

Many times, I have spoken and regretted it; but I have never regretted being silent."
-- St. Arsenius

I wish I would have heeded the voice of Arsenius at the board meeting last night!

I did not lead the meeting well, and when it was all over, I realized we had experienced the classic definition: A board meeting is where they take minutes and waste hours.

On Misery

I've been reading Silas Marner by George Eliot. To see a picture of George, click here! (You'll be surprised!)

Here's an interesting quote from Eliot -- er, Evans -- or whoever she is:

It is seldom that the miserable can help regarding their misery as a wrong inflicted by those who are less miserable.

Java For Jesus

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Starbucks is going to put quotes from Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Lifeon their coffee cups next spring. Interesting! They'll come for Java and leave with Jesus.

The Treasure

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A Great Quote from John Piper:

"God is not the key to unlock the treasure -- He Is The Treasure!"

An Old Farmer's Advice

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My good friends, Gary and Sue Bartz, passed along the following to me:
* Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull-strong.
* Keep skunks and bankers and lawyers at a distance.
* Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.
* A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor.
* Words that soak into your ears are whispered...not yelled.
* Meanness don't jes' happen overnight.
* Forgive your enemies. It messes up their heads.
* Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you.
* It don't take a very big person to carry a grudge.
* You cannot unsay a cruel word.
* Every path has a few puddles.
* When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.
* The best sermons are lived, not preached.
* Most of the stuff people worry about ain't never gonna happen anyway.
* Don't judge folks by their relatives.
* Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
* Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think…

Governance and Fishing

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"This day you and I will discuss the governance of the universe." said Philip Melancthon to Luther.

Martin Luther responded, "This day you and I will go fishing and leave the governance of the universe to God."

Bus Crash

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Our prayers go out in behalf of the Chippewa Falls community as they deal with the terrible school bus accident.

Just a few miles south of us -- the northwoods is hit again. Tragedy is, unfortunately, becoming a familiar unfamiliarity.

Two Kinds of People

There are two kinds of people.

First, is the one who walks into a room an announces, "Here I am!"

The second kind walks into a room and says, "Here you are!"

Which one has true charisma? (Chaism: a supernatural gift of the Holy Spirit to bring God's grace, love and healing to others.)

Backsliding

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We ought never to think of failing until the resources of heaven are completely exhausted. We should make no arrangements for defeat until we are certain that heaven is bankrupt. If we are cabled to the throne, we may expect to fall only when the white throne itself crumbles, totters, and goes down.

Glory!

Most of Christians are looking out for a soft place to fall. They make preparations to tumble. They are like the sister who said she could "never give up the blessed old doctrine of falling from grace."

They believe so thoroughly in backsliding that they indulge in it frequently!


-- Seth Cook Rees in The Ideal Pentecostal Church

The Scandal of Biblical Illiteracy

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Albert Mohler, President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, wrote an interesting article on Biblical illiteracy.

He has a valid point. How can be biblical Christians if we do not know what the Bible says?

Superpastor Flies Again!

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A Great Article on Superpastor from Focus on the Family

Postmodern vs Modern Evangelism

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Post-modern evangelistic methods versus modern methods

Multiple encounters — less single encounters
Listener-centered — less witness-centered
Dialogical — less monological
Gospel story — less Gospel presentation
Story then proposition — not proposition then story
Asking good questions — not giving lots of information

Community integration — not individual isolation
Soft — not loud
Consideration — not argumentation
Guided tours — not ticket sales
More supernatural — less supersales (natural)
More earthly benefits — less eternal benefits
More relational validation — less evidentiary validation
More percent of time seed planting – less percent of time harvesting

From The Art of Personal Evangelism: Sharing Jesus in a Changing Culture
by Will McRaney

No Stewing Allowed

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Tomatoes get better with stewing. Potatoes taste better with stewing. Carrots are much better with stewing. Problems grow worse with stewing.

Worry has never solved a problem yet! When we stew over situations, we only complicate things. Stewing keeps us focused on the problem rather than the solution. I have never yet met someone who resolved a negative situation by staying on the problem side. We have to think about solutions rather than problems if we hope to fix anything.

Often, people complain about their negative circumstances. Grumbling about what's wrong won't change matters. It will just get worse as the days go by. You can't complain your way out of a problem.

The only way to get through the difficulty is to focus positively on what can be done.
What are the options?
What can I do to change things?
How have I been contributing to the problem?
What are the next positive steps I need to take?

Instead of stewing, start planning! Start dreaming! Start thinking!

One great idea …

Guatemala Update

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Guatemala: Thursday Update

Luis, Poppy, Immer, and Tony delivered supplies to the Pacific coast area early this week. Poppy has a farm there....all the cows were drowned, a building was washed away and most of the farm is still covered in a few feet of water. Luis said it was so sad because whenever someone saw them with the cart or pick-up truck of supplies, they start begging for food. One little boy ... photo of him standing waist deep in water ... followed them for at least 2 miles until they came to a spot dry enough to unload some food for him to take to his family.

Luis, Carlos, Delmi, Tony, and Immer made it to the lake area yesterday to deliver supplies. Luis is on his way back to the States right now. Tomorrow morning we are going to get together and he is going to dictate to me some of what he experienced this week. He also has some photographs of the lake area and those will be attached to the email that we send out tomorrow. He said he got to see all the pastors from…

Motivation

"Usually, the difference between success and failure is not so much caused by intelligence, personality, or appearance, "said C.S. Woods, "but rather by motivation!"

We can't grow without change -- and we won't change without motivation. We won't be motivated until we are dissatisfied with the present situation.

Discontent with status quo is our best friend, if we harness it correctly.

B. C. Forbes, the financial journalist, observed, "There are two brands of discontent: the brand that merely fosters greed, snarling and back-biting, and the brand that inspires greater and greater effort to reach the desired goal." What is your brand?

The two great motivators in life are the love of power and the power of love.

Both provide energy to propel people forward -- but they end up in very different destinations.

The love of power leads to grasping, self-serving, keeping up appearances, and asking, "What's in it for me?"

The power of lov…

Walking in Darkness

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Every follow of Christ at some time experiences what St. John of the Cross called "the dark night of the soul."

"Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the word of his servant? Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God." -- Isaiah 50:10-11

Here is great article by Winkie Pratney,Walking in Darkness: Trusting When You Cannot See

Lord, when I cannot trace your hand, help me to trust your heart.

Hearsay

"The greatest need today is for men and women to know God better than by hearsay." -- A quote from the Discalced Carmelite Friars

Personal Message from Jesus

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One of my parishoners had a major open heart surgery at the Mayo Clinic. A few weeks later, he came by my office to see me.

"Pastor, I had an amazing, transformational experience." he said, "Jesus came to meet me, right there in the operating room! I saw him standing at the end of the table!"

"Did he say anything?" I asked.

"Yes, he told me he is coming soon -- and he also had a special message he wanted me to deliver to you!"

Now, that really got my attention. "What was the message?" I wondered.

"He said you're doing one hell of a job and to keep up the good work!"

Now, how do you question that?

Problem With Being a Bridge

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"The problem with being a bridge is that you get walked on from both ends"

Brian MacLaren in "A Bridge Far Enough?" Sojourners

Too Small?

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Think your church is too small to accomplish anything? Think again!

Thank you to my friend, Bill Allison, of Cadre International for the cool picture! Bill and I spoke together at the MCMA Convention earlier this month in Minneapolis.

Guatemala Mudslide Update

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Pastor Luis is in Guatemala. He, Poppy, Immer, and Tony have delivered around Q25,000 [US $3,700] of supplies in part of the Pacific Coast area where he will be preaching tonight. They had two pick-up trucks packed full with food, water, small gas burners, etc. The water is 6-7 feet deep in places and they were not able to drive the trucks all the way in. Instead, they had to move the supplies onto carts pulled by horses. Whenever people saw them, they begged for food. Pastor Luis said one young boy followed them for at least two miles begging for food for his family and when they got to a place where there was a drier spot, they gave him food. Pastor Luis was beyond sad when I talked with him. He said he could not believe just how bad it really is there and that he is hearing that overall conditions are worse there in the Pacific Coast area than at the lake. The church where he will be preaching tonight is expecting a large turnout of people. We pray that souls will come to …

Canadian Thanksgiving

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Adam came home from Bethany Bible College (in Sussex, New Brunswick) for the weekend! Suddenly, Canadian Thanksgiving has gained a new importance for the Wilson's.

Yesterday, our family celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving -- complete with a turkey feast! It also happened to be Adam's 19th Birthday, so we had a double header!

Now, this morning, I've just dropped Adam off at the airport for his flight back east. As he is flying, my spirit is sagging.

It was such a delight to be with him -- but the weekend went by too quickly, and now I'm left with warm memories and a heavy heart.

Revolutionary

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The church today should be getting ready and talking about issues of tomorrow and not issues of 20 and 30 years ago, because the church is going to be squeezed into a wringer.

If we found it tough in these last few years, what are we going to do when we are faced with the real changes ahead? …

One of the greatest injustices we do to our young people is to ask them to be conservative.

Christianity is not conservative, but revolutionary. To be conservative today is to miss the whole point, for conservatism means standing in the flow of the status quo, and the status quo no longer belongs to us…

If we want to be fair, we must teach the young to be revolutionaries, revolutionaries against the status quo.”
--- Francis Schaeffer

Finally!

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Green Bay 52
New Orleans 3

Ready, Set, Grow!

Personal growth is the secret to organizational growth. Self leadership is a valuable and necessary art. If you can't lead yourself, you won't be able to lead anybody else.

If you want things to improve in your church, you need to start by improving yourself!

How can we begin the personal growth journey?

1. Learn something every day. Every experience of life is a learning lab. How sad it is for people to have difficult experiences and fail to learn from them. You can learn from anybody and anything. Keep your thinking cap on at all times. Wisdom is the process of gleaning insight from our daily experiences.

2. Be a reader. Reading is one of the best methods I know for personal growth. If you want to deepen your understanding, read widely and deeply. Don't just read "fluff" - -but find books that challenge you to become a better person.

3. Share new insights with others. As you share what you've been learning, you grasp it better. The best way to learn something is…

Guatemala Mudslide

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A group of 20 people from our church has been preparing to go on a mission to Guatemala next month. They have collected 600 pairs of shoes for the Happy Feet program -- and have planned to lead Vacation Bible Schools, and other outreach events.

This morning, however, the trip planning took an unexpected turn. A terrible mudslide has wiped out a couple of towns where they were planning to go. One village (Santiago) is reported to be under 40 feet of mud.

Here's the word we received today from Luis Martinez:

Crying out for help...that's the message from Guatemala.

Pastor Elias was able to get a call through to Pastor Luis today around 5 a.m. He was crying as he told about the situation in the lake area. They have not had food or drinking water for 2 days. There is no electricity so they cannot grind any corn they may have. The crops are washed out. The roads are washed out. About 75 percent of San Juan and 75 percent of San Marcos are gone. The church is still standing in S…

Making Good Better

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Bob Taylor, the outstanding guitarmaker (Taylor Guitars), is a member of Skyline Church, in San Diego. Skyline is one of our sister churches, and Bob's pastor, Jim Garlow, is my friend.

Bob wrote a great article about "Making Good Things Better" for pastors.com (Rick Warren's site).

It's true for guitars -- and also for churches!

As my friend, Famous Dave, says, "Good, Better, Best -- Never Let it Rest -- Until the Good Gets Better and the Better Gets Best."

Old Management

When a closed mind reopens, it's usually under the same old management
-- Caroline Clark

Getting It Done

My District Superintendent, Dan Bickel, shared a great thought recently from Gary McIntosh'sThe Exodus Principle

1. What gets pictured gets done.
2. What gets modeled gets done.
3. What gets praised gets done.
4. What gets trained gets done.
5. What gets measured gets done.
6. What gets budgeted gets done.

Misery Synod

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Hearts wrapped in sandpaper --
Course grain, of course
To mete harsh measure
Upon the miscreats
Who do not measure up.

And they are called "Misery Synod."

"Misery Synod Lutherans"
"Misery Synod Baptists"
"Misery Synod Wesleyans"

O Lord, from the "Misery Synod", please deliver us.

Think and Let Think

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"Think and let think." -- John Wesley

What did John Wesley mean by this? Here's my take on it:

1. Think!

Unfortunately, many people do not stop to think about life. They're too busy caught up in the "doing." They make decisions without going through the proper process. Folks tend to fall into one of two categories: the thinkers and the doers.

Too many thinkers don't do anything, and too many doers don't think!

The world needs men and women who are "thinking doers!" We desperately need leaders who have both a bias for action as well as brain power.

Are you putting that grey matter between your ears to work? Are you looking beyond the "what" to the "why" and "how"?

When people fail to think, they become blind followers or automatic reactors. The end result: mediocrity and crummy decisions.

Good decisions require good thinking. Good thinking requires discipline. You can't do serious reflection on the fly. You m…

The Ugly Old Man

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Last evening I took my daughter, Hannah, out on a date for her 9th Birthday. She chose dinner at Perkins, and then pie at Norske Nook!

As we were finishing our last fries at Perkins, the waitress came up to our table and said, "Somebody paid your bill."

"Who?", I wondered.

"Well, he said to tell you it was the old ugly man sitting across the dining room."

"Sitting where?" I asked. She furtively nodded in the general direction.

I arose, walked across the restaurant, and found Don, one of my parishoners eating dinner with his wife, Evelyn.

"Thanks for paying my bill, you ugly old man!" I declared.

The shocked expression on his face told me immediately that I had made a big mistake! I'd picked the wrong ugly old man to thank!

Tom, another parishoner, sitting two tables away roared with laughter!

"But the waitress said. . ." I tried to explain -- and the hole just kept getting deeper.

Today, Evelyn came by the church office.

&quo…

Vision Casting and Leadership

Here is a good article by Dr. John Jackson regarding vision casting and leadership. These are important tools for senior pastors -- but they are not the main thing.

They are the salad and the baked potato!

Vision and Leadership, to a large degree, determine the width of a church.
Prayer and Holiness (Loving God, Loving Others), determine the depth of a church.

Effective ministry requires both width and depth -- but the depth comes first.

A Great Funeral Poem For a Rainy Day

I am conducting a funeral today -- and the dark, gloomy skies seem fitting for such an occasion. Yet, on the other side of the clouds, the sun is shining.

I've found a great poem I am going to share. I wish I could discover who wote it.



In my heart tonight I have a deep and settle peace.
The love of God, the Father, has made all tumult cease.
I fear no trial tomorrow, nor seek to understand.
For I know who holds tomorrow in the hollow of his hand.

When clouds obscure my vision, and there's tempest in the sky,
I can feel the Holy Spirit in the shadows, standing by.
What life holds tomorrow may not be as I have planned.
But, I know who holds tomorrow in the hollow of His hand.

Unanswered Prayer

During World War II, an English farmer prayed that God would spare his land from the Nazi bombings.

To his dismay, the Lord did not answer his prayer.

A bomb fell right in the middle of his farm -- destroying his property.

It also unearthed an underground spring that provided several years of irrigation for his farm as well as his neighbors.

Disappointment -- His Appointment

The Ultimate Short Term Mission Trip

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Space Adventures is a commercial organization that helps tourists go into orbit. Just today, Dr. Gregory Olson visited the space station! It cost a mere $20 million.

I was thinking, what a fantastic mission trip opportunity! Be the first missionary in orbit!

I'm sure your friends and family members will be happy to support your cause. They'll be thrilled to receive your prayer letter, asking for their support in this exciting ministry opportunity.

All you need is 200,000 friends to give you $100 each -- and presto -- pack your Bible! You're headed for the space station!

The power point presentation upon your return will be out of this world!

Youth Ministry

We have an amazing youth ministry at Hayward Wesleyan Church. In a town of 2100, around 200 teens show up for Wednesday night youth meetings.

I recall, years ago, as we were trying to launch our youth group, and had more troubles than teens, a board member pointedly asked me, "If our youth group remains just like it is, what are you going to do when your own kids are teenagers?"

I gulped and admitted I hadn't considered that. We voted that night to revamp the whole program.

Now, more than a dozen years later, my own kids are teenagers -- and they're enthusiastic about the youth group! Jehovah Jirah -- the Lord provides! Change can happen -- provided you have sufficient motivation!

Actually, having several children helps. They bring a "built in" quality control mechanism to the youth department.

John Wesley and I differ on this point. He promoted celebicy for his early Methodist ministers. He sure wasn't thinking about youth ministry when he made that…

Clarity

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Clarity of mind means clarity of passion, too; this is why a great and clear mind loves ardently and sees distinctly what it loves.
Blaise Pascal

Aaron Kampman was a Quizzer

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In our household, we like Aaron Kampman. Not just because he plays for the Green Bay Packers -- but because he was a Bible Quizzer!

Dr. David Spittal, President of Southern Wesleyan University, gave a speech a couple of years ago, where he detailed research about church youth group activities that best developed adult spiritual leaders.

Guess what was Number #1 on the list? Bible Quizzing!

If Bible Quizzing is the most effective "boot camp" for raising spiritual leaders -- perhaps it should be valued more highly in our churches.

Why God Gave Brains

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