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Showing posts from August, 2011

Modulating from Corporate to Personal Discernment

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The last sermon that I preached is posted on my blog.The topic was cultivating conditions for hearing the Holy Spirit in the corporate church.In my reflection on the development of the Church in the opening chapters of Acts through chapter 13, I observed five conditions that were present when the leaders in Antioch clearly heard the voice of the Holy Spirit (13:2): 1.Believe that God still speaks today. 2.Purity in the church.No known sin is tolerated. 3.Unity of the church. 4.An expectancy that God was going to move; or better put, knowing that God is always working and seeking to join Him there.(This idea was well developed by Henry Blackaby in Experiencing God.) 5.Corporate spiritual disciplines that positioned the people to receive the grace that God is always pouring out. The message has stayed with me and I’ve had several people let me know what they heard God saying to them (or us) that morning.I mentioned several times in the sermon that it could be applied personally as well as co…

Thoughts on Hearing God's Voice in Community

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I am convinced that God still speaks today.How could a God who spoke the cosmos into being and whose very essence in human form was referred to as “the Word” (John 1:1-12) clam up after the New Testament was written? After all, Jesus clearly said, “my sheep recognize my voice” (John 10:27). Asserting that God no longer speaks today doesn’t make good theological sense.It’s not Jewish or Christian.It’s deist. But Scripture does hold a unique place in the revelation of God.What is it that makes the New Testament of a qualitatively higher order than a word that we might hear from God today?Well, it’s complicated and I’m certain that I don’t know all the nuances.But in my understanding, the trump card of the New Testament (that is, what makes it Scripture) is that it carries apostolic authority.The writers of the New Testament were either apostles (part of the original band of twelve – plus Paul who was recognized by the early church as an apostle) or they were closely associated with an ap…

A New Mission: Catch the Wave - Sermon from 8/14/2011

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I’m a sailor.Not a very good one and I don’t do it very often.But it’s in my blood. I was born on Long Island, New York and some of my relatives were boatman as far back as the Colonial Period.Sailboats are a lot different than powerboats.When I’m in my fishing boat and I want to go from point A to point B, I just pull the cord on my outboard motor, point the bow of the boat in the direction I want to go and head there.Most of us would like our lives to be like motor boats.Set a goal, make your plans and off you go – you’re sure to arrive in time.Problem is:life is more like sailing.We’ve got economic boom or bust, relational blessings or break-ups, good health or bad, and the simple realities of growing up and growing older.In sailing terms, we have to deal with the variance of wind speed and direction, the intensity of tidal flow and the size of the waves.To reach our destination in life we have to be able to navigate through conditions that are constantly changing.What is true for …

Communion as “Trans-Participation”

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The church staff attended “Pastor’s Day” at the Okoboji Bible Conference yesterday.Good stuff and good company.Many times pastor’s gatherings are rather stuffy and just a bit boring.We had three fabulous speakers. Skye Jethani, senior editor for Leadership Journal began the day with provocative challenges to contemporary ministry.A lot of his comments were push-back from some of the stuff I’ve heard in ministry methodology for the last twenty years.Refreshing.Bob Thune, brother of Sen. John from SD and previously the pastor of Christ Community Church in Omaha, shared his stunning story of being released from his position as lead pastor in a very large church in California.It was sobering but also encouraging as he recounted the affirmation of ministry that he received from many individuals in his church.We never really see what is going on underneath the surface.Occasionally, God allows a peek.We’re probably having more impact than we’ll ever know this side of eternity. Ross Hastings …