2011 CC Pastor’s Conf-day2

DAY #2: Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

#1: Bob Caldwell Session– (10:10am PST)

A little re-cap. Last night the topic was presence of God and passion for God. The theme was putting God in your face, not just being involved in religious stuff.

When he was a drug pusher, he just had to have good stuff, it was pretty simple. Now, he says that if we just have Christ that this is all the we need.

He lives in Boise, ID and he just wants to have a passion for God, and having a passion for God he now has a passion for the lost. If you don’t have a passion for God, as a pastor it is all for yourself, and it really doesn’t work out long term. If you just hang out with God and be with Him, you will have a passion for the lost.

He went to Boise, ID so he could go somewhere that what he was talking about no one would understand. He went there and tried to fit in with he culture, he bought a horse, etc.

Wherever you are, God will give you a passion for the lost if you have a passion for Him. Boise is becoming like LA with the drugs and gangs and stuff. He is asking God to give him a new passion and understanding of the people because they are always changing.

He said that you can be real and still reach people for Christ. They are reaching young people for Christ there in Boise and the kids have a desire to know God. They have a big outreach ministry to India, and they have just developed a passion for the people and God has been using them to reach the people. Wherever you are, God can do this through you.

#1 Principle: Make the main thing the main thing, just love God. Everything else will fall into place. But, if you don’t have that love for God, you are just wasting your time.

Revelation 2:2-4, “2 “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; 3 and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. 4 Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.”—If you don’t have a love for God, if you are driven by lesser things, then you are just wasting your time. If your wife does not have a passion for you besides just doing things around the house, then what good would be your marriage. He would rather have a small little house with passion than a palace without it. If you are just talking about theology and don’t have a passion for God, you are misrepresenting God. Theology with a passion for God is great, but if you just have theology you are just speaking to people’s heads, not their hearts. Your ministry will not do much.

1 Corinthians 13:1-3, “1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.”– If you don’t give a prophesy, revelation, have faith, etc., out of love, it means nothing to God and it is not profitable.

It is very difficult doing ministry in India, and if you get beat up for preaching and you aren’t doing this out of love for the people, you have just wasted your time. Our works will be judged by fire, the fire of love. We have to do what we do out of love.

Matthew 22:36-38, “36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” 37 Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment.”–This was the greatest test that was thrown to Jesus. Jesus had the answer, He told them that you must love the Lord with all of your heart, strength, and mind. This is the first and the greatest commandment. You have to start your engine of your car before you drive. When you are playing football and you need to get one yard on fourth down, you have to follow the basic fundamentals, don’t jump off-sides. Love God with all, all, all… Words are beautiful because the mean something, when He says them they mean everything.

Before I come to have a passion for the lost, I first have to have a passion for God. Your heart requires a lot more than you brain, love requires your heart. He has ADD and he goes hiking, and he has a horse that he rides that has passion to just charge up a hill. And, if his horse can have such passion, surely he can have a great passion for God.

David sinned more for God, and he had a heart for God, and even though he sinned greatly before God, because he had such a heart for God, he couldn’t continue with unconfessed sin in his life. David knew God as His shepherd, and he just loved God as his shepherd. David as a boy was around all of these great warriors for God, yet they wouldn’t do anything, they wouldn’t go and fight against Goliath. But, young David, who knew that God could empower him because he had killed a lion and a bear, he believed that God could use him and because he loved God he was willing to go against Goliath. David wanted to go against Goliath also so that all of the men of Israel would see this and have a heart for God and go out to fight boldly and passionately for God.

If you have a passion for God, you will glorify him in all that you do. It doesn’t matter what the problems of the people are where you live, whether it is drugs, etc., God can use you and empower you to reach them, if you keep your love for God.

What is lovely about God is that He created you for relationship, created you so that you could be intimate with Him. Heaven and earth will pass away, but what will remain is intimacy with God. Christianity is very empowering, God can put into us what we need, gift us as we need to be gifted. If we will just be who we are and do what we should do, He will use us…

#3, God wants our mind. God wants it all to be given to a special love for Him. If we give him our heart and mind, there will be no agendas in our lives, we will just want to love Him, and whatever we do we will do for Him. The passions of our hearts will be birthed and we will be a good pastor, a good servant, because of the passion of love.

In Ephesians it says that by nature we were all driven by the passion of lust of our hearts. The lost are lost because they cannot find God, cannot find truth. They love themselves and are into themselves. Rock stars we learn we once so esteemed and looked up to, but when they reach their 40s nobody wants their music anymore, and they are washed up. It is very depressing for them. Pastors have this same problem, and they get depressed when their churches are small they feel like they are losers. But, if you have a passion for God and you go out into this world with a passion for God, and you lead your people to have a passion for God and love Him, then they will be affected for God. Passions that are not birthed in God’s passions will kill you, your life will mean nothing, you will do nothing. To reach the lost so that they are found in Christ, we first must be driven by a passion for God, have no agenda and not try to prove anything, but just love people, then whatever God does through us will be good, however He uses us.

The apostle Paul was passionate in persecuting Christians, murdering Christians. He caused Christians to blaspheme God. He would torture Christians until the blasphemed Christ. That is wicked, deep dark wicked. That is what Paul was. Thank God that the early church Christians aren’t like Christians today, for they prayed for their torturers. Paul says that the love of God, he was so broken by God so amazed that he could be loved by God, God loved him and the love for the lost that Paul had was birthed in God’s love for Him. When you read 2 Corinthians and all that Paul suffered because of his preaching of the gospel, and then you see that Paul did all that he did because God loved him, you realize he did it because of how God loved him, how he recognized this.

Bob wondered as a new believer what he could do to have God love him more, and the answer was that there was nothing that he could do. Grace requires nothing for us in order for God to love us. We are loved God even in spite of horrible sins we commit. We gain a passion for God when we realize that God gave His Son to die for our sins.

John 14:30-31, “30 I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me. 31 But that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave Me commandment, so I do. Arise, let us go from here.”
–People hit Jesus, kicked him, spit at him, etc., and yet He said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do”. He did this because He loved the Father. This is what love does.

John 17:22-24, “22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. 24 “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.”–The most amazing prayer, it is a lifetime of motivation. Jesus knew this love before the foundation of the world. He desired that we would know this love. He invites us into that love, invites us to share in the Trinity. This love, He says that the Father loves us as much as He loved the Son. We don’t get this a lot. Women loved by their husbands glow. Children loved by their parents glow. One of the most powerful forces of his conversion was this love. Lonnie Frisbe had been preaching and he went into a little prayer room. He wept and wept in that little prayer room where he was. No one prayed with him, shared with him, he was alone there, and God baptized him in his love right in that prayer room. It was love that got him, love that converted him.

He struggles with Christianity, with the religious culture, with the church, all of the trappings. When he is struggling this he goes back to that place of realizing that God loves him and loves the people all around. He goes back into the arena, back into the church, filled with God’s love.

Here is the rest of the prayer: John 17:24-28, “24 “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. 26 And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.””–Jesus prayed here that the love that He had with the Father would be in them, and He would be in them. It doesn’t matter what our commission is, how or where God uses us, He has a plan for us, has a plan everywhere in every city. We are all called to just build the love of God where He places us. Our life will count for eternity as we build up that love and have a passion, love God with all we have. We will bear fruit, and God will use us in His time and in His way!

Bob prayed next saying that we once were God’s enemies, and then prayed that God’s kingdom would come among us and accomplish what He wants through us. He asked that whatever God uses us to do that we would do it for Him and be fruitful.

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#2: Mike MacIntosh Message (2:10pm PST)

****Note: on this message, Mike introduced so many details and aspects to his teaching so quickly that I could not keep up with the flow of what he was saying very well and missed much of it…

Joe said last night that we can’t keep giving conferences, we have to give into presence. Mike is disappointed that we were so slow to clap when the previous Global Media Outreach website won 15,000,000 people to Christ last year, that there is apathy in us.

Mike told the story of a man in their fellowship who was kidnapped by a Mexican drug cartel. The family had raised a bunch of money ($200k?), but then the drug cartel told the family that they had to raise a million dollars, or they were going to start cutting off the man’s fingers, and eventually they would cut off of his head. There was no way the family could come up with it. But, the church got together and prayed that somehow the man would be miraculously released. The man was released when the federales found the drug cartel, and they had been found because when the church had been praying for the man, they felt like they were being watched through the walls, and they transported the people. They kept the man alive because he was a medical doctor, and he could give aid to the ones who had their fingers cut off, and they didn’t cut off his fingers. Because the drug cartel was transporting the kidnap victims around, the federals caught them. This was a book of Acts experience for the church in San Diego.

We in the church are called to walk in the love of God, we are called to be shepherds, we are called to win the souls of men. The Batswana Tribe where David Livingstone ministered in Africa have a word called “ulehatse” and this means “thou art on earth”. God’s finger was in their tribe and reflected in their language.

Acts 17:10-17, “10 Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. 12 Therefore many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men. 13 But when the Jews from Thessalonica learned that the word of God was preached by Paul at Berea, they came there also and stirred up the crowds. 14 Then immediately the brethren sent Paul away, to go to the sea; but both Silas and Timothy remained there. 15 So those who conducted Paul brought him to Athens; and receiving a command for Silas and Timothy to come to him with all speed, they departed. 16 Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols. 17 Therefore he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and with the Gentile worshipers, and in the marketplace daily with those who happened to be there.”
–We as pastors cannot just be consumed with the ministry issues and activities relative to our own churches, we have to have a passion for souls and try to reach out to the people all around us. Pastor Chuck has always been this way, he always has tentacles out all over the world for the gospel. Our hearts have to be stirred when there is idolatry that is all around us.

Luke 24:46-49, “46 Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 And you are witnesses of these things. 49 Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.””
–To evangelize is a command of Jesus. The message is that if we repent we will be forgiven of our sins. If you don’t have a heart for people, then your heart won’t be stirred. If you have been found, you will have a heart for people.

See the humanity of Jesus, see him as a man. He once burped upon his mother’s shoulder, He once played with His brothers and sisters. He was a man. There are people all around us that many people do not even know about. There are people around, like on a playground by your house, whom nobody talks with. In the gospel of Mark the word “immediately” is found all over the place because Jesus was always “immediately” responding to the people’s needs. Mark 5:1-15, “1 Then they came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gadarenes. 2 And when He had come out of the boat, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, 3 who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no one could bind him, not even with chains, 4 because he had often been bound with shackles and chains. And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces; neither could anyone tame him. 5 And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones. 6 When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him. 7 And he cried out with a loud voice and said, “What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God that You do not torment me.” 8 For He said to him, “Come out of the man, unclean spirit!” 9 Then He asked him, “What is your name?” And he answered, saying, “My name is Legion; for we are many.” 10 Also he begged Him earnestly that He would not send them out of the country. 11 Now a large herd of swine was feeding there near the mountains. 12 So all the demons begged Him, saying, “Send us to the swine, that we may enter them.” 13 And at once Jesus gave them permission. Then the unclean spirits went out and entered the swine (there were about two thousand); and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and drowned in the sea. 14 So those who fed the swine fled, and they told it in the city and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that had happened. 15 Then they came to Jesus, and saw the one who had been demon-possessed and had the legion, sitting and clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid.”—The three things that all of the mental health workers, the police, etc. could not do for the man is to cause him to be sitting, clothed, and in his right mind.

If we will just stay loyal and faithful for the Master, he will use us. God can use us to reach and change the people who are way out there in our own cities.

A man who doesn’t love his neighbor doesn’t love his God.

Don’t ever forget that men are perishing, and that hell is eternity! Rob Bell who is saying that there is no hell is a man that has never been broken before God, he is a heretic and doesn’t love his neighbor because he doesn’t know his God.

Fourth, there is the story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31, “19 “There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. 20 But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, 21 desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 “Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. 26 And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’ 27 “Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, 28 for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ 29 Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’ ””

Don’t sell your soul to the Devil, let God be God in your life, let His love stir you. See the lost souls around you and pray for those lost souls.

Mike told the story of how he spoke once and the mayor’s wife asked him to pray for her and her family and he did. Then, the mayor asked the owner of “The Jaguars” the national soccer team if they could use the stadium where the team plays, and they were allowed to preach there. 5,000 to 10,000 people came together to pray beforehand, and nothing like this had ever happened there before. Then, many people came and lined the field all around to hear the gospel. Mike didn’t know how he could preach to the people. But, then a man came up to him and asked him to lead him to Christ, he knew he needed to be saved, and he asked Mike to tell him how, so he did so.

Mike prayed for us that we would pray that God would use us as evangelists and that we would never settle for anything less.

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#3: Roger Wing Workshop (3:15pm PST)

I didn’t cover this…

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#4: Greg Laurie (7:15pm PST)

Greg Laurie—Session #4

Tonight he wants to talk to us about being a pastor to hurting people.

Every day that you get into your pulpit to speak you are speaking to hurting people. The things they are facing are mind blowing. If you preach to hurting people you will never lack people to preach to. But, we are also hurting people and when we as pastors honestly reveal our own hurting then we can minister to people in a great way. But, if we are only trying to show ourselves as perfect examples, then people will tune us out.

God is only going to equip you to minister to suffering people by allowing you to suffer. “God will not be able to minister through someone greatly until He has hurt them deeply”, someone once said. Pain reminds us of how we need the Lord and what He has done in our lives. Hunger pains reminds of something, and pain reminds us of a deeper need.

Paul preached to people all over the world, all types of people from all cultures. Paul did it brilliantly. But, we often forget that Paul suffered greatly also. God told Ananias that Paul was going to suffer greatly before Ananias even went to lay hands on Paul heal him. Paul prayed for Eyticus to be healed after he fell out of the window, then told everyone to come back and he finished his message.

We in leadership are going to suffer in varying degrees. We will be slandered, people will not speak well of us, and we will have many difficulties.

Paul writes in 2 Corinthians about all of the many trials and tribulations that he faced: 2 Corinthians 11:22-28, “22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I. 23 Are they ministers of Christ?—I speak as a fool—I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. 24 From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness— 28 besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.”

We will suffer alright, and there will also be great joy. We are all called to be faithful servants.

Greg says that the worst thing that has happened to him in ministry was when his son Christopher was killed in a car accident. He was a graphic designer at the church and was on the way to church when the accident occurred. He was devastated, and then to have to plan a funeral for your son, and plan the songs, and so forth, was so difficult. He had done many funerals in the past in which he said to himself that if he was the one who had lost a child, he couldn’t have dealt with it. Then, it did happen.

Before this accident had happened he had just finished a film about his life and the things God had done in his life. The last scene showed the whole extended family walking together, and it seemed that everything was going to happen happily ever after. Many things have come out of this trial of his. The first person he called was Jon Courson because he knew Jon could understand.

Now, he weeps more with people who are weeping, and he does not say some things to people now who are suffering that he used to say. He never tells people that he understands what they are suffering, and many other things. He says saying less is saying more to people who are suffering. Just saying that you will pray for people and just being there means a great deal.

Job’s friends were doing a great job when they first came and said nothing, it was when they opened their mouths that everything went wrong.

It is Ok to say, “I don’t know…” “Never trade what you do know for what you don’t know”, pastor Chuck once said.

Why do leaders suffer? 2 Corinthians 12:1-4, “1 It is doubtless not profitable for me to boast. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord: 2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a one was caught up to the third heaven. 3 And I know such a man—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows— 4 how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.”—Paul had gone to heaven and thus he had a struggle because he wanted to go on to heaven having been there.

People ask Greg, “Why would this happen to you because you preach the gospel?” We should be asking ‘why’ we should be asking ‘what’.

Why does God allow suffering in our lives as pastors?

1)–God allows suffering in our lives because He loves us.
Jesus stayed with Mary and Martha for two days because He loved them, and did that before He went to raise up Lazarus.

2)—Because it causes us to grow in our faith.
Trials teach us what our faith is made of. James 1:2-4, “2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”

3)—Adversity and suffering keep us humble and usable by God.
This is just like the thorn in the flesh that was given to Paul. Spurgeon dealt with horrible depression throughout his life. Then, he read a great quote from him about how God had used suffering in his life.

4)—Suffering will prepare us for what God has for our life.
We are all going through preparation for all of the things that God has for our lives. Not only has God allowed suffering in our lives, He has done this. Romans 8:28 isn’t the first thing you want to say to people who are suffering. Though all things are working together for good, it probably is better to tell them that God won’t give them more than they can handle, or tell them that is Ok for them to cry. “A word fitly spoke is like apples of gold…” Bad things happen in our lives, and they will always be bad, but then in time God will work them out for good. All things work together for good, but that good might not be experienced until we get to heaven. When we get to heaven we will realize that all things will have brought about great good.

5)—Adversity teaches us eternal truths we would not otherwise learn.
Some of us are experiencing many of these things. Some of us have prodigal sons and daughters, or maybe are suffering with leaders that are off course. But, God allows these things to keep us on our knees. Make sure your sons and your daughters know that you love them. Reminders of life that another life is coming, that is what suffering is. When our church is shrinking and one down the street is growing, it is hard to rejoice in their good. 2 Corinthians 12:9, “9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

6)—Suffering enables us to be able to give comfort to others.
When we have suffered God comforts us, and then we are able to help others with that same comfort (see 2 Corinthians chapter 1).

Shortly after his son was killed, he received a letter from Warren Weirsbe. He read that to us. We don’t want to have our tears be wasted, let God use our suffering.

Greg read a great quote then prayed that God would use us to help those who are hurting. He prayed that we would have perspective on our own lives and the things that are happening, and that we would bring greater glory to God through the things that we have suffered.

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Comments
  1. Richard Douglas says:

    Thank you so much for blogging this… I am at home, in Arkansas wishing I was at the conference this year, but you just made my week! I really needed to hear some of the words that you have posted.

    Thanks,
    Richard Douglas
    Calvary Chapel Saline County

  2. joe bell says:

    Hey Jim,

    This is great for those of us who weren’t able to attend this year. You do a great job giving us thorough review of the messages.

    Thanks again!

  3. jimbs says:

    Richard and Joe, you guys are most welcome! Thanks for dropping by and posting!

  4. Robert Fromm says:

    Hurting people… I’d rather be weeping with a weeper than shaming people for NOT loving enough, not having enough passion for whatever. A lack of speedy applause can mean a lot more than just a lack of godliness. Paul wrote 1 and 2 Cor. from Ephesus… the days of Acts 19. Whatever is was that made Paul “despair even of life” was in or around the days of sweat ban and apron healings. Now those kinds of miracles were heady “yeah God!” type of days (who can be against us)… but something happened to Paul and others that was so dramatic that though Paul says he didn’t want the Corinthians to be ignorant about what he suffered. BUT, he gave them only his reaction and none of the details: who, what, when, why, how… only his pain. Paul who seemed to not be afraid to call out someone (e.g. Peter) doesn’t tell us much. Whether he was “protecting” someone(s) or not we don’t know… maybe it was another riot? What we do know is that Paul was forever changed by the pain and the fresh experience of God in it. Paul who said all our pain is common to man says he was overwhelmed in despair… thought he was going to die.

    That story about the kidnapped MD… sounds nearly identical to the story of the brother of our Spanish church pastor who was kidnapped in Juarez… except for the finger threat. He was let go 2 weeks ago.

    Thank you Jim!!
    Bob Fromm

    • jimbs says:

      Bob, Greg Laurie has paid a huge price in his life in order to be able to give this incredible message. This is a message that I will never forget. I have to tell you also that I am convicted in my own heart about the apathy that has crept in towards people who are soon going to perish for an eternity of punishment. I needed a renewed passion to see souls be saved…

      • Robert Fromm says:

        Here’s where I’m coming from on Mike’s comment about not clapping soon enough. What is “enough?” I probably would have been slow to respond not because of a low passion for souls but for a myriad of questions. 1) It this credible? 2) How many are “churched?” 3) How can I translate that into my own church.

        According to Barna, “Since 1980, there has been ‘no growth’ in the proportion of the adult population that can be classified as ‘born again’ Christian. The propor-tion of born again Christians has remained constant at 32%, despite the fact that churches and para-church organizations have spent billions of dollars on evangelism. More than 10,000 hours of evangelistic television programming have been broadcast, in excess of 5,000 new Christian books have been published, and more than 1,000 radio stations carry Christian programming. Yet despite such widespread opportunities for exposure to the Gospel, there has been no discernable growth in the size of the Christian body.”

        I experienced the days of over 300 souls a week being “converted.” That was happening not just at CC’s but around the world.

        I grew up in a church where the pastor had to count the number of recommitments, number of people prayed for, number of people at the altars, number baptized in water, number baptized in the Spirit, etc. “Enough” was the tyranny we served. Did we read the Bible enough, pray enough, witness enough, etc. That was always good for a few more numbers on the “green sheets” (now they are goldenrod).

        My passion is for souls though I’m a teacher. Some how God keeps giving us souls but not “enough” and “conversions” doesn’t necessarily translate into “disciples.” Church growth has a faulty premises. 1) Follow these steps and your church will grow (see quote above). 2) Growth means discipleship. 3) Get the programs and people enrolled and they will grow (Willow Creek discovered that is simply NOT the case). We go to seminars by big churches who have the assumed promise “You too can have a church like this,” BUT until God does something new we will be in the main trading off sheep competing for their attention and few can be at the top of that heap and being there may or may not be pleasing to God.

        About Greg… now his message is one I can relate to: helping hurting people. I’ve been at that place where I had to tell myself “Breathe… breathe again… you can do it for one more minute and then you can string the minutes into hours… breathe Bob.” Why? Because I thought I was so pressed down I was going to die… a complicated story few know. I can relate to pain. I can relate to the agony of praying for souls but being more like a sport fisherman on Sundays bringing in a pail full when my prayer is for Biblical nets. I just react to the manipulation what is “enough.”

        Thanks for the blog… GREAT job!
        Bob Fromm

  5. Jim Bomkamp says:

    Bob, thank you for completing your thoughts! I’m glad you enjoyed my blog notes bro!

  6. Jim Bomkamp says:

    Thinking about your post brought back memories from the 5 years I spent in the SBC churches at the beginning of my Christian walk. Once or twice a year churches would bring in a “revival” preacher who would spend a week having revival services every night to try and pump up your church into a fever pitch of zeal and emotion to get the people to get busy doing the things that you are supposed to do be doing in the first place in telling people about Christ and the gospel. There would be a lot of dust and activity for a week, perhaps many altar calls with mostly many of the same people coming forward each time, but then a month later it would be as if you had never had the preacher come in the first place, no lasting fruit. I recognized finally that the church was supposed to be the place where the saints were equipped to do the work of ministry through the teaching of God’s word, not through having preachers preach the gospel to the saints. Healthy sheep beget sheep. Virtually everyone in the SBC churches was saved in the first place and yet “everything” in the SBC at that time was about evangelism. In 1978 I sought out a Bible teaching church and never went back to the SBC.

  7. Jim Bomkamp says:

    Greg’s message was powerful Bob and will certainly bear much fruit, especially if we really let God use our suffering the way He intends to use it.

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