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Top Lessons in Church Planting

I’m at the Acts 29 Network Boot Camp in Orlando and Eric Mason of Epiphany Fellowship shared during a break out session some of the top lessons he learned early on in church planting.

Top Lessons Learned in Church Planting – Eric Mason

1) Submit yourself to spiritual authority early in the planting process.

2) Track with where your wife is in the church planting process.

3) Have all potential pastors that are planting with you assessed in the areas of character, marriage and theology.

4) Confirm your ministry philosophy with those who are on your team.

5) Don’t feel rushed to appoint leaders.

6) Clearly define all roles on the church planting team.

7) Seek out partnerships that resource and strengthen your church plant.

8) Be willing to lose people. Don’t hold people too closely.

9) Deal with divisiveness quickly.

10) Don’t be afraid to administer church discipline.

11) Intentionally develop a culture of hope.

12) Intentionally develop a culture of grace.

13) Establish in the foundation of the church a spirit of generosity.

14) You aren’t anyones pastor until they know you are leading, caring, knowing and protecting them.

15) Make sure to build some down-time in to your life, especially by the second year.

16) Block off clear family time.

 

By |January 24th, 2013|Leadership|0 Comments|

Institutes Entry 12: 1.6.2-7.2

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Though God has given some revelation of himself through his creation, the Scriptures are the truest source of God’s revelation of himself and communicate to us what creation cannot. “Scripture adorns with unmistakable marks and tokens the one true God, in that he has created and governs the universe, in order that he may not be mixed with the throng of false gods.” (pg. 72)

For Calvin, true religion can only flow from a right knowledge and understanding of God that comes from careful study of the Scriptures and no one could “get even the slightest taste of right and sound doctrine unless he be a pupil of Scripture.” (pg. 72) If we don’t begin with the Scriptures and only survey creation to gain knowledge of God, we will certainly go off track into gross error. To understand the splendor that is God is like an inexplicable labyrinth and the thread of the Word conducts us towards that knowledge of God. Without the Word, we go astray. “For errors can never be uprooted from human hearts until true knowledge of God is planted therein.” (pg. 73)

Lord, give me a heart that earnestly desires to be a pupil of your Word; an ardent and careful student of the Scriptures. For only through your Word have you chosen to give the clearest and truest revelation of yourself. Keep my heart from wandering into error by staying tethered to your Divine truth. 

Institutes Entry 11: 1.5.12-6.1

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“For as rashness and superficiality are joined to ignorance and darkness, scarcely a single person has ever been found who did not fashion for himself an idol or specter in place of God… an immense crowd of gods flow forth from the human mind” (pg. 65). That is what man does with the knowledge of God as manifested through creation. Simple folk and the most learned of men all arrive at the same place — idolatry.

Even though creation reveals the knowledge of God to us, it is incomplete as it shows God to be Creator but not Redeemer. For that we need the pure revelation of God through Scripture. “Scripture gathering up the otherwise confused knowledge of God in our minds, having dispersed our dullness clearly shows us the true God” (pg. 70) While this revelation from Scripture is necessary to show us God in the way he has revealed himself, man is still without excuse because the fault of dullness lies within him.

Lord, let me always run to the source of your own self-revelation, the Scriptures, to gain knowledge of you. Let my thoughts about you be derived from your Word so I don’t fashion a god of my own making. 

{mash up} 1/21

A Few Reasons King’s Vision for America Remains Unfulfilled | Thabiti shares some very keen observations regarding King’s ideology and current affairs.

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9 Things You Should Know About MLK Jr. | Joe Carter gives us a tidbits of info regarding this American hero that was quite influential in the political, cultural, spiritual and racial shift of our nation.

By |January 21st, 2013|Mashup|0 Comments|

Institutes Entry 10: 1.5.6-11

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In our contemplation of God through the lens of creation, one is forced to take note, that frequently the wicked go unpunished and the upright suffer adversity; many times under the oppression of the impious. This does not diminish God’s righteousness as he hates all sin, though some sins seem to go unpunished at the moment. There is a future judgment to which the punishment of some sins are deferred.

God is sovereign over all of his creation. This is especially seen over the life of men. In God’s care, protection, provision, healing; we see heavenly providence and especially fatherly kindness. His power however, is most clearly observed in the overcoming, shattering and breaking down of the impious. God rules over all of the affairs of men. “His wisdom manifests his excellence when he dispenses everything at the best opportunity. In short, there is nothing that he does not temper in the best way,” (pg 61)   The sad reality, Calvin observes, is that “in our stupidity we grow increasingly dull toward so manifest testimonies, and they away without profiting us.” (pg. 63)

Lord help me to recognize and glorify You through the manifold displays of heavenly providence and never grow dull toward all that your creation testifies about Your greatness, power and majesty. 

By |January 19th, 2013|Institutes|0 Comments|

{mash up} 1/19

5 Reasons to Read the Heidelberg Catechism | Compelling reasons from Kevin DeYoung to read this great creed and confession on its 450th anniversary.

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Lance Armstrong and faux repentance | Steve Meister, at The Cripplegate, writes about true repentance and Lance Armstrong’s attempts at confession at the church of Oprah.

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7 Lessons on Blogging | Thom Rainer shares his observations from the last three years of blogging.

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Count Zinzendorf and the Moravians | Great short piece from Winfield Bevins at ProjectTGM on Count Zinzendorf and the movement he was instrumental catalyzing.

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5 Factors in the Rise of Reformed Theology Among African Americans | Reformed theology is nothing new. So why do more African Americans seem to be adopting it now? Informational piece from Jemar Tisby.

By |January 19th, 2013|Mashup|0 Comments|

Institutes Entry 9: 1.5.2-5

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Not only does the divine spark in man reveal something about the knowledge of God but creation itself shines forth reflecting the brilliance of its Creator so that man is without excuse. “Upon his individual works he has engraved unmistakeable marks of His glory, so clear and so prominent that even unlettered and stupid folk cannot plead the excuse of ignorance.” (pg. 52)

Calvin saw clearly that the skillful ordering of the universe and all of creation, including man, was a sort of mirror in which we can contemplate God. However, even with this great witness about God displayed in all of creation, it is astonishing that man can deny that there is a God. There are unfailing signs of divinity in man. There are signs of immortality which have been implanted in man that cannot be erased. If man possesses that, how can he not recognize the Divine? “Shall we think of ourselves the inventors of so many arts and useful things that God may be defrauded of his praise even though experience sufficiently teaches that what we have has been unequally distributed among us from another source?” (pg. 57) We cannot confuse the creature with the Creator.

Lord let my life so radiate forth Your glory, so that all can see this creation, and be drawn to love and worship the Creator. Make me a spectacle of your glory. 

By |January 18th, 2013|Institutes|0 Comments|

Institutes Entry 8: 1.4.1-5.1

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“True religion ought to be conformed to God’s will as to a universal rule; that God ever remains like himself, and is not a spectator or phantasm to be transformed according to anyone’s whim.” (pg. 49) Whether through ignorance or the sinful corruption of the human heart, the innate knowledge of God is smothered. This leads man in a vain attempt at religion which leads to all manner of gross errors.

To truly worship God as he is, Calvin states that those that seek to worship him must begin with him or they end up fashioning “a God to match the absurdity of their trifling.” (pg. 49) Calvin paraphrases Lactantius that “no religion is genuine unless it is joined with truth.” (pg. 50) The element of human invention in worship is one of the things that led to the abuses in the Roman Church that the reformers were seeking to correct.

Lord, let my love and worship of You, flow from the truth about You, that You have revealed about yourself in Your word. May my heart ever renewed by Your Spirit, seek to glorify You as its highest endeavor. 

By |January 17th, 2013|Institutes|0 Comments|

{marvenomenal}

From Gizmodo – The fantastic work of Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) and how they transformed Mark Ruffalo into the Hulk for The Avengers. ILM’s YouTube channel has amazing behind the magic footage in case you ever wondered how they did some of their stuff.

By |January 16th, 2013|Marvenomenal|0 Comments|

Institutes Entry 7: 1.2.2-3.3

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The knowledge of God should evoke fear and reverence and it should be our guide and teacher to learn to seek every good from him and give him glory. To merely ask the question, “What is God?”, is not enough. We must want to know God. (pg. 41) Even beyond that, knowledge of God causes us to see that the whole of our lives should be given over in service to him and we would be wickedly corrupt if we did not do so.

True piety does not lead us to fashion the god of our choosing or making. But is “content to hold him to be as he manifests himself.” (pg. 42) When we recognize who God is, when we grow in the knowledge of Him, we don’t dream up any god that pleases us. We give ourselves over to trusting Him because we know that he is the Author of every good, that he is just, that he is righteous and that he is merciful. Because the pious acknowledges him as Lord and Father, they deem it right to observe his authority in all things, reverence his majesty, advance his glory and obey his commandments.

The proper estimation and knowledge of God as he has revealed himself, is an aid in the restraint of sin. We will restrain ourselves from sinning, not from a fear of punishment alone, but out of love and reverence for God as Father. Calvin writes, “Here indeed is pure and real religion: faith so joined with an earnest fear of God that this fear also embraces willing reverence, and carries with it such legitimate worship as is prescribed in the law.” (pg. 43)

Chapter 3 begins with the instinctive, intuitive knowledge of God that has been implanted within the mind of humanity. Though Calvin doesn’t reference Romans 1:20 in this section, that is the clearest exposition in the Scripture of that reality. The mere fact that man is prone to idolatry is ample evidence of this. Though the world tries to cast off the knowledge of God and to corrupt the worship of Him, the sense of divinity can never be extinguished. That is not something that is learned, it is innate.

Lord, let this true knowledge of You lead me in true fear and reverence and to seek all the good You have for me. May I ever live to serve You and to bring You the highest glory. 

By |January 16th, 2013|Institutes|0 Comments|