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Exponential, Church Planting, and the Temptations of the Wilderness

Posted on April 26th, 2013

This past week I presented two workshops at “the largest gathering of church planters in the world” – at the Exponential Conference.  Over 5000 people attended while another 20,000 leaders watched through a live webcast. It was extraordinary to see so many men and women with a passion to serve Jesus and offer their entire lives to advance His kingdom in the 21st century. I was in awe of God as I listened to speakers and learned new things about what God was doing in different parts of the world. As I interacted, however, with young pastors, missionaries, superintendents, and denominational leaders, it became readily apparent (to me at least) that at least four temptations threaten to derail what God wants to do through His church going forward: 1. Drivenness – Cattle are driven. Sheep are led. The word doesn’t belong in our vocabulary. The primary call for us as preachers/leaders/pastors is to embrace a contemplative life, that is, to have a life anchored in the love of God.  We preach and lead out of the fruit of a contemplative life with Jesus.  Cultivating a life of loving union with Jesus is the greatest gift we can give to others. 2. Busyness – Busyness cuts us off from God, ourselves, and others. It is easy to lose our souls in the doing the work of God. Like drivenness, busyness needs to be seen for what it is – demonic. 3. Impatience – God’s work is slow and organic. While the American church is big, flashy, and impressive, the kingdom of God has always been a mustard seed- imperceptible to the world and small. 4. Fear – I was asked repeatedly: “If I invest the time to cultivate a deep walk with Jesus and to build a great marriage that is a taste and picture of heaven, can I trust God to build and take care of the church?” The answer is simple: “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve Him alone'” (Matt. 4:10). To follow up, let me invite you to listen to a free sermon I preached last week on “Wine, Love, and the Meaning of Your Life” out of John 2.

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Church Culture Revolution: A 6-Part Vision That Deeply Changes Lives