Thursday, September 27, 2007

IS GOD INTERESTED IN NUMBERS

In earlier blogs I have shared my passion and prayers that we would burst through our existing attendance barriers. I am praying that in the coming months we will be breaking these barriers and be moving past the 1,000 mark in weeky attendance. I'm not ashamed at all to talk about numbers because I believe God is interested in numbers. Each number represents people for whom Jesus gave His life. The more people we can bring to Christ, the bigger the kingdom becomes. I want every person in Chapin area to be in heaven with me.

In my recent blog I shared some insights from the book of Acts. Let me share a few additional nuggets from Acts that might answer the question, "Is God interested in numbers?"

  • 1:15--120 were in the upper room praying
  • 2:41--3,000 were baptized
  • 2:47--The Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
  • 4:4--The number grew to about 5,000.
  • 5:14--More and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number.
  • 5:16--Crowds were coming
  • 6:1--The number of disciples was increasing.
  • 6:7--The number of disciples increased rapidly.
  • 8:1-4--Churches were multiplied.
  • 8:12 (Msg)--People were becoming believers right and left.
  • 9:31--The church grew in numbers.
  • 9:42--Many people believed in the Lord.
  • 11:21--A great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.
  • 11:24--A great number of people were brought to the Lord.
  • 11:26--Paul and Barnabas taught great numbers of people.
  • 12:24 (Msg)--The ministry of God's Word spread by leaps and bounds.
  • 13:49--The word of the Lord spread through the whole region.
  • 14:21--They won a large number of disciples.
  • 16:5--The churches grew daily in numbers.
  • 17:12--Many of the Jews believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.
  • 18:8--Many of the Corinthians believed and were baptized.
  • 19:10--All who dwelt in Asia heard the Word.
  • 21:20--Thousands of Jews believed.

Is God interested in numbers? You tell me. The good news is that the Holy Spirit who moved in the book of Acts is the same Holy Spirit who changes lives today. Think growth. Pray for growth. Pray for many to come to Christ.


"For our email subscribers, please visit Ken's full blog page at http://www.pastorkenkelly.com/ to view previous blogs and many other helpful links."


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

GOD SPEAKS IN THE BOOK OF ACTS

I love the book of Acts. Here are some of my gleanings from my recent read-through of this great book.

  • Did you know that 90% of the world's population in the first century was rural? Yet Paul focused most of his strategy on urban centers. Interesting.
  • Acts 1:8 is one of the most awesome verses in the Bible. We shouldn't be as concerned with second coming trivia as we should be with expanding God's kingdom. We have the promise of His power to witness. And He told us clearly the geography of our mission field.
  • Peter preached Jesus, urged the people over and over to repent, and then extended an invitation for them to come to Christ.
  • Peter and John faced great courage in the face of persecution. And when they prayed, they didn't pray for protection but for boldness.
  • Ananias and Sapphira is a story that reminds us that God is not to be trifled with.
  • Two things about Stephen's lengthy address: He knew the Old Testament left and right; and he didn't hold back as he boldly confronted people with their sins.
  • It is during the face of persecution that Christians do their best missionary work.
  • God can save the worst of sinners (as in Paul of Tarsus).
  • Amazing things happen when: people pray; people expect God to speak; and the preacher preaches about Jesus.
  • Where God is working, there will be opposition. But we must not be deterred.
  • Paul and Barnabas handpicked the leaders in each church they visited. They WERE the nominating committee.
  • In a church controversy, Pastor James heard all the sides and then he made the decision.
  • The book teaches us by example how important disciplemaking and follow-up are.
  • Paul's dream was the seed for a vision to take the gospel to the Western world. Talk about a huge vision!
  • Changed lives should be the norm of what happens in church.
  • When the church is operating on all cylinders, it is going to impact the culture around it (including stirring up some waves).
  • The most important value in Paul's life--he wanted to finish the task God gave him to do, namely, telling others about Jesus.
  • Paul was bilingual--Greek and Hebrew.
  • Paul did his dead-level best to keep a clean conscience before God and his neighbor.
  • Every believer needs to know how to tell his faith story.
  • Paul preached for life change.
  • Read to the end of the book and you will see that Paul was always open to tell others about Jesus.
  • The 29th chapter of Acts is still being written today.

"For our email subscribers, please visit Ken's full blog page at http://www.pastorkenkelly.com to view previous blogs and many other helpful links."

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

"Lame" Leadership

One of my favorite leadership books is John Maxwell's The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. In fact, Maxwell has probably helped shaped my leadership more than anyone else. I just read recently that his book has been revised and updated. It is my understanding that a few of the laws have been chunked and a few added. So much for "irrefutable" huh?

Recently I came across an online parody of Maxwell's book. It's called "The 31 Refutably Irrefutable Laws of Lame Leadership" by Johnny Leckie. It's a great and quick read and filled with humorous truth.

Let me give you a few of his entries to whet your appetite.

Law 2 is the Law of the Stone Tablets: "Never change the plan. Even if it's not working. In fact, if it's not working, keep at it. Do it harder. do more of it. Tell yourself that eventually it will produce a result that achieves the vision."

Law 5 is the Law of the Scorched Pan: "Let problems and conflicts simmer. Do not deal with them quickly. Allow them to stay in the 'crock pot' until their aroma fills the room. Tell yourself that if you 'nip it in the bud,' you'll miss the bouquet."

Law 9 is the Law of the Last Minute: "Consistently come up with brilliant ideas at the last minute and get your team to implement them for the 'sake of the vision.' Call it 'doing whatever it takes.' Do this regularly. Do it with dumb ideas also."

Law 16 is the Law of the Blank Stare: "Never make decisions. Do not be proactive. Wait for things to work themselves out on their own. Eventually react to whatever happens."

Law 27 is the Law of the Sinking Ship: "Never retreat and regroup. Go down with the ship. Take many people down with you. Have the 'at least we tried' mentality rather than the 'find a new ship or course' mentality in relation to the goals and health of the organization you are leading."

If you want to read the other laws, here is the link: http://www.scribd.com/doc/273295/31-Refutably-Irrefutable-Laws-of-Lame-Leadership.

Speaking of leadership, what are you doing to become a more effective leader? What are you reading? Who are you equipping? Are you letting God transform your life?

"For our email subscribers, please visit Ken's full blog page at http://www.pastorkenkelly.com to view previous blogs and many other helpful links."

Sunday, September 9, 2007

GOD SPEAKS IN THE BOOK OF DEUTERONOMY

Here are some gleanings from my recent journey through the book of Deuteronomy.


  • Did you know the book of Deuteronomy is a sermon? One long sermon, huh? And then the preacher dies after he preaches it.

  • Moses took the same message from God that was revealed to him 40 years earlier and re-told it in his contemporary context. That's the challenge for every preacher.

  • The covenant between God and the people was very clear--Here's what I've done for you, here's what you need to do, and here are the blessings if you do what I ask you to do.

  • Parents MUST teach their children and grandchildren the ways of God.

  • If you're serious about finding God, you will find him--if you seek Him with your whole heart.

  • Obedience to God and long life are directly proportional.

  • To teach children effectively, the truths must be in our own hearts first.

  • I've done nothing that has attracted God to me--it's all grace.

  • When material blessings abound, there is the danger of forgetting God.

  • To conquer new territory, God must cross the river first.

  • When we conquer new territory, it's all God and not us.

  • God's rules for life are simple. Obey and you'll be blessed. Disobey and you'll be cursed.

  • God doesn't like for anything to interfere with worship.

  • Tithes are to be brought to the place of worship.

  • God has a heart for the poor and expects His people to be generous to the poor.

  • God frowned on any sacrifice that had defects.

  • Engage the culture but don't get assimilated into the culture.

  • Eye for an eye--thank God that Jesus came to fulfill the law.

  • God promises to fight our battles.

  • Remember the story in the Gospels about the woman caught in adultery? In Deut. the man and the woman were put to death.

  • Keep all vows you make to God.

  • Be quiet. Listen. God still speaks.

  • The kind of commitment God expects: "Nothing half-hearted here; you must return to God, your God, totally, heart and soul, holding nothing back." (30:10, Msg)


"For our email subscribers, please visit Ken's full blog page at http://www.pastorkenkelly.com/ to view previous blogs and many other helpful links."


Thursday, September 6, 2007

THERE IS SOMETHING NEW UNDER THE SUN

One of my favorite preachers is Erwin McManus, pastor of Mosaic in Los Angeles. Several months ago he preached a message that still lingers in my mind. He talked about Ecclesiastes 1:9 where Solomon said, "There is nothing new under the sun." Then he proceeded to say that Solomon was wrong. Whoa! Was Erwin saying the Bible contains errors? Not at all.

I've used Solomon's statement on occasion to say that there is nothing new, just age-old things repackaged. But after chewing on this verse for some time, I agree with Erwin. Solomon was wrong. Remember, Solomon when he penned these words (even though he wrote them under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) was one messed up human being. His money and his women must have gotten him off track. After all, how much value would you place on someone who says, "Meaningless. Everything is meaningless"? Solomon is writing about his journey to find purpose in life. Just because he spoke/wrote the words does not mean that he was totally accurate in his philosophy. The Bible quotes the Pharisees accusing Jesus of working for Satan. Does that mean Jesus must have been working for Satan since the Bible says it? Ludicrous!

Anyway, going back to Solomon's statement, the most obvious proof that he was wrong is the Incarnation. I'd say on Christmas morning, God did a new thing. It wasn't a repackaging of anything.

Get out a concordance and look up the word new and you will discover that God thrives on new things. He is creative and innovative. He likes to do things in a fresh way.

  • I am about to do a brand new thing (Isa 43:19)
  • If any man is in Christ he is a new creation. The old has passed and the new has come. (2 Cor 5:17)
  • The book of Revelation talks about a new heaven and a new earth.
  • He puts a new song in my mouth (Ps 40:3). The old songs are good, but God likes new songs also.
  • Jesus said, "A new command I give to you...." (John 13:33-34)
  • At the first Lord's Supper, Jesus told His disciples, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood."
  • His compassions are new every morning. (Lam 3:22-23) I love that one!

God is doing a new thing in churches all across America. Ministry always has its challenges, but I can't think of a greater time to be serving the Lord in full-time Christian ministry. There is a new wave of high energy, participatory worship happening all around us. House churches are popping up everywhere. The uses of modern technology to communicate the gospel are endless--MySpace and Facebook, video feeds, satellite churches--the list goes on and on.

Yes, I believe Solomon was wrong. I believe God is still doing new things. He is not a stale God. And because we love and serve a creative God, Christians above all others should be the most innovative people in the world. Let's not put God in a box. And let's not do ministry in a box. Let's keep dreaming of ways that we can reach people for Jesus and help them become fully devoted followers of Christ.

"For our email subscribers, please visit Ken's full blog page at http://www.pastorkenkelly.com to view previous blogs and many other helpful links."