Tuesday, September 01, 2015

The subject of discipleship has been coming up frequently in my church and in my life recently, so I'm capturing these thoughts here from Robby Gallaty.

5 Components of a Discipling Relationship
We could say that discipleship is intentionally equipping believers with the Word of God through accountable relationships empowered by the Holy Spirit in order to replicate faithful followers of Christ. When people become disciples, they learn what Jesus said and live out what Jesus did (Matthew 28:19).

Did you catch the five components of a discipling relationship?

A disciple is:
1. Intentional about equipping others for the work of ministry
2. Studying/obeying the Word of God
3. Accountable to other believers
4. Empowered by the Holy Spirit
5. Reproducing what he was taught with others.

One last word on this subject: It’s important to contextualize the process. A “one-size fits all” approach will not work. Discipleship in Chattanooga is very different than discipleship in San Francisco or even the Dominican Republic.

After preaching an evangelistic crusade, D.L. Moody was met after the service by a man who disapproved of his evangelistic strategy. Moody responded, “It’s evident that you don’t agree with my evangelism method. What’s your evangelistic model for winning the lost?” The man replied, “I don’t have a particular method.” Moody said, “I think I’ll stick with mine.” Regardless of which model, material, or manner you affirm, decide on a plan and stick with it.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Oven Fried Chicken Wings



Some techniques from Cook's Country below that help get crisper oven wings.

To get crispy chicken wings without frying, baking powder is the secret weapon; it helps break down the proteins within the skin, and aids in browning. After tossing the wings with baking powder and salt, start them in a low oven on a wire rack for air circulation.  This is todry the skin and begin rendering the fat. Then turn up the oven to finish roasting the wings and crisping the skin. A coating of your favorite sauce and the wings are ready to be served.

SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS
  • 4pounds chicken wings, halved at joints, wingtips discarded
  • 2tablespoons baking powder
  • 3/4teaspoon salt
  • (and whatever wing sauce you choose to finish)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. 1. Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 250 degrees. Set wire rack in aluminum foil–lined rimmed baking sheet. Pat wings dry with paper towels and transfer to 1-gallon zipper-lock bag. Combine baking powder and salt, add to wings, seal bag, and toss to evenly coat.
    2. Arrange wings, skin side up, in single layer on prepared wire rack. Bake wings on lower-middle oven rack for 30 minutes. Move wings to upper-middle rack, increase oven temperature to 425 degrees, and roast until wings are golden brown and crispy, 40 to 50 minutes longer, rotating sheet halfway through baking. Remove sheet from oven and let stand for 5 minutes. Transfer wings to bowl with wing sauce of your choice, toss to coat, and serve.

  2. Classic Buffalo sauce is made with Frank’s RedHot Sauce.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2cup hot sauce
  • 4tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4tablespoon molasses


Friday, June 26, 2015

Preach repentance: It takes courage and kindness

I read this today:
Jesus told us we would have hard times. He never promised us a prosperity gospel. He said we would face opposition, but he said he would be with us. If we are going to be faithful to his gospel, we must preach repentance—even when that repentance is culturally unwelcome. And we must preach that any sinner can be forgiven through the blood of Jesus Christ. That means courage, and that means kindness. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Is your church sick? Here's some symptoms to watch for.

Great food for thought blog post by Thom Ranier today.  Click through for the original post.


Anatomy of a Sick Church – 10 Symptoms to Watch

There are certain metrics and issues physicians check when we go to the doctor. They want to check our blood pressure and temperature. They do blood tests to see if there are any warning signs. They are looking for symptoms that might indicate real problems exist.
After working with churches for thirty years, I too look for symptoms that might point to greater concerns. The symptoms are not necessarily the problem; they simply provide warnings or cautions of potential issues.
While there are many potential symptoms of a sick church, I have found ten to be consistently common. These ten are not listed in any particular order:
  1. Declining worship attendance. Surprisingly, the majority of church leaders do not monitor worship attendance. I advise leaders to compare each month’s average worship attendance to the same month of previous years.
  2. Decline in frequency of attendance of church members. This symptom is the number one explanation for attendance decline in most churches. Members are not as committed as they once were. Their waning love for their church is reflected in their declining frequency in worship attendance.
  3. Lack of joy and vibrancy in the worship service. Obviously, this symptom is subjective. It is still, however, very important. Most people can sense when a worship service is vibrant, lukewarm, or dead.
  4. Little evangelistic fruit. As a general rule, a healthy church will reach at least one non-Christian for every 20 in worship attendance. A church with a worship attendance of 200, for example, should see at least ten new Christians a year.
  5. Low community impact. In my consultations, I attempt to find clear indicators that a church is making a difference in its respective community. I ask both church leaders and community members for clear examples and indicators.
  6. More meetings than ministry. A sick church will meet about what they should do rather than do it. Some churches have more committees than conversions.
  7. Acrimonious business meetings. Christians can and do disagree. Sick churches have meetings where the disagreements reflect obvious bitterness and anger.
  8. Very few guests in worship services. A vibrant church will attract guests. A sick church will not.
  9. Worship wars. Yes, they still exist in many churches. Those wars are indicators of an inward focus by the members.
  10. Unrealistic expectations of pastoral care. Sick churches view pastors and other staff as hired hands to do all of the work of ministry. Healthy churches view pastors as equippers for the members to do most of the ministry.
None of these symptoms are good, but churches do go through periods where they demonstrate a few of them. The key is to recognize the symptoms and respond early and quickly.
Here is my own subjective health analysis according to the number of symptoms:
1 to 2 symptomsNormal for most churches for a short period of time. Not an indicator of poor health, but the symptoms should be addressed promptly.
3 to 4 symptomsThe church is sick and needs immediate attention.
5 to 6 symptomsThe church is very sick. If significant changes are not made, the congregation is in danger of moving into the phase of terminal illness.
7 to 10 symptomsThe church is in danger of dying in the next five to ten years. While it is possible for a church to recover from this level of sickness, it is rare. Intervention must be quick, intense, and dramatic. The amount of change necessary is often more than most leaders and members are willing to bear.
Give an honest assessment of your own church by these symptom indicators. What do you see? What should you do if there are a number of symptoms? Let me hear from you.