Church, Here’s Why People Are Leaving You. Part 1

Anthony Delaney:

Great stuff

Originally posted on john pavlovitz:

WalkingAway

Being on the other side of the Exodus sucks, don’t it?

I see the panic on your face, Church.
I know the internal terror as you see the statistics and hear the stories and scan the exit polls.
I see you desperately scrambling to do damage control for the fence-sitters, and manufacture passion from the shrinking faithful, and I want to help you.

You may think you know why people are leaving you, but I’m not sure you do.

You think it’s because “the culture” is so lost, so perverse, so beyond help that they are all walking away.
You believe that they’ve turned a deaf ear to the voice of God; chasing money, and sex, and material things.
You think that the gays and the Muslims and the Atheists and the pop stars have so screwed-up the morality of the world, that everyone is abandoning faith in droves.

But those aren’t the reasons…

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2 Ways To Live – Alan Taylor @ivychurchhub

Galatians 4:8-20

Have you ever seen someone who starts off full of joy in God. But then they lose focus, lose grace – end up a pain to be around. This church went like that completely.
The simple message of grace they embraces was getting very complicated.
Imagine someone being told at adoption ‘we will love you in this family -,if and when you follow the rules’ There are 2 ways to live
Law or Grace
Which way are you living?

Law = it’s all about what you know
Grace = being known

Paul says going to live by law is just as bad as living that pagan life.

We can trade the old life problems for new
Give up drink
Take up religious Pharisaism

More impt than knowing God is being known by him.

What does it mean to be known by God?
To know that he is your Father and you are a son. An inheritor. God knows you as a loving father loves his beloved son.

Got a problem with the idea of father? When we want to know what the Father’s like, look at the son. Jesus.

When you have one child you wonder how you could ever love another so much But God loves us like he loves his Son.

Knowing in the head can get in the way of knowing in your heart. Just because you can understand it doesn’t mean you have the reality of it.

Law makes you miserable
Grace makes you joyful

Paul says they’re getting all caught up in special days.
When you first start going out you remember the one week anniversary of going out, the 6 month etc

But you don’t have to remember the 4156th monthaversary of going out – because now you are married. A new covenant has come in!

God proposed to you – offered to do life with you
Gave you a sign -,the cross, so we can be sure & secure.

You can end up not doing the bad things others are doing because of law, but you won’t get joy that way.

But as a son you can say no because you don’t want to lose the joy.

If you ask your Father for a fish he won’t give you a snake
Ask for the Spirit he won’t give you a slap!

Law deforms
Grace transforms

Paul says I’m pregnant for you as Christ is formed

The Law doesn’t transform you, it just tells you you need the change.

Grace transforms.
We are not meant to be slaves but sons
Heirs not orphans

We don’t want to be Pharisees that reach people but don’t see them change except into sons of hell

Only sons can represent the Father fully.

Until you can call God your Father, you’ve missed the whole point of Christianity.

Philip Jinadu – Free To Serve at @Detlingsummer

People get on edge when they hear the word evangelism.

We used to get the evangelists come to the church: Big bible, stories, miracles, wife.

But God wants to set you up to win.

1 Cor 9:19-23
Paul’s secret of evangelism?

Connect to the people where they are, to win them to Christ.

Become a servant to them for the sake of the gospel.

Evangelism isn’t about what you know-

It’s about:
1) Who we are
He starts off by saying he knows who he is. If you know who you are in Christ, you’ll share him. Let your light shine. Jesus says I AM the light of the world. The salt of the earth. This is who you are because he is in you

That’s plural, not singular
It’s not ‘you in your small dark corner and you in mine.’ It’s you together – plural – are the light, singular.

Nothing changes about the light, it’s all about position. If you put it under a bowl it lights nobody else. The church is better than you think. More powerful than you know. The light of the world

2) How we relate

Paul’s not compromising, he’s looking for a point of contact. It’s not ‘come to church and become like us ‘ it’s about I love you enough to accommodate to you. Build a bridge
You can’t drive a heavy load over a thin bridge
All of us have relationships
The gospel flows through relationships
EA. – 77% came to church because a friend invited them

Evangelism looks like joining the running club, or going to the pub, opening your home, praying for people by name, being a friend – especially in hard times. Build bridges.

It’s not our job to convert them, convince them, or convict them. Love them! By all means!
Meet them where they are

3) What we share

The pressure’s off. Paul says he does it all for the sake of the gospel. Some people will get it, others won’t. But the gospel is the power of God unto salvation of everyone who believes.

Nothing can change hearts like the gospel – never be ashamed of its dunamis.

It’s a dark, dark world. Shine!

Pray ‘Dear God, use us! To use our freedom to reach others with the gospel.’

You Foolish Mancuniuns! Matty Hawthorne at Ivy Sharston

We are a church that gets this message of grace.
But one survey said 81% of Christians believe Christianity is primarily as rule keeping. We have to get grace, and Galatians is all about that.
New believers there were being told it was Jesus plus that saved us The OT – the law was 613 rules
The NT – Heb 8 : it’s on your heart and mind. The law… Of love 1 John – his commands are not burdensome
We live under one covenant only
Eph 2:12 says law was never an option for Gentiles anyway
It’s new covenant or nothing for us, foreigners to the covenant.

It says ‘I will forgive their sins & remember them no more’
Removed!

Jesus death and resurrection bought it for us

For there to be an inheritance there has to be a death
The covenant takes effect then
There’s a great dividing line in history

Moses came down with the tablets
They say ‘we will do it all’
Then they make a golden calf

Being under the law is like having a swivel chair God, like in the Voice If you have done well, he will turn his face to you

But the real God is unchangeable
So to save us he makes a promise to himself because that’s not going to change. It’s a covenant between God and God and you caught in the middle.

We can’t live by the 613
We can’t live by the 10
We can live by grace – Jesus plus nothing.

Guided by Jesus he will lead you into life. Law never does that.

You foolish Mancuniuns!

Take Jesus instead. You can’t pick and choose laws – you’ll pick and lose. Because then you are under a curse. Don’t pinch laws and sprinkle them into your grace.

The cross says Christ is the end of the law. You need to read the OT with NT glasses on. Then it’s clear.

Heb 10:11 – Jesus doesn’t have to keep standing in the tabernacle – he’s sat down. Because it’s finished.

Don’t make salvation about you and your efforts
You never leave the gospel

So, I’m sinning – what do I do?
STOP
And get grace.

God already forgave you. He doesn’t deal with you on the basis of your sins but on Christ’s offering.

Believe him, like Abraham – and it’s credited to you as righteousness.

Don’t fix your eyes on your sin
Fix your eyes on Jesus
Don’t fight the flesh. Be filled with the Spirit.
His grace is enough
He gave his life for you
To give his life to you
To live his life through you

Debby Wright at #NewWine14

We are here as a people of the presence.
Years ago she felt God kept stirring her to make a difference to prostitutes.
10 years on, she got connected to a drop in centre, and started to volunteer every Friday. Found people with such broken lives.
One girl was a prisoner in her own home, abused by her partner – but refused prayer, over and over. Finally she allowed it.
When she got to her house she found the only man who had ever been kind to her in her life was outside.
He threw the guy out, and he drove away drunk – and got arrested and out of the picture. We can’t do anything in our own strength.
Isaiah 55
God wants to satisfy us.

David learned to go to God & be satisfied
That prepared him to be King
God remembered David’s heart for him, more than his sin.
That David wanted to be His.

Only Jesus can quench our thirst.
He wants to feed us
And others through him

When you overflow, you can’t help but give it out.

How quick do you leak?
Could it be an email or a word that empties you out?
Interrupting the flow

John 4 – the water of Jesus is an internal spring that never runs out: as long as we’re abiding, drinking him in.

One day, Revelation promises, this will be completely satisfied.

We receive and now we can give. In the presence of God, amazing things happen.

People of the presence get mobilised to go out. To move out in their gifts – they get released. Not ambitious for their own sake, but for the kingdom.

People of the presence get influence. They are willing to pay the price. Counting it all loss. They press into God and press on to glory.

Filled up – we spill out
The end of Is 55 is about going to the nations.

Reach out, step out, speak out, give out.

Robby Dawkins – how leaders can help grow their churches in the miraculous t

Notes from a meeting at New Wine 14. Most of it was Robby, some from others.

1. Keep stories of miracles
– in & out of the church, of people stepping out; and ‘free to fail’ services That it doesn’t have to be successful
You have a value of risk taking
– in home groups, on the streets.

2 Step up yourself.
Once a quarter/ a month – step out. Pull people in front of everyone and model it. Walk through the model of prayer – one to one.
If it doesn’t seem to ‘work’ – you’re I’m that now and not yet deal, it’s okay. Get the kids to pray, or people who have never prayed for someone before Or ‘anyone with problem with shoulder?’
Anyone feel God doesn’t use you in prayer? Get over and put your hands on them and say this…

3.Pray the way Jesus prayed.

The way the apostles prayed – ‘shoulder be healed…’

4. What if they don’t get healed?
Don’t avoid this!
Take a risk.
Say something you normally wouldn’t
Do something you usually wouldn’t
Put Something out there for God to multiply.,
You’re not a healer anyway
You can’t heal anyone
Just because it works doesn’t mean you’ll ever get confident in it anyway!

5. Be around people who believe this stuff still works.

Give yourself permission to do a new thing. What you do on Sunday is meant to be reproducible on Monday.

If you’re already not seeing people healed by not praying, you might as well get praying!

We create the culture. Don’t change the culture, create a new one. You’re in charge of that.

Don’t let feeling fear stop you. That feeling/ thought may not be you. Don’t let the enemy intimidate you out of it. Act like an overcomer. Trust that and push the other way against it. Push out.

Put some time in the diary every week to be out on the streets praying for people.

Danielle Strickland at #nwunited14 – Eye Surgery

Ephesians 2
Paul’s prayer – that we would have vision

God needs to expand our vision

Read the Hebrews Heroes
11:13 – they didn’t get it but they saw it from a distance and welcomed it.

She told the great story about the Muslim woman sitting with her on the plane – I blogged it from Exponential – – search for her name on the blog and read it.

She got to see behind the veil
Then the girl asked ‘was I what you were expected’

Remember Hagar? Invited in, used, then excluded. Left to die in the desert. She’s excluded and alone and cries out -
Then God shows up and she says ‘I have seen the God who sees me’

Then she goes back and says I’m not invisible any more.

God is with us
You’re not invisible
Not to him, ever
You’re not isolated
He sees you
You can see him
Don’t hide behind a veil.

He’s right here.
No matter what.
Even if it didn’t or doesn’t get better.
You will never be alone in anything you go through

When you realise God is with you
You can take risks
Be free
Free others

Acts 3:4
It was an ever enlarging vision.
It’s about you
Then it’s about your neighbours
Then it’s Jerusalem and from there to every nation.

Look at the change in the disciples perspective
Their vision shifts because they stop and look at beggars
Make eye contact
Stop
Look – intently, ‘look at us!’

Remember how they used to see beggars? Sinners cursed.

Now it’s a real person.

Then in Acts 10 Peter has an ever expanding vision ‘kill and eat!’

No Lord, never.
Again and again

Then the messengers arrive – from the enemy. The oppressors

The Lord told us to take us to the Gentiles house – completely defiled Because The Lord expanded his vision
To uncomfortable places

Bigger than you could ever dream possible

How do you see yourself?
See how he sees you
See him
Shift your perspective

See others now.
Your neighbour
Your enemy
The stranger

Don’t wait to be released – you’re released! Don’t let fear stop you.

Go. See someone. Do something that makes you look foolish.

Where is too hard for you to go? Go there
See the world he sees
It’s not too hard for him.

Mother Teresa never saw a beggar- she saw Jesus.

Do you need eye surgery?

Both/And, not Either/Or, is ALL IN. #BGBG2

I tire of reading either/or, incarnation vs proclamation opinions or even discipleship vs evangelism. Really? It’s a false dichotomy. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. 

It’s not enough to just say it, we have to share it. And vice versa. Both/And is ALL IN. 

A great example of this came to mind as I reflected on a talk given earlier this year I heard at Exponential by Oscar Murio from Nairobi Chapel. I look forward to meeting him next January in Kenya to discuss the idea of ‘New Thing Global.’

Oscar passionately shared something of this challenging story, first recounted by Robert Murray McCheyne, so I tracked it down for a little more detail.

At the beginning of the C19th a missionary from England happened to be on a hilltop in South Africa, and as he glanced over a wall that surrounded a leper colony, saw two lepers ploughing a field.

One had lost his hands, the other had lost his feet. The one without hands was carrying the one without feet, and they would stop at each pre-dug hole in the field. The one with hands, riding on the other’s back, would drop a seed into the hole while the other would cover it with dirt by his foot. He told the heart breaking story to others.

Two young Moravian missionaries heard about the situation. They began to pray, and both felt the leading of the Spirit to enter the leper village, preach the good news and ‘be Jesus’ there.

‘Can we go in?’ They asked.

Yes, but…

They knew the consequences – once a person entered such a village they were forbidden to ever come out again. It was a death sentence. But both willingly went in to show and tell the love of God to these people.

We loved you very much, so we were happy to share God’s Good News with you. But not only that—we were also happy to share even our own lives with you. 1 Thess 2:8

How God prepared me for the Independent interview.

I meant to get round to posting this earlier to my blog. Quite amazing, we certainly didn’t go looking for it they came to us.
It started out as an invitation to tell my personal faith story but after they heard about Ivy that became a focus.
Then one morning I woke up and after prayer started to have a conversation in my head with my friend the Holy Spirit.

He was asking ‘what would you say if someone asked you about this.. And that…’

Half an hour later the reporter rang me asking me exactly those questions.

If you’d told me the day before I would be answering such tough questions to be reported in the international press I wouldn’t have slept at all.

Anyway if you haven’t read it yet – here’s the link.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/inside-a-church-for-born-again-christians-speaking-to-god-in-a-manchester-multiplex-9624138.html

THIS SATURDAY I FEATURE IN THE INDEPENDENT – HERE’S WHY IT’S SCARY AND I NEED YOU TO PRAY

I’ve seen the pre-print copy and generally the reporter who has put it together gives a fair assessment of what I said in answer to her questions which started as a ‘Why did you become a Christian’ but then ranged far and wide on issues including;

Why some churches are growing and others not
Women Bishops / women in leadership
Homosexuality
Abortion
Christianity and other religions

She isn’t a Christian, no church background, and so ties it together with various phrases that I wouldn’t be comfortable with at times (she says ‘Born Again’ a lot for instance, that was their angle), but the bits in quotes are the things I said and I stand by them. When you read the article please bear that in mind and read my words to hear my heart.

These are all difficult subjects! But some years ago I made a commitment to God, I said that if He opened a door into media I would not chicken out but would walk through it and be bold, so please would he close doors that I wasn’t to go through. Since then I’ve done Radio 2, Radio 4, and Radio 5 Live as well as many regional stations.

This is a national/ international press opening and an opportunity to present the gospel and tell my life story of the difference Jesus has made and I took it. It also features a couple of family members and their stories, ‘As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.’

It looks to be a full colour feature in the Independent on Saturday, in the supplement, up to 100,000 will read it – please pray that it goes well and helps bring hope and encourages this vast readership to think again about their lives and helps them find their way back to God. Let me know what you think of it too because I’m unlikely to read the comments on the article itself, I expect some vociferous responses from e.g. the atheists who don’t know how much God loves them and has done for them.