Monday, October 31, 2016

How Do You Reach 70% When They Aren't Interested in Attending Church?


In a day where skepticism and cynicism serve as the framing narrative for many people outside the faith, disciples are left wondering how to meet people where they are. With the desire to come alongside them, The Table Network created a 1Day Training to be a unique learning environment for church leaders, members, planters, and even core teams to look into:

• The core truths that are found at the heart of the disciple-making movements seen throughout time and how they differ from what we see in the West.

• What Lean Start-Ups are, why they are needed more than ever, and how they help both new and existing church families form and flourish within the fabric of each and every culture.

• How to create a rhythm-of-life as an individual and as a community that is conducive to meeting, connecting, and discipling people where they are -and- equipping them to go and do the same.

• How to establish a leadership culture that apprentices disciple-making leaders in the work of the ministry.

The next 1Day is happening on Sat, December 3, 2016 in Wilmington, NC at 4549 Fountain Dr. Wilmington, NC 28405. For more information and to register go here.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Gospel and Politics via Sam James Institute



We are only a few weeks from voting in what is considered one of the most historic elections in my lifetime and maybe in the history of our country. I am only old enough to have voted in a handful of presidential elections, but I cannot remember in my lifetime an election where disciples of Jesus were so divided. For that reason I wanted to post this recent forum on "Gospel and Politics" from Sam James Institute in Raleigh, NC to help you think with the gospel as your lens as you vote next month.

Friday, August 26, 2016

The Insanity of God - Movie



I spent a few of years in seminary earning an M.Div and an M.A. prior to being an international church planter. Many have asked me over the years if my time in seminary was worth it or did I just waste those years. Although one can argue for both cases, I always tell people to follow wherever you sense God is leading you. If that means seminary first, then go to seminary, if that means never going to seminary, then don't spend the time in seminary.

I'm thankful for my time in seminary and in preparation to move overseas one of the classes that impacted me the most personally was on the persecuted church. This was a week long intensive class that was spent hearing story after story of the persecuted believers around the world, our brothers and sisters in the faith. At some point that week everyone had tears in their eyes as we continually asked ourselves, "Is Jesus worth it?"

Since attending that class I've had the privileges of walking alongside Christians in one of the top 25 persecuted countries in the world. A season in my life that I will never forget and may forever ask myself internally if I should return. A few years after taking the class The Insanity of God book was released, which I cannot recommend enough to help give yourself a glimpse of what the majority of Christians in the world deal with on a daily basis.

Now, the Insanity of God movie is being released in select theaters this coming Tuesday, August 30th. Seeing and hearing this true story will be well worth your time and the time of your church if you can find it at a theater near you. Please do not miss this opportunity if you are able and can find a theater as you too ask yourself "Is Jesus worth it?"

Friday, May 6, 2016

Book Giveaway: All Authority

Joey Shaw recently released his book, All Authority, on how the authority of Jesus upholds the Great Commission. Shaw is the International Filed Officer for the Austin Stone Community Church and has years of experience in overseas ministry.

From the book:

Everybody who follows Jesus will encounter a myriad of “authorities” that directly challenge the authority of Christ. These other “authorities” may be parents, teachers, bosses, presidents, institutions, religions, or ideologies. In order to stay firm in devotion to Jesus, we must believe that He has supreme authority over all. Not partial authority, not most authority—all authority. On the basis of his authority, he commissioned his people to go and make disciples among every people group on earth. This is an impossible commission if it were not for the promise that he is with them forever. The doctrine of the supreme authority of Christ not only upholds the work of the church, it is the central message that the church preaches. “Jesus is Lord” is good news!

I am giving away one copy of All Authority because I believe it is the most neglected part of the Great Commission and a key reminder that the church needs.

To win a copy of All Authority you need to do two things:

1. Leave a comment on this post. Include your name and email in the form, and tell us what other books on the Great Commission have helped form your thinking.

2. Tweet or share the giveaway. Point people to the giveaway via Twitter or FaceBook. You can specifically tweet this: "Enter to win a free copy of Joey Shaw's book, All Authority. (Be sure and leave your Twitter or FB name with your comment on the blog so I can find your tweet.)

Entries are cut off Monday morning at 9am (EST), and a winners will be announced shortly after.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

All Authority: How the Authority of Jesus Upholds the Great Commission

Joey Shaw recently released his book, All Authority: How the Authority of Jesus Upholds the Great Commission, which is a book about the authority of Jesus being the basis for the Great Commission. Joey says,"this is an impossible commission if it were not for the promise that he is with them forever." I was intrigued by this book from the time I heard of its release because of this simple, yet impactful, phrase at the beginning of the Great Commission that many of us often skip right over in practice.

Shaw sets the book up in a way as to walk through the Great Commission but instead of initially focusing on the obedience to it, like books before it, he focuses on "without the truth that Jesus has 'all authority,' our mission to 'make disciples' of all peoples is not only impossible, it is fatally foolish."

This book became very personal for me because of my own calling to ministry and years spent in overseas missions service by planting churches in South Asia. Many of the stories that Shaw tells in the book are ones that I have experienced and can see in my own memory. While this personally resonated with me, I fear sometimes that books like this put all of their emphasis of obeying the Great Commission by equating it to only overseas missions. 

I do not think that Shaw believes that or those were his intentions, but I do hope readers will see that we are to be about the Great Commission wherever God has placed us; but that is only by His Authority that it is even possible. 

This is a powerful book that packs a lot of punch at just over 200 pages. The authority by which the Great Commission was given is the most left out part of the Great Commission in practice. In reading this book it gives me a hope that Christ followers will start resting in the authority of Jesus before attempting to accomplish the Great Commission in their own strength. 

I highly recommend this book to those that are tired of trying to be on mission in their own strength, and want to find the rest of being on mission by his authority. Specifically if you are involved with church planting locally or globally I would recommend have planters read this book as they are sent out. 

If you are interested in winning a free copy, please check back on the blog this coming Friday to see how to have your name entered. 

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Leadership Book Giveaway

In March I put out my annual Spring Reading List, which is often made up of leadership books that I am reading or books that have been sent to me by publishers for review. Over the last couple of months I have worked my way through these books and over the next few weeks will be posting a review of each and then hosting a giveaway of one copy of each book. The books will be reviewed and the giveaway will correspond with the order the books are posted below. If interested in winning please check in weekly for the review and follow the instructions for a chance to win. 


On the basis of his authority, he commissioned his people to go and make disciples among every people group on earth. This is an impossible commission if it were not for the promise that he is with them forever. The doctrine of the supreme authority of Christ not only upholds the work of the church, it is the central message that the church preaches. “Jesus is Lord” is good news! 


You are a visionary leader and your church probably has a vision statement. Yet most churches are stuck in a trap of generic communication without a truly visionary plan. Just like a visionary restaurant needs a more specific focus than “serving food,” a visionary church needs something more than biblical generalizations like “loving God, loving people” or “making disciples and serving the world.” 


Even though pastor and author Greg Laurie is a “gospel-presenting professional,” in this book he tells stories of his own failure and success. The most important things you will find here are biblical principles that you can apply yourself. Taken from the life and witness of Jesus, and tested over Greg’s forty years of ministry, in both one-on-one experiences and large-scale evangelistic arena and stadium events, these ideas are intended to mobilize every person in the church to “Tell Someone” about Jesus Christ.


Jesus commands his disciples to be baptized, and it’s a glorious picture of a person’s union with Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. Still, many Christians feel unclear about the topic, having more questions than answers. This short work provides a biblical explanation of baptism. What is it? Who should be baptized? Why is it required for church membership? And how should churches practice baptism?


Congregationalism has a bad rap for well-known reasons: inefficient meetings, upstart members, browbeaten ministers. But biblical congregationalism isn’t so much about the meetings. It’s about empowering the whole church to promote and protect the gospel. Pastors lead and equip. Members get to work strengthening one another and pursuing Christ’s mission in the world.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Cross - Jesus Dies

This post is a summary of content that I developed when I was serving as a church planter in India to teach Hindus through the metanarrative of Scripture. This lesson focuses in on the death of Christ with it being Good Friday an appropriate time to reflect on the cross.

"God shows his love for us in that while we were sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8

First, in essence, Jesus came into the world to die and cover sin.
How did Jesus die?
  • On a cross through crucifixion.
  • Crucifixion is the most excruciating form of death.
  • It was designed for the worst of criminals in society.
  • Jesus was crucified in order to bear our griefs and carry our sorrows (Isa. 53:3-4).
Second, Jesus death on the cross finished his purpose for coming.
  • Jesus himself declared "It is Finished," referring to taking on the sin of the world (John 19:30).
  • Jesus came as our atonement (Rom. 4:25).
  • Jesus came and died in our place:
    • Living the life we were meant to live.
    • Dying the death we deserved to die.
    • Ultimately rising from the dead as a way to prove he conquered sin, death, and the grave.
How does the cross satisfy the wrath of God?
  • The result of sin is death so in order for the wrath of God to be appeased someone has to die.
  • In the Old Testament the wrath of God was appeased through an animal blood sacrifice.
  • In the New Testament we see the ultimate and final blood sacrificed required in Jesus.
  • Jesus, dying in our place, died the death that God revealed we deserved.
    • Hebrews 9:22
    • 1 Peter 1:18-19
  • Jesus ended the need for a blood sacrifice.
    How does the death of Christ justify us before God?
    • God deserves justice and will get justice.
    • Because we are not righteous we cannot justify God.
    • Jesus alone, being the perfect man, could justify us before God (Rom. 1:37; 5:16-17).
    How does God redeem us through the cross?
    • Before the cross we were enslaved in our sin with no hope.
    • Through Jesus alone we have been offered a way out to be redeemed.
      • Justified by his grace (Romans 3:24).
      • Jesus gave himself for us (Titus 2:13-14).
      • Christ became cursed for us (Galatians 3:13-14).
      • Redemption through the blood (Ephesians 1:7).
    So whom did Jesus come to die for?
    • Sinners, which includes all of us (1 Tim. 2:6).
    • He came to be the Savior of all people, but only in a saving way for those that believe/are elect (1 Tim. 4:10).
    How is God triumphant through the cross of Christ?
    • Forgives us of all sin.
    • Expiation
      • Our sin is taken away from us and we are made clean through Jesus.
    • Our sin is taken away and put on Jesus.
    At the cross of Christ we see the ultimate love sacrifice of God for us, which makes a way for reconciliation with God.

    It is Good Friday, the day that we remember the reason that Jesus came to earth to die a bloody gruesome death on the cross in our place. At first look it appears that Christ death was nothing more than death in itself, appearing to some skeptics as proof against the claims of Jesus. But it is only friday and as we will see on Sunday, the resurrection comes and Jesus is Alive!

    Tuesday, March 15, 2016

    Spring Reading Suggestions


    From time to time I like to give a little insight into what I am currently studying or reading as a way to give some insight into where I am being challenged and to make recommendations for others. My reading seems to have slowed down in the last year, which naturally happens at the stage of life I am in with a family and being bi-vocational. Nevertheless, I am still always working my way through a few books at a time and always enjoy passing along recommendations. The following list will also be included in a number of giveaways over the next few months on the blog so if something peaks your interests then be sure to check back here often.


    On the basis of his authority, he commissioned his people to go and make disciples among every people group on earth. This is an impossible commission if it were not for the promise that he is with them forever. The doctrine of the supreme authority of Christ not only upholds the work of the church, it is the central message that the church preaches. “Jesus is Lord” is good news! 


    You are a visionary leader and your church probably has a vision statement. Yet most churches are stuck in a trap of generic communication without a truly visionary plan. Just like a visionary restaurant needs a more specific focus than “serving food,” a visionary church needs something more than biblical generalizations like “loving God, loving people” or “making disciples and serving the world.” 


    Even though pastor and author Greg Laurie is a “gospel-presenting professional,” in this book he tells stories of his own failure and success. The most important things you will find here are biblical principles that you can apply yourself. Taken from the life and witness of Jesus, and tested over Greg’s forty years of ministry, in both one-on-one experiences and large-scale evangelistic arena and stadium events, these ideas are intended to mobilize every person in the church to “Tell Someone” about Jesus Christ.


    Jesus commands his disciples to be baptized, and it’s a glorious picture of a person’s union with Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. Still, many Christians feel unclear about the topic, having more questions than answers. This short work provides a biblical explanation of baptism. What is it? Who should be baptized? Why is it required for church membership? And how should churches practice baptism?


    Congregationalism has a bad rap for well-known reasons: inefficient meetings, upstart members, browbeaten ministers. But biblical congregationalism isn’t so much about the meetings. It’s about empowering the whole church to promote and protect the gospel. Pastors lead and equip. Members get to work strengthening one another and pursuing Christ’s mission in the world.

    Monday, February 8, 2016

    What is A 1Day Training?

    WHAT IS A 1DAY TRAINING?

    In a day where skepticism and cynicism serve as the framing narrative for many people outside the faith, disciples are left wondering how to meet people where they are. With the desire to come alongside them, the table network created a 1Day Training to be a unique learning environment for church leaders, members, planters, and even core teams to look into:
    • The core truths that are found at the heart of the disciple-making movements seen throughout time and how they differ from what we see in the West.
    • What Lean Start-Ups are, why they are needed more than ever, and how they help both new and existing church families form and flourish within the fabric of each and every culture.
    • How to create a rhythm-of-life as an individual and as a community that is conducive to meeting, connecting, and discipling people where they are -and- equipping them to go and do the same.
    • How to establish a leadership culture that apprentices disciple-making leaders in the work of the ministry.
    The next 1Day is in Raleigh, NC on February 27 and I would like to personally invite you to attend. For more information and registration details go here.

    Wednesday, January 6, 2016

    Planning 2016

    On Monday I wrote about how what one does at the beginning of the year sets the tone for the entire year. A large part of setting the tone is planning for the year ahead. It helps me if I write things out that are a priority in my life and then I plan a time to get alone with my wife where we will discuss them and pray over them together in our joint planning. This year our planning will look a little different than it did last year because of working two very different jobs and preparing to see a new gospel work started.

    Below is an example of a few of the broad categories that I will plan for as we start the new year:


    1. Family - Andrea and I plan on taking some time in January to look at the year ahead and plan as to what our monthly life will look like as a family. We will pencil things on each others calendar as far as my traveling/ministry schedule, her ministry schedule, when we will vacation, etc. This allows for us to be on the same page and also be prepared as the year unfolds.

    2. Ministry - I plan on taking some time in January to seek God and see where it is that I really feel like he is leading me to put my time and energy in 2016. A large part of this will revolve around my role as a regional director with the Table Network, but I still want to take time to hear from the Lord. I also plan on continuing my regular preaching schedule as opportunities come up.

    3. Writing - 2015 proved to be a slower year for this blog in regards to my own writing availability and it may continue at that speed to start 2016. The audience and requests to do reviews and host giveaways continued to grow and stay steady though. Many have encouraged me to take my blog and writing to the next level and I am seriously considering it. I am considering releasing my first e-book at some point on what it looks like to live as an everyday missionary in the context where God has placed you. It will be highly advertised if it happens, but keep your eyes and ears open for when this takes place.

    To help me plan I have started using a Moleskine-Weekly-Planner, which can be found at 50% from many retailers right now.

    Monday, January 4, 2016

    Setting the Tone for 2016

    It's that time of year again where people make resolutions to start the new year, most will not be kept past the first week, which is one reason that I typically do not make resolutions at the beginning of the new year. Most people make resolutions with wishful thinking that the new year will be different from the previous year because this time they really "mean" it; but most people would be wrong and only realize that in December when they see they have failed, again. I bet the majority of people cannot even remember their new years resolutions by summer. 

    There is nothing wrong with having resolutions at the beginning of the year, but we are foolish to think that anything will be different the first week of January from the last week of December based on writing down a list alone. Rather than having the resolutions that we cannot remember the first week of February, we should put in place a pattern of life that we desire or attain to live the next year. My suggestion is to make this pattern of life something that is within a reachable goal that you may already obtain partially, but want to obtain fully.
    For example, I want to maintain the 30 pounds of weight I lost in 2015, but desiring it alone will not make it happen. I know how I lost the weight in the first place, and although I splurged during the holidays, I know how to keep it off.

    How is it attainable? Through a purpose, goal, and action plan. The purpose in my case is to live a healthier lifestyle. My goal is to maintain the weight loss. And my plan of action is to continue  to eat healthier, limit my sugar and calorie intake, and exercise on a regular basis. Notice that my plan is attainable because it is realistic and reachable, not unrealistic such as becoming a vegan and exercising everyday for an hour.

    What I have come to learn is that what you do at the beginning of the year sets the tone for the rest of the year. This holds true in all matters of life, spiritual included.

    It's time to set the traditional resolutions at the beginning of the year down and instead remember that you are setting yourself up for the rest of the year. If you set yourself up realistically then you will likely have more success at whatever it is that you are trying to attain. Sure, it will be hard work whether you are trying to lose weight or read the entire Bible for the first time this year, but by setting up an attainable pattern now puts you ahead of the game. Another important component that most of us leave out is having someone to help us reach these goals. This could be a spouse, a friend, or a life coach. The point, have someone in your life that can give you encouragement and accountability to actually attain those goals within your lifestyle change. 


    Here is an additional helpful resource from Scott Thomas on Four Principles for Setting Goals.