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I was 24 and had just started my first full-time ministry position. From my vantage point things were pretty difficult.

“I must be going through spiritual warfare.” I reasoned. I approached my pastor after a service to pray for me.

“Pastor, I need you to prayer for me. I think I’m under spiritual attack” I said.

“Oh really. Tell me about it. What’s going on?” He was genuinely interested and willing to help.

As I tried to explain the nature of the “attack”, I realized I couldn’t pinpoint anything specific. I touched on a few challenges, but nothing materialized as an obvious problem. He looked at me with understanding eyes. I fumbled and mumbled and finally summarized, “I’m not really sure, things are just harder than I expected. I’m not doing so well.” Read More

worshipIf you’ve been in church a little while, it’s likely you’ve been to a rough prayer meeting or two. What I mean by rough is a meeting that wasn’t exactly exhilarating; a meeting that you went away from more burdened than when you came. I’ve been to a few in my life. Ok, if I’m honest, I’ve led a few. The Bible promises that we’ll be joyful in His presence. If that’s the case why are our prayer meetings at times so … boring? I’ve come to find that there are certain elements that can really help our prayer meetings become, dare I say it, enjoyable.

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I wrote yesterday on critical components to establishing a specific culture in your church community. One component that is often overlooked is messaging. Many times leaders desire a certain culture, but their messaging actually inhibits the building of that culture. Leaders teach what they know. And so if they desire a certain culture beyond what they know it requires them to learn the messages that will build that culture. It can’t be an empty parroting, they must learn the messages at the heart level. A leader must be moved by the message himself, if he expects to move his hearers. Once he learns the messages, he can then declare them and begin to shift the culture. In developing a culture of prayer I have found several messages that are essential. I encourage you to give yourself to these messages until they move your heart and then begin to proclaim them in your community.

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CultureA great honor any leader has, especially a pioneering leader, is establishing the culture of a community. I remember in the early days of pioneering IHOP-Atlanta I was struck with the thought, “I don’t have to build anything I don’t want to build. God is giving me the opportunity to establish culture in our community in the way He leads. What a huge privilege!” From that time til now, developing and stewarding our culture has been a necessary, continual focus. I have found that ministry culture is a product of several components.

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prayer2Yesterday I wrote about the values of a praying church. Once the values are identified, another important question a leader needs to answer is, “What are we?”

What I mean is…is the ministry a church? A house of prayer? A missions base? What exactly are you building?

You mean to tell me there’s a difference?

For sure. You wouldn’t use the same strategy to build a skyscraper that you would use to build a three bedroom house. The strategy you use to build needs to be distinct to what you’re building. Read More

Ibaraki_Kasugaoka_Church_light_crossWhat is a praying church? I am asked this question, in some form, regularly. There are mulitple ways I could answer this question, but perhaps the most constructive is to talk about the values of a praying church.

I believe it’s critically important to know the “why” before you find out the “what” or the “how” in just about anything you do. Most of the time leaders want to know “how” to do a ministry without knowing the key premises behind that ministry. If we have a clear picture of the “why”, i.e. the values behind something, the “how” tends to work itself out. Often we spend too much time on “how” because we don’t know “why”. Read More

shutup-1“Why don’t you just believe what you believe and allow others to believe what they believe? You can’t force someone to believe what you believe!”

The objections rained down as the rhetoric over Chris Broussard’s statements about sin reached a fevered pitch. This type of response has become common when Christians share their perspective on issues of faith and morality. To be honest, I actually agree with these statements…in part. Here’s the part I agree with:

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China is home to the largest revival the world has ever seen. Conservative estimates say that 30,000 people are coming to the Lord Jesus daily. That’s approximately 1 million salvations per month. These are not simply crusade evangelism stats of people who filled out a commitment card, there are no crusades or mass evangelism efforts in China. Rather, these are actual conversions of people who are added to the church. Truly the Word of the Lord is running swiftly and being glorified!

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Years ago a friend of mine had a dream about the end of the age and the coming revival. He saw many things, but the key message of the dream was that the church at the end of the age would be known as a church of servanthood and love. These two charateristics would be important keys that would enable the church to operate in the power of God and see massive revival. Read More