Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Compromised and Dangerous!


While thinking through recent years, it seemed  profitable to post this
axiom that we have maintained and proven to be a trustworthy principle.
If you recall,we taught it as a means of personal ministerial accountability
and for the flock to protect themselves against compromised ministers
who go rogue.

"Beware of any man who publicly declares he is accountable to others and yet,
 when called to account for sin and compromise, he then defies,denounces, and
 denigrates the very accountability he once publicly affirmed". Beware! Such a
 person is absolutely dangerous and should be "feared" rather than "followed!"

Unfortunately, we have watched "brothers" immediately abandon their
ministerial covenant when they were held accountable for an uncharactered
life or confronted for violation of ministerial ethics or were guilty of
compromised conduct unbecoming to ministers.

With that in mind, some of these same "brothers" continue to distort facts,
deceive the vulnerable, and denigrate our ministry. However, I  find a
grace-filled confidence to enter 2012 since we remain accountable thru
ministerial covenant with the same honorable  brothers that we have been
relating to since the Redeemed Community days in the 90's.

I am indebted to Bishop Bill Mikler, Pastor Jim Crabb, Joe Sacco, John Reyes,
Jon Paul Jordan, Frank Freeman, Norm Waddell,  Jacob Watson, and Pastor
Kenny Tanner for relational accountability and covenant friendship.

Should anyone hear slanderous accusations against our character or ministry,
please employ these righteous actions as a means to silence false accusers:

1. First, ask the individual  if he was ever in relational covenant with RFM,
and if so,were his credentials revoked or was he asked to surrender them?
After they answer, apply the above axiom.

2. Second, contact any of the brothers mentioned to confirm our sustained
covenant submission to them regarding ministerial, marital, doctrinal,
ethical and moral integrity. Request them to explain  the RFM
"Cross of Accountabilty".

Stengthened by grace, our mutual covenant commtment has endured years
of relational testing and correction of one another.


Friday, December 16, 2011

15 Characteristics of Great Leaders

Thom Rainer put together 15 characteristics of great leaders.


>see possibilities rather than obstacles.
>do not blame others.
>do not have a victim mentality.
>give credit to others.
>seek what is best for the organization rather than for themselves.
>respond to some critics and to ignore others.
>see past the latest obstacle or challenge.
>are continuous learners.
>exhibit true humility.
>admit their mistakes.
>take calculated risks.
>are more likely to make quick decisions.
>have a love and a passion for what they do
>are first great leaders in their families.
>mentor others to become great leaders.


Friday, December 2, 2011

Five Commands of "Unregenerate Pew Fillers"

I am convinced that Pastors today are held captive to five commands
mandated by unregenerate pew fillers.

Even worse, ministers delight in crafting their sermons and structuring
Sunday mornings to satisfy these man pleasing appetites.

Why? Because doing so becomes the means to stroke personal ego by
fulfilling their  "ABC's Vision" for secularized leadership success
defined as Attendance, Buildings, and Cash!

The Five commands:

>Tell me what I want to hear.....................................Narcissism.
>Tell me what will make me feel better......................Sentimentalism
>Tell me what will work for me..................................Pragmatism
>Tell me what is the least costly ............................... Consumerism
>Tell me what is inoffensive........................................Permissivism

With these in mind, read the article below from the Huffington Post.
Not the resource center for biblicism.Yet, the Pastor writing the article
is spot on.

Here is an extract from this confessing Pastor:

"I'm the pastor of a church called Redemption Church in Olathe, KS.
Our church was planted in 2003 and founded upon church leadership
principles that worked like a charm. We grew from 2 families to around
200 families in the first three years. We planted another church in a nearby
town and continued to grow. But, when we decided to reject sentimentality
and pragmatism and chase faithfulness instead we really began to grow ...
smaller that is. I don't know for sure because we no longer count, but my best
guess is that we have decreased by more than half."

If pressed about my church's growth strategy, I usually say it is to get smaller
and die; to continually decrease the amount of time, resources and energy we
spend trying to have the ultimate church experience, and to spend more time
actually being faithful.

Nowadays, faithfulness -- not success -- is our only
metric. Success is about "doing." Faithfulness is about "being," and it's
really hard to measure."


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Please Do Not Leave Me To My Self


Mark Driscoll says,"You’ve got to confront sin in yourself, in your spouse,
and in your friends.There is no greater contempt for someone than to leave
them in their sin."

I whole heartily agree!

Proverbs 27:6 puts friendship in proper perspective:“Wounds from a faithful
-sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy."

With these foundational stones, lets all be pro-active in our pursuit of
relational integrity together by allowing personally close brothers to
answer questions like these proposed by Nathan Burke:

>Where do I most consistently fail?

>What patterns do you see that annoy or frustrate you?

>What is something you’ve wished I would do or stop doing?

>Where/how am I not living up to my potential?

>What are my blind spots?

>How can I be of more help to you?

Now the final question. Are we being faithful friends to one another?
Then send your answer to these questions or give me a call.

Proclaiming The Crown Rights of King Jesus!



Monday, November 28, 2011

"Good And Angry For The Kings Honor!"

I love Paul Tripp! In this article he addresses an issue that many
today simply prefer to ignore. Anger is a Kingdom calling!

Here are a few extracts of his very balanced article.
I took the liberty to highlight portions for emphasis.


"God calls you to be good, and he calls you to be angry at the same time."

"...those of us who have been called to represent the character and call of God
in local church ministry need to pray that we would be righteously angry.

We must pray that a holy zeal for what is right and good would so fill our hearts
that the evils greeting us daily would not be okay with us.

We must pray that we would be angry in this way until there is no reason to be angry
anymore. And we must be vigilant, looking for every opportunity to express the righteous
indignation of justice, mercy, wisdom, grace, compassion, patience, perseverance, and love.

We must be agitated and restless until his kingdom has finally come and his will is finally
being done on earth as it is in heaven. For the sake of God's honor and his kingdom...

We must determine to be good and angry at the same time."

"Injustice must not, cannot be okay with us. The immorality of the culture around us
must not, cannot be okay with us. The deceit of the atheistic worldview---the philosophical
paradigm of many culture-shaping institutions---must not, cannot be okay with us.

Righteous anger should yank us out of selfish passivity. Righteous anger should call us
to join God's revolution of grace. It should propel us to do anything we can to lift the load
of people's suffering, through the zealous ministry of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and to bring
them into the freedom of God's truth."


Monday, November 21, 2011

What Kind Of People Should Ministers Listen To?


Perry Noble summarizes one of the most critical challenges that confronts
each of us. Who do we  listen to when it comes to making decisions?

Perry lays out eight practical and relational traits that must  be flagrant
if we are to give anyone audience to our lives.

I rejoice to report that each of my covenant friends in RFM consistently demonstrate these relational virtues.

As we approach "Thanksgiving Day", I feel especially graced to represent
the "Crown Rights of King Jesus" with such honorable men of covenant,
character and conscience.

O Lord!
For this I am grateful!


#1 – Those who know me, who have spent time with me and understand
        that there is a person behind the personality.

#2 – Those who have seen me at my best and worst…and love me anyway.

#3 – Those who do not automatically assume the worse about me and always
        give me the benefit of the doubt. (ALWAYS beware of the person who
        seeks to pounce on you as soon as they hear something bad!)

#4 – Those who are willing to stand with me in a tough time–

#5 – Those who offer correction for the purpose of building up rather
        than tearing down (people who always seek to tear you down
        should be ignored!

#6 – Those who are willing to take a confrontation straight to the person
        rather to an online audience.

#7 – Those who are not always looking for a reason to attack/hate you.

#8 – Those who have the goal of restoring you when you mess up
        and not wounding you!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

RFM Judicial Disqualifiers


In light of the recent post about SGM and the Cross of Accountability,
please review these traits that disqualify an RFM Minister from the
process of "Judging Righteously"regarding ministerial conflict, relational
or behavioral sin, and church court proceedings.

We serve in an adult world brothers! Man Up!

1.Failure to bring forth the teachings and standards that have
 been imparted and modeled.................................................[dismissive of  history]

2.Failure to employ perspirational study through investigative
   research and assigned reading............................................[lack scholarship]

3.Failure to demonstrate a mature ability to define issues and
   inability to think through the complex stuff of life..................[lack critical thinking skills]

4. Failure to show a mature ability to make consistent application
    of scriptural principles and pattern......................................[lacking biblical wisdom]

5. Failure to maintain principled centered objectivity .............. [Unprincipled mercy]

                                  Relationships are more important than issues,
                                    Truth is more important than relationship!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Sovereign Grace Ministries Assessment

Ted Kober of "Ambassadors for Reconciliation" spoke this week at Sovereign Grace Ministries PastorsConference. At the end of his message, Ted gave an overview of what his team is learning about Sovereign Grace Ministries polity, process and procedures.

As a family of ministers,  RFM should digest the observations from their initial
research and interviews. The assessment put forth should motivate each of us to have a clear grasp of the "Cross of Accountability" as a redemtpive process with defined procedure for handling conflict and charges.

 An audio recording of the AFR session is also posted on the SGM site below.


1.SGM has been blessed to grow over the last three decades.

2.SGM has been effective in their focus on church planting and witness.

3.SGM’s quick growth has not been accompanied by the appropriate
 development of structure, process, and policy (and he lists several examples).

4.A number of people have expressed hurts and anger over the way discipline
 has been handled within SGM churches.

5.When significant charges were brought against the chairman and several board
 members, SGM had to develop processes in the midst of conflict. This is extremely
 difficult. Ideally a system is in place so everyone knows what to expect, but this was
 not the case for those bringing or receiving allegations.

6.No matter who assisted SGM during this crisis, they were going to be criticized.
 Nobody could come into the middle of a crisis and design a system that satisfied
 everyone, and everyone will be able to find something to criticize. This is to be
 expected in the middle of a conflict.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

7 Qualifying Questions For Potential Leadership

The effectiveness of a minister is directly related to the quality of leaders
around him.Tony Morgan presents 7 qualifying questions that should be
considered when examining potential leaders.

1.Do they have the leadership gift?
This is the key question that shapes everything else. If they aren’t a leader,
they shouldn’t be on this team. You also need to consider leadership capacity.
We know from Scripture that there are leaders of tens, fifties, hundreds and

2.Are they a big-picture thinker?
In other words, this person always prioritizes the church’shealth over what’s
happening in their specific ministry area. They are more concerned with
alignment to the overall goals rather than defending their turf. They won’t let
their passion fora specific ministry get in the way of making decisions that help
the entire church take a step forward.

3.Is this person a strategic thinker?
You need people who can think beyond the daily details. There are places for managers on your team. You need people who can take the game plan and makeit happen. Your senior team, though, isn’t the place for managers. Find people whothink about the future and then canstrategically propose how to get from here to there.

4.Can they build teams?
In ministry, this is primarily about building and equipping teams of volunteers. As thechurch grows, you also need people who can develop staff teams. These are the folks who have demonstrated they can identify and empower other leaders. If their instinct is, “I need to do this myself,” you have the wrong person.

5.Do they share the vision and values of your organization?
This is no team for someone who perceives they need to provide checks and balances.Maybe they pride themselves on being the “devil’s advocate” in your organization.Thedevil already has an advocate — you don’t need one on your senior leadership team. Every leader at this level needs to be 100 percent on board with the church’s vision and values.

6.Does this person help us reflect the diversity of our ministry?
Sometimes we falsely assume every leader is wired up just like us. That’s absolutely not true. Leadership comes in a variety of shapes and sizes based on someone’s gift mix, background, personality and experiences. Consider using the “Leading From Your Strengths” profile to help you identify how different strengths are the foundation for different leaders.

7.Is this person a lifelong learner?
Ideally, you’ll identify people who will grow with your organization. It does no good to have someone who has all the answers, because tomorrow the questions will be different. You need people who embrace leadership development for themselves and their teams.

By the way, especially for smaller or newer churches, you don’t necessarily need to be paid staff to be on the senior leadership team. For lay people, though, they still need to be fully engaged in ministry and serving in a leadership capacity.

If a volunteer leader can’t invest the time to do that, you may need to move them into more of an advisory capacity or just pull them in on specific projects.


Friday, October 7, 2011

LifeWay Survey: Majority Of Pastors Experience Loneliness

Though almost all pastors feel privileged to be in ministry, a majority also experience loneliness and discouragement.

That is the finding of a survey by LifeWay Research of 1,000 American Protestant pastors conducted Aug. 17-24.

A full 98 percent agree with the statement, "I feel privileged to be a pastor," with 93 percent strongly agreeing. Only about 0.5 percent of pastors disagree with the statement.

Yet more than half (55 percent) also agree with the statement, "I find that it is easy to get discouraged," and 55 percent say being in pastoral ministry makes them feel lonely at times.

"Many oft-quoted statistics speak of miserable and unhappy pastors, but that's not what we see when we actually ask them," explained Ed Stetzer, vice president of research and ministry development at LifeWay Christian Resources. "There is discouragement and loneliness, but when 98 percent agree it is a privilege to be a pastor, we also know there is a great honor to being a pastor."

Pastors 65 and older are the least discouraged age bracket. While 30 percent of those 65 and older strongly disagree that it is easy to get discouraged in ministry, only 19 percent ages 55-64 strongly disagree along with 13 percent ages 45-54 and 11 percent ages 18-44.

Pastors 65 and older are also most likely to strongly disagree (39 percent) with the statement, "Pastoral ministry makes me feel lonely at times." Twenty-nine percent of those ages 55-64 strongly disagree, as well as 21 percent ages 45-54 and 19 percent ages 18-44.

Ironically, pastors of larger churches are lonelier. Of those in congregations with average attendance of 250 or more, 17 percent strongly disagree that pastoral ministry makes them feel lonely at times. In comparison, 32 percent with churches of 0-49 and 27 percent with churches of 100-249 strongly disagree.

"Pastors feel privileged, but clearly the reality of constant service can take its toll," Stetzer said. "There is discouragement and loneliness in ministry. It appears that the larger the church the more present the loneliness."


LifeWay Study: Majority of Pastors Experience Loneliness

Though almost all pastors feel privileged to be in ministry, a majority also experience loneliness and discouragement.

That is the finding of a survey by LifeWay Research of 1,000 American Protestant pastors conducted Aug. 17-24.

A full 98 percent agree with the statement, "I feel privileged to be a pastor," with 93 percent strongly agreeing. Only about 0.5 percent of pastors disagree with the statement.

Yet more than half (55 percent) also agree with the statement, "I find that it is easy to get discouraged," and 55 percent say being in pastoral ministry makes them feel lonely at times.

"Many oft-quoted statistics speak of miserable and unhappy pastors, but that's not what we see when we actually ask them," explained Ed Stetzer, vice president of research and ministry development at LifeWay Christian Resources. "There is discouragement and loneliness, but when 98 percent agree it is a privilege to be a pastor, we also know there is a great honor to being a pastor."

Pastors 65 and older are the least discouraged age bracket. While 30 percent of those 65 and older strongly disagree that it is easy to get discouraged in ministry, only 19 percent ages 55-64 strongly disagree along with 13 percent ages 45-54 and 11 percent ages 18-44.

Pastors 65 and older are also most likely to strongly disagree (39 percent) with the statement, "Pastoral ministry makes me feel lonely at times." Twenty-nine percent of those ages 55-64 strongly disagree, as well as 21 percent ages 45-54 and 19 percent ages 18-44.

Ironically, pastors of larger churches are lonelier. Of those in congregations with average attendance of 250 or more, 17 percent strongly disagree that pastoral ministry makes them feel lonely at times. In comparison, 32 percent with churches of 0-49 and 27 percent with churches of 100-249 strongly disagree.

"Pastors feel privileged, but clearly the reality of constant service can take its toll," Stetzer said. "There is discouragement and loneliness in ministry. It appears that the larger the church the more present the loneliness."

Positively, nearly eight in 10 pastors (79 percent) disagree with the statement, "Being in ministry has had a negative effect on my family." A majority (58 percent) strongly disagree. Twenty percent somewhat disagree, 15 percent somewhat agree and 4 percent strongly agree.

"This statistic has to be one of the biggest surprises," said Stetzer, who has also served as a pastor. "Pastoring can be stressful on a family, but contrary to some hyped statistics, most do not believe that being a pastor has hurt their family.

"Pastoring is difficult, and family life is a fishbowl, but overstating the challenge and dangers of pastoring can discourage pastors and create an expectation of family disruption leading to that very problem," he said.

Pastors in the South (63 percent) are more likely to strongly disagree that ministry has had a negative effect on their families than their counterparts in the Northeast (51 percent) or Midwest (54 percent).

The study found that 18 percent of pastors have more than 10 close friends in their congregation. Sixteen percent have six to 10, 38 percent have three to five, 10 percent have two and 4 percent have one. Twelve percent of pastors have no close friends in their congregation.

Pastors 65 and older are less likely to have no close friends in their church and most likely to have more than 10 close friends. Six percent of pastors ages 65 and older have no close friends, compared with 14 percent ages 55-64 and 13 percent ages 18-44.

More than a third (34 percent) of pastors 65 and older have more than 10 close friends in their church.

Pastors in the Northeast (20 percent) are more likely to have no close friends in their church than those in the South (10 percent) or West (9 percent). Additionally, those identifying themselves as Mainline (18 percent) are more likely to have no close friends than those identifying themselves as Evangelicals (10 percent).

Relationships matter and it appears that pastors value those friendship—particularly as they get older," Stetzer explained. "Older pastors (and I would add, younger pastors with wisdom) have developed more close friendships within their church and are less likely to be discouraged or lonely. This combination mirrors workplace studies that have shown that more friendships at work correspond with higher satisfaction with a person's job and life."


Monday, August 22, 2011

Four Points of the Resurgence Movement


Mark Driscoll presents four points of the Resurgence Movement. He explains that while being personally Reformed, he has issues with ministering from a theology of  the 5 points of Calvinism because it doesn't work from a God centered theology. Clearly insightful and most compelling.

Each RFM minister should take a few minutes and listen to Driscoll's presentation. While fascinating, it will also provide give us the opportunity to maintain a state of being current with theology and movements. Remember, ignorance isn't a Kingdom virtue.



Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Post Preaching Depression


You have heard me mention this issue over the years. Most Sunday evenings are brutal as I slide into this post-adrenaline zone. You may find this article helpful.


Have you ever been mightily used by God, get a spiritual high, and then the next day feel like a schmuck? Have you ever been running on a spiritual high for quite some time only to be blown away by an equally crushing period of depression and dryness? If so then you might be experiencing Post-Preaching Depression; or as Archibald Hart has termed it, “Post-adrenaline Depression”.

 Hart describes it this way“…what I was experiencing was a profound shutdown of my adrenal system, following a period of high stress or demand. It was as if my adrenal system were saying, “That’s enough abuse for now; let’s give it a break,” and shut down so that I had no choice in the matter.”

Sometimes we experience this because we are adrenaline junkies. Sometimes we experience this because there are seasons in our life when we must rely upon adrenaline (God gives it for a reason). The problem is that we often abuse adrenaline. We get addicted to the “high’s” and become pleasure-seeking adrenaline junkies. So, whether you are addicted to adrenaline or you just crash after big events there is wisdom in understanding post-adrenaline depression.

For me almost any time I preach I am totally spent afterwards. I typically preach on Wednesday evenings. After youth group is over I am exhausted. On Thursday I am drained for a little while but usually back up and running by Thursday evening or Friday morning.

This past week I was the Camp Director/Camp Pastor. It took a few weeks of late nights, stressful planning, and tons of adrenaline even to get ready for camp. Then there was a week of actually speaking twice per day and being responsible for over 100 people. Needless to say at the end of the week I was fully exhausted. I actually felt depressed at youth camp on Wednesday and Thursday and am only now beginning to “see the light”. I am having difficulty writing, preparing sermons, speaking to others, as well as battling feelings of worthlessness.

So, what do we do when we crash? How do we fight post-adrenaline depression? Hart’s suggestion may seem surprising: “cooperate with it”. He further explains. “When the adrenal system crashes its need for rejuvenation far exceeds my need just to feel good. In fact, the mood that it creates is deliberately designed to slow me down so that recovery can take place.”

Rather than fighting this feeling it is best to listen to its message. Try to relax. Do not try to find more adrenaline by ski-diving on your day off, just rest, do low-grade activity. As a pastor it may be wise not to take your day off on Monday (or me on Thursday) but rather do “easy” things in the office to recover. Take your day off when you could actually enjoy it.

Hart offers a few more helpful suggestions for dealing with this:

>As soon as possible after the activity is over, go aside and relax for a while.

>Allow the low mood to come over you, welcoming it as your friend.

>Pay attention to what the “healing” process feels like in your body; it’s not really unpleasant if you interpret it as something good.

>Continue to relax for as long as possible, without tackling any task awaiting you, giving priority to your recovery.

>When you feel like it, mark time by doing routine, low-adrenaline demand activities”

>If you are feeling depressed, accept the feeling as part of the recover process—it has no other significance, so don’t try to interpret your feeling or believe any of the negative self-talk that always accompanies it

What do you think? Good advice? What are areas where this thought can be developed further? How might this be difficult to follow? If you are interested in what Hart has to say I would suggest these two books: Unmasking Male Depression, Adrenaline and Stress.


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Demise Of The Ministers Housing Allowance?

The common practice of ministers being unethical,immoral and criminal may very well cause each of us to lose a financial benefit in the days ahead. The housing allowance provision is already in the court system and it isn't looking good.

"When pastoral scandals hit the mainstream news, often the first item cited as evidence that a minister is misusing his or her position is the housing allowance tax break that allows pastors to deduct housing expenses from their income. Sometimes the pastor in question will claim his entire salary as housing allowance. For others, its the sheer size of the allowance that raises suspicion.

At the request of Senator Charles Grassley, the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) will lead the independent commission to investigate and offer recommendations to lawmakers on a list of eight issues related to ministry ethics and finances. Housing allowances are near the top of the list.

A 2009 lawsuit filed in California by the Freedom from Religion Foundation argued the housing allowance tax benefit violates the Constitution's Establishment Clause. A government request to dismiss the case was rejected in 2010, allowing it to proceed to trial. Experts like Richard R. Hammar, an attorney and senior editor of the Church Law & Tax Report, are concerned that its outcome may spell the demise of the benefit."

— Church Law & Tax Report


Thursday, May 19, 2011

10 Simple Things We All Should Say

 Saw this posted by Justin Taylor. May our hearts be postured with such humility and character.

1. Please forgive me.

Better than "I'm sorry," which can often be followed with an "if" or a "but," these words indicate a humble heart. Bad pastors hide their faults behind the cloak of their authority, practice self-defense against all charges, and basically pretend. Good pastors know they're sinners and admit it.

2. You're right.

Good pastors know they're not always (not usually?) the smartest, most "spiritual" person in the room. They are zealous to give credit and acknowledge achievement and intelligence, not just because it's the right thing to do, but because it encourages and empowers others.

3. You're wrong.

Bad pastors chicken out when it comes to calling people on sin or biblical ignorance. Good pastors brave potential conflict and hurt feelings and say "You're wrong" in gentle but firm ways when necessary.

4. Jesus loves you.

Why did we stop saying this? I think because it became cliche. I'd love to see a recovery of the art of "Jesus loves you." Strategically said at times of others' admissions of failure, sin, or trouble, "Jesus loves you" is a fantastic way to speak the gospel into people's lives.

5. I love you.

I think one reason we stopped saying "Jesus loves you" to people is because we don't really love them ourselves. Might as well save the hypocrisy, eh? But good pastors lay their lives down for the sheep. Telling people you love them is a reminder to them and to you that sacrificial love is your calling.

6. Me too.

Next to "Grace is true" (see below), these might be the most important words in pastoral counseling. Bad pastors trade regularly in "Not me." In the pulpit and in the office, bad pastors set themselves apart from their congregations with tales of adventure, spirituality, and personal holiness. In the pulpit and in the office, good pastors talk of sin and trials and utter ineptitude and say, "Me too." I have seen entire countenances change when I've said some variation of "Me too."

7. Any time.

Of course you don't mean it literally. But you kinda do. Good pastors are available.

8. Thank you.

Bad pastors think they're owed. Good pastors know everything is a gift.

9. Grace is true.

I think deep down we all want to hear "You're approved" (see below), which is why we find "Grace is true" such a radical statement. You probably won't use the words, of course. But good pastors take the opportunity to glorify God by "talking up" his amazing grace every chance they get. Just 30 minutes ago, my writing of this post got interrupted by a visitor who wanted to talk about works and grace. I relished the chance to confirm his suspicion that grace is true. Bad pastors may say grace is true but the context of their teaching and the expectations in their leadership say "Your works must be this high to ride this ride." I know some of my friends hate it when "gospel" is used as a verb, but I just have to say it: Good pastors gospel their people. :-)

10. You're approved.

Everyone wants to believe they have what it takes, which is why it's such a bummer to hear the first half of the gospel and learn we really don't. Don't leave your people hanging. Be a good news pastor. Bad pastors beat their people up with their failures. Bad pastors are always disappointed. Good pastors know grace is true and Jesus is Lord, so they are ready to challenge every self-despairing soul with the wonderful truth that in Christ we are approved by God. Good pastors tell people they do have what it takes when they have Jesus' righteousness. Do you trust Jesus? You're all set, then.


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Five Myths About Forgiveness!

These Five Myths about Forgiveness are written by Dr. Sam Storms.You will
 find his writings promoted on John Pipers Desiring God, Monergism, Driscoll's
 Acts 29, and AdrianWarnocks site.

I mention all of this so that you can sense the weight of this brothers influence
in the Kingdom and why each of you brothers should prioritize reading the entire

You will discover that the article supports the doctrinal position advocated
during our Redeemed Community days together and which is consistently the
same today. Note that it certainly applies to a relatively recent attack upon
 our doctrinal position via a public venue.
Be encouraged, we are not alone my friends. There continues to be a broad
and deep remnant of kingdom oriented citizens.


1. Contrary to what many have been led to believe, forgiveness is not forgetting.

2. Forgiving someone does not mean you no longer feel the pain of their offense

3. Forgiving someone who has sinned against you doesn’t mean you cease longing for justice.

4. Forgiveness does not mean you are to make it easy for the offender to hurt you again.

5. Forgiveness is rarely a one-time, climactic event.



Laughter Commensurate To Humility: "A Tribute To Joe Sacco"

When I received the videos of my recent visit to Teen Challenge, the first
response was to watch the introductional part where I attempted allow the
 students to enjoy laughter at the expense of Joe Sacco.

As I began to watch, I was so overcome with hysterical laughed that tears
 were rolling down. What would cause such a reaction? Hearing Joe Sacoo
 laughing louder than everyone else in the room, even though he was the
 strategic target of the humor. This quote decribes why my special friend
 could laugh loudly with 250 other men in the room. 


Terry Lindvall writes in Surprised By Laughter: The Comic World of C.S. Lewis:

"Laughter is a divine gift to the human who is humble. A proud man
cannot laugh because he must watch his dignity; he cannot give himself
over to the rocking and rolling of his belly. But a poor and happy man laughs
heartily because he gives no serious attention to his ego….Only the truly
 humble belong to this kingdom of divine laughter…Humor and humility
 should keep good company.

Self deprecating humor can be a healthy reminder that we are not the center
of the universe, that humility is our proper posture before our fellow humans
as well as before almighty God…"


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

We Are Not- We Do Not!


Please review these "We Are Nots" extracted from the "Acts 29"
doctrine site. While knowing who we are and what we believe is primary,
being able to articulate who we are not and what we do not believe is just
 as essential in today's church culture.

 Full explanation of each statement is explained on the site below.


•We are not liberals
•We are not fundamentalists
•We are not isolationists
•We are not hyper-Calvinists
•We are not Dispensationalists
•We are not egalitarians
•We are not Open Theists
•We are not religious relativists
•We are not nationalists
•We are not moralists.
•We are not relativists
•We are not Universalists
•We are not naturalists
•We are not rationalists
•We are not evangelical feminists
•We are not embarrassed
•We are not ashamed
•We are not polemicists


Monday, April 25, 2011

New Identity: Reformata Family of Ministers

While we bless the inauguration of  the Redeemed Community site that solely
 seeks to bridge relational connection of  former friends and members,
we wisely see the potential for confusion since it does so void of the  foundational,
historical, doctrinal,and covenantal identity that was the DNA of  the ministry and
which RFM continues to model today.

That being the concern, we are making a slight but substantive name change so as
to maintain clarity for our ministerial identity while minimizing possible secondary
connectivity through name recognition.

"Reformata" simply means the church reformed and was used as the battle cry during
the Reformational era. Thus, the term intentionally maintains covenantal continuity
with our original "agents of change" ethos while communicating the covenantal,
doctrinal and missional substance of our relational identity as a Family of Ministers.

Therefore, our "Antiochian Identity" is now  Reformata Family of Ministers
and will continue to be abbreviated as "RFM".   Shout!

For The Kings Honor!
richard g. hanner

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Kind Of Leaders We Want Around Us!

Perry Noble points out a strategic truth RFM ministers should embrace,
emulate, and advocate. In other words, "we" must "be" this kind of leader
 to one another.


Proverbs 16:13
Kings take pleasure in honest lips;
they value a man who speaks the truth.

Leaders MUST value people that are honest and speak the truth.

However, one of the things I always say is that a leader cannot listen to everybody…but the “somebody’s” that he/she does listen to MUST be willing to speak unfiltered truth in love.

With that in mind here are the qualities I believe a leader should always be looking for…someone who is…

Trustworthy – Can you trust the person who is speaking truth to you? Have they, over time, demonstrated a consistent love for Jesus, for His church and for you? A leader should ALWAYS listen to people they trust–period.

Respectable – I have found that it is nearly impossible to listen to people you do not respect. So, with that in mind take a look at the people you have around you…do you respect their CHARACTER (incredibly important) and their COMPETENCE level? (It is REALLY sad when leaders who purposefully surround themselves with people they feel superior to in regards to competence. If you are always positioning yourself to be the smartest person in the room then you either struggle with pride, insecurity…OR BOTH!) Even if someone doesn’t know me that well…I have always found myself still listening to people whom I respect.

Understanding – A leader should always listen to someone who understands the entire situation. People who take shots at you because they heard a rumor about you or have based their opinion off of a 30 second soundbite that was taken out of context should simply be ignored. However, someone who comes to you in love with a desire for a sincere understanding of something you said or a decision you made is someone that you should definitely listen to.

This is, in no way, a complete list…but, just wanted to share these three characteristics.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The 26 Qualifications For A Minister

Over the last 38 years, I have read and reread these character qualifications listed by the Apostle Paul.To be honest, I confess that there is most often "pain of conscience" when doing so.The imperative  for such prominent Christlike virtues in a ministers life should awaken a real sense of Godly fear in each of our souls.

My dear brothers, may we "Love One Another" enough to correct or  receieve the same should  these standards become "perceptively" violated in the form of behavioral pattern.


"....before any man can serve the Lord in church leadership, he must meet a list of 26 requirements in his life. When a man meets all these requirements, he is to be recognized by the sheep as a truly qualified shepherd. The list is found in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1; it is stringent and weeds out a lot of men who might like to be church leaders. But this list also motivates men to become more like Christ, the True Shepherd of the flock. It provides a God-given target for men to aim their lives and ministry at. Furthermore, this list is the same for every church in every culture, because every man who grows in Christ-likeness looks more and more like the qualities of this list."

Starting with 1 Timothy 3:1–7, each man to whom Jesus grants leadership has all the following qualities:

1.“aspires to the office of overseer”—one who is internally motivated by deep conviction to do all that Christ may ask of him in the care and feeding of Christians;

2.“is above reproach”—against whom no accusation of sin is justified, but is upright in every area of life;

3.“the husband of one wife”—a man who (if married) is not adulterous, is not flirtatious or sexually impure in any other way, but is completely given to his own wife;

4.“temperate”—one not given to excess in pleasures or habits;

5.“sober-minded”—a man who is not given to foolish or eccentric thinking;

6.“respectable”—a person who elicits trust from others by virtue of godliness and kindness;

7.“hospitable”—one who cares for others with his own resources, especially in the use of his home;

8.“able to teach”—one who directs others into Scripture, providing effective guidance and instruction;

9.“not a drunkard”—one who is not overcome by sensory pleasures such as alcohol;

10.“gentle”—a man who might be slandered and mistreated but will still serve with meekness and unfailing graciousness;

11.“not quarrelsome”—one who makes peace and maintains it by upholding biblical standards and comforting others;

12.“not a lover of money”—one who invests in God’s kingdom, is generous, and refuses to make money in any manner that dishonors the Lord;

13.“manages his own household well”—in humility and strength, he successfully leads all aspects of family life into conformity with the word of God;

14.“with all dignity keeping his children submissive”—whose younger children, if any, display the fruit of their father’s wise and godly hand in their attitudes and characters;

15.“not a recent convert”—one who has been tested by numerous trials and has displayed a stable faith in the midst of failure and success;

16.“well thought of by outsiders”—there are no just reasons even among unbelievers for why this man should not be a leader of the church.

Then from Titus 1:6–9, those not already covered in 1 Timothy 3 are:

1.“his children are believers”—in older children there is evident fruit of sovereign grace, the seal upon the man’s private and intimate conduct in the home;

2.“not be arrogant”—one who is not filled with himself in speech and actions, who prefers others above himself;

3.“not quick-tempered”—one who is not rude with people, or has a low boiling point when he is ignored or doesn’t get his way;

4.“a lover of good”—a man who prizes good works, who loves to see good come to pass, and shuns or reproves all things less than good;

5.“upright”—one whose dealings with all men are correct and true, who does not steal or malign, and who rejoices in integrity, even to his own hurt;

6.“holy”—one who shuns sin in every form, who will reprove it in others professing godliness, and who lives to worship Jesus Christ as his greatest joy and highest priority;

7.“disciplined”—conducts himself with godliness in every situation;

8.“holding fast the faithful word”—one who is knowledgeable of Scripture and is deep in conviction to its tenets, both doctrinally and ethically;

9.“able to exhort in sound doctrine”—one who can comfort the depressed and challenge the lax with a doctrinal approach to God and life;

10.“able to refute those who contradict”—can use Scripture to confront hardened error, and if need be, will follow every Scriptural command out to its full extent, such as in church discipline.

If only all churches today were led by such men! For when a man truly matches up with Christ’s qualifications, then he is worthy to be entrusted by the sheep with leadership over them. Scripture tells us several times to submit to such men (1 Thessalonians 5:12–13; 1 Peter 5:5; Hebrews 13:17). The elders have been granted the same kind of authority in a church as a godly father has in a home (1 Timothy 3:4–5).


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Symptoms of False Doctrine

Erik Kowalker has served the church well by posting this awesome quote by
 the great  J.C. Ryle.

Each of Ryle's points progress deeper into the inroads of the danger involved. By doing so,
 I believe he is an earthly echo of the voice of  Christ speaking from his Throne Room
 to his church!


Many things combine to make the present inroad of false doctrine peculiarly dangerous.

1. There is an undeniable zeal in some of the teachers of error: their “earnestness” makes
 many think they must be right.

2. There is a great appearance of learning and theological knowledge: many fancy that such
 clever and intellectual men must surely be safe guides.

3. There is a general tendency to free thought and free inquiry in these latter days: many like
 to prove their independence of judgment, by believing novelties.

4. There is a wide-spread desire to appear charitable and liberal-minded: many seem half
 ashamed of saying that anybody can be in the wrong.

5. There is a quantity of half-truth taught by the modern false teachers: they are incessantly
 using Scriptural terms and phrases in an unscriptural sense.

6. There is a morbid craving in the public mind for a more sensuous, ceremonial, sensational,
 showy worship: men are impatient of inward, invisible heart-work.

7. There is a silly readiness in every direction to believe everybody who talks cleverly, lovingly
 and earnestly, and a determination to forget that Satan often masquerades himself “as an
angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14).

8. There is a wide-spread “gullibility” among professing Christians: every heretic who tells his
 story plausibly is sure to be believed, and everybody who doubts him is called a persecutor
 and a narrow-minded man.

All these things are peculiar symptoms of our times. I defy any observing person to deny them.
 They tend to make the assaults of false doctrine in our day peculiarly dangerous. They make it
 more than ever needful to cry aloud, “Do not be carried away!”

~ J.C. Ryle

Warnings to the Churches, “Divers and Strange Doctrines”, [Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1967], 76, 77.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Four Qualities of Good Preacing!

Kevin DeYoung shares four qualities essential to good preaching:

 1. VeracityThis is the more crucial quality. Without this your preaching is not faithful. It may attract a crowd. It may win you applause. But it will not be good. Christian preaching must first of all be true–true to the text, true to the whole counsel of God, true in whatever else you say or cite. A seminary student or lay elder or new pastor may not be the most comfortable or the most gifted behind the pulpit, but so long as he says what is true and biblical, God can use that preaching.

2. ClarityTruth is first, but if you say what is true but don’t say it so people can understand you, it isn’t worth much. Clarity means we pay attention to the structure, the flow, the pace, and the length of our sermons. Clarity doesn’t mean the congregation must remember your three points, but they should know what the text was about and what you were trying to say. If your pastor is true and clear, rejoice! You have more than many congregations.

3. Authority This quality is easily abused, but without it you are left with a fine sounding lecture. Remember, what surprised the crowds most about Jesus’ teaching was that he spoke with authority (Matt. 7:28-29). Good preaching sounds forth with certainty, not because the preacher is infallible, but because God speaks through him, making claims on people’s lives, declaring the truth with boldness, taking courageous stands where others cower in fear.

 4. AuthenticityThis is the hardest quality to describe and it takes the longest to acquire.....Does your unique personality come through in preaching? Are you comfortable in your own skin? Do you have a connection with the congregation? Does your preaching sound like someone talking about the gospel or calling people to believe the gospel? Are you an advocate for Christ or a witness to Christ? Is there, to use John Murray’s phrase, personal, passionate, pleading in your preaching? This is what I mean by authenticity.

Veracity is a non-negotiable. After that, work hard at clarity. Then pray for Spirit-anointed authority. And finally, stick with preaching for at least five years and you’ll start to grow in authenticity."


Monday, February 14, 2011

Standard Bearers Should Encounter Tough Grace!

"Christianity Today" posted a great article regarding sexual standards for Pastors and other roles that are divinely designed to be standard bearers for God's people.  

Personally, I am more than fatigued with the "compromised compassiontes" who are willing to extend unprincipled mercy and all to eager to pervert biblical grace when leaders are caught or exposed for committing sexual sin.

 You will note that I took the liberty to underline certain points. Refreshing  indeeeed! 


"...among Christians, consistent enforcement constantly butts heads with grace. How do we apply grace to pastors, teachers, and others whose calling involves modeling the Christian life for those younger and still very much in formation?

 Often when institutions exercise discipline, someone cries, "I thought Christianity was all about grace!"

 Grace does not always, everywhere, and immediately mean wiping the slate clean. Communities need to take into account the impact that leaders' misbehavior has on others. To express the comprehensiveness of God's grace, institutional forgiveness of an offender must also focus pastoral support on the wounded and betrayed.

We apply grace differently to students and others whose lives are, by definition,
 still in development. We rightly expect Christian faculty and clergy to model the Christian life."


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Do You Despise Authority?

This is a very timely article posted by Adrian Warnock today. 
Surely our journey together has provided ample opportunity
 to see the reality of  how easy it is for a minister to be guilty
of this most besetting sin within our own stream. 

With that in mind, along with the caution of this article, may we
adhere to the Apostle Paul's admonition to remain mutually
submitted to one another my brothers!


"It is very easy to despise authority without even realizing that you are doing so. Especially living in our modern world which emphasizes independence and being a “self-made man”.

In the quote below which follows a crucial verse that stresses the importance of leadership, Spurgeon says it well. A self-made man is a failure by definition. Maybe you are a pastor yourself, and your immediate response to this is to say “Amen, my people really should listen to me more!”

But I ask you, who are you following? One of the greatest perils of evangelical church structures is that we have removed the concept of a single global pope, and replaced it with a myriad of mini-popes.

Each of us can have a tendency to think that we have all the answers and we do not need to listen to anyone else. Are you at the top of a pyramid? Is there no one who you are submitted to? Do you see no need to learn from another?

Then, with the respect that is due your office, I urge you to beware. For I fear that you are in a perilous position. Could it be that one of the reasons for the terrible statistics surrounding pastors resigning their ministry is simply that they were never meant to walk alone?

Like many today, I react strongly against some of the formal, institutional structures that denominations bring. But, the solution to the ills of denoninationalism is not independence. God has designed us for inter-dependence and to be first a follower before we expect others to follow us."

           Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you;
           and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.
                                               Hebrews 13:7

"Some, under the pretence of being taught of the Spirit of God, refuse to be instructed by books or by living men. This is no honoring of the Spirit of God. It is disrespect to Him, for if He gives to some of His servants more light than to others—and it is clear He does—then they are bound to give that light to others, and to use it for the good of the church. But if the other part of the church refuse to receive that light, to what end did the Spirit of God give it? This would imply that there is a mistake somewhere in the economy of God’s gifts and graces, which is managed by the Holy Spirit."

—Charles Spurgeon, Words of Counsel for Christian Workers (Pasadena, TX: Pilgrim Publications, 1985), pp. 112–113. cited in John Piper, A Hunger for God: Desiring God Through Fasting and Prayer (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 1997), 182.


Monday, January 31, 2011

God Grant Us To Lead From An Honest Heart!

Blessed is the man against whom the Lord
counts no iniquity,and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
Psalm 32:2

An honest heart is a post from: Ray Ortlund

We cannot deceive God. Twice in the Acts God is called “the Heartknower” (Acts 1:24; 15:8).
But we can deceive ourselves.

Here are four differences between deceit and honesty in our hearts.

One, a deceitful heart doesn’t know its sin because it doesn’t want to know.
 But an honest heart is saying, “Bring it on.”

Two, a deceitful heart notices how well a sermon applies to someone else...
But an honest heart is too concerned about itself to judge another..

Three, a deceitful heart, when it isn’t growing, blames its inertia on hardship
 or its church or even on God himself. But an honest heart says, “It’s my fault.
 I need to get in gear.”

Four, a deceitful heart delays response. It says, “I’ll get around to it, even soon.
 But I can’t right now.” An honest heart puts God first. Delayed obedience is a way
 of saying, “I’m setting the terms. I am Lord.” But an honest heart says, “Lord,
whatever you want – right now.”

An honest heart says,with the old hymn,

The dearest idol I have known, whate’er that idol be,
Help me to tear it from thy throne and worship only thee.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

How Should Young Ministers Respond To Seasoned Criticism?

There's been some buzz regarding John MacArthur and a comment he made about a book by Darrin Patrick. What a wise and generous hearted posture by Patrick to those coming to his defense by criticizing MacArthur:

"For those of you who have been quick to be critical of Dr. MacArthur, please remember that we all need to be corrected from time to time.....ALL of us who are younger need to give a careful listen to the concerns of seasoned pastors, many of whom have forgotten more than we might ever know."

This is very refreshing since I was personally attacked and accused of being arrogant when I forthrightly stated the obvious to a young,inexperienced, first year seminarian novice.

What was my sin? I "spanked his inner child" when I informed him that after 35+ years of seasoned ministry, 3 church plants, 17 years of teaching at a bible college, earning a master
 and a doctorate, he simply wasn't my teacher. 

That he thought he could and should be demonstrated he was a "pompous ignoramus".




Thursday, January 13, 2011

Liturgically Sacramental

These extracts from an article by the Internet Monk explain the significance of liturgy within the sacramental view of the corporate assembly of God's covenant people. As the writer makes clear, it really is a matter of substance over style. Consider clicking on the site and reading the entire article.

"Most battles over worship in evangelicalism are about personal preferences with regard to style. What kind of music? Can we dress casually? Is the building and “worship space” marked by Christian symbols? To what extent should we use media and technology? Can I sip my latte while attending the service?

Bottom line, however, the nature of the service has changed little in the fundamental approach to its purpose. There may be (a lot more) singing, a praise band instead of organ, piano, and songleader, inclusion of drama, PowerPoint or video clips, and a casually dressed pastor who doesn’t stand behind a pulpit, but the “big event” remains the sermon, the “worship set” continues to prepare people to listen to the preacher, and the message is still designed to prompt a response. Today’s culture has replaced yesterday’s, that’s all. And this has led to conflict that has mainly erupted along generational lines and/or between those who are more “traditional” in their preferences vs. those who want church to be more “relevant.”

At the same time, many people have left revivalist traditions to join liturgical traditions—Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Lutheran, Anglican, and others whose worship is based on an entirely different foundation.

It’s not that liturgical churches have “forms” whereas non-liturgical churches don’t. It’s not that liturgical churches always use traditional music. It’s not that liturgical churches do exactly the same things week after week whereas free churches are “spontaneous” and change things up all the time. The non-liturgical churches are often just as repetitive in their own patterns. These are all “style” matters, and while there are some generalizations that might be made about stylistic differences between liturgical and non-liturgical churches, this is not the main distinction between the two worlds.

At root, the difference is between a sacramental understanding of how God works, and a non-sacramental view.

This is where I return when I feel unworthy, day after day. I return to the Lord’s supper. It is there that I am accepted. It is there that I am forgiven. It is there that I am declared worthy. It is there where the last will and testament is read, and lo and behold…I am included! It is there that I receive a full share of the inheritance.

We also receive these gifts in the preaching and teaching of His Word, and in the words of Christian encouragement spoken between the brethren.
But the sacraments are something tangible. Something that we can actually see, feel, touch, smell, and taste.

■The liturgical tradition calls the church together for a much different reason. It holds that God’s family needs to live in the Gospel through regular sacramental gatherings. In worship we actually, literally, objectively receive the benefits of Christ’s finished work through Word and Sacrament, are nourished for our ongoing journey, and strengthened to live in new obedience by the Spirit who fills us through the tangible means God has provided."

Liturgy is not a style. It is the way God comes to us in grace.


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Retirement or Redeployment?

"The economic crisis of recent years has forced many Americans to rethink and redefine retirement as a matter of necessity. For Christians, this represents an important opportunity. The ideal for Christians should be redeployment, even after employment.

There is so much Kingdom work to be done, and older believers are desperately needed in this great task. There are missionaries to be assisted, ministries to be energized, young couples to be counseled, boys without fathers to be mentored, and wisdom and experience to be shared. The possibilities for Christian redeployment are endless."

Al Mohler