Sunday, December 27, 2009

Getting it Right

I came upon this great post from Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr. ( who serves as the ninth president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in the USA)Read it and tell me what you think....
Bless you today!!

Where Does the Story of Christmas Begin?

As the celebration of Christmas fast approaches, our attention quickly goes to the familiar words of the infancy narratives found in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. This is a healthy reflex. After all, the Gospel of Jesus Christ rests upon the historicity of the events that took place in Bethlehem as Christ was born. Our understanding of the identity of Jesus Christ is directly rooted in these narratives and our confidence is in the fact that Matthew and Luke give us historically credible and completely truthful accounts of the events surrounding the birth of Christ.

A closer look at the narratives in both Matthew and Luke reveals a richness that familiarity may hide from us. Matthew begins with the genealogy of Christ, demonstrating the sequence of generations as Israel anticipated the birth of David's Son -- the Messiah. Luke, intending to set forth "an orderly account" of the events concerning Jesus, begins with the anticipation of the birth of John the Baptist and then moves to tell of the virgin conception of Jesus.

A careful reading of Matthew and Luke reveals both the elegance of detail and the grand expanse of the story of Christ's birth. Matthew gives particular attention to the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. The virgin birth, the birth of Christ in Bethlehem of Judea, the Herodian massacre of the innocents, the flight to Egypt, and the role of John the Baptist as forerunner are all presented as the fulfillment of specific Old Testament prophecies.

Every word of the Old Testament points to Christ. He is not only the fulfillment of all the Old Testament prophecies concerning him, he is the perfect fulfillment of the law and the prophets -- the entirety of the Old Testament Scriptures. The Christmas story does not begin in Bethlehem, for Israel had been promised the Messiah. As Luke reveals, Simeon beheld the baby Jesus in the temple and understood this infant to be "the Lord's Christ" -- the Davidic Messiah. Simeon understood this clearly -- the Christmas story did not begin in Bethlehem, or even in Jerusalem.

So, where does the Christmas story begin? In the Gospel of John we read: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made." [John 1:1-3]

The prologue to John's Gospel points to creation and to Christ, the divine Logos, as the agent of creation. Yet, with language drawn directly from Genesis, John begins his gospel "in the beginning."

In other words, the Christmas story begins before the creation of the world. As we celebrate Christmas and contemplate the Christmas story, we must be very careful not to begin the story in Bethlehem, or even in Nazareth, where Mary was confronted by Gabriel with the message that she would be the mother of the Messiah.

We must not even begin with Moses and the prophets, and with the expectation of the coming Son of Man, the promised Suffering Servant, and the heralded Davidic Messiah. We must begin before the world was created and before humanity was formed, much less fallen.

Why is this so important? Put simply, if we get the Christmas story wrong, we get the Gospel wrong. Told carelessly, the Christmas story sounds like God's "Plan B." In other words, we can make the Christmas story sound like God turning to a new plan, rather than fulfilling all that he had promised. We must be very careful to tell the Christmas story in such a way that we make the gospel clear.

Christmas is not God's second plan. Before he created the world, God determined to save sinners through the blood of his own Son. The grand narrative of the Bible points to this essential truth -- God determined to bring glory to himself through the salvation of a people redeemed and purchased by his own Son, the Christ. Bethlehem and Calvary were essential parts of God's plan from the beginning, before the cosmos was brought into being as the Son obeyed the will of the Father in creation.

The Christmas story does not begin in Bethlehem, but we appropriately look to Bethlehem as the scene of the most decisive event in human history -- the incarnation of the Son of God. Even as we turn our attention to Bethlehem, we must remember that the story of our salvation does not begin there. That story begins in the eternal purpose of God.

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God." That is where the Christmas story begins, and John takes us right to the essence of what happened in Bethlehem: "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth." [John 1:14]

Let's be sure to get the Christmas story right, start to finish.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Canada and Prostitution

I am not sure if you have heard but the laws surrounding prostitution in Canada are being asked to be removed. here is a great article by a man named Royal Hamel. You can find his Blog here.
A smart man and worth reading...

"Did you know that legalized prostitution may soon be the norm in Canada? In 2007 two cases began working their way through the court system, one in British Columbia and the other in Ontario. Both cases seek to have the laws limiting prostitution overturned. To be sure no one knows how the judges will rule in these cases. But activist judges in Canada have certainly played a major role in reshaping societal mores in the past.

Justice Ted Matlow, who is presiding in the Ontario case, has recently created some controversy by disallowing two conservative Christian groups from participating in the proceedings. The Christian Legal Fellowship and the Catholic Civil Rights League argued that prostitution is damaging to society, and that there are good reasons why communities might want to restrict it. But Justice Matlow quashed their application to take part because, in his words, the Christian groups hold views that, “reflect the views of only small segments of Canadian society.”
Whoa, hold it right there. I know that Canada holds liberal views on many subjects. But I find it impossible to believe that only Christians would champion the view that prostitution is inherently harmful and degrading. Are we to believe that secular humanists, plain atheists, and agnostics have no moral code? Are people like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens lining up with their daughters hoping to get them into one of the better brothels? It’s far more likely that Matlow himself holds elitist views that would not resonate with the average Canadian. Even with the moral bankruptcy of our times, I do not believe that the majority of my fellow citizens are going to applaud a decision to yank the prostitution laws in Canada.

In fact, I’m hoping against hope that Canadians will stand up and shout, “NO-WAY” to legalized prostitution. Let no one be confused about this. When prostitution is fully legalized and the sex trade industry has the entire stigma washed away from it, there is no telling how far the ripples of damage will spread. Will our high schools begin to feature courses like “Soliciting 101” or “How to run your own Bawdy House?” or “Pimping made Profitable”? Will unemployed women under a certain age be forced into job interviews with brothel owners if they want to keep receiving employment insurance? (Before you laugh an incident like this actually happened in Germany in 2005)

So why am I so exercised about this issue? It’s simple: I care about people, all people, prostitutes included. And I hate and abhor the practice of prostitution because of the hellish harm that it inflicts on women. The violence, the virtual slavery by brutal pimps, the rampant drug addiction, the actual danger of being murdered by some deranged john, the wide spread sex trafficking that occurs—I could go on and on.

Advocates claim that these are the very reasons why we need to legalize and regulate the practice. But they are wrong.

Countries like Holland that have had legalized prostitution for years are finally scaling back and passing new laws to discourage and limit the practice. They discovered that legalization didn’t guarantee safety; they learned that it only caused more unregulated street prostitution; they saw how organized crime came into the scene; and they saw that the foreign trafficking of women was all part of the scene. In short the people in Canada who are calling for legalization because of supposed harm reduction are dead wrong. They need to do their homework. Here’s hoping Canada will look at the negative, harmful experiences of other countries that opted for legalization and now wish they hadn’t.

I am hoping and praying that Canadians will be shocked and appalled so that there will be an outcry against the whole idea of treating women as meat to be bought and sold. But I’m afraid that we may now be at the stage where we are so morally challenged that we won’t give it a second thought. Please prove me wrong—let your voice be heard!
Just remember that if prostitution is legalized the brothels will have to be staffed. I can guarantee that those girls will be somebody’s daughters. Whose daughters? I assure you that they will be the trafficked and helpless daughters of some poor peasant in a far off country, or they will be our own daughters. I hope that either prospect makes you thoroughly sick to your stomach."

PRAY... and write our MP


Thursday, November 05, 2009


Today I stood and watched the good people of LPC serve, as unto the Lord, at the funeral of Herman Dotschkat. I was SO proud of this church as we had about 275 people come for the funeral. THANK YOU to those of you for serving, singing, playing, providing SO much food, cleaning, setting tables, more cleaning, washing clothes and dishes and SO MUCH MORE
"1 Corinthians 3:8 says The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor."

God was honored, Sharon's family was blessed, LPC rose to today's ministry with GREAT skill and grace and poise. THANK YOU!

Your proud pastor...


Monday, November 02, 2009

A Changed Life

Sometimes I forget how Christ can change, transform really, people's lives. In these days that we see so few people come to Christ it seems, that we forget the power of God in a life that has chosen to surrender to the Lord.

Last week I was doing some study on a famous sermon called The Expulsive Power of a New Affection . This, I discovered, was a famous sermon by 19th-century Scottish preacher Thomas Chalmers. When I say the sermon is famous, I mean that it is reprinted even today in the books of great sermons. More on this sermon in another blog.

When looking for this sermon I ran across a blog titled from Beer to Eternity. It is a personal blog of a guy named Gary Morland. He is a DJ for a Christian radio station in the USA. He is a great writer... fun to read....

As I read... I was caught up in his story of how he came to Christ. Let me give you a taste of what he says in another blog, one connected with his work.
"I didn't play baseball. I did get drunk -- every day when I walked out of that building [where he used to work long ago] at 3:30 I would stop at a liquor store and get three quarts of beer. I'd drink one on the way home and another when I got there. Then I'd fall asleep, wake up later and drink the third quart. Sometimes it was a six-pack or two, but that was the basic routine.

For twelve years. Every. Day.

That was a lifetime ago. You know how it says Jesus makes you a new creation and the old goes away and the new comes? That's what he did. Totally radical. Another planet radical.

And then a lot of time goes by and you forget more and more of the old planet stuff and then you see a picture and you suddenly flashback to the old planet and feel it right next to the new planet and you see how they're not even in the same solar system. And you go, was I really once a creature on that planet?

So now I sing a new song, which doesn't have a melody yet:

As for me, I was dead in my transgressions and sins,
in which I used to live
gratifying the cravings of my sinful nature
and following its desires and thoughts,
by nature an object of wrath.
But because of his great love for me,
who is rich in mercy,
made me alive with Christ even when I was dead in transgressions—
it is by grace I have been saved."


Ya!!! His life is a model of "The Expulsive power of a new Affection". A new affection for Jesus and how the is Power in that new Love that can transform us!

Thank you Lord... and help us to NEVER lose sight of our mission to see people fall in love with you... and be changed...

To read more of Gary's life... click here!


Oh Happy Day!

Yesterday, for those who were able to make it to LPC due to the freezing rain weather, I told you about this song... here it is for you to listen...

Maybe we can sing it soon?


Wednesday, October 28, 2009


I wanted to share with someone what the Lord has been revealing to me about my speaking. So I decided to post it on our Blog to see what I get for a reply.

If you have been at LPC for the past few weeks, you would have heard a little of this already.

I have been preaching on becoming
Christocentric when we read the Bible both the New and Old Testament. It is easier to do when we read the New Testament because it starts with Christ's birth. Sometimes we forget, as I feel I have done, to see Christ in all the OLD also.

I have been taking some extra Bible Classes online and one class I have been taking is on the Subject of "Finding Christ in the Old Testament". It is deeply affecting me. I was reading that preaching can fall into three categories when we preach the old testament.

The “Moralizing” Approach. A very typical approach to personal change among orthodox and conservative Christians can best be called the “moralizing” approach. Basic analysis: Your problem is that you are doing wrong. Repent! This focuses on behavior—but doesn’t go deep enough. We must find out the why of our behavior. Why do I find I want to do the wrong things? What inordinate desires are drawing me to do so? What are the idols and false beliefs behind them? To simply tell a [depressed] person (or yourself) to ‘repent and change [your] behavior’ is insufficient"...’

The “Psychologizing” Approach. A very typical approach to personal change among more liberal religious groups can best be called the “psychologizing” approach. Basic analysis: Your problem is that you don’t see that God loves you as you are. Rejoice! This focuses on feelings, which seems to be “deeper” than behavior—but it fails to go deep enough. We must also find out the why of our feelings. Why do I have such strong feelings of despair (or fear, or anger) when this or that happens? What are the inordinate desires that are being frustrated? What are the idols and false beliefs behind them? To simply tell an [depressed] person (or yourself) “God loves you—rejoice!” is insufficient..."

The “Christocentric” Approach. Basic Analysis: Your problem is that you are looking to something besides Christ for your happiness. Repent and Rejoice! This confronts a person with the real sin under the sins and behind the bad feelings. Our problem is that we have given ourselves over to idols. Every idol-system is a way of works-salvation, and thus it keeps us “under the law.” Paul tells us that the bondage of sin is broken when we come out from under the law—when we begin to believe the gospel of Christ-salvation. Only when we realize in a new way that we are righteous in Christ is the idol’s power over us broken.


Please pray for me that the Christ of all the Scriptures open my eyes to see Him everywhere as Jesus did to His followers in Luke 24 "he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself".


Lord of All

A new song I hope we can learn soon.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Is Christ Still Central?

Is Christ Still Central?

A speaker said that “Christanity – Christ = Religion. The church is slowing removing, if not totally removed, Christ from the church."

IS this true? IF you think not, look at how our churches are running. Imagine Christ showing up at most of our churches today or on a Sunday. What would he say? Would He like what He sees what we are doing? Great question.

If God has made us in his image, we have returned him the favor?

Kids Welcome?

Here is the last ministerial message that I submitted to our local paper. It is the third in a series. Please feel free to comment on anything you read here!

To read the 1st letter click here.
To read the 2nd letter click here.

This last September I told you about my experiences of being a visitor at church for most of this past summer. My family and I were away from our church family for about 11 weeks if you remember. Since attending a worship gathering on Sunday was, and is, a priority for us, we decided to make sure we were in a church every week, no matter where we where. “We went to 8 different churches all over western Canada. Some of the church families we visited were Presbyterian, Evangelical Free, Baptist, Anglican, as well as, several other well known faith traditions.“ (taken from my first article on this subject). If you would like to read the ones you missed, please check our blog at as they are posted there. The first lesson I learned in being a visitor at church was to remember what it was like to be new. In my second article I said we need to be friendly! What a difference we can make in a new person’s life if we just went out of our way with people who were visiting your church to warmly welcome them there and help point the way for them. Another thing I learned as a visitor is that most churches do not enjoy kids being there. Could this be true, that churches make things tough on kids? I am sad to say that was our experience. Though there were a few exceptions most churches had NO children or even youth in the main morning service. Mainly we found that churches were filled with older people. I am so thankful for a generation whose sacrifice and commitment to the Lord has built many of these church buildings. It was this generation that still keeps these churches going from week to week. We owe them great thanks for the years of service and sacrifice they have made to the Lord. How faithful they have been. Yet with that great sacrifice and commitment to the church, the next generation (s) have not joined them. Why? Why was it that week after week, my family would be the only people with kids present? This was not a good thing, because kids make noise and move around and drop books and poke each other. I remember one church we went to, with one other family that has young kids, that I had to finally leave with the all the youngest because we could not bear the looks of distain we were getting. People were not happy to have us there because the kids were being… well…. kids! I was so glad when church was over so we could leave. Is this the way church is for most people today? I thought the gospel was for rich and poor, old and young? Yet the pressure we felt to make sure our kids made not a peep was very high and stressful and who needs more stress? Especially at a place where we have come to worship God together? Maybe God does not like kids. Maybe He wants his church services to be totally quiet and so orderly that only certain people feel at home? I know that this is NOT right. St. Matthew tells of a time when Jesus’ disciples were trying to keep kids away from him. Jesus, to them, was much too busy and important for kids. Mark adds “14When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” (Mark 10:14)

If Jesus wants the kids around, why are we, HIS church, acting like the disciples and hindering them from coming? Of all the places that kids should be MOST welcome, it is at church. After all, it is JESUS’ church anyways, not ours. When kids are no longer coming to church, we better be asking ourselves some strong questions about what we are all about as Christ’s body. KIDS were welcome with Jesus and they need to be welcome in His church. Messy, noisy and all. They have something to teach us about God for His kingdom belongs to them. I don’t know about you, but for me, I want to learn what that is?

Comments? PLEASE feel free!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Wild Things

here is a post that I want you to read from Russell D. Moore who is the Senior Vice President for Academic Administration and Dean of the School of Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky... .

Do you agree?? COMMENT on the end of this post!


By Russell D. Moore
Christian Post Guest Columnist
Mon, Oct. 19 2009 11:09 PM EDT
This past Saturday I took my three oldest sons to see the movie Where the Wild Things Are. Some Christians are all exercised about the fact that the movie might be too frightening for children. They’re wrong. The movie is not a great one, but that’s not the reason why. As a matter of fact, Where the Wild Things Are fails because it’s not scary enough for your kids. And there’s something there Chrisians can learn about children, (being frightened), and the gospel.
Children, it turns out, aren’t as naive about evil as we assume they are. Children of every culture, and in every place, seem to have a built-in craving for monsters and dragons and “wild things.” The Maurice Sendak book appeals to kids because it tells them something about what they intuitively know is true. The world around them is scary. There’s a wildness out there. The Sendak book shows the terror of a little boy who is frightened by his own lack of self-control, and who conquers it through self-control, by becoming king of all the wild things.
Where the Wild Things Are isn’t going to be a classic movie the way it is a classic book. But the Christian discomfort with wildness will be with us for a while. And it’s the reason too many of our children find Maurice Sendak more realistic than Sunday school.
Too many of our Bible study curricula for children declaw the Bible, excising all the snakes and dragons and wildness. We reduce the Bible to a set of ethical guidelines and a text on how gentle and kind Jesus is. The problem is, our kids know there are monsters out there. God put that awareness in them. They’re looking for a sheep-herding dragon-slayer, the One who can put all the wild things under His feet.


A new song we will be singing on Sunday...

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

For Liz,

Hello everybody! Liz asked me the name of the book that spoke about on Sunday am. The book was is by Florence Littauer called Personality Plus: How to Understand Others by Understanding Yourself

From the Back Cover
Each of the following statements relates to one of the four basic personality types: Melancholy, Phlegmatic, Sanguine, and Choleric. Which of these statements do you relate to most? - Whether at home or work, I am well organized and keep everything in its proper place. - It's difficult for me to express excitement, even about something that's really important to me. - When shopping at the mall, it's not unusual for me to forget where I parked the car. - I get annoyed when my employees don't follow my instructions to the letter. In Personality Plus, Florence Littauer gives you valuable insight for appreciating your one-of-a-kind, God-given personality. She includes a Personality Profile test that reveals how your unique blend of traits affects your emotions, work performance, and relationships. Through humorous anecdotes and straightforward counsel, Personality Plus guides you to improve upon your strengths and correct your weaknesses. This engaging book also provides keys to understanding those around you. You'll learn how to accept-and even enjoy-the traits that make each of us so different. Personality Plus is the tool you need to change your life, and the lives of those you care about, for the better.

Here is an ONLINE quiz that helps you to discover your "type".

Thanks for the comment Liz!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Chuck Colson Denounces Therapeutic Church Model

Here is a paragrah from an article I read today. I have GREAT respect for Chuck Colson ( who was former aide to President Richard Nixon and is the creator or the VERY helpful Prison Fellowship. Here is the quote...

"The church has fallen into a therapeutic model, says one prominent evangelical. In an interview with Time magazine, Prison Fellowship founder Chuck Colson denounced the "feel-good kind of Christianity" he sees being promoted in churches.

"It believes its job is to make people happy and take care of their problems," said Colson, also author of The Faith: What Christians Believe, Why They Believe It, and Why It Matters.

But the church's job, he noted, is to make people holy."


This Weekend NEW STUDIES

Hello everyone!

The weather lady said that it looks like this year Sepember will have been warmer than June, July and August! Fun!

This Sunday we are trying to begin our 9:30am Family Life hour with a number of new classes (discipleship) groups. We are stil looking for more ideas. If you have a Bible study or book study that you would like to be apart of or even lead, PLEASE talk to me or Sharon or Brenda (for another week!)

Have a great Friday and COME this Sunday at 9:30am!


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations

I heard about this book this summer on a Focus on the family series and I think needs to be noticed. I have read the first chapter of it and these boys have really hit on something.

Here is the link to the PDF of the first chapter of the book. PLEASE read it and tell my what you think???

ALSO here is the link for the Focus on the family radio broadcast from this summer.

HERE IS THE LINK to their BLOG... take a long look! I want to talk to you all about this...



Monday, September 14, 2009

What a Change

The way we used to look
The way we look today September 2009! Praise the Lord for His great work!

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Here is the next message to our local paper in the series "A Visitor at Church"


I found out yesterday at our local ministerial meeting that no one was scheduled to take over the weekly Lodge service or submit an article to the Advisor, so Pastor Lisa took the Service and I took the article since I have been looking forward to talking to you some more about the lessons we learned while being a visitor at church. If you are not sure what I am talking about, please pick up last week’s paper from the Advisor office; Linda usually has a few extra to sell. That article was week #1 in my series and I challenged you all to remember what it was like to be a visitor at church as we can so quickly forget. Here is my second lesson; Be Friendly! Has the church become a club for its members? When did this happen that those who were new to a church family were not really welcome anymore? When did the church decide that those we don’t know, we will ignore? One of the things that really amazed me as we visited many churches was how so few people would be genuinely pleased you were at their church. Week after week we would walk in, sit down, be a part of the service and leave and the only time people would say “hello” was the part in the service where the leader would tell them to “pass the peace”. Only then they would turn, smile politely and say “hello”. I remember one time we went to a church, we participated in their entire service, (including communion in which they gave no instructions, but I will write about that another time) then walked out without anyone really, genuinely saying “welcome here”. Amazing! The funny thing is that we ended up out for lunch in the same place with most of the same people that we had just spent 1 ½ hours with in their small church. They all sat together at the same tables and acted like they had never seen us before.. haa. How sad! My friends, this should not be! Now as a pastor, my relationship with the Lord was not shaken, but if I was wondering about spiritual things, what would I have learned that day about God or His people? You see, when Jesus ascended into heaven (Acts 1), He gave us His Holy Spirit so that, when we receive Him as our Lord, we can then represent Him (“be his witnesses”) to people that Jesus loves but who may not know it. We get to show them Jesus’ love everyday of the week, not just on Sunday. Yet when the local family of God gets together on a Sunday, should we not be looking at how we can represent the Lord as they gather? What picture do you give people of what God is like when you gather? That He is disinterested in them? That God only loves church members? That God is only interested in visitors if they are the same as us? This, again, should not be. Jesus describes his mission on earth like this: “For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.” Luke 19:10 (New Living Translation). He was accused of hanging out too much with the “wrong people”. I feel that much of the church has lost its way and we have tried to distance ourselves from those who are not like us or from people we may not feel we relate to. Jesus loved all people and when we are in our churches I suggest that we do the same, especially those who are new(er) among us. Maybe just being genuinely friendly would make such an impact for the Lord that it could change someone’s life? Maybe if we asked them who they are and what brought them to our church today, it could make all the difference in their experience. The church is the Body of Christ. Let us be His hands welcoming, let’s be His voice affirming and blessing those who are visiting. We may find a blessing in it for us also. More next time. Comments? Please check our blog at and write away.

Five Warning Signs of Declining Church Health

Hello Everyone for this beautiful Thursday in Sept... here is a post from Thom Rainer author of Breakout Churches, which was a very helpful book to me, has posted this article today. Can you read it and comment on what you think below? What do you think about his remarks on the pastor as chaplain?

Praying for you all today!


December 17, 2004, should have been a day of celebration.

Nellie Jo and I had been married 27 years on that date. We were in Naples, Florida, enjoying the sunshine and each other.

Then the phone call came.

We had been given a great deal of confidence that the biopsy would likely prove negative. Proceed with our anniversary celebration, we were told. In the unlikely event that the report was not good, they would let us know.

The report was not good. Nellie Jo had cancer. The next two years would prove to be some of the most challenging years of our lives and marriage.

When an Unhealthy Body Looks Healthy

Looking back, it is amazing to recall how healthy Nellie Jo looked. She showed no signs of fatigue or sickness. Had she not seen a couple of warning signs, she might have found out too late about her cancer. She might not be alive today.

I’ve seen it countless times. My team would go into a church for a consultation, and we would begin interviewing church members. We would hear from many of the congregants that their church was healthy and thriving. Then we would see the warning signs. And we would begin to fear that the apparently healthy body was not really healthy at all.

The church was sick. Some of the churches were really sick.

Five Warning Signs

What were some of the warning signs my team saw? Though the list is not exhaustive, these five issues were common. Some of the churches had a one or two on the list; some had all five.

1. The church has few outwardly focused ministries. Most of the budget dollars in the church are spent on the desires and comforts of church members. The ministry staff spends most of its time taking care of members, with little time to reach out and minister to the community the church is supposed to serve.

2. The dropout rate is increasing. Members are leaving for other churches in the community, or they are leaving the local church completely. A common exit interview theme we heard was a lack of deep biblical teaching and preaching in the church.

3. The church is experiencing conflict over issues of budgets and building. When the focus of church members becomes how the facilities and money can meet their preferences, church health is clearly on the wane.

4. Corporate prayer is minimized. If the church makes prayer a low priority, it makes God a low priority.

5. The pastor has become a chaplain. The church members view the pastor as their personal chaplain, expecting him to be on call for their needs and preferences. When he doesn’t make a visit at the expected time, or when he doesn’t show up for the Bible class fellowship, he receives criticism. In not a few cases, the pastor has lost his job at that church because he was not omnipresent for the church members.

Where Do We Go from Here?

The bad news is that few churches recover if the patterns above become normative. The church is a church in name only. It is self-gratifying rather than missional. It is more concerned about great comfort than the Great Commission and the Great Commandment.

The good news is that a few churches have moved from sickness to health. The path was not easy. It first required that the congregants be brutally honest with themselves and God. It does no good to speak glowingly of a church that is unhealthy and getting worse.

Many of the turnaround churches we consulted then moved to a time of corporate confession and repentance. They confessed to God their lack of obedience and their selfish desire for their own comfort.

And still other churches made an intentional effort to shift the ministries and the money of the church to a greater outward focus. This step can be particularly painful since a number of church members often protest with vigor that their needs are no longer being met.

To Become a Healthy Church

Indeed we could focus on the reality that the great majority of sick churches do not recover. But that focus provides little value.

We should look at the admittedly few churches that have moved from sickness to health. We should learn how they turned from an inward focus to an outward focus. We should follow their examples of moving from selfish desires to radical obedience to God.

In His power the unhealthy church can become healthy.

Heed the warning signs.

It could be the difference between life and death.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009


Hey everyone,
Is there anyone checking in on this Blog?? Please let me know in the comments section....

Off to pray as it is Wednesday! PLEASE "Pray that I hear God’s voice every day and that I have faith and courage to obey Him." (Scott Hodge).

"Large = legitimate? That inhibits us"

Thursday, September 03, 2009

A Visitor At Church

Here is my article for our local paper...

Please read it and tell me what you think?


This past summer my family was away from our church family for about 11 weeks. My church was agreeable (I greatly thank them for that) to giving me this leave of absence, in which we all have just returned. Being people of faith, we did not want to take the whole summer away from gathering with others for worship, and to hear the Word of God read and spoken. Not having our own church to be apart of though, we made several decisions about how we were going to approach Sundays. One, was we were going to go to church on the weekends. It is an important thing to stay connected with the family of Christian faith. We discovered that not all churches meet on Sunday morning. Some meet Saturday mornings and some have a Sat. evening service. We decided that no matter where we were, we would get to a church family sometime over the weekend. We also decided, to try to attend churches that were different than what we are used to in the expression (or in tradition) of our Christian faith. So, for this summer we became visitors. To make it fun, we found a worship service evaluation form on the internet so each family member, could answer questions ranging from how we were received as visitors, to how the church used it’s “worship space”. Armed with evaluation sheets, we set out like “secret shoppers” that stores hire to come into their stores to tell them what their experience was like. What a fascinating time we had! We went to 8 different churches all over western Canada. Some of the church families we visited were Presbyterian, Evangelical Free, Baptist, Anglican, as well as, several other well known faith traditions. One Sunday, we stayed at home and joined an increasing tread in Canada to not go to a church building on a Sunday but watch Christian ministry on TV in our pajamas! That Sunday the “how did people treat you as a visitor” question was not answered on our evaluation sheets. Over the next several times I get to write in this paper, (thanks again Linda for giving this space to communicate to your readership) I want to talk to you about our observations on being a “visitor to church”. I hope you will read them all. I also plan to post them on our blog at after they are in the paper. I do want to cover one observation for this addition, and that is, how we forget. One of the problems that we as people who attend church regularly, or if we visit elsewhere and go only to a familiar church tradition, is that we forget what is it like to be a stone cold visitor. I wish I could say that it got easier to go to different churches week after week over the summer, but it didn’t. Often if was hard to find out what churches were in the town or city we were visiting, as most do not have any signage, anywhere. If we did find out what churches were there, we always had to have a “dry run” to find it before Sunday and sometimes it took a long time to find. We forget what it is like to not know anyone or what is going to happen in the service. We felt significant stress as we walked towards an unknown building filled with people, as close to the start of the service as possible. If we were too late, all the back pews or chairs were filled with the regular people and we would have to sit closer to the front. Walking to the front with the feeling like everyone was staring at you (which they were) was not a great feeling. Now here I am. A pastor of a church. I have gone to a church for most of my life. I am used to going to church and yet week after week I felt anxious. I had forgotten what it was like to be the new person, and so had most of the churches. Friends, I question a lot of what takes place on Sunday in our churches in Canada and wonder if it is really the best way for us to communicate the Good news of the Gospel. That being said, I do not foresee a big change in how we gather as church families in the new future. If we could just put ourselves into the emotions of those whom we hope will walk through our doors, and make some, any changes, to make it less difficult, that would be a GREAT start. To those who do not go to church, I am sorry that church going people have forgotten what it is like to try to go. This summer reminded me how hard it is. I ask you to please, give it another try. I’m sure you will find the people there, as wonderful as we found many of them to be. We need you to help us remember, what’s it like to be new. God sent Jesus to seek out people (Luke19:10) and He is still doing so by His Spirit. Let us do our part as His family to help, not hinder the work of God. More next time…

Reaching People

Are we still concerned for those who have not meet Jesus in a relationship as their LORD? Are we still praying for and seeking God for people that Jesus deeply Loves?

Here is yet another example of someone creatively trying to reach people for Jesus. It is a short Video Movie called "JUST Stop and THINK" . You can find it here

Watch it or, better yet, share it.


Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Pick One

Hello all,
Read this following post from Brad Abare from June 10th
What do you think??? Is he right?

Pick One

You can't be the urban church and the rural church.
You can't be the men-friendly church and the women-friendly church.
You can't be the advocate and the antagonist.
You can't be the funny preacher and the serious preacher.
You can't be the one-site church and the many-locations church.
You can't be the Lutheran church and the Baptist church.
You can't be the hipster church and the church for people who need hips.

Well, you could attempt to be all these things at once, but it won't work.

Pick one. And be the best in your community at it.

You can do other things too, but they must support your primary cause, not compete with it.

Pick one.

Posted by Brad Abare at June 10, 2009 7:03 AM


Comments???? Post them below!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Back Home!

Hello everyone! The Sawatsky "6" are back in Lanigan safe and sound! We had our first Sunday back at LPC this past week and it was great to see all the AMAZING changes to the building!! wow! What a enjoyable, but long, service! I did not know you all meet that late now... ha!

It has been even better to pray and listen to what God has been doing in your lives. I have so many more people to visit and celebrate with in the weeks to come.

A lot more posts this fall season... it is going to be a priority for me.

See you Sunday, if you can!


Hello everyone!
the Sawatsky are back!