A New Reformation | Mike Breen

ARE WE ON THE BRINK OF A NEW REFORMATION?

Written by Mike Breen [Original post at www.3dm.com]

If you could have a big tree with only a little fruit or a small tree with lots of fruit, which would you choose? It’s about a choice, right?

But we’ll get back to that in a second.

I’ve noticed there seem to be two things I can do with Jesus. Either I can increasingly look like Jesus, or I can make him look like me.

I can look like Jesus or I can try to make him look like me.

The funny thing about Jesus is that I’m never sure we give him quite enough credit. Sure. He came to earth, left the throne of heaven, took on the nature of a servant and died on the cross in our place, rose from the dead and now sits at the right hand of the Father. Yes. All that happened.

But we really don’t give his three years of ministry much reference.

Here’s what I mean: We think Jesus was the Son of God, but when we read the Gospels, do you think he was the smartest person who ever lived? Most accomplished? Best fisherman? Best evangelist? Best church planter? Best movement leader? Best discipler? Most successful leader?

For instance, in Luke 9 and again in Luke 10, Jesus gave the most detailed strategy you will ever find in the scriptures for how to evangelize, and then we see the exact same strategy used in the early church. Shouldn’t we be using that same strategy? I’m guessing we’re not arrogant enough to think we’ve come up with a better strategy than Jesus. (Example: for most churches, the evangelism strategy is “invite your friends to church and then let the professionals take over. We’ll do the heavy lifting if you get them here.” Not exactly Jesus’ strategy!)

We acknowledge what Jesus did on the cross, but what about what was started before the cross? What about the movement he began that changed the course of human history when it was released and catalyzed after the Resurrection and Pentecost? If being a disciple is “who Jesus would be if he were me” (Dallas Willard), shouldn’t we be learning the patterns and practices of the best whom ever lived if we too want to change the world for the Kingdom?

Yet often when we look at the Western church, I’m not sure we see many of the practices of Jesus among the way we lead. Though…that’s starting to change!

Back to the original question: Big tree/little fruit or little tree/lots of fruit?

It feels that at some point, we might have lost our way. Perhaps we became more concerned with success than fruitfulness. Jesus says we evaluate things in the Kingdom on their fruitfulness…but somewhere along the way it became about the size of your tree. Now having a big tree is a fine thing. Just know you’re only successful in evaluating yourself against the size of other trees, and God has never been terribly concerned about tree size. Just fruitfulness. That’s it. The point of a tree isn’t how big your tree is but how much fruit you have. It’s about fruit! And in the Kingdom, fruitfulness is always about reproduction. (Specifically, reproducing disciples…multiplying Jesus’ life into the life of others who can then go and do the same.) Screen Shot 2013-03-03 at 8.53.46 AM

My experience tells me having a big tree doesn’t mean you have a lot of fruit. In fact, what I’ve seen happen a lot more often is people going after the big tree and hoping to get fruit, rather than going after fruit and knowing you get the tree along the way.

Choose the best, and you always get the good. Choose the good, you very rarely get the best.

Are we trying to start or lead churches, create Kingdom movements and aspire to all the breakthrough Jesus saw apart from the way Jesus did those things? Am I trying to make Jesus like me or do I honestly believe he was the best in the Kingdom business?

The Reformation was a significant moment because among other things, it put the Bible back in the hands of the people. But when we look at the church of the last 100 years, I have to wonder if we have been more influenced by the Enlightenment than the Reformation.

This is the gut check questionIf you had to choose between being known as a movement leader but not really having one, or actually being a movement leader but no one knowing it…which would you choose?

Tree or fruit?

Here’s the good news: I believe we are on the cusp of a new Reformation, one that sees the kind of fruit we saw from Jesus’ ministry, because we, once again, embrace not simply what Jesus did on the cross but the way he led and made disciples. Yes. I think we are on the tipping point of a new Reformation and it is about putting discipleship and mission back into the hands of ordinary people. Because when we equip the people of Jesus with the patterns, practices and way of Jesus, it will once again be ordinary people equipped to do extraordinary things.

The key is to embrace the mission of Jesus AND the way of Jesus. He’s just the best there ever was!

Hopefully you hear what I’m trying to convey clearly. I’m not suggesting we should go after a new Reformation. I’m suggesting it’s already happening. And maybe we don’t see it on every street corner yet, but I see it happening all around. A small group of communities, ready to be bloodied in going through the wall first, who are getting the beachhead of breakthrough for the rest of the church.

It’s already happening!

Screen Shot 2013-03-03 at 8.54.14 AMAt the end of the day, I don’t want a big tree. But I don’t want a small tree either. I want an orchard. I want a Kingdom movement where reproduction of Jesus’ life within individuals and communities is happening on every level. I’ve seen this happen before. I know it because I’ve seen it. And I think we are starting to see glimmers of this reality again.

Lord, may it be so! May we see a Kingdom movement wash upon these shores.

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‘Carrie Testimony’ From Phoenix One

While perusing the Phx1.org site this video popped out to me!  I don’t know the girl [or the ministry very well] but this testimony is an incredibly powerful reminder of Romans 1:16

I am not ashamed of the gospel,

because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes:

first for the Jew then the Gentile

Seven Sign Of John | CMA Resources

This article seemed relevant to our current study of John in the College and Careers group from Faith Bible Church so I though I would repost.  It is taken from CMA Resources [Original here].

Seven Signs in John: A Simple Process for Evangelism and Starting Churches

[Originally] Posted on April 24th, 2010

The Gospel of Jesus is the flame that burns at the grassroots of the apostolic movement. Having a means of igniting that flame in such a way that those who catch it can spread it on the same day is an extremely valuable catalyst. We felt we needed a means of unveiling the true Christ to a person open to it that was simple enough that everyone could do it in any culture, language or generation. That is a tall order to fill. We found our answer in the Bible, specifically the Gospel of John.
Apparently, while John was with Jesus from the start and saw all the miracles performed, he selected these particular miracles and included them in this specific orderThe Seven Signs of John is based on the words that the apostle John writes near the end of his gospel. He said, “Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.” (John 20:30-31)

[i] for a purpose-to open the eyes of the unbeliever to have faith in the real Christ and gain eternal life. This is not my opinion; this is what the Scriptures themselves say. Consider it this way: the Holy Spirit is telling you that the miracle stories in the gospel of John are the stories that are best to present the true Christ to an unbelieving heart. It is quite common for American Christian leaders to exaggerate the effectiveness of a method, but in this case it is the Holy Spirit making the claim, not me.

The Seven Signs are as follows:

  1. The turning of water into wine (John 2:1-12)
  2. The healing of the royal official’s son (John 4:46-54)
  3. The healing of the paralytic at the Bethesda pool (John 5:1-17)
  4. The feeding of the five thousand (John 6:1-14)
  5. The walking on water (John 6:15-25)
  6. The healing of the man born blind (John 9:1-41)
  7. The raising of Lazarus (John 11:1-46)

The way it works is that each week the person or persons you are sharing with is encouraged to read one of the stories once every day. So in the first week, they read the story of Jesus turning water into wine every day. At the end of the week when you get together and read the passage again together, you ask four simple questions and have a discussion about the passage. The questions are:

1. What does this story say to you about people?

2. What does this story say to you about Jesus?

3. What does this story have to say about you?

4. Who needs to hear this story?

(Download/Print One Page Worksheet)

This can easily be done meeting once a week over a cup of coffee with anyone who is a spiritual seeker. Every organic church I have ever started began going weekly through these stories and simply asking the questions. I have yet to do so and not have someone commit to follow Christ. I am not guaranteeing you the same results, but we can take the Holy Spirit’s word for it that these stories will help people believe in Jesus.

This simple and profound ministry tool crosses all cultural barriers because it is simply the Bible speaking for itself (a significant principle!). It reproduces because anyone can ask a few easily remembered questions. This is not a model of church or a human curriculum. It is simply unleashing the power of God’s word to do what it does in a life. The only way you could say that this doesn’t work cross-culturally is to say that the Bible doesn’t work cross-culturally. Even in an oral culture that is not literate this tool will still work because it is basic story telling.

[i] It is clear that while The Gospel of John follows Jesus’ life it is not ordered in a strict chronological order. It is put together more topically than the synoptic gospels. The miracles that John writes about are placed in an intentional order. Therefore, following the order as John intended, while not absolutely necessary, has advantages.

Listen to an Audio of Neil Cole sharing about this Tool

Download/Print Entire Article

Download/Pring One Page Worksheet

Are Churches Leaderless? | Mike Breen

I just read this challenging post by Mike Breen of 3DM called Why the Leadership Movement is Leaving Your Church Leaderless.  I thought it was worth sharing and, apparently, it was so popular it crashed their servers when he posted it yesterday]. Click and see if it was worth the hype!