Monday, January 23, 2012

Pastor's Circle - Joseph Parker

Joseph Parker, Pastor of Trinity AME Church and Director of Outreach and Intercession at AFA, joined the Pastor's Circle to talk about the Word of God. Below are the "CliffsNotes" of his interview.

What is the importance of the Word of God?
The Word of God is the mind and heart of God. As we teach that which God has commanded us to live by, it makes us productive and fruitful, whether we know it or not.

God's Word ministers to our mind, our body, and our spirit. It speaks to every aspect of life. 
In Mark chapter 4, the parable of the sower, everything centers around the Word of God. The devil knows he can't defeat it, so he focuses on getting it out of our lives.
Jesus said, "He that has ears to hear, let him hear." What are the implications of that?
After Jesus rose from the dead, he went to his disciples, cooked breakfast, and invited them, "Come and dine."

We think he's inviting them to breakfast, and he is, but he's also inviting them to feast on the Word of God. We often want to snack or nibble on it, but this is Jesus' invitation to us every day, to come and dine.

The Word is such a treasure, but many people don't realize that.
Is it worth reading the Word if you don't act on it?
God's Word is the Sword of the Spirit, it's our guidebook, it's our strength, it's our power.

There's all kinds of things we can do with it. We can read it, believe it, hear it, obey it, speak it, meditate on it. We can do any one of these things alone, but they all go hand in hand.

The Word is Jesus, and Jesus is in the Word. When an unbeliever reads the Word, he's interacting with Jesus.

It's important for us to read the Word, but to walk it out as well. A lot of believers trip up there. We read it, but we don't really believe what we've read. 
Deliberate obedience is an important part of our lives.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Pastor's Circle - Jerry Horner

Jerry Horner serves as the Executive Director of New Creation Ministries. He joined the Pastor's Circle to discuss the recent emphasis on having Jesus without "religion". Below are the "CliffsNotes" of his interview.

Can you come to Jesus without the Church?
People ought to realize that the Church is God's chosen instrument to carry out his plan for the redemption of the world.

The Church is so important that Jesus loved it and gave himself for it. There's no such thing in the New Testament as lone-sheep Christianity.

You never find the word saint in the singular in the New Testament. One of the most striking features of the New Testament is the body of believers. 
We're talking, of course, about the true Church.
What does it mean that Jesus and the Church are one?
A head must have a body. A head without a body doesn't accomplish much. Conversely, a body without a head is dead.

The Church is the body of Christ. The head gives the direction, the body carries out the desires of the head. We are one.
Why does the younger generation disdain the Church?
I think it's due to a misconception of what the Church is. Is it possible for a person to live without food, without air, without water, without nourishment? No.  
The world today seems to be dismissing the Church as a worn-out institution that is past its time. 
The farther we get from the New Testament picture of the Church, the more disdain the world will have for us.
But the Church will never die. The gates of hell will not prevail against it.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Pastor's Circle - Mitchell Tolle

Mitchell Tolle is the senior pastor of Man Of War Church of God in Lexington, KY, as well as an artist, speaker, and author. He joined the Pastor's Circle to discuss service to and beyond the church. Below are the "CliffsNotes" of his interview.

Is there a certain power in bi-vocational pastors?
There's no question. First of all, we have very good company; the Apostle Paul was a tent-maker. We're out in the real world every day, not shut up in an office.

Also, I think it gives you a certain rapport with the people. We do not have a single full-time staff member at Man Of War. I think there is a strength in that.

All of the great revivals in history began in the marketplace, not inside the four walls of the church. Many times pastors don't even have friends who are not Christians, and I think that's a tragedy.
How imperative is it for believers to serve?
We cannot possibly begin to express the significance of that. The idea of stepping out from the crowd and getting into the game.

When David walked into the situation with Goliath, he was provoked by the question that confronts all of us: Is there not a cause? There is. The cause is that the world may know there is a God.

That need in all of us to serve God has come out in history by our serving idols, carving out of blocks of wood and stone. 
But David stepped from where he was, presented himself in service to the one true God, and God rewarded him with a great victory.

The reason we serve is that the world may know. There's an answer, there's an antidote, there's a Savior, there's a cross.
Spiritual gifts overlooked?
In the book of Romans, Paul actually lays out what some people might even think of as natural gifts. Leadership, encouragement, and so on.

We put more value on the gifts of tongues, or prophecy, or discernment. But all of the natural gifts are from God as well. 
Adam's gift wasn't to sing or preach; God simply wanted him to keep the garden.
Outside the church?
I don't think there is any such thing as a lone ranger. Even when you go outside the church, you're still operating as the body. 
So yes, all of those gifts are of use in the "marketplace" as well.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Pastor's Circle - Daniel Simmons

Dr. Daniel Simmons serves as the senior pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist Church. He joined the Pastor's Circle to talk about spiritual gifts. Below are the "CliffsNotes" of his segment.
How important are the gifts of the Spirit?
It is very interesting that you would ask that.  The last three sermons I have preached are on that very theme. 
God in his sovereign wisdom decides what the church needs and then gifts people to carry out the kingdom work.  
There is no aspect of the church or of kingdom mission that is unaffected by gifts of individual members.
How important is this idea of spiritual gifts in the smaller congregation?
The first congregation I pastored was a small church, only 35 members.  But I believe that congregation was just as important to God in the view of entire kingdom ministry.  
The gifts in that church are just as significant to work of the entire kingdom.
What is one of the biggest hindrances to finding your spiritual gifts?
We have to believe that these gifts are real.  God has given every believer a spiritual gift, but you need to believe that and accept that gift God has given you.  
We have a class at Mt. Zion that helps people understand what the gifts are and then gives them an inventory of the gifts.This helps people to employ their gifts.
What should a pastor do if they don't have these resources? 
Early in my ministry I realized that there were somethings that I did that I had a great passion for. I could work on them all day and not grow weary in them.  I loved doing what God had gifted me to do. 
Also, look around at spirit-led people and observe how God is moving in other spiritual people's lives.
What gifts are you seeing as most significant in your church right now?
Straight teaching to some of our young people that have not been raised in a Christian home.  
Another is the gift of worship, we have seen God moving in calling Mt. Zion to authentic worship.
What encourages people to go find out their own spiritual gift?
One thing is creating an atmosphere where if people come forward with their gifts they will be able to use those gifts in the church.  
We haven't always discovered the spiritual gifts that we thought we would, but God has surprised me.  
Can we end up celebrating some of these gifts at the expense of others?
Absolutely. Every pastor has his passion; he has his favorite gifts. 
One of my favorite gifts is singing, but I need to be careful that I don't overstep my desire to incorporate all the great singers in our church.  
That might give the impression that is all that the pastor is looking for.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Pastor's Circle - Gil McKee

Gil McKee, senior pastor of the First Baptist Church of Tuscaloosa, joined the Pastor's Circle today to discuss giving at Christmas. Here are the "CliffsNotes" of his segment.

How important is service?
Absolutely important. Until we're serving, until we're using our gifts, I think we're actually robbing ourselves in the Christian life. 
I think it's important that we build up our brothers and sisters, but I think it's also important for ourselves. 
It's when we begin to serve them that we begin to benefit and have fulfillment in the Christian life. 
I think it's about living the way God has designed us. He has a purpose and a plan for each of our lives, and he has gifted us according to that design. 
When we serve, we are doing what we have been made to do, and I don't think there's any greater satisfaction.
Is serving inside the church the whole nine yards?
If we don't get outside of the church, if we don't go where people are, how are we ever going to reach them with the Gospel? 
Until we realize that the people we're called to touch are outside of our walls, we're never going to get out there and reach them.
Have we lost the service component of discipleship?
I'm afraid we have. There's nothing wrong with small groups; I think we need those. But Jesus used the small group to huddle up and then go out and serve. 
It's a little bit like football. I think we've forgotten that the huddle is for the purpose of running the play. We've gotten so comfortable with the huddle that we've just decided to stay there.
How should we be talking about spiritual gifts?
I think the bottom line is to get people in God's Word, to help them get an idea of what the gifts are, and even to help them realize they have gifts. For a lot of people, it's just a matter of recognition.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Pastor's Circle - Mark Durie

Dr. Mark Durie is the vicar of St. Mary's Anglican Church in Caulfield, Victoria, Australia. He came on The Matt Friedeman Show to discuss the spiritual impact of what we allow into our lives. Here are the "CliffsNotes" of his interview.

In your church, what kind of things do you encourage that promote a deeper spirituality?
One of the things I've found to be truly important is to be cleaned up. We come into church with all this baggage.

Obviously we need to repent, but how do we take that a step further? The process of cleaning up our lives is very important.
What are some influences that you've helped people deal with?
I've met some people who have a lot of trouble with gambling and things like that. A lot of times they had an experience when they were younger, and the imprint stayed on their lives.

I pray for them that God would not only take away the current problem, but also take away the imprint of that experience on their lives.
How do you "un-imprint"?
I think it's owning your own decisions, the things that you've bought into. Part of the key is things that you've come to believe that are false.

It's not just about rejecting the sin, it's rejecting the lies that Satan has brought into your life through the sin. Part of it is just a decision, but also a careful process of cutting off is very important.
What are some positive experiences that imprint on our lives?
Sometimes we encounter God unexpectedly and miraculously. Those experiences are important, and should be honored and treasured.

Peter's whole experience of realizing his own sin, and also God's grace and mercy had a huge impact on him. When we experience God's grace, we need to allow those experiences to shape us.
Are there any regular habits that leave an imprint?
I think it's to do with the way truth works. You can believe that something's true and know that it's right, but for that to really permeate your life, it's not enough just to have that one insight.

You have to nurture that in your life. We can claim what's good and healthy in our lives through meditating on what's true.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Pastor's Circle - Michael Catt

Michael Catt is the pastor of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, GA. Dr. Catt joined The Matt Friedeman Show to talk about One Cry and America's need for revival. Below are the "CliffsNotes" of his interview.

What is One Cry?

I've been in several meetings as this initiative was rolled out.
People from across the country have come together believing that this is the year to call the nation to revival.
It is a pivotal year.
How can we position ourselves for revival?
I think the first thing that we have to do is humble ourselves before God.

We have tried every program, and every scheme, and we've got the best technology in the world, but we still haven't seen an awakening in us like the revivals of the past.

One Cry is trying to get intercessors to bombard heaven, to try to get God to send revival to this nation.
Can technology hurt us rather than help us?
I think you're right. We are bombarded with noise, and I think it distracts us. We can tweet about God more than we can talk to him.

I think we need to be sure our first priority is having a relationship with Christ, and sharing that relationship with other people.
Is it dangerous to seek God's hand more than we seek his face?
Absolutely. We have limited revival to a meeting. We put revival on the calendar. Revival is where the people of God get their hearts right with God.

The reason the church is not impacting the culture is because carnal people don't care about lost people.

But when we get our hearts right, we will care about what God cares about. And one of the things he cares about is the lost.
What are some things that are keeping the Church from revival?
One is prayerlessness. The Church lacks power because it lacks prayer. When you study the history of revival, they have always been birthed in prayer and unapologetic preaching of the gospel.

The second thing is fear of man. We fear man more than we fear God, and it affects the way we live.

The third thing is pride. That's why you don't see people confessing and building relationships and getting right with each other. It's pride.

We call our sin a mistake, an error, a defect we were born with, but no matter what you call it, it's sin.
How can we make sure to seek revival for the right reasons?
I think it was Tozer who said, "When revival comes, some people who are in leadership in the Church will be disqualified." People have to decide either to go with God or to continue in mediocrity.

John Edwards was a leader in national revival, and he got fired from his church. Revival doesn't eliminate our problems, it just gives us another set. But they're better problems.