Saturday, December 13, 2008

Do You Have What you NEED to Plant a Church?

I got this from Mark Driscol's Blog. This is a valid examination that anyone considering a church plant needs to ask themselves. I have been part of 3. They are difficult but very rewarding. I copied and published this. I hope it edifies you as it did me.

By Pastor Scott Thomas, Acts 29 Director

Every young man that considers church planting asks the question, Am I a Church Planter? It is the question I asked myself before planting a church. It is the question we ask every man who submits himself to our Acts 29 assessment process to be a lead planter in our network. Many times he is depending on our assessment process to confirm his calling.

Not all churches have a vision for church planting and few have insight into what a church planter looks like. Our church leaders should be able to spot a church planter and then send him to plant as soon as he is ready.

I did a survey of pastors associated with a church planting movement in 52 countries of the world and asked them to describe the characteristics of a church planter. In order, they said 1) Leader/Visionary, 2) Missionary heart, 3) Preacher, 4) Generalist (can do many things as the lone pastor) and 5) Family Man (NewFrontiers July 2008 non-scientific survey conducted by Scott Thomas).

We believe strongly that the Bible teaches that this office of an elder and pastor is reserved for males. God is a God of order and balance. He has established order within the family (Gen. 3:16; 1 Cor. 11:3; Eph. 5:22-33; Col. 3:18-21) and the church (1 Tim. 2:11-14; 1 Cor. 11:8-9). Even within the Trinity there is an order; a hierarchy. The Father sent the Son (John 6:38) and both the Father and the Son sent the Holy Spirit (John 14:26; 15:26). Jesus said, "For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of Him who sent Me," (John 6:38). It is clear that God is a God of order and structure.

In creation, God made Adam first and then Eve to be his helper. This is the order of creation. It is this order that Paul mentions in 1 Tim. 2:11-14 when speaking of authority within the church. Being a pastor or an elder is to be in the place of authority. Therefore, within the church, for a woman to be a pastor or elder, she would be in authority over men in the church which contradicts what Paul says in 1 Tim. 2:11-14.

Although it seems a little reductionist and arrogant to list the characteristics of a church planter, I offer twenty characteristics based on evidence in the Acts 29 Network and a plethora of books and articles associated with church planting. After reading this list, some men may be more discouraged from church planting than drawn to it. But the fact is that church planting is tough for the most qualified men. If a man does not have the needed characteristics, he will frustrate himself and everyone around him.

There are lots of other ways a man can serve God in an established church or a church plant apart from being the lead planter. Some very good pastors would probably make bad church plant leaders. That call from God to do church planting might be a call to go join a team led by another man to help plant a church, or it might actually be a call to financially support so others can go. Please pray as you work through this list that God will either confirm a call or reveal if one is to lead a church plant.

I have summarized the 20 characteristics because of the length of the article and discussed them after the summary. Please see the link at the bottom for the complete article including elder qualification charts.

Summarized: 20 Characteristics of a Church Planter

1. Am I a Christian? (John 3:16)

2. Am I passionately in love with Jesus and is He the Lord of every area of my life? (Personal spiritual dynamics is the second most important area)

3. Do I believe His word and does it affect my life deeply?

4. Am I Spirit-filled, Spirit-directed, Spirit-led and Spirit-controlled? (Acts 1:8)

5. Am I qualified as an Elder? (1 Timothy, Titus)

6. Do I love the local church as the expression of a gospel community on mission? (Matthew 28:18-20)

7. Am I a missionary to the city? Am I sent for the advancement of the gospel in the city (John 20:21)?

8. Do I have a clear vision for this new work? (Nehemiah 1:3, 4; 2:11-18)

9. Am I willing to pour myself out in obedience to the vision? (Phil. 2; Romans 6)

10. Am I healthy? Physically, emotionally, financially, spiritually, relationally, maritally

11. Am I the kind of leader many people will follow? Have I served as a church leader successfully? (1 Tim. 5:22; 3:6)

12. Can I preach effectively?

13. Can I guard the doctrinal door with Biblical clarity and tenacious confidence?

14. Can I architect a new work with entrepreneurial skill?

15. Am I called to plant a church at this time and in this place? (Acts 17:26; 1 Peter 5:2)

16. Have my church leaders commended me for this calling? (Acts 11:22-26; 13:1-4; 16:1-2)

17. Am I a hard worker? Am I persevering? (2 Thes. 3:10; 1 Tim. 5:17-18; 2 Tim. 2:3-4; 2:5; 2:6)

18. Am I adaptable to new people, places and concepts?

19. Can I raise the funds needed for my family’s needs? (1 Tim. 5:8)

20. Am I humble enough to learn from others—particularly from those who have gone ahead of me in different areas?

Discussed: 20 Characteristics of a Church Planter

Acts 20:28 says that we must "Pay careful attention to ourselves" before we care for the flock of God. We must be prepared as God's man before heading into battle.

1. Am I a Christian? (Integrity is the number one value of a church planter).

This seems like an obvious characteristic. However, some men grow up in churches and are led to believe that they placed their faith in Jesus for salvation while they lack a personal relationship with Jesus. Jesus said that we must be born again or regenerated by the Spirit of God (John 3:16). It is possible that a man could build a church and not be a Christian, but it is not advised.

2. Am I passionately in love with Jesus and is He the Lord of every area of my life?

The gospel must be evidently at work in every area of a church planter's life: personally, maritally, domestically, sexually, financially, physically, relationally and ministerially. We are sinners who need forgiveness through repentance and confession. We have to practice this daily as examples of the gospel.

3. Do I believe His word and does it affect my life deeply?

It's not enough to just have good sermon material; it has to flow from your heart. The Word needs to speak to you, and you need to preach out of the abundance of his Word.

4. Am I Spirit-filled, Spirit-directed, Spirit-led and Spirit-controlled? (Acts 1:8)

We are eager to be witnesses, but we have tendencies to lean on our own ideas and abilities apart from the Spirit of God. The church planter needs to be an empowered man. The Spirit needs to be working in and through him and be consuming him. Jesus accomplished work on this earth through the power of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit descended upon Jesus and rested or remained on Him (Matt. 3:16). Luke 4 said that Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit, was led by the Spirit, and began His ministry in Galilee in the power of the Spirit and preached with the Spirit of the Lord upon Him. He rejoiced in the Spirit (Luke 10:21) and promised the Spirit to those who asked the father (Luke 11:13). The Holy Spirit longs to empower us to do our work as a missionary-church planter to the ends of the earth.

5. Am I qualified as an Elder? (1 Timothy, Titus)

Timothy and Titus talk about the qualifications. Study them carefully and assess yourself. Both lists say that to be above reproach is the overarching, summarizing characteristic. You will find a similar (but not identical) list in First Timothy. Being above reproach is the first requirement in both lists and Titus repeats it. The other items on the list explain what above reproach means. There isn't an exhaustive list of characteristics. They overlap, but the key is to be above reproach. The lists are some "for instances" of how to be above reproach: the husband of one wife with no one else in your hands, your head, your heart, your eyes, or on that screen-none. A church pastor must be totally focused and satisfied in that one woman God has brought to him. Marriage will be a struggle at times. But you cannot stray, even an inch. Practicing the gospel is required for a good marriage. Children should be in submission and pastors need to pastor their wife and kids first. If we peruse the two lists, as well as First Peter, we find 17 qualities of an elder who is above reproach.

6. Do I love the local church as the expression of a gospel community on mission?(Matthew 28:18-20)

Jesus loved the Church - enough to die for her (Eph. 5:25). A planter therefore is a Church lover. He may die for her, but if he doesn't love her, he is nothing (1 Cor. 13). Josh Harris exhorts the pew sitters to stop dating the church. The pastor may need to stop having a junior high affair with the church and make a lifelong commitment.

7. Am I a missionary to the city? Am I sent for the advancement of the gospel in the city?(John 20:21)

If you are a church planter, you have to be a missionary. Every pastor needs to see himself as a missionary for the glory of God and the good of the city. Don't be someone who wants to start something because of self-centeredness and pride and my desire to be recognized. It's not about the church planter or personal success. It's about exalting the grace of Jesus.

8. Do I have a clear vision for this new work? (Nehemiah 1:3, 4; 2:11-18)

Lacking a vision was the second most obvious void among aspiring church planters submitting to the Acts 29 assessment process. Nehemiah had to have a vision of a complete wall. Not take a survey. The city is in ruins; it's time to build. You know you have a vision when people around you say, "Let's do that." People need to be following your compelling, life-transforming vision.

9. Am I willing to pour myself out in obedience to the vision?

A planter if he is to follow Jesus, must manifest the death of Jesus. He must become less for Christ to become greater. A planter, like Jesus, is one who "aims low" in that sense. Philippians 2 is instructive in general of this pattern. We are to "Have this mind" -the mind of a Christ who emptied Himself out for the gospel. He, being God, humbled himself to the point of death - then he was exalted. Romans Chapter 6 describes the union with Christ in His death that precedes union with Christ in life.

10. Am I healthy?

Physically, emotionally, financially, spiritually, relationally, maritally
Most church planters get fatter, fussier, angrier, lonelier, poorer and at odds more with their mate and their Lord during the first two years of a church plant. Don't think that having a church baby will solve your deficiencies any more than a baby will solve the problems of a troubled marriage.

11. Am I the kind of leader many people will follow? Have I served as a church leader successfully?

Occasionally a man will aspire to be a church planter who has no experience as a church leader or an elder in another local church. Paul warns the church not to be hasty in the laying on of hands (1 Timothy 5:22) or appointing a pastor who is a recent convert who is prone to pride (1 Timothy 3:6). A church planter will be more effective with a few years of experience involved with the local church in a leadership capacity. The best church planters are those men who have led in multiple venues and people followed over a sustained period of time.

Even a cursory reading of the Bible reveals that when God wants to get something done He starts by selecting a man to lead that change. Examples include sparing humanity (Noah), founding a nation (Abraham), liberating a nation (Moses), establishing a throne (David), building a Temple (Solomon), preparing hearts (John the Baptizer), and redeeming all of creation (Jesus).

Church planting is no different. Simply, before God can build a church plant He must build a church planter who can lead others to follow the mission of Jesus.

12. Can I preach effectively?

You don't have to hit it out of the ballpark every time. But you do have to hit singles pretty regularly. The pulpit is the rudder that steers the church. We cannot make our preaching an idol. The key thing to remember in preaching, according to Mark Driscoll is to avoid freezing up at the pressure. Relax, connect with the Spirit and with your audience and the effectiveness will take care of itself.

13. Can I guard the doctrinal door with Biblical clarity and tenacious confidence?

When you start a church, you'll have new people with new ideas-some for which they got kicked out of their old church! You have to be able to guard the doctrinal door, refute doctrinal error-not arrogantly, but being sure of what the Word of God says and being able to articulate that in a winsome way with authority.

14. Can I architect a new work with entrepreneurial skill?

What have you started successfully? Some men can't see the vision of what is to come, and some-even if they see the vision-can't find the steps toward accomplishing their vision. If you can't be the architect, then you are in trouble. As an example, some very pastoral people are NOT the best people to start a church, or at least not as the main team leader. Be clear about who you are. If you're a shepherd, counselor, caregiver, and you could be a success doing those things in an established church or as part of a team, then that is where you should be. Someone who is called to plant a church is frustrated if they don't do it. Number two leaders rarely make good number one leaders.

15. Am I called to plant a church at this time and in this place?

Acts 17:26 says that God appoints the time and the place of our ministry. Titus was the apostolic leader over the churches in Crete. Before Paul appointed him to do that, he went through a progression of calling:

• 2 Cor. 7:6, Titus was a friend who encouraged Paul
• 2 Cor 7:13, Titus was overwhelmed by the ministry of the Macedonians
• 2 Cor. 8:6, Titus was a faithful worker carrying out the wishes of Paul
• 2 Cor. 8:16-17, Titus developed a heart for the ministry and initiated ministry on his own.
• 2 Cor. 8:23 and 12:17, Titus was a proven minister
• Titus 1:4-5, Titus was the senior overseer to appoint elders throughout the island of Crete. His proven faithfulness and calling allowed him to pioneer works in a hostile environment.

In 1 Peter 5:2, Peter exhorts the elders to "Shepherd the flock of God...not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you." A calling is necessary in a church plant to face the tough times because a hireling leaves when the wolf arrives. But a called shepherd stays with his flock through adversity (John 10:12ff.).

16. Have my church leaders commended me for this calling?

The Book of Acts lacks any reference to asking for volunteers. In Acts 11:22 the believers sent Barnabas. It was the congregation in Jerusalem that selected and sent one of its own gifted members. In all of the subsequent sending of missionaries in the Book of Acts, the emphasis is never upon an individual volunteering or upon his own subjective sense of call, but always upon the initiative of others.

Saul goes to Antioch because Barnabas takes him there (Acts 11:25-26). It is the whole group of prophets and teachers in Antioch to whom the Holy Spirit says "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them" (Acts 13:1-4). Barnabas and Paul parted company and we are told that Barnabas took Mark (Acts 15:39) and Paul chose Silas (Acts 15:40). Both "departed being committed by the brethren to the grace of the Lord." Subsequently Paul wanted Timothy to go with him (Acts 16:3). We are reminded that Timothy "was well spoken of by the brethren who were in Lystra and Iconium" (Acts 16:1-2) implying that the congregations were consulted and involved in his going out with Paul.

While western culture promotes and encourages the personal call and entrepreneurial spirit of the planter, the New Testament by contrast stresses the corporate initiatives of congregations in selecting suitable people for Gospel ministry. It cannot be justified from the New Testament and the best one can scrape up from the Old Testament is the call of Isaiah (Isaiah 6:8). The call of an Old Testament prophet should be not regarded as normative for a New Testament church missionary. The prophet was sent TO the people of God while the New Testament planter is sent BY the people of God.

When the church in Jerusalem heard of the need in Antioch, together as a congregation they expressed their sense of responsibility and they sent Barnabas (Acts 11:23, 14:22). We should select our best men (Acts 11:24) and send them. Instead of the initiative being left to the individual, churches should deliberately approach their best, most gifted Christian leaders to send them to places of greater need. The individual is still responsible to respond positively to the congregation's approach.

The individual's subjective sense of call is confirmed by the objective call of the church body, recognizing his gifts and qualifications. This reinforces the assurance of the Holy Spirit's call upon a man. Typically a man feels called and informs his church and the lead pastor terminates that man from employment rather than recognizing him as a man called and to be sent by that church.

The missionaries sent out from the New Testament churches were ministering in their local congregations already. We typically want to receive resumes when we should be examining the men in our own congregations. If no one in our congregation is qualified, it is a sad statement upon the leaders of that congregation for not preparing men to be sent into other fields. The chief work of church planting is the birthing, building and blossoming of congregations. Who will do this better than those who are already have considerable local church experience?

As members of the church, we should be going or training others to go at all times. This is an indication of a church with an enthusiastic and fruitful mission that is passionate about following the mission of Jesus.

17. Am I a hard worker? Am I persevering?

Church planting is hard work with no easy solutions or shortcuts. The verse, "If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat" (2 Thes. 3:10) is especially true in church planting. A man must be disciplined, organized, courageous, dependable, patient, well read, hard working, discerning, a man who gets things done in an effective and timely manner, which also means that he's passionate and self-motivated.

The Bible calls a pastor an ox (1 Tim. 5:17-18), a soldier (2 Tim. 2:3-4), an athlete (2 Tim. 2:5) and a farmer (2 Tim. 2:6). Those are laborious jobs and the Holy Spirit used them to describe the kind of man who is qualified to pastor a church.

To plant a church that honors God a man must preach and teach the Bible with all of the strength and fortitude of an ox that can pull a multitude of people in his wake (1 Timothy 5:17-18). Satan routinely sends heretics, nut jobs, and false teachers of all kinds into a church plant because it's systems are yet fluid, its leadership is yet settled, and it's relationships are yet cultivated.

To plant a church that honors God a man must fight like a dependable soldier of Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 2:3-4). Throughout his letters, Paul continually admonishes Timothy to fight a good fight. With the world, the flesh, and the devil conspiring to thwart the new work a church planter must continually fight. Weak men who are prone to avoid conflict or crumble under pressure will end up quitting prematurely.

To plant a church that honors God, a man must train and compete with the precision of a skilled athlete (2 Timothy 2:5). Lazy men who adore their comfort, food, and hobbies rarely plant an effective church because they end up wasting time, energy and creativity.

To plant a church that honors God a man must sweat at his labor like a farmer (2 Timothy 2:6). Many young men are attracted to ministry because, as one pastor said, it's an indoor job that does not require any heavy lifting. When done honorably, ministry in general and church planting in particular is extremely difficult work. Like the farmer who depends on the labor of his hands without a boss, a set schedule or a predictable paycheck, the planter must be self-disciplined, get up every morning and work hard gathering people, studying, teaching, raising money, locating facilities, building systems, training men and repeating that routine day after day.

18. Am I adaptable to new people, places and concepts?

If you don't like change, you don't like church planting! If you are the kind of person who goes into the fetal position with new challenges, you're probably not a church planter.

19. Can I raise the funds needed for my family's needs?

A church planter who won't provide for the needs of his family is worse than an unbeliever and has denied the faith (1 Tim. 5:8). Church planters often hide behind the cloak of "faith" and "calling" to shield them from taking responsibility with their family regarding finances. A church planter's own children need a father more than the city needs a new church. Money is not the key to success but a lack of money is a huge detriment. It is unbiblical to place our family on the altar of our idol of success.

20. Am I humble enough to learn from others-particularly from those who have gone ahead of me in different areas?

This is one of the issues we call "stallers" and "stoppers" in our assessments. A church planter needs to be coachable, teachable. If he is not teachable, his church will stay stunted in its growth. He needs to identify areas where he has weaknesses and blind spots and then seek the advisement of those around him that can help him to continually grow and learn.

Mark Dever has said the local church, in all its glory, makes the audible gospel visible (A Display of God's Glory (9marks: Washington, D.C., 2001). The gospel is the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. Jesus Christ died and rose again and ascended - people do not see Him. The Church is His Body here on earth. The place where Jesus Christ is made visible is His Body, not just by one individual. When one meets a congregation that is "displaying God's glory" faithfully, one encounters Jesus in one sense. So planting a church is an exercise in making visible the audible gospel of the Blessed God.

What if I am called? What if I am not sure? What do I do?
"Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers" (1 Tim 4:12-16).

IL Politics Haiku

Snake-Oil Peddlers To Shape Their

Destiny, Then Howl At The Moon,

When Governance Unravels!

Don't believe NPR Hype

I'm listening to NPR this morning. Wait Wait don't Tell Me. It's what I do on Saturday Mornings many times. In the Middle of the Program they came on and asked for MONEY. Mini Fund Drive.


Remember in the Movie Airplane? One Character says, "I Picked a fine week to quit drinking"....

They picked a fine week to raise money. On the heels of this news.

The amount of money that people on the air make dwarfs even the salaries Auto Workers get.
NPR reported its five highest paid employees were:
1. Managing Editor Barbara Rehm, $383,139
2. All Things Considered host Robert Siegel, $350,288
3. Morning Edition host Renee Montagne, $332,160
4. Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep, $331,242
5. NPR afternoon programming director Richard L. Harris, $190,267.
I'll take them far less seriously from now on when they put out the Tin Cup.

Another Take on Teachers Unions

Certifying teachers for elementary education is one of the silliest ideas ever.


That's it.

Here's an article why.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Conservatives need a Colin Cleanse

Colin Powell gave an interview to CNN news about the results of the last election. He was classically middle of the road vanilla. The interview will air on Sunday PM on CNN. Here's a video excerpt.

He couldn't be more wrong. His idea is, be more like democrats. What frustrates me is people like him in politics or in the Christian Church. He is wrong and we don't need a change, we need a COLIN CLEANSE. Mr Powell and his Ilk must now become democrats and join with them.

In a comment from
author blog this was said about this interview:

What I hear Colin Powell saying is that Sarah Palin didn’t tout the lies of political correctness, slut herself out on MTV, panic that the climate change sky was falling, or advocate for the further destruction of unborn babies.

The sad thing is that he tries to take the high intellectual road which really crashes because they are moral issues, heart issues that he’s referring to. He seems to be saying that “African-American, Hispanic and Asian voters” don’t have morals which I find rude.

The Republicans
didn’t lose the election because of Sarah Palin or Rush Limbaugh. They don’t need to PC up. They need to scrub down and clean house! Both Palin and Limbaugh deeply resonate with the heart of many Americans from diverse ethnicities. The same America-despising media conglomerates that glorified someone who still refuses to prove that he’s a natural -born US citizen and a long list of other jaw dropping negatives, are the same entities who unfairly battered Sarah Palin, demeaning her well-earned credentials, strong values, and even her wardrobe. These same media hypocrites have no problem showcasing the appointments of Charlize Theron and Angelina Jolie as UN peace ambassadors! The UN is a coercive destructive glutton as far as I‘m concerned, but both Colin Powell and the UN could at least try to be taken seriously.

From Dawn

The Nuge Speaks RE Auto Bailout.

Ted Nugent Speaks about the Auto Bailout. I don't know his "Music" but he has a lot of common sense. I guess it's because he's a hunter. He understands death and life. Some things have to die so life can go on. I think the auto industry is now going to do that. New and better life will emerge.

Bankruptcy Now or Later?
by Ted Nugent

There are two key things to remember when considering bailing out the automobile industry.

First, never reward destructive behavior unless you want more of it. Second, never throw good money after bad.

Taxpayers should not be held accountable to bailout the automobile industry or any other industry for that matter. There is constitutional authority for the decades of poor management decisions, forecasting and labor deals that have put GM, the U.S.'s largest automobile maker, perilously close to going belly up.

That constitutional authority is the basic freedom everyone in America has: to succeed or fail on your own, and accept the consequences or the benefits.

The $700 billion bailout Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) was to be used only for bailing out financial institutions, not automobile companies skating on thin financial ice. If he is a good and honest steward of taxpayer dollars, Treasury Secretary Paulson will deny the
Big Three's request to be included in TARP.

Congress created a $25 billion loan program through the Department of Energy to help the Big Three. This loan program should be utilized by the Big Three instead of wanting to be included in TARP.

GM, Ford and Chrysler are sinking ships. With cash reserves dwindling, their only viable option is to try and stay afloat in these turbulent economic seas is bankruptcy.

Truth be told, it is not a question of if GM will file for bankruptcy protection, but rather when. Bankruptcy will provide GM the necessary protection and some time to possibly turn a dying automotive dinosaur into a smaller, lithe, profitable company that is sized for its shrunken market share. "Possibly" being the operative word.

Filing Chapter 11 protection protects GM from itself. Bankruptcy could free GM from costly labor contracts, provide them the opportunity to restructure hugely expensive pension programs, and renegotiate health benefits. Other unprofitable assets could also be amputated. Bankruptcy puts all options on the operating table to try and stop the massive bleeding of cash.

Should GM emerge from the bankruptcy operating table with a heart beat, odds are GM is never going to be the global automotive giant it once was. The automotive world is much more competitive than, say, forty years ago when GM, Chrysler and Ford ruled the automotive world from my beloved Motor City.

While the UAW may believe GM, Ford and Chrysler are in business to provide automotive workers a salary and other costly benefits, the reality is that car companies are in business to make a profit. Period. Write that down.

The UAW's costly benefit demands over the years coupled with weak automotive management who historically caved into the UAW's demands put the automotive bolts, so to speak, to the shareholders and, to a certain degree, has put the Big Three on the path to possible extinction.

Contrary to Michael Moore's disingenuous and anti-free market automotive movie (Roger and Me), profit must drive all business decisions. Even a goofy guitar player knows that a business that fails to focus on profits and does not constantly look to the future to open up new markets, develop new products and upgrade services for a changing world, cutting costs, etc., is a business that is ultimately going out of business.

Those of us who have lived and worked in and around the Motor City have watched it slowly rust into oblivion over the last twenty-five years. The decline of the Motor City should be used as a case study in every business school in America on how not to sink an industry and destroy a city in the process with denial driven feelgood liberal suicide policies.

Bailing out GM with billions of taxpayer dollars is the wrong approach. GM is not too big to fail. What GM may be is too unprofitable to stay in business.

The Evangelical Spokesman who didn't Speak for Me no longer Speaks for Evangelicals

I am relieved that Richard Cizik has resigned as a spokesman for Evangelicals.

I have posted on him a few times asking the question, "why is he trying to say he speaks for me?" He didn't and no longer does.

He represents a squishy evangelicalism that will make Christianity even more inert than it already is if we accept it's premises.

I wonder if ultimate persecution came if people like Rev Cizik would renounce faith in Jesus in order to "Witness another day" rather than be subjected to the Hangman's noose or the executioners axe? These people are willing to compromise anything and everything that the Gospel stands for to achieve what they mistakenly believe are expedient goals.

We may not win elections, we may end up being marginalized, we may well end up being ridiculed and persecuted. In fact if Russia is any example at all, I can promise the day will come. The only question you will be asked when you cross to the other side of the veil is, what did you do with My SON.

It occurs to me that those who are willing and eager to compromise to fit some world view that might make Christianity more palatable to a country that increasingly has less and less appetite
for the things of Jesus, watering down the truth of the gospel is not going to get it.

If a culture is going to change, it must be confronted with the Truth of the Word of God, Given the Grace to grasp that truth in stumbles and given time to change. The problem with the approach Cizik took was that he failed to first deal with the truth of the Gospel. He was too anxious to give grace and time without truth. That is the flaw of the evangelical message. And it makes no change, and it gives a false grace.

Thank God he's Gone. Rev Cizik, I don't hate you, you are just very sadly misled. We have leaders who are not. I look forward to hearing from THEM.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hey, Jesse Jackson Jr, - What Goes Around Comes Around

The son of the infamous Jesse Jackson who's mantra all fall as Obama became President was, "It shoulda been me" has now been deeply embroiled in the Blago scandal.

It seems like someone without Jackson's permission or knowledge offered Blago big money to put Jackson in place.

Who? Unless you are brain dead, the first person coming to mind was Jesse Jackson SR. Or one of his men. It's his style. The Jackson family in Chicago is famous for being shakedown artists. So being shook down is part of "The Chicago Way".

To be fair, I believe Jesse Jr when he says he knew nothing. Just as I believe Obama when he says I know nothing. It's plausible deniability. I get that.

I think the Karma of the whole thing is that what went around has now come around. Some years ago the Jackson's shook down Budweiser for their own benefit. Obstensivly to benefit the black community in Chicago. The only blacks benefited were the Jacksons.

And I think Blago and Jackson Sr understand each other. Megalomania speaks it's own convoluted language.

So, it's no surprise that somehow bribes were offered and apparently ready to be accepted.

That's why Blago was arrested.

Jesse Jackson Jr was caught. He is innocent, kinda. The sins of the fathers in this case are being visited upon the sons and daughters.

What went around has now come around. This isn't going to go well.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Global Warming Religion found to be False (by 650)

The UN has a conference to create a Global Warming consensus.

Except there isn't one. Most participants no longer buy the lie.

The UN global warming conference currently underway in Poland is about to face a serious challenge from over 650 dissenting scientists from around the globe who are criticizing the climate claims made by the UN IPCC and former Vice President Al Gore. Set for release this week, a newly updated U.S. Senate Minority Report features the dissenting voices of over 650 international scientists, many current and former UN IPCC scientists, who have now turned against the UN. The report has added about 250 scientists (and growing) in 2008 to the over 400 scientists who spoke out in 2007. The over 650 dissenting scientists are more than 12 times the number of UN scientists (52) who authored the media hyped IPCC 2007 Summary for Policymakers.

It's a wonderful thing to see evil corrupt politics go down the drain. And not a moment too soon.

Why values voters must vote values

I believe that values matter. Character matters.

Even if a person has all the right views on taxation and lots of other good sound opinions, without a spiritual compass that points to Jesus they will end up corrupted.

The best argument for voting in people of faith over people who have just good policies was made in Illinois yesterday.

I hope we hear it.

A Free Leadership Newsletter for All Pastors

An associate of John Maxwell writes a newsletter that you can get for nothing by just signing up. Sign up. We all need to become better leaders. Click here and fill in the blanks.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Learned Leader or Natural Leader? Part 1
Part One of an excellent article by Dan Reiland

Is all leadership innate and natural? Is leadership limited to a spiritual gift? Or is it possible that leadership can be learned? This is a controversial subject, but I am of the strong opinion that you can learn leadership. I have watched far too many people who don't fit the typical leadership image emerge from the fray and assume substantial responsibility and carry it well. Not as a manager, but as a leader - someone who has true influence and leverages it toward a clear and compelling preferred future.

So what about this person who emerges? Was there latent ability and capacity not yet tapped? Or were skills learned that enabled this person to literally function at a different level - a leadership level? Can someone actually begin to see life from a different perspective, the perspective of a leader? Or is this reserved for the few, the chosen and the elite - those born with something special? Again, I believe you can learn leadership.

I acknowledge that different levels of natural ability in things such as I.Q., discipline, charisma, drive and personal energy play a major role. Some leaders are greater than others. This is clear. But that's not the question. The topic of this two part series is whether or not you are a learned or natural leader, and how to make the most of the profile that seems to fit you best. In part one, we'll deal with the learned leader.

Learned leaders have followers. This is the most basic characteristic that separates leaders (learned or natural) from non-leaders. The requirement here is that people follow you because they want to, not because of your title. You probably have a title, that's fine, but (hopefully) that's not why people follow you.

At this most basic level the issue is not how many followers you have. It doesn't matter if you have five or fifteen or fifty or five hundred followers. The essential element is that people respond to your personal influence and follow your lead voluntarily. Non-leaders don't have followers. They may have helpers for a task, but that's not the same. Someone helping solely because of the task at hand, without engagement or response to you personally is not about leadership. That is project oriented management. Again, personal influence is essential.

Learned leaders must think leadership before doing leadership. Because leadership doesn't come instinctively for a learned leader, you must intentionally think leadership to remain engaged and effective as a leader. It's kind of like a golfer with a "natural swing" versus someone who needed to take lots of lessons to get his or her basic swing down. There is quite the list of components to a good swing, truly a lot to remember. At first trying to get all the parts of a golf swing to work together feels very awkward. But once you get it, and if you keep practicing, over the course of time your swing can become "natural."

Learned leaders are not inwardly compelled to lead. This point will bring quick clarity to many of you. Here's how it works. If you are a learned leader and you walk into a room where there is a leader who is engaged, in charge, and things are working well, you will feel no real need or compulsion to take over. You will help if needed. You will probably quickly see how you can be helpful, but you have no inner need or drive to take over. (In part two, you will see this is very different for the natural leader.)

If, however, you walk into a room where there is no leadership, (there may be a leader, but there is no leadership) and the environment is unproductive, unorganized, and the general "spirit" of the place is poor, you will rise up and do something about it. Depending on your personality, skill level, and the occasion, you may do something yourself, (take over) or you may leverage your influence to get the right people doing the right things. But you will do something to get things headed in the right direction.

Learned leaders are industrious and take initiative. If you are a learned leader you are likely to be a highly productive person, and you naturally migrate toward other productive people. In fact, you can be short on patience with people who even remotely appear "flaky" to you. You thrive on seeing things of value accomplished and you are quick to take initiative to get things started. Seeing things stall out drives you nuts. Your work ethic is strong and you enjoy a full schedule.

Learned leaders seek results more than influence. This is subtle and can morph over time as you gain more experience as a leader. In the earlier stages you were probably more interested in getting the job done rather than developing your influence with people. It's faster and more direct. And you like accomplishing things. This is natural for a learned leader. Natural leaders want to get things done too, in fact, they are driven about results, but they are more interested in increasing their influence with people and getting things done through people than merely accomplishing the task at hand. This is one of the key competencies for a learned leader to grow toward.

Passion and discipline. Passion and discipline are not exclusive to the learned leader but are always in the strength mix among leaders in this profile. They are driven, full of life, and purposeful. Personal discipline is often the strength that enables a learned leader to keep up with natural leaders and, on occasion, surpass them. I don't mean for this to sound like a competition, but merely to demonstrate the huge potential growth opportunity for learned leaders.

Getting the job done. Learned leaders are generally fantastic at getting things done. The slight orientation toward projects and measurable goals is typically the origin of this trait. As the learned leader continues to develop, and his or her people side begins to flourish, the combination of projects and people becomes powerful, and even more productive.

Can mentor and teach leadership well. The learned leader is a great leadership coach for one simple reason. He or she had to learn leadership themselves. This enables them to be good mentors and teachers of leadership to both learned and natural leaders.

Confidence. Because, at least in the early stages, leadership is not an instinctive behavior confidence is often a struggle for the learned leader. If you are a learned leader you may be unsure of yourself and will therefore second guess your thoughts and direction in general. With experience, confidence can build over time and will enable you to lead with greater inner conviction as well as gain greater ability to inspire others.

Decisiveness. Difficulty in making tough decisions is largely an outcome of a lack in confidence. This is not about intelligence. Learned leaders are typically very smart. It's more about a lack of certainty about what you want and your relative lack of certainty of knowing the right thing to do. Others opinions matter too much. Decisiveness, like confidence comes with practice and experience. Jump in, think it through, make a decision and take action. Do this over and over and you will begin to notice huge improvement.

Casting a compelling vision. The challenge is not about knowing and understanding the vision. The challenge for the learned leader is selling the vision. Because learned leaders are still gaining confidence in themselves they don't yet have the leadership persona needed to win others to the vision. If that is also coupled with underdeveloped people skills, getting people to follow your vision is difficult.

Let me encourage you. All this is doable, just not overnight. Focus on your own confidence first. Win self-leadership before leading others. Know what you want, why you want it, and at least partially how you will get there. Then lead. You don't have to have all the details, but you must believe in yourself and what you want to accomplish before others will follow.

Key Concept. If you are a learned leader you will always be digging, learning and growing. This is essential to your leadership success. Coasting is not an option. It is natural and a good thing for you as a learned leader to feel just a little over your head. Most leaders are! Call it humility or call it wisdom, call it what you will but as a learned leader you will thrive if you stay focused and diligent as a great student of leadership.

Consistent leadership exposure. Learned leaders must have continual input of leadership development. From good leadership books to good leadership conferences this is a must. Exposure to good leaders is essential. Serving in an environment that is proactive about leadership development goes a long way toward your success.

Take the reigns of leadership. Simply put. Lead. Don't hold back. Ask forgiveness, not permission. It's good to make mistakes, lots of them and even big ones. Just don't make the same mistake twice. That indicates you are not paying attention and not learning. Write your plan, pick up the phone, call a meeting... do what it takes to get things moving!

Trust your intuition. Your instincts, though not of a natural leader, are better than you think. They are probably not as fast as you would like them to be, nor are you as confident as you would like, but you must learn to read and trust your gut. Don't worry so much about what others think. Know what you think and go for it.

Increase personal influence over personal productivity. At first this will seem counterintuitive to a learned leader who wants to be effective. But over the long haul this will begin to make sense. No one ever leads a project, they lead people. If you gain personal leadership influence, people will follow and get the work done. Your work becomes about recruiting, inspiring, training, coaching and encouraging. The people are more talented than you may think. Trust yourself and trust them. You'll be amazed at what can be accomplished.

In part two we will use the same format to present a profile for the natural leader. It will be in the comparison and contrast of these two articles together that the best and most helpful insights will come to the surface.

"This article is used by permission from Dr. Dan Reiland's free monthly e-newsletter, "The Pastor's Coach," available at".

Hat tip to Dr. Barry L. Kolb

Who does an Atheist Pray To ?

An article in the Washington Times reports that according to a Brandies University Study - 90% of all Americans pray several times a day. According to other studies Atheists make up a significant portion of the US population.

This can produce an observation. Proclaimed atheists aren't really. Or, Atheists make up a far smaller percentage of the population than everyone thinks. Kind of like the REAL percentage of Homosexuals in the population.

Here's a bit from the Article:

Politicians come and go, fashions evolve and the culture shifts with alarming frequency. One thing remains constant, though.

Americans pray. A lot.

Ninety percent have a spiritual interlude with God every day, according to a study released Thursday by Brandeis University. Half pray several times a day, in fact.

"Most prayer writers imagine a God who is accessible, listening, and a source of emotional and psychological support, who at least sometimes answers back," said Wendy Cadge, a sociologist who directed the research.

The experience is intensely personal, with eight out of 10 beginning their prayers with a familiar greeting, like "Dear Lord" or "Hello Jesus."

Three quarters pray for themselves , families and friends - with about a quarter praying for themselves alone. We pray for the big stuff, like health and employment. And we pray for the small stuff, too, like a good parking spot, or finding lost car keys. We ask God to guard loved ones who are airborne, or watch over children left alone for a spell.

Ms. Cadge and her colleagues based their findings on a very direct source - 683 prayers gleaned from four journals handwritten by hundreds of hopeful, grateful or worried patients and visitors at Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore. The volumes had been placed near the main lobby over the years and are part of a collection of 40 books; hospital chaplains routinely have set out a blank book every two months since the 1990s.

The pages are filled with the often straightforward thanksgivings and petitions of the passing public:

"Dear Jesus, thanks for staying by my side. I love you," one person wrote.

"Dear Lord: I leave it in your hands," noted another.

A third simply declared, "Love U."


Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Dennis Peacock on Obama: Oh My God, I’m President!

Years ago a well known Christian leader told me that a day was coming when whoever became President of the United States of America would regret it. We may very well be there now. If President-elect Obama demanded a recount some time next year, it would not surprise me. It is unlikely to happen, but in the privacy of the White House it could easily be a topic of melancholy discussion.

Mr. Obama ran a campaign of vision and promises, most of which will not come true. I do not question his sincerity or his will to make them happen. The simple truth is that this nation has dug itself into a set of gigantic holes. Only major sacrifices over a serious period of time, coupled with significant cultural-spiritual repentance on behalf of the entire nation, can hope to recover the superpower status we briefly enjoyed. In many ways, the future of this nation hangs in the balance. No president will turn it around by himself, and it is highly unlikely that either of the candidates had the skill sets or values to match the unprecedented challenges.

The inspiring result of electing an African-American president is a wonderful capstone to a long and courageous march for this nation in terms of a triumph over racism and our slavery-stained history. But ethnicity carries no “magic wand,” and the nation’s economic challenges, moral collapses, military and foreign policy crises could care less concerning the skin color of anyone sitting in the Oval Office. Both the Republicans and the Democrats share responsibility, and Mr. Bush is no more to blame than the Democrat-controlled Congress that accompanied him over the last set of years. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the Democrats who controlled them, carry similar responsibility for the sub prime housing defaults as the greedy home loan charlatans who wrote the fraudulent loans.

From my standpoint, the presidential debates were exercises in superficial thinking and sound-bite rhetoric, orchestrated by campaign managers who are convinced that the American people are stupid and incapable of dealing with “hard truth.” Well, they are going to have to deal with it now, and it will not “blow over” quickly. Riddled with personal and national debt, we may finally get to some real discussions over the foundations of our economic system and our national pre-occupation with “personal rights” and hardcore secularism.

Remember the child’s game called, “musical chairs”? When the music stopped, somebody was left with no place to sit. God have both mercy and strong control over you, Mr. Obama; I think you’ve been left standing.

Dennis Peacock.

Part of the Strategy to Control You and create the One World Government

In case you have been asleep or just dozing off, there is a conspiracy to take control of your life. And mine.

One world government is going to be based on the global economic collapse resolutions and the challenge of Global warming.

Both are bogus. The financial situation will resolve IF we stay out of the way and let the market do what it does best. AND Global Warming caused by people is the biggest bunch of baloney ever propounded on human beings.

The problem is there is no honest debate. No sceptics are allowed.

No debate. It's all settled and if you don't believe you are going to be subjected to permanent injunction. I am waiting for the jackboot ecology thugs to show up at my door.

If you think I'm kidding, read this.

If Muhammed were to give an interview

This makes Islam seem almost rational. I wish it were true.

I am only going to buy Interstate Batteries from Now On

Battery Company Produces Sales Video That Promotes God's Love

by Teresa Neumann : Dec 9, 2008 : Interstate Batteries

"We want to honor God in how we manage our business and serve our community everyday."

Norm MillerNorm Miller is chairman of Interstate Batteries, a company who has produced a sales video, not aimed primarily at selling their product, but aimed at telling the world about God's Love.

Notes their website: "We realize it is a little unusual for a company to be spreading news about God's Love. We want to honor God in how we manage our business and serve our community everyday."

A link on their site then leads people to find out more about Jesus and leads them in a sinner's prayer.

Kudos to you Norm!

Watch this great video by following the link provided.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Exodus 20:3 (Deuteronomy 5:7, Judges 6:10, Hosea 13:4)

Seems like someone doesn't know this commandment very well.

Here is an excerpt from a letter to the editor:

Obama lights a fire in my heart [...]

Obama understands my life, where I have been and where I am going.

He is a real man, a man of good conscience and good character; a man I could turn to as a friend, a brother or a father.

He is a guiding light in our country where the light has dimmed, and the people’s inspiration has wilted.

He brings back the joy, and the hope of America.

He does not discriminate against that which is not like him or that which he doesn’t understand.

With an open mind and an open heart, he has a plan for where we are going.

He is willing to take our weary bones and souls and put new life into them to create a place that can grow, prosper and renew.

I voted for Obama because I believe in him, and because he believes in me[...] .

I would advise you to read the whole thing but it would make you very sad. This is an actual college student. I hope she gets A's. Somehow I doubt it.

The problem is God's promise is also to tear down and destroy everything that comes between him and you. She is in a soft way pronouncing a curse on him. Think I'm kidding? Look at what the Prophet Isaiah in Chapter 2:22. He will remove every single thing that you hold up in honor or worship above the Lord God Almighty.

Repentance would be in order.

When arrogance outruns it's headlights or is the left just stupid

If this wasn't real it would be onion material. It's that stupid. I get onion material. Some is worth reprinting. Some not. So. FLUSH!!

But this isn't the onion.

Some dweeb who thinks he's a big time "Journalist" and who wants to Licence Writers or so it seems is offended that Joe the Plumber has written or perhaps been ghosted to write a book. Honest, this is NOT an Onion Story.

He is incensed. I mean Joe didn't even go to writing college. How could he?

Of course dweeb Egan didn't go to plumbing school so the score is even.

I sometimes get frustrated with the whole credentialing idea. We have taken it far too far in this country. We are once again faced with lefties hoping government will control free enterprise, even if it's bad free enterprise. Why not let the market make the decisions. To be clear, I don't want the guy taking out my appendix to be a novice. I want the tax guy doing my taxes to have at least read about it. I want the guy fixing airplanes to be controlled. Things that are life and death. But we licence a lot of things that don't need to be licenced and shouldn't be:

The list is long. I'll let you think of them. Hair stylists and barbers come to mind.

This idiot from the NYT needs to get a life and maybe a job. Maybe he is just looking out for his hide since it seems like there are going to be a lot of people in the market looking for jobs as newspapers close up everywhere.

Or maybe he could try being a plumber. It's an easy thing to learn. Poop rolls downhill and Tuesday is payday. That's it.

I agree with Michelle Malkin - See the Bottom of the Post

Truthers to the Left of Me, Truthers to the Right
Friday, December 05, 2008

Did you know that Sarah Palin-haters are still trying to prove she didn’t give birth to her youngest son, Trig? These tinfoil hat-wearers are as obnoxious and unhinged as the 9/11 Truth cultists who insist that America engineered the jihadi attacks on itself. The presidential campaign may be over, but there’s no expiration date on Palin Derangement Syndrome.

Jack Bogdanski, a law professor at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon, stirred up Trig Trutherism again this week with a post on his website exposing “Sarah Palin’s fake pregnancy belly.” Armed with frontal photos of Palin’s stomach, Bogdanski declared: “The Mar. 26 photo is the smoking gun. There really is no chance that there’s a baby in there who will be born 23 days later at six pounds birth weight. And there really is no chance that the child grew so suddenly over the following two weeks. … Sarah Palin is not the mother.”

We’re all obstetricians now!

This nonsense began with left-wing Internet rumors that Palin was really Trig’s grandmother and that she was covering up for the “real” mother—her teenage daughter, Bristol. The conspiracy was hyped by The Atlantic’s excitable resident womb-chaser Andrew Sullivan and later amplified by “respectable” journalists like CNN/Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz. As the fever swamps roiled, Alaska TV reporter Cherie Shirey stepped forward to squash the paranoia with a statement to the liberal Huffington Post:

“These Internet rumors are very bizarre. We worked with Gov. Palin many times in 2008. Our reporters worked her on location and in the studio, and I worked with her myself. She was definitely pregnant. You could see it in her belly and her face. The whole idea that Sarah Palin wasn’t pregnant with Trig is completely, absolutely absurd.”

Shirey was ignored. Profile shots of a heavily pregnant Palin taken in April 2008 didn’t satisfy the Fake Belly mob, either. The disclosure that Bristol was in fact pregnant with her teenage boyfriend’s child did not quell the insanity. Neither did a health assessment from Palin’s personal physician affirming her five pregnancies, nor did contemporaneous hospital accounts of the birth or Palin’s accounts of nursing Trig.

It’s only a matter of time before someone accuses Palin of planting fake breast milk on her pump.

The plain truth will never mollify a Truther. There’s always a convoluted excuse—some inconsequential discrepancy to seize on, some photographic “evidence” to magnify into a blur of meaningless pixels—that will rationalize irrationality. Palin could produce Trig’s umbilical cord and it still wouldn’t be enough.

Alas, Trutherism thrives on both the left and right. Which brings us to the spate of lawsuits challenging President-elect Barack Obama’s U.S. citizenship. On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court considers one of those suits, filed by New Jersey citizen Leo Donofrio, who maintains that Obama is not a “natural born citizen” because his father held British citizenship.

There may be the seed of a legitimate constitutional issue to explore here—how is the citizenship requirement enforced for presidential candidates, anyway? And at least Donofrio concedes that Obama was born in Hawaii. But a dangerously large segment of the birth-certificate hunters have lurched into rabid Truther territory. The most prominent crusader against Obama’s American citizenship claim, lawyer Philip Berg (who, not coincidentally, is also a prominent 9/11 Truther) disputes that Obama was born in Hawaii and claims that Obama’s paternal grandmother told him she saw Obama born in Kenya.

Berg and his supporters further assert that the “Certification of Live Birth” produced by Obama was altered or forged. They claim that the contemporaneous announcement in a Hawaii newspaper of Obama’s birth is insufficient evidence that he was born there. (Did a fortuneteller place it in the paper knowing he would run for president?) And they accuse anyone who disagrees with them of being part and parcel of the grand plan to install Emperor Obama and usurp the rule of law.

I believe Trig was born to Sarah Palin. I believe Barack Obama was born in Hawaii. I believe fire can melt steel and that bin Laden’s jihadi crew—not Bush and Cheney—perpetrated mass murder on 9/11. What kind of kooky conspiracist does that make me?