Movements That Change the World: Five Keys to Spreading the Gospel by Steve Addison (A Book Review)


While this book has been around awhile (orig. publication 2009, revised 2011), it should remain “timely” for quite some time to come for anyone interested in the church as a “missionary movement”. Steve Addison has packed this very quick read with a lot of descriptive history of movements that were successful in spreading the gospel. [It’s a good thing this book does read quickly—I found it very hard to put it down.] He aptly distinguishes the movements that succeeded beyond merely spreading the gospel and bore fruit for successive generations by “making disciples”. [Read more…]

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The Significance of the Cup


photo by hoyasmeg via PhotoRee

In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. __Luke 22:20 (NIV)

On the eve of the Passover feast, Christ, the Lamb of God, shared a last supper with His disciples. One of them would betray Him. Before dawn, the others would desert Him and one of them—Peter, the Rock—would deny Him. [Read more…]

Viral Jesus: Recovering the Contagious Power of the Gospel by Ross Rohde (A Book Review)


What is preventing the Gospel from spreading in Western Christendom like it did in the first century—and like it did in China when the Cultural Revolution virtually shut down the institutional church by taking control of it? What is stopping a contagious Jesus movement today?  We proclaim that the Gospel has not lost its power, and yet… [Read more…]

“I Am A Follower: The Way, Truth and Life of Following Jesus” by Leonard Sweet (A Book Review)


To abandon all, to strip one’s self of all, in order to seek and follow Jesus Christ naked to Bethlehem where He was born, naked to the hall where He was scourged, and naked to Calvary where He died on the cross, is so great a mystery that neither the thing nor the knowledge of it, is given to any but through faith in the Son of God. __John Wesley

For more than half a century I’ve lived in a “church culture”.  For the first four decades it was a Methodist culture that, before my eyes, seemed to fulfill Wesley’s foreboding:

I am not afraid that the people called Methodists should ever cease to exist either in Europe or America. But I am afraid lest they should only exist as a dead sect, having the form of religion without the power. And this undoubtedly will be the case unless they hold fast both the doctrine, spirit, and discipline with which they first set out. __John Wesley

Where did all the power go—not just in the Methodists—but in the entire Protestant church in the West? The power is only available to those who follow Christ, even to Calvary. The power belongs to those who “die” and rise with Christ to walk in New Covenant resurrection life, spreading a New Covenant Kingdom! I’m convinced the Western Church has lost its power because it’s following the wrong leaders, cluttered with errant Old Testament (and wrongly interpreted New Covenant) teachings, splintered into too many factions—each of which is focused more on self-preservation than on the Lord Jesus Christ. [Read more…]

Easter From the Backside: A Book Review


First published as a Facebook Note on Friday, February 8, 2011, this seems like a timely review to open my new blog…just in time for Easter!

It approaches—the moment for which my soul yearned through the dark time of winter! It approaches—the day that returns annually to mark the most important event in the history of humanity! And with its approach, the Spirit would have us grasp with finality and victory the indisputable fact that the Day we herald is not a mere Day, but the very portal of ETERNITY! It is NOT coming…it has ARRIVED! Finally, I know, it has been MY day, all along! [Read more…]

How Low Can We Go?


This post is part of the October Syncrhoblog “Down We Go” .  Please check the Synchroblog link for an explanation. 

When Mary Tudor ascended the throne of England, the monarchy reverted to the Roman Catholic faith. John Bradford was one of the Reformers imprisoned in the Tower of London for his faithfulness to the Church of England.  Seeing some fellow-prisoners marched off to their execution, Bradford is said to have observed “There, but for the grace of God, goes John Bradford.”

Bradford himself soon joined the ranks of the martyred in the Reformation narrative.  Though some have doubted the attribution of the saying, There but for the grace of God go I lives on in the English language as a pious cliche warning against viewing the less fortunate, the fallen, the needy, and the weak with pitiless contempt. [Read more…]

Like Living Stones


As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him—you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. __1 Peter 2:4-5 NIV

Why, after nearly 2000 years, don’t more people who profess to follow Christ look more like Christ? Could it be because church-as-they-know-it has failed to teach them how Jesus sees the Church-as-He-builds-it?
[Read more…]

“Here…by the Water”


Today is the Lord’s Day, and I pray it finds you in Him! 

Friday past, I experienced anticipation and great excitement over the direction my writing appears to be taking as we continue with the water-metaphor of the River and “go with the flow” toward THE STORY—the Whole Story—and prepare to consider His “temple of living stones”.

Today, I hope you will take time to listen to one of my favorite songs, as performed by Steve Bell.  A link for the lyrics is shown below the embedded video. Please play this song more than once and meditate upon the layers of meaning in the symbols of “water” and “stones”. We will be taking a look at the symbolism—and the reality—connected with those metaphors from the Bible for the next few days. There is so much here!  We may stay—in total dependence upon Him—by the River and IN the River for… days?

Or maybe eternity?. [Read more…]

The River: a Metaphor


I have never had a “vision”.

Never—if you think a “vision” means one must actually see something appear visually in time and space before the eyes.

Being of a literary background, I do often envision—through metaphor, simile and imagery—thoughts and ideas about Christ and His Kingdom. Sometimes, puzzled, I find my metaphors to be as “mixed” as those Paul used when he sought to convey a vision to the churches he had planted. I would like to share an “envisioning” that has visited me of late. Perhaps you will share your thoughts as well. [Read more…]

Let the Wind Fill the Sails!


My friend Jim Martin wrote a book a few years ago entitled Immersed.  He chose the heading “set sail” for one of the chapters, in which he reminisced about hearing the Ray Boltz song “Set Sail” for the first time.

Set sail! The Captain’s calling. It’s time to climb on board. Set sail! There’s room for all and there’s such a great reward. Theres’ not a chance you can fail. Set sail!

Apparently, Jim had a what I call a “song headache” for quite a while after the meaning of those words registered. Months after first hearing the song, he wrote in Immersed: [Read more…]