Forgetting The Fairy Tale :: A Pastor's Review

 

I’ll take 100 copies in camouflage please!

My friend & new ministry teammate has yielded herself to God & written an incredible book!

I do, in fact, recommend that you read it.

It seems that most of the people who read my blog are men. Readers other than my Mom that is–hi mom!  Notice that I didn’t recommend that you buy this book for your wife, your daughter, or your mom—though that’s a good idea, first why don’t YOU read it.

I need to insert a confession here:

I did have a little trouble getting “into” this book to begin with. First, because many of the illustrations are girly; second, because some of the application was a bit harder for me to identify with (cause I’m a dude); & third, I kept seeing the faces of young ladies who I’d ministered to, as a pastor, who got caught up in the “fairy tale.”

This last one was most distracting:

Some of my “manly” readers will jump to a conclusion here. You’ll be thinking, ah, Brian is recommending that I read this book so that I can help ladies in my ministry more effectively.

Again, good idea, nice try, but that’s not my primary intent.

Instead, I want you to take the time to apply this book to your life! I think its concepts will be as helpful to you as they have been to me.

You will find them Biblical & as a result meaningful.

Yes, some of the illustrations won’t “connect” immediately but if you change out “shoes” for “guns” you’ll get the message just fine. On the surface the application might feel different for you, but at the root our need for ultimate satisfaction in Christ alone is the same!

Here’s one of my favorite quotes from the book:

I challenge you to take time to consider the vastness of creation and the indescribable glory of our Creator, Jesus Christ. Ask Him to open your eyes to the truths of His majesty. Empty your mind of all that seeks to distract you from true communion with Him and give Him praise. Lift your hands and heart to Him in complete surrender and ask Him for the grace that you need to love Him as you ought. It is a prayer that we all need to pray every day of our lives. Our sinful natures prevent us from knowing true love as He is love, but through the power of the Holy Spirit, He can open your heart to love that is deeper and more fulfilling than anything any man on earth could ever provide for you and far more than anything you could ever have imagined. Let Love reign in your heart and life from this day forward.

Now, tell me you didn’t need that!

So really, I’ll take 100 copies with a camouflage cover and a few different illustrations but until that edition comes out, dudes, get over yourselves, grab a pink copy.

Go ahead, open up Forgetting the Fairy Tale, buckle your seatbelt, and listen as my friend Donya walks you through the Word reminding YOU that Jesus is more than enough one story at a time!

It’s available on Barnes & Noble’s website & on Amazon too, check it out!

 

Many are asking…

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Over the past couple of days I’ve heard from several friends & ministry partners. They are all asking one question, how can we help? I’m sure that we could use a hand. I’m still not sure how many of the things that were taken will be able to be replaced.  I will find that out when we hear back from the insurance company.

Here’s what I do know now, other than our door frame, door, & our sense of security we don’t NEED any of those things that were taken. Don’t get me wrong we liked them all & we’d like at least some of them back. More than that we’d like them out of the hands of those who stole them. By the way, God is already restoring our sense of security. He is reminding us that our security is found in Him & He hasn’t changed.

However I do know of real needs in our city & around the world. Needs that we want to see met.

There is a huge need for vibrant gospel-driven women’s ministry in & around Uptown Charlotte! You can help us meet this need. I could list tons of links that reference the diverse needs in our city that can be met by the gospel. Here’s just one.

(Read about this opportunity by clicking on sentence above.)


I have a list of missionaries who are traveling right now trying to raise support to get to the field. When I was traveling I personally had the opportunity to sit down with them and hear their burdens. They were perhaps more open with me then they would have been if I was still an associate pastor at the church they were visiting & I feel sure that these missionaries will get the job done! The locations that they are going to around the world represent real, eternal, need!

If I could I would send The Chris Waye family today!

As I said before I have a list if your interested shoot me an email or comment below.

Blessings!

Brian

PS CITYLIGHT will be planting more churches. We could certainly use your help with that. We could still use your help establishing this initial congregation as well. Last week we had 65 in attendance. That’s progress but we have a long way to go!

 

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Welcome Home…

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I posted this on my facebook page this morning. We would appreciate your prayers.

May God encourage you as He is encouraging us!

They kicked in our door & ransacked our house.
While we were out serving the community they robbed us. While we were collecting bikes for “at risk” kids, giving the good news, & establishing a church where there wasn’t one, they were rifling through our drawers breaking into locked cabinets & taking our valuables.

When our 3yr old & 1yr old should have been in bed dreaming about Christmas eve a…t Grammy’s house they were wondering why someone had tossed their toys everywhere & why they needed to go to Grammy’s without daddy. Why he needed to “secure” the front door & finish with the police before he & mommy could come too.

I’m angry! So angry!

But I know the gospel.
The gospel tells me that the few good things we were doing yesterday was not us but Christ in us. We certainly don’t have something to feel self-righteous about.

The gospel tells me that Jesus died for the transgressions of those who kicked in our door just as he died for my sins, which are many.

The gospel teaches me that the Father loves me so much that he gave me his son, Jesus!

The gospel teaches me that Jesus was far more “wronged” then I could ever imagine. He was wronged for me & in a very real way he has been wronged by me.

The Spirit keeps bringing this passage to mind:

Isaiah 53:3-7

He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

So I’m gonna chill.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still mad but I’m gonna chill.

I’m gonna follow Jesus!

As I write this line I’m praying for those who kicked in our door & stole our stuff.
I’m praying for their redemption.
I’m praying that they might personally experience God’s love, mercy, & grace.
I’m thanking & praising God for indwelling me, for I know that the Holy Spirit is enabling me to pray this prayer.

Because he enables me; I’m gonna follow Jesus!
Jesus taught in Matthew 5:43-44

Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

So thank you Father for that crazy night that is causing me to depend on you, to cry out to you, to press into you
— to experience more of you this Christmas.

Thank you Father for protecting my girls & giving them peace to sleep.

You’re a good God & we love you!

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We're Praying For Newtown

We’re Praying For Newtown.

Click the link below to join in prayer for Newtown Conneticut.
(This is what we prayed & discussed on Saturday Dec. 15 & Sunday Dec. 16)

Newtown (Audio)

Here’s the transcript (Doc)

Citylight, let’s keep praying as a family for these hurting families in Newtown Connecticut!

More resources are available here at P4G.

Gospel-Oriented Prayer

Prayer.

I hear the words echoing in my mind: prayer is asking and receiving. Though that statement contains truth, I can’t help asking if it paints a very full picture.

Both Tim Keller & Jack Miller talk about the difference between “maintenance prayer” and “frontline” prayer meetings.

If I understand them correctly, maintenance prayer meetings are characteristically mechanical, primarily focused on physical needs, and relatively short. But frontline prayer meetings have three basic traits:

  • People ask God for grace to confess sins and humble themselves

  • There is an expression of compassion and zeal for the church’s advancement

  • There is a tangible yearning to know God, to see his face, and to see his glory.

    So just to recap, people get real, get filled with hope, and get focused on God’s glory!

Why is the distinction between “maintenance” & “frontline” prayer so important? Because these authors believe that frontline prayer is always connected to real revival.

Keller says:

Biblically and historically, the one non-negotiable, universal ingredient in times of spiritual renewal (read revival) is corporate, prevailing, intensive and kingdom-centered prayer.

He sites Acts 4, Exodus 33, and Nehemiah 1 as examples. Our attention is drawn to the disciples in Acts 4 who don’t pray for safety in a time of peril but only asked God for the courage to keep preaching.

I would say that these types of prayer gatherings are a right and natural response to the gospel itself. When we begin to grasp God’s grace, we become focused on Jesus and find freedom from building our own image in the eyes of other broken men. Honesty and repentance are enabled and we can begin to get real. This will be reflected in the way we pray with others.

Are you overly concerned with how much your brothers may find out about you as you pray with them? Take another look at the gospel.

Do you “hedge your bets” when you pray, or do you find yourself asking God to show up in God-sized ways? If you pray small prayers, take another look at what God has already done for you in the gospel.

Do you find yourself coming up dry or pretending when you know you should be praising, worshiping, and seeing God’s glory? Take another look at the gospel. Look at Jesus—in Him we will find & see the fullness of the Godhead!

What do our prayer meetings look like?

Maintenance or frontline?  Defense or offense?  Dead orthodoxy or passionate spiritual renewal?

So is prayer asking and receiving? Yeah, but one of the gospel’s effects in our lives should be to change what we ask for!

 

The De-Churched…

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Make up a huge percentage of the non-church attenders in Charlotte.

The De-Churched are different than their Un-Churched cousins because they used to attend church regularly but for one reason or another have chosen to stop. One Sunday they walked out the church doors never to return again!

They walked into the parking lot, waved to a fellow attender, stopped for lunch, and drove home– but next Sunday they began a new routine.

So why did they leave?

The American church is in a general state of decline. Did you know that less than 20% of the US population attends church regularly?

This decline is static regardless of your locale.

Churches in the North are declining numerically as stereotypes expect, but they are also declining in the South as stereotypes would reject. Actually the decline in the South seems to be steeper.

A study by LifeWay Research asked those who left the church one simple question.

Why?

Why’d they leave?

(click those lil’ words above and watch)

  1. 19% said they were “too busy”
  2. 17% said they left due to “family/home responsibilities”
  3. The third most common reason cited was “disenchantment with pastor/church”

These disenchantments were divided into three primary statements:

  • 17% said “church members seem hypocritical”
  • 17% said “church members are judgmental of others”
  • 12% said that “the church is run by a clique that discourages involvement”

National Back to Church Sunday is a vibrant attempt to bring the De-Churched BACK!

So pastors and church members, how can we do better?

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Reason #7

It’s been a few days. Is the anticipation killing you?

You’ve been wondering what the final reason is so…

What IS the final reason (in this series) to come check Citylight out?

Truthfully, I love what God is doing so much that I could keep the reasons coming for quite some time.

But I promised 7 so…

Here’s reason #7

Citylight is dynamic!

We’re alive, excited, and ready for you!

We believe that you will be blessed by our music, instructed in the Word, and loved into our family.

Come and experience the freshness and vitality of our wonderful church!

Reason #6: Those 3 sweet words!!!

Why should you join us?

Because of those

Three simple words:


Real

everything begins with a real relationship with Jesus! This “realness” contributes to other relationships in your life, making them more significant and meaningful. We’re committed to authentic relationships with God and men.

Simple

the Bible is all about Jesus! We’re focused on essential truths that teach us how to rightly relate to God. Every part of our church has a purpose. It won’t be hard to figure out. Citylight is streamlined to be practical and effective; think of a boxer getting into his “fighting weight.”

Faith

We go public cause’ we exist for Jesus fame!

We live out our relationship with Jesus publically! We are engaged in practicing our faith in our city and around the world!

We gather to scatter.

The church meeting isn’t the end, but a means to the end.

We invite you to find out how refreshing real, simple, faith can be!