Tag Archives: Bible

The “Creation” of Church Growth

In the Garden of Eden, at the very beginning of hImage result for church growthuman life, God gave a simple instruction to Adam and Eve: “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it” (Gen 1:28). With this simple command, I believe God gave the most powerful theological and rational basis for evangelism and church growth. The prescriptive and normative interpretation of the command to procreate aside, God challenges humanity with the incredible task and blessing of passing on faith and relationship with God to subsequent generations.

Being fruitful is the act of an individual. In John 15, Jesus says that it is the glory of the Father that we bear much fruit. Paul lists nine fruit to born in the life of Christians in Galatians 5:22-23. As individuals, we are walking with Christ, allowing our hearts to be changed, bearing fruit that is evident to the world around us. Bearing fruit is the call to all people to exemplify Christ in the minute of human life.  Christ-followers are on display to the world so much so that the fruit born by a Christian can win souls to Christ or stray them farther away.

Multiplying requires two people and is not simply adding people to the holding tank of church. Multiplying in the Christian walk means leading someone to Christ and discipling and equipping them to the extent that they themselves can lead someone else to Christ and pass on the equipping they received. Acts 2:41, 2:47, 5:14 and 11:24 all speak of dynamic addition to the church because of the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the apostles. God’s church is meant to grow! Like nuclear mitosis, multiplying Christians produce an exponential amount of fully-functioning, balanced, discipling, mission-drive, soul-seeking Christians that carry out the process even further.

Filling the earth is the act of the community. Left alone, a single firefighter cannot quench a roaring wildfire. Yet, with help from his or her firefighter pals, the fire can be subdued fairly quickly. As we come together in communities, churches, and institutions, resources are made available and the gospel work is allowed to exponentially grow throughout the whole world because we are united together in mission work. This filling of the earth erupts into subduing the whole earth, not in a coercive manner but in a way that brings everyone into the multiplication of disciples that produce kingdom people.

Church growth and evangelism require all three components to pay dividends in the kingdom. For a church to grow, you need sold-out Christians who are bearing the gospel fruit. For a church to grow, you need multiplying Christians who are ready to disciple and train others to multiply results. For a church to grow, you need a community that is willing to come together, accepting new sheep into the fold and providing resources for those bringing in new sheep.

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From Visitor to Resident in God’s Kingdom

He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will.

Ephesians 1:5, NASB

Such a beautiful text. Paul speaks of the children of God being adopted as sons. The word Paul uses for adoption is one with deep meaning and paints a wonderful picture of the love of God. The Greek word for adoption is huiothesia. From two roots, huios, meaning son, and tithemi, meaning to set or place, huiothesia can be literally translated as “son-placing.”


During the time that Paul wrote his letter to the Ephesians, the known world was heavily influenced by Rome. In Roman culture, children had no rights and no possessions. They could be considered as visitors in their father’s household. During a childs teenage years there would be a public ceremony declaring a child to be an official member of the family. At this time the child would be acknowledged as a full member of the family. After his huiothesia, or “son placing”, he had full privileges and responsibilities. He would be sure of any inheritance the father had planned for him.

Now, this was not a change in relationship. Since the moment a child was born, the father could still have a deep, loving relationship with his child. Rather, huiothesia was a change in position. The child was elevated in status, having been given rights, privileges and possessions, transforming the child from visitor into son or daughter of the father. There was a difference between being a child and being a son or daughter because of that change in position.

The Choice

In the Christian life, we have the choice between two fathers, two masters.

John 8:34 says that we are slaves to sin. In verses 42-44, Jesus says that those who do not obey God are of their father the devil. Under the devil, we are slaves to sin, sentenced to death forever. When we obey God, surrendering our will to Him, we can claim God as our Father. However, when we disobey God, we surrender our will to the opposition, claiming to be a part of the sinful household, making the devil our father, our master.


The beauty of it is that God wants to adopt us. He wants to take us into his household, out of slavery. He doesn’t want to change our relationship with him. He always wants to be our Father. He always wants us to be a part of His household. Rather, He wants to change our position. He wants to adopt us into his family. He wants to change us from being only visitors in His household into sons and daughters that will inherit His kingdom. When God adopts us, He changes our status not only on Facebook, but for eternity.

The choice, however, is up to you. Which father will you choose?

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Spiritual Lessons Learned from Playdough

Play-doh Can

Play-Doh. It’s okay to admit it. The brightly colored lump of flour, water, and salt was the joy of many a child growing up. I can remember spending hours playing with the dough, molding it, forming, stretching it out, balling it up, rolling it around, creating animals, people and plants. Yet, while I spent hours with the dough, I never realized the impact it would have on my spiritual life as I grew older. Now, when I pick up the yellow can with the colored lid and pull out the lump of endless joy, I am reminded how God is working in our lives to mold to shape us. It’s quite simple actually: just 3 simple conclusions I’ve learned from the simple child’s toy.

Be moldable.

Both the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah make the connection of God’s people being clay in God’s hands (Isaiah 64:8; Jeremiah 18:1-6). We are all a work in progress. As the potter shapes the pot, so are we being shaped in the hands of the Master Craftsman. We must allow ourselves to be molded in the shape that God intends for us. It is silly to think of a pot telling the potter, “I don’t want to look like that! Ouch! That hurts. Make me like that other pot on the shelf!” Yet, too often we tell God the same thing about our lives. Like the soft lump of Playdough that a child so loves to craft and mold, we must allow ourselves to be moldable in the hands of a God who wants to make us into His prized possession, His perfect masterpiece (Eph. 2:10).

Protect your heart.

When I was little, I didn’t like others playing with my Playdough. That may sound selfish, but I had good reason: when the Playdough was in my care, I responsibly used it. I didn’t want it to get dirty or lose any small piece of the clay. In the hands of another, I could not trust that my Playdough would maintain its original integrity. As Christians, we must not allow ourselves to be flippantly used by any that comes along. The only one who we can trust to maintain our original integrity and responsibly treat us ultimate respect is our Heavenly Father. Like the Playdough, we cannot choose our ultimate destiny in being shaped. Whatever circumstances come our way, we are shaped and molded by what we come in contact with. Unlike the Playdough, we can choose who we are shaped by (Joshua 24:15; Romans 12:1-2).

Keep it covered.

If you have had any experience with Playdough, you know that if you leave the lid off the container for any time, the dough will become rock solid, unable to be enjoyed by the curious artist. You must keep it covered, keep the lid on, so the dough will still be moldable and pliable. The same is true of our lives. We must cover ourselves with the righteousness of Jesus Christ (Isaiah 61:10). By being clothed with the garments of God, we are kept pure. The Holy Spirit surrounds us and constantly ministers to us. As we clothe ourselves with robes of righteousness, our characters are molded and transformed. We are kept fresh and alive by Jesus Christ.

You’re never too old to enjoy Playdough. Take the time to play with some, remember how God is shaping you to be the servant He needs you to be.

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