Put Prayer Back In Schools? (How About Back In Church Services?)

For decades believers have debated and argued about prayer in schools.  We have been offended by public prayer being removed from public schools.

We, people of faith, don’t like limits on prayer in schools. But what about our self-imposed limits on prayer in churches?

prayer in church

Isn’t it time to allow open prayer in church? Perhaps we should take the limits off of prayer in our churches and allow ordinary people to individually pray in church services:
1) out loud;
2) unrehearsed;
3) from the heart; and
4) as prompted by the Spirit.

At The Salvation Army Berry Street, anybody can pray out loud, unrehearsed, from the heart, and as they feel led by the Spirit. Come see every Sunday morning at 10:45, 255 Berry St., Nashville, TN 37207.

“What the Church needs today is not more or better machinery, not new organizations or more and novel methods.  She needs men whom the Holy Spirit can use — men of prayer, men mighty in prayer.  The Holy Spirit does not flow through methods, but through men.  He does not come on machinery, but on men.  He does not anoint plans, but men — men of prayer!”  –E.M. Bounds

“The one concern of the devil is to keep Christians from praying. He fears nothing from prayerless religion. He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but trembles when we pray.”  –Samuel Chadwick

“The early Church exerted the privilege of prayer.  The Church of today is in danger of deserting the privilege.  With all of our technology, invention and innovation, let us emphasize, centralize, and prioritize on prayer – life’s limitless reach!”  –Jack Taylor

“When God intends great mercy for His people, the first thing He does is to set them a-praying.” –Matthew Henry

“The man who mobilizes the Christian church to pray will make the greatest contribution to world evangelization in history.”  –Andrew Murray  

“When Jesus Christ went about building His church, He built a prayer meeting.” –Armin Gesswein

“We have far too little conception of the place that intercession, as distinguished from prayer for ourselves, ought to have in the Church.” –Andrew Murray  

“No great spiritual awakening has begun anywhere in the world apart from united prayer.”  –J. Edwin Orr

“Good praying is more easily caught than taught.”  –D.A. Carson in A Call to Spiritual Reformation

“In the book of Acts they are praying in every chapter except two; and in those chapters they are in trouble.”  –Armin Gesswein

Posted in Andrew Murray, Armin Gesswein, book of Acts, D.A.Carson, E.M. Bounds, J. Edwin Orr, Jack Taylor, Matthew Henry, Music City, Nashville, organic church, Quotations, revival, Salvation Army, Samuel Chadwick, Worship City | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Turning Setbacks Into Setups 4 Success

God appointment

Things turn out the best
For people who trust
The living God
To make the best
Out of the way things turn out.

Situations that seem like setbacks
Suddenly turn into surprising setups
For God to work.
Your disappointment
Is really a God appointment!
See this principle (Romans 8:28)
Working in the life of Joseph
In Genesis 37 & 39-45.

Posted in All things work together for good, appointment with God, dealing with disappointment, faith, Genesis, Joseph, overcoming setbacks, Romans 8:28 | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is a 2017 Church Reformation Coming?

protestant reformation and me

The Protestant Reformation began on Oct. 31, 1517 when Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of  All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg, Germany. A 500th anniversary is coming up in 2017.

So here’s a challenge.  Complete this sentence: If a new reformation begins in 2017, I’d like for it to change the church . . .

Here’s my response:

* From hierarchy to humility;

* From programs to Presence;

* From one-man ministry to one another ministry;

* From human headship to the Headship of the living Christ.

Posted in 1517, 2017, Germany, Head of the church, history, one anothering, one anothers, priesthood of the believer, universal priesthood, Wittenbert | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Facilitating Group Surrender 2 The Risen Christ

living Jesus & me

Should church present programs about the religious Christ? Or surrender to the real presence of the risen Christ?

What would happen if church leaders shifted from being public speakers under the spotlight, to being spiritual facilitators creating an environment where the living, resurrected Jesus Christ can manifest Himself through anybody present?
Come see @ The Salvation Army Berry Street, 225 Berry St., Nashville 37207 on Sunday mornings @ 10:45 am.

“This was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by My Father in Heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church.” –Jesus to His disciple, Peter.
–Perhaps church should not be built on human teaching, but on direct, supernatural revelation from Heaven.
–Maybe we should allow people in church the freedom to openly share what the living God is showing them, rather than having them merely sit and listen to a professional.

The world’s best Bible teacher isn’t a pastor, a radio preacher, or a TV evangelist! He is the Holy Spirit!
“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” –Jesus

When a church service follows the living, resurrected Jesus, you never know what is going to happen!
–“Jesus was and is predictably unpredictable. Have you read the Gospels lately? More than have the time, Jesus says and does the opposite of what the disciples expect. There is never a dull moment when you are following in the footsteps of Christ.” –Mark Batterson

Church services need some improv!
–“Part of us wants Got to take us to a three act play with a clearly defined plot that has a beginning, a middle, and an end. But Jesus takes us to the Improv instead. We want the entire script up front, but that would undermine our dependence on the Holy Spirit. Following Jesus and keeping in step with the Spirit require the art of improvisation.” –Mark Batterson

Posted in Bible, Christian support group, Holy Spirit teacher, I will build my church, improv, Mark Batterson, On this rock, Peter, support groups | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Tethered or Untethered?

hot air balloon

Tethered or untethered? Should church be allowed to soar with the Spirit or be consistently contained and controlled by confining cables?

I’ve been up in a tethered hot air balloon.  We went straight up to the end of the tether (about 50 feet up) and stopped.  We stayed in place for a couple of minutes and took in the view. Then we came back down to the same place we started.

However, I’ve never been up in an untethered balloon. I’ve never risen high in the heavens in a basket (or gondola). I’ve never soared free, for miles with the wind, and landed in a brand new place.

I’ve spent much of my life going to church meetings tethered by tradition and tied to a theatrical talk. It’s always tightly controlled. We go so far and stop. And then we are set back down in what seems to me like the same place we started.

However, I’ve always longed for untethered, unprogrammed, church meetings. I’ve wanted to rise high in the Heavens. I’ve dreamed of soaring free with the Spirit and coming down in brand new places in Christ.

I experienced untethered, unprogrammed campus meetings while in college during the time of the Jesus movement. After graduating I tried for years to find a church that met like that, but never could.

Then in 2008, The Salvation Army asked my wife and me to start a “nontraditional” church in an old chapel in Nashville, Tennessee. They said that we needed to do something outside the box, because traditional methods had never succeeded for them in that building.

So we drew upon my experience of untethered meetings in college. We were also influenced by the New Testament concept of “one anothering,” and by the Scripture in 1 Corinthians 14:26: “When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation . . .”

We meet and allow anyone present to share as they feel led by the Holy Spirit. The results have been amazing. The meeting flows freely, yet everything always comes together in a beautiful tapestry. Everyday people are eloquent as they speak from the heart as inspired by the Spirit. We soar together in God’s love and in His presence.

Come see and soar with us — every Sunday morning at 10:45 at 225 Berry St. in Nashville, Tennessee 37207.

Posted in balloon challenge, balloon flights, basket, fun with balloons, lighter than air, Nashville, organic church, Salvation Army, soaring in the Spirit, tethered, tethered balloon, untethered | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Words Written In A Nashville House Fulfilled More Than A Century Later

John Berry McFerrin house

These words from the 1880s were written by a man who in this Nashville house. They describe John Berry McFerrin’s experience with a non-traditional style church meeting as a young man in the 1830s. He wrote:

“The meetings were greatly blessed.  We read the Scriptures, we sang, we prayed, we spoke often one to another, and the Lord listened and heard.  Here I heard much of Christian experience, and learned to understand the wants of others.  Here I learned to give words of exhortation and comfort, and here I learned to appreciate the trials and temptations connected with the life of a Christian.  Fifty years have passed and the precious seasons that I enjoyed then are still fresh in my memory.  I regard class meetings as among the greatest providential means of grace ever instituted in the church.  They did much to keep me in the path, and gave me many encouragements through hearing the experience of older and wiser Christians than myself.  Class meeting is about the best theological school ever organized.  It was a sad day when it declined in the church; and I hope and pray the time may come when it will be revived in the church.”

The house above was torn down in the 1950s. But the dream of participatory church survived. A few years after the house was torn down, The Salvation Army built a chapel across the street from where the house had stood.

In 2008, the pews and the pulpit were moved out of that chapel and replaced with chairs set in a U-shape. Sunday meetings were begun there based on open participation and sharing rather than on a one-man sermon.  The meetings fit the description written by John Berry McFerrin, however, his words weren’t discovered by the church until 2012.

How is it that McFerrin’s vision for open participation to be restored to the church was fulfilled across the street from where he lived when he wrote down his vision about 120 years earlier?

Come see McFerrin’s vision in action every Sunday morning at The Salvation Army Berry Street, 225 Berry St., Nashville, TN 37207 on Sunday mornings at 10:45.

Posted in Class meeting, historic Nashville homes, houses in Nashville, Methodist class meeting, Nashville, Salvation Army | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Game Fixing Breaks Sports Integrity — What About Church Fixing?

Game fixing occurs when a sporting event is made to follow a completely or partially predetermined result.  (When the same thing is done in church, is it “church fixing”?)

So what’s wrong with game fixing? Game fixing drastically changes the nature of a sporting event from something that unfolds in the present moment to a presentation with a prearranged outcome.  It turns the sporting event into a sham.  Nobody wants to watch a game that has been rigged!

“Match (or game) fixing has been described by many, including high profile sporting figures, sport administrators and governing bodies, as a greater threat to the integrity of sport than doping.” –Kevin Carpenter

Jacques Rogge, the president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), explains why game fixing is such a threat: “Doping affects one individual athlete, but the impact of match fixing affects the whole competition. It is much bigger.”

So what about church fixing? Should a church meeting be rigged? Or should it be allowed to unfold as led by the Holy Spirit?

Posted in doping, International Olympic Committee, IOC, Jacques Rogge, Olympics, Quotes | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment