Listen-To-Me Leadership vs. Hear-From-Heaven Leadership

Listen-to-me leadership likes to lecture. It makes people dependent on one man’s theology and Bible interpretation.

Hear-from-Heaven leadership humbly connects people with the living God so that they can hear directly from Him.

You can never hear enough lectures to change your heart. Inward change comes only from the supernatural revelation of hearing God’s voice.

One time Peter declared that Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus then told Peter that he didn’t receive that insight from man, but directly from God. Without personally and directly hearing from God, our faith is built on sand.

Puppets recently helped demonstrate this powerful truth to children at The Salvation Army Berry Street in Nashville, Tennessee!

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–The prophet Eli and the young Samuel interacted about hearing the voice of God. Samuel kept hearing someone calling his name. Eli told Samuel to go back to bed and to say “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening,” the next time he heard his name. Samuel did it and God began to tell Samuel many things.
–Then we had the children pray “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening,” and listen for about a minute. Afterwards, many children came forward to share with the group, powerful things that God told them.
–If young Samuel and 21st Century children can hear from God, then you can too! Why not pray that prayer and listen for yourself?

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Posted in Flesh and blood didn't reveal, Nashville, prophet Eli, prophet Samuel, revelation, Speak Lord for your servant is listening, Tennessee | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christ With Double Rainbows In Colorado (& The Christian Challenge)

scott rainbows

I believe that the living, resurrected Jesus is communicating to those who are willing to hear and obey Him. My brother, Scott Simms, took this picture of double rainbows that we saw in front of his house near Cripple Creek, Colorado in May, 2015.. He has this pic as his Facebook cover picture. I just noticed something amazing. I see Jesus in the picture. His image is on the rock formation under the second rainbow, just to the left of the red color. Can you see Him? To see a larger version of this pic, go to my Facebook page, @  https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10206899803592513&set=a.4328013157432.2183975.1200275499&type=1

Why does Jesus want to get our attention? Because Christianity is God’s call to come under the control of the living, resurrected Jesus Christ — to make Jesus our Lord! How many answer that call? G.K. Chesterton put it like this: ‘The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.”

Who or what is your “Lord”?
A “Lord” is someone or something having power, authority, or control over others; a master or ruler. Whatever controls you, whatever you obey — a compulsion, a desire, popular opinion, a fear, a belief system, a person, an addiction, a worry, an obsession, an orientation, a religious tradition, a feeling — is your “Lord.”
–To be a Christian is to be a Christ-follower. It is to make the living, resurrected Jesus Christ your Lord, your absolute Ruler, not just with words, but with radical, daily obedience to Him. Does your lifestyle say to Jesus, “My Lord and my God!”?

Posted in Christian challenge, Colorado, cost of discipleship, Cripple Creek, definition, G.K. Chesterton, It has been found difficult and left untried, Jesus is Lord, Lord, My Lord and my God, The Christian ideal has not been tried, what does Lord mean? | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Spiritual Leadership Doesn’t “Lord It Over”

Jesus came to establish spiritual leadership in His church that is based on humble example, godly character, and personal power; not on human control, institutional authority, or positional power. Jesus wants his leaders to facilitate His meetings, not to dominate them by “lording it over” other Christ-followers.

lord it over

What are we supposed do in church? 1 Corinthians 14:26 tells us: “When you come together, everyone has” something to share. Therefore, New Testament based God-gatherings involve everyday people  actively doing the word of God as they participate in honest, open sharing and caring surrounded by the loving presence of the living, resurrected Jesus Christ! What do you do in church?
–“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” –James 1:22 (NIV)

Since God has given Christ-followers “spiritual gifts” for the good of the whole church (see 1 Corinthians 12:7), why are most church meetings set up so that they feature the same person’s gift week after week, while the other spiritually gifted members are required to ignore their gifts and passively listen to the featured one?

What happens in a God-gathering? When people gather to all listen to and obey the living, resurrected Jesus Christ amazing things happen. As individuals began to share what they heard from God, His presence becomes real to everyone in the meeting.

You can’t demonstrate the reality of God’s presence by giving a weekly talk about Him to a group of people.
–You can demonstrate the reality of God’s presence by allowing a group of ordinary people to listen directly to God and then to say and/or do what He tells them to.  Try it and see!

In order to reach the Dones, the Nones, and the Millennials, the 21st church must move beyond mere Sunday morning talks and into actual demonstrations of God’s presence and power! Paul of Tarsus put it this way: “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power,” 1 Corinthians 2:4.

Posted in 1 Corinthians 14:26, 1 Corinthians 2:4, Bible quotes, Christian leadership, demonstration of the Spirit's power, doers of the word, each one has a psalm, God-gatherings, James 1:22, Matthew 20:25, not hearers only, not with enticing words of men's wisdom, Paul of Tarsus, Quotes, When you come together | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A White Guy’s Thoughts After The Charleston Church Shooting

I’m a white guy who was a black preacher for about 3 years. (I was a pastor in the African-American denomination–the Church of God in Christ, but I never went as far as Rachel Dolezal and literally claimed to be black.) I’ve discovered a heart-bonding that is even stronger than family and far more powerful than color — it’s my deep inner connection with people who passionately love, follow, and obey the living, resurrected Jesus Christ! Wherever they are in this world, whatever they look like, whatever church they belong to (or don’t belong to), they are my brothers and sisters in Christ.
–The vicious attack on and murder of my innocent brothers and sisters at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina after they welcomed a stranger into their participatory Bible study and warmly listened to his comments, has grieved me deeply and brought me to tears several times.
–Yesterday I did a “Christian magic show” for about 25 black 6 & 7 year old children. They clapped, laughed at, and were inspired by my illusions, but I was so sad to know that they had heard (or would soon hear) about a real white man who murdered black Christians. I cried.
–My wife just asked me what I am writing. So I read it to her and cried all the way through it. “Weep with those who weep.” That’s not difficult for me to do. I wish I could do more to bring about healing in our nation. That’s one reason I write. I want this messed up world to know that that there is supernatural healing, forgiveness, and transformation thought the living Jesus.
–Natural eyes see offense and skin color. Spiritual eyes see wounded hearts who, like the prodigal son, need to abandon their hurt and dysfunction and to return to their Father’s love. There’s no other answer for violence, racism, insecurity, fear, deception, loneliness, addiction.
–This morning I learned about Marcus Stanley, a brother in Christ who (like me) was transformed by the living resurrected Jesus, and how he posted a message of love and forgiveness on the shooter’s Facebook page.
–Perhaps it is time to admit that human trafficking was just as evil in the 18th Century as it is in the 21st Century! That many of the famous founders of our nation were just as evil as present day human traffickers. The skin color of America’s Founding Fathers’ victims did not justify or excuse their crimes against humanity!
–All lives matter to God (and to me) — black/white, postnatal/prenatal, liberal/conservative, mean/nice, and any other dichotomy used to label the epitome of God’s creation–human beings!

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Click here to read my post: “Why A White Guy Digs Into Black History:

Posted in Christian magic show, Church of God in Christ, Emanuel AME, essay, facebook, Founding Fathers, healing racism, human trafficking, illusionists, Marcus Stanley, racial healing, slavery, white view of race | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Marcus Stanley’s Christ-Like Response To The Charleston Church Murders

Here was my first response to the Charleston church murders:

What kind of society produces continual, motiveless mass shootings? And now a man who would murder 9 people who were praying in church? Something is dreadfully wrong with our culture!
–Lord, have mercy on us! Help us repent for being entertained and brainwashed by violence and for our disregard for You and Your moral law. And God, please comfort the family and friends of my dear Christian brothers and sisters who were ruthlessly murdered while praying to You!

Later I read Marcus Stanley’s response. Marcus is a Virginia based singer who in 2004 was shot 8 times, at point-blank range, while performing. He miraculously survived, but while attempting to deal the pain and hurt, Marcus got addicted to pain medication and heroin. In 2010 Marcus went into a faith-based rehab and through the power of the living, resurrected Jesus Christ he was set free from his addiction and forgave the person who shot him. Today he is a Gospel singer who travels world-wide sharing his story of how he found Christ and how he forgave the person who shot him and almost took his life.

marcus stanley

When Marcus heard about the shootings he went to the shooter’s Facebook page and posted these words:

I don’t look at you with the eyes of hatred, or judge you by your appearance or race, but I look at you as a human being that made a horrible decision to take the lives of 9 living & breathing people. Children do not grow up with hatred in their hearts. In this world we are born color blind. Somewhere along the line you were taught to hate people that are not like you and that is truly tragic. You have accomplished nothing from this killing, but planting seeds of pain that will remain forever in the hearts of the families that lost their lives and countless hearts around the country. If you are still out there and have your phone with you… Give your heart to Jesus and confess your sins with a heart of forgiveness. He is the only one that can save your soul and forgive you for the terrible act you have done. I love you Dylann… even in the midst of the darkness and pain you have caused, but more importantly, He loves you. If you would like to make that confession, then repeat these words . . . (Marcus ends his comment to the shooter with prayer asking the living, resurrected Jesus for forgiveness and salvation.)

Marcus explained his comment with these words:

A lot of people are going to be mad at me for doing this. But we react too quickly with hatred instead of getting to the root of the problem. So I was reaching out to him not in hatred but in love.

“I’m on a movement for Christ and I’m not slowing down. Throw the stones, shoot the arrows, bad mouth me, I’m ready for whatever! I’m taking up my cross and I’m walking for the Lord. If I can change, anyone can change. My destiny is so much greater than music. Music is just a tool to reach where words fail. Let God use you anyway that He can. Be an instrument.” 

– Marcus Stanley

Posted in black lives matter, Dylann Roof, Emanuel AME, facebook, faith-based, Quotes, racism | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

“No More Boasting About Human Leaders”

“So then, no more boasting about human leaders!” –1 Corinthians 3:21

What would God do . . .
1) If we presented the living Christ without promoting preachers and teachers?
2) If people ministered to others without naming “ministries” with their own names?
3) If faith wasn’t about a celebritized pastor or evangelist, but instead was totally focused on Jesus Christ?

What would God do

I found the following quote on Facebook. It shows why we have open sharing and participation at Berry Street instead of a 1-man sermon.

“Very sad and grieved to my soul, I just watched a no college degree worship leader step out in faith into God’s grace and in one song the power of the Holy Spirit manifest with a grace for repentance and revival. Hundreds of people began to cry out, shout to God, and many ran to the alter without being called to.
And just as quick as The Holy Spirit started a PhD of theology, who is a leader of leaders of pastors, shut down what God was doing so that the PhD can give his sermon on ‘knowing the will of God’. I am not making this up; talk about irony. Please pray for leaders in the Church to be given a grace of humility and an ear to hear what the Holy Spirit speaks and leads. Pray for the church which is starving for the presence and pleasure of God.” –Tony Nobles

“Be more than a spectator, always keep a hand in the game,” –William R. Webb (Founder of Webb School in Bell Buckle, TN in 1870)
–At The Salvation Army Berry Street, we want God’s people to be more than spectators. We want everyday people to “keep a hand in the game” — in the worship service. Therefore our meetings are open and anyone is free to actively participate by sharing as she/he feels prompted by the Holy Spirit.
–It’s an amazing thing to see!

“Somewhere I read of the freedom of assembly. Somewhere I read of the freedom of speech.” –Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
–Experience the New Testament freedom that allows everyday people to speak up in church (See 1 Corinthians 14;26) at Berry Street. We meet every Sunday morning at 10:45 @ 225 Berry St., Nashville 37207.

Revival happens when we allow the living, resurrected Jesus to directly lead us. Will we? “Christianity needs unreasonable people who are uncomfortable with the status quo and unwilling to be content with the current mode of life and church.” –Ed Stetzer

Posted in Bell Buckle, Berry Street, Bible, blog, church leadership, Dr., Ed Stetzer, facebook, Jr., Martin Luther King, New Testament, organic church, Quotations, Tennessee, Webb School, William Webb | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

CMA, Bonnaroo, & You!

–The CMA Festival made a huge racket for Country Music. Bonnaroo made a huge racket for Rock/Pop. Perhaps it is time to make a huge rackeT for Christ! (I spell it with a capital T to represent the cross of Jesus.) But how can we?
**1) We can tag a ride on the world’s events. A diverse group of Christ-followers set up a tent on property beside Bonnaroo last week and had 100 hours of continuous Christian music, intercession, and testimonies. They called it RooHOP for Bonnaroo House of Prayer. Many people came to the Lord. Lara Landon, one of our Berry Street members, was one of the performers. What else is happening in our city that we can show up at and and be lights for Christ?
**2) We can step out of our routine and do something different for God (as individuals and/or as a group). Salvation Army founder, General William Booth, put it this way “If I thought I could win one more soul to the Lord by standing on my head and playing the tambourine with my toes, I’d learn how.” In the early days of The Salvation Army, we were bold, courageous, and out of the box for God! Why aren’t we now? (A simple way to start would be to prayer walk with me in East Nashville. Just contact me to set up a time.)
**3) We can read and do what they did in the Book of Acts. I know of a guy who got saved, started attending a church, and began to read the Book of Acts. After several months of hearing sermons about God, he went to the pastor and said: “When are we going to do the stuff?” The pastor didn’t know what the guy meant, so the pastor asked him? “What stuff?” The guy replied: “The stuff I’ve been reading about in Acts! When are we going to do that stuff?” Good question, isn’t it? Let’s start doing the Bible stuff, not just talking about it!
**Or 4) We can keep everything the same ole same ole and miss out on the adventures God is calling us to.

roohop

Posted in book of Acts, events, House of Prayer, Manchester, Music City, music festival, Nashville show, Nashville stuff, rock and roll, RooHOP, Salvation Army, Tennessee, William Booth | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment