The Bay Area Will Be The Pray Area

The Oakland -San Francisco Bay Area is experiencing some of the most rapid and radical changes in Church and spiritual culture. In the next five years whatever we have known as Church will be over and done. A new day is dawning and we cannot restrain it.

We have been “rowing in religion” instead of sailing in the Spirit! The activity of a church does not reveal the spirituality of the Church. Most churches are doing a lot, but not getting a lot done.

Institutions are killing visions. Reprobates are left to rule religion. People with godly passion and holy enthusiasm are the exception.  Carnality is holding the Church captive.

There are no less than 7 (seven) major shifts in the next five years that will determine the destiny of ministry in Northern California.

  • Pastors will have to preach strictly biblical messages. Verse by verse exposition will rule the day. Topical preaching will be disdained.
  • The Holy Spirit will have to be emphasized like never before. The need of the Holy Spirit will become the focus of ministry. The “anointing” will be the most coveted and the only essential tool in ministry.
  • Millennials will have to be the harvest field for growing churches. Millennials will be empowered to lead ministry and construct 21st century ministry.
  • Praise and Worship will have to become a more intense and intimate spiritual experience. People will be healed and filled with the power of God while in His presence.
  • Outreach and urban missions will have to be the most effective means of ministry. Prayer, Generosity and Evangelism will again become the agenda and ambition of the Church.
  • Multicultural ministry will have to be the only authentic and significant ministry. Churches will no longer be identified by culture or class.
  • Prayer will have to be the key ministry that brings people together and on purpose from everywhere and every background into churches that are committed to being a “house of prayer for all people” (Isaiah 56:7).
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200 Churches About To Close

We need new wineskins! That’s what Jesus said (Luke 5:36-39). There is a “new wine” being poured out by the Holy Spirit in the Body of Christ! We must rethink our structures and systems. What we are using now will not hold what is about be God’s next!

Please pastors and churn leaders – READ!  This article comes from Growing Healthy Churches by Dr. Thomas Rainer. Read and began having conversations with your church leadership on how to make urgent changes.

“Another church closed. This church had unbelievable potential. Indeed, it had its own “glory days,” but only for a season. But, 10 years ago, few would have predicted this church’s closure. Today, it is but another statistic in the ecclesiastical graveyard.

I know. We don’t compromise doctrine. I know. We must never say we will change God’s Word. But many of our congregations must change. They must change or they will die. I call these churches “the urgent church.” Time is of the essence. If changes do not happen soon, very soon, these churches will die. The pace of congregational death is accelerating.

What, then, are some of the key changes churches must make? Allow me to give you a fair warning. None of them are easy. Indeed, they are only possible in God’s power. Here are nine of them:

  1. We must stop bemoaning the death of cultural Christianity. Such whining does us no good. Easy growth is simply not a reality for many churches. People no longer come to a church because they believe they must do so to be culturally accepted. The next time a church member says, “They know where we are; they can come here if they want to,” rebuke him. Great Commission Christianity is about going; it’s not “y’all come.”
  2. We must cease seeing the church as a place of comfort and stability in the midst of rapid change. Certainly, God’s truth is unchanging. So we do find comfort and stability in that reality. But don’t look to your church not to change methods, approaches, and human-made traditions. Indeed, we must learn to be uncomfortable in the world if we are to make a difference. “We’ve never done it that way before,” is a death declaration.
  3. We must abandon the entitlement mentality. Your church is not a country club where you pay dues to get your perks and privileges. It is a gospel outpost where you are to put yourself last. Don’t seek to get your way with the music, temperature, and length of sermons. Here is a simple guideline: Be willing to die for the sake of the gospel. That’s the opposite of the entitlement mentality.
  4. We must start doing.  Most of us like the idea of evangelism more than we like doing evangelism. Try a simple prayer and ask God to give you gospel opportunities. You may be surprised how He will use you.
  5. We must stop using biblical words in unbiblical ways. “Discipleship” does not mean caretaking. “Fellowship” does not mean entertainment.
  6. We must stop focusing on minors. Satan must delight when a church spends six months wrangling over a bylaw change. That’s six months of gospel negligence.
  7. We must stop shooting our own. This tragedy is related to the entitlement mentality. If we don’t get our way, we will go after the pastor, the staff member, or the church member who has a different perspective than our own. We will even go after their families. Don’t let bullies and perpetual critics control the church. Don’t shoot our own. It’s not friendly fire.
  8. We must stop wasting time in unproductive meetings, committees, and business sessions. Wouldn’t it be nice if every church member could only ask one question or make one comment in a meeting for every time he or she has shared his or her faith the past week?
  9. We must become houses of prayer. Stated simply, we are doing too much in our own power. We are really busy, but we are not doing the business of God.

Around 200 churches will close this week, maybe more. The pace will accelerate unless our congregations make some dramatic changes. The need is urgent. Hear me well, church leaders and church members. For many of your churches the choice is simple: change or die. Time is running out. Please, for the sake of the gospel, forsake yourself and make the changes in God’s power.”                            

Sexual Deviance and Spiritual Disorder

The doors flung open into the Temple where Jesus sat teaching. The doctors of the Law and the most elite religious leaders burst into the worship experience dragging behind them a barely clad woman. Their accusation against her is incontrovertible. “Master, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery” (John 8:4).  

Caught in the act! There is no question about her guilt. Now how do you defend against that? The facts were not about to be challenged. The only challenge was the challenge they brought to Jesus. Is Jesus righteous or is he gracious? Is he a law and order Saviour or will he be soft on crime?

All forms of sex and sexuality that are not within the confines of a covenant between a husband (man) and a wife (woman) are by definition “deviant”. Hebrews 13:4 says, “Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled; but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge”.  I Corinthians 6:18 says,“Flee fornication…but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body”. Ephesians 5:3 says,“But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be named among you, as becometh saints”.

Sexual deviance in a church is not new. The Apostle Paul called sexual deviance “the unfruitful works of darkness”. He demands that sexual deviance be “reproved”. “For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret” (Ephesians 5:11-12). Sexual deviance is to be reproved, not widely reported or constantly repeated. What sexual deviants do in secret should not be in our conversations. The word “reproved” means to “call to account, show one his fault and demand an explanation”. This is how restoration begins.

This woman caught in the very act is a sexual deviant. She is the accused. The churched leaders that brought her are the afflicted. She is accused of sexual deviance and they are afflicted with spiritual disorder. The are so spiritually disordered that this woman’s life and future means nothing to them. They are “grace haters”. They want to stone her. They want to headline her shame. They want to parade (in the middle of the sanctuary) somebody else’s sins and scandal. All they want is to make a point and win an argument.

I have lived long enough in the churched culture and context to know that the “holier than thou” are usually the “hollower than thou”. The selective moral outrage over this woman’s sexual deviance reeks of hypocrisy. She is not the only sexual deviant in the text. The accusation is adultery. Where is the person she was committing adultery with? How is it that we cannot stand sexual deviance in one, but have nothing to say about the sexual deviance of others?

Jesus never condemned those who were already condemned. Jesus never exposed those who were already caught. Jesus rebuked those who hid their sins while revealing the sins of others. Jesus condemned religious people who hated grace and showed no mercy. He knew her sin. He also knew her need. She needed a friend. Jesus is a friend. He is “the friend of sinners”.

“I will not condemn thee.. Go, and don’t do that sin again” (John 8:11). Jesus was not soft on sin. Jesus was gripped by grace. Grace saves and sanctifies. Grace delivers us from the deviances that almost destroyed us. Grace also disciplines our future actions and decisions. Truly forgiven and grateful people change when they are embraced by grace.

All those who came to accuse her discovered that day that Jesus came to deliver us from what we’ve done, not to destroy us by it. “He that cannot sin or has not sinned let him first cast a stone..” (John 8:7).

 

50 Days of Acts

THE BOOK OF ACTS

“The Church Supernatural”

50 Day Reading Schedule

April 16th      1:1-14       May 11th        13:44-52

April 17th      1:15-26     May 12th        14:1-18

April 18th      2:1-13       May 13th        14:19-28

April 19th      2:14-36      May 14th       15:1-21

April 20th      2:37-47      May 15th       15:22-41

April 21st      3:1-11        May 16th       16:1-25

April 22nd     3:12-26      May 17th       16:25-40

April 23rd      4:1-12        May 18th       17:1-15

April 24th      4:13-37      May 19th       17:16-34

April 25th      5:1-16        May 20th       18:1-28

April 26th      5:17-42      May 21st       19:1-20

April 27th      6:1-15        May 22nd      19:21-41

April 28th      7:1-43        May 23rd       20:1-16

April 29th      7:44-60      May 24th       20:17-38

April 30th      8:1-40        May 25th       21:1-16

May 1st         9:1-22        May 26th       21:17-40

May 2nd        9:23-31      May 27th       22:1-30

May 3rd         9:32-43      May 28th       23:1-24

May 4th       10:1-23        May 29th       23:25-35

May 5th       10:24-48      May 30th       24:1-27

May 6th       11:1-18        May 31st       25:1-27

May 7th       11:19-30      June 1st        26:1-32

May 8th       12:1-25        June 2nd       27:1-44

May 9th       13:1-15        June 3rd        28:1-15

May 10th     13:16-43      June 4th        28:16-31
The Book of Acts is more than a historical record of the Early Church. In The Book of The Acts Jesus continues His ministry in the earth through a body of believers He has filled with His Spirit.

The Law of the Band-Aid

The Law of the Band-Aid

“…But we shall all be changed. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye…” (I Corinthians 15:51-52).

Have you ever heard of  “The Law of the Band-Aid” ? When I was growing up on 8th and Florida Streets in Richmond, California I received multiple scrapes and cuts while being a boy in an urban neighborhood. The only thing worse than the wounds was the removal of a Band-Aid. Band-Aid removal was dreaded. Band-Aid removal can be a slow, tortuous, painful hair-pulling experience.

The best way to remove a Band-Aid is one quick rip! Change is the same way. The slower we make the changes we need to make the more painful our experience will be. There is no value in prolonging the pain of change. The longer we resist change, things will only get worse, not better.

Long delays, drawn out decision-making, prolonged indecision, traditional protocols and bloated bureaucracies destroy the positive initiatives of ministry. People who don’t want the vision to succeed will just try to “wait out the clock”. It gives negative people the time and space they want and need to create widespread resistance to the change.

Visionary churches have learned how to prayerfully make progress by deciding and then doing vision in a timely fashion. Great churches have leaders with vision and passion. The leaders bring strategy and urgency to ministry. Strategy is light. Urgency is heat. Some people will never see the light, they need to feel the heat.

You don’t win support for the new and improved by dragging it out. When things are happening slowly in a church and in change people assume incompetence. The idea is, if they knew what we were doing they would have done it by now. That may not be the case. It may be as simple as the fear to remove the Band-Aid.

Change is not what people dislike. People dislike the pain of change. Change that suits us and supports us painlessly is the change we seek. Some change is not what we want, it is what we need. The changes we lead in church are necessary for future ministry.

Leaders! You don’t have to make some changes unnessarily drawn out and therefore more painful. Trying to work with the “powers that want to be” you are perhaps spending too much valuable time seeking consensus and not enough time going after progress. You could be further and farther along in your God-given vision if you better communicate the importance of the changes you know have to be made.

In 2017 bring clear and specific action plans that will provide immediate and impactful progress. Focus on underwriting missions and enhancing the worship and Word experience for different cultures and all generations. This is the time to decide it and then get it done!

Rip. Sting. Done! That is how you remove a Band-Aid and that is how you get big and bold things done. Does it hurt? Will you feel it?  Yes!  It just doesn’t hurt as bad.

The next time you try, triumph!

Bishop Sean Teal, Senior Pastor

Moderator, HFMDA (The Association)

 

Discover Your Spiritual Gifts

21 Spiritual Gifts

This list compiled from Romans 12, I Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4:11.

Administration – task oriented; concerned with details

Apostolic – spiritual; entrepreneurial; leader and maverick

Discernment – intuitive; able to spiritually appraise situations.

Evangelism – people person, self-starter and soul winner.

Exhortation – encouraging; uplifting and motivational.

Faith – uncommon ability to believe God for incredible works.

Giving – philanthropist; loves to share with others.

Healing – powerful urge to pray and interact with the sick.

Helps – loyal to leaders; works best with a team.

Hospitality – loves to prepare for guests and host with excellence.

Interpretation (of tongues) – ability to translate the gift of tongues.

Knowledge –  know without sensory assistance or empirical evidence.

Leadership – willing to protect, serve and coach the potential of people.

Mercy – compassionate; has a special patience for the suffering.

Miracles – used to intervene and demonstrate the power of God.

Pastor – shepherd’s heart; an overseer of God’s people.

Prophecy – passionate; inspired communicator of God’s word.

Service – can successfully be employed at any post.

Teaching – seeks clarity above all else; detail-oriented.

Tongues – speaks to God in a “heavenly language”.

Wisdom – counseling; solutions-oriented; Word-based.
All gifts of the Spirit are just that; gifts of the Spirit!  They belong to Him. He shares them with us so we can fulfill God’s call on our lives as members of the Body of Christ. Any and all good that spiritual gifts may accomplish is because of  the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

“The Merge” Meets

Joint Mid-Winter Board Meeting

Progressive Baptist Missionary Educational District Association

Dr. Alvin C. Bernstine, Moderator

Home and Foreign Mission District Association

Bishop Sean Teal, Moderator

Thursday, February 2, 2017

6:00pm-7:00pm – Registration and Preparation

7:00pm – Worship and Intercessory Prayer

7:15pm – Introduction of Host Pastor

7:20pm – “The Theology of Unity” – Dr. Claybon Lea, Jr.

7:50pm – 8:00pm – United Parent Body Prayer

8:00pm – 8:50pm – Joint Ministry Plenary Sessions

8:50pm – 9:00pm – Reassemble for United Parent Body Prayer

Ministry Plenary Sessions Agenda

The Vision: To have key leaders and staffs of ministries in both Associations to meet, pray and discuss the immediate and potential points of unity.

The Mission: To focus on the similarities and unity in histories, current visions, leadership structures, protocols, fundraising and event calendars.

The Strategy: To ask the heads of ministry auxiliaries to prepare for the discussion and deliberations that will center on effectively merging ministries. A scribe will need to be assigned to every plenary session.

The Win: To allow the opening night to give a clear emphasis to what is “good and pleasant” about “The Merge”

Joint Mid-Winter Board

Progressive Baptist Missionary Educational District Association

Home and Foreign Mission District Association

Friday, February 3, 2017

6:00pm -7:00pm – Registration and Preparation

7:00pm – Worship and Intercessory Prayer

7:15pm – Introduction of State President (CSBC)

7:20pm – “The Necessity of Unity” – Dr. Henry Perkins

7:50pm – United Parent Body Prayer

8:00pm – Joint Ministry Plenary Sessions

9:30pm – Reassemble for United Parent Body Prayer

Ministry Plenary Sessions Agenda

The Vision: To have key leaders and staffs of ministries in both Associations to meet, pray and discuss the immediate and potential points of unity.

The Mission: To focus on the similarities and unity in histories, current visions, leadership structures, protocols, fundraising and event calendars.

The Strategy: To ask the heads of ministry auxiliaries to prepare for the discussion and deliberations that will center on effectively merging ministries. A scribe will need to be assigned to every plenary session.

The Win: To give further opportunity to address “The Merge” barriers and apply the benefits that surfaced in earlier discussions and deliberations.

Joint Mid-Winter Board

Progressive Baptist Missionary Educational District Association

Home and Foreign Mission District Association

Saturday, February 3, 2017

8:00am – Registration and Breakfast

9:00am – Worship and Intercessory Prayer

9:30am – Notifications and Introductions

9:45am – “The Psychology of Unity” – Dr. Larry Ellis

10:45am – United Prayer

11:00am – Joint Ministry Plenary Sessions

12:30pm – Lunch Served

1:00pm – Parent Body General Assembly

  1. Reports from Joint Ministry Plenary Sessions
  2. Strategy Team Report and Recommendations
  3. Amendments and Motions

2:30pm – Closing Comments and Call to Adjourn

2:45pm – United Parent Body Prayer

3:00pm – Benediction

Ministry Plenary Sessions Agenda

The Vision: To have key leaders and staffs of ministries in both Associations to meet, pray and discuss the immediate and potential points of unity.

The Mission: To focus on the similarities and unity in histories, current visions, leadership structures, protocols, fundraising and event calendars.

The Strategy: To ask the leaders of ministry auxiliaries to ensure each ministry prepares the report due to the Parent Body. The leaders will present a joint report that will announce and advise the Parent Body on its progress for “The Merge”.

The Win: To give further opportunity to come to a consensus on the best methods and resources for “The Merge”.