Jan 202010
 

This “profile of the Lukewarm” comes from chapter 4 of “Crazy Love” written by Frances Chan.

PROFILE OF THE LUKEWARM

Lukewarm people attend church fairly regularly. It is what is expected of them, what they believe ‘good Christians’ do, so they go. (Isaiah 29:13)

Lukewarm people give money to charity and to the church… as long as it doesn’t impinge on their standard of living. If they have a little extra and it is easy and safe to give, they do so. After all, God loves a cheerful giver, right? (1 Chron 21:24, Luke 21:1-4)

Lukewarm people tend to choose what is popular over what is right when they are in conflict. They desire to fit both at church and outside of church; they care more about what people think of their actions (like church attendance and giving) than what God thinks of their hearts and lives. (Luke 6:26, Rev 3:1, Matt 23:5-7)

Lukewarm people don’t really want to be saved from their sin; they want only to be saved from the penalty of their sin. They don’t genuinely hate sin and aren’t truly for it; they’re merely sorry because God is going to punish them. Lukewarm people don’t really believe that this new life Jesus offers is better than the old sinful one. (John 10:10, Rom 6:1-2)

Lukewarm people are moved by stories about people who do radical things for Christ, yet they do not act. They assume such action is for ‘extreme’ Christians, not average ones. Lukewarm people call ‘radical’ what Jesus expected of all his followers. (James 1:22, James 4:17, Matt 21:28-31)

Lukewarm people rarely share their faith with their neighbours, co-workers or friends. They do not want to be rejected, nor do they want to make people uncomfortable by talking about private issues like religion. (Matt 10:32-33)

Lukewarm people gauge their morality or ‘goodness’ by comparing themselves to the secular world. They feel satisfied that while they aren’t as hard-core for Jesus as so-and-so, they are nowhere as horrible as the guy down the street. (Luke 18:11-12)

Lukewarm people say they love Jesus, and He is, indeed, part of their lives. But only a part. They give Him a section of their time, their money and their thoughts, but He isn’t allowed to control their lives. (Luke 9:57-62)

Lukewarm people love God, but they do not love Him with all their heart, soul and strength. They would be quick to assure you that they try to love God that much, but that sort of devotion isn’t really possible for the average person; it’s only for pastors, missionaries and radicals. (Matt 22:37-38)

Lukewarm people love others but do not seek to love others as much as they love themselves. Their love of others is typically focussed on those who love them in return, like family, friends, and other people they know and connect with. There is little love left over for those who cannot love them back, much less for those who intentionally slight them, whose kids are better athletes than theirs, or with whom conversations are awkward or uncomfortable. Their love is highly conditional and very selective, and generally comes with strings attached. (Matt 5:43-47, Luke 14:13-14)

Lukewarm people will serve God and others, but there are limits to how far they will go, or how much time, money and energy they are willing to give. (Luke 18:21-25)

Lukewarm people think about life on earth much more often than eternity in heaven. Daily life is mostly focussed on today’s to-do list, this week’s schedule and next month’s vacation. Rarely, if ever, do they consider the life to come. Regarding this, C. S. Lewis wrote, ‘If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.’ (Phil 3:18-20, Col 3:2)

Lukewarm people are thankful for their luxuries and comforts, and rarely consider trying to give as much as possible to the poor. They are quick to point out, ‘Jesus never said money is the root of all evil, only the love of money is.’ Untold numbers of lukewarm people feel ‘called’ to minister to the rich; very few feel ‘called’ to minister to the poor. (Matt 25: 34, 40, Isaiah 58:6-7)

Lukewarm people do whatever is necessary to keep themselves from feeling too guilty. They want to do the base minimum, to be ‘good enough’ without it requiring too much of them. They ask, ‘How far can I go before it’s considered a sin?’ instead of ‘How can I keep myself pure as a temple of the Holy Spirit?’ They ask,….’ (1 Chron 29:14, Matt 13:44-46)

Lukewarm people are continually concerned with playing it safe; they are slaves to the god of control. This focus on safe living keeps them from sacrificing and taking risks for God. (1 Tim 6:17-18, Matt 10:28)

Lukewarm people do not live by faith; their lives are structured so they never have to. They don’t have to trust God if something unexpected happens – they have their saving account. They don’t need God to help them – they have their retirement plan in place. They don’t genuinely seek out what life God would have them live – they have life figured and mapped out. They don’t depend on God on a daily basis – their refrigerators are full and, for the most part, they are in good health. The truth is, their lives wouldn’t look much different if they suddenly stopped believing in God. (Luke 12:16-21, Amos 6:1)

Lukewarm people probably drink and swear less than average, but besides that, they really aren’t very different from your typical unbeliever. They equate their partially sanitised lives with holiness, but that couldn’t be more wrong. (Matt 23:25-28, Matt 7:21)

 Posted by at 10:46 am
Sep 142009
 

Big Idea: It’s time to ADVANCE the gospel!

Scripture Memory:
1 Chronicles 29:11-12 (ESV)
11 Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all.
12 Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all.

Action Step:
Surrender everything to God, Listen to His voice and follow through!

Random Thoughts:

I am so thankful for what God has done in and through Church at the Grove over the last 3 years but it is time to look forward to what God has in store for Church at the Grove in the future.

Yesterday, we launched ADVANCE 09, a Faith Initiative that will prepare us spiritually and financially for the next phase in the life of Church at the Grove.  It will allow for 5 specific things in the life of Church at the Grove.

  1. We will transition our Sunday gatherings in January 2010 to the 450 seat auditorium at the new Walnut Grove High School in the community of Walnut Grove. 
  2. We have had a heart and vision for the community of Social Circle since the very beginning of Church at the Grove.  The ADVANCE Faith Initiative will allow Church at the Grove to launch a Sunday gathering in the community of Social Circle set for teh fall of 2010. 
  3. The ADVANCE Faith Initiative will allow Church at the Grove to begin setting aside finances specifically for a piece of land in the Walnut Grove area.
  4. The ADVANCE Faith Initiative will allow us to consider an additional staff member to facilitate future growth in the life of Church at the Grove.
  5. We plan to set aside a portion of our ADVANCE Faith Initiative funds specifically for the mission projects in our local community and for the partnerships we have developed for global missions.

I am asking our church to do three things during this Faith Initiative over the next two months. 

  • Surrender
  • Pray
  • Follow Through

It has been an incredible ride over the past 3 years, but it is time to look forward. 

 

 Posted by at 9:15 am
Sep 092009
 

We have gathered and celebrated Jesus on 156 Sundays!

We have worked together to complete a complete Home Makeover on a home in our Walnut Grove community! 

We have witnessed almost 100 people turn to follow Jesus as a result of God’s work through Church at the Grove! 

We have serve countless meals to Youth Middle School teachers, Walnut Grove High School teachers, Walnut Grove Elementary School teachers, Athletic Teams, Foster kids and families and many more groups. 

We have Loved Loganville!

We have baptized around 75 people!

We have had part in planting over a dozen churches in 3 years! 

We started with about 50 people, Launched with 183 and now average over 300 people in attendance in our Sunday gatherings. 

We will have over 100 adults in Community Groups this fall!

Our students have packed and served lunches in Monroe, loved and ministered to children in backyard Bible Clubs, helped clean up after Katrina in Mississippi, served people in New Orleans and reached out to their friends on Wednesdays at the CLC!

We initiated and facilitated a complete Home Makeover for a family in Walnut Grove that now attends Church at the Grove! 

We have partnered close to 100 children with local heros and helped make their Christmas something to remember!

We soon will take part in sending two families across the globe to help people find their way back to God through Jesus.  We look for partnerships to carry Jesus across the globe!

We have partnered with a local organization “Resurrecting Hope” to help make a difference in the lives of the homeless at the Atlanta Union Mission. 

We have loved and supported local Teachers and Educators in our community.

We have consulted and provided leadership to numerous church planters and leaders locally and nationally. 

We have only just STARTED! 

Don’t miss the next three years!

 Posted by at 9:07 am
Nov 212007
 

I am convinced that unless we revisit important and key values in any area of life that we tend to drift into the mindless complexity imposed upon us by our culture.  If we do not constantly go back to what is our purpose and mission for life and orchestrate our daily decisions around these values, we become enslaved to the “tyranny of the urgent” in daily life.  If you don’t have a purpose and schedule life according to that purpose, we will allow everyone and everything else’s purpose to direct us on a daily and weekly basis. 

People still ask why I (we) would start a church when there are plenty of churches in this community and all over the United States.  The overly simplistic answer to this question is “to fulfill the Great Commission here in our community and all over the world.”  What does this mean and how does it play out in planting a local church in a community that has many other churches? 

Ed Stetzer, in his book Planting Missional Churches, shares with us some amazing statistics related to the “church-to-population ratio” in the United States.

  • In 1900, there were 28 churches for every 10,000 Americans.
  • In 1950, there were 17 churches for every 10,000 Americans.
  • In 2000, there were 12 churches for every 10,000 Americans.
  • In 2004, the latest year available, there are 11 churches for every 10,000 Americans. 

You can easily begin to see the need for starting new churches simply by looking at the lack of new churches started to keep up with the explosive population growth!  That does not even take into consideration the number of churches that close their doors every week because they have lost the ability to have influence in the lives of people in their community.  Churches are dying every week and their needs to be new churches birthed in communities that can reach people with the gospel of Jesus.

NOW, consider that the existing churches in many communities are doing a good job at assimilating those “already convinced” Christians by providing good children’s, youth, and adult programs that keep everyone busy and happy.  Many existing churches have either never had any influence or they have lost their ability to influence the people in their community who are “unconvinced”, “disconnected” or “unchurched”.  We know that 85% or more of those people in their 20’s and 30’s do not go to church anywhere.  The percentage of people that do not go to church increases with each younger age group and generation. 

Here is the question?  How are we (Jesus Followers) going to reach these younger generations that will not ever step into an existing church that focuses more on the “already convinced”? 

We must start new churches that can be “laser focused” on taking Jesus to these younger “unconvinced” “people groups”!

That is why Church at the Grove exists!  We started Church at the Grove to reach out to “those least likely to go to church”!

That is why we will not accept doing church for:

  • People that are currently unhappy at their church.
  • People that simply want more contemporary music.
  • People that like wearing jeans and leaving their shirts untucked.
  • People that want a new environment for their children.
  • People that want “cool” teaching with pastors that build brick walls and throw skittles around.
  • People that want to come and sit and do nothing to help us reach disconnected and unconvinced people.
  • People that want to shop churches until they can find where they can be fed.
  • People that have no intention to serve and get involved.

We will be laser focused on the mission that God gave us in the beginning:

We exist to develop people who follow Jesus and Make Disciples.  We want to be intentional in going after those people that are the least likely to go to church.  We will create environments where people can explore faith at their own pace.  We encourage relationships through community groups and we will BE IN OUR COMMUNITY to start discussions that lead to sharing the hope found in Jesus!

Check out this post from a while back and ask God to create a passion and a compassion in your heart for unconvinced people.  Ask God to show you where He wants you to be to maximize your gifts and influence for His Kingdom!

Be thankful for the person, people, and/or the church that influenced YOU toward Jesus and then get out of your “church bubble” and walk across your street, room, neighborhood or community to talk to someone about Jesus!

 Posted by at 1:04 pm