Archive for May, 2010

Theology – Not a dirty word!

Posted in Bible Study, Theology with tags , , , on May 31, 2010 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

When I studied at Tabor College I looked with apprehension at my subject list when my eyes glanced at “Intro to Theology.” I perceived the subject to be dry, boring and unnecessary. How wrong I was!

It turned out to be one of the most important subjects in my degree because our theology forms the foundation for everything we do in response to God and life. Theology comes from 2 Greek words (theos=God and logos=word) and our theology is the way we think and talk about God. Everyone has a theology and makes theological statements all the time. The question is do we have a good theology or a bad one.

In Acts 17:1-9 Paul ministers in the synagogue in the city of Thessalonica and 4 words describe his ministry – Paul Reasoned; Explained; Proved and Proclaimed Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is true and pure theology and Paul centered his ministry on Christ and him crucified.

In v6 Paul is described as a man who turned the world upside down and yet he doesn’t do anything more extraordinary than share his theology about Christ with the Jews and Gentile proselytes of the city.

I believe “Our Theology can transform the world or it can reinforce to the world a wrong perception of who God is.”

Theology is important because the Great Commission doesn’t just include going and evangelizing but it also includes ‘teaching people to observe all that Christ has commanded us’. Theology is important because it helps us overcome wrong thinking, it helps us discern between truth and error, it helps us grow spiritually, it helps us work out what are peripheral doctrines and what are the essential doctrines and it helps us to embrace the process of transformation as a journey, not an event.

Our theology is shaped by 4 sources which include: Scripture, Reason, Tradition and Experience. We need to make sure that Scripture interprets our experience rather than the feelings we attach to our experiences to form our view of God. Each of us have different experiences and we can easily project our feelings as God and interpret Scripture liberally, based on how we feel.

There is an assault on theology and God’s Word in our culture and we need to develop our theology in prayer, worship and humility, seeking the counsel of others and remembering that our theology can transform our lives and the world around us or it can reinforce a wrong perception of God.

Lead the Change!

Real Church!

Posted in church with tags , , on May 26, 2010 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

There appears to be a lot of frustration within the church and in many believers who have left the church about the state of the church. I have heard many people over the years speak of a hunger and desire to be apart of a REAL Church. What does this mean?

It is a sad day when people leave the Church to find Christ. I would suggest that what people are leaving isn’t in fact the church but churchianity. People shouldn’t have to disconnect from the Church to find a richer and deeper relationship with Christ.

All of us at some point or another have looked at our lives and asked the question, “Is this all there is? Surely, there is something more to life.” We ask that same question of the church and many believers go from Christian gathering to Christian gathering to find the more they are searching for. Sometimes this is helpful for them but generally it inly reinforces the disillusionment they feel.

Unfortunately some of the Church has become manageable and boring and lifeless and predictable and void of God. Things like worship, altar calls, budgets, systems, follow up, staff, small groups, outreach, social justice can all happen without the Spirit of God. So what is a REAL CHURCH?

Larry Crabb in his book REAL CHURCH offers this thought, “A gathering becomes a church when people meet for one supreme purpose, to become more like Jesus in thought, motive and action all for the pleasure of the Father.”

Interesting... He goes on to say that the, “More we are searching for is hearing God’s music, dancing with God into the relationships and circumstances of life in order to bring heavens way of doing things to earth.”

I think REAL Church begins with a personal revival of our own hearts, where we ask God to give us a heart for the things He has a heart for. Out of this place of personal renewal in our relationship with God flows 4 primary things to go on a journey of living out: 1) Biblical theology; 2) Spiritual formation; 3) Loving relationships; 4) Missional living.

I like you, am on a journey of discovering what REAL Church is and one thing I am sure of Jesus Christ loves the Church, gave himself up for her and we are not to give up on it either. We are to become apart of the solution and not the problem to the church being REAL in the world.

Lead the Change!

Church for the Unchurched!

Posted in activate church, apologetics, church with tags , on May 25, 2010 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

Luke 19:10 “For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost.”

Too many of our churches are for the churched and not for the unchurched!

4 years on since starting Activate Church, I realise that while my heart and words reflected a passion for engaging with people who don’t know Christ, in the first 2 years of our church, my style, ministry expression and language was more relevant for churched people than unchurched people.

Over the last 4 years God has been taking me on a journey to embrace not only a heart for people but also discovering an expression that engages more unchurched people. This is a challenging process and requires a willingness to kill sacred cows once highly esteemed by believers raised in the church.

Some people think to be a church to the unchurched you have to ‘dumb’ down the theology of your sermons but in fact what we are discovering is people who don’t know Christ not only want theological meat but they want to understand the biblical terminology we use as well. Preaching God’s Word in todays culture requires a rediscovery of apologetics (defense of the gospel) and engagement with the power of the Spirit in a very real and authentic way.

Building with Christ a church for the unchurched is an experiment and an adventure. Sometimes what you try works and sometimes it doesn’t have the impact you were aiming for. I have decided to lead a church that serves Christ first and people second. The church belongs to Jesus and we must be faithful to Christ before we be relevant to people. It’s out of a heart to follow Christ that we catch a passion for connecting with people who don’t know Christ and for whom Christ deeply cares for. When God’s Word is in its rightful place and Jesus Christ is worshipped as the head of the Church, we can then innovate our methods to love and serve people.

I am on a journey and the Church I lead is on a journey to discover what a church for the unchurched looks like. Why is this important? Because many people still need to hear the Gospel message and many people are still living in sin.

I recently was alarmed to hear of a growing trend in the Church across Victoria where we are seeing approximately 170 people per fortnight leaving the church throughout the state. Also 1 church a week is closing down in Victoria and the church growth that’s being measured is take-over growth, where churches are taking over existing and struggling churches.

This trend has to change and to do so we must build the church for the unchurched.

Lead the change!

Healthy Pastors!

Posted in ministry, Preaching with tags , , , , , , , , on May 24, 2010 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

1 Timothy 4:16 “Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.”

I am really concerned about the health of pastors and leaders souls. Not only have I been on a massive journey of healing in my own soul but my eyes have been opened to see the need for spiritual health in leaders everywhere I turn. By spiritual health, I am not talking about numbers, dollars and success (or as I say “Buildings, Bodies & Bucks”). I am talking about the state of one’s soul – your HEART!

Proverbs 4:23 says, “Guard your heart with all vigilance for out flow the springs of life.” Your heart is the epi-centre of your life. It’s the engine room of your thoughts, feelings, words and actions. We have got to take the wisdom writers advice and guard our hearts from contamination from fleshly toxicity. The way we do this is by keeping a watch on ourselves and our teaching. Why teaching? Because out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. What comes out in our teaching is a reflection of what is in our hearts. You can only cover up for so long before what is really in your heart will be exposed. You can have your exegetical skills down pat and be able to inspire the masses and yet be void of joy, peace and life in your own soul.

Life and particularly ministry has a way of beating your soul down into an unhealthy place. The reality is you can be leading a successful ministry and yet be completely spiritually unhealthy. You can preach well and yet suffer from insecurity, gossiping, self-worship and megalomania. Pastors who are driven for success can go places their soul and character cannot sustain them in. We have got to be careful that we don’t fall prey to a performance orientation and drive ourselves and others towards goals that simply exist to feed emotional insecurities and narcissistic notions.

I’m convinced that a lot of pastors who are counseling people need counseling themselves. A lot of ministers praying with people need prayer ministry themselves. As you are dishing out spiritual medicine to your congregation make sure you are taking a swig of it your self because only a foolish man teaches others what they aren’t willing to embrace themselves.

I respect pastors and honour them for their work. I am the son of pastors and I have been a pastor for 10 years, most recently planting a Church 4 years ago. Pastors can get a raw deal at times and more congregations need to do more to bless, encourage and honour their pastors. Pastors have a God-given responsibility to watch the spiritual health of their own souls because so much is at stake, including the salvation of both themselves and their hearers.

Lead the Change!

Don’t Give Up!

Posted in attitude, faith with tags , , , , on May 24, 2010 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

Galatians 6:9 “Do not grow weary of doing good, for in due season you will reap if you do not GIVE UP.”

The easiest place to give up your resolve is when you are journeying through a wilderness experience. I know what its like to feel weary of doing good and want to give up. We all face circumstances and have feelings that make us feel like we have hit the wall and can’t go on. But it’s often during these valley experiences that our characters and future’s are most powerfully shaped.

The choices we make in a testing season determine everything about our future. We have got to be careful to not ‘throw the baby out with the bath water’, so to speak, and miss what God is trying to teach us through the test. If you respond Godward and not man-ward you will be given fresh resolve and renewed strength that you never had before…In other words you’ll be a better person for it.

We all feel like giving up at times and sometimes giving something up like a bad habit or a negative relationship is the healthiest thing for us but when it comes to what God is asking us to do and what He created us for, we are to never give that up. Be careful to not rely on your feelings alone & make sure you seek God’s guidance on what you are feeling. Seeking God’s guidance includes consulting wise counsel and getting their input. If you surround yourself with everyone who reinforces your perspective all the time, you set yourself up for a fall because your inner circle doesn’t own the market share on wisdom or knowledge. There are others who can help you significantly, including pastors, connect group leaders and other wise counsellors.

I have emerged out of my 2009 dark night of the soul with fresh resolve and greater strength. I am getting stronger in my walk with God by the day. I am becoming clearer in my ministry call and future direction each week and moment by moment I am learning to rest in God’s grace & strength that he so richly provides. If I had have given up I would not be experiencing the joy and love and life I now have. Fight On!

Lead the Change!

Video: Connect Groups

Posted in activate church with tags , , , on May 24, 2010 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

Here is a video of the relevant info you need for Connect Groups. Check it out!

Love People, Don’t Use Them!

Posted in community, relationships with tags , , , , on May 22, 2010 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

Matthew 22:39 “Love your neighbour as you love yourself.”

Too many people in this day and age use people for what they can get out of them for their own personal gain. I think God is horrified at the way we treat each other at times and he must feel incredible pity for us. Too many of us only relate to certain people based on what they can do for us rather than their inherent value as human beings.

People are precious and most important to God. Jesus didn’t die for success, wealth and power and yet we as a race sacrifice people on the altar of these goals all the time. Jesus lived and died for people – period! People are the greatest resource on planet earth. The environment is important but people are more important. You say, “Save the whales”. What about, “Save the people”.

You cannot take anything with you when you die but you can leave a legacy of lives changed by your influence and investment into people. I value people over task, even though I acknowledge the reality that we all have to complete tasks at times. Just don’t treat people as a task to endure but a treasure to enjoy.

Erwin McManus is one of the people on planet earth I admire because he appears to value what God values. Even through his writings and teachings, you can feel the love he has for people bleed through. What about you? When people meet you, do they sense “life” in you and “love” for people bleeding through you. I’ve never met Erwin but I can see it and sense it. I hope that we all want to be people that others want to be around because we really value people and see the importance of investing into them.

The Great Commandment is made up of 2 parts: Love God and secondly Love people. You can’t truly embrace the vertical, if you don’t embrace the horizontal. Some people who love God treat people as imposters on their own self-importance. We need to understand that God views our spirituality through the lens of our relationships and how we treat God’s greatest creative achievement – humanity.

Lead the Change@