Archive for July, 2010

Building the Future!

Posted in activate church with tags , on July 30, 2010 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

I’ve been off line for a couple of weeks but it’s good to be back after preaching in NZ. This Sunday at my church we are launching a campaign called “Building the Future”.

Building the Future is a church-wide campaign aimed at clarifying why we exist, what’s important to us and where we are heading, as well as, preparing financially for the future needs of our growing church.

Building the Future is a 3 year project which includes a 5 week block of teaching series, social media and generous giving in the month of August each year.

Following every Sunday sermon I will be spending the entire week sharing insight on that weeks theme to help anyone who is interested in understanding what the Scriptures teach on that particular subject. These daily insights will be complimented by youtube video clips and I will provide a link for you to access these.

Over the 5 weeks we are going to cover why we exist, what’s important to us and where we are heading. This includes:

  1. Biblical Truth – We love TRUTH!
  2. Spiritual Formation – We love GOD!
  3. Authentic Relationships – We love PEOPLE!
  4. Innovative Mission – We love the WORLD!
  5. Compelling Vision – We love our CALL!

Hopefully, you find the next 5 weeks insightful and helpful in your own life and ministry. I can’t wait to share with you daily what is beating in our hearts. We will be announcing several exciting developments in the coming weeks so stay tuned for more.

Lead the Change!

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Church = Gospel City

Posted in church, gospel with tags , , on July 19, 2010 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

The Church is called to be a city within a city. Matthew 5:14-15 says, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

Last night, while I was preaching in our evening service, I said, “The church is called to be a gospel city.” I like that and as I unpacked it, I would like to think it was inspired by the Holy Spirit. The church is called to be an ambassador of the gospel in the world we live in. The gospel is counter-cultural and very challenging.

The more I preach the gospel, the more I find it excruciatingly difficult to swallow because it rejects many of the things our society says is important. When I mention the word “Gospel” in this blog, I’m not meaning it just in an evangelistic sense, I mean it in a biblical sense of the whole counsel of God’s Word that points to Jesus Christ.

1 Cor 15:1-4 outlines what the essence of the gospel is, “Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you – unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures…”

It is this gospel that we are called to proclaim and it is this gospel we are not to be ashamed of. Paul said in Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.””

Too many of us have lost confidence in the gospel and rely on therapeutic ministry to provoke change in people’s lives. The Apostle Paul acknowledges that the gospel is a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, the gospel is Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. The foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men (1 Cor 1:20-25).

I want to spend my days proclaiming the Gospel and building a Gospel City for the glory of God and the salvation of humanity. What about you? Have you made Christianity something other than about the Gospel. The Gospel is the essence of and substance of Christianity. Let’s follow Paul’s example, “I decided to know nothing among you except Christ and him crucified” (1 Cor 2:2).

Lead the Change!

Insecurity undermines Authenticity!

Posted in Identity with tags , , on July 19, 2010 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

All of us at one point or another in our lives suffer from insecurity. Some of us suffer from insecurity constantly and are either fed up with the impact it has on our relationships or worse yet are totally ignorant to it’s effect on the people around us.

I have suffered from insecurity from time to time and been privy to its crippling effect on my identity and well being. Insecurity undermines your authenticity as a person and compromises your confidence.

Insecurity causes you to feel awkward around others and preoccupied about people’s opinions of you. Insecurity projects onto others what you struggle with yourself and insecure people have to over-compensate for the lack they feel and this adds to the awkwardness in relational transactions.

Insecurity needs to be overcome in our lives because it can propel your life in the wrong direction and destroy all the good things God has made available for you to enjoy.

Insecurity can be overcome through your relationship with Jesus Christ. God wants you to become the person he made you to be and He will put before you opportunities that will force you to examine your motives for doing what you do. It’s in these moments that you will come face to face with whether you are being authentically you or trying to be someone you are not.

Our identity is found in Genesis 1:26-27. We are image bearers of God, created with dignity and worth. Our identity is found in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross and his resurrection. Jesus became our substitute to bear the penalty of death that we deserved for our sin. God’s Spirit has called us into relationship with Him and given us unique gifts and abilities to do good works which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

The Word of God is our standard and value we measure ourselves by, not the culture around us. The more you compare yourself to what is propagated in the media and your peers, the more you become depressed with your lot in life. Keep your eyes upon Jesus and the closer you get to Him, the more you see the life and identity of Christ in you.

Lead the Change!

Preaching & Postmodernism Pt2

Posted in apologetics, Preaching with tags , , , , , on July 12, 2010 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

In my last blog post we looked at the demise of preaching in light of the influences of postmodernism. Today I want to share with you further insight into how we are to approach preaching the Bible in a postmodern culture.

Firstly, Bible preaching in a postmodern environment begins with a provoked spirit of concern. In Acts 17:16 Paul’s spirit was provoked within him when he saw the Athenians worshipping the many gods and idols, littered around the city. Our commitment to preaching the bible must begin with a spiritual burden for the broken state of people’s lives, not intellectual snobbery or elitism.

Secondly, Bible preaching in a postmodern environment is centered on the Gospel. In Acts 17:17 Paul went to the synagogue and the marketplace and preached the gospel, presenting the death and resurrection of Christ and his teachings as the central theme of his ministry. Our preaching should take on an apologetic approach in a plural society (Defending the Gospel and building a case for faith). The goal of apologetic preaching should be to win souls and not just arguments.

Thirdly, Bible preaching in a postmodern environment assumes spiritual confusion in culture. Confusion reigns supreme in western culture about everything. I believe a tactic of Satan is to introduce so many different ideologies in our culture so that people can be trapped in confusion. God is not a god of confusion but of truth, order and peace.

Fourthly, Bible preaching in a postmodern environment is directed to people’s spiritual hunger. Secularism has left people’s souls deprived of true spiritual nourishment. We must turn the spiritual hunger of people towards the food of the Gospel. God has put eternity into the hearts of man and filled lost people with a hunger for truth.

Fifth, Bible preaching in a postmodern environment begins with God. In Acts 17:24-28, Paul begins with God as creator before he moves to God as redeemer. People must first understand who God is as their maker before they begin to understand their need for God as their redeemer.

Sixth, Bible preaching in a postmodern environment confronts error. I would like to do a series one time called ‘War on Error’. One of the signs of the last days church is that we will be rife with false teaching and false teachers. Error and heresy must be confronted and opposed. Gospel Truth is the branch we are all sitting on and cutting that off leaves us with nothing.

Seventh, Bible preaching in a postmodern environment calls people to repent and warns them of judgment to come. Albert Mohler says, “It is not enough to preach Christ without calling for belief and repentance. It is not enough to promise the blessings of heaven without warning of the threat of hell. It is not enough to preach salvation without pointing to judgment.”

Lead the Change!

Preaching & Postmodernism Part 1

Posted in apologetics, Bible, Theology with tags , , , , on July 8, 2010 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

There are many happenings within our culture that falls under the banner of postmodernism and it’s something I think is important for us to talk about within the Body of Christ because the radical relativism in our culture is a direct challenge to the Christian Gospel.

Albert Mohler Jr in giving a definition of postmodernism suggests, “We might best describe postmodernism as a mood (rather than a movement or a methodology) that sets itself apart from the certainties of the modern age.” (He is not Silent pg116)

Postmodernism argues that truth is socially constructed, plural and innacessible to universal reason. But Christianity says that truth is established by God, known to us through God’s self-revelation in Scripture, it’s eternal, fixed and universal.

There are 5 key elements to why postmodernism is what it is, that we need to be aware of:

  1. Death of the Metanarrative – The Gospel is the ultimate metanarrative (Universal truth). Since postmodernists believe truth is socially constructed then absolute truth must be resisted at all costs. Christianity has at the core the metanarrative of redemption. The Biblical account includes creation, the fall of mankind, the redemption of sinners through the substitutionary work of Christ and finally the promise of eternal destiny with God forever in glory as well as the eternal punishment of the unsaved.
  2. Demise of the TextIf the great metanarratives are dead then the great texts behind these metanarratives must be dead as well, including the bible. Because the Bible represents a threat to the rise of the feminist, liberation, homosexual and other like-interest groups then the the bible’s truths must be deconstructed to fit their ideology. Albert Mohler says, “The Bible too is subjected to radical interpretation, often with little or no regard for the plain meaning of the text or the clear intention of the human author. Texts that are not pleasing to the postmodern mind are rejected as oppressive, patriarchal, heterosexist, homophobic, or deformed by some other political or ideological bias. The authority of the text is denied in the name of liberation, and the most fanciful and ridiculous interpretations are celebrated as “affirming” and thus “authentic”.
  3. Dominion of Therapy – Categories such as ‘sin’ are rejected as oppressive and harmful to self-esteem so preachers don’t talk about sin in such a way that will convict people to acknowledge their sin. More and more preachers are hoping their therapeutic approach to ministry will enable people to feel so good about themselves that they will want to sign up to wholeness without passing through the twin towers of repentance and redemption.
  4. Decline of Authority – Doctrines, traditions, creeds, and confessions – all these are to be rejected and charged with limiting self-expression and representing oppressive authority. Preachers are tolerated so long as we don’t inject divine authority and claims of absolute truth into our sermons. Preachers have to be more like Dr Phil then the Apostle Paul.
  5. Displacement of Morality – In postmodernism everything is permitted and alternative lifestyles are celebrated. There is a reversal of morals which sees homosexuality as liberation and homophobia a ‘sin’.

How is the Gospel Preacher to respond to the challenges of postmodernism? Check out tomorrows blog on the role of Bible preaching in a postmodern environment.

Lead the Change!

Is a Pastor a Theologian?

Posted in ministry, Theology with tags , , , , on July 3, 2010 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

Todays pastors are often pulled in many directions simultaneously. The theological role of the pastor is often lost amidst the pressing concerns of ministry life that has been turned into something other than what God originally intended as revealed in the New Testament.

Todays pastor, it seems, is very focused on management more than theology and this emphasis across the church leaves the pastor feeling more like an administrator dealing with matters of “organizational theory” than someone who understands the truths of God’s Word and helps people apply them in everyday life.

The rising influence of “Therapy” in our culture has caused many people to believe that the pastoral office is a helping profession and theology is often seen as being more of a problem than a solution to the practical issues people face in their lives.

The fact is anytime a pastor counsels someone, visits the sick and prays for them, builds a leadership team or preaches a sermon, they are engaging in the theological process because everything a pastor does has its source in theology.

Biblically, every pastor is called to be a theologian. Sadly, many pastors perceive theologians to be only those who lecture in bible colleges and seminaries but some of the greatest theologians the world has ever seen were pastors of local churches – Augustine, Calvin and Luther amongst others.

I meet with many pastors who see theology as an obstacle to the real business of their pragmatic church growth focus. The idea that the pastoral office is non-theological is inconceivable in light of the New Testament.

There are 3 distinct orders of doctrine fundamental to the Christian faith that need to be concentrated upon by the pastor:

  1. 1st-order doctrines: The absolutes that define the core beliefs of the Christian faith – Such as the deity and humanity of Jesus Christ; the doctrine of the Trinity; substitutionary atonement and justification by faith, to name a few.
  2. 2nd-order doctrines: These are convictions that are essential to church life and necessary for the ordering of the local church, but in themselves, do not define the gospel. That is, you may detect error in a doctrine at this level and still acknowledge that the person in error remains a believing Christian. Examples include mode of baptism, gender roles in ministry, etc.
  3. 3rd-order doctrines: These are opinions that may be ground for good theological discussion and debate, but do not threaten the fellowship of a local congregation or denomination. Examples include the timing of the return of Christ, modes of worship, etc.

A pastor must be known for what he teaches, as well as what he knows, affirms and believes. A pastor must not only preach the great doctrines of the Bible but out of his own confession of faith. People are listening to God speak through an individual and their personal revelation of God through Scripture.

Ultimately, the pastor who is no theologian, in my opinion is no pastor. Our theology (way of thinking and talking about God) permeates everything about our pastoral call.

Lead the Change!

Decisions shape Destiny!

Posted in Decisions with tags , , on July 2, 2010 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

I’ve been reflecting recently on the impact our decisions make on our lives. One of the insights into decisions we need to consider is the source behind our making them.

When we make decisions based upon fear of what people might think or for the need to prove ourselves to others our decisions are coming from a wrong motivation and ultimately can only end up having negative outcomes.

Decisions that are informed by all the facts at hand turn out to be better decisions. I have been researching a doctrine in the Scriptures recently because I need to make a decision about it and I have been studying this doctrine for 12 months gathering information, talking with people and processing the different positions people hold on the doctrine. Don’t take things at face value but gather all the facts.

Decisions that are made with good counsel are very helpful. Proverbs exhorts us to seek out wise counsel because in an abundance of counsellors there is much wisdom. I have several key people in the different spheres of my life that I seek counsel from. When I am wrestling with a decision, I think it’s important to seek them out and ask for their advice.

Decisions that are based upon the Scriptures are informed decisions. When we choose to centre our lives upon Scripture we are building a rock solid foundation to make decisions from. Most answers to life’s questions are found in Scripture. The more you base your life upon God’s Word, the more you will not need to be anxious about your decisions.

Decisions that are informed by the Holy Spirit will be good decisions. Before Simone and I make big decisions in our world, we pray through it and seek the wisdom and guidance of the Holy Spirit. Luke 16 teaches us that the Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth. The Holy Spirit points us to the truth of Scripture, the truth of the Son of God and the truth of the path God has for our lives. Pray from your heart and listen to the leading of the Spirit.

Decisions that are made from a good conscience are generally right decisions. God has given us a conscience to help us in life and we have to guard our conscience from being seared by the spirit of the age. When you have sought Godly counsel, consulted the Scriptures, prayed fervently through the issue and are starting to form a conclusion to the decision making process, follow the conviction of your conscience. Let the peace of Christ rule as an umpire in your decision making.

Finally, decisions that preserve honour and integrity in relationships make for good decisions. Life is relationships and how we conduct our relationships is a litmus test of our spirituality and love for God. When you choose the higher path of integrity and honour, even when it will cost you, you will make the right decision. Integrity is sorely lacking in our culture and we desperately need people of true conviction to rise up and be prepared to count the cost.

Lead the Change!