The Unconscious Ill-Equipping Of The Saints

The good Bible teaching that occurs in many churches is not enough to equip Christ following congregants to interact effectively with the world.  In fact, I believe that some pastors are unconsciously hindering their flocks, and are, as a result, “ill-equipping” them for the work of ministry.

I recently heard a tremendous quote, and I will try to paraphrase.  The speaker spoke of the American Church and said, “We are a subculture of a sub culture.  We read each other’s book, we sing each other’s songs, and we scratch each other’s backs”.

I completely agree that the Body of Christ is a sub culture, and that each movement or denomination is a further sub culture, and finally, that each individual church within a movement or denomination is a sub, sub, sub culture.  There is nothing wrong with that…to a point.

Each culture and sub culture has its own language.  The lack of awareness that we (the Church) have regarding our sub, sub culture language is the thing that concerns me. What do we sound like to the world?

As followers of Jesus, we have been given the Great Commission, to “make disciples of all nations”.  Most of the people in our churches understand and agree with that.

However, here is the rub.  Here is the problem.  The people in our churches often parrot the words they hear us pastors speak.  If they hear us only speak “Christianese”, and our particular brand of “Christianese”, then that is how many of them will speak.  They will seek to explain the eternal truths of God by using language that is familiar only to their sub, sub culture.

I believe that we who stand in the pulpit need to speak in the language of our culture and of the current generation.  We do not need to descend into vulgar speaking or innuendo, but we need to communicate the truths of Jesus in ways that would make sense to any unbeliever walking in off the street.

The purpose for that is not just for the unbeliever who walks into our church.  The bigger and perhaps more important purpose is that we will equip our churches to use words that the unbelieving world will recognize.  Without telling them how to communicate the Gospel, we will be bestowing upon them a language, a vocabulary, and a communication style, whereby they will be unconsciously equipped to speak to an unbelieving world.

A word to those who preach and teach: Let us be careful to not use decades old “Christianese” simply because that is what we grew up on.  May the younger generation of pastors not only use the Christian sub culture language of their generation. May we read and listen widely, that we may adopt the language of this generation, so that we might more effectively preach the Gospel, and equip our listeners to share the Gospel in a language that can be understood by the world around us.

Is Another Revival Possible?



Last week my wife and I ventured down to the Calvary Chapel Southern California Pastor’s Conference at Calvary Chapel South Bay. The theme of the conference was “Revive Us Again,” taken from Habakkuk 3:2:

“Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?”

It was a great time in the Lord. Ten Bible studies over the course of two days, by nine different teachers. Very sobering, strengthening, convicting, and encouraging.

I want to comment on the talk that resonated with me the most. Brian Brodersen brought a very insightful message which started with Habakkuk 3:2:

“O LORD, I have heard your speech and was afraid; O LORD, revive Your work in the midst of the years! In the midst of the years make it known; in wrath remember mercy.”

I have often prayed this prayer myself, so I was very interested in hearing what Brian had to say. I found myself in complete agreement with his premise, with his conclusion, and with his application. He said what I think, albeit far more clearly and thoroughly.

A very brief summary goes like this:

  1. The wrath of God will fall upon America, but we can pray for mercy as it falls. Judgment is God’s strange work, and He is merciful by nature. So we can pray for mercy.
  2. There have been two major revivals in American history, the Great Awakenings of the 18th and 19th centuries. In addition, there have been smaller moves of God. The so-called Jesus movement fits into this category.
  3. Revivals during the period of Judah’s kings came after periods of intense wickedness. The state of our nation prior to the Great Awakenings was both wicked and hopeless. The progressives, humanistic philosophers, atheists et al, were dominant. Evil had spread to every corner of the land. But the people of God cried out to the Lord, and revival came!
  4. The conditions in our country pre-revival were strikingly similar to today’s conditions. If it happened before, it can happen again.
  5. Following revival, many incredible social changes occurred (the ending of slavery, for example), and many powerful spiritual results took place (modern missionary movement, the Bible societies, etc.).
  6. We should hope (and pray) for revival, even though we know we’re in the last days. The Scriptures speak of the Holy Spirit being poured out on all flesh through the entire period of the last days.
  7. Today, we’re seeing indications of revival and awakening taking place, world-wide. Could it be that the things the Lord has been doing are a preparation for His last big push prior to the rapture and ensuing tribulation period?

Three conditions that may enhance the possibility of revival/awakening:

A.  Repentance. Much sin has invaded the church and effected its leaders.

     B.  Prayer. Are we praying men? Are we praying women? We need to bring back the prayer meeting into our churches.

     C.  Faith. Childlike faith, in which we believe that God can do anything. We need to take steps of faith, and take ventures of faith. God wants to do more than we give Him   credit for, so much of the time.

I’m glad someone with our movement is saying these things. I can’t wait to hear this message again.


At this time in world history there doesn’t seem to be a day that passes where the State of Israel is not in the news in some way. It is my conviction that this is exactly as scripture foretold (Zechariah 12:2), and is key to the belief of many evangelicals—including myself—that we may be living in the very last of the last days. But convictions such as these and recent correspondence with other evangelical leaders has caused several questions to come to my mind.

[list style=”list1″ color=”grey”]

  • What should be the response of the church to National Israel in the last days?
  • How should we interpret and apply Paul’s words “To the Jew first” in the context of 21st century Christianity?
  • Should the evangelization of lost Israel take precedent over other lost peoples?
  • Does the promise of Genesis 12:3 (i.e. “I will bless those who bless you…”) mean that we—the church—should seek to bless, monetarily, the nation of Israel to receive a blessing ourselves?
  • Do Jews and Christians worship the same God? Do Muslims?


I would love your thoughts, add your’s below. (click here to comment)

Baptismally Speaking

Just this morning, I opened up my Bible to continue with my through the Bible in a year reading. I just happened to open to the last page of my Bible and there is was. When I saw it, I felt a smile creep onto my face and joy filled my heart. There on the last page of my Bible was a picture that prompted my reaction. It is the picture of my baptism! My parents had baptized me as a child into the Catholic Church (and subsequently admitted to communion and confirmation). But as early as I could remember, I rejected it. I had spent virtually my entire life away from God. But as I gazed at that baptismal picture, I found myself transported back to that moment. The photo is from right before I was baptized at 21 years of age. I am standing thigh deep in the Ashland Creek. The pastor is standing behind me with his head obscured. My eyes are shut and there is a peaceful and slight smile on my face. I remember thinking at that moment, “Goodbye old life. Hello resurrected life!” What a glorious thought!

This photo has me thinking about baptism. Baptism is one of the two ordinances that Jesus gave to his people, the other being the Lord’s Supper. Just like Lord’s Supper, baptism is symbolic of the finished work of Jesus. Listen to Paul in Romans 6. “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? 3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were eburied with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:1-4). In the act of baptism, as we initially go down into the water, it is as if we are united with Christ going into the tomb. There is the death of the old man and the old life. As we come out of the water, it is as if we are being united with Jesus in His resurrection. We all know and realize that this is truly done, not by baptism, but by the Spirit who revives our dead hearts through regeneration. This is how we know that baptism is not necessary for salvation. Instead it is an issue of obedience. Jesus Himself was baptized. But baptism is a way that we celebrate what God has done in our lives. It is a glorious declaration and an amazing living epistle that we are Jesus’ and that He is ours.

As I think back to that day when I was baptized, when I came up from the baptismal waters, drenched from head to toe with water (in my mind overflowing with the Spirit), I knew that my life was God’s. I had known it before. My life was already His. But the very act of baptism somehow, at least in my heart, put an exclamation point on it. As I made it to the banks of the river, people hugged me and prayed for me. From that day, my life in Christ has taken many twists and turns. There has been up days and down days. I have been victorious and suffered heartache. But in it all, I can truly say, God has been in it. That humbles me. “Goodbye old life. Hello resurrected life!”