Tag Archives: God’s Word

Mission Drift and how to Avoid It.

Mission Drift

“In its simplest form, Mission True organizations know why they exist and protect their core at all costs. They remain faithful to what they believe God has entrusted them to do. They define what is immutable: their values and purposes, their DNA, their heart and soul.” (p. 27)

Mission Drift is a book that will help any organization, charity, church face the future with a steadfast foundation. What is that steadfast foundation? God. This book builds on research that helps the reader realize that any organization is prone to wander from its original mission. Many Ivy League universities started as places to train young men for the ministry. However, if you look at them now, they have strayed from that purpose and are far from what the founders intended. You can go all around the globe and find many ministries, charitable organizations, trust funds who were founded for one specific purpose and with a mission in mind, who have now drifted. This happens over time and to keep it from happening, it takes intentionality. Staying true to your mission does not just happen, it has to be made to happen. For some organizations or charities, it might mean turning down donations from companies or people who want you to change who you are, or maybe just not mention God or Jesus Christ as much.

What will you do as you go through life? Do you have a mission that is founded? What is it? How do you know that you will not drift from it in the future? Do you work at a church, charity, or any other organization that is currently Christian? What will keep it from changing in the future? This book is written to help you answer that question. Mission Drift is for leaders and people in leadership positions who help make decisions that guide organizations or ministries into the future.

The authors Peter Greer and Chris Horst write Mission Drift not simply from observing and researching, but also from experiencing it themselves in their own lives. They write from a point of view of having experienced what it takes to remain mission true. They combine their own personal experience with research to help the reader understand the importance of this topic. As time continues to march towards the return of Jesus Christ, life is not necessarily going to get easier for Christians. As a matter of fact, according to the Bible, it will get more difficult. So as Christians, should we fold or continue to stand true and not drift from the mission God has given us? The Bible only gives one answer to people who claim to follow Christ: to persevere regardless of circumstances. We need to be equipped and ready for what lies ahead, and Mission Drift will help you.

As a youth pastor, I can see the effects of drifting from a mission. It is not always a dramatic shift all at once, rather, it is something that takes place over time. So if you are in any kind of leadership position with a ministry, church, charity or Christian organization, read this book.

Disclaimer: In accordance with FTC regulations, I received this book from Bethany House Publishers in return for a review of the book.

 

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Counterfeit Gospels by Trevin Wax

Counterfeit Gospels

Do you know the true Gospel? Do you know it well enough to tell it apart from a counterfeit? 2 Timothy 4:3-4 says, “for the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” Ever since Jesus ascended into heaven in Acts 1, men have done just what these verses describe. What about you? Have you turned towards people who just “tickle your ears?” Have you turned away from the truth, maybe even without knowing it? This is what Counterfeit Gospels is all about: helping you come to a clearer understanding of what the true gospel is as well as identifying a number of counterfeits.

Trevin Wax does an amazing job spelling out how counterfeit gospels differ with the true gospel. Where does the need for a book such as this come from? Trevin calls it a threefold crisis within the church: 1- Lack of Gospel confidence, 2- Lack of Gospel clarity, and 3- Lack of gospel community (p. 14-15). So how do we understand the true gospel? He then describes the gospel as a “three-legged stool” with the legs being: the gospel story, the gospel announcement, and the gospel community (p. 16). “Cut off one of these legs, and the whole thing tips over” (p. 17).

The counterfeit gospels in the church today resemble the biblical gospel in some ways, and yet fail to incorporate and integrate all that the Bible says about the good news. Each counterfeit is like a colony of termites, eating away at one of the legs of the stool and therefore toppling the stool and damaging the other components as well. (p. 17)

Each leg is necessary and as the author explains each counterfeit, you are able to see and understand how they miss one of the legs necessary. Many of these counterfeits have infiltrated the church and many self-professing Christians would not know the difference. This is dangerous to the church because there are many who label themselves “Christian” and yet they have no idea how to explain the gospel to someone. As a youth pastor, it is easy to see why this is a problem: many people who call themselves “Christians” have put their faith and trust in a false gospel that is leading them straight to hell, even though they believe they are saved. If you cannot see the peril in this, maybe you too have fallen for one of the counterfeits.

I have said this about a number of books I have reviewed and this book is no different. Counterfeit Gospels would be beneficial for any pastor, ministry leader or volunteer to read through. Or, if you want to just read it to get a more firm grip on what the gospel is, then this book is definitely for you. I will use it as a reference for a long time. Even though it is already 3 years old, published in 2011, the truth within the pages is spot on. Pick up a copy and use it to help you grow in your knowledge of the gospel and then share it with others so the Kingdom of God is grown.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Moody Publishers in exchange for this review. 


God’s Word

Moving is not small endeavor. This past weekend my wife and I experienced this firsthand as we moved to Clifton Forge, VA. We are here to continue our ministry at Temple Baptist Church in Covington, VA where I serve as the youth pastor. We are excited to be have a place to call our own for the next year and look forward to seeing what God does in the church and in the youth group. I am praying for God to move in a mighty way. I would covet your prayers as well.

With that said, this morning as I was catching up on my reading plans on YouVersion, I read the following from Billy Graham’s reading plan titled

Day by Day with Billy Graham

and I wanted to share it with you.

Meditate on Scripture

Many of the difficulties we experience as Christians can be traced to a lack of Bible study and reading. We should not be content to skim through a chapter merely to satisfy our conscience. Hide the Word of God in your heart! A little portion well digested is of greater value to the soul than a lengthy portion scanned hurriedly. Do not be discouraged because you cannot understand it all. Go on reading. As you read, the Holy Spirit will enlighten the passages for you. Reading the Bible has a purifying effect upon the heart and mind.

How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. (Psalm 119:9 ESV)

Daily Prayer

Let the enlightenment of the riches of Your Word sink deep within my soul, Lord.

I hope this encourages and challenges you in your daily walk with the Lord. If there is any way I might pray for you please let me know.


Empty No More by Jud Wilhite

 

Jud Wilhite is a pastor in Las Vegas. That statement right there should make this book stand out to you. Many Christians today would not step foot in “Sin City” on vacation, let alone actually move their whole family. A number of Christians would run from that city as if they were Jonah running from Nineveh. They would say the people in Las Vegas do not deserve God’s forgiveness; they deserve the same fate Sodom and Gomorrah received. However, Las Vegas is right where God has lead Jud and his wife and family to minister and make a huge impact for the kingdom of God. And make an impact is what they have done with God’s help. The cover makes the claim that the church where Jud pastors, Central Christian Church, has 20,000 members. You do not get to 20,000 members in sin city without having God working in an amazing way, especially in Las Vegas. However, even with all those acclaims, in Empty No More, Jud never comes across in a prideful manner or with the thought that he has arrived at a blessed sanctification but is very mindful of his own weaknesses and struggles as a pastor. This should also make you want to pick up anything he has written. If a pastor is able to start a church and grow it to 20,000 people in the shadows of one of the world’s most known cities, one that is known for its sin and debauchery, and remain humble at the same time, then he will probably have some encouragement for you and be able to challenge you in your walk with the Lord.

With that said, I do not want to puff up Jud Wilhite in that everything he has done so far has been by the grace of God. Jud does a great job in this book of putting forth Biblical truth in easy to understand and relate to terms. What is this book all about? It is all about the love that Jesus has for everyone, from the biggest, most popular preacher in the world to the lowest of homeless people. God loves everyone the exact same and has extended that love to everyone, shown through the sacrifice of His only Son to redeem humanity. Within every human is the desire and longing to be loved by someone or something. This indwelling desire was created in us by the God who is defined as love and no matter what else we try to fill that hole with, it will remain empty until God Himself is able to fill it with Himself. Jud many stories of people in the Bible and in Las Vegas who tried to find love in other places only to be left down and out. These stories will grip your heart and emotions all the while pointing you towards the only One who can be everything we need. Love is something that many times can be difficult to define but easy to spot when seen in action. Along those lines, when someone encounters true love, they are changed. No one can encounter true love and not be affected by it.

Unfortunately, there are many Christians today who remain completely unchanged by the love God has for them. They go through motions, sing empty songs, pray heartless prayers and live lives that are far from what God called us to. We long to experience love but do not want to face the sacrifice required to love. When love is truly present, so is humility, forgiveness, grace, truth as well as justice. There can be no love where there is no sacrifice and that is where many people stop in their pursuit of love. They do not want to sacrifice any of their own comforts or pleasures for the sake of others. Jud shares how his church went through a transition where they really had to consider who they wanted to minister to and how they could reach out to them. One thing he mentioned to make this part stand out was how some people who attend their services come straight from their place of employment, that in many instances, are establishments many Christians would not even go near. However, how could a church that taught of a God of love and grace not be willing to reach out to anyone and everyone? Is that not the very example that Jesus Himself put forth through His life?

Empty No More is a great book for men and women who have been Christians for years as well as new believers. In fact, this book would be a great book for anyone who is entertaining questions about what God is like. Many times we forget that to truly love, it means getting messy and dirty because people are messy and dirty and yet Jesus never ran from loving those people so why do we? I greatly enjoyed this book and finished it challenged but also encouraged to rest in God’s love for me. After reading this book, you will walk away renewed and refreshed.

Let me share a couple quotes that stood out to me:

“He doesn’t simply want to change your mind; He wants to radically change your heart.”

“The Cross declares that God values people so much He was willing to pay the price of His very Son for them. You and I will not lock eyes with anyone this week who does not matter deeply to God.”

“We may experience love in our lives and see glimpses of it, but the cross is the only act of pure love performed without the slightest hint of false motives in world history.”

“Don’t wait for the light to turn green before you do something; assume the light is green unless God stops you with a red one.”

“If you aren’t getting criticized for something it may be because you aren’t doing anything.”

“When you help people who don’t deserve a second chance with a third, fourth, and fifth chance, people will say you’re crazy – I call it being a Christian.”

There is so much more in this book I would like to share but I encourage you to read the book for yourself. It is worth your time. Towards the end of the book, Jud shares how God’s love, when we allow it to work in our lives, should push us to live lives that truly portray the love that God has for us. This will cause us to look at our lives introspectively and maybe even make some changes in how we live so that we can ensure God’s has full control of our lives and we are not holding on to anything and trying to only allow God to work in the ways that we want Him to. Living as a Christian and living out the love God has for us is a call to live completely against the norm, a call to live radically, freely, but most importantly, fully. Pick up a copy of Empty no More, you will be glad you did.

 

Disclaimer: In accordance with FTC regulations, I received this book from Baker Books in return for a review of the book.