Discipleship, Word & Spirit

New Resource for Pastors and People

Reservoir Church, the body of Jesus people I help lead, is part of a global movement of churches called Advance which exist to plant and strengthen churches. The network is led by PJ Smyth, pastor of Monument Church in the greater Washington, D.C. area.

I have a great deal of respect for PJ and have been served by his kind and humble leadership. Each interaction leaves me more confident in our decision to link arms with Advance.

PJ has just launched a new website as a resource for leaders and believers alike. He has recent posts on preaching to a camera (who doesn’t need help here in times like these.) He also has some keen reflections on miracles, heaven and other topics along with sermons.

You will want to add his site to your list of helpful resources.

Discipleship, Word & Spirit

It’s Not Them, It’s Us

Today as I was reading 2 Timothy 3 I was struck by perspective. All too often I read the first five verses relating to those outside the church, the infamous “them” the bad ones. Here are the verses:

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.” 2 Timothy 3:1–5 (ESV)

Notice it? We know these people, they don’t belong to a “gospel-centered” church, they are not part of our tribe or brand. They probably let women preach and wear sandals to church. They are definitely Democrats. Maybe they are Charismatics… or Presbyterians (depending on your persuasion.)

Or… maybe they are not in fact “they.” This is us.

Think of the context. Written by Paul to Timothy, the young pastor of the church at Ephesus. This is instruction of how and who to disciple within that context. Within the church. This came to bear for me in light of our current pandemic. I found myself seeing different people falling into these categories than usual. The people I know as “us” versus “them.” I also found myself in this warning.

An opportunity then arises for repentance and seeking the Lord for the “power of godliness” and the steadfastness that gets us through (according to 2 Timothy 3).

We do not lead churches where anything goes. Where you cannot teach those who already know everything. We humble ourselves and seek truth in Scripture (not our own hearts) and live in light of Christ’s work, not our desires for control or money… or pleasure, as we read.

Let us not build our lives, our churches, our communities on these things that Paul calls Timothy to avoid. Let us run to Christ for renewal, for remaking. For our good and his glory.

Word & Spirit

All Together Hungry

This morning during a Bible study with other guys from our church I reflected on a time I had taken on a new job at a global health advocacy group. When I first started I was struck by this idea: if I could form a team of 50 people who were wholeheartedly committed to the same thing, we could change the world.

While we had a great team, for some of us it was just a job. The work was not our undying passion. Change was still made, with great results, but my world-changing hopes were left for another day.

Now I find myself in the realm of my undying passion. To that end I pondered out loud what it would be like if 80 people (our small church) were all wholeheartedly committed to the same thing. Namely, renewal and revival. More of God’s presence, repentance and the experience of his grace. People deeply hungry for more of Jesus.

That type of mission has and will change the world. I long for it. I hope you do too.