Review: No More Dragons – Jim Burgen

20140522-210305-75785698.jpgThis book’s central metaphor Is borrowed from the scene from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader where Aslan removes the dragon scales from Eustace and heals him. Jim Burgen paints a picture of what Jesus can do in the lives of Christians who are willing to let Jesus radically transform their hearts.

Burgen does a great job of weaving in stories from his life, his own process of being undragoned, as well as events from his ministry experience where he has seen Jesus bring healing to hurting people. The real strength if Burgen’s writing is that he is not trying to be the expert on righteousness, he just wants to help people find the wonderful and amazing life of freedom that Jesus has to offer.

Burgen essentially points out that everyone has dragon like tendencies. The only way to free ourselves is to let Jesus undragon us. If you are carrying hurts from past relationships or experiences with God or church people you would benefit by reading this book. If you are struggling with your own sins and don’t know where to find freedom, this book can help you find healing with its constant reminder that Jesus has both truth and grace.

No More Dragons is a book that I would recommend to ministry leaders to get a glimpse of what their ministry could look like if they helped their church share the truth and grace that Jesus talked about. I would recommend it to Christians who are holding on to things that they know they need to give to Jesus. I would also recommend it to people who want to believe that Jesus and his followers have something to offer the hurts of this world.

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disclosure: I received this book for free as part of the booklookbloggers.com program. My review is my honest opinion about the book and I’m not just trying to be nice. If you are interested in joining the program click here
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Multiply Monday: Why do we need another church?

This is a question a lot of people might be asking. There are lots of churches already, why do we need another one? Why can’t people just go to those existing churches?

The simple answer is because they aren’t going to those other churches and even if those churches were full we would still need more churches in our communities to create space for people to discover, trust and love Jesus Christ.

A recent study said that churches that go Multisite continue to grow about 14% a year. Creekside is actually growing at a faster rate than that. Which is clearly the grace of Jesus. But we are nearing capacity at MLT and want to be good stewards of the growth that Jesus is bringing us.

Those 14% of people, where did they come from? Where some of them transfer growth from other churches? Probably. But a lot of them were probably people who found Jesus for the first time at a new campus in their neighborhood. Either way when mission focused church launches a new campus in a new community new people get to hear about the new life offered in Christ. And that is the most important reason to launch another campus. To help more people find Jesus.

Team Tuesday: Better Than Me

When building teams leaders can’t be the best at everything on the team.  If the leaders is the best at everything they don’t have a team, they have helpers.  Looking around the staff table I know am greatly encouraged by the fact that we have a variety of gifts and skills present.  I am also relieved that I don’t have to try to be the best at everything.

Let’s look to football to see how this plays out. The Quarterback is not the best tackler on the the team. The leading scorer is often the kicker.  That’s a dude who is able on focusing on one thing and trying to do it really well.  The Coach isn’t even playing but he responsible to makes sure that he has the best people in the roles that they need to be in.

Teams are much better when leaders are willing to let other people shine, and celebrate their wins.

Multiply Monday: Leaders and Opportunities

I recently read A Multi-Site Road Trip.  This book was essentially a tour of several different churches that are implementing Multi-Site methodology into their church.  There were many great lessons to be learned and it is a book that I plan to go back to over the next year.

Today I wanted to share one quote with you from Wayne Cordiero at New Hope in Hawaii:

“Our goal for satellites is not necessarily to add locations,” explains Wayne. “It is to develop new leaders. It is to edge these emerging leaders into their own teaching, where one day we can release them as stand-alone churches. When young leaders go out with this model, they have time to build relationships, develop teams, think about evangelism projects, do community outreach, and build leaders,” he says.

One of the key elements of multi-site church is raising up leaders.  I’m a firm believer that the church will never have too many leaders.  The key is willingness in current leaders to train people and then release people.  At Creekside we have talked a lot about being a sending church.  We send thousands of dollars to missions projects every year.  But we also need to send people.  One of the ways that we can send people is through campus launches.

But it starts with multiplying leaders.  So as we launch the Lynnwood Campus, we are looking for people who want to grow as leaders or become leaders.  But we are also looking for people who want to lead the next campus.  Lynnwood can’t be the end.

When Jesus told his disciples, “You will be my witnesses” he didn’t stop at Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.  He left it pretty open when he said to the ends of the earth.

The only way that the church is going to faithfully carry out it’s mission is by sending out leaders who are called by God to specific communities.  Maybe Jesus is calling us by saying, “You will be my witnesses to Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood, Everett, Lake Stevens, and on and on.

But we need to multiply leaders in order to keep multiplying opportunities.

Listurday! 04/12/14

I want to share the links that I have found interesting over the past week. Enjoy.

This video is just to make you happy.  A 17 year old records the Abbey Road B-Side.  So great!

Theology Thursday: Election

I have personally gone back and forth on the whole Calvinism-Arminianism debate. I was initially put off from this conversation by people that I went to Bible college with who were so focused on being right about their stands on either side that they didn’t care about people.

I believe that God is sovereign and has a plan for creation, humanity and all of history. I believe that God the Father sent Jesus to die for the sins of the world and that all who confess their need for forgiveness of sins and out their trust in Jesus are brought into the family of God.

Calvinists and Arminians can agree so far. Where things get sticky is when we start to ask questions about the nature of who is this grace for, the whole world or the elect?

The question that I have been wrestling with in my own journey is the idea of election. Because if you hold to an unconditional election, this leads to a limited atonement (that Jesus only died for the elect people). This also leads to perseverance of the saints (the elect will never fall away).

And these two issues I keep coming back to over and over again because I can’t reconcile John 3:16, “God so loved the world . . .” with the idea of limited atonement. I also can’t reconcile the idea of perseverance of the saints with the warnings and examples in the Old and New Testaments of people who fell out of covenant relationship with God or fell away from the community of faith.

So I’ve been working through these issues on my own. And I began to realize that when Paul talks about election, he always uses the plural you (you all). And when he talks about salvation the community is elected in Christ.

This led me to start thinking about the idea of corporate election. And I asked around and did some research, and it turns out I’m not crazy.

If we hold the idea of Corporate election we can see that:
1. Jesus is the perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world. (1 Pet 1:19)
2. God has a sovereign plan to rescue humans from sin. (1 Pet 1:18-19)
3. God has had this plan for all of eternity (to send Jesus). (1 Pet 1:20-21; Rev 13:8)
4. God has elected a means to tell the world about Jesus (the church). (1 Pet 2:9)
5. Individuals are grafted into God’s plan by putting their faith in Jesus. (Romans 11, this passage is interesting because it talks about some from Israel [the elect people of ] rejecting God and specifically Jesus and now Gentiles are warned to continue in faith or they will be cut out [Rom 11:22-24]. Why would Paul warn people to persevere in faith is the elect will alway persevere in faith?)
6. The church will persevere through all persecution and through history because it is God’s elected plan.
7. Warnings of falling away from faith are real warnings. Our faith in Jesus needs to be living and active. (Heb 6:4-12)
8. Individuals in the church all have a part to play (1 Cor 12-14).
9. We recognize that individuals are saved but not just for themselves, they are saved as part of the community for good works (Eph 2:10)
10. Works then show the world that your faith in Jesus is alive (James 2:14-26)

I know this is a really long post but this shift in thinking about election has helped me make sense of God’s sovereign plan of salvation in Christ alone, the church being God’s chosen means to tell the world about what Jesus has done, and individual response and responsibility to place their faith in Jesus.

If you would like to read more this wiki article is really helpful.