Sky Links, 10-1

Photo: Spacebridge by longobord CC 2.0
Should a church vote?

The apostles and the elders gathered to consider this matter.  After much debate, Peter stood and addressed them...
-Acts 15:6-7a

Dave Black posted another excerpt from his book, he is working on, titled, Seven Marks of a New Testament Church:

In chapter 4 ("Genuine Relationships") I deal with the matter of "voting" in church. In case you might be interested ....
In the third place, here was a church where unity was valued. We saw in our
last chapter how this unity played out among the leadership of the church in New Testament times. There was no hierarchy, no senior pastor (other than
Christ), no so-called first among equals. Their leadership was shared. How rarely is this seen in a modern church, even one that practices plural eldership. I am quite certain that nobody would object if the “senior pastor” in their church rescinded his title and receded into the group!
Unity was also seen in their decision-making. A feature of the early church that fascinates me is the way in which consensus was built. They spent time waiting upon God before making a decision. Today we need Robert’s Rules of Order before we can decide on anything. Hardly anybody sits down nowadays to ask where the idea of voting came from. Part of the value of having every-member ministry is the weight it assigns to consensus-building. It seems to me that there are good reasons to reject our manmade modes of decision-making. Not only does it lack a biblical foundation, but it undermines the example of the early church itself. In Acts 15 we read of a time when the early Christians made an important decision. Together the believers sought the will of God, and together they found it. There was nothing mechanical or business-like about their decision-making either. Their protocol was minimal, and the unity it produced was amazing. As James put it (Acts 15:28), “it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us….” We vote, and leave an aggrieved minority. They waited upon the Spirit, and it produced a unified whole. This way of making decisions could make a huge difference in the life of many a church today. Why do so many of our business meetings end up in shambles? Are we afraid of the work and prayer needed to come to a common mind? There was no such fear among the earliest Christians. We have a long way to go until we reach their sensitivity to the Spirit.

Did you know that Robert's Rules of Order were published by a frustrated  trustee of First Baptist
Church in New Bedford, Massachusetts, in 1876; some time after a terrible church meeting?

There is a quote from an unknown author that reads, "democracy is the enemy of the few and hierarchy is the enemy of the many".  When we vote, without building consensus; we end up with an aggrieved minority.  When you go through the consensus process, those who still disagree at the end can either agree to disagree or part ways as brothers, sisters, and friends.

In consensus building, I propose that:

  • Every person gets heard.
  • We will have dialogue, debate, and discussion.
  • We will wait on the Lord together.  We may sit together in silence, waiting on God together.
  • We will seek a group encounter with God to discern the direction for our church.
  • We will have at least short silences between speakers to consider there words and pray.
  • Filibusters or lecturing are not allowed.
  • A meeting may be adjourned without a decision on a matter when time runs out. 
This process is inefficient and time-consuming, but we will not lose and bruise people and be rejected ourselves.

How to give a talk

I am fascinated by public speaking. I hated speech class at Cal State. I love public speaking now, but I don't do it often, which makes it harder because it's a 'reinventing the wheel' process sometimes of trying to remember 'how to' give a good talk; as in, how to get your message across, so that your audience has the opportunity to get it. I loved Regi Campell's advice on this and am going to use it.

Regi Cambell: 

Here are ten most important things I’ve learned about public speaking…
  1. Prepare and practice
  2. Call to order with silence
  3. Make eye contact immediately
  4. Talk about yourself first and make it funny 
  5. Tell them what you’re going to tell them
  6. Make your talk simple in its content
  7. “Net out” your point to a sentence or phrase you want people to take away
  8. Me, We, God, Me, We 
  9. Your hands are a tool in your toolbox
  10. Close with a story
And when you’re done, LAND THE PLANE. Don’t keep circling, repeating yourself, looking for ‘amen’s’ or ‘alleluias’’. It was your job to talk, their job to listen. Hopefully they didn’t finish before you did.
Regi fills out each point in his full post here

Won’t you bring us back to life again so that your people can rejoice in you?
-Psalm 85:6

We need revival.  What is it and how does revival come?

Alvin Reed (South East Baptist Theological Seminary), author of Firefall, gives an introduction to to topic of revival.  About 18 minutes and worth your time.  Alvin is a historian from a Baptist view, in contrast to Pentecostal, Charismatic, or Third Wave perspectives; but believes in and desires revival.  Watch it here.

Same As It Ever Was

A big insight about church life, with our 40,000+ denominations and tribes is that:
"Wherever you go, there you are."
You or I can change the forms or style, but if you don't change, you've got the same problems.  

Another way of saying it is:  
You can change forms and not be transformed.  
The "R" word is Religion.  Jeff Mc Q has been writing about his journey out of religion and into authentic relationship with Christ:
Religion is a subtle infiltrator. It infuses our thought patterns so easily, for the simple reason that we are so accustomed to it. Even people who are trying to break the molds and try new things are susceptible to it in ways they do not realize, and any so-called “new thing” can become a religious tradition over time.... started off as an honest pursuit of something more authentic and real, and even bore great fruit at first as God met us in those expressions. But then it sort of became an ends unto itself. Without meaning to, I was swapping one form of religion for another. Because, you see, religion wasn’t really to be found in the actual expressions of worship, however
they might have looked. Religion was lodged somewhere else; it was in my own heart and mind. And, if I’m going to be honest, it was also somewhat lodged in the hearts and minds of the people who were on the journey with us. We had a great time in the living room, but we also became somewhat self-satisfied there. It was still a real challenge to infuse the heart of mission in any of us, and I think ultimately it is why that expression eventually had to run its course. We learned a lot, we had great fellowship together–but there was still just enough religion in us to keep us from moving forward. In our pursuit of a religion-free expression of faith, we were still sort of swapping one form of religion for another.

I think it has taken moving to a new place and spending a few years now in a place of “in-between” for me to realize this. It wasn’t until there was no clear expression, no community to lead, no people to convince, that I could look back and see the agendas I still carried with me in those days. Perhaps this was why such an extended period of detox has been needed for me and my family. Even now, I would not venture to say I am “religion-free.” I can simply see more clearly that anything that inserts itself in between us and our relationship with God can be religious–no matter how progressive. And it’s the religion that still lingers in our hearts that makes it so–not the outward thing itself.
The rest of the post is here.

He talks about the angels: He’s the one who uses the spirits for his messengers and who uses flames of fire as ministers.
-Hebrews 1:7
I remember reading Billy Graham's book on Angels many years ago.  I enjoyed the Hunter's book on Angels very much.  It was called Angels on Assignment, when I first read it, which is now under the author's name Ronald Buck.  The Hunter's originally wrote "as told by" Buck.

This was a post on the Promise Keeper's Facebook page:

Here is a comment from Bryan Wyldes, who took the controversial "angel photo" from the "Awakening the Warrior" conference in Cedar Falls this past weekend. Here's his explanation for the picture:

My name is Bryan. I took this pic. I took two pics 30 seconds apart, so it was no random flash or light. I am a "happy Baptist" pastor of an interdenominational church. I don't seek signs and wonders. The Father has nothing to prove to me- He is God. He does what He wants. I believe His Truths. When He does anything miraculous-we rejoice. Believe what u want. if it was a random flash of light- it is an "miraculous" shape. In His love (and with a smile on my face) Pastor Bryan Wyldes. PS- it was taken with my tablet.

Consensus picture by Bec Young
Revival picture from Warren Heckman's post, Two kinds of Revival