Friday, May 30, 2008

Eight Laws of Spiritual Growth

#1 - Spiritual Growth is Incarnational

Spiritual growth is Christ in you…being a Christian is not trying to be like Christ…it is Christ living through you! (Galatians 2:20)
Spiritual growth is both mystical and practical. I Corinthians 3:6…in spiritual growth we have a part and God has a part! Philippians 2:12-13

We are to work out our salvation while God works in our salvation!

#2 - Spiritual Growth Is Intentional

You have to choose to grow! We grow by making commitments. You are as close to God as you choose to be…stop blaming others (husband, wife, friends…)

Get people to make commitment … not move to it. Once people make the commitment then they grow through it.

Jesus first asked people to follow Him … that’s it! It was three years later He asked people to take up their cross. The level of commitment deepened with time.

We need to be a balanced church that challenges people to both “come and see” and “come and die!” This is a process.

Everyone will NOT BE at the same level of commitment.

To the non believer Jesus said “come and see,” to the believer Jesus said “go and tell!”

Once again … commitment MUST be asked for!!! The heat must constantly be turned up!

Providing message notes helps people to remember the message – we forget around 95% of what we hear withing 72 hours. The problem many times is not a matter of dedication but rather retention!

Why use outline and handouts? #1, It increases attention. #2, It increases retention. #3, It increases participation. #4, You can cover more material in less time. #5, You can view the message for years to come. #6, It is the basis for small group discussions. #7, You can use multiple translations. #8, Unbelievers don’t bring Bibles – they don’t have Bibles … and even if they did they would not know where to find the passage!

#3 - Spiritual Growth Is Incremental

It happens in steps, not overnight. I Corinthians 3:18! A baby has to learn to breathe, to eat, to walk, to talk … what is true physically is true spiritually.

You’ve got to know Christ before you can love Him. You’ve got to love Him before you can serve Him. You have to serve Him before you can share Him…

#4 - Spiritual Growth Is Personal

Reality is we grow according to how we are shaped. II Corinthians 5:13

#5 - Spiritual Growth Is Habitual

We grow by developing good habits.

How do we develop habits? #1 - Give homework at the end of a message. (It’s not just about belief–it’s about behavior). #2 - Challenge people to journal. #3 - Provide a daily e-mail devotional/podcast.

#6 - Spiritual Growth Is Relational

A huge myth is that you can become spiritually mature on your own. We can only grow in community. American have gotten so into isolation that we don’t believe this.

If you are not in community then there are at least 58 commands in the Bible that you can’t do. You learn to love by being around unlovely people.

Knowledge makes us feel important … but love IS what is important. Hebrews 10:25

Three tools for relational growth - small groups, spiritual coaches, retreats!

#7 - Spiritual Growth Is Multi-Dimensional

Real maturity is so much more about knowing … it is about doing.

To be a Pharisee … you had to memorize the Torah! And these are the people that Jesus went off on! They KNEW but didn’t do!

We’ve got to be about public charity and personal purity!

#8 - Spiritual Growth Is Seasonal

There are times of growth and times of consolidation! In the fall and winter it may not look like you are growing … but you are actually putting down roots!

Just as sure as winter comes … so does spring and summer. NOTHING is on all of the time. No church can be in a continual state of growth.

Don’t worry about the speed & size of your church … worry about the growth of your people.

We grow in spurts! Pastors can’t push their people all of the time

Growth seasons are done around Saddleback during campaigns. “I love my church campaign, I want to grow campaign, etc.”

[Rick Warren]

Today's Quote

"Praying is more important than preaching. My family is more important than the church." - Jenstezen Franklin

Many Pastors Are Without Health Insurance

Many pastors in America are left to figure out their own health coverage with little or no help from their church or denomination, found a survey released this week.

“Thousands of pastors and churches are among the millions of Americans without health insurance,” said Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, based on responses to the May Evangelical Leaders Survey.

The monthly survey asks the NAE board of directors questions based on relevant issues in society. The NAE board of directors includes the CEO’s of 60 church denominations, and representatives of a broad array of evangelical organizations including missions, universities, publishers and churches. In the latest survey, the majority of respondents expressed that they had little or no help from their national denominations when it comes to securing health insurance.

Many pastors replied that they either received health insurance benefits through their spouse’s employer, a second job, or go without insurance.

“Well over 80 percent of our pastors get health insurance outside the life of the church,” reported one unnamed denominational CEO, according to NAE.

He said that about 10 percent of the pastors in his denomination receive coverage from Medicare or Medicaid.

However, he noted that his denomination did previously offer a health insurance plan, but stopped because younger and healthier ministers could obtain cheaper individual coverage than the national denominational plan that included coverage for older and more difficult to insure pastors.

"We have tried two or three times to provide health insurance, but we have not been able to make it work,” admitted the head of a Pentecostal denomination, in the NAE survey.

Alternative health plan options listed by respondents included high deductible catastrophic coverage, self-insurance, health savings accounts, or coverage through non-insurance Christian organizations that receive monthly contributions that are available to those with large hospital and doctor’s bills.

“This is a large and growing problem for American pastors and churches,” explained Anderson. “So many churches are small and too many pastors are uninsured. There is no room in limited budgets for premiums or no way to get adequate insurance at any price. As clergy age with the rest of America’s population we may see a growing list of pastors entering retirement with bankrupting medical bills.”

The NAE said statistical analysis of responses to the open-ended question was difficult because of the many options pastors and churches are pursuing to get health insurance.

[By Jennifer Riley, Christian Post Reporter]

June 7 is Gay Day at the Magic Kingdom

Before you load up your family and head to Walt Disney World in Orlando, you might want to keep in mind that June 7 is the day when thousands of homosexuals, lesbians and transgenders will converge on the Magic Kingdom to demonstrate their passions in front of a captive audience of tens of thousands of children and unsuspecting parents. June 7 is "Gay Day" at Disney.

This annual event upsets many people, not just Christians. It is offensive to many because Gays openly demonstrate their same-sex affection. Most of them hang out on Main Street and the restaurants in order to be seen.

Just thought you might want to know before you get there.

How Many Americans Actually Help?

It seems that 72 percent of Americans say their lives have meaning and purpose because of faith. But there’s a gap between what we believe and how we act.

That’s the finding of a new Gallup Poll that was conducted with The University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Research on Religion and Urban Civil Society. It examined “The Spiritual State of the Union.” To do this, it looked at Inner Commitment—people’s connection with God or a higher power — and Outer Commitment — how they live out their commitment through service to society.

Nearly 80 percent of people agreed with the statement “the overall health of the nation depends a great deal on the spiritual health of the nation.” And almost as many people agreed “life has meaning and purpose because of faith.” Sixty percent agreed with the idea that all people, regardless of race, creed, or wealth, are connected by a higher power and therefore we should accept everybody.

More than a third of Americans prefer to think of themselves as spiritual, rather than religious. And they defined spirituality in several ways, including belief in God or a higher power, or just seeking to be a good person and reach their full human potential.

But here’s the problem: Only 44 percent agreed with this statement: “I’m involved and try to help the lives of the poor and suffering.” Could it be that we’re not putting our money where our mouth is? Something to think about.

[John Tesh]

National Evangelist Michael Willingham

National Evangelist Michael Willingham is "setting the fields on fire." This former pastor and former denominational overseer left it all behind and answered a Call to an evangelistic ministry. And, God is "setting the fields on fire."

Originally from Alabama, now residing in Kentucky, Mike Willingham is traveling the nation, in revivals and camp meetings, ministering under a great anointing. The results speak for themselves. The gifts of the Spirit are operating, crowds arrive, and lives are changed.

Not limiting himself to invitations from a particular denomination or movement, this evangelist has a heart for helping all pastors no matter how large or small the church. After ministering in a number of large churches, he will be ministering next week in a small obscure neighborhood called Browntown, Alabama. The Browntown church is located in DeKalb County, Alabama, just off I-59, between Chattanooga and Birmingham. Pastor Butch Tanner ( invites everyone to attend.

Evangelist Michael Willingham can be reached at:

8013 Adams Run Road
Louisville, Kentucky 40228
Home Phone: 502-962-8964
Cell Phone: 502-797-1130

You might want to contact him soon. As the nation finds out about this ministry, his schedule is filling up very fast.