Twelve Steps to Breakthrough: Free Courts of Heaven Worksheet

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Online Version https://forms.gle/xraVo3KsSSQ5npTV8

Introduction

This worksheet is designed to help you achieve victory over the spiritual and psychological “curses” that prevent you from living the abundant life God intends for you. Specifically, it provides a structured format for us to “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:6). The idea of making petitions to a heavenly judge is inspired by the idea of literal heavenly courts as taught by Robert Henderson and others, but you can also use it metaphorically as an advanced Twelve Steps program for taking ground in other aspects of your life.

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Redeeming Charlottesville: A Cry of Radical Compassion

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O God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ:

We praise You because You are a good God. In a world that seems filled with brokenness and evil, thank You for taking all that upon Yourself through the cross, so that we might be made whole.

Our hearts go out to the people of Charlottesville, and all those wounded physically and emotionally by the tragic violence of August 12th. We pray especially for the family and friends of Heather Heyer and the police who were killed, that they would experience Your peace and comfort.

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Jim Yost on the DNA of Making Disciples

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[Jim Yost, a missionary from the Philippines associated with Cityteam International, spoke in San Jose last Saturday (January 21st) at an event hosted by The Gathering by The Bay. The following are notes from Greg Hosclaw as posted on the d-church mailing list.]

Jim freely states, that this is his model, not THE model. But it is working well with them. He wanted to step back and speak of the DNA, not so much the methods. Methods may be more culturally specific, but DNA of a believers community may be more transferrable. He also said that his church is known for studying the Word and Obeying it (newspaper people asked the members and that is what they declared).
My take away is that many times we measure the wrong things.  If someone says how do you make a cake, and you open an oven and say ‘1 cake’ that doesn’t help. That is counting the output, but we need the recipe, to count the inputs (cup of sugar, 3 cups flour, a bar of chocolate, …).
Jim’s challenge to really measure against the right things. Not the number of disciples, but the things or actions that lead to disciples!
What is the DNA you hope to have in your church or fellowship? What do you want to be known for?
And then, what actions are you checking that lead to the DNA happening?
Blessings,
Greg

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A Pre-History of the San Francisco Revival

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“Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” – Matthew 26:13 (NLT)

April 1st, 2024 A.D.

By now, one-quarter of the way through the 21st century, almost everyone has heard of the San Francisco Revival.  While skeptics question its longevity — and theologians its validity — there is no denying the impact it has had on the city and the region: the eradication of homelessness, conversion of red light districts into family neighborhoods, stadiums full of young people dedicated their lives to Jesus, legions of techies quitting their VC-backed startups to pursue social entrepreneurship, etc.

There has also been endless coverage both lauding and critiquing the organizations responsible for shepherding and publicizing the Revival: YWAM SF, TBC, and of course Harvest Evangelism.  Regardless of how you feel about their methods, you have to admire those organizations for having the foresight and courage to invest in the region and move quickly to capitalize on this strange phenomenon, despite the enormous risks.

Yet there is another, deeper story that still hasn’t been told. Unlike the general public, scholars are well aware that the revival first started in the South Bay before spreading up the Peninsula to San Francisco and beyond.  But even most of them are unaware of how it all began.

Allow me to explain.

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PRO Church

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I belive the primary reason the church in America is not impacting the culture is that we expend most of our time, energy, and money doing many things badly instead of the right things well. We are amateurs competing against professional culture-makers. 

To address this imbalance, I believe the church needs to “Go PRO.”

  1. Prioritize making disciples of Jesus who do all (and only what) He asks of them
  2. Recommission pastoral teams as missionaries to their community
  3. Outsource the business of church to professional management that does it efficiently at scale

I am confident this would unleash a flood of talent and resources that would turn the world upside down — or rather, right side up!

Who’s with me?

LEAD! Syllabus for “Theological Foundations”

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[NOTE: the official syllabus is now on the “Lead” page; this post is obsolete, but kept for the sake of historical continuity].

[Yes, I should probably have written this before the first lesson, but better late than never…]

In thinking about it, I ought to take my Curriculum one step further, and actually identify the passages and key learnings for each lesson. Not only will this help ensure I’m on the same page as my pastor, but it would enable others to write some of the lessons (since class starts on September 4th!).

I’ve also cross-referenced these lessons against two common systematic theology books:

In addition to providing a sort index to the topics covered, this allows students and teachers to use those as supplementary textbooks.

  • Draft 1 – Sunday, 24th August
  • Draft 2 – Tuesday, 26th August: Added “Doctrine” “Essentials” chapters for each lesson
  • Draft 3 – Friday, 29th August: Added “Doctrines” chapters for each lesson

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LEAD! Curriculum Reset for “Theological Foundations”

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So, the good news is that our church is gearing up to start LEAD! on September 4th, and already taking applications! That’s also the bad news, since I’ve only finished three classes. 😦

Still, it only takes me about four hours per class, which is two late night waiting-to-feed-Rohan sessions (assuming he behaves), so I should be able to keep up.

The real problem is that my lesson topics have gone in a completely different direction that originally envisioned. More, my pastor has a slightly different vision for how things should fit together. Given the time timeframes, it is essential we get on the same page (and stick to it, if possible).

Here’s my current vision for what is now being called “Theological Foundations”. Hopefully my pastor and I can converge on this syllabus soon (once he’s no longer busy with his new grandson 🙂

[Updated and ratified 8/19 with John Isaacs]

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LEAD! A Transformational Small Group Bible Study

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The format I’m proposing for LEAD! is what I’m calling a “Transformational Small Group Bible Study”. This builds on my many years in InterVarsity Small Groups during eleven years of college, as well as numerous “home groups” in churches since then. The key aspects are:

• Bible Study

History and philosophy have their place, but for sheer impact nothing beats digging directly into the Word of God. The primary method of teaching is working inductively through a specific passage of Scripture, with additional resources acting as supplements. In addition to implicitly teaching good study skills, this also opens the door for the Holy Spirit to provide insights beyond the wisdom of the original author (i.e., me :-).

• Small Group

The best way to learn is in a small, focused team of 6-8 people (or, more broadly, 3-12). This provides both a sounding board for digesting information as well as accountability and encouragement for living it out.
• Transformational

The ultimate goal of the group is not so much to acquire information, but to be personally and corporately transformed — by and while transforming the world around us.
Below is a suggested format for achieving that…
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Transformation: A Unifying Vision of the Church’s Mission

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Last week I was privileged to finally see an early draft copy of the book on Transformation I helped Luis Bush with a couple years ago, based on the Transformational Covenant they developed in Indonesia. This version came out of the second Transform World Conference (India 2006), and it mentions that the “final” version should be available in a few months. I can’t wait to start buying copies for people I know, both ministers and theologians, as I believe this really does represent God’s heart (“missio dei“) for the church in the 21st Century.

Some excerpts and summaries below…

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Envisioning a Radical Centrist Orthodoxy

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In a fit of chutzpah, I decided to write the aforementioned Dr. Reno — not merely to express admiration for his work, but (gulp) to suggest a new direction he might want to pursue. I’m not quite sure how he’ll take it, but the letter turned into a reasonably concise summary of my own hopes and dreams, so I figured I’d blog it here.

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Dr. Russell Reno: Radical Middle Theologian?

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My old Sunday School teacher Peter Wagner used to joke that the First Rule of Christian Debate was to pick the worst example of the other side and use that to justify your own position. Alas, he knew from painful experience that such tactics were no laughing matter, but all too common a problem in theological circles.

Which is why I was so thrilled to run across the writings (excerpted below) of Episcopalian professor Dr. Russell Reno of Creighton University in Nebraska. His writings display that rare combination of:

* an in-depth understanding of the challenges of both modernity and post-modernity
* a disciplined desire to understand both the strengths and weaknesses of alternate viewpoints
* the ability to lucidly identify the central issue in dense theological debates
* a heartfelt commitment to Jesus and historic Christianity

My only regret is that — at least in his writings — he seems, well, sad; almost a Jeremiah tenaciously clinging to faith amidst the ruins of contemporary Christendom. I wonder if contact with Transformationalists from other countries might help buoy his spirits…

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ToLD: The Theory of Love’s Dominion

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In Theology and Political Science, the term Dominion Theory — which seems to cover both Dominion Theology and Dominionism — refer to a cluster of related ideologies that start from the assumption that God has explicitly granted humanity Dominion over nature; and usually some people Dominion over others! Historically, this partly includes popular movements like Manifest Destiny and Zionism, though those have also had a strong secular component.

Today, the term is used largely as pejorative, such as when it is applied to Christian Reconstructionists. However, the underlying concepts bear a strong family resemblance to the kingdom theology underlying Transformationalism, which implies we need a clear differentiator. Thus, I feel it necessary to stake out a concrete alternative to classical Dominion Theory (DT), which I have labeled the “Theory of Love’s Dominion” (ToLD).

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