Previous month:
February 2013
Next month:
April 2013

Planting a New Church...Part #4

If you are anyways like me you have embraced the New Covenant Grace "message" full throttle.  You are a crusader with a "message" burning in your heart.  You have been totally set free from all fear, shame and condemnation and are enjoying your walk with God in ways that you have never experienced in your entire life.  You can never again be satisfied with "church as usual" and are fully aware of the fact that the Bible points to a more excellent way!  Here is the bottom line...You just have to do something about it!  So the question is..."How do I make a difference for my family, my friends and my community?"  The answer simply is....plant a new church!

I trust that by now you fully realize that tradition and church planting do not go hand in hand!  OK....you have some fears, maybe just concerns but your doubt seems to be...Can I do it?

If you have read my past 3 Blog posts (If you haven't take a few minutes and read them now) you probably have noted that I am trying to show you that what I am suggesting is really quite simple.  You may not agree with my simplistic ideals quite yet, but I really do mean it... planting a new New Covenant Grace type church is really quite simple!  But you have to make a commitment to just doing it!

In my past two posts I've given you some basic ideas on how to begin.  Yet, for you to take the initial step into the deep water seems a little difficult for you to digest right now.  For instance....how would you handle any difficult problems that might occur?  To be fully truthful...as long as you are dealing with any other people the difficult problems will for certainly show up.  Then what do you do?

OK...here is what I am suggesting....If you do decide to take off and implement the things that I have been presenting, I want you to know that you will not be alone!  In today's society modern technology exists that can help in ways that we've never had available in years gone by.  For instance...there are people who will certainly help you, me being one of them!  I know how to plant churches!  I've planted many and I have worked with many church planters.  This is a vital part of my DNA!  So, I am available to you for pointers, suggestions and guidance.  I also know others that can help in areas I fall short in.

So..If you feel any stirring within you as a result of reading these past blog posts, feel free to give me a shout.  Let's talk!  I really mean it!

If you would really like to make a difference in the lives of people that you have contact with, you sense something going on within you as a result of reading this stuff, then LET'S TALK!  My email is: [email protected].  We can then follow up with some phone calls and if needed I might even be able to meet with you in person. 

I'm committed in changing the world!  I'm willing... how about you?

I'm certain to be following up some more with these types of posts.  So please stay tuned!

Grace and Peace!!!


More on Planting a Grace Church

This post is part #3 in a series.  If you have not read the prior two posts I would suggest that you back up and read them before this one.

Many people are experiencing frustration in finding a church that actually preaches and practices true New Covenant Grace.  These people are seeing the light; that religion and the practice of mixing grace with any law is not right.  So the big question....where do they find a church?

My answer... If you cannot find one.....PLANT ONE! 

Yesterday I mentioned that the first step in planting a new church is to fully understand that it will not look in any way like a traditional church.  Yet it will be a true church, according to Bible definitions.  For instance, a true church does not have to meet in a building!  How about re-reading the last sentence...You heard me... A TRUE CHURCH DOES NOT HAVE TO MEET IN A BUILDING!  A true church does not have to have a pastor that attended seminary or Bible college anywhere!  A true church does not have to have anyone paid to lead it.  And the list of tradition breaking continues on!

So, here is the way to begin.....

#1.  Pick 2 times per week that are going to be your CONSISTENT "Church Times."  OK... let's get a little traditional here and choose Sunday morning at 10:30 and Wednesday evening at 7:00.  People often are comfortable with these traditional times and no since throwing too much non-traditional at them!  Now you have to approach this in this way... these days and times are your "Church Times" WITHOUT FAIL!  Even if it's only your family...these are your "Church Times!"

#2.  These times are your family's "Church Times!"  In other words... Sunday morning at 10:30 and Wednesday evening at 7:00 you family all gathers in your living room for "Church."  You heard me..."Your living room!"   Do you realize for the first 300 years of the Church's existence the Believer's met in homes and NOT in Buildings.  (I Cor. 16:19, "The churches here in the province of Asia send greetings in the Lord, as do Aquila and Pricillia and all of the others who gather in their home for church meetings.")  Plan on an hour to 90 minutes for this.

#3.  What do we do then??  When you gather you can do anything that the Holy Spirit leads you in.  But for starts you could put on a few (positive, grace filled, non legalistic, new covenant type) worship songs and worship the Lord some.  You can pray for each other as the Holy Spirit leads.  You can find some books on Grace, like Joseph Prince's "Destined to Reign" and even his devotional book, or even go over the last couple of years of my blog posts, and use them as Bible study and devotion material  and discuss, discuss and discuss what the Holy Spirit is showing you.  Again, added to this you can do anything you well please...it's your time to worship God and you can look at everyone being your minister, including your children!

#4.  Take it to the next level!  Invite your friends!  Here is an idea..."Joe, I know that you have told me in the past that you are getting really tired of religion.  You said that you haven't gone to a church in two years.  Well we are tired of it too, but God has shown us an amazing revelation of what He really intends His Church to look like.  Martha and I are so excited about what God is showing us that we are about to leap out of our skin!  As a result our family is meeting every Sunday morning and Wednesday evening and we're exploring more of this great revelation.  How about you, Helen and the kids coming over Sunday morning at 10:30?  We can do a little worship and praying together and then share lunch afterwards.  I remember that Helen makes that great casserole, maybe she can bring a dish over!  Whadda you think?"

Guess what?  Whether or not you realize it...You have now planted a new Church!!!!  And it is a totally NEW TESTAMENT/NEW COVENANT CHURCH!

I hope you can read tomorrow's post as I'm going to offer suggestions on available help to you in the future, etc.  But for now...I hope and pray that you carefully, prayerfully consider these past 3 posts!  We can change the world here!  Glory!!!

Grace and Peace!


Looking for a Grace Church? Plant One!

Before you fully read this post you may want to back up a day and read yesterday's post.  It will help you understand the why of today's thrust.  However, basically, people are always asking me if I know of any churches in their areas that are preaching the true message of New Covenant Grace.  Several people wrote on Facebook the other evening that they are looking for such churches in Greensboro, NC, Grand Rapids, MI, Springfield, OH and Cincinnati, OH.  The sad thing is that I didn't get even one response back that someone knew of our kind of churches in those areas.  Ouch!

One of my missions in life (callings if you will) is to plant churches.  Corinne and I have planted several ourselves and worked with other church planters around the nation.  So, this concept of church planting is dear to my heart.  So...let's talk some about this today and maybe tomorrow.

The hugest obstacle in what I'm about to share with you is the one that resides between your two ears!  Most likely 90% or better reading this will automatically write themselves out of any thoughts of church planting.  Why?  Because you look at church planting from the traditional mindset instead of a New Covenant mindset!  In other words, I mention that you might be a church planter, and your immediate response would be..."No, not me! God has not called me to that! I never went to seminary, or Bible College! I wouldn't know where to begin! etc., etc., etc!"

So you see most people think of church in a traditional way instead of the easy way that is modeled in the Book of Acts.  As I stated yesterday, I would never attend a church where a mix of law and grace was preached!  I got one response that stated that they might be called to "change City Hall."  However, from experience, and lots of it, I can emphatically state that IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN!  If you attend a church where the pastor is entrenched in Old Covenant mindsets, no matter how great your revelation is on New Covenant Grace, you will never change that pastor or that church.  You will be labeled a troublemaker and you will find yourself seriously hurt.  Your only alternative is to submit to false teaching, grin and bear it and by all means, keep your mouth shut!  God has not called you to split churches!  Your best witness is from the outside!  People may not understand you, but they will watch you and eventually like what they see!  Now I know that some of you may not agree with what I just wrote.  That's OK!  However, I know that I'm correct as I've seen these types of things way too often!

Alright....God just may be calling you to be a church planter.  What do you do, how do you do it, etc.? 

Here are my suggestions...

#1.  Know that you are not alone.  I for one, I am more than willing to help! There are others as well who are willing to step up to the plate!

#2.  Know that you will not be planting a traditional church.  It will not look like, most likely never look like, the huge edifice down on the corner of 5th and Main St.

#3.  Make up your mind that you can do it!  Just agree to say "yes" to God and watch what the Holy Spirit does with you!

OK...that is enough for today.  If you can come to some peace over these first 3 steps you have come a long ways!  I'll try to post some more suggestions tomorrow.  In the meantime.....

Grace and Peace!


Please Help! I'm Perplexed!

I am very perplexed about an issue that is developing out of the Grace/New Covenant Movement (I don't like the word "movement" but am using it only in defining what I'm talking about).  Almost daily now I'm getting reports from people who have had their eyes opened to the most amazing revelation going...That Christ died for everything!  This excites me beyond measure!

My perplexing comes from many of these people, especially those who have had their eyes opened to these truths for sometime now, getting up every Sunday morning and taking their families to a church where there is no revelations of grace, rather a mixture of law and grace. I sometimes ask people why they attend churches like that and I usually get an answer like these...."Our church has such wonderful worship!"...."Our pastor is such a swell guy!"...."Our kids need Sunday School (or Youth Group)!" All of my friends attend that church!"...."I've been on the Board for 20 years and I can't let them down now!"..."Well it's Sunday and I have to take my family to church some where!"....and this is the classic...."I feel to stay to help bring them into the revelation of Grace!"  There are several more responses but these are sufficient. 

If any of the above responses might be your, I wonder if you have ever really thought about things???  For instance...You have found that law and Grace do not mix?  You now know that Christ has died to make you right with God, without measure and you no longer consider yourself a sinner, rather the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.  Your Bible is now vividly alive and your walk with God is closer than it's ever been in your entire Christian life, so why, dear Friend, would you want to subject your children to a Sunday School or Youth Group that doesn't have the same revelation you do?  Like...have you ever checked out what your kids are being taught in Sunday School?  I'll bet they are being taught that they are sinners!  I'm betting that they are taught that they have to work hard, to measure up, in order to please God!  So, why oh why...would you subject your children to that kind of teaching?(I'm doing a lot of betting this morning, but I'm really not, because I'm most likely talking a sure thing...no betting involved!)  You might say, "That's not what my kids are being taught in their Sunday School!"  Maybe you are right...but I'll bet that is not the case!  You HAVE TO CHECK IT OUT FOR YOURSELF! If not you are risking that your children will experience fear, shame and condemnation just like you are trying to get free from!  I could respond to the other answers above, but I'm sure that you are getting my point here.

I realize that this next statement might get more pastors upset with me....but so be it!  Here it is...IF I COULD NOT FIND A TRUE GRACE/NEW COVENANT CHURCH I WOULD STAY HOME!   Last week a very mature Believer was preached at and targeted by a young pastor from the pulpit.  My question to this guy was, "Why do you submit yourself to this nonsense?"  He didn't have an answer for me!

OK...You say, "I'd love to attend a church like yours (New Covenant Grace Fellowship in Citrus County, FL), but I just cannot find one!" If that is what you really feel, boy...do I have the answer for you!  Here it is, but you might not like this...God has given you the revelation of New Covenant Grace for a reason.  You are a Pioneer in the "New Covenant Revolution!" Therefore if you cannot find a group that is already flowing in this, then most likely God would ask you to start one.  That's right....God just may be calling you to plant a new church!  Wow!

If you are interested in reading more, I'll be writing a couple of more new blogs on this subject over the next couple of days.  So please stay tuned....this blog is long enough!

Grace and Peace!


Here it is, not even 10:00 a.m. Saturday, March 23, 2013, and I've already spoken on the phone to a Brother who is having a life changing experience as he's coming into the revelation of New Covenant Grace. As we spoke he shared how that for many, many years he had been bound up by performance based religion and that it had left him totally unchanged. I tell you, and you may choose to believe me or not, but it doesn't make any difference to me, it will only effect you....but the "New Covenant Revolution" is spreading like wild fire!

The most victorious testimonies that I've ever seen are flooding into me almost daily now. The people of our church, New Covenant Grace Fellowship in Citrus County, FL are being totally transformed! They are living in places with God that they've never seen before and it's all because of the simple message that Jesus finished EVERYTHING through His great sacrificial death on the cross.

The other day someone asked me where in the Bible does it say that our sinful nature was crucified on the cross. The question came from a pastor so I was kinda surprised that he had to ask that question, but how about looking at Gal. 2:20, "I have been crucified with Christ...." And I would like to close this post by quoting Paul in Rom. 6:5-8, (KJV...the one Jesus used)....

"5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:

6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.

8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:"

Now if this doesn't get you shouting...nothing will! See people who are getting the New Covenant revelation are understanding that they are dead to sin and alive to Christ. What a difference this makes!!!! Yeah!!! Can anyone shout...GLORY!!!!!

Grace and peace!


I Love What is Happening in Me!

This week has been bittersweet!  I've had some people love on me and some people not!  In other words there has been some attack, but I'm getting used to that!  I tried to share some basic Grace in a phone conversation with a pastor I know and he ended up calling me, "Irresponsible" and hanging up on me.  But that is OK because I am so convinced in my heart that I am right on my stand that I can be called just about anything and the words seem to wash right off of me.

Just yesterday I ministered to two people, out side of my church, that have been hurt by religion!  One, a teen, has been pretty much spiritually written off by a religious adult, telling the teen that they most likely won't make Heaven.  The teen was very upset by all of this and I had the great honor of telling them about Christ's love for them.  I am getting so upset at religion that I can hardly stand it.

The other day I was able to view about 10 minutes of a Christian television network's fund raising telethon.  Once again, all I could see was more religion and in this case, lying, cheating and manipulation!  Oh...how I can't stand that stuff!!!  Any good that Christian TV does is far out done by all of the bad it does!  Religion, religion, religion!!!!!  Uck!

Yesterday a fellow minister told me how much I've changed over the past couple of years and the change has been for the good.  I so appreciated his words!  I am becoming more passionate than ever for spreading this wonderful Gospel of Jesus Christ!  I love telling people that they no longer are sinners, that Christ died for them fully on His cross! 

Yes, I love spreading this message!  I am also so thrilled about what I see going on in our church, New Covenant Grace Fellowship in Citrus County, FL!  It seems that our people are just as thrilled as I am!  How many pastors can make a comment like that?  It is all because they too are learning about all that Christ has done for them. 

This post isn't too much of a great work of theology or something, rather, it's just me sharing my heart with any who will be reading it.  So, if you are one who's taken the time to read my rant, I want to share a blessing with you.  Here it is....

Grace and Peace!

I love you!

ls


The Motto of Religion...

Here is the motto of Religion....."I'm just a sinner saved by grace!"

I wonder how many Christians have been taught this?  Even more so, I wonder how many Christians actually really believe this about themselves?  I'm sure the numbers would be staggering!

The fact of the matter is that this "motto" comes from the pit of hell itself!  It is not correct and it is actually very false doctrine!  It is impossible for a true born again Believer in Jesus Christ to be still a sinner!  To back up my point here, take a gander at:

1 John 3:4-9

New Living Translation (NLT)

Everyone who sins is breaking God’s law, for all sin is contrary to the law of God. And you know that Jesus came to take away our sins, and there is no sin in him. Anyone who continues to live in him will not sin. But anyone who keeps on sinning does not know him or understand who he is.

Dear children, don’t let anyone deceive you about this: When people do what is right, it shows that they are righteous, even as Christ is righteous. But when people keep on sinning, it shows that they belong to the devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil. Those who have been born into God’s family do not make a practice of sinning, because God’s life is in them. So they can’t keep on sinning, because they are children of God.

OK, you can read it out of the Bible that Jesus used, the KJV and it reads the very same way! 

So, I'm going to make this Blog very short and simple and cut right to the chase...If you say that you, a true Believer in Jesus Christ, say and think that you are still a sinner, then you still "belong to the devil!" (verse 8)  It means that you really do not know Jesus Christ and it's time you get saved!

Just saying...

Grace and peace!


Check out this testimony...

Do you realize that no one can ever argue about another person's testimony! That is why sharing what God does in a person's life is so very important. I've often bragged on God, about what He's doing in the midst of our church, but people expect me to do things like that. Yet when one of people of our church share some awesome things it should be really taken into consideration!

Here is a recent testimony that I can share with you.

From Jackie:
"The more I hear the grace message, the more it sinks into my conciousness and becomes who I am; loved beyond all human understanding, forgiven and free from the bondage of guilt, shame and condemnation. I am acceptable and accepted by a loving God and at peace knowing I can never ever loose any of these!"

I love when people get the revelation of what Christ has done for them. It makes me feel very fulfilled and blessed!

Grace and Peace!


Have You Ever Been Spiritually Raped?

OK, Corinne suggests that my title might be a little too strong.  To be honest, I've tried a few other thoughts like, "Have You Ever Been Spiritually Slimed?"  and "Have You Ever Been Spiritually Abused?"  It just seems to me that these other title possibilities are not strong enough!  Here's why...

This morning I received an email from a close, out of state ministry friend.  He, his wife, and some of their church group attended a meeting last night that featured a very famous, big named preacher.  Here's what happened.  First of all the host pastor spend about 30 minutes trying to "gin up" a large offering.  Then the publicized Big Name didn't show up, one of his associates did.  In the words of my friend this took place once this man took the mic....


"He reminded me of a high end car salesman, not a used car salesman but one who sells Lexus or Porshe.  He had a line of bull a mile long.  He spent no less than an hour beating people over the head with the "fear of Hell".  He mixed in with that a lot about works, that if this group weren't out there getting people saved, then we would be responsible for the lost in the area going to hell.  I don't remember him speaking of God's Love or His Grace at all."

This is so typical!  Once again, I'm completely blown away by the ignorance that so many within the Church have when it comes to what the New Covenant is all about!  The sad thing is that probably most of the people in that meeting last night agreed with every word spoken by this minister of law.  Most people do not even know the difference between law and grace!  Sad!

Here is what happened with one lady from my friend's group...


"Afterwards, one of the women came to me and hugged me very tight.  She was crying.  She told me; "My Spirit Grieves."  She was so brokenhearted that this message was being taught to so many young Christians."

Once a person experiences true Grace hearing anything "religious" tends to grieve their spirit.  The sad thing was that my friend and the people from his group witnessed a very terrible thing taking place, that was the spiritual raping of those "young Christians" that the woman was referring to. 

I know that there are some who do not agree with what I just wrote, but the facts remain....putting any of God's people back under the law or any type of works to please God is tantamount to rape!  It is a terrible offense, one that the Church has been way guilty of for too many years!  Listen to Paul in Galatians 5: 4, "For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ!  You have fallen away from God's grace."  Paul doesn't mess around with this!  Today most Christians  would agree that the law that Paul was speaking of was fulfilled in Christ.  I can't think of a single church, pastor or denomination that would even suggest that a Believer must be physically circumcised in order to please God.  See, that is what Paul was constantly battling against!  Yet, the Church of today has it's own brand of laws, many of them suggesting that if we do the right things and don't do the wrong things God will be pleased with us.  In the case of my friends last night, the right things was soul winning.  If the people of that church and region do not soul win then they are guilty of all of those people going to hell, etc.  Is that not just another law?  All it is is just another form of circumcision...the circumcision of today's modern Church....work, work, work, perform, perform, perform, do, do do and then God will be pleased!  Come on!  Isn't there anyone who has the guts to scream, "Rape!" here?

You know, Paul didn't mess around with this stuff!  Here are his words in Galatians 1: 8, "Let God's curse fall on anyone, including us or even an angel from heaven, who preaches a different kind of Good News than the one we preached to you."  He repeats himself in verse 9!  I don't know about you, but I'm thinking that the so called "gospel" my friends heard last night was not the Good News that Paul preached! 

I so much appreciate my friend's closing words in his email...


"I just wanted to share this experience Larry.  I want to encourage you to keep on sharing the Grace Message.  We are outnumbered out there.  Once you've experienced Grace and the Freedom it brings, nothing else tastes good!"

It is because of reports like this that I keep preaching this wonderful, liberating, encouraging message of God's wonderful gift of New Covenant Grace! The "New Covenant Revolution" continues to spread like wild fire!  I trust you have received your marching orders too!  Together we are heading off into the experience of our life times!  Wow!

Grace and Peace!


Jesus Broke the Rules Too!

Every so often, those who do not understand the teachings of New Covenant Grace, accuse me of teaching lawlessness.  People just do not understand that the law has been done away with and that one of the main purposes of the law was to expose mankind to their sin.  Now Christ has done away with the law and He has also done away with the sin issue, past, present and future!  That is the Good News...that is the Gospel in a nut shell!  Yet, some really do not understand this and often attack the messenger of the Good News. 

I find that I am in good company with the label of being a "preacher of lawlessness!"  Jesus one was of them too!  Look at John 5: 16, "So the Jewish leaders began harassing Jesus for breaking the Sabbath rules."  Do you realize that Jesus, during His earthly life and ministry, was living and ministering  under the Old Covenant?  I again get people pretty upset when I suggest that all but a few verses of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John belong in the Old Testament rather in the New.  They are mostly books dealing with the the law.  However, in the midst of all of that, Jesus often showed hints of what glory was to come in the New Covenant. 

Jesus often chose to break the law when He was ministering to the people of His day.  I kind of think that He was already setting a precedent that was soon to come when He said, "It is finished!" on the cross.  By the way, that is when I believe that the New Covenant actually began.  The moment Jesus died, He ushered in the glorious New Covenant!

You know, in this 5th chapter of John, Jesus also tells His followers that He was going to take care of the sin issue.  Note verse 24, "I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life.  They will NEVER be condemned for their sins. But they have already passed from death into life." Powerful!

You know, I've noticed something over the past couple days, that is that those who have this revelation talk a lot about Christ!  I think I talk more about Christ these days than I ever have!  I am so keenly aware of all that He has done for me and taking liberty with this wonderful freedom doesn't even enter my mind.  I'm praying more, meditating on Him more, talking to others about Him more, living in more victory that I ever have since my day of salvation in 1973.  I tell you this New Covenant Grace life is just plain great!  Here's the neat thing, it seems to get greater almost every day! 

Again I proclaim..."What a Savior!"  He was a lawless dude just like me!  Glory!

Grace and Peace!