6 Social Media DON’Ts For Church Staff & Leaders


In this election cycle it is easy to get caught up in political discussions online.  If you’re a leader in the church I think it’s important to keep in mind that what we say online WILL reflect back on the church where we’re involved.  The following article is a reprint by Katie Viscontini who serves as the Business Development Coordinator at Vanderbloemen Search Group…

If you’re a church leader or a church staff member and you’re an active social media user, way to go! Whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, Periscope, Instagram, or Snapchat, you’re using today’s main communication tools to share your voice, connect with friends and family, and/or encourage others.

However, don’t be fooled into thinking that whatever you post on social media doesn’t reflect on your church (and ultimately on Christ). It does. Gone are the days where folks can assert that “the opinions shared here are my own,” on their Twitter bio. That may be true, but you better believe that everyone reading your opinions will connect them with your workplace, your church, and your beliefs.


The truth is, social media is a powerful tool, but it is also a two-edged sword. This is especially so if you work in a church. Avoid any potential pitfalls by not committing these 6 social media mistakes.

  1. DON’T think anything you post is temporary. 

Social media is fast-paced and fast-changing, so it’s easy to think what you’re posting isn’t a big deal. But once you’ve published something on the internet for all to see, you should consider it permanent. And much like tattoos, something permanent requires a huge amount of discretion before acting on it.

DO remind yourself, “What I’m posting is permanent” when using social media.

  1. DON’T post questionable photos.

Everyone has different opinions on what might be considered “questionable” in a photo, but in general, use good discretion and remember again that what you’re posting is permanent. In Romans 14, Paul tells us to, “decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.” Some photos are meant to be texted to friends or emailed to family, not put on social media for all to see. In general, when in doubt about a photo, just don’t post it.

DO ask yourself before posting a photo, “Am I comfortable with this reflecting back on my church?”

  1. DON’T act on knee-jerk, emotional reactions. 

It’s so easy to be misunderstood or to misunderstand others when communication is over the internet – you can’t hear tones of voices, see body language, or know where something is coming from. Because of this, it’s never wise to act on a knee-jerk emotional response. Hold your tongue and pray before you respond to something. Many people have typed something in the heat of the moment and greatly regretted hitting that “send” button later.

DO memorize James’ advice: “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.”

  1. DON’T get involved in heated debates.

It’s okay to have strong opinions, but you’re far more likely to do damage than good when you get involved in heated debate on social media. There are more constructive ways to share your messages and share Christ’s love than engaging in Facebook disputes. Again, remember that anything you share reflects on your church, and that while we are called to be wise as serpents, we are also called to be “gentle as doves” (Matthew 10:16).

DO tell yourself, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15: 1) before engaging in social media debates.

  1. DON’T be a negative Nancy.


Anything you post that could be construed negatively could reflect badly on your church or on the hope you have in Christ. Instead, focus on this admonition from Philippians: “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”

DO use your social media presence to encourage others, share positive things, and ultimately point to Jesus.

  1. DON’T attack other believers.

Too many church leaders have fallen in the public eye. Worse than that, usually they are also torn to shreds by other believers. When we criticize other believers, non-believers may see us as hypocritical. Even if you strongly disagree with someone’s actions, remember that Jesus died to forgive even the worst of sins. Because we have been shown grace, we must also show grace to others. Jesus said that the world would know we were His disciples by our love for one another (John 13:35). Don’t compromise this witness.

DO focus on those you want to emulate rather than those you disagree with.

Because everything they post reflects on their church, on Christians, and on Christ, church leaders and church staff members simply must exercise extreme discretion, humility, and empathy in their social media presences. Just as Solomon asked for wisdom as the most desirable possession he could have, may we all seek the same wisdom in what we post for the world to see.

How can you use your social media accounts to glorify God and grow the Kingdom?

6 Social Media DON’Ts For Church Staff & Leaders

The Difficulty of Community


Last Sunday the sermon was intended to unpack one of our core valuesBUILDING a strong church family that meets consistently in various small group settings to “do life” with one other.

You can listen to or download the notes here.  What follows is an article by pastor, theologian, and author Tim Keller regarding the difficulty of community.  It’s intended to supplement the sermon…

by Tim Keller

Many things in our culture work against the maintenance of real community. We are conditioned in countless ways to think and act as individuals only, not as members of any body, and even our individual relationships are ‘thinned out,’ based on images rather than presences. Since this is the opposite of how we are supposed to live as Christians, let’s look at how just one cultural reality contributes to this—contemporary communication technologies.

Images and Presences
The electronic media radically ‘compress’ time and space. Just thirty years ago it was expensive and difficult to make a long distance call to another country. Today we are able to stay closely in touch with others from another continent with little effort or expense. In a highly mobile society, this means that fewer and fewer of our friends and loved ones are actually fully present to us. We get their words and images only, not their embodied selves.

Media can also create the illusion that we have community with people that we don’t know at all. TV and film viewers come to see actors and other figures on the screen as friends. Because we see them, even experience them in one dimension, we get the impression they are in an intimate conversation with us. Online contact can give us even more of a sense that we are in a real community. But through these media it is easy to project an image that is not real at all. The NY Times ran an article recently on a young mother who attracted a loyal following through her unremittingly sunny and celebrative blog about marriage and child rearing. When she was injured in an accident, many readers sent gifts totaling nearly $100,000 within a couple of weeks. When the Times reporter asked some of the donors about their generosity to someone they ‘did not know’ they responded, with a snort, that they did know her, that they made no distinction between online friends and ‘physical’ ones. And yet the article ended with a kind but honest statement by the blogger’s sister, who noted that while she her relationship with her husband and her children ‘wasn’t perfect,’ in the blog she chose only to focus on the positive. Her sister knew her in an embodied, fully present (soul and body) way. The blog readers had an illusion of intimacy.

As great as it is, God did not simply send us the Bible, a message through the communication medium of writing. If that was all he could do for us, salvation would ultimately be in our hands—it would have been up to us to follow his instructions. But instead, God also came himself, in the flesh, to be fully present to us in Jesus Christ. It is only through his being fully present with us that we could be saved by grace.

In the same way, we must learn to be fully present in community with our neighbors and with our Christian brothers and sisters. It is not enough to simply show up at a church service where you live physically, but then try to maintain all your closest relationships with friends and family members who live far away. God made us embodied beings—the body (though it is weakened by sin) is a great good. God was so positive about bodies that he himself assumed a body in the incarnation of Jesus Christ. If we are going to give and receive grace from each other, we have to get it the way God gave it to us. We have to be involved in accountable friendships and deep relationships with other people where we live.

Individual and Communal
There is another way that communication technologies affect us. They divide the world into parts that can be easily customized into patterns that fit individual taste. We see this in how our news comes to us. Go to Google News—there is a brief paragraph on a terrible disaster with thousands killed, next is the latest on Paris Hilton, next is a sports scoop. There is nothing to force you to give sustained attention to any one subject. You pick and choose what you as an individual want to know.

In music, you once had to buy full albums but now you choose only the song you want on your iPod. What is the effect of this? Classical musicians have noted a new trend in the last several years. At concerts, many listeners now come late—for the second piece, and leave before the last one. They come for the products they prefer, as if they were selections on an iPod. Before the advent of media, people coming to a concert thought of listening to music as an experience of community. They were paying attention to art as a corporate body. Now we come to concerts thinking of ourselves as individual consumers.

Communications technology is only one factor among many that had done this to us. Ancient people thought of themselves primarily as members of a family or a clan. They could not imagine prosperity and good for themselves apart from the prosperity and good of their community. Today we can’t even think of ourselves as members of an audience. Ancient people thought of their relationships with their family, clan, people, and neighborhood as covenantal—the relationship was more important than their individual needs. We think and act first and foremost as individual consumers. Our needs are most important. If they are not being met, we go elsewhere to have them met.

I recently learned of a man who lives about three hours from NYC. He has not found a church in his area that he likes. So one Sunday a month he takes a train to New York, goes to Redeemer, eats at a restaurant and sees sites, and then goes home. The rest of the Sundays he watches or listens to religious programming. Sound extreme? It’s not too distant from the experience living in the city, but only attending Redeemer services, and not becoming involved in the life of the community—becoming personally accountable and responsible for others.

This is harder for us than it was for our ancestors, because we are conditioned to be deeply afraid of covenantal relationships. And yet the Bible tells us we were built for covenantal relationships. We want and need to have other persons unconditionally, unselfishly committed to us, and we to them. Christian theology tells us we were made in the image of God, and that God is a Trinity. Jesus said he never did anything, said anything, or accomplished anything without his Father. The persons of the Trinity are absolutely one—each person does everything with the others. We were meant to live like that. Sin, of course, makes all human community difficult and at times painful. But it is suicidal to avoid all food just because sometimes some of it can be ‘bad’ and make you sick.

Shared Experience
I am saying that community is no longer natural or easy under our present cultural conditions. It will require an intentionality greater than that required by our ancestors, and uncomfortable to most of us. But building Christian community is not simply a duty. It should not be a distasteful act of the will. Community grows naturally out of shared experience, and the more intense the experience, the more intense the community.

I hope no one sees this article as a broad-brush dismissal of communication technology. My wife Kathy is one of five siblings, none of whom live closer than hundreds of miles from any of the others. Yet they email one another virtually everyday. That’s a thoroughly good thing. Nevertheless, the power of their relationships lies not in the current emailing and the phone-calling, but from their many years of sharing the same home, beds, room, parents, schools, experiences—all fully present to each other. What makes an aggregation of people into a community is that they are drawn together around some common object. Weaker community can be created by a common interest, such as a hobby, a sports team, a musical genre. Stronger community comes together around deep beliefs and causes, or powerful common experiences, like going through a flood or battle together—and surviving. There have been countless ‘buddy movies’ about some group of misfits who are extremely different in all kinds of ways, but then they are thrown together into a life or death situation. When they come through it together, it becomes the basis for a deep, permanent bond, stronger then blood.

When Christians experience Christ’s radical grace through repentance and faith, it becomes the most intense, foundational event of our lives. When we meet someone from a sharply different culture, race, or social class but who has experienced the grace of Jesus Christ through the gospel, we don’t see the differences first, because we are looking at someone who has been through the same life and death situation as we have, since in Christ we have spiritually died and been raised to new life. (Eph 2:1-6; Rom 6:4-6.) And because of this common experience of grace—now a deeper identity marker than our family, race, or culture—when we come together, we find we ‘fit’! ‘As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house’ (1 Peter 2:4-5.) Like stones that already have been perfectly shaped by the mason, the builder simply lays each next to the other and they interlock into a solid and beautiful temple. When we speak to others who know God’s grace, we see that their identity is now rooted more in who they are in Christ than in their family or class. As a result we sense a bond that overcomes those things that, outside of Christ, created insurmountable barriers to our relationships. Jesus has knocked them down.

So, hard as it is to build strong community, especially in our time and place, we have tremendous resources. We have many things against us as we try to build Christian community, especially in a place like New York City. But there is no alternative.

The Difficulty of Community

Bible Literacy



King’s Harbor Church identifies as a “gospel-centered” church. What do we mean by that? The word gospel means good news and is not simply the entry point into the Christian life but it is also the foundation and power that shapes all we do as followers of Jesus Christ, both in our daily lives and in our experience as a community of Christ-followers. We never outgrow our need for the gospel, it is necessary for both salvation AND sanctification.

The Good News of Jesus Christ is not only the fire that ignites the Christian life, it’s the fuel that keeps Christians going and growing each day.

The gospel is the gloriously great announcement of what God has done through the birth, ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ to satisfy (or settle) the opposition against sin which God’s holy nature requires and to secure unrestricted access to God that includes the free gift of eternal life, a free and perfect righteousness for all who trust in Christ alone for salvation, the empowering gift of the Holy Spirit, and a coming new creation free from decay, disasters, disease, evil, sin, and death.

Therefore, the gospel is central because it is not what God requires it is what God provides. The gospel is not an imperative, demanding things we must do. The gospel is an indicative, declaring what God has done. The gospel is not about human activity; it’s about divine achievement.  The gospel is not a moralistic “Do!” The gospel is a merciful “Done!”  The gospel is not good advice – it’s good news!  We want the gospel of Christ to inform and empower all that we do to the glory of God.

This weekend we will be in Luke 24. Verse 44 states: “Now [Jesus] said to them, ‘These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled’” (emphasis added).

What Jesus is saying is there is one central theme and message that is consistently embedded by all 40 writers of the Bible over the 1,500 years that it took to write it: God, our Creator, desires to have a relationship with us. From Genesis to Revelation God continually calls us to know Him and to trust Him. Theologians have called this central theme of the Bible the “scarlet thread.” This is also what it means to be gospel-centered.

The Literary Genres Contained In The Bible

The Bible consists of several different literary genres including poetry, legal, historical, wisdom, narrative, letters (epistles), prophecy, and apocalyptic literature.  Two less prominent genres include parables and discourse. It is quite helpful to understand that correct interpretation (exegesis) of these genres takes into consideration the purpose and style of a given book or passage of the Bible.

In the sermon this weekend I will mention the different genres of literature in the Bible. My thought for this blog post is that it would be good to have a short summary of each of them that you can refer to help you in your interpretation and study of the Bible — plus some thoughts on how to interpret it.


This is the most basic genre. It is where the author is describing events. This is the genre of books like Genesis, Exodus, Joshua, Ruth, Esther, Acts and other places where there is a story being told.

  1. Take it literally.
  2. Treat it as a story. Find out what is going on, who the main characters on and why things are happening the way they are.


This genre is a sermon, a prayer, or any other long speech. The book of Job has a lot of this, but there are also examples in the Gospels, such as the Sermon on the Mount, and in the book of Acts.

  1. For the most part take this literally. The exception to this is if it contains another genre like a parable, a poem, or a prophecy.
  2. Determine the main point of whatever the person is saying.
  3. Take things literally, but don’t believe everything that people say. In the book of Job, for instance, there are a lot of things his friends (and wife) said to him, that are simply not true. If you know who is speaking you can determine if what they are saying is true or not.


Poetry is the genre of Psalms. It is full of symbolic language and is full of emotion.

  1. Look for repetition. In ancient times, repetition was used for emphasis, so pay attention to the things that are said more than once.
  2. Look for parallelism. Sometimes (especially in Proverbs) an idea will be stated and then restated either as its opposite or from a different perspective. The two ideas are basically saying the same thing
  3. Be careful not to take the figurative parts literally. Look for the comparisons being made by the figures of speech – those are the lessons.


The genre of prophecy is found wherever there are prophecies. These books are easy to recognize: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Micah, Amos, etc. There are also prophecies in the Gospels, the Epistles, and Revelation.

  1. When you come across a prophecy see who it was given to originally (Israel, Judah, everyone). Interpret it first in light of the original hearers of the prophecy.
  2. Consider if the prophecy has already been fulfilled.  For instance, biblical scholars have seen as many as 365 prophecies in the Old Testament that were fulfilled through the birth, life, ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ.
  3. Sometimes people read too much into prophecy. Prophecy is not meant to be a map that lays out exactly what will happen in the end times. It is there primarily to draw us to repentance and help us to be ready for when Jesus Christ does return.
  4. Because of the symbolic nature of prophecy, there are many ways people have interpreted it. We need to be alert and keep watch for the signs of Christ’s return. But, ultimately, we do not know when it will be or what it will be like. There are far too many debates and arguments over one person’s interpretation of the end times vs. someone else. Eschatology (the study of the end times) should not supersede soteriology (the study of salvation). Our focus is and should continue to be the lost, not the last days.


The epistles fall under the bigger category of discourse. These are the letters that were written either to single individuals or groups. The majority is found in the New Testament, although there are some in the Old Testament as well (i.e., Nehemiah). They are addressed to a specific group for a specific purpose.

  1. Find out who the author and the audience are.
  2. Read the epistle in light of what the author was trying to say to the audience.
  3. Try and figure out why the letter was written in the first place. What was it written in response to? You can actually answer a lot of these questions, simply by reading the epistle and looking for clues as to who it is written to and why it was written. Thoughtful observation is the key.


There are four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. They are written as witnesses to Jesus’ death and resurrection.

  1. The Gospels record Jesus’ ministry to four groups of people then (and now) in the world.
    • Matthew was writing to the Jewish people and the deeply religious of our day.
    • Mark was writing to the Romans who he knew would be impressed with leadership and action. In our contemporary culture Mark’s Gospel would be attractive to business people and entrepreneurs.
    • Luke was a Greek speaking to the Greeks. The Greeks loved culture, beauty, and ideas. Luke fills his book with insights, interviews, songs, and details that fascinate the inquiring mind.
    • John wrote to everyone, because everyone needs to meet God and only Jesus can reveal Him.  In this book we meet an absolutely powerful God in human flesh who controls and rules the Universe He created.
  2. Look for what each author emphasizes in his gospel. What are the important events or discourses that are recorded? Why are these recorded?
  3. Try and read them with a fresh perspective. We have been so inundated with the story, that we can easily forget what it must have been like for the original hearers would have felt as they heard these Gospels. As you read them, forget the ending and put yourself in the shoes of someone reading it for the very first time. What would stand out?
  4. Compare with the other Gospel accounts. Because there are four Gospels, there are many things that are repeated in different Gospels. As you compare and contrast what is said in the different Gospels, you can get a sense of what each individual author was trying to emphasize.
  5. Unless you are reading a parable or allegory, or someone is using a figure of speech take these books literally.


Apocalypse is the genre of revelation. It is something big revealed to someone. This is similar to prophecy although in an apocalypse the events being described are of a large scale. This genre can be found in the book of Revelation and also parts of Daniel.

  1. The goal of this genre is to get a big picture understanding of what is going on. Because of all the figurative and symbolic language there are certain things that we simply will not be able to know until they happen. We don’t need to understand every single detail, but merely let the pieces come together to show us a picture of what is to come.
  2. Generally speaking, it is not necessary for this genre to be taken literally.
  3. As you read, try and see how you would live your life differently if you had an eternal, God-prevails focus.

Wisdom Literature

Wisdom literature is basically Proverbs, Job, and Ecclesiastes, although there are other sections throughout the Bible. This is the genre of wise sayings and the wisdom of man.

  1. Proverbs – These are not promises. They are basic and essential truths that will help you live out your life in a godly manner.
  2. Job/Ecclesiastes – There is wisdom in these books, but it is found at the end. Job’s friends spout out their false theology, which God rebukes at the end. The writer of Ecclesiastes gives a cynical view of life, but then comes back at the end and points to God as the only one who gives meaning to life.


Parables are short stories that have a moral to be learned. Allegories also are short discourses, but are different from parables in that they have more than one point of comparison. These are mostly found in the Gospels.

  1. Look at the situation or question to which the parable/allegory is in response to. How does this answer the situation/question?
  2. For a parable find the one key point being made and don’t try to see more than is there. For an allegory look for the main point and see how each of the points of comparison adds to the main idea.

Ethical Instruction

Generally speaking, proverbs, laws, and promises are placed in this genre.  These are found throughout the Bible, but there are a lot in Deuteronomy, Leviticus, and of course Proverbs.

  1. Proverbs are not promises and should not be taken as such.
  2. Promises are not universal. See who they are for and if they apply to you.
  3. A lot of the Old Testament laws were only for the people back then. As a general rule, we need to follow the Old Testament laws that are also found in the New Testament.


I am grateful for the teaching and writing of T.J. Friend from whom the interpretation section was adapted.  His blog can be viewed here.

Bible Literacy

The Fruit of Repentance


When church discipline is enacted there is a biblical process that needs to take place. Forgiveness usually comes quickly.  Reconciliation and restoration, however, take time. Think of the whole process like an arc moving from forgiveness to reconciliation to restoration.  For the process to move forward biblically and constructively the fruit of repentance needs to be present in the life of the person who is under discipline. (Remember, discipline is not something done TO a person but FOR a person.)

The following is a theological examination of the Fruit of Repentance…

Repentance is a decisive reorientation of one’s life away from self and toward God. Commenting on Matthew 3:8 John Calvin writes, “Repentance is an inward matter, which has its seat in the heart and soul, but afterwards yields its fruits in a change of life.”[1]

“Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.  –Matthew 3:8

“…They should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance.”  –Acts 26:20

When John the Baptist told the Jewish people that they must bring forth fruit in keeping with repentance, what did he mean?

Following are three questions that will help to understand what the Bible means by fruit:

  1. What is repentance?

The Greek verb that is translated repent in the New Testament is metanoia. The word literally means to think after. It suggests the idea of thoughtful reflection regarding a deed after the commission of it. In the case of a sinful action, the idea would be a retrospection of the act and the subsequent feeling of godly sorrow that leads to repentance (see 2 Cor 7:9-10).

Thomas Watson, an English Puritan (1620-1686) said, “Repentance is a grace of God’s Spirit whereby a sinner is inwardly humbled and visibly reformed.”[2]

Repentance involves a God-initiated resolve to acknowledge the wrongful conduct and surrender ourselves to the empowering grace of God, which alone will accomplish in us and through us what we have never been able to accomplish on our own.

Dan Allender, a contemporary Christian educator and author, writes that repentance is “an about face movement from denial and rebellion to truth and surrender…[that] involves the response of humble hunger, bold movement, and wild celebration when faced with the reality of our fallen state and the grace of God…It is a shift in perspective as to where life is found…It is melting into the warm arms of God, received when it would be so understandable to be spurned.”[3]

Paul writes that, godly sorrow leads to repentance (2 Corinthians 7:10). The repentance of this text is life reformation, not mere grief over the act.

  1. What is the significance of the expression, “in keeping with repentance”? (NKJ: worthy of; AMP: consistent with)

The expression in keeping with is the Greek word axios and originally had to do with objects that were of equal weight, i.e., one item corresponds to another in weight. The metaphorical use in the NT may be employed regarding actions — either good or bad.

The change of life that is characteristic of repentance must correspond to the gravity and nature of the offence. Otherwise, it is not biblical repentance.

  1. What is implied by the phrase, produce fruit?

The Greek word for fruit is karpos and means “the visible expression of [God’s] power working inwardly and invisibly, [and] the character of the fruit being evidence of the character of the power producing it (see Mat 7:16). Just as the visible expressions of hidden lusts are the works of the flesh, so the invisible power of the Holy Spirit in those who are brought into [a] living union with Christ (see Jn 15:2-8, 16) produces ‘the fruit of the Spirit’ (Gal 5:22).”[4]

In addition to the fruit of the Spirit what does it mean to produce the fruit of repentance? Here are a some signs of fruit that will typically be found in a truly repentant person:[5]

  • Repentant people are willing to confess all their sins, not just the sins that got them in trouble. A house isn’t truly clean until we open every closet and sweep every corner. People who truly desire to be clean are completely honest about their lives. No more secrets. Christian psychologist and author Larry Crabb defines integrityas pretending about nothing.[6]
  • Repentant people face the pain that their sin caused others. They invite the victims of their sin (anyone hurt by their actions) to express the intensity of emotions that they feel — anger, hurt, sorrow, and disappointment. Repentant people do not give excuses or shift blame. They made the choice to hurt others, and they take full responsibility for their behavior.
  • Repentant people ask forgiveness from those they hurt. They realize that they can never completely “pay off” the debt they owe their victims. Repentant people don’t pressure others to say, “I forgive you.” While forgiveness itself is a decision, the process of seeking forgiveness by the offending party is a journey. All that penitent people can do is admit their indebtedness and humbly request the undeserved gift of forgiveness.
  • Repentant people remain accountableto a small group of mature Christians. They gather a group of friends around themselves who hold them accountable to a plan for honest living. They invite the group to question them about their behaviors.
  • Repentant people accept their limitations. They realize that the consequences of their sin (including the distrust) will last a long time, perhaps the rest of their lives. They understand that they may never enjoy the same freedom that other people enjoy. Adulterers, for example, would be wise to place strict limitations on their time with members of the opposite sex. That’s the reality of their situation, and they willingly accept their boundaries.
  • Repentant people are faithful to the daily tasks God has given them. We serve a merciful God who delights in giving second chances. God offers repentant people a restored relationship with him and a new plan for life. Consider Hosea’s promise to rebellious Israel:

Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence.  —Hosea 6:1-2

The conscientious student of the Bible is led to conclude that any repentance, without the full compliment of the elements that define that term, is simply not a biblical repentance.

[1] John Calvin, Commentary on Matthew, Mark, & Luke, Vol 1.

[2] Thomas Watson, The Doctrine of Repentance, Banner of Truth, 1999: 18.

[3] Dan Allender, The Wounded Heart, Navpress, 1990: 217.

[4] W. E. Vine, Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, Vol 2, Revell 1940: 143.

[5] Adapted from the article Six Signs of Genuine Repentance by Bryce Klabunde.

[6] Larry Crabb, Finding God, Zondervan 1993: 16.

The Fruit of Repentance

10 Things I Want You to Know About the New Charismatics


This is a re-post by Zach J. Hoag, an author, blogger, and preacher from New England. This article has appeared at Onfaith & ChristianWeek.

While I don’t agree with everything Zach wrote, I thought his perspective is certainly worth passing along for our thoughtful reflection and dialogue.  It’s representative of a younger pastor’s view of charismatic theology and practice.  Enjoy…

There is a groundswell taking place, a grassroots Christian movement if you will, that centers on renewing charismatic and Pentecostal faith for the twenty-first century. And I think this movement just might be the most exciting area of emergence in the American church today.

While this groundswell is diverse, there are some common threads that I want to identify and celebrate. Some of us who are a part of this growing trend have taken to calling ourselves “New Charismatics” — by no means a formal label or category, just one way to describe what we find ourselves caught up in.

So, here are 10 things I want you to know about us:

  1. We are spiritual . . . AND religious.

While the infamous “nones” are known for avoiding organized religion in favor of an independent spiritual path, New Charismatics are seeking a both-and way. On the one hand, we understand our faith primarily as spiritual experience, or rather, Spiritual experience. On the other, we are passionate about rooting our faith in the Great Tradition of the church, so it is both historically connected and futuristically sustainable.

You can find some of us New Charismatics inhabiting liturgical or traditional churches and denominations, and you can find others of us bringing liturgical rhythms to our evangelical churches, seeker churches, or charismatic churches.

  1. We are Eucharistic holy rollers.

While we resonate with the passionate worship styles that charismatics have largely innovated, we are seeking a deeper, contemplative center in the regular practice of the Eucharist. We meet and receive from Jesus uniquely in this quiet but intense moment — a moment that grounds the charismatic tendency to seek a shallow or contrived spiritual high.

  1. We’re not impressed by big and powerful, and we’re kind of obsessed with small and ordinary.

Older charismatics saw God’s favor and blessing in the big things — big worship services, big churches, big conferences, big spiritual manifestations, big leadership lifestyles. The result was a highly consumeristic brand of religion and, sometimes, a grotesque and oppressive “prosperity gospel.”

But New Charismatics love to see God powerfully at work in the small things. The ordinary things. The quiet manifestations of the Spirit, the routine traditional prayers and liturgies, the enjoyment of nature and recreation, the pleasure of relationships, the everyday opportunities to serve and love neighbors.

We envision a simple lifestyle as the ideal, and we see the Kingdom as a whole new economy that prizes equality. All that to say, it’s the little things — and all of it is spiritual.

  1. We believe in theology, intellect, and the Spirit-led mind.

Some of us grew up in an environment that pitted the mind against the Spirit, based on an unfortunate reading of some passages written by Paul. But we believe that the only way to be truly Spirit-filled and Spirit-led is to engage with God in the fullness of our humanity: spirit, mind, and body.

We don’t check our minds at the door, but commit our intellects to take part in discerning the “deep things of God” (1 Corinthians 2). Learning theology is as important as practicing pneumatology.

  1. We’ve got a new revelation of what it means to be prophetic.

As charismatics we believe in the continuing gifts and manifestations of the Spirit, including prophecy. But as one who grew up in the “prophetic movement,” I have come to view the prophetic gift and office completely differently than I once did. And many of us have taken this step.

Instead of foretelling future events or reading someone’s mail or maybe just getting revved up and a little weird in the pulpit, the prophetic gift is about preaching powerfully into the church’s inconsistencies and hypocrisies. And true prophets are those who call the church to a greater integrity of worship and social justice through their Spirit-filled preaching gift.

  1. We don’t mind being labeled progressive, but we’re not crazy about it either.

The last point especially tends to get some New Charismatics labeled progressive. We don’t mind that so much, but we’d honestly rather have our identity rooted in the Spirit who empowers and gives meaning to our works of service in the first place.

  1. We don’t mind being labeled evangelical, but we’re not crazy about it either.

Because we’re committed to heartfelt, passionate, orthodox faith and worship, we sometimes get labeled evangelical, too. Again, we don’t mind it, but we don’t care much about fitting into typical evangelical categories either.

  1. We’re missional, not antagonistic.

Among other things, our charismatic forebears were often marked by the sin of antagonizing the “worldly” culture around them instead of engaging that culture for the sake of the gospel. This antagonistic impulse created ingrown and ineffective churches over time, concerned mainly with keeping a “holy” status intact and maintaining a spiritual buzz.

New Charismatics seek to joyfully join the cultural conversation. We see God as being “on mission” in the world, and we aim to follow him, discerning where the Spirit is at work in culture and calling our friends and neighbors to the King and his Kingdom.

  1. We think emotional health is as important as spiritual health.

Lots of us New Charismatics have needed the help of psychology and therapy to recover from our own past experiences, and through that have come to see the importance of emotional health.

Spiritual health and “deliverance” are not a replacement for tending to our places of deep emotional pain and dysfunction and working towards true healing over the long haul — because denial is not just a river in Egypt.

  1. We’ve left the violent End Times behind for a Jesus-looking God and a Gospel of peace.

For New Charismatics, gone are the days of an eschatological worldview where a bloodthirsty God requires militant pro-Israel support and violent American nationalism. Even as the 2016 [presidential] race heats up, we are more determined than ever to leave this behind for a God who looks like Jesus, that preacher of peace who taught forgiveness, equality, and nonviolence before he submitted to his own death on the empire’s cross —not a heavenly warlord hell-bent on running a cosmic drone strike at the end of the age.

Because for New Charismatics, what’s driving us at the center of everything is following our King Jesus and producing the fruit that he requires of us, which is, of course, the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5).

10 Things I Want You to Know About the New Charismatics



Why People Get So Mad at Pastors

Excerpt from Sifted, by Wayne Cordeiro and Francis Chan (Cook, 2012)

In our well-meaning attempts to promote Christianity as the answer to everything, we sometimes over promise when we present the gospel. We want churches to be happy places, so we end each service on a high note, giving the impression that happy feelings always come from church. Or we want to help everybody we meet, so we have churches filled with broad spectrums of ministries for every conceivable need, but we end up doing many things poorly rather than fewer things well. The answer to all of this is to strip down the gospel to its essence: mankind getting right with a holy God.

With that in mind, we may need to help people understand the following truths if we want to help them develop realistic, healthy expectations about the church and the role and abilities of those in leadership:

  • Church will not always make you feel comfortable.
  • Church will not be the answer to your every need.
  • You will sometimes not like what happens at church.
  • You might leave a service unhappy once in a while, particularly if you are seeing yourself in light of God’s righteousness.
  • If you are a single person, going to church will not guarantee you a spouse.
  • Going to church will not guarantee that your children will not rebel.
  • Going to church is not the answer to all your financial problems.
  • You might not get along with everybody you meet at church.

Disappointment with God

If the ultimate solution to the disappointments our people experience is pointing them to Christ, letting him be the Great Physician in their lives [or Senior Pastor], then once we have done this, disappointment takes on a different nuance. Now, if people are disappointed, they are ultimately disappointed with God.

Family Gathering Points of Communication from Pastor Gregg and the Elders

  • Leadership Community Gatherings (LCG). We gather KHC leaders on a quarterly basis. Our emerging view of the difference between ministers and leaders is that ministers build people (training mentoring, personal discipleship, etc.) while leaders build groups of people. Like wings on a bird we need both ministers and leaders to fly straight.
  • KCH reaffirmed Mission and Values Statements are up on the Pastor’s Blog (the website will be updated soon)
  • We will have the report from our recent online survey available soon. Much of the data will be a great help for the search process (thank you to everyone who participated)
  • Reworking the doctrinal statement – Content is fine yet Elders, Staff, and TT think we could say things a bit better.
  • Search update: 1) Search Team application questionnaires have been sent to first tier of nominees, 2) We are staffing a sourcing service (Vanderbloemen Search Group) to help us engage the very best candidates.
  • Upcoming Fall Series on Mission and Vision. The staff, with elder participation and input, is seeking to simplify the way we do church. We want to do three things REALLY well – 1) Proclaim the gospel in four weekend services, 2) Invite all attendees into a Community Group to do life together, and 3) Serve God and people — both inside and outside of KHC.
  • The staff, again with elder input and participation, is working on a combination “welcome to KHC” and basic “foundations in the faith” class (KHC distinctives?) and it is very likely that we are moving toward reinstating membership at KHC.
  • Reconciliation with the former pastor. The elders have been waiting since May for the former pastor to provide the information he agreed to provide so that the reconciliation process can move forward.

Reaffirmed KHC Mission & Core Values

KHC_Circle_LogoKHC Mission Statement

Love God, Love People, Make Disciples

We exist to bring glory to God by loving God supremely, loving people unconditionally, and making passionate disciples of Jesus in the South Bay and beyond. (Matthew 22:36-40; Matthew 28:19-20)

KHC Core Values

Core values bring clarity to the things that matter most at KHC.

  1. PROCLAIMING the good news of reconciliation with God through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit to all people.

The ultimate good news is found in the gospel, which is based solely on what God has done for us, not what we do for God. God has reconciled us to Himself through the sacrificial love of Jesus that was accomplished by His death and confirmed by His resurrection. We never outgrow our need for the gospel because it not only saves us but also sanctifies us through the active presence and power of the Holy Spirit. With this in mind, KHC is “gospel-centered” in our focus, seeking to identify and proclaim the good news of the gospel in all our teaching and preaching of God’s word. Additionally, we seek to equip every believer to share the good news of the gospel with others in timely and effective ways. We also seek to train and release people into vocational ministry both locally and globally.

Isaiah 6:8; Matthew 28:18-19; Mark 16:15; Luke 10:1-12, 24:46-47; John 3:16, 20:21; Acts 1:8, 28:28; Romans 10:15; Colossians 1:23-29; Ephesians 4:11-16

  1. CULTIVATING a passionate relationship with God by glorifying God, enjoying God, and treasuring Jesus Christ above all else.

That we were created to enjoy God now and for all eternity is a life-altering discovery. We enjoy God through accurately and intimately knowing God in both private and public settings. Privately, we seek to know and enjoy God through personal devotion, reflection, prayer, and study. Publically, we seek to know and enjoy God in weekend worship services where we encounter God afresh in profound and participative ways that enrich our souls through worship—which includes singing, prayer, giving tithes and offerings to God, reading, teaching, and proclaiming the Bible, celebrating the Lord’s Supper and baptism — and being refreshed by the gospel’s redeeming grace.

Psalm 37:4, 73:25; Nehemiah 8:10; Romans 5:5; Philippians 3:10; Hebrews 10:25, 12:2; 1 John 1:3-4

  1. BUILDING a strong church family that meets consistently in various small group settings to “do life” with one other.

The gospel saves us into God’s family. KHC is one expression of God’s global family. As the gospel changes our heart, identity, and motivation we will relinquish our tendency to isolate ourselves in order to pursue a deep and authentic sharing of our lives through meeting together in small (and mid-sized) group settings to laugh and cry together, pray together, study the Bible together, eat together, and serve together. As we grow in gospel grace (discipleship) we will learn to trust God and one another in new ways, becoming quick to repent, forgive, and reconcile. Whenever possible, we desire to do things through organic community and lay ministry.

Psalm 133:1; Acts 2:42-47, 4:32; Romans 12:15; 1 Corinthians 1:10; Ephesians 4:3, 16; Hebrews 10:24-25; 1 Peter 3:8

  1. SERVING the poor, lost, sick, broken-hearted, and marginalized in the South Bay and beyond with active help, love, and care.

Serving is one of the most biblical of values. The Bible records God continually reaching out to and pursuing a broken and fragmented humanity. Ultimately, God sent us His Son, Jesus, to restore and reconcile us to Himself. When our heart is awakened to this new reality, we are compelled to share our time, energy, and resources with others in grateful response to God’s persistent mercy and compassion. At KHC we have a rich history of reaching out beyond ourselves, to meet the needs of the weak, defenseless, and marginalized.

Deuteronomy 7:7-8; Psalm 18:16, 23:6, 139; Matthew 5:14-16, 25:40; Luke 4:18-19, 14:13; Galatians 4:4-7; Philippians 2:3; 1 John 4:19

To view these on the website click here.

Reaffirmed KHC Mission & Core Values