Go Deep—Gift Of Koinonia

John uses the word “fellowship” four times in 1 John 1:3, 6-7. This is the Greek word koinonia, which means intimacy of relationship. The whole purpose of the motivational gifts, the operational gifts, and the leadership gifts is to bring maturity and unity to the Body of Christ. This maturity brings out the fruit of the Spirit. 

All of these gifts of the Holy Spirit are intended to help us demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit in ways that make the Kingdom of God visible and desirable. A key component is our koinonia that draws us together as one Body. Two key phrases that appear generously throughout the New Testament Church are one another and each other. 

Download the participant’s guide for this lesson here → Gift of koinonia handout

Here’s how koinonia is supposed to be demonstrated—

  1. Loving one another—John 13:34-35; 15:12, 17; Romans 13:8; 1 Thessalonians 4:9; 1 Peter 1:22, 3:8; 1 John 3:11, 23; 4:7, 11-12
  2. Sharing in each other’s practical needs—Acts 2:44-45, 4:32-35 
  3. Devoted to one another—Romans 12:10
  4. Honoring one another—Romans 12:10; Philippians 2:3 (AMP); 1 Peter 5:5
  5. Living in harmony with each other—Romans 12:16 
  6. Not judging one another—Romans 14:13 
  7. Building each other up—Romans 14:19 NLT 
  8. Empathizing with each other—Romans 15:5 AMP; 1 Corinthians 12:25 AMP; 1 Peter 3:8 TLB 
  9. Accepting each other—Romans 15:7 
  10. Instructing one another—Acts 2:42; Romans 15:14; Colossians 3:16 
  11. Agreeing with one another—1 Corinthians 1:10 
  12. Encouraging one another—2 Corinthians 13:11; Ephesians 5:19; 1 Thessalonians 4:18, 5:11; Hebrews 3:13, 10:25
  13. Serving each other—Galatians 5:13 
  14. Patiently bearing with one another—Ephesians 4:2; Ephesians 4:3 TLB 
  15. Speaking the truth in love to one another—Ephesians 4:15; Colossians 3:9
  16. Forgiving one another—Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:13 
  17. Submitting to one another—Ephesians 5:21 
  18. Acting like Jesus toward each other—Philippians 2:5 
  19. Doing what is good for one another—1 Thessalonians 5:15 
  20. Spurring one another on—Hebrews 10:24 
  21. Regularly meeting with one another—Acts 2:46; Hebrews 10:25 
  22. Looking after each other—Hebrews 12:15 AMP 
  23. Confessing sins to one another—James 5:16 
  24. Showing hospitality to each other—1 Peter 4:9 
  25. Doing the hard work of getting along with each other—James 3:17-18 MSG

Those things lead to #26, which starts the cycle over again at #1. 

  1. Increasing our love for one another—1 Thessalonians 3:12; 2 Thessalonians 1:3; Hebrews 13:1; 1 Peter 4:8 

Our koinonia in the church is encouraging for the saints and it is a blessing for the unsaved because of all of the good things a unified, strong, loving church can do. Koinonia ultimately becomes one of the greatest witnessing tools. Jesus prayed—

My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in Me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You. May they also be in Us so that the world may believe that You have sent Me. (John 17:20-21)

Links & Quotes

I co-host a leadership podcast with my good friend of 30+ years Greg Heeres. In an episode that came out last week, we were discussing the importance of friendships for leaders. All of us need friends that are investing in our lives. You may check out the rest of the conversation Greg and I had by clicking here.

Jonathan Woodward writes, “The right use of authority or power can make people glad. In our age, however, power is often immediately viewed with skepticism or outright disdain.” He also talks about our responsibility to the incorrect use of leadership authority: “It’s absolutely necessary to identify, challenge, and rebuke sinful leadership. It ensures that people are cared for and God is honored.” Check out The Power to Bless: Six Dimensions of Good Leadership.

More and more scientists are dissatisfied with the lack of evidence supporting the theory of evolution. ICR reports, “Indiana University Biologist Armin Moczek told The Guardian, ‘We still do not have a good answer. This classic idea of gradual change, one happy accident at a time, has so far fallen flat.’”

The churches in my hometown of Cedar Springs, MI, have partnered together to make sure students who are food insecure on the weekend are supplied with nutritious food to carry them through the weekend. If you would like to know more, or if you would like to help us, please check out the Cedar Springs Ministerial Association website.

“Because we love something else other than this world, we love even this world better than those who know no other.” —C.S. Lewis

This is one of the best interviews I have done. I so enjoyed this! And the good news is this is only part 1. We had such a good conversation that the hosts asked me to stick around to record another episode with them. Here is the first session…

“Here’s the deal: the better you get, the harder you have to work.” —Albert King, speaking to Stevie Ray Vaughan

Here is a brief clip from a teaching I did for some ministry interns. You can check out more of this by clicking here.

Links & Quotes

“This is one of the rewards of reading the Old Testament regularly. You keep on discovering more and more what a tissue of quotations from it the New Testament is; how constantly Our Lord repeated, reinforced, continued, refined, and sublimated the Judaic ethics, how very seldom He introduced a novelty.” —C.S. Lewis, Reflections On The Psalms 

I have shared quite often about the historicity of the Bible. Here is some additional evidence for that: Top 10 discoveries related to the Book of Daniel.

The folks at Fight The New Drug provide excellent research on the dangers of pornography as well as many helpful resources for folks to break free from a porn addiction. Pornography often attracts people when they are emotionally drained, but viewing porn actually increases feelings of loneliness and isolation.

If we ever start to think the Church is one or two ministers and a whole bunch of parishioners, it really won’t be a Church. According to Ephesians 4, all Christians should be ministers. 

You can check out the full message that this clip is from by clicking here.

Here is a word of encouragement for anyone in a time of spiritual warfare—

Check out my regular Monday Motivation series.

Wow, this post from T.M. Moore on how we respond to God’s “call” is a much-needed reminder. In the post, he wrote,

“Probably most Christians treat the calling of God as a kind of punctuated equilibrium. He breaks into their lives to ‘call’ them to some activity or task, but only from time to time, and only for that activity or task. He ‘calls’ us to believe the Gospel, and we do. He ‘calls’ us to this or that church, and we go. He ‘calls’ us to some ministry or other Christian activity, and so we participate. He ‘calls’ us to make a special gift, go on a mission trip, send a note of encouragement to a friend, and so forth. Our lives run on their own schedules, so whenever God ‘calls’ us to do something, we’ll try to get it done.

“But most of the time, other things have prior claims on our lives. We have jobs, families, friends, responsibilities, things we like to do or must do. We can’t respond to every calling from God because, well, there just isn’t enough time. We say, when friends press us to consider this or that Christian opportunity, ‘If God calls me to it, I will.’ But aren’t we just using the language of piety to relieve the discomfort of pressure to do something we’d rather not do?

“We are called of God. Of this there is no doubt. But for most Christians, the way they understand God’s calling is not the same as the way God issues it. And they have not yet learned to value His calling as He intends, as the defining and guiding value of our lives.”

Go Deep—The Operational Gifts In Orderly Operation

We have been studying the different sets of gifts listed in the New Testament. These gifts are to bring maturity and health to the church. Previously we have looked at the motivational gifts in Romans chapter 12, the operational gifts of the Holy Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12-13, and the leadership gifts in the church in Ephesians 4.

In this lesson, we learn how the operational gifts of the Holy Spirit must be supported by the leadership gifts that are given to the church. 

You may download the participant’s study guide here → Go Deep – operational gifts in orderly operation handout

If you would like to join us in person for our next class, here is where you can find us.

Links & Quotes

“Years ago, I tried to top everybody, but I don’t anymore. I realized it was killing conversation. When you’re always trying for a topper you aren’t really listening.” —Groucho Marx

I don’t know about you, but it gets my attention when a physicist says that “dark matter makes up 25 per cent of the Universe and we have no idea what it is!” I love some of the discoveries that are being made and theories that are being proposed concerning black holes. None of this in any way shakes my belief in a Creator who spokle everything into existence. If you would like to consider the  beginning of the universe from a different perspective, check out Starlight And Time.

A reminder from a class I recently taught: you don’t have to go to a church building to be the Church of Jesus Christ—

“When the Holy Spirit is ignored or rejected, religious people are forced either to do their own creating or to fossilize completely. A few churches accept fossilization as the will of God and settle down to the work of preserving their past—as if it needed preserving. Others seek to appear modern and imitate the current activities of the world with the mistaken idea that they are being creative.” —A.W. Tozer

Entomologists have discovered powerful antibiotics in their [paper wasps’] venom, and there is also an indication the venom may be used as a possible cancer treatment.” Whoa!

Dr. Kristin Collier is a professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan and director of the school’s Program on Health, Spirituality and Religion. In a recent keynote address to medical students, she had some wise words: “The risk of this education and the one that I fell into is that you can come out of medical school with a bio-reductionist, mechanistic view of people and ultimately of yourself. You can easily end up seeing your patients as just a bag of blood and bones or human life as just molecules in motion. You are not technicians taking care of complex machines, but human beings taking care of other human beings. Let’s resist a view, of our patients and ourselves, that strips us of our humanity, and takes away from the very goal of why we went into this profession in the first place: to take care of human beings entrusted to our care in their moments of greatest need.”

The power of trusting God for our daily needs—

Dan Reiland shared a great post for leaders: 5 steps on a lifelong path to spiritual authority.

This is a short clip from a full-length video I provided exclusively for my Patreon supporters. Would you prayerfully consider supporting this ministry for just $5/month? All new supporters through the end of September will get access to both my content and access to all of the content I have already published.

Go Deep—Leadership Gifts For The Church

We have been studying the different sets of gifts listed in the New Testament. These gifts are to bring maturity and health to the church. Previously we have looked at the motivational gifts in Romans chapter 12 and the operational gifts of the Holy Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12-13. 

In this lesson, we look at the five leadership gifts that are given to help the church grow into deeper unity and maturity. 

You may download the participant’s study guide here → Go Deep – leadership gifts for the church

If you would like to join us in person for our next class, here is where you can find us.

Links & Quotes

“…and let us all hasten to approach to perfect manhood, to the measure of the completed growth of the fullness of Jesus Christ, in Whom let us love one another, praise one another, correct one another, encourage one another, pray for one another, that with Him in one another we may reign and triumph.” —Columbanus, Letter to Certain Bishops, Irish, early 7th century

This is pretty cool: Mastodon bones were discovered in our community. It is cool to think that these amazing creatures were wandering around in our neighborhood.

Have you ever wondered how the laws of the Old Testament era should be applied to New Testament Christians? Theologian T.M. Moore has an excellent series of articles on this, but I think his post The Church is not Ancient Israel is especially informative.

Here is one way the Holy Spirit can speak to us—

“It is not the body of truth that enlightens; it is the Spirit of truth who enlightens. If you are willing to obey the Lord Jesus, He will illuminate your spirit. He will inwardly enlighten you. The truth you have known intellectually will now be known spiritually. Power will begin to flow up and out, and you will find yourself changed—marvelously changed.” —A.W. Tozer

“The greatest tragedy of life is not unanswered prayer, but unoffered prayer.” —F.B. Meyer

This is pretty cool: some fossilized human footprints in the salt flats of Utah. “Both creationist and uniformitarian scientists agree that these tracks were made during the Ice Age, although they disagree about when the Ice Age occurred. Creationists think these footprints are just a few thousand years old. However, evolutionists think the tracks are more than 10,000 years old, because they believe the wet conditions needed to form and preserve the footprints have been absent from the Great Salt Lake area for at least that long. … wet Ice Age deserts are extremely difficult for evolutionary scientists to convincingly explain. However, the Bible’s real history makes much better sense of both these wet deserts and preserved Ice Age footprints.”

Don’t cut corners to get more. Instead, be faithful, do your best work, and the “more” will follow at the right time—

My Unique History

Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on AppleSpotify, or Audible. 

I had a great time on the 200churches podcast with Jeff Keady. 

Jeff and I talked about my unique background and how that contributed to not only the book I wrote but also to the activities in which I am presently involved.

God took me on a long journey before I came to be a shepherd in Cedar Springs, MI. There were times in my younger life when I questioned why my path didn’t look like a straight line that was heading toward a career or vocation, but God showed me the truthfulness of the promise in Romans 8:28—He is using ALL THINGS to accomplish what He needs for me and for His Kingdom. (Check out the short video below where I share a bit of my autobiography.)

I hope this is a word of encouragement for you too. God IS directing every single one of your steps, He IS using all of your education and experiences to accomplish His purpose. Don’t bail out of this process, and don’t ever get discouraged that your path seems different than those around you. God is being as unique with you as He is with everyone else. 

If you are a church leader, I encourage you to pick up a copy of my book Shepherd Leadership: The Metrics That Really Matter. I believe you will find many more encouraging thoughts that will keep you engaged in the work to which God has called you.

I’ll be sharing more clips from this 200churches interview soon, so please stay tuned. Shepherd Leadership: The Metrics That Really Matter is available in print or ebook, and in audiobook through either Audible or Apple. 

►► Would you please prayerfully consider supporting this ministry? My Patreon supporters get behind-the-scenes access to exclusive materials. ◀︎◀︎

“Let Us” Be The Church

Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on AppleSpotify, or Audible. 

I had a great time on the 200churches podcast with Jeff Keady. 

Jeff asked me what was different for our church during the pandemic shutdowns. I explained to him how our season of change had begun long before anyone was even talking about a coronavirus.

Of course one of the big things in my personal life during the last year was authoring a #1-selling book called Shepherd Leadership: The Metrics That Really Matter. As I commented to Jeff, those “let us” phrases in the Book of Hebrews so struck me that I wrote about it in my book. 

     Have you noticed that the word “saints” in the New Testament is always in the plural, never the singular? That’s because we need each other to bring out the saintly qualities in each other. This is why the writer of Hebrews stresses the camaraderie of “let us” so many times (Hebrews 10:22–25). I’ve found that many shepherd leaders tend to isolate. They are so involved in their own pasture of ministry that they seldom make the time to interact with other shepherds. In fact, isolation is one of the devil’s favorite tactics. I encourage you to find friends—fellow saints—who are also committed to healthy spiritual growth and avail yourself of their friendship and insight. —an excerpt from the chapter ‘Four Elements to Optimal Spiritual Health’ 

“Let us” be the church wherever God places us and however He chooses to use us. 

I’ll be sharing more clips from this 200churches interview soon, so please stay tuned. Shepherd Leadership: The Metrics That Really Matter is available in print or ebook, and in audiobook through either Audible or Apple. 

►► Would you please prayerfully consider supporting this ministry? My Patreon supporters get behind-the-scenes access to exclusive materials. ◀︎◀︎

Quality Over Quantity

Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on AppleSpotify, or Audible. 

I had a great time on the Ailbe Podcast with Rusty Rabon. 

Rusty referred to the opening chapter of my book Shepherd Leadership: The Metrics That Really Matter where I talk about how many of our churches and church leaders are attempting to climb the wrong ladder of success. Rusty noted how many people become frustrated because they are not seeing the success the way that so many people define it.

Before addressing frustrated pastors, I first spoke to the board members that are supporting that pastor. 

In Shepherd Leadership I wrote,

“Businesses think in terms of quantitative gains—things they can count—but churches and nonprofits should be thinking in terms of qualitative gains—a quality improvement that isn’t as easily counted. I think we all know this, and yet we still persist in wanting to define success in a church or a nonprofit by those quantitative standards such as attendance growth, donations, and the like. When we think qualitative over quantitative, suddenly what seemed “small” is so significant and so valuable that it cannot be calculated!”

I’ll be sharing more clips from this interview soon, so please stay tuned. If you would like to check out the other clips I have already shared from this podcast, please check them out here. Shepherd Leadership: The Metrics That Really Matter is available in print or ebook, and in audiobook through either Audible or Apple. 

►► Would you please prayerfully consider supporting this ministry? My Patreon supporters get behind-the-scenes access to exclusive materials. ◀︎◀︎

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