Calvary Chapel / CGN International Conference 2021

This year’s conference will be June 28-July 1, both in-person and online, but if you can make it, I would encourage you to come in person.

This year’s theme is “The Way of Jesus”

Click here for the conference website.

Speakers

There are some excellent speakers lined up this year. Personally, I’m really excited that missiologist Alan Hirsch will be there, as well as Gavin Ortlund and Ed Stetzer, who is such an important voice in the church today – and happens to love Calvary Chapel!

I will be teaching an in-person Training Track at the conference on the topic of: “Preaching and Teaching Gospel-Centered Expository Messages.”

Click here to see the list of speakers.

Registration

Click here to register or for more information about cost, options, translation, etc.

Richard Cimino at White Fields & the Song We Sing to Our Kids

There’s a song that my wife and I often sing to our kids when we put them to bed at night. It goes like this:

The nails in your hands, the nail in your feet, they tell me how much you love me. The thorns on your brow, they tell me how, you bore so much shame to love me.

And when the heavens pass away, all your scars will still remain, and forever they will say, how much you love me.

Forever my love, Forever my heart, Forever my life, it’s yours.

Forever (The Nails In Your Hands)

The person who wrote that song is Richard Cimino. He’s the pastor of a church in Roseville, California (near Sacramento) called Metro Calvary.

This weekend (April 23-25, 2021), we’re excited to have Richard visiting White Fields Church here in Longmont.

Pastor Richard Cimino

He will be teaching at a Pastors Breakfast we are hosting for pastors in our Calvary Network, as well as other like-minded churches, and he will join us on Sunday morning as well.

Please pray for the pastors who attend on Friday, that they will be encouraged and blessed by this time of fellowship and prayer, and that God would speak to them through what Richard has to share!

Here’s a video where you can listen to that song:

Calvary Chapel + CGN International Conference 2020: Online August 10-13

Every summer Calvary Chapel puts on a conference for pastors and ministry leaders in Southern California. This year the conference has been moved online because of COVID, but one of the benefits is that this opens up the opportunity for those who can’t easily take a week off and travel to California to be able to join and be encouraged. 

This year’s conference will be August 10-13, 2020. The cost is $10, which gives you access to all of the bonus content, including a seminar I was part of with Expositors Collective on the topic of expository and Christ-centered preaching and teaching.

We are using a platform for the conference which allows a lot of interaction as well as multiple “rooms” you can join during the conference for different seminars on topics those in ministry will surely find helpful and interesting for the areas where you lead.

Click this link for more information and to register: https://conference.calvarychapel.com

Ministry in the COVID-19 Crisis and Beyond

This past week I was honored to be interviewed by David Snead on his podcast. David is a missionary in Lviv, Ukraine – and he is one of the most organized people I know.

We had a great discussion about my background in ministry, ministering in the COVID-19 crisis and beyond, Calvary Chapel, and expository preaching. Check it out:

Global Prayer & Local Music Videos

Prayer Around the World Extended for another week

For the past 2 weeks Calvary Global Network leaders around the world have been leading live prayer on the Calvary Chapel Facebook page. The idea is that you can log on at any time and join in prayer as well as submit prayer requests.

I have been leading prayer from 1:00-2:00 PM Mountain Time each day, and it has been encouraging to see God use it. I have had people ask to pray to receive salvation, I’ve had several times when we prayed for something and then received a report within a few minutes that God had answered that prayer, and I had someone say that God has used these prayer times to change their life!

It would be great to have you join me for these times of prayer; it has certainly been good for me to spend an hour in prayer each day for all that’s going on. I’m sure God would use it in your life as well.

Music from Good Friday & Easter

One of the benefits of having our facility is that we are able to do more with music and video. We have a great worship ministry, and we look forward to having them lead us in worship together once the current crisis subsides.

Here are two songs they did: one for Good Friday and the other for Resurrection Sunday:

Preaching Funerals

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In the latest episode of the Expositors Collective podcast, Mike Neglia and I discussed preaching funerals.

Click here to listen: Episode 100 – Preaching Funerals. Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts, or on Spotify.

As it so happens, this is the 100th episode of the podcast. As Mike shares in the intro to the episode, he had planned some fanfare and celebration for this milestone, but with the current COVID-19 crisis, it seems that an episode on preaching funerals is more apropos.

Mike and I recorded this episode in Austria back in January during the Calvary Chapel European Pastors Conference in Millstatt.

Whether you find yourself in the position of preaching or leading a funeral, or if you simply want to listen in to my process and insights, I encourage you to check out this episode.

Prayer Around the World Extended for Another Week

Last week I invited you to join me for a week of global prayer on the Calvary Chapel Facebook page along with Calvary Global Network leaders around the world. The idea was to have every hour of every day filled with leaders leading live prayer sessions, in which people could log on and pray and submit their prayer requests.

The week of prayer around the world went so well that it has been extended for another week.

My time slot has changed for this second week; I will now be on from 1:00-2:00 PM Mountain Time from April 3-10 (Friday-Friday).

I’d love to have you join me for these times of prayer! They’ve been very encouraging, and I’m excited to see how God will answer all of these prayers we’ve been lifting up together.

Join Me Online for a Week of Global Prayer

Starting tomorrow, March 26-April 2, 2020, I will be one of several Calvary Global Network pastors hosting a live hour of prayer on the the Calvary Chapel Facebook page.

Pastors across the world will be going live at times in their respective time zones to lead prayer for our countries and communities, particularly related to COVID-19 and everyone affected by it, and to receive and pray for the prayer requests of those who tune in live.

I will be hosting the 12:00 PM Mountain Time slot. I’d love to have you join me online for that, and send me your prayer requests!

Once again: March 26-April 2 (Thursday-Thursday) at 12:00 PM Mountain Time.

Sam Allberry on Sexual Ethics & Moral Intuition

I spent last week in Southern California for the Calvary Global Network (CGN) international conference. There was a great line up speakers, including Ray OrtlandJared C. Wilson, Mark Sayers, and Sam Allberry.

All the messages from the conference are available online here.

Sam’s message, “Gospel Confidence in a Sexually Shifting Culture” (video below) was particularly helpful.

Image result for sam allberrySam is a pastor from Maidenhead, England, who also works with Ravi Zacharias International Ministry (RZIM), Cedarville University, and writes for The Gospel Coalition.

He recently wrote a short and helpful book about Christian sexual ethics, in which he also talks about his own experience of same-sex attraction, titled “Is God anti-gay?”.

 

Key Points from Sam’s Message

In the West, we live in a place where people’s “moral intuitions” have shifted. People are not morally relative, nor are they amoral. Rather, their “intuition” of what defines morality has changed. People now base their determination of morality on these questions:

  1. Is it fair, or does it discriminate?
  2. Is it freeing, or is it oppressive?
  3. Is it harmful, or benign?

Anything seen as limiting freedom is seen as creating an existential conflict.

As a result, whereas biblical sexual ethics in the 1950’s-1980’s, for example, were considered prudish, they are now considered immoral.

What is needed is for us to learn to listen well, show people the goodness of God and provide a true and better narrative.

It’s worth listening to Sam’s entire message. Here is the video of it, as well as a follow-up interview he did afterward.

Discipleship is a Direction

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Recently I posted some things I had learned from a book I read called No Silver Bullets by Daniel Im. (Read that post here: “Inputs and Outputs for Growth and Maturity”)

Last week I was in California attending the CGN Pastors and Leaders Conference at Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, and Daniel Im was there speaking about some of the topics covered in his book.

By the way, recordings of the messages and panel discussions from the conference are available here. I thought the panel discussion on current issues in theology was particularly good.

One of the things Daniel wrote about in his book and talked about at the conference is the idea that discipleship is a direction, rather than a destination. While there is an ultimate destination to our discipleship: experiencing the glory of God in the fullness of His Kingdom forever, as long as we are here on this Earth, being a disciple of Jesus is about direction, not destination.

  • A destination is a place you can arrive at. Once you’re there, then you’ve arrived.
  • A direction implies active and sustained movement towards something.

What is the measure of maturity?

What is it that makes a Christian disciple “mature”?

Consider this: in the Bible, we read about many people who encountered Jesus, from ultra-religious pharisees to prostitutes, extortioners and even thieves.

If the measure of spiritual maturity is simply knowledge or religious observance, then it’s no question: the pharisees were more mature. They knew more about the Bible and their record of religious observance was spotless. The only problem was: the pharisees were far from God in their hearts. (Mark 7:6 – “These people honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me).

On the other hand, you have people like Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10), an extortioner who hasn’t got everything in his life sorted out, but he’s changed directions and is moving towards Jesus even though he’s just now at the beginning of his journey.

Who is the greater disciple? The answer is: Zacchaeus, because he is moving towards Jesus, as opposed to the pharisee who isn’t.

The implications of viewing discipleship in this way

Viewing discipleship as direction rather than a destination has profound implications. It means that you don’t become a disciple by successfully learning a block of material or completing a discipleship workbook or 4-part class. Rather discipleship is an ongoing process.

Unlike justification, which is an outside, definitive, unchanging status that is bestowed on a believer by God, discipleship by definition implies sustained movement. So, if at one point in your life you were passionately seeking God and following Jesus, but are not currently doing so, your past discipleship doesn’t make up for your current posture. Knowledge, longevity nor familiarity equate to having “arrived” as a disciple, in other words. Discipleship is about direction.

A Case Study: the Cussing Christian

When I was pastoring in Hungary, we had a young woman come to our church. She had grown up in an atheist family and her father was a musician. She was a bohemian herself. At our church, she heard the gospel, and she received it – and immediately she began to grow and change. She was at every Bible study, taking copious notes, so hungry to know God and understand His Word and His will for her life. She was all-in, whole-heartedly following Jesus and asked to be baptized.

She also cussed like a sailor. My wife and I learned some new Hungarian words from her… You see, we were fluent in Hungarian, but being in church settings, there were certain “colorful” words, which we had never been exposed to. That all changed when this woman came around. Every Wednesday, after Bible study, there was a time for people to ask questions and then we would pray together. She would often have questions or comments, a praise report or a prayer request – and as she would speak, we’d hear her say some words which didn’t recognize, and then we’d watch as the others in the group grimaced from the words she chose to use. Quickly, we learned what those words meant.

Although we didn’t love the fact that she was using this language, we were happy to see the change in her heart and in her life and her obvious love for Jesus. This was how she had talked before she came to know the Lord, and we trusted that the Holy Spirit would do the work of sanctification, and as she followed Jesus, she would be transformed in every area, including this one.

One day a middle-aged woman from the church approached me. She was angry that we allowed this woman to come to our church and be baptized, considering that she used foul language. This middle-aged woman had been raised in a Christian home, but had a penchant for gossiping about others and slandering them. Unlike with the young woman, I had not witnessed any of the fruits of the spirit in this middle-aged woman’s life, but instead had distinctly seen judgmental and legalistic tendencies.

Which of these two women was the greater disciple? Clearly the older woman knew more about the Bible and had been a Christian longer, but if discipleship is a direction, then the answer is: the younger woman.

What direction are you moving in?

If discipleship is about active, sustained direction, what direction are you moving in? Have you perhaps stagnated?

The good news is, you can change direction. That’s what the word “repentance” means: to change direction.

That was, after all, the first message Jesus preached: “repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” Change directions, whatever you’ve been pursuing, running after – instead, change directions and follow me.