PRAISE GOD IT’S MONDAY!
A WEEKLY ‘WWW (world-wide word) OF ENCOURAGEMENT’
TO THOSE IN MINISTRY

A FREE service, currently connecting with Christian leaders from 3,000 denominations and ministries, in 70 countries.

Issue No: 240     Published: 29 May 2006

A QUERY - MEGA OR NOT?

Having completed 12 weeks of "God's Call to the Church', it was excellent to get this feedback which I thought appropriate to use for this week's editorial.

Besides, it gives me another week to come up with something else! Thank you Nico!

The first 2 photos are of the Crystal Cathedral in Orange County, California, USA.
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Dear Dave,
Thank you for your PGIM emails. I find them a great blessing.

Over the last few weeks I have been reading concerning some comments made by you and some of your readers about the “mega-church” phenomenon. We certainly are not a mega-church, but our congregation is growing steadily all the time doubling in size annually. We are 3 years old and have just over 300 members with many more “permanent” visitors. We fall in the 10% of churches you mentioned in your newsletter.

I have adopted the approach of teaching and discipling a few good men and encouraging them to each do the same. I have a team of 11 lay-pastors each serving in our small congregation. All of these were once just church goers, now they are reproducing what they have been taught. I believe that our ministry is to teach and train the body to resemble Christ in our worship, passion and purpose. I have found that if you challenge people to do that … they will. Now the problem is this: If every person coming to your church sees themselves as both a disciple and a mentor, how do you stop them from bringing more families into the body? This is not driven by good deeds or grace in themselves, but by a sincere passion and relationship with Christ.

The very heart contained in the true sharing of the life of Christ is in itself fruitful and multiplies as it reaches the lost souls in this world.

Why I am saying this is that we are finding ourselves growing rapidly toward want you are teaching is against the truth of the Word. What I find difficult to understand, and maybe you can shed some light, is how this can be happening. How can we turn those away who feel the love and compassion of Christ in our midst?

Dave, please can you share some of your insight on these questions.

Thanks and God bless

Nico
South Africa
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Hi Nico
Many thanks for your thoughtful comments.

I am not as much against mega churches as some of our readers are! However, what I am against, is
1. As a pastor, the perception that your spiritual success and worth is measured by the size of your church.
2. That your people can be effectively ministered to solely by providing a slick Sunday presentation in a big church, without also, a personal relationship with the congregation members to build their individual relationships with Jesus.

I see larger churches as potentially, but not always, being good at providing worship, insightful teaching, perhaps mission support, and likely counselling, as things that are more practical or economically possible in a bigger congregation. However, the area of home groups, cells or whatever you want to call them, is the weakness of just about every larger church. Yet it is this personal inter relationship which is at the very heart of the gospel. The Jewish experiential faith is oriented around learning personally from others, while our western, Greek oriented faith, is simply based around knowledge and mental acceptance, not necessarily living our faith out. In reality, the larger the church, the easier it is live this way.

I see that you are attempting to overcome this through your lay-pastors. If they are allowed to be true pastors and look after their sheep, trusted to relate to them personally as a servant, not an authority figure, jointly sharing experiences, learning together, letting the Holy Spirit have His way, without having to toe the line of an overall church 'programme' effectively designed to make everyone the same, then your system, in my view, has a good chance of working! Effectively you would be creating churches within the church, with all the potential difficulties that brings.

My ideal would be to have loosely associated small groups meeting occasionally on a city (or suburb) basis for worship and encouragement, teaching for those wanting it, and with counselling services being available where required. I am realistic enough to know that this is unlikely to happen, as it would make most paid pastors redundant. And remove the 'clergy class', so entrenched in the current system.

But, in the end, my most radical idea would be to encourage persecution of the church, for throughout history, persecution seems to have been the most effective method of promoting the gospel! Then we truly have to be reliant upon Jesus! For we can talk about systems and organization as much as we like, but in the end, it all comes back to growing our personal relationship with Jesus. Of putting Him first in our life. I am happy with any means that achieves that!

Looking forward to your comments.

Cheers
David

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FROM THE WORD

Just for fun, I thought I would list the 4 references to crystal in the Bible. No ulterior motive!

"“But where can wisdom be found? Where does understanding dwell? Man does not comprehend its worth; it cannot be found in the land of the living. The deep says, ‘It is not in me’; the sea says, ‘It is not with me.’ It cannot be bought with the finest gold, nor can its price be weighed in silver. It cannot be bought with the gold of Ophir, with precious onyx or sapphires. Neither gold nor crystal can compare with it, nor can it be had for jewels of gold. Coral and jasper are not worthy of mention; the price of wisdom is beyond rubies. The topaz of Cush cannot compare with it; it cannot be bought with pure gold." (Job 28:12-19)

"After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircled the throne. Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God. Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal. (Revelation 4:1-6a)

"One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal." (Revelation 21:9-11)

"Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. (Revelation 22:1-2)

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DAVID'S DOODLINGS

GENERAL

191. Earthly governance is based upon society imposed rules but godly governance requires individuals to care for each other.

194. Earthly governance is imposed from without, but godly governance bubbles up from within.

192. 'To be or not to be?', that is Shakespeares question. 'To be and to do', that is God's answer.

193. In the human body, pain facilitates the healing process. Unfortunately it's the same in the spiritual!

197. A life without pain is a life devoid of feeling.

195. Men generally think of a group in terms of averages, while women view it as a collection of individuals.

196. Men tend to focus upon the group, women upon individuals. So women find God more easily than men.

204. We must remember that without individuals, there would be no 'Law of Averages'.

198. Before complaining about pain, ask a leper if they would like pain in their life.

199. I would have a great body if I ate less, exercised more and became a year younger with every birthday! Therefore I am greatly relieved that God is interested in the state of my soul!

200. The best way to find happiness is to give it away to others.

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FROM YOU - TO ME - TO YOU

My dear brother David,

Once again, I feel led to respond to an ezine. This time it has to do with the closing prayer for Principle 11 which I quote here: "But God, how can I fulfil MY vision if I have no flock to help me, for surely my vision is their vision!" "David, my son, serve your people and give your life up for for them, as Jesus did." "But God... OK God!""

As I read this prayer, I was immediately reminded of a prayer of frustration and I imagine impatience that I prayed a number of years ago. (Not many) I asked God what in the world he wanted from me. Why did he put me in this church? And, some other desparate questions. This is what I heard God say to me, "Love my people." I responded, "What did you say Lord?" And once again I heard God answer, "Love my people."

I have been doing my best to fulfill God's direction for my ministry by loving his people. And, God' people are beginning to respond to him too.

Praise the Lord!

In His Service,
Ron Burbank
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Uhm David,

My father never taught me that poem. His poetic contributions to my development ran more along the line of:
I eat my peas with honey.
I've done it all my life.
It makes the peas taste funny,
but keeps them on the knife.

So perhaps, you could share YOUR poem with us? It sounds pretty interesting.

Having grown up in the Netherlands, I was, of course, taught that the Germans merely tried to lay claim to an invention, that was first invented by the Dutchman, Laurens Janszoon Coster. This being a bone of contention between the Dutch and the Germans, that may have been the actual reason for WWII (rather than Lebensraum). :-)

Any encyclopedia worth it's purchase price (or a Google search) will reveal that the Chinese were actually printing well before 1450. The one I looked up actually states: "It is impossible to determine who actually invented the are of printing." It states that in Dutch, so see how far we've come!

David Boyd
The Netherlands

NOTE: If you would like to read IF by Rudyard Kipling, go to http://www.swarthmore.edu/~apreset1/docs/if.html
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Your comments to me or fellow readers are always welcomed at... david@wwj.org.nz

This is an opportunity for you to express your views, which may not be my views. But none of us have a mortgage on all the truth - except for Jesus!

CRANWELL'S CARTOON

6 After forty days Noah opened the window he had made in the ark 7 and sent out a raven, and it kept flying back and forth until the water had dried up from the earth. 8 Then he sent out a dove to see if the water had receded from the surface of the ground. 9 But the dove could find no place to set its feet because there was water over all the surface of the earth; so it returned to Noah in the ark. He reached out his hand and took the dove and brought it back to himself in the ark. 10 He waited seven more days and again sent out the dove from the ark. 11 When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth. 12 He waited seven more days and sent the dove out again, but this time it did not return to him. (Genesis 8:6-12)


EXPLANATION FOR NON-NEW ZEALANDERS! The largest of the Moas, Dinornis giganteus was the tallest bird which ever lived. Standing at nearly three metres tall and weighing approximately 240kg it lived only in New Zealand. Sadly it was hunted to extinction several hundred years ago.

TO READ THIS CARTOON AND SEE THE OTHER
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TUESDAY TEACHINGS

A REVELATION OF....... THE TABERNACLE OF DAVID - Part 3

GIVING UP OUR OWN WAYS
A huge problem we all face is giving up on our own ways and desires and substituting those modelled to us by Jesus.

But being prepared to submit to this process in our lives is essential for us to enter the fullness of His kingdom.

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LAUGHING AT OURSELVES

***Blessed are those who can laugh at themselves for they shall never cease to be amused***

*** "Those who can't laugh at themselves leave the job to others." ***

499. THREE CAMELS
Noah was standing at the gangplank checking off the pairs of animals when he saw three camels trying to get on board.

"Wait a minute!" he said. "Two each is the limit. One of you will have to stay behind."
"It won't be me," said the first camel. "I'm the camel whose back is broken by the last straw."

"I'm the one people swallow while straining at a gnat," said the second.

"And I am the one that shall pass through the eye of a needle sooner than a rich man shall enter heaven." said the third.

"Well, I guess you had better all come in," said Noah, "the world is going to need all of you."

498. MEETING GOD
Two lifelong friends had a running argument. The black friend would argue that God was black, and the white friend would disagree and say that God was white.

One day, they decided to go fishing. On the way back, they were still arguing about whether or not God was black or white. Before they knew it, they where in an accident, and they found themselves in heaven. When they got there, St. Peter met them at the Pearly gates. Again, the question was brought up, "Is God black or white?"

St. Peter told them to have a seat in the waiting room and God would come out and talk to them about it.

While they were waiting, they continued to argue whether God was black or white. Then they heard some footsteps coming. They turned around as the door swung open and in stepped in God in His grandest toga.

They looked to Him expectantly, waiting for His answer to their long running argument.
He smiled at them and said, "Hola muchachos!"

Ya know -- God doesn't care what color you are - 'cause He made all of 'em!

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FACTS FOR FUN

LAST WEEKS QUESTION: Why do some animals have eyes that glow in the dark?

ANSWER: Many mammals, like the cat, have what is called a '"tapetum lucidum", that is, there's an area behind their retinas of their eyes, that reflects light back into the eye. By increasing or rather, by bouncing the light that comes into their eyes, these
animals effectively increase the amount of light available for their eyes to see with, and increase their ability to see in what we perceive as "darkness".

In other words, because they have this area in their eyes that reflects light, animals with a tapetum lucidum can see better in the dark than we can. (People don't have a tapetum lucidum) Tom F Ihde

THIS WEEK'S QUESTION: What is the underlying meaning of the number '7' in the Bible?

Answer Next Week.

SOME FUN FACTS

506. HARD HEADED
Ancient Egyptians slept on pillows made of stone. (Most died before the age of 30 however!)

507. MUCH PERSEVERANCE REQUIRED
If you counted steadily 24 hours a day, it would take 31,688 years to reach one trillion! (With sleep, 42251 years, with a stutter – don’t start!)

508. THAT'S REALLY HOT!
A lightning bolt generates temperatures five times hotter than those found on the sun's surface! (‘Lightening hot’ as well as ‘lightening fast’.)

A WORD PUZZLE FOR YOU

Make another word from this word using all the letters.

SOWED

Answer at the end of A David Musing

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BIBLE QUESTION - THE GOSPELS

About how many languages has the Bible been translated into?

a. 400
b. 800
c. 1500
d. 3000

Answer at the end of A DAVID MUSING.

Source: "TwoPaths Bible Study, www.twopaths.com"

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IF ONLY I'D THOUGHT OF IT!

"""OTHER'S SAYINGS TO ENLIGHTEN, AMUSE, OR BEMUSE"""

!!!!!!! Joy is not the absence of suffering, but rather the presence of God.

!!!!!! We claim the Victory because there's no sound of retreat.

!!!!! Some roosters believe the Sun has come up to listen to it crow.

!!!! Christians are like automobiles; they start missing before they quit.

!!! To realize the worth of the anchor, we need to feel the storm.

!! No cloud comes into your life but that God has put a rainbow in it.

! Yes, God demands a whole heart, but he will accept a broken one, if he gets all the pieces.

100'S MORE TO BE FOUND AT...

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TAKE THE TIME TO LAUGH

IN LINE
Father to teen: Do you mind if I use the car tonight? I'm taking your mother out and I would like to impress her.

THE MEEK SHALL INHERIT
A small, uncertain, and nervous witness was being cross-examined. The lawyer thundered, "Have you ever been married?"

"Yes, sir," said the witness in a low voice. "Once."

"Whom did you marry?" the lawyer demanded.

"Well, a woman," the witness answered timidly.

The lawyer said angrily, "Of course you married a woman. Did you ever hear of anyone marrying a man?"

And the witness said meekly, "My sister did."

A SICK SNAKE
An old snake goes to see his Doctor.

"Doc, I need something for my eyes, I can't see very well these days."

The Doc fixes him up with a pair of glasses and tells him to return in 2 weeks.

The snake comes back in 2 weeks and tells the doctor he's very depressed.

Doc says, "What's the problem? Didn't the glasses help you?"

"The glasses are fine doc, but I just discovered I've been living with a water hose the past 2 years!"

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MANNERS AND CUSTOMS IN BIBLICAL LANDS

CLAY FIGURES CALLED TERAPHIM
Were hosehold gods that served as guardian angels of the home in Babylonia, being passed down from father to oldest son. Rachel stole her father's teraphim (Genesis 31:19) when leaving Laban's home in Haran. Laban was so upset he persued Jacob's caravan. Even though Jacob told his family to get rid the foreign gods and purify themselves, the teraphim appeared again several times in Jewish history.

Adapted from: '1001 Surprising Things You Should Know About The Bible' MacGregor & Prys

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MOST AMERICANS STILL CHRISTIAN, BUT OTHER FAITHS RISE

NEW YORK (RNS)-A study of American religious identification shows that the majority of adult adherents continue to be tied to Protestant and other non-Catholic denominations but the numbers of those who say they are non-Christians or have no religion have risen
substantially.

The American Religious Identification Survey, 2001, was released last week by the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. It is a follow-up to a survey conducted in 1990.

The survey found that 52 I percent of American adults I are Protestant, 24.5 percent are Catholic and 14.1 percent are not affiliated with a religion. Researchers determined that 1.3 percent of adult Americans described their religion as Jewish and 6.5 percent as Muslim.

The results, based on more than 50,000 adult respondents, found that Protestant and other non-Catholic denominations continue to have the majority of adult adherents-more than 105.4 million-but their proportion dropped from 60 percent in 1990 to 52 percent in 2001.

The number of adults who identify with a non-Christian religion rose dramatically from about 5.8 million to 7.7 million. Their proportion increased slightly-to 3.7 percent from 3.3 percent in 1990.

Researchers found that the number of adults identifying with no religion more than doubled, from 14.3 million (8 percent) in 1990 to 29.4 million (14.1 percent) in 2001.

Adults who described themselves as Muslim or Islamic totaled 1.1 million, almost double the number in 1990. Twenty-three percent of this group-said they were black while the vast majority of the others said they were white or Asian.

The study was released in the same week that the American Jewish Committee announced new research it commissioned that estimates that Muslims of all ages total about 1.8 million, far lower than current estimates reported by some media of 5 million to 8 million.

Tom Smith, director of the General Social Survey at the University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Center, said: "It is hard to accept estimates that Muslims are greater than one percent of the population, or 2,814,000."

By way of the Western Recorder, the official publication of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.

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DAVID'S DOWNLOAD

A REVELATION OF……. 3 KINGDOM AGES OF GOD

- An excellent tool to help better understand Bible history and God's plan for mankind throughout the ages. Kingdom ages, that is! And to get a glimpse of the kingdom yet to come and how we can participate in it.
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VICTORY!

The inspiration for the first two parts of this poem came from a cross-island trek Kathy
and I went on when we were staying on the beautiful Island of Rarotonga, in the Cook
Islands. For those who don’t know, The Cooks are situated around the Tropic of Capricorn
in the Pacific Ocean. A great place to visit! The last part is based loosely on the book
of Revelation, Chapters 21 and 22, the biblical promise of what is to come. Hope it is
both enjoyable and challenging to you. Of course it is just verse, so is not all strictly
theologically accurate! Called poetic licence! (Part 1 of 9)

Last week, the climb started.

VICTORY!

THE MOUNTAIN CLIMB (continued)

He shows us all the interesting points along the way,
Has a guidebook, called his ‘Bible’, I heard him say.
Knows all the small birds, twittering from tree to tree,
His oneness with the creation, is just wondrous to see.

For some aren’t used to this mountain climbing lark,
Exercise for them means a leisurely stroll in the park!
Of these ones Jesus takes considerable, extra care,
Before their continual grizzling, gets into our hair!

The tropical rain forest was so lush at the beginning,
But as we progress, the trees they are now thinning,
The further we go, the steeper the track,
Some of us wish, we could now turn back.

But rules are rules, as teachers so often say,
A condition of the trip at the end of the day,
So we all plod on as the going gets harder,
Learning new skills, seeking to be smarter.

Until two of the party hit upon a brilliant idea,
A shortcut ahead, look! There, nothing to fear!
So off they went, full of confidence that they best knew,
More insight than the rest of us, two of the chosen few.

Jesus stands sadly by, watching them depart,
Their leaving weighing so heavily, on his heart.
Surprisingly he says, "Let them go, that is their choice,
Should they cry out though, I will still hear their voice."

Another of the party misses a turn in the track,
Off into the bush, a sense of
direction did lack.
Jesus stops us all, while he goes to look,
In finding this person, every care he took.

(To be continued next week)

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A DAVID MUSING

This week, we have visitors coming on Sunday, the time when I would normally write PGIM. So I have had to do it early! Amazing how good it feels to be finished with a day to spare!

But, no doubt, next week I will be back to my old habits! Amazing how we put off things until we need to do them! Same in God. But we don't know God's 'dead'line, do we? So it is essential to be prepared at all times! And break the habits of a lifetime.

So until next week...

MAY GOD BLESS YOU AND YOU BLESS GOD.

His servant and yours

David Tait

Today's 'Word Puzzle' Answer: DOWSE

TODAY'S 'DO YOU KNOW?' ANSWER: c. 1500. In whole or part, the Bible has been translated into over 1500 Languages.

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ABOUT US

WALKING WITH JESUS MINISTRIES is a non-profit, non-denominational, Bible based ministry located in Hastings, New Zealand. A ministry dedicated to developing discipleship, fostering unity amongst God’s people to achieve the Great Commission, and in doing so, preparing for Christ’s return. It is securely based upon the foundational principles of the Apostles Creed while recognising the wide and rich diversity of beliefs amongst Christians in other areas. In accordance with the Lord’s direction, materials produced by the ministry are available, free of charge, to genuine enquirers upon request. The ministry is solely funded by donations, as the Lord provides. A list of materials available (plus some fun!) is obtainable and freely downloadable from our website
wwj.org.nz or by contacting us as follows.

Walking With Jesus Ministries
290 Flaxmere Avenue
Flaxmere
Hastings
New Zealand

Phone: (06) 8799 911 International (+64) 6 8799 911
Email: enquiries@wwj.org.nz
Web: wwj.org.nz

Our role is to bless and encourage those in ministry while promoting co-operation and unity of direction amongst the body of Christ, as emphasised 3 times by Jesus in His longest prayer, immediately prior to His arrest and crucifixion. "… so that they may be one as we are one." (John 17:12, 21, 23-4) Our website is currently being developed to encourage your participation one with another, to share resources, and to enable you to promote events and items of interest to the body as a whole – and have a smile while doing it!

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