Author Archives: Harley Scalf

Harley Scalf ~ Easter Living: Fear of Missing Out

It was a heartfelt sentiment: “In honor of the dessert we never got to share.” Those words were penned by Dr J. Ellsworth Kalas in a book he gave to my wife Jessica and me. Due to flight delays and an already-busy schedule, we had to forego our plans and get straight to business. There was little to no time left for such things as ice cream, hot fudge, and toppings. It pains me to even write such a sentence.

I hate that we didn’t get to enjoy that dessert.

Scripture tells us that there is “a time to hate.” I think, perhaps, that word is used far too often in our polarized world. One party hates the other, or at least their policies. We hate this type of food. We hate that type of music. I wish we wouldn’t say such things. Language of any sort has the potential to lose its significance when it is overused.

Such is the case with words like hate, sin, depravity, repentance, grace, and even Easter and Resurrection. To be sure, the words do still have a great deal of meaning and significance behind them. The entire Christian faith hangs on these words and how we deal with them.

Consider certain hymns: my, how the early church did sing them with such enthusiasm! Our instructions were clear, at least from John Wesley’s perspective: “Sing lustily and with good courage. Beware of singing as if you were half dead, or half asleep; but lift up your voice with strength.”

I think we follow those instructions, at least in the beginning. All too quickly though, the tune becomes familiar, the melody rote, and the words hollow.

Consider the words by another Wesley, John’s brother Charles:

Long my imprisoned spirit lay,

Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;

Thine eye diffused a quickening ray—

I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;

My chains fell off, my heart was free,

I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

Read those words again. What significance is held there! The sin and depravity in which we find ourselves bound is not casually removed – it’s completely cast off, the chains are on the dungeon floor, not on our wrists or around our ankles!

Here we are barely more than a week after Easter. The extra worship services are complete. The celebration is over…or is it?

The word hate is far too overused. However, I do hate that I missed that dessert with Dr. Kalas. I hate even more that sometimes we miss the significance of Easter and the Resurrection of Jesus. It’s not just language, it’s more than words: it’s life-altering, it’s history-making!

When flights get changed and meetings get shifted, we are forced to adjust our schedules accordingly…so over the past few months, having been to the cross, visited the empty tomb, and celebrated the Resurrection, let us now live in awareness of the sin for which we will never be crucified.

I’d hate for you to miss Resurrection living.

Harley Scalf ~ Then Face to Face: Remembering Ellsworth Kalas

One thing leads to another. You probably understand how this works. At first, we were just going to replace the carpet in one room. Then, the carpet in another room seemed just as bad. Since we were replacing carpet in two rooms (and now the worn flooring in the foyer area), we may as well paint. You understand.

Fast forward a bit and the flooring has been replaced, the trim is finished, the walls are painted, and things look great. However, we have no window coverings…no blinds, no curtains. So now, of course, we need new curtains. Jessica and I were looking at curtains a couple of days ago. She saw some she liked and they were really inexpensive. I mean, really inexpensive! I walked over and grabbed the fabric. It was inexpensive for a reason…the material was so thin you could see right through it. This wasn’t part of the design, it was the result of cheap materials & manufacturing.


On November 12, 2015, one of the finest preachers this world has ever borne witness to passed from this life to the next. Dr. J. Ellsworth Kalas was my preaching professor. He was more than that to me, though. He was a mentor, an influencer, an inspiration, and a friend. To be sure, it wasn’t the kind of friendship where we were together every chance we got. It was the kind of friendship that answered every letter with a letter of his own. It was the kind of friendship that spoke gracious, loving words of encouragement and sometimes words of challenge.

It was the kind of friendship where a delayed flight results in our not being able to get some ice cream together and I can sense the sadness of “the dessert we didn’t get to share” (and the note that followed that meeting where he penned that reflection).

In one of his many books, “Preaching from the Soul,” Dr. Kalas offers some advice to those who are behind the “sacred desk” every week preaching: “There is only one Sunday that matters – this one – and only one sermon to be preached – this one. So fall in love with this sermon.”

That line has stuck with me – so much so that I actually wrote a reflection paper based on those words. In typical Dr. Kalas fashion, his notes on my paper caused me to feel both humbled and encouraged: “Thank you for helping me better understand what I wrote.”

The curtains were so thin you could see right through them to the other side…

Times like this give us pause. We who are left on earth realize just how thin the veil really is between earth and heaven. Even last semester, Dr. Kalas (at age 92) was teaching and traveling.

Even the best wordsmith would come up shy in an attempt to depict the vastness of his influence on the Church.


Dr. Kalas began each class with, “let’s say our prayers…”

So today, I say my prayers.

Thank you, God, for Ellsworth Kalas, who helped me better understand your calling on my life and the faith by which I live. May I never lose hope, never give up, and continue to work  for your Kingdom till I pass through that thin veil and enter the Church Triumphant.


Harley Scalf ~ Secular and Sacred

What is secular? What is sacred? What’s the difference?

I have had this conversation within every congregation I’ve ever served, and a few times even outside the walls of the church. In fact, I had this conversation just recently when meeting with worship leaders from our various campuses. (The subject mostly comes up when discussing music.)

My question to the worship leaders was, “what are some “non-churchy” songs that may fit with the Scripture and message?” One leader spoke up and said he did not like doing “secular” music once worship started. I think probably most worship leaders feel this way. That’s just a guess on my part, but it’s been my experience, so it’s at least an informed guess.

To be clear, I have no issue with wanting to do a certain style or genre of music in worship. Most every church has their own flavor of music: southern Gospel, rock-n-roll, traditional hymnody, jazz, country western. If you think of a style of music, there’s probably a church somewhere that utilizes that style to reach people for Jesus, and thank God they do!

It brings up a bigger theological question for me, though: What makes one thing sacred and another secular?

It’s not the tune. Like I said above, churches are using all genres of music.

It can’t simply be the words. Let’s be honest about this. There are a ton of worship songs that are just simply fluff. Throw in some cool guitar chords, mention Jesus (and maybe the Holy Spirit…if you have to), and there’s your song: just rinse and repeat 15 times! Seriously, can’t we do better than this!? As an example, here’s a worship song that could be sung to Jesus – or to a middle-school crush:

  I want to touch you

 I want to see your face

I want to know you more

And here’s a song from the other side of that great secular/sacred divide, “One” by U2:

One love

One blood

One life

You got to do what you should

One life

With each other



One life

But we’re not the same

We get to

Carry each other

Carry each other

That second song – the secular one – sounds more appropriate (and just less awkward) for church than the first. So, then, my questions become:

Why must we have a sacred?

Why must we have a secular?

Do we enjoy division that much?

A.W. Tozer wrote of this division:

One of the greatest hindrances to internal peace which the Christian encounters is the common habit of dividing our lives into two areas, the sacred and the secular. As these areas are conceived to exist apart from each other and to be morally and spiritually incompatible, and as we are compelled by the necessities of living to be always crossing back and forth from the one to the other, our inner lives tend to break up so that we live a divided instead of a unified life…This is the old sacred-secular antithesis. Most Christians are caught in its trap. They cannot get a satisfactory adjustment between the claims of the two worlds. They try to walk the tight rope between two kingdoms and they find no peace in either. Their strength is reduced, their outlook confused and their joy taken from them.

I’m with Tozer on this one. In reality, I believe there’s no such thing as this sacred/secular divide, at least not as we Christians tend to define it today. Are there things that God has declared holy and sacred? Of course! Think of Holy Communion or baptism. There are also things that would detract from our relationship with God. Those things would not be considered holy and sacred (think sin!).

Somewhere along the way, though, we have self-appointed ourselves to be judge and jury in the trial of sacred-vs-secular. Herein lies the problem. This is how the divide is created, at least in our own little worlds. This is how we Christians unplug from our communities. This is how we become irrelevant to our neighbors and the unchurched.

If we enjoy something, it must be of God. If we don’t like (or understand) something, we become more like Mama Boucher in the Adam Sandler movie Waterboy, and everything is “the devil”!

Christians are supposed to be followers of Jesus. Jesus, who left heaven (the most sacred of all places), and came to earth (the most secular of all places…at least when compared to heaven). He’s the guy who was both fully God (Sacred) and fully human (secular). He’s the guy who wants to take us from where we are (secular-minded) to where He wants us to be (sacred, holy, set apart). He’s the guy who became the atoning sacrifice for our sins (sacred) when the Romans crucified him (secular).

Jesus does not divide the sacred from the secular. Instead, He takes the secular and redeems it, thus making it sacred. There is no divide as we understand it, because Jesus stands in the gap reaching with one nail-pierced hand to each side, uniting all of creation into one holy Kingdom.

What is secular? What is sacred? It seems to me that the answer to that question all depends on the level of surrender you and I make to Jesus.

Why does there seem to be such a division between the two? Good question…

Harley Scalf ~ Grace and an Empty Pop Bottle

I’m only 34. I’m not old. As life continues on, it seems I repeat that to myself with more frequency each day.

I’m not old, but I do remember something that the teenagers of today do not. I remember the days of glass soda bottles. I’m from West Virginia, originally, so we called them pop bottles…mainly because that’s what they’re supposed to be called! For the sake of everyone reading this, what I’m referring to were soda – or Coke – or pop bottles.

In those days, we lived up a holler: that’s another thing you may not understand. Some people call them hollows. Either way, it was a dirt road with one way in and one way out. It was a holler.

At the “mouth” (aka beginning) of the holler was a small convenience store, an IGA. We knew the owners fairly well. That didn’t mean much in that small, rural West Virginia town. In towns like that, everyone knows everyone. Still, as a young child, it felt important that we knew the family. When we would run out of pop, mom would set the empty glass bottles in their cartons on the kitchen counter. That was a signal to us kids. She wanted us to carry the bottles from our home to the IGA and bring back more pop.

The process was like this: my sister and I would take the empty RC bottles and walk them to the store. There, we would hand them over to a man behind an elevated counter. It seemed like he was 10 feet tall, but he was probably only a step or two above us. Then, in exchange for the empty bottles, he would give us money. It wasn’t much, but it was something. That money was used, generally, to put toward the purchase of more pop for the family. Most of the time, mom would throw in some extra change so that we could grab a few pieces of bubble gum for ourselves. I know now that it was a bit of a bribe to get us to go to the store for her. I didn’t care as long as I got my bubble gum. After checking out, we would walk the pop and chew our gum all the way back to the house. Those were good days.

There was a name for what we did. In fact, I think I recall that they even printed it on the glass bottle itself. It would say something like “Redeem 5¢” or “Return for Deposit.”

Redeem: we handed something to a person in a position of power (high above us), and that powerful person gave us something in return. It was an exchange. It was a redemption.

The Apostle Paul knew something of redemption, though it was considerably more profound than anything having to do with an RC Cola bottle. He wrote of it to the church in Ephesus as we read in Ephesians 1:7: “In [Jesus] we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.”

Redemption is an exchange. We pack up the emptiness of our lives. We walk it to the place of redemption – the feet of our Lord. We hand over our lives, placing our trust in the One with all power and knowledge. In return, we are given grace, forgiveness, hope, a new life in Jesus.
I learned of redemption very early in life, though I didn’t think of it in such theological ways. I learned of grace a little later in life, as a teenager, when I placed my trust in Jesus as Lord.

The grace of redemption can come upon us all at once like a crashing wave. It can reveal itself over a season of life similar to how the autumn leaves move from green to vivid orange, red, and yellow. It can even be relentless in how it floods our souls over and over again.

However grace comes to us, I am grateful that it comes at all. I’m ever grateful, too, that it is worth far more than an empty RC cola bottle.

Harley Scalf ~ The Power of Five

My life is being radically transformed by five minutes a day.

Just recently, I was “invited” to take part in a training event for church planters. My fellow clergy colleagues know the reason I put that word in quotation marks. When pastors get “invited” to participate in a meeting or training hosted by their conference or denomination, it’s a nice way of saying, “this is required and you must be present, but we want to sound really nice when we say that.” So, I was “invited” to be a part of this training.

I didn’t want to go. I grumbled. I complained. I whined. I looked for ways out. Nothing worked, so I went.

To my surprise, the training turned out to be a retreat. I rolled my eyes some more. With all the things I have going on trying to plant a new church, I did not have time for a training event, not to mention a retreat!

Over the course of this three-day retreat, I discovered something about myself. We were given some time to read in the book of Revelation chapters one and two. I was speed-reading (in spite of being instructed to slowly read and reflect). Then, God’s Word cut me to my core. As I was about to check off another thing on my list, I read these words from Revelation 2:2-4: “I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance…I also know that you are enduring patiently and bearing up for the sake of my name, and that you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.”

Without having realized it, I had become the church in Ephesus. I had become so busy working on planting a church that I had been neglecting my first love. I had not been working on my own personal relationship with Jesus. That’s the reason I am planting the church in the first place. I want people to know and fall in love with the Jesus I know and love. Yet, somehow, in the midst of everything, church work had taken over spiritual work…and make no mistake, the two are not the same.

Later in the retreat, we reviewed a spiritual inventory we had completed a month prior. Graphically, it was represented in a pie chart. Mine looked like someone had stolen a piece of my pie! The missing piece (or the piece that was extremely low) was about personal spiritual development – no big surprise there!

The rest of the retreat, to be quite honest, was a bit of a blur. I was so stunned by this divine revelation that my soul was deeply disturbed. How could it happen? Was this the path to burnout that so many pastors travel before leaving ministry? Was I becoming a statistic? Could I turn it around?

I began looking over my day. The truth is there was no time for personal spiritual development. My days were full of meetings, walking neighborhoods, phone calls, and emails. It was a very unhealthy way of doing ministry and life. I knew I needed God-time…just God and me. At the end of the day, I am so exhausted that I knew that would not have any benefit, because the moment I close my eyes to pray, I’d fall asleep. I’d tried that. It didn’t work – and the phrase, “when I fall asleep praying, it’s like I fall asleep in God’s arms” is just a lazy person’s way of getting out of prayer. That would not do. I had no time in the evening and no time during the day. The only time I could find was the morning. Let me just say that I don’t believe the devil is in the details, the devil is in the morning! I am not a morning person at all! I need at least ten minutes and a cup of coffee after waking before any conversation is directed toward me. I’m a firm believer that nothing should happen before 10 AM.

That being said, I had to make it work. It was my only option.

So, what did I do?

Well, I began setting my alarm clock to an earlier time…five minutes earlier.

That has been the key for me to turn things around. At first, it made little or no difference. Then, after a few days, five minutes became 15 minutes. Now, five minutes is an hour. I wake up before everyone else. I get dressed. I make coffee. I have God-time. It’s silent in the house. I invite God to come be with me, I read Scripture, I pray, and I listen to the Holy Spirit for whatever message I need to hear. This is sacred time for me. I believe it’s sacred time for God, too. I don’t check emails. I don’t check Facebook or Twitter. Those things can wait until after I’ve spent time with God.

I thank God for this time that I have. I thank God that He got my attention through an “invitation” to a retreat. I thank God that He saved me…again! I was headed in the wrong direction, even though the church was headed in the right direction.

Now, things are different. Things are better…not perfect, but better. My love for Jesus is getting stronger each day. And to think…it is all happening because of just five more minutes every day. Getting up five minutes earlier today than I got up yesterday. I’m willing to commit five minutes to recapture my first love. Will you give five more?

Harley Scalf ~ Relatives, Relationships, and the Resurrection

I was a freshman or sophomore in high school when my mom said something to me that I will never, ever forget. To be fair, she may have been having an off-day. I could have been behaving as a typical teenager (God help her!). I don’t recall the circumstances, but I most certainly do recall her words. “It wouldn’t surprise me a bit if you ended up a coal miner.”

My mom was not a mean person. Nor did she have low expectations of me. In fact, most of my life, she was always bragging about me and building me up. She had high hopes for me to get a college degree, a first in our family. Then, I would go on to do something great, in her mind.

Mom never said anything like that to me ever again. However, I would relive those words over and over again, thousands of times. I resolved that I would not ever be a coal miner.

That decision, by the way, has absolutely nothing to do with coal mining or coal miners. The meals I ate growing up were paid for by a coal miner through coal mining. The same goes for my clothing, housing, first car, etc. It’s a noble profession where men and women risk their lives with every punch of the time card so that they can provide for their families, and so that we can turn on our lights.

My decision has everything to do with expectations. People (at least my mom on that particular day) expected me to become a coal miner. It’s what every other male in our family had done. It was the norm for many young men in southern West Virginia (and perhaps still is). I wanted to defy expectations. I wanted to move beyond the normal and expected. I wanted to be something entirely different. So, I did…

We all have expectations thrust upon us. It’s a part of life. As an employee, one has to fulfill his/her boss’s expectations. As a child, we have parental expectations. As a parent, we have expectations of our children. Spouses have expectations, too. Most all relationships carry with them some level of expectation. It’s a fairly common problem. Yes, it really can be a problem.

To be clear, most of the time we need expectations. How else will we know what to do when we go to work unless there are certain tasks we are expected to perform? The problem arises when we allow the expectation to supersede the relationship. For example, when a spouse feels he/she must do certain tasks in order to achieve (win) the affection of the other (have dinner waiting on the table, get that promotion/raise, etc.).

So, you spend all your time obsessing with others’ expectations of you. The simple truth is this: a life filled with others’ expectations is a life empty of God’s realities.

The apostle Paul said it first in Galatians 1:10, “Am I now seeking human approval, or God’s approval? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still pleasing people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

It was true long ago. It’s still true today. You can’t spend all your time focusing on what other people expect of you. It’s the perfect recipe for a wasted life. You see, God’s realities for your life (his plan, his purpose, his destiny for you–I use the term “reality” because a plan is nebulous, lofty, a goal, but a reality is just that, real) far surpass the human expectation.

I never dreamed I would be living in Florida planting a brand new congregation. Yet, because God had a reality in which I was willing to participate, rather than simply try to meet others’ expectations, here I am. The same is true for you. God has a reality that goes beyond what you, or others, could ever imagine.

Consider for a moment the resurrection. It deserves much more than a mere moment, but at least give it that.  Three weeks ago, every Christian church (I hope!) celebrated this event on Easter Sunday. Imagine the expectation surrounding the resurrection. There wasn’t any!

Jesus’ followers were clueless, hopeless, lost, fearful, etc. Several had given years of their lives in expectation of a Jesus who would become a great ruler. They left their livelihoods to follow him. Now he was dead. How could he become a leader if he were dead?

Now that Jesus had died, his followers expected him to stay dead. I mean, he had even told them he would rise from the dead on the third day. I don’t mean to sound sacrilegious, but I’m pretty sure if I saw someone die, my number one expectation of that person would be that they would stay dead. It’s a pretty sure bet…no matter what they had predicted.

The Christian faith would be quite different if Jesus had tried to fulfill others’ expectations. The truth is, the Christian faith would be nonexistent. Ponder the implications of this. Jesus embraced God’s reality instead of fulfilling others’ expectations. The result is salvation, the Church, hope, forgiveness, redemption, and on and on. Now imagine what would happen if all of Jesus’ followers began living into God’s realities rather than others’ expectations. It’s a pretty cool reality.

Nobody expected the resurrection to happen, except of course, God. The entire Christian faith hinges on that reality.

Allow me to repeat myself: a life full of others’ expectations is a life empty of God’s realities.

Max Lucado, in his transformational book with one of the best titles I’ve ever seen, It’s Not About Me, writes, “For the life of me, I believe Satan trains battalions of demons to whisper one question in our ears: ‘What are people thinking of you?’”

What expectations are holding you back? Step away from those, and step into God’s reality. People will talk, for sure. At least give them something good to talk about.

Harley Scalf ~ Noah, Son of God, and God’s Not Dead

“Noah”, “Son of God”, and “God’s Not Dead” all have at least two things in common: they’ve not been seen by me and they all have Christians talking.
I have good, decent friends and colleagues who have seen these movies. Some say they liked all three. Some only like one & not the others. Some like two of the movies, and despise the “heretical” third (mostly “Noah”).
There it is…again. Christians everywhere are up in arms because a movie about a biblical figure isn’t biblically accurate (according to them).
We churchgoers are a strange bunch. We cry out we’re being persecuted (or discriminated against) and then when people make movies of the giant figures of our faith, we’re ready to fight. Why? Because they’re not exactly what we think they should be. It seems we like a good fight, especially one based on matters of faith. And we wonder why people don’t seem to want to be a part of “established” religion. Strange…
Here’s the bottom line: Christians are supposed to be people whose theology is derived from the Bible, not from the theater.
Let’s make the assumption that the movie is not biblically accurate (again, it is an assumption for me, because I’ve not seen it). My first thought is: so what!? How many movies have you seen in a theater in the past five years that have been biblically accurate (apart from the 3 listed above)? How many have been based on biblical figures? How many have actually been fairly “un-Christian” (whatever that is)? Be honest. What about your TV viewing at home? Found many sitcoms that glorify God lately? I sure haven’t (cue the Duck Dynasty comments).
So, what gives? What’s this all about? I can only reach one of two conclusions:
  1. Our faith is so weak/shallow that it is dramatically altered by these biblically inaccurate films.
  2. Our faith is so strong/deep that it is not altered at all by any film, but we just enjoy complaining and fighting.
Which is it?
The truth is there are much more important issues to cause concern for Christians and the Church. In many communities, and certainly around the world, there are hungry children, single parents, mourning families, needy elderly, and the list goes on and on.
Noah was a real person, no matter how accurate/inaccurate his story is told. The Son of God had a major impact upon our world and is the foundation of our faith. God, indeed, is not dead.
Because of these things, let’s spend more time deepening our own faith and understanding of what it means to be a follower of Jesus and stop arguing about movies.

Harley Scalf ~ Stop Inviting People to Church!

It’s so awkward…

Your spouse meets someone while they’re out. “The kids play so well together.” She says. “He’s pretty cool.” He tells you. “We’re alike in so many ways, it’s funny.” She says. “By the way, they’re coming over on Sunday.”

So, they had a connection. Now, you are forced into trying to achieve the same connection with the other spouse…who probably feels just as awkward about things as you do. Yet, neither of you dare mention it. You know better. Plus, it really wouldn’t help matters.

Sometimes, the connection comes. It’s a relief when it does. You like the same struggling sports team (Let’s Go Mountaineers?!). You drink the same soda. Whatever it is, sometimes it’s a fit. It’s great when that happens.

Then, there are those other times…

Sometimes, it just doesn’t work. You plan, you try, you fail. Your attempt at conversation is met by a lackluster, “yup” and you know it’s gonna be a long day.

It reminds me of the current model of evangelism we have in the church.

Let me explain:

We want our congregation to grow, so we invite people to church. We have evangelism plans designed to add to the church. We ask people to volunteer in the church. We have people give to the church. We have folks make commitments to the church. We ask people to join the church so they can be members of the church. If we’re successful with all this inviting to church and asking for church, we basically end up creating people for church – church people.

Then, when these church people begin to act petty, when they argue over ridiculous things that don’t really matter, when feelings get hurt and dysfunction becomes king, we ask, “Why? How? The church was growing, why are people acting like this?”

But how could they not?

All we’ve done is invite them to bring their baggage, their selfishness and everything else, into a camp meeting that’s already so full of nasty baggage it looks more like a landfill than a church. And that’s when we ask Jesus to step in…and it’s just plain awkward. If, as the Bible says, the Church is the bride of Christ, it’s exactly like your husband or wife inviting the other couple to your house.

Up until now we haven’t really talked about Jesus. We didn’t tell people about the transformational nature of Jesus. We didn’t talk about self-sacrifice. We invited people to become church members, not Jesus-followers.

And that’s what we got. Now, Jesus is saying, “So, what am I supposed to talk to her about? You’ve invited them to be in church. They’ve been there for years and sit on your boards. They’re your friend. You didn’t ask my opinion before now. What do you want me to do?”

Luckily, Jesus can step in and fix things.

I’ve got a plan to avoid all the headaches, angry emails, heated meetings, and sleepless nights. It won’t fix everything, but I think it’s a huge first step:

Stop inviting people to church! Stop it! Right Now!

Don’t invite people to your church. We know the results of that. It rarely works anyway. Even when people actually show up, most don’t stick around for long. They sense the discontentment. They recognize the troubles. They head for the door.

Invite them, instead, to follow Jesus. No, it’s not the same thing. Following Jesus means I’m not the most important person in the world…not even in this room…even when I’m alone.

Following Jesus is about turning over my desires, my wants, my needs to him. It’s about putting to death my own selfishness, narcissism, greed, desire for control, etc. When we follow Jesus, things change, churches become places of hope, restoration, and redemption, and communities are transformed.

It’s a game-changer. Meetings become inspiring, evangelism becomes more about the Kingdom of God than it does about growing a local congregation, marriages are healed, chains of addiction are broken, and death gives way to life! Following Jesus is exciting stuff!

Don’t mistake what I’m saying. We need to be connected to other believers. The best way to do that is through a local congregation. I’m in the beginning stages of starting a new church, so I am surely not anti-church. I just realize there are more important things…like Jesus.

I want people to come to the church. I want every church to be filled. I just want them to be filled with, and invited to become, Jesus followers and not church members.

So instead of inviting people to church, let’s invite them to follow Jesus.