Archive for the ‘On Our Hearts’ Category

Annual Conference Focuses on Church Multiplication and District Succession

The 2015 district conference featured Jan David Hettinga speaking on multiplication.  Drawing on his own experience in leading a church that has produced a network of 20 churches, Jan talked about multiplying followers, leaders, and churches.  This multiplication arises from four values in the church: the supremacy of Christ, community, transformation, and multiplication.  Multiplication flows from the other three values; if they are not in place, multiplication will stall.

Jan led a workshop on pastoral succession, while his wife, Scharme, led one on a woman’s identity in Christ as foundational to ministry.  Other workshops touched on themes that included disciplemaking, family nurture, justice issues, young leaders, and practical community involvement.

The conference also heard from EFCA president Bill Hamel and presidential nominee Kevin Kompelien.  These men reminded us of where the EFCA has been over the last two decades and where it’s headed in the future—themes related to the overall conference focus on multiplication.

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Monday, March 23rd, 2015 | No Comments »

Why attend the NCD Conference?

Hettinga-Jan & Shareme croppedSeveral reasons to come to the district conference March 16-17
You will hear from Dr Jan Hettinga with a wealth of pastoral experience, a practitioner who God has bless with a 20 church network of daughter and granddaughter churches, all shared humbly.  It was said of him after our 2008 conference, “You can bring him back next year, and it won’t be too soon!”  Both he and his wife, Scharme, make themselves available to interact in a large-hearted way with pastors and wives.

Monday, February 16th, 2015 | No Comments »

How do your preconceived ideas affect the way you follow Jesus?

Those ideas that you accepted from others or you formed Dan cropped 4.13beforehand without all or at least adequate information.   We all have them.  Jesus shows us how he dealt with some of Peter’s preconceived
ideas.   Look at Matthew 16:15-23,

He (Jesus) said to them,“But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it  …… 21 From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.  22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord!  This shall never happen to you.” 23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.

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Tuesday, January 13th, 2015 | No Comments »

How can we help our children become Disciples of Jesus?

As we make disciple-making a centerpiece of our priorities and efforts Tom headshot 6-2012in the EFCA, we must include discipling our own children.  What strategies can we employ in our own households?  What strategies can we offer to the families within our influence?  The attached article points us to an option and raises important questions.

This article (click on this link) was written by my friend and colleague in disciple-making movements, Jim Lilly, a local catalyst and coach who is a field missionary candidate with City Team International.  For more info on Discovery Bible Studies, Discovery Groups and Disciple Making Movements at home and abroad, click on this link:

Thursday, November 13th, 2014 | No Comments »

Seeing the Trinity Sparkle

At this month’s (Oct. 2014) Pastors Teaching Conference our speaker, Fred Sanders, helped us to see this Biblical doctrine with freshness and clarity that sparkled.  Here are some highlights of his talks.

–The trinity is not a closed door but a welcome to all other doctrines.

–The trinity is not club to keep in storage until the Jehovah’s Witnesses knock at the door.

–The definitive revelation of the trinity happened when Jesus came on the scene and when the Spirit later came on the scene.  These events showed the nature of God’s being: one God in three persons.  The Old Testament looked forward to these events; the New Testament letters look back on them.

–Is the trinity revealed in the OT?  Not explicitly, but when we re-read the Bible, knowing the end of the story from the NT, we can see the trinity in the OT. (more…)

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014 | No Comments »

What a Sabbatical Allows You (or Your Pastor) to Do

2013--8A sabbatical leave allows you to do important things that your regular routine doesn’t. Here are some examples. These are not the only features of a sabbatical leave. Not all sabbaticals look alike. But they are features that I deeply enjoyed and appreciated this summer on my sabbatical, and I share them with you to encourage you to make sabbatical leaves part of the culture of your church. If you are a pastor, this is what a sabbatical can do for you. If you are a lay leader in a church, this is what a sabbatical can do for your pastor.

A sabbatical allows you to be unhitched, unhurried, unscheduled, unpressured. You can, for a season, set aside the burdens of clock, schedule, and demands in order to think differently about life and ministry.
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Monday, September 15th, 2014 | 3 Comments »

No spiritually strategic life can be lived on the flesh level

A few months ago, a dear friend of mine sent me an article from the early 1930s entitled, The New Life,  Talks with Christians on Practical Victory, by Captain Reginald Wallis (originallyTom headshot 6-2012 published by Loizeaux Brothers, Neptune, NJ 1932). It is directed to new Christians, yet at a time when so many in all echelons of Christian ministry lack complete freedom and victory in Christ, I commend it to you as a very practical help for all of us. Here are several excerpts, which I hope will whet your appetite to dig into it’s content for yourself.

“The victorious Christian life is A PERSON, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Unceasing victory is possible for every believer. True victory is never a hardship to be endured. It is a life to be enjoyed and radiated.” (more…)

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014 | No Comments »

Grace Hindrances, Part 2

Grace is what every person needs.  Without grace, no one can be saved, nor can anyone walk in the fullness of a transformed life in Jesus Christ.  Grace is God’s unmerited transforming Dan cropped 4.13power working in and through us by the Holy Spirit.  God’s grace is a saving grace that also transforms and empowers us to live God-pleasing lives.  We realize how desperately we need God’s grace but what keeps us from living in the fullness of grace?  What makes us ‘grace challenged’ or steals our grace as followers of Jesus?

Legalism is a very common ‘grace destroyer’ or ‘grace challenger.’  It is older than Christianity itself.  In fact, legalism is one reason the religious leaders of Jesus time could not accept Him as the Son of God, the Messiah.  Jesus did not keep the Scriptures to their accepted standards.  Paul deals with legalism in the book of Galatians because it was being taught that to be a follower of Jesus one must not only trust in Jesus as their Lord and Savior but must also keep the law according to the religious leaders standards.  Galatians 5:4 states, “You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.”  When one is caught up in legalism the Scriptures say that they are in a precarious way, alienated from Christ or have fallen away from grace.  Scary!!!!   Yet legalism is so pervasive in the church and so destructive to the body of Jesus Christ.

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Monday, June 16th, 2014 | No Comments »
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Grace Hindrances, Part 1

Dan cropped 4.13Grace is what every person needs.  Without grace, no one can be saved, nor can anyone walk in the fullness of a transformed life in Jesus Christ.  Grace is God’s unmerited transforming power working in and through us by the Holy Spirit.  God’s grace is a saving grace that also transforms and empowers us to live God-pleasing lives.  We realize how desperately we need God’s grace but what keeps us from living in the fullness of grace?  What makes us ‘grace challenged’ as followers of Jesus?

One hindrance to grace is personal works.  Personal works have many different forms but their main focus is always doing what God has called us to do in our strength and power, our way, not God’s.

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Monday, May 12th, 2014 | No Comments »
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The Main Business and Other Business

Conference teaching

Our annual district conference on April 7-8 featured Aaron Couch as the main speaker.  True to the mentoring culture of the church where he pastors, he brought an associate pastor along, a mentoree of his, Josh Gray, who also did some of the teaching.  The theme was disciplemaking.  Insights that I found helpful included these:

  • –Luke 10, in the context of the whole book, shows that Satan’s power is defeated as we bless people and proclaim the Kingdom.
  • –According to Matt. 4:19, a disciple is one who is following Jesus, is being changed by Jesus, and is on mission with Jesus.
  • –Disciplemaking cannot happen in a classroom.  Is your church structured so that it can happen?
  • –Leadership is making people uncomfortable at a rate they can tolerate.
  • –Find your leaders in the reclaimed folks in your pews.  In most churches they are not noticed or not given a second chance.
  • –If the pastor wants the church to make disciples, he must start with his own practice: he must be discipling several guys himself, preferably at least one new believer.
  • –Stop trying to be the best church in your community; be the best church for your community.
  • –We will find Jesus in the brokenness around us and in the brokenness inside us.Audio recordings of the teaching sessions can be found on our website.

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Wednesday, April 16th, 2014 | No Comments »


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