photo-6

Don’t Let Your Weakness Fray Your Leadership

“People are going to judge you by your weakest areas, not your strongest.”

I was having a great conversation with my father in law and brother in law yesterday and this is one golden nugget was shared with me by my father in law. He just retired as the President of AT& T in the South East and he has led thousands of people.

He went on to inform me that once you start to rise in leadership, people are going to judge you by what you are weak in.

Continue Reading

Can You Lead Someone to Jesus? 

BeFunky_14240223372_6ee2c03bc7_z.png

*Photo Credit: Conversacion, Creative Commons

By Beau Crosetto

My online friend Miguel raised an interesting question on FB:

And it got me thinking (as he usually does) about the tensions that this questions raises.

  • Do we have a role in leading others to faith in Jesus?
    • If so what is it?
  • Is it total arrogance to say something like that? Of course God saves people not us.
  • If it is all God’s role then why am I needed?
  • Maybe what bothers us has nothing to do with what is actually being said, but more to do with the type of people who say that kind of statement?

Continue Reading

An Amazing Healing Story

10155555_10100308198419720_377600269_n

182290_10100105939568080_2102746915_nThis is a guest post from Nicole Voelkel. We met in grad school at Wheaton College. She is a really great example of a prophet and evangelist and really moves powerfully in the gifts of the Spirit. She, herself, is a free spirit and is always moving around the globe. I think she is in Spain right now. Enjoy a fresh story of healing below. 

[How to Pray For Healing: 7 Crucial Steps]

“Hey, how many of you guys would like to see a miracle right now?” Jerry and I had just walked up to a group of about 10 students sitting in the student lounge at the local college. We were met with some bemused (and some confused) looks. “No, I’m serious. Who of you is sick? Right now, I’m going to tell you about God, and you’re going to see a miracle in front of your eyes. Who here needs a miracle?”

One of the girls pointed to her friend. “She needs a miracle. She lost her voice and can’t sing, and she’s a voice major.” The kids nodded.

Continue Reading

4 Ways My Dad Has Shaped Me As A Leader

one thing I didn't get from my dad was his jump suits :)

one thing I didn’t get from my dad was his jump suits :)

Bobby Clinton, an expert in leadership development, talks a lot about the sovereign foundations the Lord gives us growing up. Even if we are not believers growing up, the events good and bad, lay a foundation that God uses to shape our character and our calling in ministry as we grow old.

I did not grow up a Christian, we never talked about it in my family, and so my dad did not lead me in the way of the Lord. But who my dad is in his ethic as a person and the way he developed me and modeled for me life growing up were essential to who I am as a planter of ministry today. So much of how God has used me as an evangelist and apostolic (planter) leader is because of my dad’s life and input.

In honor of Father’s Day (I was going to post on Sunday but my neighbor came to faith), here are four concrete ways my dad shaped who I am and how God in His sovereign plan has used these qualities to extend the Kingdom through me.

Continue Reading

Prophecy – Apart from the Gospel or a Part of the Gospel?

10352289_10100529137091824_5957675525422971995_n

I am excited to announce that Alexia Salvatierra is going to be a regular monthly writer here on Release The APE. She is excited to partner with us to help fill out the role of the prophet Biblically and in today’s culture. We are so excited to have her join our team! You can read more about her in her bio below the post.

While the call to social transformation is increasingly common in the evangelical world, it often seems to be an extra-credit project.  Prophets are nice to have around but not an essential part of preaching the Gospel.  (Of course, real prophets are not always nice to have around – but that’s next month’s blog!)

I think that CEO of World Vision USA Rich Stearn’s  book title says it well – “The Hole in the Gospel.”  When the transformation of the whole world is not a core component of the preaching of the Gospel, then we are making our God too small and our witness suffers.  My 21 year old daughter’s generation is particularly sensitive to the presence of the “hole” (or the absence of the whole); one of her friends said to me recently that she is only interested in a Jesus that transforms the world.

Why is the prophetic dimension of the Gospel so critically important?  One of the church fathers said, “Preach the gospel at all times; when necessary, use words.”  At Pentecost, the first disciples emerged from the upper room to preach the Gospel in all the languages spoken by all of the hearers.  Actions are a language.  What do our actions say about our God?  We read in James that “faith without works is dead.”  How does our message communicate consistently that our God is alive?  Of course, this can be heard as an argument for social action but not necessarily for prophecy (defined as the speaking of truths and the living out of truths that change whole communities and societies – not just individual lives.)  We only understand that the full communication of love requires the biggest possible transformation when we realize that it is not only the fact of God’s love that we need to communicate but also the full power of that love.  Satan is the king of this world, but the kingdom of God is breaking into the world and it is neither weak nor impotent.  As the old Irish hymn based on the Magnificat says, because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, “the world is about to turn.”

Bishop Medardo Gomez of the Lutheran Church of El Salvador presides over a church body that serves the poorest of the poor in his country.  They have churches spread through the most remote mountains and the most broken down urban slums.  During the civil war, Lutheran pastors were often killed for standing up for the basic human rights of their congregants and neighbors.  When the right wing death squads killed four Jesuit priests at the University, they went afterwards to search for Bishop Gomez.

The Bishop was out of the country at the time, so they took the cross which hung on the wall of the cathedral.  On Ash Wednesday, the members of the congregation had written all of their individual and collective sins on the wood of the cross, including the torture and persecution carried out by the death squads.  The captors of the cross called it a “subversive” cross.  When Bishop Gomez returned, instead of hiding out in fear, he recruited the ambassadors of various countries to accompany him to the military prison and demanded the return of the cross.  They returned it to him and it now hangs in the cathedral under a sign that reads “The Subversive Cross.”  Pastors of the Lutheran church of El Salvador are still being martyred – now no longer by death squads but by powerful gangs; their fearless resistance to evil and their protection of the victims of injustice in the name and spirit of Jesus Christ still costs them their lives.  I wish that every Lutheran seminarian in the U.S. had to spend a year with the Lutheran Church of El Salvador to learn whole Gospel discipleship. The prophetic gifts and role are not separate from evangelism; they are intrinsically and intimately intertwined – part and parcel of the Gospel.

[This was written in response to "Evangelism Must Be Tied To The Prophetic"]

My Neighbor Surrendered His Life To Jesus Today: Full Story

Untitled

Since the first time I pulled up to my drive way two years ago I have been in relationship with Ben. I love this guy so much. We play volleyball together and talk deeply on our way to the games. He has a very troubled past and has had no belief in God or religious experience. We have had many deep talks on those drives, but he has never followed through to meet with me outside those car rides to go deeper. I have been praying and praying and hoping and hoping for God to draw him close, and today it finally happened.

You can read about the first time Jesus came up in our conversation here. You can read an update to that first conversation here. This will give you perspective on a two year conversation and how his conversion has happened over time through God’s Spirit softening him, us doing life together, and me incarnating myself into his world. 

Here is the detailed story of how it happened and how our conversation went (I have his permission to share).

Read the full story here.

Evangelism: Todays Christian Curse Word

Preacher

Most of us cringe at the word evangelism. Christians I talk to are creeped out by it, uncomfortable and want to run as far away from “witnessing” as possible.

Evangelism, witnessing, sharing the gospel, has a horrible image.

As my mom said to me the other day, “it seems that evangelists always need to go find people. Why?”

Evangelists and evangelism strikes fear in people’s hearts. It has the connotation for being pushy, agenda driven, careless with humanity and furthermore, slick and salesman like – INAUTHENTIC.

Ya that is the word we were looking for. Maybe forced, showy, and aggressive.

Evangelism therefore is a curse word and we want nothing to do with it.

So my question to you as a Christian is this:

Are you going to perpetuate, ignore, or change that image?

You have to pick one as a Christian.

Read the full article over at www.beaucrosetto.com as I unpack all three options

Expelled: Evangelical Groups Being Removed by Universities This Fall.

10464029_786833218017396_5980111837932552792_n

In a collision between religious freedom and anti discrimination policies Christian groups are being removed from campus. Any group holding to the policy that one must be a Christian to be in leadership is being systematically removed this Fall.

We who work on the campus have known this was coming for a while, but this recent NY Times article brings it to the forefront for many of you.

At Cal State, the nation’s largest university system with nearly 450,000 students on 23 campuses, the chancellor is preparing this summer to withdraw official recognition from evangelical groups that are refusing to pledge not to discriminate on the basis of religion in the selection of their leaders. And at Vanderbilt, more than a dozen groups, most of them evangelical but one of them Catholic, have already lost their official standing over the same issue; one Christian group balked after a university official asked the students to cut the words “personal commitment to Jesus Christ” from their list of qualifications for leadership.

Continue Reading

Five-Fold Partnership: What Apostles Need

703FDBA6-BC7A-4338-AAF8-711D79BFC9C0

By Jon Hietbrink

If indeed God gives us the five-fold gifts to play a “symphony, not a solo”, then it’s critically important that we understand both the unique role that each of the five gifts play (differentiation) AND how that gift interfaces with each of the other four (integration) to create a rich kingdom harmony. Perhaps more clearly than with any other gift list in the New Testament, we can see how the five-fold gifting of Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Shepherds, and Teachers are designed to work interdependently as a beautiful all-channel system given by God to develop the body of Christ into maturity.

Continue Reading