I went to the jail yesterday with another brother to be with one of the churches we helped establish there.
When we arrived, that other brother, John, felt the Lord’s prompting to ask if anyone was struggling with anything and wanted some one-on-one help. A young man raised his hand and I met with him alone while John remained with the larger group of about twenty inmates.
As we talked, that young man was able to openly confess and release to the Lord years of hurts and regrets that he had suffered. The pain he carried from the wrongs he experienced as a boy contributed to addictions and emotional enslavement, which had been destroying his life. As he began to expose and gave them to the Lord, Jesus met him in a very personal way.
Then, without prompting, he started talking about all the stupid sins he had committed in reaction to the wrongs he had suffered at the hands of others. He began crying and asked how he could be free from the guilt and weight of his own wrongs.
I find that’s often the case: When we forgive others for their wrongs, we often clearly see for the first time the significance of our own sins and then are brought to a place of genuine conviction.
My prayer for the Church in this age of itchy ears and false teachers …
Lord, raise up true elders – “grown ups” among us who serve your people in their local communities – to teach sound doctrine and confront those who redefine:
Faith as doubt;
Grace as excuse;
Love as license;
True as relative;
Real as subjective;
Moral as optional;
Community as conformity;
Church as unassembly;
Diverse gifts as distractions; and
Mission as introspection.
This video (despite the goofy background music!) brought back lots of memories of the time we lived in Newfoundland, Canada.
In the 1960s, my dad, Robert Wright, was stationed there as a navy pilot in VW-13 (the sister squadron to the video’s VW-11, but same air base, planes and mission). Although I was in elementary school, I remember well many of the scenes shown in this video!
My dad’s mission was to fly Super Connies over the North Pole for early radar detection as part of the North American missile defense system. While there, he and my mom encountered Jesus (or maybe I should say that Jesus encountered them) and their lives became devoted to advancing His Kingdom while also serving our nation.
Later, he did two tours of duty in Vietnam as a Naval aviator and squadron commander, where he saw combat and lost friends while also earning two Presidential Unit Citations and being awarded the Air Medal. He also was exposed to Agent Orange and suffered heart damage which eventually contributed to his service-related death decades later.
This Memorial Day, let’s not forget those who served with honor and gave their lives to defend others.
~ Jim Wright
I need your help to stop a stalker who has been harassing and threatening my wife.
For over a year now, an obscure blogger named Bart Breen has been acting on behalf of a cult that’s upset and trying to silence me (and others) for daring to warn folks about their history of sexual predation, abuse and cover up.
As more and more people learn the truth about that cult – centered on narcissistic “Beyond Evangelical” author Frank Viola and his mutual promotion network of self-proclaimed “apostolic workers” – they’ve become more and more shrill in a desperate attempt to hide their history of shame, failure and abuse.
As a result, Mr. Breen is now stalking my wife in a perverse bid to silence me. He’s even openly boasted about it on Facebook and in his various blogs.
Why? By harassing my wife and publicly boasting about it, Bart Breen and Frank Viola are sending their victims – and those who stand with them – the clear message that they too will be attacked if they don’t toe the line and remain silent about what has been going on within their “Beyond” Cult.
Last month, on January 6, 2015, my dad died peacefully in his sleep after a seven year struggle with dementia. His was a life well lived, in service to the King of Kings and His Kingdom.
This is a blog I first wrote a couple of years ago about my parents. I am re-posting it as my tribute to him and the legacy he leaves behind.
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The last several years have been a wonderful journey of seeing folks come to the Lord and fellowships emerge in highly improbable places. In my own life, the roots for this go back to my dad and mom, Bob and Mary Jane Wright.
In the 1970s and 80’s, the Lord used them as pioneers in what we’d now call simple “organic” church – before that term became popular (even though today, unfortunately, it can mean nearly anything).
Forty years ago, they helped birth a regional network of open, participatory fellowships in Maryland, where people could find and express the vibrant life of Christ in dynamic gatherings as everyone ministered one to another – rather than having directed, scripted meetings.
Last evening some elders from among our fellowships took time to share a meal at a local pizza joint and talk – just talk, with no agenda.
Our conversation turned to how the traditional model for church leadership is to inspire folks to “come” and be part of our own gift, calling or motivation – but that we don’t see this in Apostle Paul’s life.
Rather, Paul’s main approach was to unleash Christ within existing communities where God sent him. As Paul would “go”, he was secure enough to then let Christ be expressed through the wonderful diversity of the many unique gifts, callings and motivations He chose to bestow among His people in each church.
Thus, it was never about Paul inspiring people to come gather around his own gift, calling or motivation. Likewise, there is no example in the entire New Testament of any single “pastor”, one-man ministry or other person serving as a primary focal point “over” any local church.
Here’s a much-needed blog from PredatoryPastors.com – a locally-based (but unaffiliated) ministry near us – about the victim blaming that often occurs when a beloved or otherwise respected church leader is outed as a sexual predator.
I have been involved in many church abuse cases over the years, both as an attorney (now retired) and as local elder who has been asked to intervene on behalf of victims in other churches.
In my experience, victim blaming – and even outright trying to destroy the victim – always happens in cases involving an abusive but otherwise inspiring church leader.
Every word of God proves true;
he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
Do not add to his words,
lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.
Prov. 30:5-6 ESV
Yesterday, after a seven month hiatus to care for my dad and deal with some of my own health issues, another local elder and I visited the jail to check on a church I previously had been helping.
The first thing I noticed was around twenty new men were now in that fellowship, with only two of the original brothers still around (the others, as is normal in a jail environment, had been released or transferred).
The church, I was thrilled to see, had not only survived but thrived during my absence – with them showing a wonderful continuity of life from when I last saw them.
As I then listened to them openly share their hopes and struggles in the Lord with each other, and watched them encourage one another to love and good works (Heb. 10), I cried silent tears of joy.
Participatory church? I do that.
I sit and stand when the worship leader tells me to and sometimes even sing along, do the happy clap or raise my arms with my eyes closed when prompted;
I shake hands with the guy in the pew ahead of me when the associate pastor says to greet one another;
On occasion I say “amen” when the senior pastor asks us to say “amen” during his sermon;
I put money in the plate when its passed down my row by the ushers; and
I even bow my head when told to do so during the invitation for folks to raise their hands and receive Jesus.
So yes, I participate when I go to church, thank you very much!
Getting down to basics…
Without external revelation on what is truly true, really real and rightly right – by one with the authority to define all because He created all – you are trapped in the meaningless absurdity of circular logic and self-referential perception.
C.S. Lewis bemoaned, in The Abolition of Man, that the West was becoming a culture of men without chests – meaning we have either lost the courage of our God-given convictions or in many cases denied those virtues altogether.
This is amply illustrated by relativistic “tolerance”, which has been used for too long as a counterfeit “virtue” to attack what is true, beautiful and moral.
Lately, however, those who rationalize Jihadist atrocities in the name of “tolerance” – and who then protest that we must not “offend” Islam – are causing more and more people to reject the moral bankruptcy of their squishy relativism.
It looks like House2House Ministries and Magazine have closed shop once again.
What an unfortunate, checkered history of organic/simple church failure after failure.
How many times will it take before Felicity Dale and gang finally figure out that you can’t start and sustain healthy local churches – simple, organic or otherwise – by promoting phony self-appointed “apostles”:
– Who ain’t livin’ what their sellin’, with private lives that don’t match up with their finely-honed public persona;
– Who have no consistent history of successfully forming, maintaining or being part of sustainable local churches that look anything like what they promote in their books, blogs and conferences;
– Who deny that the Great Commission has general relevance today;
– Who proclaim that scripture is not the written word of God and that those who affirm scripture are committing “treason against Christ”;
It seems trendy today among celebrity Christians to promote all sorts of rubbish:
Grace without repentance,
Love without truth,
Mercy without obedience,
My stunning predictions for 2014 proved to be the ONLY 100% accurate prophecies by anyone anywhere last year.
So, not wanting to let all the prophets of fame, name and gain dominate yet another year with their headline-chasing rubbish, I’ve decided to once again put myself on the line by publishing my stunning new prophetic predictions for 2015.
This way, the world can see once more who is the true prophet among us!
So (drum roll…) here is what’s gonna happen in 2015, raw and unvarnished:
Martin Luther is credited with saying “in essentials, unity”.
In applying that sagely advice, over the years I have developed two essential prerequisites for all other essentials. They have served me well, and tend to weed out over 90% of the frauds, fakes and flakes that plague God’s church (don’t ya love ’em!).
The old legalism of “be good” (God is all about me being moral) …
Was followed by the current legalism of “do good” (God is all about me doing good, like helping the poor) …
Which rapidly is being replaced by the new legalism of “feel good” (the existential fad that God is all about affirming me, filtered through my own hurts, needs and sensibilities) – as its devotees now diss anyone or anything that doesn’t feed their need.
It’s time to speak plainly and listen to each other, even if we don’t like what the other side has to say.
Until White America understands the pent-up frustration of Black America over the suspicion, marginalization and humiliation they are forced to endure from predominately White power structures…
Until Black America understands the pent-up frustration of While America over the crime, entitlement and social disarray they are forced to subsidize in predominately Black neighborhoods…
Neither side will learn the lessons of Ferguson.
Thanksgiving Day in the United States, I have always felt, is our nation’s most significant holiday.
It is the least commercial and the most focused on acknowledging God’s providence over our land by calling on His name as sovereign Lord and expressing gratitude to Him.
Don’t lose heart. God desires to bless not just individuals who love Him, but whole nations. He holds the destiny of nations in His hands and is bigger than any headlines or trends.
More and more people are legitimately desiring to move towards organic/simple church and away from the institutional church.
Unfortunately, there are major snares for those on that journey. Too often, they fall prey to books and blogs on organic/simple church by those who either reject the plenary authority of scripture or outright deny that the Bible is the written word of God.
Although such authors talk a good talk, they typically have no consistent history of actually finding, creating or sustaining in their own lives the kind of local “organic” or “simple” church they are selling to others.
Increasingly, it seems that those who live it seldom sell it, while those who sell it seldom live it.
This makes it very hard to move forward, because there’s a lot of crazy being peddled to the unwary out there in organic land.
Is your church a non-prophet corporation…
Or a New Testament community of diverse, multi-gifted disciples who assemble to encourage each other and participate together in advancing God’s Kingdom?
Today mom and I will go to the Veterans Medical Center in Washington, D.C., where my dad is in hospice care after serving his country for twenty years as a Naval officer and aviator.
He also nobly served the Kingdom of God most of his adult life – and understood there was no contradiction between those two roles.
Cynicism and lazy seem to go hand in hand.
Many “Christians” habitually express those qualities when it comes to the problems and challenges of our age …
Rather than make a difference, they use cynicism to justify laziness.
To put it bluntly, they are not my brothers and sisters.