Guest Authors

Following are some interesting articles of guest authors. All posts are used with permission of the authors. Following are the guest authors and links to their sites:

Chip Brogden

Jason Elam 

Paul Howey

Jamal Jivanjee


Revival, or Reformation?
by Chip Brogden

There have always been some who not only recognize the glaring deficiencies of what the church is, but are grieved and troubled by what they see, to the point that they cannot remain content to let things continue on, but are compelled to do something about it. Of these blessed few who choose to stand up and speak out against the religious system, the response seems to fall along one of three approaches. As we will see, only one approach is harmonious with the prophetic example set forth in the history of the people of God, and it is the one approach that seems to be the last resort instead of the first recourse. But let us consider them in the proper order.

First, there are those who call for what amounts to Reformation. These are the Martin Luthers who standup to the religious leadership and rightly confront their unscriptural practices. The well-meaning intention is to fix what is wrong with the church by identifying all of its problems and coming up with Scriptural solutions. But this represents a zealous naivety on the part of all would-be reformers. First, it assumes that once the leaders recognize their unscriptural practices, they will repent and change their ways. History has proven that this never happens. Second, it assumes that the church system is something God wants to reform, when the truth is that the church system was made by man and was never authorized by God in the first place. Reforming it has the same effect as patching an old garment with new cloth, or pouring new wine into old wineskins, which results in ruining both the old and the new.

In Order To Pray Without Ceasing, You Must Quit Praying
by Jamal Jivanjee

How’s your prayer life?  Few other questions cause more guilt among evangelical Christians.  As an institutional Pastor, I used to routinely ask that question in an attempt to ‘convict’ and motivate others to pray more.  Part of this ‘conviction’ and ‘motivation’ involved laying the responsibility of the salvation of individuals, churches, and countries on the backs of Christians.  If we prayed more, good things would happen.  If good things weren’t happening, we simply weren’t praying enough.

Interestingly, no one ever felt that their prayer life was adequate.  After all, we could always pray more.  For me personally, simple tasks became harder and harder to accomplish because I needed to ‘pray’ about everything.  Although I wasn’t sure about what was an adequate amount of prayer, if I didn’t pray about a specific situation or decision in an ‘adequate’ manner, I became paralyzed with fear and indecision.  After all, I didn’t want to make a mistake.  I was well on my way to becoming an evangelical monk.  The more that I went down this road, the less I was able to simply ‘be’ in Christ and rest in Him in normal day to day life.  It was bondage indeed.

Unfortunately, many evangelicals are in bondage to this false view of prayer because the evangelical system is blind to two major realities of New Testament Prayer.  In this article, I’d like to shed some light (illuminate) two glorious realities of New Testament prayer.

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The Church of Jesus is NOT Made or Maintained By Human Hands
Excerpt from Message from the Heart
by David Yeubanks

Too many Christians today try to find clever ways to make the Old Testament laws and ordinances fit into the Christian experience - and then they call these things "essential." They do this by taking things like Mosaic ordinances, found in the Bible, and spiritualize them (right out of their original context) in order that they may apply them to the New Covenant believer. A perfect example of this that is so popular in the church today is the Mosaic ordinance of tithing. Yet when one confronts the strict terms of the New Testament concerning how we regard that old law, we find no support for enforcing such ordinances - not to mention that what our modern parallels consist of look nothing like what we read about in the Bible. When such ordinances are imposed on the Christian, not only is this a perversion of biblical truth, but it is a shackle of bondage that robs the Christian of his liberty in Christ and strips him of his privilege to serve the Lord in the newness of the spirit, with love and from grace (Romans 7:6 - "But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.").

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Fruit Powered Clocks, Synthetic Foods
& ‘Worship Services’
by Jamal Jivanjee

A friend of mine knows a physician that specializes in a natural approach to medicine to treat disease and illness.  To emphasize his point, sitting on his desk is a powerful demonstration of his message.  This physician has a digital clock displayed that is running and keeping time.  What is special about this display is the fact that the clock has no battery, and is not plugged into the wall.  Its only power source is fruit!  That’s right, this digital clock is actually plugged into a real piece of fruit to demonstrate that power and life that is naturally inside of plant based food.

It is stunning to think of the power that actually exists within natural food.  This doctor’s message is this…if you want to be healthy, stop getting sick all the time, and have more energy, eat food that has real life inside and stop eating processed & synthetic foods.  I could go on about this, but that is actually going to be another blog post in the near future:)  

Although there is ample evidence to suggest that people who eat a natural diet consisting of fruits & vegetables are much more healthy, have stronger immune systems, and have a significantly better quality of life, very few people actually eat this way.  There is a reason for this....

I have learned that if something is true in the natural world, however, it usually points to a greater spiritual reality.  As you may know, over the last few years I have been on a journey out of institutional religion and into New Testament church life.  The transition from synthetic spiritual food to ‘real’ spiritual food, so to speak, can be quite challenging.  I have witnessed this struggle a multitude of times among those on a similar journey.

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The Riots In The Middle East,
The Panic Of The Masses,
And The Steadiness Of God’s
Eternal Purpose

by Jamal Jivanjee

I must admit that the current events in the Middle East caught me off guard a bit.  I didn’t see the turmoil coming.  As I watched the news, I saw that the unthinkable was occurring before our very eyes.  Firmly entrenched governments are being uprooted.  My initial reaction was to look on in horror as radical Islamic groups with a detrimental agenda seem to be operating behind the scenes.

Understandably, many of the people on the ground in those regions are frightened.  I don’t want to comment on that.  That is another subject for another day.  What I would like to comment on, however, is the preoccupation & even trepidation that many Christians react with when it comes to current events.  I am pretty active on facebook & twitter, and judging from the posts that I have seen, I can tell that many people are quite stirred up.  Also, based on what I have seen, this is not a one time occurrence.  I see this every time there is some catastrophic occurrence in the world, or if we are approaching a new election season.  As soon as one election season ends, we seem to be getting ready for the next one.  All this makes my hair want to fall out! (Just kidding…I don’t have hair)  Nevertheless, I would like to diagnose a possible problem.

We might be too preoccupied with what mankind is doing, and not preoccupied enough with what God is doing.

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When a church becomes a business
by Paul Howey

It’s far worse than most professing Christians have imagined. Because a Christian church is incorrectly thought of as a place, a service, a building, etc, and not the called out people of God that it really is (the Ekklesia), most people assume that a church needs to be organized and managed by a CEO (disguised as a shepherd). They end up with a worldly business disguised as a church fully equipped with a worldly military chain-of-command hierarchy (Senior Pastor, Executive Associate Pastor, Associate Pastors, Music Pastor, etc,). This is pure rubbish as it is nowhere to be found in the Bible.

It is impossible to “go” to church or “have” church. That is because Christians ARE the church. We can only BE the church. This is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is not something that we can turn on and off like a light switch. Popular Sunday “once-a-weekism” is absolute nonsense.

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We Don’t Need A Model, We Need A Vision!

(why institutions cannot become or give birth to organic church life)
by Jamal Jivanjee

After dialoging with a good friend of mine on our blog site last week about the church, it became apparent that there was a misunderstanding about what I was advocating for.  While he rightly assumed that I believe the institutional church system is a destructive system which causes many problems, he went on to assume that my solution to the problem would be for people to simply adopt the ‘organic church model.’  This is when it became clear that there was a big misunderstanding.

My friend is not alone.  There are many others who have interpreted that the heart of my message is simply calling for the adoption of another church ‘model’ like the ‘organic’ or ‘house church model’ as a solution to the institutional ‘model’.  Let me be very clear about something;

That is a misunderstanding and a rumor.  There is no truth to this at all!

First of all, I hate the term ‘house church’.  It sounds about as weird as calling a church that meets in a building a ‘building church’, or the 1′st and 2′nd century churches that met in catacombs, ‘catacomb churches.’  Since when should a church community be defined by the location she holds her meetings in?  I think that is a symptom of a deeper problem.

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Money, Missions, and Ministry
by Jeremy Myers

A pet peeve of mine has been how much churches are willing to spend on buildings, all in the name of “ministry.” I currently live in Dallas, the mega-church capital of the world. There are more mega-churches here per capita, than anywhere else in the world.  One street I was driving down recently contained four mega-churches in a one mile stretch.

I don’t mind the number of churches so much. What gets me going is how much these buildings cost. First Baptist Church in Dallas recently spent close to $50 million to construct a new “ministry” building! They say this will help them better reach the residents and people of downtown Dallas. Truly, I hope it is money well spent, and I wish them well.

But I often wonder what that $50 million could have bought in Africa or Papua New Guinea. If they answer by saying they were trying to reach the people in Dallas, then I wonder how many meals for homeless people in Dallas that $50 million could have bought?

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Should Pastors be Salaried?
by Paul Howey

It is absolutely not the church's obligation to financially support a pastor or elder. This is a very popular tradition and misconception based on misinterpretations and misapplications of various Scriptures and often leads to gross financial abuse.

We do not see salaried pastors anywhere in the Bible. The Bible teaches against “hirelings”. It is crystal clear from the overall teachings of the Bible that a pastor should work with his hands, taking care of himself and his family, having something to share with others. He should not be a burden on the church.

Nevertheless, we hear a lot of empty excuses today from hirelings as to why they claim to have no time to work a real job. Yet the Apostle Paul often made tents for a living and was way busier with spiritual duties than these guys today. In additional to everything Paul was doing, he also had the time to write two thirds of the New Testament as he was inspired by God to do.

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Steve McVey

Jeremy Myers 

David Yeubanks 

Michael Young


Rehab is for Quitters
by Jason Elam

Many people today believe that what our culture needs is more religion. I think we have too much already. Religion is that which stands between a broken world and the Kingdom of God. Jesus didn't come to start a new religion, He came to do away with the need for religion by rescuing us and setting us free to live as the children of God.

Most followers of Jesus have been contaminated by religion's influence in one way or another. I certainly have. I've been studying the life of Saul of Tarsus in the book of Acts to see how he made the transition from religionist to follower of Jesus. Every good rehab program has twelve steps, but I'll go with six.

Step One: See Jesus for Who He Is-There’s only room in this story for one good guy, and you are not Him. God didn’t save you because you are a good person. He didn’t save you because you are so talented that He just had to have you playing for His team. He chose you because He knew that you were just broken enough to bring Him glory. He knew that when people saw God living in you they would know that you aren’t capable of that and give Him praise.

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Escape from Churchianity
by Chip Brogden

It is important that we make a clear distinction between the True Church (the Ecclesia) and the Institutional Church, Organized Religion, or religion in general. The easiest way to begin is to discuss one critical thing that Organized Religion cannot do. Organized Religion cannot impart Life.

“This is our testimony, that God has given us Eternal Life, and this Life is in His Son: He that has the Son has Life, and He that has not the Son of God has not Life (I John 5:11,12).”

Contrary to popular belief, the Lord Jesus Christ does
not live within the matrix of Organized Religion. The Ecclesia, like our Lord, is Wholly Other. I can prove it to you beyond the shadow of a doubt. Can you join a “church”? Yes, if you meet their requirements for membership. Can you join the Ecclesia? No. You have to be born into it. Or, to be more correct, you
have to be born-again into it. It is not a question of joining or not joining, but a question of having Life versus not having Life. “He that has the Son has Life; He that has not the Son has not Life.”

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Attendance Dependence

by Jeremy Myers

Many seem to think that our top responsibility regarding church is attending one. If you have ever stopped attending church for a short period of time, even for a week or two, you know what I mean. You will get calls from concerned friends and family, because they didn’t see you “in church,” even if they saw you at the football game on Friday night. You may even get a letter from the pastor letting you know you were missed, reiterating the necessity of attending church for our spiritual well-being.

This emphasis on church attendance has resulted in two troubling tendencies. First, there are those who believe that if they attend church on Sunday morning, they have fulfilled what God wants.

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Our Journey

by Chip Brogden

My testimony is unique in that I really do not have a “testimony” in the sense of someone who has been delivered from drugs, alcohol, or atheism. I have been a Christian as long as I can remember. By the time I was 26 years old I had already spent half of my life in some kind of ministry – pastoring, teaching, preaching, or leading worship. I met my the girl (who later become my wife) in church when I was 12 years old, and once we were married our lives continued on in service to the church, together. It was our calling, and we dedicated our lives to it. So my testimony is not so much deliverance from sin as much as it is deliverence from religion and good works.

We had just come out of my first pastorate and were both very weary. With no responsibility to a local congregation I began to visit with other pastors to fill in for them as the need arose. Everywhere I went I listened to the stories told to me privately by burned-out ministers. In churches without a pastor I listened to the people describe all the terrible things the previous pastor has done. It didn’t take long for me to realize that something was terribly wrong with the “church” in general. I began to see that my personal experience as a burned-out pastor, which I thought was unusual, was not only common, but very light in comparison to what I was seeing and hearing.

So I began asking questions and challenging paradigms which I had held for most of my life. What is the Church? What is ministry? What is revival? Are we doing the right things? And more importantly, what does God think? Is what we’re doing pleasing to Him, or are we missing it in a big way? I realized I had devoted everything to one denomination, and knew very little about anything outside of it. As the Lord began to burden me for the entire Church, I began asking questions about denominationalism: is this right? Is this God’s purpose? What are we building here? What about the rest of the Body of Christ? Is division from the Lord?

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Why Drugs Wear Off

(worship conferences & the tree of knowledge)

by Jamal Jivanjee

What you are about to read could easily be misunderstood. If you are already feeling skeptical, or if you highly doubt that there will be anything of value for you in this article, you probably should stop reading now. If you believe there could be something of value in this article, however, then this article may be beneficial for you. I’d like to ask you to read this with an open mind. You may even want to pray and ask the Lord to show you a fresh vision of Jesus Christ through some of the things that I will share with you here.

Some Personal History
Several years ago I was involved in starting a collegiate ministry group on the campus of a major university. We conducted typical Sunday worship services, and also had typical mid-week bible studies. We had a stated goal of seeing students come to know Christ and make Him known as well. We were always trying to figure out how to best ‘do’ and ‘accomplish’ that goal. Soon after starting this organization, we quickly discovered that the students who had come out of a ‘churched’ background were more likely to know correct theological answers, but in reality were the least likely to know Christ relationally and experience His life.

Unfortunately, I had bought into the error that the Christian life was about ‘doing’ and not simply ‘knowing’. I was confused about what the ‘Mission of God‘ truly was (This only made matters worse). Because I mistakenly thought that getting students involved in ‘doing ministry’ was the key for them to know and experience the life of Christ, we were always trying to get them to buy into our ‘vision’ of how we were going to reach the campus and the rest of the world. The problem was always motivation. How could we motivate apathetic people?

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Fear No Man
by Chip Brogden

Many Christians are in bondage to the fear of man. In discussing this very real and widespread problem, let us acknowledge from the beginning that we cannot be God’s spokesperson and be afraid of people. We will find it difficult, if not impossible to faithfully give all the counsel of God when there is a spirit within us that withdraws from people out of fear, timidity, or anxiety.

If there has ever been a time in your life when you bowed down and said, “Lord use me, speak through me, have Your Will through me,” then you can expect that the Lord will immediately begin to deal with you regarding the fear of man. It is a fundamental lesson we must learn in order to be fruitful and faithful with all God commits to us.

Let us get right to the point: we are afraid of others because we love ourselves too much. When you have dealt with self-love, the fear of man will be dealt with at the same time. The fear of man is but a symptom of self-love, and is manifest in three basic areas of our relationships with others. If a servant of God is able to overcome in these three areas, he or she will be free of the fear of man. They are: desire for appreciation, desire for compensation, and desire for promotion. We will look at each one individually.

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Touching the Living Christ
by Chip Brogden

How do we touch the living Christ? The answer to this question depends entirely upon our relationship to Jesus. If we are part of the multitude then we must try and touch Him; but if we are one of His little children then we may simply abide in Him.

The difference, dear friends, is the difference between a religion and a relationship. The multitudes do not have a relationship with Jesus, and so they must travel to where He is and work their way into His presence in hopes of touching Him.

This is the way many church services operate. We go here and there hoping to touch something of the power of God, or the presence of God. Many times we do in fact touch something or receive something from the Lord – not because of the meeting, but in spite of the meeting. Even so, that touch does not last for very long. It is a touch, it is not the Living Christ. Soon we begin checking the calendar for the next meeting, gathering, conference, or church service so we can go back and get another touch. This represents something lacking in our walk.

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Jesus Condemns Religious People
by Jeremy Myers

The only people Jesus ever criticized were those of His own religious group who were condemning and criticizing the prostitutes, murderers, tax collectors, gluttons, drunkards, and other “sinners.” Jesus criticized the religious leaders of His day who were making it hard for the “sinners” to experience the love, grace, and forgiveness of God. He wanted to make it easy for the kingdom of heaven to reign in people’s lives, not more difficult, and those who set up roadblocks received His harshest words.

Jesus: The Friend of Tax Collectors and Sinners
by Michael Young
I’ve had something I’ve been pondering for a while now. I began thinking about this a few months after I had begun to leave legalism behind me. So I’ve decided to write about it.

Recently I saw some pictures that an artist had created of modern depictions of some of our favorite Gospel stories; like Mary Magdalene washing the feet of Jesus, the Last Supper, and the attempted stoning of the Adultress Woman (you can see these photos below).

I must admit, upon first impression I was slightly offended. The women that were used in the pictures were modern-day prostitutes. The men at the Last Supper table were what some would call “questionable.” In that photo you see a wide variety of misfits: men and women that typical society would reject…and some that I’m sure many churches would try to change or avoid (sadly).

But why was I offended? Is it because I can handle the fact that Jesus spent a majority of His time and ministry with the misfits of that time, but I can’t handle that He would hang out with the misfit of our time? But aren’t they the same exact thing? Yes, of course they are.

To Evangelize of Not to Evangelize?
by David Yeubanks
Like many of you, I spent most of my Christian life in church world being taught that all Christians are responsible to do their part in fulfilling the Great Commission. I remember countless sermons that provided just enough guilt to make me certain I was a lousy Christian that wasn’t as effective as God wanted me to be in reaching the lost.
So, when the church organization sanctioned opportunities to be involved in programs that were purposed to “win souls”, I usually got involved. Not always because I really wanted to, but because my guilt convinced me I had better be involved in some kind of evangelism so God would be pleased with me. The pastor told us that the Great Commission is given to all believers and we are commanded to evangelize the lost.
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Churchianity Today
by Chip Brogden
We must always be sure to distinguish between the Lord’s invisible, universal, spiritual Church (the Ecclesia) and the non-profit religious organization that meets in a building with a steeple on top. The difference is incalculable, and we dare not make the mistake of confusing the two. Please understand that we do not question the right of any religious group to peaceably assemble together, elect their leaders, receive monies, have membership requirements, and govern themselves in the manner they see fit – as long as we realize that such a right is a civil right and is neither inalienable, Scriptural, or mandated by God Himself. That doesn’t make it wrong, but neither does it make it spiritual. The Ecclesia is not an organization or invention of man, but an organism filled with the Life, and whether we worship “in Jerusalem or in this mountain” is not as important to God as whether or not we worship Him “in Spirit and in Truth.”
So where is the distinction? What makes it an issue? It becomes an issue when spiritual or Scriptural significance is erroneously attached to a mere social contrivance, cultural norm, religious tradition, organizational structure, or place of meeting. When the waters are muddied and the lines are blurred between the social expectation, tradition, or custom of the religious organization and the true spiritual life and essence of the Ecclesia or the individual believer then such a system has the potential to evolve into a dangerous form of spiritual abuse or religious elitism.
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