Month: January 2020

Dear Church – Don’t Give People What They Want

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In our American culture we are obsessed with size and outward success. This has infiltrated the church and encouraged pastors to use any means necessary to pursue numerical growth for the church. In many ways this is a good thing – more people getting connected to the body of Christ is always positive. Unfortunately, the means that we have used for many years for this growth has caused more people to attend but less people to be disciples. I would even argue that the American way of doing church has given people a false hope of salvation for they have trusted in a false Jesus.

Before you leave an angry comment, let me explain.

This past Sunday I had the honor of teaching through the miraculous healing of a man who had been unable to walk since he was born – over four decades. His livelihood consisted of being carried to the temple each day so that he could beg for money from those coming to worship. On a seemingly ordinary day, he encounters two leaders in the early church – Peter and John.

These men have likely seen this beggar numerous times – the text says he was at the temple daily asking for alms. According to Acts 3:3, when he saw Peter and John about to enter the temple, he asked for money. This is how Peter responds to this man’s request, “I don’t have silver or gold, but what I do have, I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, get up and walk!”

Peter offered the man what he needed – not what he wanted.

If we could sit down with this beggar in the first century and ask him what his greatest need on that day was, he would have said it was money. He needed money to purchase food, he needed money to pay rent, and he needed money to simply survive.

What if Peter and John simply gave this man what he wanted? What if they did a fundraiser or a GoFundMe page to raise money for the poor beggar outside of the temple? It would have been a great marketing move; displaying to the Jewish world the generosity of Jesus’ followers. It would have made the poor beggar happy – his monetary needs would have been met and he could have taken a vacation from begging outside of the temple.

But here’s the thing.

If Peter and John offered this man what he wanted, they would have missed out on the wonder-working power of God.

Might I suggest to you that our churches settle far too often for giving people what they want instead of what they need. Here’s what I mean – Most contemporary and outward-focused churches (like Renovation Church) utilize the pulpit to declare self-help messages on parenting skills, marriage tips, financial advice, as well as many other “felt need” topics. The messages generally take the pastor’s ideas or creativity as the starting point and then sprinkle in some Scripture to Christianize it – usually with a vague altar call at the end of the message.

These topics are important but they are secondary to our mission as the Church. The greatest gift we can offer the world is not corny motivational talks but Gospel-centered and expository (i.e. verse-by-verse) preaching of the Bible. If we want to see people truly transformed by the radical message of the Gospel, it begins by introducing people to the richness found in the Scriptures. Life transformation isn’t the result of a 3-week motivational talk on finances and tithing; it’s the result of the Holy Spirit working new birth through the clear exposition and proclamation of God’s Word.

On theologian said it this way, “I don’t go to church to have my needs met, I go to church to figure out what my needs are.”

Pastors, leaders, and church members – quit giving the culture what they want and instead offer them what they need. In the name of Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit, and through the faithful exposition of God’s Word – give them Jesus in all of his beauty, glory, and majesty.

Downward Mobility (Original Song)

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Hey everyone! I decided to start out 2020 by writing, recording, and mastering an original (and free) song about Jesus’ teaching on greatness. The song is below. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. If you enjoy it, do me a favor and share it on social media!

(If you are reading this in your e-mail, you may need to go to the actual page to hear the song).


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Instrumental: Sean Divine
Lyrics: Tyler Ramsbey
Vocals: Tyler Ramsbey
Mixing/Mastering: Tyler Ramsbey

[Chorus]
If you want to go up, you need to go down
Downward mobility is the way to the crown
If you want to be great, you need to be a slave
It’s the weakest in the Kingdom who are destined to reign.

If you want to go up, you need to go down
Downward mobility is the way to the crown
If you want to be great, you need to be a slave
It’s the weakest in the Kingdom who are destined to reign.

[Verse 1]
You see judgment, it begins with the church
Quit pointing fingers at the world as if your sin didn’t hurt

The reputation of the King who has given you worth
So live in my words and repent of the works

The way we idolize success is an evident curse
Because #blessed is for the poor & the hurt

Not the rich Americans who just want more of the perks
Of the radical consumerism that ruins the church

It’s like we’re drinking poison we join in our own death
And we even have the nerve to complain when it’s all a mess

I have a guess – God’s not impressed
With the popular press or the lobby that’s flexed

Or the money that’s spent to keep you running ahead
Just to have a good brand when you’re spirituallly dead

You can have the greatest band while appearing to be fed
But we need humble leaders who are fearing what He said

[Chorus]
If you want to go up, you need to go down
Downward mobility is the way to the crown
If you want to be great, you need to be a slave
It’s the weakest in the Kingdom who are destined to reign.

If you want to go up, you need to go down
Downward mobility is the way to the crown
If you want to be great, you need to be a slave
It’s the weakest in the Kingdom who are destined to reign.

[Verse 2]
Who is greatest? That’s the question that they asked
So he called a child and made him step into their path

The greatest in the Kingdom are the ones who rep the fact
That they are insignificant the ones that we’re sending back

It’s the weak whom he seeks do you believe that?
I know we all nod our heads even in the back

But our actions betray what we really think
You see the ladder of success will make you sink

But we lift it all up like it’s the greatest thing
But my Savior sings, about a servant life

Yeah you heard the Light but do you really worship right
I know that we’ve been purchased by the King, but are we blind?

Cuz we try to strive, but it’s kind of like
Holding dynamite that’s been lit by the sin inside

So we begin to die, lifting up the pride
So let’s return to the only King & lift Him high

[Chorus]
If you want to go up, you need to go down
Downward mobility is the way to the crown
If you want to be great, you need to be a slave
It’s the weakest in the Kingdom who are destined to reign.

If you want to go up, you need to go down
Downward mobility is the way to the crown
If you want to be great, you need to be a slave
It’s the weakest in the Kingdom who are destined to reign.