I need a little more help with the upcoming school fees that are due for our Kenyan orphans. As I explained last week, paid education is not a luxury in Kenya; it is a necessity if these children are to have a chance to make it on their own as adults. We currently sponsor six children, and $1,650 of the $3,000 we need has come in so far. They go back to school for this term on May 4. Can you help? Even a $5 gift is huge and will help us make a difference in their lives. You can read the latest update from Alice their caretaker here. Then please give today using PayPal through my website or by sending a tax-deductible check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882. At the end of this Memo are many other announcements of interest concerning my new book and upcoming seminars, but first let's talk a little bit about what I call "Good Church" as a continuation of our series on purpose prayer.
I have noticed over the years that many of us are satisfied with what I call good church. What is good church? Well, first of all, let me say that it is a whole lot better than bad church. Good church is four hours of church in a two-hour service. It is great music, powerful preaching, entertaining announcements and a move of the Holy Spirit. You can see why I say that good church is better than bad church. The problem I see is that good church has become the sole purpose for some, the end result of their spiritual pursuit. That is where they want to see God move and have an encounter with Him.
I maintain that good church is not the highest goal of the Christian experience. In fact, good church is nowhere described in the Bible. Yes, we are commanded to meet together to have an encounter with Him, but most of the Bible talks about our Christian experience outside of church and not in it. That is why for me purpose is such an important topic, for your purpose is a road map from heaven of what you are to do with your life, not just your church life.
When we pursue good church, it's not necessary to contribute to it. We can enjoy good church if we come once a month and regardless of whether or not we contribute in the offering. We can vicariously enjoy someone else's spiritual toil and feel like it is somehow our own. Good preaching will make us feel like we killed Goliath but not equip us to slay our own giants. Good church will help us feel like we are traveling with Paul, or sailing with Jonah, or crossing the Red Sea with Moses, while in reality we are in the same place after church as we were before. Good church will make us feel like we have a more dynamic personal relationship with the Lord than we actually do. It can fool us into thinking our walk, including our prayer life, is more productive than it really is. We can substitute our personal walk for our corporate one.
There is no question that being part of a church body should empower you to do more for the Lord, but it should not be your only source of productivity. You have something to do that only you can do and you must do it whether or not your church helps or even understands you. Good church should challenge you to personal faith. It cannot take the place of personal devotions or discipleship. It should inspire and equip you to go out and do God's will and not be the substitute for personal action.
Let me repeat: I am not speaking against good church, unless it is the end instead of a means to an end. I am passionate to see you fulfill your purpose and not only help a church achieve theirs. Go to church, hopefully a good one, and make it even better. Then walk out of church to fulfill God's will for your life, which is more than not robbing banks or watch bad movies (which you hopefully didn't do before you met Jesus). God's will for your life is your purpose and good church should inspire and equip you to do it for the glory of God. Thank you and have a blessed, purposeful week.
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LEADERSHIP BREAKFAST: I am speaking at the last Duquesne University Leadership Breakfast on Tuesday, May 12 from 7:30 to 10:00 AM. My topic is Unlocking the Power of Your Creative Edge: Staying Inspired!. You can find more information or register at the University website.
PURPOSE SEMINAR: I am hosting my next free purpose seminar on Saturday, May 16 from noon to 4:30 PM on the North Side at Allegheny Center Alliance Church. You do need to register even though it's free, so please email me to let me know you are coming.
#STANKOISMS: My latest book, #stankoisms: Wisdom for the Twitter Age is now available in paper or ebook format.
ANOTHER BOOK: I released another book this past week for which I served as the editor as well as being a contributing author. Leadership Essentials is now available in Kindle or paper format.
YOUR PURPOSEQUEST TV: I have four television shows posted online. Each one features someone's purpose story. You can watch them on my Vimeo channel. I also have all my radio shows archived on my website for your listening enjoyment. That show is entitled "Wake Up to Purpose."