Planetshakers Insider

Musings on Life, the Christian Journey and being a part of Planetshakers City Church

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Planetshakers, and Why We Should Shake-Off Bad Beliefs

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I had someone who didn’t leave their name, but is apparently a Planetshakers member, ask a question recently:

…do you truly believe that this blog contributes any value to the church? If so how?

By asking questions; by being public and open; by engaging people, and getting people to think deeper; by questioning beliefs so that beliefs that are wrong or mistaken can be shed, and beliefs that are correct and stand up to questioning can be strengthened.

All protestant churches (non-Roman-Catholic churches – including Pentecostal churches like Planetshakers) came out of the Reformation – and began with Martin Luther.

The catalyst for the reformation was Martin Luther’s “Ninety-Five Theses” – which he nailed to the Castle Church in Wittenburg, Saxony (modern-day Germany).

These were 95 points for debate that criticized the Roman Catholic Church and the Pope.

The “Theses” included points criticizing practice of selling “indulgences” – the Roman Catholic Church at the time was making people PAY MONEY in order to be forgiven of their sins, and be sanctified in order to gain God’s favor and get into heaven.

You know it’s wrong, I know it’s wrong – but the average person at that time knew no better.

At the time, the Bible was written in Greek – (Martin Luther himself was responsible for the first translation into the “common man’s language”, which put the bible in everyone’s reach). So the church was able to get away with practically anything

Martin Luther, because he understood and was able to interpret the bible, and wasn’t willing to accept a bastardized version of God’s message – a version that benefited the Church financially, but was wrong biblically – so he spoke up.

His work began the reformation – and the reformation saw the Bible being translated into common languages worldwide (including the King James Version in England – which we still use today), it saw some of the greatest Christian philosophers in history (including Calvin and Luther himself), eventually led to most non-Roman-Catholic church movements (Lutheran, Methodist, Baptist, Anglican, Pentecostal, Revivalist, etc), and saw the church come much closer to the ideals described in the Bible.

This was one of the most influential turning points in world history, let alone Christendom.

And it came because someone spoke up when they saw something was wrong.

People accused Martin Luther of bringing about “disunity” and “dissent” – they made him an outlaw, banned his work, and called him a heretic – someone who was “of the devil”.

And in many ways he did create disunity and dissent – but he also spoke the truth.. And as a result, he did God’s work.

You see, God doesn’t call us to blind unity, for the sake of unity in the body of Christ.

Take Jesus’ example – when he came across the money-changers and herders in the temple, he angrily made a whip of cords, drove out the animals, violently turned over the tables strewing the money all over the ground…

“Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” 17His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.”

Jesus acted when he saw wrong.

Martin Luther did the same.

I’m far from anything that Jesus is, and I’m no Martin Luther either – I’m just a human, and I sin as much as the next one.

But I see things that are wrong – and I speak out too.

Just like every Christian should.

Certainly I don’t act as violently as Jesus acted, and certainly not as loudly or as controversially as Martin Luther – but I speak out and act nonetheless.

Is it wrong that I should speak?

Just as one example – In the Bible, Paul writes (in 1 Cor. 14:27-28):

27If anyone speaks in a tongue, two—or at the most three—should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. 28If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and God.

So is it wrong if I were to question whether or not we are justified in God when Senior Pastor Sam Evans speaks in tongues at the end of worship at Planetshakers (with no interpretation), and encourages others to join in?

Is it wrong that I question Planetshakers for claiming they had nothing to do with Mike Guglielmucci for the past 18 months, and distancing themselves from him, when it was clear that his cancer lie started while he was at Planetshakers 22 months prior?

Is it wrong that I look around and see hurting people and people with weak faith, and question what pastoral care these people receive when their small-group leaders aren’t skilled enough to help, don’t recognize the problem, or are too busy to do anything?

Is it wrong to wonder why people cheer loudly when a preacher is “on a roll” in his sermon, or when a superstar preacher’s name is flashed on the giant screens – and wonder whether people’s focus is on Jesus or the Church? And similarly, wonder whether the church is focussed more on growth, or building deep relationships between churchgoers and Jesus?

Planetshakers is a good church – but Planetshakers is not the way, the truth and the life – Jesus is.

So when the church falls short (like we all do) – who questions?

Or are we so blindly following Planetshakers that we forget to follow Jesus?

The most frustrating part is how blindly people will follow – without questioning anything at all.

In fact, some people are willing to go to any extreme – just so long as you don’t disagree, have a different opinion, or question a belief.

  • I can live with people hating me;
  • I can live with people calling me every name they can think of (which is part of the reason why I’m now moderating slanderous posts so heavily);
  • I can live with people signing my email address up to spam email services (it’s started happening lately – I got the opt-in messages to prove it);
  • I can live with people trying to hack into my email account to stop this blog (it’s happened 8 times so far – I’ve got the password reset messages to prove it);
  • I can live with people trying to silence this blog by trying to gain access into the admin panel (it’s happened 5 times so far – again, got the password reset messages…);

But why would a Christian do any of this, instead of just speaking the truth?

I assume that these people are Christians if they are offended by what I might say – but whoever they are, why would they choose to act out of hatred or malice, and want to be slanderous and hurtful and attack me rather than simply disproving me – if I am so obviously wrong in what I might write.

But the surprising (and at times frustrating) part for me is how little some christians seem to want to do anything – just so long as they don’t have to think for themselves.

Even when something is so opposed, so contradictory to what is in the Bible – when the shepherd might be leading them astray – they seem to simply follow.

For unity, perhaps.

  • Perhaps I’m dealing with deep-ingrained and evil spiritual forces that are much greater than me and this blog.
  • Perhaps I’m just encountering Christian zealots who believe what I’m doing is wrong – but don’t have the biblical knowledge to potentially see where I might be right, or if I’m wrong to disprove me.
  • Perhaps they believe that if I’m wrong and evil, acting against me in any way is justified – even if the action they take might be sinful itself.
  • Perhaps their faith is weak, and rather than building their faith on the rock (Jesus) they have built it in Planetshakers – so anything that questions Planetshakers also questions (and shakes) their faith.
  • Perhaps I’m missing something.

I don’t know.

I don’t know what good this blog will do – but surely any sense of accountability, debate, and questioning beliefs in order to find the truth is a good thing, because it means we’re vigilant – and if we’re vigilant (as the Bible says) we avoid being led astray, and we avoid trouble from our enemies.

Surely our faith is strong enough for us to ask questions.

Surely our faith is strong enough that we’re willing to be vigilant, rather than blindly follow a church because… well, just because.

As I said at the start of this post…

Asking questions; being public and open; engaging people, getting people to think deeper; questioning beliefs so that beliefs that are wrong or mistaken can be shed, and beliefs that are correct and stand up to questioning can be strengthened – surely this is good, and not bad.

Planetshakers Placing Son On Stage Too Young?

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Received an interesting message via SMS.

Tomorrow’s Father’s Day church service at Planetshakers will feature 3 generations of the Evans family… Including Russell Evans’ eldest child, Jonathan (still primary school aged).

I wonder to myself… Is this appropriate?

Obviously it would be inappropriate to have Jonathan delivering a message, because 1 Timothy speaks against promoting novice pastors.

But is it also inappropriate to be placing the child on a pedestal alongside his revered father and grandfather?

I can’t help but think of Mike Guglielmucci, and the shame and torment that began for him at a slightly older age. Surely some of this was caused by the expectations he felt he had to live up to, as we heard that he bottled his sins up inside, put his best foot forward – while suffering horrible physical and emotional symptoms.

While every good parent (and I don’t doubt Russell Evans is a good parent) wants to build their child’s self esteem, and lift up their son and say “This is my son, in whom I am proud” – it seems unnecessary and potentially harmful…

… And yet again, it takes the focus off Jesus and places it on the Superstars of Planetshakers – in this case, the Evans Family.

Written by Planetshakers Insider

September 7, 2008 at 3:10 am

Scutinize All Things; Hold Fast What Is Good

with 4 comments

Thought this post was interesting and insightful:

This is a bit of a sidebar but it feeds into some of the other comments.

We certainly need to minister the “grace and truth” of Christ to those who have fallen but it is also biblical and helpful to ask if there are things within the church culture that are contributing to the problems we are experiencing.

Part of the problem is the “marketing and packaging” – image first, celebrity status, lack of open inquiry, no accountiblity (other than their chosen circle of friends), leadership and teaching in some of these churches, which have substituted orginizational growth over Jesus’ command to make disciples..

I don’t know the specifics of this church or the situation but we had better take heed to the warning of Christ — “Let no man deceive you”. Deception is rampant in our culture and is strongly influincing much of the church.

In reading a recent newsletter from a well known and respected Pastor in Minnesota who was addressing “avoiding division” in the church I was alarmed to see his postion. He said we “absolutely cannot let the enemy” enter our thinking by causing us to question the credibility of the ministry (ministers) God has chosen to connect you with.

This is a real problem we face. It also violates the teaching of Scripture.

1 Thes 5:21, Test (scrutinize) all things; hold fast what is good.

Strong’s #1381 – Dokimazo: test, prove, approve, discern, examine.
1. to test, examine, prove, scrutinize (to see whether a thing is genuine or not), as metals
2. to recognize as genuine after examination, to approve, deem worthy

Scrutinize: To examine carefully for accuracy with the intent of verification, so that an informed decision can be made concerning the proper course of action.

This is not a suggestion, it is a command.

This same word is used in Rom 12:2, Phil 1:9-*10, 1 John 4:1.

“Gullibility is not synonymous with spirituality. Faith is not a mental habit leading its possessor to open his mouth and swallow everything that has about it the color of the supernatural” (or has a Christian label slapped on it).

“Faith keeps its heart open to whatever is of God, and rejects everything that is not of God, however wonderful it may be. ‘Try the spirits’ is a command of the Holy Spirit to the Church. We may sin as certainly by approving the spurious (false) as by rejecting the genuine (truth). And the current habit of refusing to take sides is not the way to avoid the question. To appraise things with a heart of love and then to act on the results is an obligation resting upon every Christian in the world. And the more as we see the day approaching.” ( A.W. Tozer)

The enemies attack is two-fold: get you to believe a lie or reject the truth.

Make sure your church is “rightly dividing the Word of truth” and be alarmed if there is not an environment that welcomes and encourages open inquiry.

Peace!

Written by Planetshakers Insider

September 7, 2008 at 2:58 am

Planetshakers “Beautiful Savior”

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Had this song stuck in my head all day:

I think the lyrics are lovely… It doesn’t really tell us much about Jesus, but it’s a pretty song.

Beautiful Savior by Planetshakers – Lyrics

Jesus, Beautiful Saviour,
God of all Majesty,
Risen king,
Lamb of God,
Holy and righteous,
Blessed redeemer,
Bright morning star

All the heavens shout your praise,
All creation bow to worship You

How wonderful, how beautiful,
Name above every name, exalted high
How wonderful, how beautiful,
Jesus your name, name above every name, Jesus

The guitar chords are something like…

Beautiful Savior – Planetshakers – Guitar Chords:

Verse:
A |: E/G# F#m7
E D
A/C# Bm7 E

(Note: The first A chord is only played the first time)

Bridge:
E A/C# D
E A/C# D F#m7 E

Chorus:

A F#m7
E D A/C# Bm7 D/F# E/G#

Repeat progression x2

This song was written by Henry Seeley and appears on “Pick it up” – it’s one of 5 (out of 14) songs not written by Mike Guglielmucci on that album. Majesty and Pick it Up are two other songs I like on this album, both of which were written by Mike Guglielmucci.

You can watch an interview with Henry Seeley here:

If you want to get this song, you can get it on Amazon for $0.99, or on iTunes.

The Blessings of Prominent Pastors, Todd Bentley, and Mike Guglielmucci

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I saw this image today on the blog of prominent Hillsong/Pentecostal critic,Tanya Levin:

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The picture of Mike Guglielmucci being prayed for by the AOG Executive reminded me of the prominent pastors who blessed Todd Bentley, just prior to his incredible fall from grace after the Lakeland Outpouring, as a result of adultery issues (which were known among his senior leadership):

I’m not going to comment on this beyond saying that one reminded me of the other, and it’s amazing how two men who had the blessings of so many prominent pastors, fell at roughly the same time.

I’m reminded of Dutch Sheet’s comments, following the Florida Outpouring:

We, the leaders of the charismatic community, have operated in an extremely low level of discernment. Frankly, we often don’t even try to discern. We assume a person’s credibility based on gifts, charisma, the size of their ministry or church, whether they can prophesy or work a miracle, etc. (Miracles and signs are intended to validate God and His message, not the messenger; sometimes they validate the assignment of an individual, but never the person’s character, lifestyle or spiritual maturity.)

Just for the record… I disagree with most things that Tanya Levin says on her blog, believe she’s wrong and defamatory in her views that liken AOG leaders to the mafia (although her testimony of Hillsong does include stories of abuses of power and thuggery of Hillsong leaders, which is the likely reason). However, that’s beside the point…

By the way – who are the pastors interceding for Mike Guglielmucci? It looks like – Brian Houston, Alun Davies (or possibly Wayne Alcorn), Ashley Evans (Russell Evans’ brother and son of Andrew Evans), Steve Penny, and (judging by the bald head, which is our only clue) Ian Woods.

Edit: It’s obvious that in the Mike Guglielmucci photo that they’re praying for healing from cancer – but this isn’t a crippled man (Acts 3:1-10) laying at the gates of the temple – this on the stage, at the Assemblies of God in Australia National Conference, and a certain level of endorsement comes with this type of display.

Have You Seen This Man: Russell Evans, Planetshakers Senior Pastor

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Russell Evans, Senior Pastor, Planetshakers City Church, Melbourne The title of this post is tongue-in-cheek, but the question remains… Have you met Pastor Russell Evans?

I was asked today (via email) whether I had met Russell before.

It was a relatively pointed question – the person asked whether he was out amongst his flock, as a shepherd should be – whether he was serving his church.

It made me realize…

No, I hadn’t..

Neither have any of my friends at Planetshakers.

In fact, the only people who I’d met who have met Pastor Russell Evans are in senior leadership positions throughout the church.

I’ve never seen him in the foyer after sermons either… He just, sort-of… disappears…

I realize he’s wanting to build his church through “disciples”, just as Jesus did, but even Jesus walked among his flock.

Is my experience uncommon? Have you met Pastor Russell Evans?

I would be happy if I heard otherwise from hundreds of other Planetshakers members – but it was only that someone brought it up that I came to think how odd it was.

Written by Planetshakers Insider

August 28, 2008 at 1:44 pm

Mike Guglielmucci – Hillsong’s Brian Houston Comments

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