Planetshakers Insider

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

Posts Tagged ‘christianity

Planetshakers Blog Hiatus…

with 54 comments

Firstly, thank-you to Mice, Amanda, assembliesofwhat, Grace, theoriginalmattyc, Jason Van Haaster, Grant and all of the others (there are so many of you!) who had positive and thoughtful input on and off this blog.

Your comments were the reason I kept the blog running, and I eagerly looked forward to hearing what you had to say.

Obviously I haven’t been blogging much lately.

The bible talks about guarding your heart…

At my heart, I’m an optimist. I see the positive potential for change. But there were always a handful of bad apples in the bunch – at Planetshakers itself, and visiting this blog.

For these people, change is looked at with skepticism.

Their “Christian” beliefs are so shaky that questioning is met with an almost hostility – almost to a point where they would say “God made it this way, so shut up and deal with it or go find somewhere else.”

The negativity gets to me…

I put church aside for a while…

And I put this blog aside for a while.

I haven’t attended Planetshakers, or any church, in months. And to be honest, the last few months have been some of the best months of my life.

I haven’t worried – worried faith, God, heaven, hell, purpose, direction, sin, worship, life, whatever – I have more confidence – I have purpose – I’m more fulfilled – I’m more successful at work (even being sent overseas to a $8,200 conference) – I have a better relationship with my girlfriend, my immediate family – and so much more.

I’m far away from God – but never felt closer to his promises of peace, wisdom and purpose.

Christians often talk about “filling a hole with Jesus” – that the hole is Jesus-shaped. For me, it was like I was trying to cram Jesus in there.

After years of a desperate search, perhaps he doesn’t want to be found. Perhaps I’m looking in the wrong places. Nobody has been able to tell me yet. I think most haven’t found them, or have fooled themselves that they have him found when what they have found is something inside themselves.

I may continue to search for the true and real God again.

I may continue to blog again.

I don’t know.

But in the mean-time, I wish you peace, happiness, success and fulfilment – however it arrives.

~P.S.I.

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: Pastoral Care, The Power of Confession

with 7 comments

“Pillars are Just Crutches” is a former YWAM missionary, current Bible College student who (like many Christian Bloggers) has been watching the Michael Guglielmucci saga.

He blogs on The power of pornography and the power of confession:

There is nothing that will destroy a man more quietly than shame.

There is nothing that a man will avoid more than shame.

Unfortunately, that seems to be the source of Mike Guglielmucci’s fall. It’s an all too common threat, especially since the internet, that has deceived many young Christians. What is the deception? Just one look.

What young men and women don’t understand is that once is never enough, and the enemy of our souls knows and understands this. And in a Christian culture where there is a lot of shame attached to sexual sin, and especially pornography, that shame is more of a stumbling block to healing than the actual sin itself.

There is something particularly powerful that a lot of Christian do not do. Maybe because they think it’s Catholic, maybe because they think that it’s between them and God, maybe because they’re ashamed to do it so they use the other 2 excuses. Christians do not confess things to each other.

I’m not talking about confessing to anyone. It should be someone you completely trust and someone who is godly and mature. It may be a good friend or a pastor, or an elder in your church, ask someone. Nothing will kill shame faster like confessing it to a godly person, asking God for forgiveness and then praying together.

Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective. (James 5:1)

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Rom. 8:1)

Can we really blame Mike Guglielmucci for not confessing his addiction to pornography sooner?

Had he confessed – what would have happened to him?

I expect he would have had a lot of fear… That he would lose everything he’d worked so hard for – everything that God had entrusted to him – his own good reputation included.

After all, as Dutch Sheets referred to, in pentecostal churches, “looking on the inside” is rare – so what would have happened if Mike Guglielmucci had have showed his sin?

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.)

We know how ruthless and unforgiving Christians can be to one another…

But would it have mattered?

Would Mike Guglielmucci’s confession to a smaller sin, even in September 2006 (just prior to the cancer story/myth/deception, but still while he was under Planetshakers’ authority) – would this have ended it all before it got “out of hand”?

My point remains – Planetshakers needs true pastoring, where we might receive a soft shoulder, insightful word, caring teacher, probing question or a firm rebuke…

Delegating authority to one man (Urban Life Group Coordinator, Ben Fewster), who in turn delegates authority to dozens of small group leaders who aren’t trained or skilled in pastoral care – what hope is there for the broken, the misguided, the hurt or those lacking in faith.

Planetshakers – please shepherd your flock!

I’m going to finish on a comment from “Julia”:

It´s sad that Planetshakers reaction is: Mike didn’t work here anymore, we didn’t know about it, etc etc. In other words: “DON’T BLAME US”. It seems like that’s all they care about.

Mike was involved with them for a long time, during his addiction. In those 16 years of his addiction, he didn’t feel safe enough to find ONE person to tell the truth to.

In my opinion, everyone who was involved in Mike’s life, ESPECIALLY church leaders (but also his family & friends-but I’m sure they already do that), should examine right now if they contributed to an environment where Mike was put on a pedestal, where there was no accountability and where there was no safe place for him to admit his addiction.
Planetshakers was a big part of his life, and they shouldn’t be thinking about their reputation, they should very very seriously analyse if they worried enough about their pastoral care and how this could have happened.

That’s the saddest part for me, that he felt like he had to carry this burden alone for 16 years, that just speaks volumes to me.

Mike Guglielmucci – Hillsong’s Brian Houston Comments

with 26 comments

Real-Life Expectations of God and the Numbers Mentality

with 5 comments

“Mike” had an interesting comment on the need to “Feel” a distant God for ourselves, how this creates the wrong expectations, and how we place individual celebrities (who in fact are sinners, like all of us) in a place of reverence reserved God:

My heart does go out to the number of young Christians that have or will have been affected by this. But this only shows how there are a number of people out there who base their faith not PRIMARILY on God’s Word but to the ‘celebrities’ of Christian worship.

Unfortunately, that is the problem today where the people seek instant gratification in all walks of life. So when there is a massive concert, people flock to, get saved and then go back to their normal lives. And the fact that human nature to “see and feel” God that they put idols in their lives.

No doubt that Mike G. will be accountable for his actions to God for what he has done and what he has failed to do.

And to those Christians that were deeply affected by this: you need to ask the question – Who do I really believe in – Jesus Christ or the person on the platform?

NV: Youth groups have fun events to get the numbers going. Then numbers fall off when you start getting serious with God and the Word. And then this is viewed as a failure. I think this is a wrong perception prevalent in many churches today – numbers is a measurement of success and growth. God never gave a minimum quota but rather He just said to “GO and make disciples of all nations”

We as a church need to get rid of this “NUMBERS” mentality and focus more on the needs of the individual rather than our own church image.

Written by Planetshakers Insider

August 27, 2008 at 5:25 pm

Planetshakers Should Constantly Improve In All Areas

with 7 comments

Let me share this comment left by another Planetshakers member who dropped by today, as much of it reflects how I feel about Planetshakers too:

I also attend Planetshakers, and have to say that I fundamentally agree with the premise of this blog. Provided that you are not “gossiping” or “slandering” or solely providing “negative feedback”, I think that this blog has the potential to provide a much needed feedback loop to the leadership of the church — a barometer for the church that it did not have before this blog was created.

My views of Planetshakers church and culture are overwhelmingly positive, but I do see some areas of the church culture that could be improved — especially as regards to the church’s willingness to be self-reflective, receive constructive feedback/comments, and grow/improve/better itself over time over time. I’m not talking about the growth/improvement/bettering of the services and events, but rather that the culture of the church should not be static, and should be open to refinement and improvement.

I think that feedback and comments (when given out of the Spirit and love for Jesus and a desire to improve the part of His body that is Planetshakers) should be welcomed rather than dismissed as “divisive” or “negative” or “driven by the enemy”. More than once I have heard senior leaders say (along the lines of) “if you don’t like the way we do things here, maybe you should find another church”. That kind of approach to accountability and culture is not conducive to openness and intelligent discussions about any issues, problems, or other matters being faced by the church.

I also find it difficult when (a) the messages preached press us to dig into the word, follow Jesus not men, and “not be about religion/religiosity, but about a personal relationship with Jesus”, but (b) we are told not to debate/discuss/question any of the church’s religion, culture and policies. I think also that (at least in part), the term “church culture” is really a synonym for “the way we do things here, which are not to be questioned or debated” and in some cases “our religious practices, which are also not to be questioned or debated”.

I love Planetshakers and everyone in the church, but not as much as I love Christ. We follow Jesus (who is perfect), not man (who is imperfect). Planetshakers is not a perfect church, its leadership is not perfect, and its culture is not perfect — but He is perfect, and He is why the church exists.

My desire is for Planetshakers to be filled with intelligent, bible-reading, close-to-Jesus, spirit-filled believers who want the best for His church and who aren’t agraid to suggest new ideas or give constructive feedback. I hope that, over time, Planetshakers will become a place that encourages and fosters such an approach, and is open to receiving feedback and improving its “culture”.

I am very positive about Planetshakers, and am equally positive about the benefits that this blog could provide to the church.

(I’ve added the emphasis on a couple of points that I feel are key/core to the issue.)

Overall the commentary on this blog has been very positive, with 48 encouraging, thoughtful, positive or engaging comments left on this blog to date. I am concerned with the 3 negative commenters who have posted as I feel that they have misread the message and intention of the blog – but hopefully this post will help to clarify the message of this blog.

Written by Planetshakers Insider

August 24, 2008 at 2:19 pm

Mike Guglielmucci: Official Statement?

with 46 comments

From the Adelaide Advertiser today:

The statement was read to a packed congregation at the pentacostal church his father, Danny Gugliamucci founded, Edge Church International at Reynella.

Mr Gugliemucci’s says the reason behind his fictitious cancer story was to hide his 16 year obsession with pornography.

“It is with much pain and sadness that I make this statement today,” he said in the statement.

“For over 16 years I have struggled with an addition to adult pornography as a result of this secret life of sin my body would often breakdown.

“I’d report the cause of my symptoms simply as illnesses and I’ve thrown my life into a ministry for many years trying to compensate for my sin.

“I believe that I do love Jesus and I know that he loves me and it is this love along with the prayers of people around the world that bring me to this place of confession.

“Two years ago, I reported that I was suffering from cancer, the truth is that although I was ill I did not have cancer but was again using the misdiagnosis to hid the lie that I was living.

“I know in my heart that it is the truth alone that will set me free and this is the reason for my confession.

“I’ve dishonoured God, my wife, my family and the church and I take full responsibility for my actions and would like to make it very clear that no-one else was in any way aware of my double life.

“I’m fully commited to a process of discipline, recovery and restitution and will see this process through to what ever extent is necessary.

“I am deeply sorry and pray that you will find it in your hearts to forgive me.

“Currently I am undergoing professional medical assessment and evaluation to help identify and begin to treat the real and much deeper issues.

“Please continue to pray for my wife and I and my family as we have a long, hard road ahead of us but a road that I’m thankful to God that I’m finally walking.”

I expect that this will be read to Planetshakers today, as well as other ACC/AoG churches like Hillsong.

I’m sure the overwhelming feeling of most people will be sadness when they hear this – as it was for me when I read it today.

This statement is very confusing – for me, and sadly it seems for Mike too. I’m still trying to reconcile specifics, like Mike Guglielmucci’s broken leg, back to this – wondering about whether this should be private or public – and more. One point I’m sure about is that Mike Guglielmucci needs time away from the limelight to heal.

In the back of my head, the one nagging question is why falls from grace seem to always come down to sexual sin.

Is it because sexual sin is so much worse than any other sin?; Or is it because we, as Christians, get so hung up about sexual sin that we repress our own sexuality so deep that it bubbles to the surface in inappropriate and devastating ways?

Edit: To be very clear – nowhere in this post is there any condemnation. If you feel like there is, please point to the piece of text that is condemning, and I will rephrase it for clarity.

Nobody is condemning Mike Guglielmucci here – just discussing the situation.

If your immediate reaction is to criticise people for condeming Mike Guglielmucci, you’ve completely missed the point of what is written here.

Written by Planetshakers Insider

August 24, 2008 at 1:57 pm