Welcome to the new thesometimespreacher.com. My name is Andy, and I'm glad that you've found my blog. Since 2008, I have been blogging about the things that interest me most: Jesus, Scripture, Church, and Culture. What began as nothing more than a place for me to occasionally express my thoughts has become a source of encouragement and inspiration for thousands. And the best part is this: During the dark days of my son Zekey's fight with Batten Disease, people from all over the world prayed for and encouraged my family because of what they found here on this blog.
I am currently working as a church planter in Columbus, Ohio. My beautiful and talented wife, Breena, blogs at breeloverly.com, and also has started an ethically made women's fashion line called Garment Collective. Feel free to reach out to me with any questions or comments via email.

Simple-Church

What the Book is About

Simple Church offers a strategy for churches to simplify their disciple-making processes, thereby increasing the effectiveness with which they advance God’s kingdom. The book is based on a significant research project done through LifeWay Christian Resources. Over 500 churches responded to a comprehensive survey, with roughly half of respondents considered “growing, vibrant” churches, and the other half being churches that have either plateaued or are experiencing decline. The churches surveyed varied significantly in size, location, style, and ministry focus. Not all vibrant churches were large, and not all plateaued churches were small.

The research revealed that vibrant churches have a significant statistical relationship to simplicity in their approach to ministry and disciple-making. This does not mean, however, that these churches don’t have much to offer, or do things the easy way. In the words of the authors, “simple is basic, uncomplicated, and fundamental.” (p. 16) A simple church is not a shallow church; it is a church that has a clear process for helping people become committed disciples of Jesus Christ.

To have a simple church, you must design a simple discipleship process. This process must be clear. It must move people toward maturity. It must be integrated fully into your church, and you must get rid of the clutter around it.-Simple Church
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To realize that one is complete in Christ is sure proof against the dangers of immature Christianity – the constant search for spiritual novelties, the unnecessary anxieties and fears over status or requirements, the pride over small ‘achievements’ – which threaten Christians in the modern world no less than in the ancient world.

N.T. Wright, Colossians and Philemon (p. 45)
Hope

Naming a church is an odd process. It’s both extremely important and not important at all at the same time. Does it really matter what the church is called? Yes, it does. But, seriously, does it? Well, no.

When I planted Ember Church, I had the name picked out years before we actually even started taking the planting process seriously. The name was tied to the idea, even defining it. I could not have planted a church by any other name. But Ember’s time has passed, and now God has a new church for me to have a hand in leading. And that church has a name, too.

Hope Church.*

Christianity speaks to each of the core longings of human beings: the need to be known, the need to be loved, the need to belong, the need to be forgiven, and the need to have a hope that transcends death. The hope we have as Christians is unique in this world because it is not of this world, though it is for this world. Our hope is rooted in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and that hope not only rescues us from the fear of death, but gives us confidence to live each day with faith and love.

A mature community cultivates a lifestyle of love in the midst of market-style exchanges, a lifestyle of joy in the midst of manufactured desire, peace in the midst of fragmentation, patience in the midst of productivity, kindness in the midst of self-sufficiency, goodness in the midst of self-help, faithfulness in the midst of impermanence, gentleness in the midst of aggression, and self-control in the midst of addiction.

J.R. Woodward, Creating a Missional Culture (p. 31)
All-Things-New

One of the most incredible passages of Scripture, and one to which I return often, is Revelation 21. It is the story of the consummation of redemption history, of the bride of Christ descending from heaven – walking down the aisle, as it were – for her marriage to the “Lamb who was slain.” The imagery is rich and profound, bursting with anticipation of the new creation, of the world made right, and of the end of the tyrannical reign of sin and death.

In verse 6, the unseen God shouts from his glorious throne, “Behold! I am making all things new!” A proclamation. A promise. God is making all things new. The mountains and rivers will be made new. Not different mountains and rivers; the same, but renewed. Purified. Cleansed.

The same is true for us. There will not be different people; there will be the same people, but we will be renewed, purified, cleansed, redeemed, comforted. This is what awaits us in Christ. But you don’t have to wait for it to happen all at once in heaven. This is what God is up to right now. God is making a new you, and he is doing it through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit today.

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