Netcast Church Update

Hi Everyone,

Wow, God is moving in an awesome way. I will say that raising money during the recession is a little crazy. While I would have never planned to do fund raising during the worst economy since the depression; God thought it would be a good idea. Here are a couple of updates.

1. We received our first check as a church plant over $5,000. It actually came from a team member who will be moving with us. The faithfulness and maturity of this individual is mind blowing, especially at barely over 20 years old. It was actually a total of $7,600. Praise God for providing.

2. I got an e-mail from Joe Polson who is a young man from Charlotte hat found us on the web. We have never met and had only 1 phone conversation together. He feels called to church planting and is praying about moving to Boston with Netcast Church. Only a huge God brings a random unity like that. Just recently he felt the Lord encouraging him to give part of his tithe to Netcast Church. Again, this young man's maturity at 23 years old is crazy.

3. Last month I had an opportunity to go to an event in Raleigh. It was an after hours gathering of the leaders and speakers from the Advance 09 Conference with guys like Matt Chandler, Mark Driscoll, John Piper, Danny Akin, Eric Mason, and many others. I was able to rub shoulders with some giants of the faith and learned a ton from my conversations with them. You can get the podcasted sessions from the conference at the Resurgence link on Itunes.

If you would be willing to send us a 1 time gift that will be put towards the matching contribution of a local businessman, please reply to this post with with your address. I will send you a pre-stamped return envelope so all you have to do is throw in a check and pop it in the mail. As long as the check is over $1 it would be a profit for us. We will take a gift of ANY amount. Remember it is all tax deductible. I really need your help in raising $20K in order to receive the full amount of the contribution.

Thank you all for being a friend to us and partnering with us as we are in this journey. Be praying for me, Beth, our kids, and the Netcast Team. Satan wants to steal our joy, kill our dreams and destroy God's work in us. Pray that we will stand like Ephesians 6 tells us to.

Check out if you haven't yet.

Matt C

Don't kid yourself; you are RELIGIOUS.

There has been some good and bad discussions that have been taking place in one of my latest posts. (We are all bent towards God) One thing that I am realizing is the unbelievable similarities that we all have. We all seem to have a belief system in which guides our thoughts, actions and ultimately our lives. We all hold tight to a philosophy; I may hold tight to the teachings of the bible and Christ following scholars while others may hold tight to the teachings of other books and Secular scholars. None-the-less, we are all being driven by information and logic that we hold dear to us.

The most noticeable thing that I am seeing is the difference in opinions on the following terms. Christian and Religion. On one occasion, someone labeled Hitler as a Christian (which according to my definition of a Christian, cannot be true) and on another occasion someone mocked people who are religious. I seem to have a very different opinion about the definitions of these two terms (Christian and Religious) than some of the people who read my blog. This brings up a couple of very important questions. What is a Christian and what constitutes being religious? I will address one of them below.

Lets start with Religion. In the comments that I receive, it is very obvious that we tend to view religion as a belief in God. Try telling that to a Unitarian or Buddhist. Unitarian Universalists believe in spirituality but not God. Buddhist' do not believe in God at all, but ultimately a pursuit of happiness. Religion cannot be a belief system in God because not all religions believe in God. Instead, religion is a set of answers to the major questions concerning our existence. Religion sets out to answer questions like: Why are we here? How did we get here? What is our purpose in life? What happens after we die? Within those questions, most religions tend to lean on an answer that includes God or Spirituality but other religions do not.
In essence, all belief systems are religious beliefs. None of us are exempt of religion and being religious. Some religions gather for worship, others do not. Some religions hold to sacred literature, others do not. Some religions worship science, knowledge, intellect, and uncertainty while others worship God as creator and Jesus as Savior. Similar to us all being religious; we are also all worshippers. By worship I mean, holding something as ultimate in our lives. Those things can be money, sex, family, God, intellect, knowledge, our image, security, Jesus, morality, and the list can go on forever. (Again, that is based upon my defination of worship.)
The thing that bothers me is that the agnostic and atheist will arrogantly point the finger at someone like me for being religious, without having the humility to admit that the very thing that pushes them to label me as religious is their own set of beliefs, which in themselves are religious beliefs (That was a run-on sentence I think.) According to my definition above, I am religious…but so are you. Lets try not to avoid the FACT that the same things that drive me are the same things that drive you. A set of beliefs. Even to say that you dont believe anything, is still a belief.
Before I talk about my definition of the word Christian; I would first like to hear your definition. I am specifically talking to the following people (Brian, Drew, Edgar, Paul) but would also like for others to chime in if you have a chance. Feel free to answer anonymous if you'd like.

Missional Strategy Interview: Stephen Wagner

* how did you come to an understanding of the culture you were called to and how have you been bringing the gospel into the culture (what strategies)?

1. Intentionally engage your culture. In order to understand your culture, you have to live where they live, eat where they eat, travel how they travel, and play where they play. 2. Go where the people you want to reach are. Their park, bus, mall, movie theater, restaurants. 3. You first have to understand the people who you seek to reach. You can't be on mission to reach a culture you don’t know.

* how has God reshaped your theology/thinking to make you more missional (theological growth question)?
1. Live out the gospel message in your own life so that when it is time to help shape others, your not faking it.

* if you were to restart your church plant to be more missional what would you do (practical question)?

1. Write down examples of your own life when you were living out the mission and saw success. Keep that in front of you and in a format to be able to easily disperse it among people who may need it. Keep examples of how you were able to bridge the gospel in all sorts of categories. (at a ball game, at a public park, on a train or bus, in the gym, etc. 2. Train your team to engage with purpose.

Missional Strategy Interview: Stephen Wagner - Lead Pastor 1.21 Church

Missional Strategy Interview: Terry Gyger

* how did you come to an understanding of the culture you were called to and how have you been bringing the gospel into the culture (what strategies)?

I completely understood the culture in Miami and Buckhead/Atlanta. I completely misread the culture in Cambridge. It took me 18 months of discouraging work to figure this out. We basically had to bring the gospel through personal relationships and meeting needs. A very secular place, environment.
* how has God reshaped your theology/thinking to make you more missional (theological growth question)?

Interacting with other church planters who understand the multidimensional nature of the gospel and kingdom.Interacting with Tim Keller over the years. Wide reading and study of the scriptures.

* if you were to restart your church plant to be more missional what would you do (practical question)?

1. Pray more and consistently and spend high quality time recruiting and training people to prayer. John Smed in Vancouver is a good resource. 2. Finding creative ways, mercy, creative arts etc to build friendships in the community and teaching people to do this. 3. Innovative ways of building half way houses, creative first steps in interesting people in the gospel

* how have you grown people to missional maturity (discipleship strategy)?

I did better in Miami and Atlanta, poorer in Cambridge. To do it again in Cam, I would select potential leaders, spend time in study interactive times, mentoring.

* how have you helped men to become missional in their marriages, families and professions

Same as above

* what has been your strategy to evangelize lost people?

Building community, relationships, half way events, like Redeemer’s “Open Forum.” Alfa courses.

Interview with Terry Gyger @ Redeemer

Missional Strategy Interview: Michael Keller

* how did you come to an understanding of the culture you were called to and how have you been bringing the gospel into the culture (what strategies)?

1. First you have to answer this question: "If your a happy pagan, why should you feel the need to go to church?" 2. One of the ways we brought the gospel to the culture is by making everything explainable. In order to be effective we had to lose the religious language and define meanings rather than assume people know the lingo. 3. Put together intellectual presentations in a way that is easy to understand. In an area like Boston, education is important, therefore, it is also important to present Gospel truths in intellectual ways. 4. One way to get a cultural temperature is by asking non-church people questions. Ask random people random questions that will help me understand their thought process. 5. Explain the gospel in terms of freedom. Keep in mind that although lost people feel free, they are really addicted and in bondage. 6. IMPORTANT: The main issue is unbelief. The reason why Christians and Non-Christians rebel is because of unbelief. Unbelief if the meeting ground where both Christians and non-Christians are on the same playing field.

* if you were to restart your church plant to be more missional what would you do (practical question)?
1. Be a church plant with a plan of planting a sister church within three years. 3. Never let a fear of losing people hinder your advancement of moving the Kingdom forward. Make Kingdom decisions and not decisions that will sustain the life of our church plant. 2. Be intentional of raising leaders within your church to do the ministry. 4. Possibly have a potential church planter involved from the beginning.

* how have you grown people to missional maturity (discipleship strategy)?

1. From the beginning, have a focus on the entire community and not just your church plant. 2. Emphasize the importance of Christians living as an ambassador at their jobs. Training people that their main mission field is where they spend most of their day which is typically at work. 3. Fight the typically process of someone becoming a Christian and ditching all of their non-believing friends. Never let the non-believing friend fall away from the friendship. 4. All believers should have at least 5 non-believing friends who they are living in relationship with in order to show them the gospel through their life.

* how have you helped men to become missional in their marriages, families and professions
1. Hard question to answer. Rebel against the mainstream culture of "boys will be boys" and hold men accountable.

* what has been your strategy to evangelize lost people?

1. Evangelize Christians and non-Christians the same. The gospel fights against those who think they are in good standing with God because of their morality and the gospel fights against sin by bringing forgiveness and freedom. 2. Paganism is a sin just as much as salvation through religion is a sin. People need to repent of both. 3. Life Evangelism is the way to reach people. People need to be seen living out the gospel with the fruit of the gospel being evident in their life.

Notes from Interview with Michael Keller @ Redeemer in NYC College Ministry

We all are bent towards God in some way.

Well it's been some time since I was regularly writing on my blog. I guess I have been tied up with life. New baby, summer, work, and church plant seem to have me very busy these days. Anyway, at 6:00am this morning, I woke up to feed my new son Jacob only to get yacked on. Not a bad way to start the morning. So since I was up, I decided to get downstairs and get into the word. I have been studying Acts 17 where Paul visits Athens. It’s a great text. Anyway, I was intrigued by this question that kept popping into my head.

Why are we all bent towards spiritual things and worship?

It is hard to argue that that isn't the case. All throughout history, every culture, nationality, tribe, people group, and generation has had a bent towards spiritual things. From the ancient philosophers in Greece, to the earliest days of the Bible, all the way to today; spirituality and worship has been a vibrant part of life. Now, it has not always been a bent towards Christ and the God of the bible, but always something that is infinitely greater and more powerful than in which can bring us purpose and meaning. It typically has been a God that is personal in which we can either know "it" or "it" knows us. This is a weird concept that is imbedded in our DNA that I cannot understand or explain away. Even the atheist or agnostic cannot move away from having at the least, an opinion of God. To have an opinion of God, at the least, means that the clashing atoms of ones brain acknowledges the need to make a thoughtful decision of whether God does or does not exist; hence a bent toward the spiritual. I am also troubled with this thought; if my brain thinks it or craves it; is that proof that it exists? For example; because my body is hungry; that is proof of food. And my sexual desire is proof of sexual gratification through sexual intimacy. Is the same true that my desire for the spiritual mean that the spiritual exists? Where else do I crave or feel a need to make an opinion on something that does not exist? Is that even possible?

Like the Athenians, I am very religious and bent towards worship. By worship I mean, make things ultimate in my life in order to bring purpose. At times that ultimate thing has been different. My list consists or basketball, sex, my image, family, knowledge, and Christ. My goal is to still pursue all of those things, but keep Christ as ultimate. The other things on my list although good and satisfying; have made crappy Gods.