Archives For Brandon Cox

Rick and Kay Warren at the PEACE Center

It wasn’t long ago that I wrote a response to critics claiming that Rick Warren endorses “Chrislam.” My frustration then remains my frustration now, namely, that people will follow their first impulse, believe whatever comes up in Google, and assume the worst in the name ofdiscernment, which is ironic since real discernment is about digging for truth instead of believing a first report.

The latest debacle surrounds a partnership between Saddleback Church and the Muslim community of Orange County, as reported by Jim Hinch in the Orange County Register. There are people who are constant critics of Rick and I fully expect, with any major news story, they will highlight minor points and twist them to fit their preconceived idea about Rick as the pseudo-evangelical heretic. God will handle such critics in His own way and time, as He sees fit.

I’m more concerned about the evangelical leaders who, because of those outspoken and overly-harsh critics, will be questioned by their church members every time they quote…

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WhitewaterOne of the more popular subjects we talk about on Pastors.com is the issue of church conflict. In His family, God has brought together people with different backgrounds, personalities, viewpoints, and feelings about life and then He has challenged us to accept one another, prefer one another, and to think of the needs of others before our own.

Because we’re naturally selfish and have inherited a nasty sin nature, we struggle to maintain peace in our relationships. BUT… God has also offered us redemption in Jesus Christ, which means that the entire person is redeemed. He’s also granted us the ever-present Holy Spirit to guide us, give us wisdom, and remind us to have compassion toward others. So while conflict is uncomfortable, it’s also inevitable and solvable.

Bill Elliff has written an excellent guide that includes his personal reflections on navigating the waters of church conflict as well as practical and usable wisdom. I don’t know a Pastor who can’t use help in this area, especially when that help comes from a seasoned veteran and leader the caliber of Bill.

In his own words…

This book was…

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Road to Life ChurchPastors.com recently caught up with Dave & Vanessa Gargano who are planting Road to Life Church in Chesterton, Indiana. They launched this past Sunday, and the journey of this couple and their two college-age kids leading up to the big day has been pretty spectacular.

Tell us about your call to church planting.

My wife and I have served in ministry for 15 years. Thirteen of those years were as youth pastors at the church we currently left and almost 7 of those years I was the worship pastor as well as my wife who led the marketing department and the kids ministry for the past couple of years.

We had been feeling a nudge from the Holy spirit to do more but we thought that more was maybe our pastor grooming us to take the lead pastor role within a 10 year period allowing him and his family to start a work in Africa. Both of us were raised in Berrien county and lived there for 38 years. We are loyal people and were very invested in the church…

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Be a More Balanced Church

By Brandon Cox

Purpose Driven ChurchRemember the old V-8 commercials where someone who wasn’t taking in a balanced diet would be leaning to one side? That’s what I think of as I read the thoughts and opinions of various church leaders about “what the church should be all about.” It typically sounds something like one of the following…

  • Jesus was a disciple-making discipler who discipled disciples, so the church should be all about making disciple-making discipling disciples as well. Let’s disciple some more disciples.
  • Soul-winning is the main thing! And we need to keep the main thing the main thing, and that’s soul-winning. Let’s win more souls! How many have you baptized this week?
  • The church needs the Word. We should be taking people deep into the Word through a historical-grammatical hermeneutic and expository preaching. Let’s start another in-depth expository Bible study.
  • It’s all about the worship, man. Let’s feel the music, experience the excellence, and sing all night.

You get the picture. We tend to go to seed on our favorite issues, and sometimes unwise leaders pursue their own passions to the neglect of other areas of concern for the local church. This is the reason…

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Blogging and PublishingBlogging is such a weird word. We never used it until people started keeping “logs” on the “web” of their life called “weblog” and for some reason, we dropped the “we” and were left with the art of blogging. And in a sense, it has changed everything. How? Because now, everyone is a publisher.

Every business, every church, and every institution is now a publisher, and those who publish with the most gusto win. It’s the age where people with few connections and little resources can grow their voice in the marketplace in inexpensive and creative ways.

I’m writing this post for those who haven’t jumped in yet. I’d love to dialog about the latest developer’s beta version of WordPress or Google’s search algorithm, but my goal is instead to reach out to those who are on the verge of blogging and push you over the edge to take the dive. If you need to read no more, head over to WordPress or Tumblr and get started! If you’re still looking to rationalize your decision, read on…

Why Blog?

Still with me? Let me give you some…

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Our Creator designed us to be creative. And out of our inborn creativity come forth plenty of good ideas, but an idea is only as valuable as its successful implementation. In other words, brainstorming is good, but completing ideas is even better. Charles Lee, the founder of the Ideation Consultancy and many other brilliant ideas, helps leaders cross the finish line with well-developed good ideas.

Good Idea. Now What?In his new book, Good Idea. Now What?, Charles presents a guidebook that is very thorough, but also very readable. It’s a book for leaders, for thinkers, and for creators. It’s written in such a way that the reader can join in at any point, like a reference book. But it’s also a journey that can be followed on a pathway to creative growth. Here’s what Charles has to say about the book…

Going from inspiration to execution is hard work. Many steps stand between a good idea and the hit product, profitable company, or social change you envision. Your initial “aha!” moment provides the key to begin this process, but it’s…

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HarvestI recently wrote about defining the favor of God, and I defined it as enjoying the undeserved kindness of God. I also said you can spot the favor of God when you see that He has sovereignly chosen to bless something or someone for the purpose of bringing Himself glory. His favor is never for our enjoyment alone – it is always intended to be shared with others.

In the story of Mary, the mother of Jesus, Gabriel comes to deliver the message that the Holy Spirit would conceive His Son in her virgin womb, and that He was to be called Jesus. Astounding! Impossible! After the angel explained that nothing is impossible with God, Mary reacts, and there’s a HUGE lesson in her response…

Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.

~ Luke 1:38 NLT

Did you catch that? Mary was humble and highly favored as a recipient of God’s gracious gift. But she was also confident and even enthusiastic about what God wanted to do in her life. This is a point at which…

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MalcoThis past Sunday made the fourth week in a row we’ve worshipped in a local movie theater with January 15 being our official launch. We didn’t intend to launch in a theater. I fact, we spent a great deal of time looking at retail spaces, but eventually landed at the Malco because of space, price, and availability. There’s a part of me that fell in love with the idea before we moved in, and has remained attached to it since.

Advantages of Meeting In a Theater

We know that we won’t be in the theater forever. We’re already looking around for our next home, but we’re enjoying some great advantages in the meantime, such as…

  • The rent is great, especially since we’re only paying for a few hours per week instead of the whole week. For us, it’s $650 per week, which gives us access to three theaters.
  • The decorating is done. It’s not what we would do in our own space, obviously, but it’s something we don’t have to think about.
  • We don’t have to stack chairs.
  • There is a cultural barrier between the church and the community around the church that is…

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Velocity 2012I remember Shawn Lovejoy telling the story of how, when they had their opening service at Mountain Lake Church, he totally forgot to take up the offering, and they couldn’t meet the following two weeks because of ice. I love guys that are real who pour themselves into others, and that’s Shawn. He and his team host an annual conference for church planters and Angie and I have officially purchased plane tickets – so there’s no turning back!

If you’re a church planter or a church planting enthusiast, you’re going to want to hear from Derwin Gray, Geoff Surratt, Pete Wilson, Brian Bloye, Artie Davis, Ron Edmondson, Aaron Coe, Justin and Trisha Davis, Matt Keller, Mac Lake, Tony Morgan, Ed Stetzer, Jud and Lori Wilhite, Scott Williams, and more than a dozen other leaders.

The conference is in Cumming, GA (an hour from the Atlanta airport) on February 27th and 28th. If you’re not aware of Velocity, you are now. I hope to see you there!

Check Out Velocity 2012

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Favor of GodThe phrase “favor of God” seems to be growing in popularity, and I’m glad. It’s a biblical phrase – a good phrase. But it’s often misunderstood. I once heard a guy talk about finding a parking spot right up front on a busy shopping day because of the “favor of God.” I pictured in my mind the pregnant lady with triplets who had to park a football field away because of the favor of God upon this Pastor.

A recent story from LarkNews (satire, by the way – don’t start an email rumor mill – it’s fake) highlights our western view of God’s favor…

Christian family blessed through others’ misfortune

NEW CASTLE, Del. — Sam and Victoria Gutman have always been smart shoppers, but they have gone to another level during the recent recession, buying automobiles, computers and more from distressed owners.

“God continues to bless us,” says Sam. “All things really do work for good for those who love him and are called according to his purpose. We’re living proof.”

Last week they bought a Lexus coupe from a man who…

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Revival in 2012Back in the olden days (the mid-1990′s) I preached a few times at a small church (averaging 12 each Sunday) in eastern Arkansas. They had a rotation system that determined who would take the visiting speaker home for lunch, and one day my lot fell to two elderly ladies who made awesome roast beef!

As I sat in their living room visiting after lunch, they brought out some photo albums from the church’s history. I was amazed to see crowds of people stuffed so tight into the little white clapboard building that they were spilling out into the yard around the church with small groups gathered around each window leaning in to hear a loud evangelist thunder forth the gospel. The next few photos were of the mass baptisms they conducted in the White River – dozens had come to claim Jesus Christ.

Some argue that “revival” isn’t about people being saved but about the church coming back to life. I agree, but the byproduct of the church coming to life is nearly always that lost people knowing and claiming Christ as Savior to the glory of God….

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Exponential ConferenceGod has certainly used a battle with cancer to help Ryan and Jessica Woods to understand how God can use them to lead a Grassroots Conspiracy in downtown Vancouver, Washington. In Exponential’s Stories of Sifted, Ryan tells his story…

God has not promised me another day, I do not believe he has promised healing (though I do believe he can bring it!), but he has made an audacious claim to restore beauty for ashes, to give joy instead of sorrow, praise over despair—he has promised to tell a beautiful and redeeming story in our life and our death. And that is exactly what I have experienced him doing. The timing of my sickness was such that it seemed to interrupt our work of initiating a new gospel movement in downtown Vancouver that we are calling the Grassroots Conspiracy. But the reality that we have had to deal with is that the gospel movement has not been interrupted, rather it has been given a new canvas for fresh interpretation. Our ministry here is almost exclusively focused on those who are very far from faith, who have never set foot…

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