Pastor's Forum

Inventories and Testing

I hear other pastors talk about giving “personality profiles” and “gift mix tests” to help determine the temperaments and the giftings of their people. I’ve also heard of these being used in providing spiritual guidance, especially in terms of helping people prepare for marriage. Has this truly been helpful to churches and the people taking these kind of inventories? If so, how? Can you tell me some of the better tests and inventory tools that are available for use in the local church? Read the responses


All Sizzle and No Steak
Tony Cooke

All Sizzle and No Steak by Tony CookeThat was an early lesson to me that things can sound and appear far more impressive than they actually are. There’s nothing wrong with a positive appearance—we all want to put our best foot forward. The problem arises when appearance becomes misleading, and more focus is put on the projection of an image than is placed on the developing of substance. Scripture has quite a bit to say about misleading appearances—when the sizzle is deemed more important than the steak, when there’s “all hat and no cattle.” God sees things as they really are. He’s not moved by or impressed with spin or clever marketing techniques. Something that comes into play here is the contrast between reputation and character. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to have a good reputation; everyone wants that. But a reputation can be misleading. We all know that people can have a double life—a public image and a conflicting private life. Read this article by Tony Cooke


Stars in My Eyes
Lisa Cooke

Stars in My Eyes by Lisa CookeOne of the things I love to do when Tony and I visit Rocky Mountain National Park is to go into the park late at night, away from city lights, and look at the night sky with the uncountable number of stars. Those stars, even though they appear as just pinpricks of light, have always fascinated me. I could look at them for hours and not grow tired of their beauty. I believe there’s a message in those stars for us, a calling they send out into the world for those who have eyes to see. Daniel 12:3 says “And those who are wise will shine as bright as the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever.” The night sky is an illustration of the great cloud of witnesses in Heaven, reminding us that we will have a place there as well if we stay faithful until the end. Read this article by Lisa Cooke


The Church We Are Becoming
Ed Russo

The Church We Are Becoming by Pastor Ed RussoThe church we are becoming is one where both the churched and the un-churched feel welcome when they drive onto our campus, come through our doors, and leave feeling refreshed, encouraged and empowered. We are becoming a church where hurting and broken people are brought to a sense of wholeness and restoration through unconditional love, acceptance and forgiveness. We’re becoming a people so compassionate that others are drawn from difficult situations into our environment of renewed hope. The church we are becoming is much like a family: one house with many rooms, walking out a unified vision through each of our extension campuses in various languages and countries. We are becoming a church apostolic in calling, visionary in nature and evangelistic at heart, one that is committed to boldly impacting multitudes for Christ throughout our region and the world. Read this article by Ed Russo


Sodom or Salem? America It’s Your Choice
Vicki Shearin

Sodom or Salem? by Vicki ShearinIt’s been fifteen years since the September 11, 2001 terror attacks on the United States. Immediately following 9/11, President George W. Bush began to emphasize that our country was in “a different kind of war.” Indeed, most of us had no idea we were in a war at all, but we suddenly realized that evil men had been plotting against us and we had been caught unaware and unprotected against an unthinkable assault. Similarly, there is another war being waged in America that far too many of us are unaware of. The moral fabric of our country is unraveling, and the very foundations upon which our freedoms have been built are being compromised. Abraham Lincoln said, “The philosophy of the schoolroom today will be the philosophy of government tomorrow.” Like Jesus’ parable about the good man who planted a good field, and while he slept an enemy sowed tares (Matthew 13:24-30), the Church in America (and in many other countries) has carelessly drifted off to sleep… Read this article by Vicki Shearin


Post-Christianity and the Church
Jon Perrin

Post-Christianity and the Church by Jon PerrinWhile the previous generation valued tolerance, Millennials emphasize acceptance and support for alternative viewpoints and lifestyles. This leads many of them to deem the Church as archaic and useless – even toxic. As a matter of fact, a recent study revealed that public opinion has shifted concerning Christianity. Spiritual practices that were once considered normal Christian behavior – sharing one’s faith, abstaining from sex outside of marriage, praying out loud for a stranger in public, etc. – are increasingly viewed as extremist. The pluralistic lifestyle of Millennials has led to a cafeteria-style spirituality, picking and choosing what they like from different belief systems. Over half have never read the Bible. The outcome is a hybrid Christianity that is vastly different than that of former generations. Such things can be disturbing. Many Christians respond by withdrawing into the safety of their church circles. But this isn’t the way God chose to deal with the problem of our separation from Him. He chose to engage us personally. Read this article by Jon Perrin


Read all of our quotes by visiting our Quotes Page.

“Six feet of dirt makes all men equal.”
– Charles H. Spurgeon

“If you live for people’s acceptance, you’ll die from their rejection. Live for an audience of one.”
– Jim Graff

“It’s ironic that some people with the most narrow and closed minds also have the widest and open mouths.”
– Dale Bronner

“Only one good reason to look back, to see how far you’ve come.”
– Glen Johnson

“There is a clean path to hell as well as a dirty one. You will be lost if you trust your good works as surely if you trusted your sins.”
– Charles H. Spurgeon