Friday, June 13, 2008


In just a couple of days Linda and I are off to Mexico where I will be speaking to the Newfrontiers-Mexico Leadership Conference. I shall speak several times regarding the development of leaders. Linda and I will also teach a session on the leader and his marriage. In addition, I have been given the freedom to preach on a topic of my own choosing for the final session. After the conference it will be an honor to speak at the Newfrontiers church Fuente de Vida, where Oscar Suarez is the primary leader. Please pray for us that we will be a help during these important days. It is always a challenge to speak through an interpreter, which demands cultural sensitivity and not being overly ambitious with the amount of material I bring.

We will return just a few days before traveling to England. Over the 4th of July weekend, I will be in Poole with the church led by Matt Hosier, both preaching at their main meeting and sharing with emerging leaders in a smaller context. Linda and I will address the issues of marriage to the wider church body. Then it is off to Brighton, England for the "Together on a Mission" leadership conference. We will be among the 5,000 already booked in. Following the Brighton conference we will be involved in the International Forum of apostolic leaders around the world. We will conclude our days in England by traveling to Bedford for a weekend with King’s Church.

Upon our return to the USA I will only have a couple of days to get over jet-lag before traveling to New England for "Celebration Northeast." I would greatly appreciate your prayers for these important meetings as well as for physical stamina in the face of a demanding schedule.


When I meet people they will sometimes ask me what denomination I am a part of. It is often difficult to explain to people outside of our family of churches exactly who I am and what I am a part of. I may tell those who have some understanding that I am a "reformed charismatic," which also has implications I am not too happy with. I like the statement that Mark Driscoll uses describing himself as "reformed in boxer shorts and charismatic with a seat-belt".

I have a value of the historic Christian faith which can be described as reformed but also am not a cessationist, meaning I believe that the rich life in the Holy Spirit described in scripture continues to be available today. However, I find some of the more extreme reformed views not to my liking. The excessive, and often embarrassing, expressions of those who call themselves “charismatic” are not something I wish to identify with either.

I have great appreciation for the values of our Newfrontiers family of churches. We have a radical commitment to the integrity of scripture, as well as a lively experience in the Holy Spirit. Also, our value of the church as God's vehicle for kingdom expansion provides us with a great deal of safety. We can embrace the full expression of life in the Holy Spirit within the context of church. We have accountability of elders and the church community, as well as a solid foundation in biblical expression of the Spirit-filled life.

Many charismatics live independently, and a kind of hyper-individualistic, ministry-oriented world without the accountability of the local church or its elders. Often charismatics seem to lack solid biblical foundations. This leads to much extra-biblical craziness. It is impossible to address issues that are off the mark extra-biblical revelations in people who avoid the accountability of the church. Many times these people pull rank with the statement "God showed me, God spoke to me” which becomes a way of avoiding accountability.

So what do I hold as an accurate description of my position? I guess I will stick with the statement that I am a "reformed charismatic." While the Mark Driscoll’s statement is helpful, I don't want my seat-belt so tight that I become hesitant in living a life that is rich in Spirit-filled expression, embracing the absolute integrity of the Bible as the foundation upon which my Spirit-filled life is demonstrated.

Sometimes our family members do or say things that are not in concert with who we are personally. However, we are still a part of our family and would not deny our connectedness with them. Unfortunately, many of our more extreme family members operate in front of television cameras, because they own much of what is called Christian TV. I don't like the fact that often I am identified with their weird and non-biblical views. Yet I am a charismatic and theologically I would be described as reformed. I guess I will just get on with it and hope that I am judged for who I really am, rather than guilt by association.