Seedbed Gathering, connecting, and resourcing the people of God to sow for a great awakening. Thu, 27 Oct 2016 11:00:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 110238651 Church Leader Podcast (Episode 10): Henry Timms and #GivingTuesday Thu, 27 Oct 2016 11:00:50 +0000 On today’s podcast, we welcome Henry Timms, Executive Director of New York City’s acclaimed cultural and community center 92 Street Y. In 2012, Timms established #GivingTuesday, a world-wide fundraising effort partnering with tens of thousands of organizations. #GivingTuesday follows Black Friday and Cyber Monday as an opportunity to give back during the consumer driven holiday season.

Earlier this year, Dr. David King unpacked some of Timm’s thought about understandings of New and Old Power for the Church Leader Collective. Check out the article here.

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St. Benedict For the Rest of Us Thu, 27 Oct 2016 11:00:00 +0000 I recently spent a much needed spiritual retreat at the Abbey of Gethsemani in Monks, Kentucky. After a busy season of life and ministry, the Lord used that retreat to renew my spirit and to rekindle my faith.

The Abbey of Gethsemani is where the famous monk and author Thomas Merton spent the majority of his life writing many of his beloved books on contemplation and the spiritual life. The Abbey is a spiritual place where monks lead lives of prayer, work, and sacred reading. Every year thousands of people come from all over the world to visit the Abbey to pray and reconnect with God.

At the heart of the monastic life is the Rule of St. Benedict. St. Benedict of Nursia lived in the sixth century and founded a community of monks at Monte Cassino. However, St. Benedict’s major contribution was his “little rule for beginners” which was a small book that we wrote as a foundation for community life among his monks. His Rule brought together a balance of rest, work and prayer. Benedict’s Rule has become the standard of monastic life and prayer around the world.

During my time at the Abbey, I prayerfully reflected upon Benedict’s rule for my own life and its relevance for everyday life. The power of the Rule is that is not just for monks, but it is applicable for ordinary everyday people and the lives they live. If your not a monk, don’t worry about it. Here are a few reflections on the Rule of St. Benedict for the rest of us.

Start with Prayer

Benedict’s Rule is all about prayer. He encourages us to pray before we start any new journey. Prayer is the foundation of our faith in God. Whatever we do in life, we should begin it with prayer. Prayer is as essential to the spiritual life as air is to our lungs or water is to the body. For that reason, there is nothing more universal than the practice of prayer. If you think about it, prayer is one of the practices that Christians share in common around the world.

Listen Carefully

Benedict’s Rule begins with the admonition, “Listen carefully.” We live in a wordy world where words have virtually lost their meaning. This is due in part to an overabundance of words. You can’t escape them because they are everywhere. Words in print. Words on signs. Words on billboards. Words on TV, computer, Facebook, Twitter, text messages: need I go on? Benedict reminds us to be slow to speak and to open the ears of our heart to hear what the Lord is saying in our midst.

Work As Unto the Lord

Benedict’s Rule emphasizes the importance of work. Work is not just something we do for a living, but our work is sanctified and made holy when we do it unto the Lord. Benedict knew the importance of doing our work with all of our heart and soul as an act of worship to God. Whatever you do it with all your heart (Col. 3:23).

Walk in Humility

Benedict’s Rule encourages the monks to walk in humility. Humility means to empty oneself. Humility is a fruit of the Spirit and a hallmark of what it means to be a follower of Christ. Jesus Christ is our great example of gentleness and humility. Being God, He humbled himself to becoming one of us (see Philippians 2). Benedict reminds us of this long forgotten fruit of Christlikeness.

Walk in Obedience

Benedict’s Rule emphasizes the importance of obedience. We live in an individualistic culture where youth and adults beat to the sound of the their own drum. We don’t want anyone to tell us what to do. As Christians we are called to live under the Lordship of Jesus Christ and to submit to His authority in our everyday lives. Benedict’s Rule reminds us that we are called to live a life of obedience to the Lord (1 Sam. 15:22).

Feed on the Psalms

At the heart of Benedict’s Rule is the central role of the reading and praying the Psalms. The Psalms have been the prayer book for God’s people since before the time of Christ. Author Eugene Peterson said, “The Psalms were the prayer book of Israel; they were the prayer book of Jesus; they are the prayer book of the church.” They have been a part of the daily rhythm of the church’s Bible reading since its earliest days, and they continue to be an important part of the church’s private and corporate prayer.Show Hospitality

At the heart of Benedict’s Rule is biblical hospitality. This is one of the reasons why monasteries open their doors to thousands of strangers every year, to show hospitality. Many Contemporary Christians and churches have lost touch with the Biblical hospitality. It is imperative that we relearn the gift of hospitality, especially in light of its important place in the Scriptures. The word hospitality literally means “love of strangers” and is found several times in the New Testament (Romans 12:13; 1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:8; 1 Peter 4:9). St. Benedict reminds us in his rule, “Let all guests who arrive be received like Christ, for he is going to say, “I came as a guest, and you received me.”” We are all called to offer the love of Christ to our guests and welcome them in such a way that they would be transform from strangers into friends.

Practice the Daily Office

Benedict’s Rule established a simple pattern of morning and evening prayer called the “Daily Office.” Many people find that praying the Daily Office helps add a sense of regularity and balance to their prayer life. The Daily Office can help center you in the morning before you begin your busy day, and it can help calm you as you prepare for the hours of the night. Praying through the Daily Office is an enriching way that millions of Christians around the world practice daily devotions. The Daily Office is a meaningful way to begin and end the day in prayer.

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Threshing Floor Podcast 073: Underdogs and Outsiders with Tom Fuerst Thu, 27 Oct 2016 11:00:00 +0000 Get ready. We will only say it once.

Get ready.

In today’s episode, our hosts sit down with the infamous theologian Tom Fuerst to talk about theology and his latest book Underdogs and Outsiders. And many other fantastic topics.

These conversations include:

  • Chicago Hot Dogs
  • The Threshing Floor’s best episode ever
  • Chad went to Chicago
  • Chicago pizza culture
  • Leonard Ravenhill (of course)
  • Why Tom eats chicken fingers (almost exclusively)
  • God creating our emotions
  • Why theology matters and needs to be creative
  • The job of the preacher
  • Why we need to develop an ethos with preaching
  • Jesus is not sitting at the right hand of God to coddle us
  • Why preaching should be rough
  • The word of God should destroy us
  • twitter feedback
  • What we are reading right now
  • AW Tozer’s overalls
  • Criss cross applesauce
  • Joshua’s new podcast


Tom on Twitter @Thom1st

Underdogs and Outsiders (Cokesbury)


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The Last Supper in Three Words Thu, 27 Oct 2016 08:00:04 +0000

October 27, 2016

Matthew 26:26-30

26 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”

27 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

30 When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.


Today we come to the most central and eternally enduring act of the Church founded by Jesus Christ: The Last Supper. It is all at once one of the most mysterious realities and yet one of the most concrete. Since the night it was instituted, millions upon millions have reflected on the infinite depths of meaning wrapped in this sacred act. We call it a sacrament, which is an outward sign of an inward reality. Augustine called sacraments visible words.

The deepest debates and most tragic divisions in the history of the Church have revolved around the divergent understandings of these four words, “This is my body.” Is it transubstantiation, as the Roman Catholics believe? Is it consubstantiation, as the Lutheran’s believe? Is it  the “Real (yet mysterious) Presence” of Christ as the Anglicans and Methodists believe? Or is it purely symbolic as the Baptists believe? These debates will persist until Jesus celebrates this meal with us again, as he said, “in my Father’s Kingdom.”

I would like to propose a more primitive and even primal meaning behind the sacrament on which I think we can all agree. When Jesus says, “Take and eat; this is my body” and when he says, “This is my blood of the covenant,” he is saying both literally and symbolically, in word and deed the following three words:

Me for you.

Me for you—as in—my death is the final, imputed atonement of your sin.

Me for you—as in—my resurrection is the eternally imparted source of your life.

Me for you. It’s the message of the Gospel. Me for you. It’s meaning of our justification. Me for you. It’s the means of our sanctification. Me for you. It is the core essence of holy love. Me for you. It is the very meaning of life.

The great act of thanksgiving (which is what the word “Eucharist” means) happens as we, in our deepest heart, say back to Jesus, “me for You.”

Finally, the most true and complete fulfillment his command to “do this in remembrance of me” happens as we turn to our neighbor and say with our lives, “me for you.”

Are we agreed? So let us keep the feast!


Jesus, thank you for making it all at once so simple and yet all consuming. Thank you for saying, in every conceivable way, through your life, “Me for you.” Thank you for saying in the most inconceivable way, through your death, “Me for you.” Thank you for saying in the most unbelievable way, through your resurrection, “Me for you.” Come Holy Spirit and help us become “me for you” people for the glory of God. In Jesus name, Amen.

daily-text-matthew-10-27-16THE QUESTIONS

In lieu of the questions today, let’s give ourselves to reflecting on and living out those three words, “Me for you.”

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J.D. Walt, is a Bond Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ.

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Does History Have Sides? Debunking the Myth of Progress Wed, 26 Oct 2016 11:00:00 +0000

Does history have sides? What are we to make of so much political rhetoric that the church ought to get on the “right side” of history? In today’s Seven Minute Seminary, Dr. Ryan Danker helps debunk this myth by pointing out that history is too complex for simple notions of history that posit a right and a wrong side. In its place, he suggests that we should be asking, what has God done through his Son and Holy Spirit, and how can we as a church be a part of that movement?

To read more about this topic, see Josh McNall’s, “Why the ‘Wrong Side’ of History May Be Right (Sometimes)”.

View our growing playlist of Seven Minute Seminary.

Download the audio for this Seven Minute Seminary & subscribe via iTunes.

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The Ideal Team Player Wed, 26 Oct 2016 10:01:24 +0000 Recently, Willow Creek hosted a conference for church leaders called The Global Leadership Summit (GLS). The two-day event is telecast from Willow’s campus near Chicago to hundreds of locations in North America involving over 300,000 people who are committed to becoming better leaders. GLS enlists the services of industry leading professionals as proven keynote speakers.  This year, Patrick Lencioni returned to highlight his newest leadership publication in a longline of excellent works, “The Ideal Team Player.” This work focuses on three essential virtues: humble, hungry and smart. All three of these make up the essential virtues of an ideal team player.

As Christ followers, we know humility.  We see humility personified in the person of Jesus. Yet, many leaders are less than humble. Lencioni states that a humble person lacks excessive ego, has no concern about status, is quick to point out the contributions of others, and is slow to seek attention. Humble leaders share credit, emphasize team over self, and define success collectively rather than individually. Humility is the single greatest and most indispensable attribute of being a team player.

The second virtue, hungry, refers to the individual’s deep, abiding desire to do more, to learn more, and to take on more responsibility. A hungry team player never has to be pushed to work harder. They are self-motivated, diligent, and constantly thinking about next steps. This leader takes on manageable, sustainable, projects and is committed to doing a good job—going above and beyond what’s normally required. Lencioni cautions that work can consumed a hungry person, if their entire identity is wrapped up in their task.

The final virtue is smart. Here, Lencioni is not necessarily referring to a person’s intelligence—like their ACT or GRE score—but rather their common sense about people and relationships. The ideal team player has the awareness to know what’s going on around them and the interpersonal skills to interact with others appropriately asking good questions and actively listening to what is said. This intuitive judgment, allows the ideal team player to grasp a group’s dynamics and understand how their actions and words affect others.

This GLS key-note address as well as Lencioni’s book caused me to reflect on my life and ministry. Looking at myself, I asked, “Am I humble, hungry and smart? In what area(s) am I effective, and in what area(s) do I need to grow?” Lecinoni’s three categories have also caused me to reflect on how I (and our denominational systems) evaluate others for ministry, for ordination, and for employment at a local church. Are these some of the virtues we look for? Does our interview processes allow us to evaluate these qualities? Using the components that Lencioni proposes for the ideal team player may help us develop future church leaders, as we partner with the Holy Spirit.

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5 Ways to Beat “New Seminary Grad” Disease (Episode 22) Wed, 26 Oct 2016 10:00:24 +0000 This week listen as Bob Kaylor talks with Rich Jones about five ways you can avoid the “New Seminary Grad” disease and be able to communicate and connect with your new congregation. You can find out more about Rich at his website,

Subscribe to the Preaching Collective podcast on iTunes!

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4 Clarifying Words on the Call Wed, 26 Oct 2016 10:00:10 +0000 This past month, the Church Planter Collective has been exploring the call. We have thought practically, biblically, theologically, educationally, and anecdotally about the call. As we wind down this conversation, I want to leave us with four words.

1. Command

The call of God is a command of God. It is not a request. God’s call is not part of a list of options. It is not one of several institutional recruitment letters offering admission. It is not an offer of employment that will entice with its benefits package. It is not even the call of a parent to dinner where a plea of “5 more minutes!” is part of the back and forth. To hear the call of God and not to follow is to disobey. The call of God is the command of God.

2. Invitation

Yet the call of God is also an invitation. Not to follow the call of God is not simply to disobey, but to miss out; to lose an opportunity. The call of God never results strictly in comfort. It is a mixture of sacrifice and blessing. It is real sacrifice. To live in Portland is not to live in Peoria. To live in Brockville is not to live in Binghamton. To befriend new people in a new city is to strain friendships in previous ones. Yet the blessings are real, as well. Events we would never have experienced get put into motion with an acceptance of the invitation. Our children are raised with certain values and opportunities and experiences that otherwise would not have been. The call of God is the invitation of God.

3. Companionship

The invitation of God is most clearly seen in its offer of companionship. My Wesley Seminary colleague Dr. John Drury emphasizes that the call of Jesus to the disciples is not first a call to do something, but a call to be with him. Mark 3 records that Jesus calls the disciples to himself so that they might be with him. The flow of the text moves into what they will do, but it begins with where they will be. And they will be with Jesus. The call of God is a specific kind of invitation. It’s an invitation to companionship. It’s an invitation to be with Jesus because he desires to be with you. Yes, our roles will flow from this initial call to be with Jesus, but, as Drury notes, we so often drive right to the what of the call, right past the who.” The call of God is a call to companionship.

4. Echo

Finally, the call of God is an echoed call. Do you know that an echo is simply a sound being reflected back? Our calls are kinds of echoes. They are not original. The call of God is not original to you. It is not original to me. It was given to many before us. It was given to Abraham, Moses, Jeremiah. Israel was called. Most importantly, Jesus was called. The call of God to Jesus, the affirmation of God that Jesus is the beloved Son, creates the speech that we hear when we hear a call. Our calls are not echoes of our own voices; they are the ongoing reverberation of God’s call of Jesus. Just as God initially called Israel out of Egypt, so was this call reaffirmed in the call to Jesus. Our calls are reflected off the Son and received by his Spirit in us, witnessing to us that we are children, that we have mission under his. Our calls are under his call. They are echoes of a call that was heard and perfectly fulfilled by Jesus. The faithfulness of Jesus to his call means that our calls can be attempted in freedom, knowing that they are taken up in one, the only one, who was faithful to his call from beginning to end. We can live out our call in freedom. We can listen again if a call is misunderstood. We can perform the sacrifices and receive the blessings, living in the presence of Jesus because he was faithful to the call of God.

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Can Jesus Be My Savior and Not Be My Lord? Wed, 26 Oct 2016 08:00:19 +0000


Matthew 26:17-25

17 On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?”

18 He replied, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.’” 19 So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover.

20 When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve. 21 And while they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.”

22 They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, “Surely you don’t mean me, Lord?”

23 Jesus replied, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me.24 The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”

25 Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, “Surely you don’t mean me, Rabbi?”

Jesus answered, “You have said so.”


I’m getting an insight from today’s text I have never noticed before. Before going further, I want to be up front and say I may be making more of this insight than is warranted by the text. Then again, maybe not.

Remember the little puzzle they used to put in the newspaper every day called, “Hocus Focus?” They would print two frames of what appeared to be the exact same picture only the second picture would be missing several small details from the first picture. The task was to see how many differences you could find.

It occurs to me that we have a bit of a hocus focus moment going on between the eleven disciples response to Jesus and the response of Judas.

Here’s how the eleven responded: They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, “Surely you don’t mean me, Lord?”

Here’s how Judas responded: Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, “Surely you don’t mean me, Rabbi?”

Can you spot the difference in their responses?

Yes, it’s the way they addressed Jesus. The eleven called him, “Lord.” Judas called him “Rabbi.”

The Greek word for “Lord” is kurios. It means one who holds absolute ownership rights. The Greek word for “Rabbi” is rhabbi. It means a person who is recognized by the Jewish public as a teacher of the faith.

See the difference? One who holds absolute ownership rights vs. a person recognized as a teacher. Most anyone would recognize Jesus as a teacher, right? Far fewer recognize him as Lord. To recognize Jesus as a teacher says something about him. To recognize Jesus as Lord says something about you. You can recognize someone as a teacher and not be in relationship with them. It would be impossible to recognize someone as Lord and not be in a relationship with them.

To call someone Lord knowing you have betrayed him is an absolute conflict of interest. It would be a bold faced lie. Maybe that’s how a betrayer lives with him or herself—by denying the relationship first. Before betraying another person you must first kill the relationship. At least you must come to the place where the other person is, “dead to you.” In this sense we can say of betrayal that it does not kill a relationship. It is a sign that the relationship was already dead.

Bringing it back around to the critical application—how do you deal with Jesus? Is he your Lord? Do you acknowledge and submit to his absolute authority in your life? Are you more comfortable with seeing him as a teacher? How about your teacher?

The second we slip away from Jesus as our Lord we move into the dangerous country of denial and set our path toward betrayal.

So let me ask you a piercing question. Would it be fair to say that Jesus is either our Lord or he is nothing to us? I think you know how I would answer the question.

It sounds harsh and we very much want to carve out some middle ground. It’s so easy to want to claim Jesus as our Savior and stop well short of making him our Lord. To acknowledge him as Savior is to recognize and receive what he has done for me. To acknowledge him as Lord is to recognize who he is to me. I want you to think hard about this. Can Jesus be your Savior and not be your Lord?

I think you know where I stand on that one. What matters is where you stand, and why.


JESUS we want to know you. More than what you have done for us, we want to know you for who you are to us. We want to know you as Lord. Help us sort this out. We want a saving relationship with you rather than a transaction of salvation. Sort us out on this. Show us the difference. We want you to be Lord. Save us from fooling ourselves. We pray in your name, Amen.


1. What are your thoughts about the question– Can Jesus be your Savior and not be your Lord?

2. E. Stanley Jones once famously said, “Jesus is Lord of all or he is not Lord at all.” How do you reflect on that statement?

3. Is it possible that you could be deceived about the nature of your relationship to Jesus? How would you know?

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Join the Daily Text Fasting Challenge here. Whenever you sign up, it will begin the following Tuesday.

J.D. Walt, is a Bond Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ.

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The Power of Sacramental Church Planting Tue, 25 Oct 2016 11:00:00 +0000

Pastor of Redeemer Anglican Church in Asheville, North Carolina, Gary Ball shares his love of liturgy and the power of sacramental church planting in a modern context.

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