Do Pre-Packaged Prayers Really Work?

In charismatic Christian circles (those who accept and practice the gifts of the Spirit), we’ve been guilty of criticizing the Orthodox and Catholic churches for practicing liturgy and rehearsed prayers.

From the Charismatic’s perspective, life and power are found most often in the “now” word of the Holy Spirit. And rehearsed prayers and rituals fall under the “dead and boring” category.

But it’s not the nature of being pre-recorded that makes a prayer dull, lifeless, and boring. It’s the heart, faith, and attitude of the person praying.

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Do Prophetic Words Seem More Like Hype Than Substance?

I want you to know that whenever I discuss these things, I’m only sharing my opinion, and I realize that at any point in life, I may be missing an important piece of the puzzle.

Here’s the question that motivated today’s post: If prophecy is so important, why are none of the people I know walking in the reality of what was prophesied over them 10-15 years ago?

Today’s post is part one of my response. I think there’s more than one answer, so I’ll start with the first.

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Social Media, Influence, and WWJD

For those of us trying to harness the power of the Internet for business purposes, Twitter and Facebook can become tempting tools to game for the sake of increased influence. The more people read and care about what you say, the more “powerful” you are and the more money you can make.

But what would Jesus do? What does Jesus teach us about influence and making a name for ourselves? “He who would lose his life will find it. He who would save his life will lose it.”

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God Is Raising Up a Generation of Baby Adopters!

It’s time for an online movement to arise, where believers stake a claim for the unborn children who would otherwise be aborted. It’s time to stand up and shout out:

“We want your babies! Give US your babies! Don’t do what your heart and conscience know are wrong! There are OTHER options! We won’t judge you! We won’t curse you! We won’t speak evil of you to your children! We will love them and nurture them and honor you by telling them that at the moment of decision, their mothers thought there was no alternative but instead chose to give them LIFE! LIFE!”


Harnessing Social Media as a Redemptive Tool

I see a generation of people on Twitter and forums and Facebook groups making declarative statements that they would adopt babies slated for abortion. They will make themselves available for contact so that ANY woman considering an abortion can contact them and choose to relinquish parental rights to these loving and confident people.

They will use hashtags to unify on Twitter. They will say, “I live in DFW. Please don’t abort that child. I want your baby! #wewantbabies” and pregnant women previously seeking abortions will find them and contact them and arrange meetings with them.

The time has come for the Church to stand up and take care of its people.

This is also the generation who will begin caring for and housing pregnant women who choose to keep their babies because the Holy Spirit convicts them. They will offer their services to train women in skills that will help them get jobs and provide for their families. They will provide loving and safe mentoring relationships so that single mothers ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS have someone to turn to for strength and advice and encouragement.

It’s Time to Honor the Single Moms

Segments of the Church will begin to esteem and honor single mothers so highly that they are drawn to the community of believers. A great spiritual fathering momentum is building! A great opportunity for blessing! Restoring the hearts of the fathers to the sons and the sons to the fathers begins by FIRST standing in the gap for the fathers who are absent. First comes standing in the gap. Then next will come the actual fathers’ hearts. First someone must love these babies. Someone must love them and give them WORTH! Esteem! Honor! Value!

Provoking Jealousy in Prodigal Fathers

The spiritual father stands in the gap for the physical father and gives to the child the blessing and birthright due. He acts on behalf of the father until the prodigal father’s return. That’s right. A prodigal father’s return is coming. But they will come, like the Jew who Scripture says will come because they envy that their birthright was shared with the Gentile. The father will see his children loved and esteemed and enjoyed and God will rip his heart in two with love! He will quake and fall and cry and be unwound in the midst of his community. He will come running, says the Lord.

Someone has to speak it. Who will be so moved by compassion that they will sacrifice their comfort and their “ideal family” structure to offer up a chance to save these precious lives?

* image by Charlotte Morrall

Wellspring DFW

What was wrong: Wellspring was in need of some serious rebranding. As you can see above, the previous design did not make good use of space. Various sizes and styles of boxes were employed to call attention to different activities. The color scheme was dated. And the secondary navigation wasn’t visible until you clicked and arrived on a primary nav link page.

Then there’s the logo. The church avatar actually wasn’t bad at all. If you take the ripple part of the wave above and put it in a box and turn the whole thing grey scale, you have an interesting avatar or logo. But on the website itself, it just doesn’t work with the long streaming blue and the simple font. Some people have mistaken the image to be a banner or sheet rippling in the wind rather than water.

What we did: We started with the logo. I met with the client and discussed at length the identity of the church, the meaning behind the name, and their existing preferences. They were open to interpretation, so I presented them with multiple comps. After several rounds of revisions, we landed on this look. The green and blue box is split by a body of water, perhaps a river, running through. We stayed away from images of springs simply because they all look too decorative and fountain-y, to coin a new word.

Next, I gave them the flexibility of keeping the site continually fresh for less by focusing above the fold on event-based banners. These banners link to landing pages providing additional information. As events come and go, Wellspring will be able to keep the site looking updated and fresh by just ordering new banners.

The site was built on WordPress, as expected. WordPress provides the user friendly dashboard which the client can use to make changes or updates without spending extra budget on contractors.

The site features a blog, sermon archive, calendar of Jack’s speaking schedule, and list of upcoming events. Coming soon is the church bookstore, where Wellspring will be able to sell books and teaching series online for the first time.

Who Should Leave Comments on This Site?

So you’ve visited this site before, but you haven’t left a comment. Maybe you’re not real comfortable with blogs yet. Maybe you don’t realize that bloggers L-O-V-E comments as much or more than blogging. Maybe you just don’t know how fun it can be to get plugged into an online community where you can discuss things at greater length than Facebook or Twitter.

Should you leave a comment? For the purposes of commenting on this blog, there are three types of people in the universe:

1. Critical Debater

2. Contributer

3. Seeker

I’m open to all people leaving a comment, but types 2 and 3 are ESPECIALLY welcome! ;)

I say this because these are the types of people who are genuinely looking to help or be helped. Type #1 probably THINKS they want to help, but in reality they just beat people over the head with Scripture and generally make people feel bad. No bueno, holmes.

How Do I Know Which Type of Person I Am?

Let’s look at each type briefly so you’ll know who you are in the social system of RenewMyMind.com. Read through each description first before you decide which most resembles you. And if you still can’t tell, leave a few comments on the site, then ask me. I’ll be happy to tell you! :)

Type 1: Critical Debater

You get angry when people innocently misrepresent Scripture. Or you disagree with them and make belittling statements in addition to correction. You find yourself getting into heated arguments over the gifts of the Spirit what it means to be “saved.” You end up walking away from discussions because you can’t control your temper. Or people stop talking to you because they feel criticized and belittled.

Congratulations! You’re a Critical Debater. Your comments MAY be allowed on this site, depending on circumstance. But no promises. You are the type who contributes the least to our community, and will be welcomed somewhat cautiously into the fold.

Type 2: Contributor

You don’t care if everyone thinks you’re a Scripture Guru. You will kindly provide correction when Scripture is misquoted or misinterpreted, but you leave room for the possibility of being wrong also. You know you’re infallible, and you don’t assume you’re smarter than everyone else here. You respect and honor other commentors, and you genuinely try to provide additional insight and resources to those seeking help.

Congratulations! You’re the most helpful type of person on this site! Please come back and visit and get to know our community. We want you to provide additional points of view and expand upon explanations we or others might have left half-baked.

Type 3: Seeker

You’ve got more questions than answers. You’re here because you did a Google search for “how do I renew my mind?” or a friend sent you our way to get some help. You know you’re not living a life of purity and power like the first century believers did in the book of Acts, and you’re not sure why. There’s some sort of disconnect, and you’re hoping to find some answers. You are willing to make changes in your life because what you’re already doing isn’t working on some level. You’re not sure if it’s safe to put your real world questions in a blog comment, because it makes you feel more vulnerable than is comfortable.

So glad you’re here! This website was built for you! We don’t consider ourselves special or better than you. But sometimes we get revelation from God, mentors, or godly friends that we know will be really useful for other people too, and we want to share!

We’re seekers like you, and we’re building a community that helps each other, encourages each other, and corrects each other lovingly and humbly. And we are very cautious with our correction, because we know how many people have been chased away from churches and Christian individuals because of harsh replies and critical responses.

We aim for the marriage of love and truth. As I said in a blog comment elsewhere:

But this is why we need a marriage of compassion and truth. Without truth, our love bails people out of their problems and set them up to make the same mistakes again. It is an irresponsible parent who solves all his children’s problems because he loves them and doesn’t want them to experience loss or hardship.

On the flipside, without loving compassion, truth is harsh, judgmental, and impossible to live up to. We try to hold people to a standard that doesn’t allow for mistakes and we have no viable solution for people who make mistakes.

Both options fail to produce the desired outcome: parents being loved and healed and restored and children being loved, provided for, raised to be responsible, loving, and godly adults and future parents.

Truth without love condemns and kills. Love without truth pacifies, enables, and corrupts.

I don’t think Jesus laid aside His morals to love people. But his love was a purer quality than ours often is. Sometimes our “love” is trying to force-mold people into our agendas. Jesus’ love was so freeing and without condemning judgment that prostitutes, cheaters, and philanderers felt valued, loved, and inspired to repent from old wicked ways.

So welcome to RenewMyMind.com, and I hope you choose to get involved in the comments on whatever level is most REAL and AUTHENTIC for you.

*photo by Dave_B_

Pure Religion God Wants

If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

James 1:26-27

There is so much here… where to begin? First, by saying “OUCH!” That whole keeping-a-rein-on-the-tongue thing…

But let’s move on… quickly.

1. Look after orphans and widows in their distress

I love the simplicity of this. What is it about orphans and widows? In AD 55, widows and orphans were lower than slaves on the economic ladder. At least slaves were going to get shelter and food for their labor.

I wonder that James didn’t mention men who were jobless or homeless. But then, I suppose he expected those who COULD work to be in much better straits than those who could not.

Most, if not all, of my coworkers and random strangers I encounter act like they have no needs. No problems. It’s part of the game of being an American. You project success, strength, vitality, confidence. Even the slightest hint of weakness leaves you vulnerable as prey.

But there are people, not all that far away from where we stand right now, who have no will to pretend. They cannot benefit from the charades. They have nothing. No reason to play games. Sure, they may still be defensive, hard hearted, or spiteful, but these are the least which Jesus told us to love and care for.

2. keep oneself from being polluted by the world

And to keep this post legal, I’ll touch on #2: Keep oneself from being polluted by the world. There are very few thoughts on my mind as much as this. Does this statement remind you of another command in Scripture?

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

There’s something about the pattern, the rhythm, the culture of the world. It’s a culture that deafens ears and hides light. There are 101 ways to twist truth and thwart people from reaching their destinies. The darkness of men’s hearts has led them to worship lifeless things. To pour our hearts into fruitless pursuits. Time meant for the installing of God’s Kingdom on earth wasted. Fleshly pleasures pacify while spiritual pleasures go unexperienced.

The command to keep yourself from being polluted by the world is closely linked with the choice to no longer conform to the world’s patterns. We are transformed by the renewing of our mind. And part of that renewing transformation involves not being polluted by the world. Are you polluted? Are you letting the world speak into your life? Is the world painting your understanding of life, love, marriage, friendship, and God for you? Are you a passive canvas, coloured by the noise of secular culture?

Or will you take your energy, time, and passion and pour it into knowing God, renewing your mind, and being transformed into the image of His loving and generous Son, Jesus?