Sunday, April 22, 2018

Great Churches Jotabeche in Chile

Do you wonder what he most influential in church history in the past 100 years were, and 
what trends did they set and how they expressed their influence?  Can those past churches’ successes help us today?  

Read, The Ten Most Influential Churches in the Past Century, published by Destiny Image Publishers by Elmer Towns.  Order this book from

The Jotabeche Church (Pentecostal Holiness) Santiago, Chile

I first visited the Jotabeche Church in June 1982 with John Maxwell, leadership guru, and two other pastors.  We were touring great churches in South America, researching the topic, “The World’s Ten Largest Churches.”  I wanted to follow up my best seller book, The Ten Largest Sunday Schools in America.  In 1982, it had the largest sanctuary in the modern area, seating 19,000.  (John Maxwell left me talking to the pastor to count every pew to verify the number). 
At the time the Jotabeche Church was averaging over 92,000 in Sunday attendance, in a multisite strategy.  The main church downtown was called the Cathedral, approximately 13 churches surrounding the city are called Temples.  Out beyond the Temples were approximately 100 congregations simply known as churches.  And beyond the edge of the city were a multitude of mission Sunday schools, each would eventually become a church.
This was the church that introduced the Pentecostal phenomena of speaking in tongues to South America.  When Joseph Seymour lead the Azusa Street Mission in Los Angeles to speak in tongues in 1906, a letter describing the phenomena of tongues and the movement of the Holy Spirit was sent to a missionary in India. That missionary wrote to the people of a new Methodist church in Santiago, Chile, re-telling the phenomena, and a church was built on the power of the Holy Spirit.
Technically it was founded as a Methodist church in 1903, but when the gift of tongues began there was a break with the Methodist denomination.  The Jotabeche Church was founded in 1909.  The church is known for street preaching; its lay preachers proclaim the gospel on street corners throughout the city.  In 1982 I saw several street preachers addressing small crowds on street corners.  Then in 2014, I stood on the main street in downtown Santiago and saw a stylishly dressed young woman in her 30s reading the scriptures from her cell phone and preaching to business people as they were rushing off to work.  None stood around to hear her preach. 
The multisite pattern of evangelism has expanded beyond Santiago to other major cities throughout Chile.  Technically, the Jotabeche network has over 350,000 believers today.
I preached in a prayer meeting to a crowd of over 19,000.  However, right before the service began, everyone was chatting which raised the noise level throughout the auditorium.  Pastor Vasque approached the platform, threw both hands in the air and shouted at the top of his voice, “Glory to God” (in Spanish).  Immediately 19,000 people jumped to their feet shouting at the top of their voices the threefold “GLORY TO GOD.”   They shouted “Glory to the Father, glory to the Son, glory to the Holy Ghost.”  Every nerve in my body sprang to attention and I broke into uncontrollable tears . . . tears of worship . . . tears of praise. 


What churches were the most influential in church history in the past 100 years?  What trends did they set?  How did they express their influence?  Can past churches’ successes help you today?  What can the ministry of past successful churches teach us today?  Read, The Ten Most Influential Churches in the Past Century, published by Destiny Image Publishers by Elmer Towns.  Order this book from

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Friday, March 30, 2018

Speaking the truth in love

Speaking the truth in love we are to grow up in every way into Him... Ephesians 4:15

Helping is not for the benefit of Teacher but for the Learner. Our goal is to help ourselves to pass life, health and peace to people we know. We, like Jesus, come to serve not be served. The cause of much conflict and difficulty among Christians lies here. We all want others to help us.

Scripture is clear about the need for balance between love and truth, rest and action, challenge and submission.  I read many criticisms of Christians and agree with most of them. I suggest that the primary problem with those who attack each other is not ideological but a lack of love. Without the fruit of the Holy Spirit even those who agree ideologically can get caught in a harmful conflict if we have no ability to "agree to disagree agree-ably."

It reminds me of an apocryphal story about a man was stranded on the proverbial deserted Pacific Island for many long years. Finally one day a boat came sailing into view, and the man frantically waves to draw the skipper's attention. The boat came near the island and the sailors came on the island to greet the stranded man.

After the tour the sailor asked the man,

"Why are there three huts you have here?"

"Well, that's my house."

"What's that next hut?" asks the sailor.

"I built that hut to be my church."

"What about the other hut?"

"Oh, that's where I used to go to church.

One of our favorite philosophers was Pogo, a cartoon possum of the Forties and Fifties. He was fond of saying,

We have me the enemy and he is us. The cause of warring and fighting is not far from us for it is within us.

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Do they not they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but do not get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. James 4:1-3

We all need a heartectomy from the sword of the Spirit, the word of God. The term used here is desires. According to the Greek-Hebrew Key Study Bible, epithumeo is a specific type of desire meaning, "A passionate demand arising from natural desires." The nature of our flesh is selfish, demanding and unyielding on theological as well as personal matters. As James says, we fight and quarrel because of our selfish demands. He goes on to say that even our prayers are not answered because we ask from wrong motives in order to serve our selfish desires.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Drugs and the Government

The President and top government officials are calling drugs a national crisis and want to DO something. This is an area very close to the heart of President Trump because his brother died from alcoholism, which is still a very dangerous drug. 

The challenge to reduce addiction and early death is very great. I have been working in Mental Health and Addiction for a long time and I certainly do not have THE ANSWER.
I do have some suggestions. 

1. One of the least expensive ways to reduce addiction is churches with Recovery Groups. The most successful programs in Russia  was Recovery for both Addicts and for Co-Dependent family members. Supporting family members is as important as helping addicts.
Addiction rates in Russia are ten times worse than ours but they have been very successful by helping families!

Drugs are only one part of the total Compulsive and Dependent behavior spectrum. People also get hooked on sex, pornography, the internet, food, anger, etc. 

Options for Us

A. Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are the most prevalent. They also sponsor Al Anon for family members

B. Celebrate Recovery is a Christ centered program with many resources to get started.

C. Teaching people to pray is very helpful.

D. Trained Peer Helpers is important.

E. Train people that the scripture says, "There is no condemnation" for people that struggle. So, let us stop condemning addicts. 

In Cincinnati we can get help at:

City Gospel Mission

The Serenity Network has several options.

The Cincinnati Vineyard has groups for addicts plus they train Helpers.

Addictive Behavior = Compulsions + Dependency 

Compulsions arise to quell inner guilt and shame. If we add to the addict's guilt and shame
we can do damage. 

Dependency is  the result of a desire for happiness and joy. If that comes froms ex and 

drugs we need to offer better feelings of spiritual joy to replace
the momentary feelings from bad behavior. 

Prayer and meditation can raise good feelings and reduce the need to false highs. 

Never, ever, suggest that a person cannot change. 

Never be Pessimistic. Always promote Faith, Hope, and Love.

The best interventions is a combination of 
Inner healing prayers and Power Christian Thinking. Many sex addicts were brought to recovery with that combination plus worship at College Hill Church. 

Ministers: Do not preach against drugs, porn, sex, alcohol, etc. 
It can make the problem worse by increasing guilt and shame. Preach 
Healthy behavior and resting in Christ. Preach answers not failures
and problems. 

Get my Power Christian Thinking Book for use yourself.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Did Harvey Weinstein Commit Sins?

It seems pretty clear right now that Harvey Weinstein has committed a lot of bad acts in his adult life. Many of the things he was doing seem clearly illegal. They were certainly odious socially and contrary to the social consciousness of modern Americans. What in the world led Harvey and others to engage in such acts?

Mr. Weinstein was a free thinker when it came to meeting with and having sex with women who were not his wife. As a friend about the same age as Weinstein recently told me, "I do not know a single man that did not have multiple sex partners before marriage!" 

Since Hugh Hefner made Free Sex an acceptable mantra with "The Playboy Philosophy" sexual pleasures, hooking up, friends with benefits, and playing around have become regular occurrences in America. Pornography is touted as a great way for couples to better enjoy themselves and "50 Shades of Gray", a book on S&M is a best seller, read mostly by females! 

It even appears that the Me Too Movement is trying to take us back into a Victorian Age. Now some women are accusing men of sexual abuse because they hugged them too long or were bad sex partners. Other men are attacked because of sexual acts that happened 20 years ago when they were praised and celebrated as exciting. Is there no "Statute of Limitations" on consensual and even paid sexual relationships? 

Christians are torn by all these contradictory activities. We despise the "Playboy Philosophy" and yet we also believe in forgiveness, redemption, and mercy. How do we deal with such immorality? 

Selling Fire and Death Insurance

I was approached by Bob Coats, an insurance salesman a short time after I started as a new teacher when my salary was very low. Bob knew I needed a second job and offered to teach m how to sell insurance for him.  He explained there were some new life insurance plans coming out which were very creative. One of the most startling policies to me was called Ordinary Whole Life. It had a Savings Benefit as well as a Death Benefit.

I can clearly remember Bob sitting in an old stuffed chair in my parent's living room explaining how buying an Ordinary Whole Life policy would actually pay my money back at retirement. I was flabbergasted, and tempted to ask him to leave the house. I found his explanation almost totally unbelievable.

Everybody knew that life insurance was  to protect your heirs when your life was over. It did not pay for retirement or vacations or houses but it gave the family cash if I died! It was a Death Benefit not a Life Benefit. Let me relate another reason or two that I found the presentation was so unbelievable.

First, I was surrounded by people that never even mentioned retirement, let alone saving for retirement. People worked until they died. The average life span was not very long so we did not consider life after work. 

Second, our religion was all about preparing us for death. Very little was ever said about living and growing in following Jesus. Every sermon, Bible study, and play was devoted to preparing for DEATH!

Third, in America, we follow the practices of the early circuit riders. They came into town, preached to sinners about "Heaven to gain and hell to shun" baptized their new converts and rode off into the sunset. My church experience was similar. Sermons and teaching was all about being saved and staring a new life but almost nothing about life after the new birth.

Insurance promoted preparation only for dying and so did our church. And probably for good reasons. Life was hard and short but heaven promised abundance and joy. I wonder if it was our theology that pushed us more than a life itself. The early church had a vigorous emphasis on equipping and discipleship and their life span was very short.

Does your church have a vigorous emphasis on growth and healing or just of repentance from rebellion and getting saved? What is the theology that supports growth and healing after salvation? Without a theology of growth, healing, and living a new life church becomes little more than a birthing station.

Go to our web page for materials for growth and healing.