pray (6)

A letter to those who contribute to my ministry (which includes The Reimagine.Network). . .

I am looking at a stack of books and magazines, piled high on my worktable.
Every 6-8 weeks I ship a box of books I've received as review copies from publishers for my interviews. I also include about a dozen copies of the latest "Outreach Magazine" the publisher mails me to share with pastors. Plus booklets and newsletters from ministries that equip pastors in prayer and disciple making. And a file of articles and teaching templates I have written and posted on The Reimagine.Network (the home of Pray.Network, Discipleship.Network, National Pastors' Prayer Network, and Loving Our Communities to Christ).
My hope is that each recipient will find something to read that prompts them to reset how they approach a specific aspect of their ministry.
I also hope they will share the resources with their congregational leaders and other pastors in their community.
Together, we are placing a bag of seeds in someone's hand who can scatter those seeds onto other soil.
May I invite you to pray?
Ask the Lord to use this simple action to multiply the number of leaders we equip. 
1:1: Jesus talking with Peter           1:3: Jesus in the garden with Peter, James, and John 
1:12: Jesus with the disciples         1:72: Jesus commissioning outreach teams of two
1:120: The rooftop congregation  1:5,000: A hungry crowd 
Like your financial support, your prayer partnership empowers us to reach our goal to engage and equip 10,000 Christ serving leaders.
With much thankfulness,
Phil Miglioratti
The Reimagine.Network
Read more…



I am writing especially to you who are pastors, but much of what I have to say will apply to any believer in Jesus Christ. I suspect that much of what is pressed upon us by the church growth movement and its widely accepted continuations are little more than superstition. Some of these things remind me of the labors of Jacob in the 30th chapter of Genesis. Jacob put striped sticks before the eyes of the livestock while they were breeding so that they would bear striped and spotted offspring which were to be his wages. 

I have recently been trying to memorize chapter by chapter through Genesis. And frankly, I had great difficulty with this chapter. I did not believe for a minute that what those animals saw had any relation to how their offspring turned out. However, I am pretty sure that Jacob believed it while he was doing it. And low and behold, it worked! Jacob became extremely rich. That may be the mantra of some in the church growth movement. Whatever works must be right. 

I didn't really get any peace about this until I was into the 31st chapter, and discovered that at least eventually Jacob found out that his strategy was not what increased his flocks. And Moses had to have known it when he penned chapter 30. God made the animals produce the offspring that were designated as Jacob's wages, not his machinations.

Now, let me say emphatically that the Bible teaches that God and God alone adds numerically to His church. I am aware that by God's grace and in union with God's Spirit we, like Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:11, seek to persuade people. But we do not do it with cleverness, sidestepping truth that is uncomfortable, or appealing to worldliness. We persuade in the fear of God, the conviction of the word of God, and by the power of the Holy Spirit. 

This is not to say that you can never bring success by gimmicks. I once heard someone quip, "That church would have grown if there wasn't a God." But I strongly suspect that if you reach people by any means but the movement of the Holy Spirit, they are still lost. And they will often do harm to the fellowship before they leave completely.

What then can we do to become successful? Let me suggest some things that lead to long-term success, at least in the eyes of God.

  1. Seek to grow in the Lord by saturating yourself in God's word.
  2. Seek to grow in the Lord as you obey what God shows you of His will.
  3. Pray earnestly and lead others to pray for God's will and work in their lives and in His church
  4. Pray for people all around you, and help others pray for deep connections with people who need to hear the gospel.
  5. Compassionately minister to needs that God shows you.
  6. Consistently teach and train your people to walk with God and touch the lives of others.
The scriptures give us the fodder for this kind of development and teaching. Things like the fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5 and those things that pertain to life and godliness listed in 2 Peter 1 and in many other Scripture passages that God enlightens in your heart, in your preaching and teaching, for your organization and encouragement of the flock, and in the lives of your people.



Amazon Author's Page

Read more…



Selah is not translated in our English Bibles. We just have the transliteration of the Hebrew word. But if you follow its usage, you can get a good grip on its meaning. It is used at the end of each stanza of Psalm 46. I have italicized it for you.

“God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah
Come, behold the works of the Lord,
how he has brought desolations on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the chariots with fire.
“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah”

Literally, Selah means, step up. It could have been a musical notation. I like the speculation that it was used when the people ascended Mt. Zion with singing. As they came to a pause in the music, they would all take a step, or several steps, up. They would pause to take a step nearer to God. 

There is a delightful little poem in Spurgeon's Treasury of David.

“Selah bids the music rest, 
Paused in silence soft and blessed;
Selah bids uplift the strain,
Harps and voices tune again;
Selah ends the vocal praise,
Still your hearts to God upraise.”

But as I said, whatever the meaning of the word, the most telling thing about selah is where it is placed in the text. Selah is a call to be still and know God.

Selah is used as a pause to reflect. 

We are to stop and think about what God is saying to us in what we just read in the Psalm.

Selah gives a pause to pray.
Scripture reading should be bathed in prayer. We need to pray for God to open our eyes and hearts to see and hear what He is telling us. We need to ask Him to plant His truth in our hearts to transform our lives.

Selah brings a pause to listen.
Are you aware that God will speak to you personally in His word? We need to stop to remind ourselves that God is speaking as we read. Selah reminds us to stop and listen

Selah is a pause to understand.
The more we think about and meditate on Scripture the more the Holy Spirit of God explains to us. Our Lord speaks personally to you in His word. You need to be still and know what it means that He is God.

Selah is a pause to absorb.
In several of the parables of Jesus we see that the word and the kingdom of God are planted into our hearts. In Luke 13:19 Jesus compares the kingdom of God to a mustard seed sown in someone’s garden, that grows to become a tree so that the birds make nests in its branches. This can certainly be applied to the kingdom of God being introduced to a tribe, a people group, or a city. But I think the Holy Spirit also applies it to each of our lives. James 1:21 calls us to, “receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save our souls.”

Selah pauses to remember.
It takes time and effort to fix God’s word in our minds. We will need to remember that God has said He is a very present help when trouble comes. We need to remember the stream that makes our hearts and cities glad.

Selah is a pause to tremble.
Considering that God has spoken to us, and that He is God over all our circumstances, should cause us to tremble. If you do not tremble before the Holy God, you do not understand.

Selah lets us pause to rejoice.
God is gracious, loving, mighty, and glorious! His people should rejoice as He draws near to speak to our hearts.

Selah is a pause to praise.
We need to exalt His name along with the nations. We need to stop where we are to praise Him. We will exalt His name forever!

Selah pauses to commit.
Unlike the person spoken of in James 1:24, who glances at the mirror of God's word and promptly forgets what he saw, we are to take time to commit ourselves to obey what God tells us in His word.



Amazon Author's Page
Read more…

My Prayer Mentor Pledge

If you aren't on my email list or a friend on Facebook, you wouldn't know that I have been posting a FREE series of prayer training videos online. In response to a comment last night, I posted the following manifesto on Facebook...


For the life of me I can't find it, but on one of my video prayer posts someone commented, "Prayer is just talking to God. Don't over complicate it."
I absolutely agree that prayer can be just talking to God. So, why am I doing these videos? I have met many people (and I was definitely one of these people) who feel totally lost in just talking to God. Some don't know where to begin. Some don't know how to hear the other side of the conversation. Some are worried they aren't doing it right. Some wonder what to say and for fear of saying the wrong thing say nothing. Some are in A bad place with God.
For you beginner folks...
For you folks who are lost, I get it. And I am doing this for you (but not just you, others that I will mention in a minute as well) At one point, I was utterly lost about prayer and didn't know where to start. I was a high school kid with no one teaching me and limited role models. Laugh if you will, but I was so lost I looked up the Lord's Prayer in an encyclopedia (if you're to young to remember what one of those is you can read about it on wikipedia) and memorized the prayer. I didn't know what else to do. So, I am here for you to help you get started so you don't have to be as lost as I was.
For you folks who know what to do...
And then there's you folks who know what to do, but you're struggling to get it done. Been there, done that...err...didn't do it. Whatever. You get my drift. I am here for you too with strategies to help you make prayer the priority it should be. So God is that best friend your constantly spend time with rather than that best friend you regret not having seen in a while.  

For you folks who could have so much more...

And then there's you folks who are praying, but you are scratching the surface of the amazingly rich conversation and well-spring of life prayer can be. You drop into conversation with God fairly regularly, but not at a depth that's changing who you are and how you live in profound ways. It's not at a level where you have that peace that surpasses all understanding. I'll confess, I don't live in that space as much as I want, BUT I live in and experience it enough to have a handle on a number of best practices that can help it become more normative for you.  

From the deepest place in my heart...

So here I am to help. Yes prayer is just talking to God. But if it's a conversation that doesn't come easy for you, or you're neglecting it more than you like, or it's less than anything miraculous...then I am here, not to complicate, but to aid, enrichen and solidify the most amazing connection in life you can have.  

Peace and Christ's love to you all,


John Arnold The Practical Disciple  

p.s. You can get my free training and our conversation about prayer can start here...  


Read more…

This article makes a provocative statement: "Christianity isn’t just a system of belief. It isn’t a lifestyle. It’s a life transformed by Jesus." 

I think his analysis is scratching where a lot of people are itching as we see evangelistic methods of the past not working today.  Certainly we believe something when we are ready to act as If it were true. Faith is acting on the knowledge we possess. Not trying to believe what we don't. Knowledge must come first.  We preach "Have faith in Jesus!" Perhaps we need to tell people to get to know him first. Believing will naturally come later. 
So my question is simple,  Is Love2020 moving us beyond mere belief systems to actual lifestyle choices and new accountability systems for giving our life away? Is Love2020 moving us beyond a "pray-care-share" lifestyle to a life transformed by Jesus? Certainly we  must have a living faith–an experienced reality–or Love2020 will soon be perceived by followers and unChristians alike as a slogan devoid of transformative content.  So, we cannot separate the mission to make disciples from adopting a "pray, care, share" lifestyle, because the spirit with which we make disciples and the atmosphere in which it takes place is a necessary prerequisite to the process itself. 
I  believe that whenever the Body of Christ is working to become more loving, more non-judgmental, and more conversational, we will enhance our ability to turn Love2020 into a reality–what Jesus meant in the Great Commission when he told us to make disciples of all God’s people.
Read more…

When Average People Follow Christ

When Average Men Follow Christ

Francis Frangipane

Too many Christians have given up on the vision of becoming like Jesus. They know they are sinners saved by grace, but they do not see themselves living out a transformed life. They have accepted the lie that the Holy Spirit can't train them as He did the first century Christians. Before we doubt whether we are the caliber of the first disciples, here is a fact sheet compiled from over 200 New Testament Scriptures concerning those whom Jesus first called.

THE DISCIPLES... came to Christ, believed in Him and followed Him.

dined with Him, often became hungry, often didn't have time to eat, twice miraculously fed the multitudes with food Jesus multiplied.

received special authority to heal and deliver, became Jesus' confidants, were often rebuked and corrected, were entrusted with the mysteries of God's Kingdom.

did what was not lawful on the Sabbath, broke the traditions of the elders, entered the Kingdom of God and walked in God's power.

were often frightened, fell on their faces, were sometimes afraid, were very astonished, they frequently marveled, they were at times indignant, and they rejoiced exceedingly.

became weary on a number of occasions, grumbled and withdrew, some stopped walking with Jesus; even after the resurrection some still doubted, they wrote the New Testament and died for their faith.

were taught to pray for the Kingdom to come and for laborers for the harvest, yet slept while Jesus prayed; they spent ten days in continuous prayer before Pentecost, and prayed corporately every day afterward at 3:00 p.m..

forgot provisions, made commitments they could not keep, individuals begged them to heal people they could not heal, they attempted to exorcise demons that would not leave, they rebuked parents who brought children to be blessed, they abandoned Jesus in His darkest hour, they were frequently jealous and often ambitious, and they turned the world upside down after the resurrection.

had a tendency to invent doctrines, tried to command fire to fall on the Samaritans, put a limit on how many times to forgive, presumed the apostle John would not die, wanted to build tabernacles for Jesus, Moses and Elijah, became the tabernacle of God on earth after Pentecost.

prepared cities for the arrival of Jesus, prepared the Passover for the last supper, and were prepared by God to represent Christ; ultimately, they were prepared to die for the Lord.

remembered what Jesus taught, received the great commission, faced terrible opposition from principalities and powers, Jews and Gentiles, yet they reached their world with the Gospel of Christ.

Therefore, seeing that God was not limited by the mistakes of Christ's disciples, let us read the words of Christ as though we were sitting at Jesus' feet. Let us approach Him with faith, believing all things are possible for God, even the transformation of our hearts.

Read more…