Keeping the Passion for God


Last weekend I gave a seminar among materially poor hispanic pastors and leaders who work in meat-packing plants and other low-paying jobs in Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, and South Dakota. Even the senior pastors at the seminar needed to work fulltime jobs to feed their families. Although I felt for their economic condition, I also knew that their hardships “help” make them more dependent on Jesus, more zealous for spiritual things, and more ready to serve. And I could sense their passion for God’s work during the seminar. I’ve seen the same hunger among the poor and needy in the Elim Church in San Salvador and in many other places in the world.

The greatest danger and hindrance to effective cell ministry is apathy. It’s the apathetic attitude that comes when a culture is lifted up with wealth and security, and simply says, “I don’t have time to join a cell, enter the training track, lead a group, or for that matter, be involved in any outside activity. In fact, I probably won’t have time to come to church each Sunday, so I’d prefer to say that I’m part of _____ church because noone will notice when I’m not present.”

God is looking for humble hearts . He simply can’t use those who don’t need Him, depend Him, or ask Him for help. We who live in the WEST with all of its luxury have to continually ask God to allow us to live in a state of hunger, thirst and personal crisis (in a positive sense), so that we will always know our need for God. I love the cell church strategy, but like all ministry, it requires that people offer themselves to God’s service and want to make an impact in their societies.

Let us pray fervently that when God lifts us up with all the benefits of the gospel that we will stay humble, zealous, and desirious of His love and power more than anything else.




15 thoughts on “Keeping the Passion for God

  • beloved in the Lord Jesus,
    though things are very difficult yet let’s press froward for the battle is not yet
    fro sure we shall win in the name of the Lord
    letus go on encouraging each other so as we wait for His return


  • “I love the cell church strategy, but it only works well when people offer themselves to God’s service and want to make an impact in their societies.”

    Truer words have never been uttered. May I quote you? 🙂

  • You like that quote, aye. Surely, you can use it! But it’s so true. Cell church is a great strategy, but people make cell church work. And if people are apathetic to the gospel/church, it doesn’t matter what strategy you have, they are simply not going to sign up. Some strategies, in fact, which promote less commitment, are more attractive to the apathetic. . . .

  • I am honored to be involved in 2 different models of Small Groups at 2 MFI Churches in Greater Cleveland area.

    I have been going through the most dificult financial times of my life by choice committed to my mission in financial services & refused to follow any TV ptominent financial GURUs, US President, Tresury Secretary, Number of the same Econimists that we heare forever, Mortgage Bankers Association, SEC, Federal Reserve, Government & Media Falth Propoganda of the Devil’s Economy & some incompetent statements from prominent Church Figures in this Country.

    We must to start discovering very simple truth of economics & start building God’s economy through the Truth of the Full Gospel, which started at the Pentacost, continued through People of Old Faith in Russia for about 1500 years, Revival in America.

  • RE I love the cell church strategy, but it only works well when people offer themselves to God’s service and want to make an impact in their societies.

    Are there strategies that work well when people don’t offer themselves to God’s service and want to make an impact in their societies?

  • Joel,

    So true. I see this in Katy, Texas. When people are comfortable with life – they tend to loose their passion for touching our world for Jesus. Jesus and the Bible become are slave and when things go wrong or hard – God tends to get blamed. I think it all have to do with where our heart is and therefore we create doctrines and a theology to back our quest for more. The charismatic movement of the 90’s, which I am one of, tended lean towards a feel good, what is in it for me theology. May God breath life and humility into our Biblcal communities. Thank you for this word…

  • Joel,
    I have been involved with home group for years here in good ‘ol materialistic Tucson, Arizona, and have to agree wholeheartedly with your assertions. Nothing great has ever emerged from complacency or comfort. Only when we are challenged and forced outside of our comfort zone can we really begin to rely on His power and see what He is capable of. I have a personal “thorn” that doesn’t let me lose perspective or become complacent, and I have come to embrace it as a true blessing
    I have also come to believe that the most insidious threat that we face as individuals, as the Body and as a Nation is complacency. If we are complacent then we are not a threat, and that is not lost on the enemy.

    My challenge is communicating this to my neighbors who are thoroughly enjoying their complacency.

  • Great quote, John:

    “My challenge is communicating this to my neighbors who are thoroughly enjoying their complacency.” You hit the nail on the head. We might be passionate about cell ministry, but it’s very hard to wake up a complacent person. . .

  • Both cells and assemblies can prove exciting or excruciating, livening or deadly. Yet, things can happen in cells that do not happen normally in big assemblies:
    * All can share their insights (prophesy) , if they wish.
    * All can exercise their spiritual gifts, even without knowing it.
    * All can experience some love and timely attention.
    * All can share in leadership, even without titles.
    * Friends and guests can have their sins exposed and so be saved.
    * All can enjoy a good meal, especially the poor.
    * All can get some prayer support, even the shy.
    * All can participate in planning outreach projects.
    * And so on…

    As to complacency:
    “Two things I ask of you; deny them not to me before I die: Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny you and sayWho is the Lord? or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God” (Proverb 30:7-9).

  • Joel,
    True observation–everywhere I go in our world.
    So we know the problem, and we can pray. What else can we do?
    I know some rich folks (as this world counts material possessions) that are on fire, so how we do we all “catch it”?
    What factors have you observed that make the difference?

  • Hey, Bob, my answer is historical and biblical:
    -prayer (and especially strong, strong devotions)
    -light touch with material things
    -limit TV time (should we even have one?)
    -not forsaking the assembly of saints

    I could go on.

    I also think it’s just plain HARDER in a culture inundated with materialism. It requires more work, fervor, not giving up, etc.

    Just a few thoughts.

    Great questions


  • Hi Joel!

    Great article! We must not lose our passion for the these of God.
    The fire that was present when we first accepted the Lord can still burn
    in our hearts for the things of God. I thank the Lord for your passion and
    looking forward to you hosting our first cell conference.
    Pastor Norman

  • I have written you a couple of times and both came back not received at the email address. Please write me and give me your personal email.

    Thanks, Pat Swift

  • I will humbly choose to disagree with your presupposition that wealth makes one apathetic to God and His Kingdom. Sin is what does that. Wealth, or poverty – either one – can make one either focused on the money, or so grateful for provision from the Lord. Your comments would lead on to believe that a prosperous person cannot be spiritually passionate.

    Numerous New Testament leaders were extremely wealthy and passionate for God. Lydia comes to mind. As does Zaccheaus. Or Dr. Luke.

    Redemption should be followed by lift. For once a man finds himself in Christ, he no longer will find himself in a bar, or strip club, etc. and then he is able to be focused upon his responsibilities to provide for his family, which creates lift.

    Lift is a testimony to the power of Christ to transform. As a people group gains wealth, it is attractive those around them – and they inquire. If Jesus can cause my neighbor to prosper, then maybe He can help me too!

    In addition, to usher in God’s Kingdom it will require a great deal of money, and those Kingdom minded people who are wealthily are then empowered to steward their wealth for Kingdom purposes.

    I would encourage you to rethink your position.

    Merry Christmas.

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