Friday, June 29, 2007

2007 Pastor's Report

July 1st is the first Sunday of our new fiscal year, so I'm delivering my annual pastor's report. I'm posting the manuscript before I give my report, but I'm pretty sure I won't quite follow this word for word.

Way back in January, on the first Sunday of the year, I shared with you our church’s revised mission statement and unveiled the 5 disciplines that we’re committed to as a community. Last December, our leadership team spent some time asking the question, “what does a Christ-follower at Trinity Family look like? What are some disciplines we want people in our community to develop? Ways of living that will help them grow closer to Jesus and help us be a community that honors Jesus?” You see the 5 on your notes, worshipping God, connecting with believers, serving others, giving sacrificially and investing in unbelievers. We’re going to walk through these 5 disciplines and I’ll share with you my perception on how we’ve progressed over the past 6 months and where we’re headed the rest of the year. To use the language of our denomination, what I’m about to share is my 2007 pastor’s report.
Worshipping God
This is hard to measure. We can’t set up a worship meter to gauge the authenticity of our worship gatherings. I can assure you that we’ve continued to work toward creative ways of engaging worshippers. A great example, last Sunday’s ‘underground church’ experience. A lot of you thanked me for that experience. But don’t thank me, (or blame me) thank my wife and David Brush. We’ve got a worship planning team. This summer we’ve switched up our order, to get us out of our comfort zone and to keep moving us toward authentic worship. I’m not sure what it will look like, but I can promise you we’ll continue to experiment with how we structure our worship gatherings. There’s nothing wrong with comfort and familiarity, but we certainly want to avoid ruts; ruts hinder worship.
I also want to remind you that what happens in the sanctuary on Sunday morning is just a fraction of what worship is about. When we gather to worship as community on Sundays, the experience will be deeper and richer if we’ve engaged in personal worshiped God throughout the week. Personal worship looks like this: reading our Bible, sitting in silence before God, watching the sun set, praying with your family. Personal worship is vital to your relationship with God. If your worship is limited to Sunday morning, you’ll be starving your soul. As a church, let’s continue to worship as individuals and as a community. And let’s invite others to join us. Whether it’s worship through a spiritual discussion at Perkins or worship in our cafeteria/ sanctuary.
Connecting with Believers
Following Jesus is not a solo sport; it’s impossible to live the Christian life on your own. We need each other. The primary way our church facilitates this commitment to living the Christian life together is through our small groups. Small groups meet in homes every other Sunday night. This is where true community is developed, where people are prayed for and where people are challenged to grow in their relationship with Jesus. About half of the adults are connected into a small group. That’s a good number, but I want to see the other 50% connect.
But a new way to help us connect with each other is what we’re calling TFC Fridays. Once a month opportunities for us to connect beyond Sunday morning. Our first one was last Friday, our showing of Charlotte’s Web. The last Friday in July we’re having a pool party at the Gardner pool. Not sure on August yet. On September, we’re going to be taking part in what’s being billed as Gardner’s biggest ever tailgate party. In the high school stadium’s parking lot. It’s homecoming weekend and the beginning of our city’s 150th birthday celebration. I pulled some strings and our band will be providing the music for the entire party. And those are all my good ideas, I’m open to suggestions.
But the point is that it’s all about community, we can’t do this alone.
Serving Others
I’m really pumped about this area. All of my ministry training was based upon the field of dreams model, “if we build it (and make it really good) they will come.” But God has been transforming my approach. It’s not about waiting on people to show up but it’s about going to people, serving them where they’re at.
Last Sunday we started making plans to serve the ladies that dance at the local gentleman’s clubs. During the meeting, you could sense the excitement to “just go love people.” Several people who haven’t been in Sunday morning worship for awhile have heard about the ministry and said they want to help.
We must keep thinking of ways to go love people.
And within our community, we have a bunch of people who serve. You wouldn’t have chairs to sit on or a nursery for your kids were it not for consistent, dependable service. If you’ve been worshipping for awhile on Sunday morning but you’ve yet to find a place to serve, let’s talk about it and we’ll find you a place.
Giving Sacrificially
You may have noticed that I’ve spent more time talking about money this year than last year. Part of the reason is that I’m becoming less of a wuss. But the main reason is that while serving as your pastor, I’ve come to understand why Jesus spent so much time talking about money. It’s not because God needs your money. But God commands us to give because God wants our hearts. And he knows that the only way to a person’s heart is through their wallet. Unless God has control of your checkbook, he’s not the top priority in your life. That’s the hard truth. So we’re committed to this discipline.
There were some moments of sacrificial giving that really pumped me up this year. One was our Resurrection Sunday offering. On Easter Sunday, you gave $2,307 to the Gardner Multiservices Center. I also get pumped up when see people being obedient. A couple months ago a family told me they’d just dropped a huge check in the offering. “We haven’t been obedient and we’re ready to get back on track, this is our back-tithe.” That kind of stuff just makes me want to cry. That’s amazing obedience.
Last April I was spending some time in prayer, asking God to help me lead Trinity Family toward financial obedience. I shared it with my small group and they all prayed for me.
The next morning while I was praying and journaling, I got the idea for the Summer of Faith challenge. I prayed about it a few more weeks and had the strong sense that this was where God was leading. Now I usually don’t hear from God directly, he doesn’t leave me notes in my journal. But he usually speaks to me through hunches and ideas that won’t go away. And I believe the Summer of Faith challenge was from God. Which leads me to believe there’s been some disobedience in our church, because no one took the challenge. Some of you were thinking “the Advisory Council is just trying to squeeze more money out of us” but the plan was to give away the money. We were going to give the money to a smaller church that has really been struggling. Tithing isn’t about an organizational bottom line, it’s about you experiencing the blessing of giving to God first. Putting God in charge of your checkbook.
We’re going to continue to stress this discipline. This fall, we’ll be talking some about debt and consumerism. We’ll offer the Abundant Living financial class again. We’re going to keep growing in this area.
Investing in Unbelievers
We’ve focused on this discipline this summer by taking 5 minutes during every worship gathering to pray for the names in this box, the names of those who don’t yet know Jesus. Praying is the foundation for this discipline. But we need to be aware of the fact that we’re often meant to be the answers to our own prayers. We’ve been praying for a month, what are you doing to build relationships with those people? Have you had any spiritual conversations with them? It matters, because we are God’s vehicle of salvation. God brings people to his son through us.
Last week, the Kelvington boys had their mom drive them all over Gardner, inviting their school friends to our movie night. We’ve got a guy on our softball team that isn’t a part of a church, because Jeremy and Tonya Pride were intentional about building a relationship with an unchurched friend. That’s living out this discipline.
If you’ve been connected at Trinity Family for about… 2 minutes or so, you’ve heard the challenge to invite. Invite friends to worship, to Movie Night, Love and Logic weekend, all these events. Inviting an unbeliever to a church event is a huge step in their spiritual journey, but it’s a step that must grow out of a season of relationship building. It’s all about building relationships with people, so we can love them. Are you building relationships with people that don’t yet know Jesus or are you snuggled up in a Christian cocoon?
We’re going to keep praying, but I challenge you to be living out those prayers.
We’ll always have room for growth in these disciplines, we’ll never arrive. As long as we’re obedient, Jesus will continue to strengthen and mature us in these areas.
This morning’s challenge from Revelation to live above complacency is very timely for us as a church, because we’re at a point in our development in which it would be very easy to become complacent. As I read and talk with church planters that have a lot more experience than myself, I’ve discovered that years 2 and 3 are the hardest but most important years for a new church. By now, the adrenaline and newness has worn off. And we’re staring at the hard work necessary for steady, healthy growth.
Some of you have been feeling it. I’ll be honest, I’ve been feeling it. I think the reality set in last January, during the back-to-back snowstorm on Saturday night. This is going to take a lot of work. If we’re going to grow as a church that honors Jesus, we’re going to have to plow ahead with a relentless tenacity. No room for complacency.
We plow ahead because what we’re doing matters. The local church is the hope of this broken world. Bill Hybels, the Michael Jordan of church planters, recently made this statement at a church-planters conference. “If you’re planting a church, you’re at the center of the most important thing going on planet earth, the redemption of human lives.”
It’s happening through this local church. Last April, we had the privilege of baptizing Amy Bottcher. Lately I’ve been having the privilege of reading through the book of John with Amy’s husband, Travis. I know I’m supposed to be the seminary grad with the answers, Travis has been showing me some good insights. Just last Tuesday we talked about what it means to be born again. Travis told me that 6 months ago, he wasn’t thinking about this type of stuff, but now he feels like the Holy Spirit is following him around. That is why we started Trinity Family.
If we’re committed to these disciplines. If we remember that we’re here to help other people grow closer to Jesus, then we’ll push through the times where we wonder why we’re working so hard. And we’ll see God change people’s lives for eternity.

Submitted by the pastor who loves you very much and desperately wants you to live for Jesus,
Donnie Miller

Some Amazing Quotes

Last night, as I was walking through the neighborhood of St. John's Trace, handing out invitation for tonight's Movie Night, I was listening to some sessions of a recent church planters conference in Orlando. I'll list them for you. Some of them have found their way into the annual report I'm giving.

Ed Stezter
John Knox said, "Give me Scotland or I die."
Do we have the same intensity, the same willingness to die for the lost peopel of our communities?

Church planting is hard, it's even harder when you make it about you and not Jesus.

Bill Hybels
The local church is the hope of this broken world. If you're planting a church, you're at the center of the most important thing going on planet earth; the redemption of human lives. The reclaiming of human souls and lives for Gods plans.

On a church planters need for faith, Faith is walking in the direction God has told you to go, believing that between here and there, he's going to show up with his power and he's going to help you do what he's told you to do.

Josh Vance read a me a line from the book Reading the Bible in Wesleyan Ways, that basically said "sometimes scripture is meant to comfort the afflicted and sometimes it's meant to afflict the comfortable."

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

My last night as a 28 year old

I spent my last night as a young and spry 28 year old by walking through the neighborhood, handing out flyers for TF's movie night this Friday night. It was a beautiful summer evening and I really enjoyed the time outside as well as connecting with a few neighbors. Several families seemed excited about it, so we'll see if anyone from the neigborhood shows up.
Last nigth combined a few things I really enjoy, walking on a summer evening, watching the sun set, talking with people, serving others all while offering some prayers for my neighborhood.

I did have to miss the second game of our church softball team's double-header. The team really missed me, since we only lost the first game by 11 runs and the second by 19.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Ways to Kill a Church!

I read Ben Arment's blog several times a week, he's got so much insight into church planting and general leadership. I'm trying to meet up with him for lunch next week when I'm in Washington, DC.

But check out this blog entry from April:

Top Ten ways a core group can kill a church
1 Talk about how much you love your church because it's so small and personable.
2 If your church doesn't have a particular ministry, start attending it at another church, rather than starting one where you are.
3 Don't forgive anyone for hurting you or offending you.
4 Instead of telling the pastor about your frustrations, hold out in silence as long as you can, getting angrier and angrier until you can finally leave in one, unforseen blaze of flaming glory.
5 Go to church for what you get out of it.
6 Don't invite anyone.
7 Forget faith ~ that's the pastor's job. Sit back and wait to see what happens, rather than becoming personally invested.
8 Use "prayer" as a conversational piece rather than a spiritual discipline (as in: "I'll be praying for you," or "Let me pray about that.")
9 Do frequent "polling" in hallway conversations to see if other people have the same concerns about the church as you.
10 Meditate on how wonderful the church would be if it weren't for the pastor.

Now, I realize number 10 is especially tempting, but I know that we all face temptations like that from time to time. Starting a new church is a lot of work and it's easy to give into temptations like those or to ask "is it really worth it?" Yeah, it's worth it. I'll do whatever it takes to reach people for Jesus. One family at a time!

Sunday afternoon at Gardner's nursing homes

I preached at two nursing homes on Sunday afternoon, I was filling in for another pastor. We didn't have any musicians available, so Erin gave me the great idea of downloading some hymns onto my ipod. It worked great! Everyone sang along. The crowd at Meadowbrook rehabiliatation hospital was small, the crowd at the medical lodge was HUGE! There might have been more people in that room than in our sanctuary Sunday morning. At both places, I had to almost yell over all the other noises. I can't believe my voice held up. The crowd at the medical lodge had some serious physical and mental handicapps. That was the first time I'd ever preached to a group of handicapped people, and I must admit it wasn't very easy. I was a bit uncomfortable; from the time I went in to the time I left.
There was a lady a few chairs away who kept blurting out stuff that I couldn't quite understand. I think I caught "preacher" and "V'cryinJsus" (I guess she wanted to sing that song, but I didn't have it on my ipod). And it was hard to make eye contact with her because her eyes kept rolling back into her head, so all you could see were the whites of her eyes.
After I preached, a lady who could carry on a pretty normal conversation interpreted what Gladys (as I found out her name) was trying to say. She wanted the "preacher" to pray for her because she had a serious illness.
I'm not real proud of this, but I had a second's hesitation before praying. I didn't quite know what to say or whether to make physical contact. I have to admit that Gladys kind of wierded me out a bit. But I put my hand on her shoulder and prayed for God's healing. I could tell she was following my words and she seemed to relax after I said "amen." It was really an amazing experience. It was a fleeting image, flashed through my mind really quickly, but I imagined Jesus standing with me. I imagined how Jesus touched the lepers and hung out with the outcasts. I got the sense that Gladys felt Jesus through my hand on her shoulder.
I was a bit wierded out by Glady's condition and some of the other patients there, but I'm so glad Jesus isn't repulsed by our sickness and our sin.

Sunday's worship

I love the fact that we have the freedom at TFC to change things up. The theme this Sunday was persecution, that was the problem being faced by the churches in Symrna and Philadelphia. The scripture video on Sunday was good (as usual), David used some powerful images of old jail cells and a pile of shoes from the holocaust. It was really intense.

We locked all the usual doors and taped up signs that read "this entrance is being watched, find another entrance." People had to find a side entrance. We had everyone sit on the floor of the stage area in darkness, with just candles as lighting. We even sang "amazing grace" by mouthing the words, as if we were worried about the neighbors hearing us. Our goal was to create a worship experience that would help us relate to underground churches worshipping in countries where it's illegal to be Christian. It was certainly out there, but we're always willing to try these types of experiences.

As a "nice touch", Brian Garner had part of his police uniform, including his nightstick and held an intimidating pose near the front door, just watching people come in. While I was preaching, he shined his flashlight into the room and scanned the crowd. He tried to arrest me right after my sermon, but when he came toward me, I bolted out the side door. Probably a bit corny, I thought later, but we hadn't planned it, so that's the first reaction that popped in my mind.

A new family was there and I always wonder what new people think when their first Sunday is one of our "creative" Sundays, but they seemed to appreciate what we were communicating through both my sermon and the whole experience.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Helping the Persecuted Church

This Sunday we looked at what Jesus said to the church in Smyrna and the church in Philadelphia. These two churches were facing serious persecution for their faith.
Unfortunately, persecution is much more widespread than in Pastor John's day.

We can help our fellow Christians that are facing persecution by doing three things
1) Pray Check out Acts 12:1-18 Let's pray that God continues to release christians from prison.
2) Fast Fasting helps us focus our prayers and helps us identify with those going through hardships. Check out Isaiah 58:6. We're fasting this Wednesday!

3) Give Paul tells us in Galatians 6:10 to support our fellow Christians.

Here are some ministries that serve the persecuted church that you can check out:

Compass Direct

Release International

The Voice of the Martyrs

If you wanted to help one of these ministries, I'd recommend Voice of the Martyrs. They're the most effective and well-known persecuted church ministries.

My squat max keeps going up!

Which is why I now only fit into one of my pairs of jeans.
Last night I squatted 295 on my last set, for 8 reps! I remember a few months ago when I finally broke 300 for just 1 rep. I've been adding 5 lbs per week to my final set of 8 reps. We're changing our workout next week, going to 4 sets of 5 (instead of the 3 sets of 8) and I asked my workout partner, Jason, if we could go one more week doing 3x8 so I could do 300lbs for 8 reps, but he just told me that after we cylce back out of the 4x5 I should be doing well over 300 for 8. Jason also told me he'd never seen anyone make such serious gains in the squat while only doing it 2 or 3 times a month. I guess I could be gaining faster, but, I just have to be content with the results I've gained from the time that I do have.

Super Servant - Susan Galbraith

As our nursery director, Susan Galbraith is one of the hardest working, most servant minded people at TFC. To see what I'm talking about, just talk with Susan after she's spent a Sunday in the nursery, she's usually rather sweaty after chasing kids around for an hour and a half.

Susan is always there early to set up and she's always got the check-in procedures organized so parents can trust that their babies and toddlers are well cared for. I've even noticed we've gotten the parent notification numbers working on Sunday mornings; Susan has made sure this has happened.
Susan also fills in at least a couple times a month, taking the place of those scheduled that didn't remember or arrived late. This says a lot about Susan's character, but let's not make Susan do this! If you can't serve on your schedule day, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE switch with someone else on the schedule. It would help us all out a lot!

Our children's ministers rock!

Monday, June 18, 2007

American Gothic

Memorial Day weekend was a good weekend for us, we took 4 days of vacation (my vacation time, Erin was out of school by then).
On Monday, we drove from my parents house in the SE corner of Iowa to visit some college friends who live in a small town near Des Moines. On the way, drove through Eldon and stopped by the American Gothic house. Erin thought this was pretty cool, because she teaches about this painting to her 5th graders.

The house was less than a mile off the highway. Funny how many times I'd driven through that town but never paid attention to this important piece of American heritage.

Danielle Lorraine Shaffer

On Friday night at 9:00, the world welcomed little Danielle Lorraine Shaffer, my sister's little baby girl. Rachel was in labor for a long time so the doctor eventually ordered a c-section. Rachel was hoping not to have this and she's been feeling pretty weak since the birth.

But the Miller family is excited about "Danni." She's the first grandchild on either side and the first neice on my side (5 on Erin's side).

On a personal note, visiting two newborns over the weekend was a bit hard on Erin.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

My Dad joined us for worship today!

Today was a great service! I realize some people may feel a bit uncomfortable finding their seats while I'm preaching, but I'm really enjoying preaching first and then moving into the music and other parts of worship. Today we looked at John's letters to Ephesus, Thyatir and Pergamum. I'm preaching on the three problems faced by Pastor John's 7 churches; compromise (our topic today), persecution and apathy.
To illustrate how little changes over time can impact us, I showed this great clip from The Office - link. On a more serious note, to illustrate the seriousness of when we compromise with sin, how our sin can ruin the life of someone on the other end of the globe, we watched this video - link.
Yesterday was a pretty rough day for a guy from our church; Trent Tinker. It was his mom's funeral. Trent's parents had been my pastors when I was in 2nd and 3rd grade. The church was packed, Bernadine Tinker impacted a lot of lives.

Besides Trent's dad, I saw two other guys that had been my pastors. I was able to talk with one of them, Dan Arnold. Dan had a huge impact on me growing up. His passion for evangelism was contagious; it helped shape me into the type of pastor I am today. Dan and I were able to talk about church together; it was almost surreal to talk on a colleagial level with a guy that had been my pastor when I was a kid.
Well, here's the part that relates to my dad in worship. I put my dad on the speakerphone of my cell phone and wished him a happy father's day and had him pray for the dads in our church. It was a really neat experience to have dad join us for father's day while still in Burlington, IA. He had to leave his church early to take my call.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Super Servant - Chris Billings!

You don't have to hang around TFC for very long to notice how much time and effort Chris Billings gives. He's there every Sunday morning for set-up, stays after every Sunday for tear-down - working until the trailer is fully loaded again. And that's just on Sunday. During the week he picks out all the music, organizes band practice and is always working on some miscellanous project for the church.

But we all know that about Chris. What's cool is that UPS noticed it, too. Chris was selected as the employee of the month at his Lenexa station. The cool thing is that he was picked not for his job performance but for all his service hours. I was called by the lady who oversees the selection (she's the one that told me about this, not Chris) and she said "Chris really donates a lot of hours, doesn't he? Between your church and his kids' activities."
I replied, "nah, he's pretty lazy...."
Actually, I'm glad I didn't say that because the reward for being employeed of the month is being able to select a church or charity that would receive a $200 grant from the UPS foundation. Guess which church Chris chose?
We all know about Chris' servants heart and now even his employer has noticed.

Monday, June 11, 2007

We've Hired a Children's Pastor!

Yep, Pastor Andy McGee will join our team this August. Andy just graduated from Trevecca Nazarene University this spring and will be moving here to begin his Masters of Divinity at Nazarene Theological Seminary.

Andy has been a leader in a children's ministry program at Trevecca Community Church. Andy lead a group of Kindergarten and 1st graders, so he's familiar with an age group that is well represented at TFC. Andy is very creative, often building sets and props to help his classes learn a Bible story. And he did all of that in a portable environment! He knows the "joy" of set-up and tear-down. It has been a long search but I'm so excited about having Andy join our team.
If you want to learn a bit more about Andy, you can check out his myspace page.

I realize this sounds crazy, but I've gotta be honest - we can't afford a children's pastor! At least, not yet and not out of our regular budget. But the amazing thing is that we've been able to raise enough money to fund this position for two years. Before we launched in 2005, we raised more money than we needed, so we put that money in savings and prayed about how to best invest the money. We decided the best investment would be staff and the best staff would be a children's pastor. We then raised $5,535 from our 7 over 7 campaign. All of that money combined will fund the children's pastor position for the next two years.

I'm confident that in making this hire we are following God's leading for our church. It's been a long journey to find the right person but I know we're being faithful with the resources God has given to us.

I also know that we're going to need to grow financially over the next two years. In order for us to continue to fund this staff position and provide resources for a quality children's ministry, our annual income needs to have increased $25,000 by June of 2009. Yes, that seems like a lot of money, but it's no sweat for God.

As we jump into this new level of ministry, I'm feeling a lot like I did two years ago when we were getting ready to launch this church. I was jumping out into the unknown as I quit my part-time job at FedEx and trusted God for my salary. I decided it was "sink-or-swim" time. Well, we swam - but God is now pushing us out into deeper waters again. The future is unknown, but my confidence is in God. We are God's people and TFC is God's church. God will empower his people to be obedient and through that obedience, He'll provide all of our needs.

A New Journey

On Tuesday, I received a call from the doctor. I should've known something by the fact that he was calling personally (not a nurse) and when he asked if I had time to talk.
Erin and I have been trying to get pregnant for almost two years and my doctor has now told me why. My fertility is about 1/20 of where it should be and there really isn't anything to be done about it. We're going to set an appointment with a reproductive specialist but I'm not sure what we'll learn. The only option for our own baby would likely be some expensive procedures that only offer a chance for pregnancy.

This really isn't supposed to be me; I've always had perfect health. I'm the guy who has run a marathon and bench-presses 300 lbs. Other than a few injuries here and there, I've always been the picture of health. I've also never really experienced major disappointment. So, realities of life have punched me in the face this week.

Erin is really taking it hard, she really hurts. I wish I could take away her pain and disappointment.

So we're facing a fork in the road - we're going to be taking one of two long journeys. The journey of some sort of artificial insemination or the journey of adoption. Both are long and both are very costly. I'm really not sure which road to take yet, although we're looking into both options.

Revelation - Week 2

I thought about giving this sermon series the title "Revelation: The book without an 'S'." So many people think of this book as a series of codes or revelation(s). But it's not a bunch of disconnected images, everything that John saw points to the same central theme/ person; Jesus Christ. John had a revelation of Jesus Christ. He saw Jesus as he truly is, the exalted ruler of the universe. This vision would've been very inspiring to churches that were facing persecution from the "almighty" Roman Empire. Jesus Christ is the one we worship, the one we live for and the one (at least John's churches) may end up dying for.

But, my wife said about my sermon (and I got this sense from others) "oh well, you can't hit a homerun every week." Hah! I guess not.

Sunday's Worship!

I'm not quite sure how to explain how or why, but Sunday's worship time was really amazing.
We've changed up our schedule during this Revelation series; I'm preaching first and then responding with worship.
Sunday we started with a poem read by my wife and Ashley Vance, we then spent 5 minutes praying for people that don't know Jesus and then we began the music. From the poem until the final blessing, it's as if all the emotional and intesity continued to build.
I went to the back of the room and watched people, it was a great scene. And when I was kneeling in the prayer station, I was able to hear the congregation's voices.
It was a really refreshing time, I really needed it.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Revelation: Interpret Responsibly

On Sunday I started my first ever preaching series through an entire book of the bible. In tackling the Revelation, I decided to skip the bunny slope and head straight to the black moguls.
Although this may seem surprising, according to commentator Eugene Boring, there is more agreement among scholars on how to interpret the Revelation than any other New Testament book!

As I shared on Sunday, there are three things we must understand about the book if we're going to interpret the book the way John meant for us to interpret it - avoiding the fanaticism that often accompanies the Revelation.
We must understand the audience, the literary genre and John's use of images. To hear a deeper explanation of this, check out the sermon on our website -