Wednesday, December 31, 2014

"I love YOUR Church" My take on Perry Noble and NewSpring Church





I recently read a blog by NewSpring pastor Perry Noble on 10 convictions he has about the Church. Two of the points of his blog caused such a stir in the Christian community that he was led to do a couple of follow up posts on those positions. For years now I have watched the interesting impact that NewSpring has had on churches, ministers , and the culture around my area and beyond. I wanted to blog and comment on some of the things I have seen.

Now with that said, I want to say upfront that I do not have a dog in this fight! I do not attend NewSpring Church , and I am by all accounts an outsider looking in. I have found however that sometimes the perspective of an outsider can be quite helpful and enlightening. I certainly hope that this is the case here.

I remember sitting in a meeting with a group of people about 11 years ago when one of them talked about a new church his daughter was attending. He said "its called Newspring Church, and is primarily attended by college students from the Anderson SC area". One of the others in the room answered with a chuckle and said "well that won't last. Good luck in getting those college students to tithe" Fast forward 11 years and that small Church has an average attendance of over 32,000 weekly and was voted as one of the 10 most influential churches in the world. The impact that NewsSpring Church has had is astounding in my opinion, and is unlike anything I have observed in my lifetime. In 2013 the South Carolina Baptist convention reported NewSpring baptized 6,551 people. If this number doesn't impress you let me put in in perspective. Of the 19,477 people baptized that year, 1 Church accounted for 33% of the total. The next closest Church had 206 baptisms to NewSprings 6,551!

After seeing this information, if you were using the principles of the now old Experiencing God Bible study by Henry Blackaby, certainly you would think that "look what God is doing and join Him" would be the order of the day here. Surprisingly, at least from an outsider looking in, that is not the case. It is quite the opposite as a matter of fact. I hear more criticism concerning NewSpring Church than any other 10 churches combined. If you type in the name Perry Noble on YouTube there are series videos of pastors across the nation from as far as Arizona that bash the ideals, teaching, and principles of Perry Noble. I myself am a speaker and evangelist, and about every where I go I hear people that take the opportunity to complain about NewSpring Church. In the list below I will share some of the things I have seen and heard, and what my experience has been.

1) Perry Noble preaches an easy believe ism and waters down the gospel. I hear this one a lot, so I took the time to listen to some (not all) of his messages. I also went through their statement of beliefs on their website including those on salvation. This is what I heard and read. It starts with Jesus. He loves me and wants to change my life. I have a problem called sin. Sin separates me from God. Jesus came to live a perfect life for me. I need to repent of my sins and turn to Him in faith. Trusting what He did for me on the cross. Then I need to follow Him. Hmmmm I have heard that somewhere before. It was in the Bible. Maybe its because they don't scream it, or they say it with concern, but that sounds pretty good to me.

2) NewSpring Creates Decision makers not converts. In today's Christian culture that seems to be a very dominant issue with today's theologians and ministers. I always wondered who appointed them as value judges on people's conversions? Do I believe that everyone who prays a prayer is converted? Certainly not. However lets look at it this way. Suppose out of the 6,551 people that were baptized at NewSprings that 6,200 were not truly converted. That would mean that only 351 were genuine. That would still be 145 more than the second most baptisms in the state of South Carolina. Wow!

3) NewSpring is just sheep swapping. (They take our church members.) I think this is the criticism that I hear the most about NewSpring. I am not on a church staff presently, but I served on several for over 15 years, and I assure you that church members going to the "Hot" church did not start with NewSpring. Church members have been doing this for many many years, long before NewSpring came around. I looked around their website, and listened to many messages and I have not seen or heard anyone from NewSpring advocate "leave your church and come to ours". Have I been invited to attend NewSpring? Yes I have, and in turn I can say that in my life I have invited many churched and unchurched people to my church. Wouldn't it be cool if we just got excited that at least someone cared enough to invite us TO church?

4) People just come for the show!- This one has always perplexed me. Let me explain. I wonder how many people in the Bible woke up and said "Hey lets go see Jesus and get saved!" I was not there but I bet it was more like. "Hey lets go see this guy who raises people from the dead and ticks the Pharisees off!!" In Jesus' day, He was the show! There was no tv, celebrities, college football, or Duck Dynasty to watch! My point is that even though people may have come to see the show. They ended up following Jesus. Faith comes by hearing, and you can't hear unless you are there.

5) People that go their just get lost in the crowd- (It doesn't lend itself to living out truth.) I am going to answer this one by telling you about some friends of mine who attend NewSpring. Their names are Randy and Carla Morrison. During Perry Nobles overwhelmed series, Randy was challenged by Perry's preaching to put action to his faith (Book of James). He has a care group who helps assimilate new converts into the "following Christ life". One day Randy met "Angel". Angel was a gang banger that had been kicked out of his house by a grand mom who could not handle his drug using lifestyle. While in school one day, another student asked Angel to come to NewSpring with him. He told Angel he would give him a ride not only to youth group, but to school everyday. Angel attend the "Gauntlet" service and gave his life to Christ. Enter Randy and Carla Morrison. When Angel told Randy he wanted to get out of the drug life, Randy began to check into Angel's life. He found out Angel at 17 was living by himself in a motel. He was only supported by the money from his brother (another great story) and the money he could sell from drugs. Randy embarked on finding Angel help. After a month of searching Randy found out there was not help for Angel. God spoke to his heart and said; "you are his help"! Randy and Carla Morrison took Angel into their home to live with them. He is a part of their family now. I don't know about you, but that sure does sound like living out your faith to me!


In conclusion I want to say that I have no problem with disagreeing or even opposing someone on hard fact theological errors and differences. However when the opposition stems from insecurity, jealousy, envy and speculative opinion we can be sure that these things are from the sinful nature. Do I think NewSpring is a perfect Church with a perfect pastor. No I don't. I also don't believe that Church will exist until it is taken up as the Bride of Christ. I'll tell you this. If your Church is about Jesus being the only way to get to God. If your Church brings Him glory. If your Church invites the lost to know Him. If your Church believes the Bible speaks to real life! If your Church brings you into the presence of the living God.

I love Your Church!




**Follow Chris Wells on twitter @Basschaplain















Saturday, December 20, 2014

Critical Questions every Pastor search Team should ask



 A year or so ago my pastor was president of our denomination's state convention. During his tenure one of the things he focused on was how many Churches in our state have had to fire or have their pastor leave due to some conflict. He concluded that our state had one of the highest percentages of Pastors fired in the country. I believe that one of the reasons for this is because often times search teams don't know what to ask a pastoral candidate. Over the last 10 years I have had the opportunity to preach literally across the country. Time and again I see Churches that failed to find the right fit for their Church, and the results are devastating. I will share an example of a church that got a bad fit.

"When we interviewed the pastor he told us that he just wanted to reach people for Jesus. We called him and then it began to change. He started teaching our students in a Bible study. The thing of it was, he told them not to tell us what he was teaching. When pressed for answers the students confessed: The pastor is telling us that Jesus didn't come to die for everyone. Just for the Elect". When confronted the pastor affirmed his teaching and position in Calvinism. When asked why he never mentioned this in the interview, his answer: " I didn't think you would hire me".  The Church split, and is on the verge of closing its doors.

This is not just a Calvinism issue. Failure to ask the proper questions can do major damage to any church regardless of theological practices. The key is to know what your candidate believes, and see if those beliefs are consistent with those of your church. Whether you are Calvinist, Armenian or somewhere in between. Save your church and the Pastoral Candidate by asking the right questions before that person is called to pastor.

Here are 7 Critical questions that every committee should ask. 


1) What is the Gospel? This may seem like a simple question,  however it is amazing the  variety of answers this question produces. Find out if the Gospel is the good news of Christ to a lost world, a musical style, or a social agenda to your Pastoral candidate.

2) Do you believe that Jesus Came to die for everyone? - This is one of the most important questions a committee can ask. This single question asked could save Churches countless heartaches. I have seen churches all over this country from my home town to California that have been devastated by failing to find this out. This one question will tell you where your pastor candidate leans theologically.

3) How Has your Theology changed in the last 5 years?-  We live in a culture that has a pendulum theology. It tends to swing back and forth with the winds of the latest theological jargon and teaching. Make sure you know what your Pastoral candidate believes is consistent with what you believe God wants for your Church.

4) Do you actively share your faith? -   The fact of the matter is that statistics tell us that 90% of all Christians (including Ministers) will never share their faith outside of the Church even one time in their life. The person that leads your congregation spiritually should be active in sharing with people how they can know Christ.

5) Are Evangelism and Discipleship mutually exclusive?- Again the pendulum effect applies. Many Ministers and Churches emphasize one or the other. True discipleship CANNOT happen without true evangelism and true evangelism cannot happen without true discipleship. Its a" both and" not an "either or."

6) Do you invite people to Come to Christ?- Whether its an altar call, a counseling room, a card follow up, or a time he can come see you. People need to know how to respond to God. Ask your candidate if he gives people the opportunity to respond to the Spirit of God in their lives.

7) Tell me what you Believe about the Bible?- The Bible is the primary way God chooses to speak to our hearts. It is unlike any other book that has ever been written. Find out your candidates view on the role of the Bible in the life of a christian.


I am not saying these questions are the end all be all of how to call a pastor, but these 7 should be included in any search. Churches need to be prayerful,  Biblical, intentional, and diligent in their search for a spiritual leader. Don't take for granted that the person you are interviewing shares your Churches values. Find out before you call a pastor!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

( More Creative Evangelism Events to reach Men)







One of the privileges I have in being a Christian speaker is to help Churches strategize in putting together Outreach opportunities that are "effective" in reaching people who don't know Jesus.  Anyone can do an event on a Saturday in the Fall that draws the people that already attend their Church. However, if a Church is going to reach people that don't know Christ some outside the box thinking is mandatory. In this posts I have put together just a few suggestions for some events that may just help your Church get creative in reaching Men.


These events are in no particular order, but always remember that there are good times and bad times to do an event. Fall is approaching quickly, and that brings two huge "Men" times to be aware of.  Hunting Season and Football Season. Planning events on Saturdays in the Fall are tricky at best. Always keep this in mind. So with that said here is my list for this go round of Creative Outreach Events.

1) Dog  Dock Jumping Event- Men and dogs are always a winning combination. My Dad used to say that the Good Lord gives every man one good bird dog. If  you get two you are super blessed. Dog Jumping  and Retrieval contests coupled with Fishing events, Cookouts, and sporting events are very popular. A recent Dog jumping event in Georgia drew nearly 4,000 people. Those are people that will never come to your "Church event".

2) Barbecue Competitions- It has been said that Competitive Barbecue cooking is the "Fastest growing Sport" in the nation! Men of every generation, genre, and economic level can be found at these events. To me this jumps off the page as a must do for Churches in the near future, I mean what Church doesn't rally around an eating event right!  This event can be an effective tool in sharing the Gospel with people who don't know Jesus.

3) Ultimate Frisbee Tournaments- In case you haven't heard, ultimate Frisbee just became an official Olympic Sport! Staging Round Robin Tournaments attract men and women both young and old. Its a great way to do and event that isn't normally associated with the Church crowd.

4) 3D Archery Tournaments- I know that I have mentioned this one before, but this event is a winner from the word go. Archery hunting has exploded in the last several years. If you turn on the outdoor channel in the Fall 90% of their programming will be geared towards hunting with a bow. 3 D Archery courses are easy and fun to set up. Its an opportunity to give guys who may not be gifted in other areas in your Church a way to share their faith.

5) Biker Events- Yes I said Biker events. Some of the strongest Christians that I know are Bikers. They take their faith seriously. This type of event, if planned correctly can be a huge outreach success drawing in people that may never otherwise attend your service.

I want to say here that there is a "Pendulum Effect" in many areas of our Churches that swings back and forth between theological positions of doctrine, evangelism and discipleship. We tend to think that we have to be one or the other, when in actuality we need a balance of both.

These are only a few of the events that I share with Churches. God is using these to reach people all over our country. Now let me say that I know that Outreach events are not the staple of a healthy Men's ministry. However, when paired with proper preparation and follow up discipleship, these event can be quite effective.

 Chris Wells consults with Churches all over the country. If you would like to know more about how to plan and implement Creative Outreach events for your Men's Ministry, Chris would love to speak with you.

He can be reached at:
Chris@chriswells.org
864-414-9453



Monday, July 14, 2014

Making plaster casts of the big footprints of Jesus




Most people who have met me learn pretty quickly that I have a fascination with the "Search for Bigfoot culture". I actually started doing research on the elusive "Sasquatch" long before there were actually people looking for Bigfoot for a living. One of the early techniques of compiling evidence that Bigfoot exists was to make plaster casts of the giant footprints found in areas where the creature was spotted. The footprints were filled with plaster paris and were often of enormous size. Thus the name "Bigfoot" was born. Despite decades of searching with high tech cameras, traps, infer red specs, and even aircraft, Bigfoot has yet to be found.

Jesus on the other hand has been found! Thousands of people not only see His footprints all over and around their lives. He has introduced Himself to their hearts. The evidence of His work is all around us. The problem is that most of us (even christians) fail to recognize and give proper credit to the handiwork of the Lord Jesus. I hear it all the time as folks attribute miraculous occurrences in nature, sickness, fortune, and life in general to the various phenomenon that they trust in. Mother nature, lucky stars, the man upstairs, and the lists go on and on. Well I am here today to share with you some of the "Jesus stories" that I have had in my life.

A few years ago I was hunting with Bassmaster Elite Series Pro Shaw Grigsby and former BASS Pro Doug Odom. It was a great day in the woods and Shaw's son shot a doe with the bow that day so we took it to the deer processor. The processor as it turns out was a missionary to Russia. He earns all his money to stay on the mission field by processing deer during the US hunting season. I had never met him before. As we gave him the deer I was introduced to him and he turned to me and said: "Are you Chris Wells the evangelist?" I told him I sure was as he handed me a book that had over 900 pages in it. I looked down and the thick book that read "The Evolution Handbook". He then proceeded to say: "God told me to tell you to read this". Well what do you say to that? I thanked him for the book and took it with me back to the deer stand.

That afternoon as I thumbed through the Evolution handbook I learned more about how science blows the false teaching of evolution away than I did even at seminary! I was so impressed I carry the Evolution books with me everywhere I speak. Now the story gets really good!

 I was speaking at a Free Will Baptist Church near Florence South Carolina when a teenager came up to me and introduced himself. He told me that he got the Evolution Handbook from a Wild game Banquet where he saw me speak 2 years ago.

 Here is what he shared: "Chris, I started writing science papers in my school from the Evolution Handbook. My science teacher is a Molecular Biologist that actually went to the Islands where Darwin came up with most of his theories. She began to ask me questions a few months ago, so I gave her the book. Last Friday afternoon I led my science teacher to Jesus in the parking lot." 

My friends  whether the "Finding Bigfoot" crowd finds him or not is really not going to change our lives. However Finding Jesus not only changes our lives now, but for all eternity.

*If you would like to know more about starting a relationship with Jesus Christ. Please email Chris at chris@chriswells.org


Thursday, May 15, 2014

An Open Letter to John Calvin by Zack Hunt

I realize that I am about to step into the deep end of the Pool here. For years I have been working on a paper that I call the Pendulum Effect in theology. I plan to release that here in the coming weeks. However when I read the blog that I am about to share with you, it expressed my feeling on the issue of  "High" or Hyper Calvinism so well that I knew I would have to share it.

Now I will make this statement every time I share about this issue. I know that not every "Calvinist" believes the same thing. I have Calvinists brothers and sisters that share Christ and with them I have no issue. I do take extreme issue with those Calvinist that hold to the false statement that Jesus only died for the sins of the elect.

 So in the next several weeks gather around. I will be speaking out on what I believe is the defining issue of Evangelism in our time. But in the meantime I want to share this post from Zack Hunt.
You can find his blog here: http://theamericanjesus.net/?p=12190

An Open Letter to John Calvin by Zack Hunt


Dear John,
Ok, first off I know, “Dear John” letters are usually written between former lovers and we were never even friends. But, John, I tried. I really, really did.
I’ve heard for so long that my frustrations with Calvinism were really due to your Neo-Calvinist followers giving you a bad name. That made sense to me. After all, I couldn’t believe that some of the rephrensible and callous things being said and taught today would be derived directly from someone of your theological prowess. So, I wanted to give you a chance at redemption in my eyes.
Since you’ve been, um, not present in the body for the past 450 years, I thought the best way to get acquainted with the real Calvin would be to read the work you are most famous for. I’m talking, of course, about your Institutes of the Christian Religion.
In my effort to get to know you better I spent my last semester at Yale in a class devoted entirely to the reading and discussion of your epic work. I admit we didn’t make it through every single chapter (forgive us John, but the book is nearly 1,000 pages long and we needed time to discuss what we read each week), but we did make it through almost all of it (we mostly skipped a few chapter at the end about church polity). And even with those handful of overlooked chapters, I’m still willing to bet we made it through more of the Institutes than many of your followers today have read. (I say this as a Wesleyan, who has read far far too little of what Wesley actually wrote.)
I have to admit, John, you’re a brilliant guy and a great writer. Your passion and honesty were obvious from page one and at times refreshing given the way we so often dance around what we really think in the church today. I really admire your conviction and willingness to say what you believe to be true even if it wasn’t the popular thing to say. Without a doubt, you had some great things to say and, at times, I even found myself close to shouting “Amen!” Like the time you called out those who want to believe in the absurd notion that God can predestine some to heaven while not necessarily also predestining everyone else to hell, ”This they do so ignorantly and childishly since there could be no election without its opposite reprobation.” (3.23.1)
Ok, maybe, that amen wasn’t exactly for the reason you would like, but still, it counts for something, right?
Anyway, class is now over, our reading of your monumental achievement complete, and I’ve had some time to process everything you said.
So, can I be totally honest with you, John?
You crushed my hope for reconciliation.
I found your theology to be every bit as appalling – and maybe even more so – than your followers.
To be blunt, as a Christian, I don’t recognize your God and I have no clue what the good news is in the Institutes. That some people are saved no matter what? I guess that’s good for them. But you’re clear that God also creates people for eternal damnation,
By predestination we mean the eternal decree of God, by which he determined with himself whatever he wished to happen with regard to every man. All are not created on equal terms, but some are preordained to eternal life, other to eternal damnation; and accordingly, as each has been created for one or other of these ends, we say that he has been predestined to life or to death. (3.21.5)
And you also say that God tricks some of those same people He dooms to hell into thinking He loves them by “instilling into their minds such a sense of his goodness as can be felt without the Spirit of adoption” simply so he “better convince them.” (3.2.11) John, what kind of perverse and manipulative God would do that?
But it gets worse.
Much worse.
For, according to you, God ordains every single horrific act of evil that has or ever will occur.
As you explain over,
Scripture, moreover, the better to show that every thing done in the world is according to his decree, declares that the things which seem most fortuitous are subject to him. For what seems more attributable to chance than the branch which falls from a tree, and kills the passing traveler? But the Lord sees very differently, and declares that he delivered him into the hand of the slayer. (1.16.6)
And over,
As all contingencies whatsoever depend on it, therefore, neither thefts, nor adulteries, nor murders, are perpetrated without an interposition of the divine will. (1.17.1)
And over,
Let us suppose, for example, that a merchant, after entering a forest in company with trust-worthy individuals, imprudently strays from his companions and wanders bewildered till he falls into a den of robbers and is murdered. His death was not only foreseen by the eye of God, but had been fixed by his decree. (1.16.9)
And over again, God is behind every act of evil that ever takes places,
I concede more – that thieves and murderers, and other evil-doers, are instruments of divine providence, being employed by the Lord himself to execute the judgments which he has resolved to inflict. (1.17.5)
In other words, if a child is raped, a family murdered in their sleep, or an entire population of people sent off to the gas chambers, that wasn’t just the act of evil men. It was the will of God.
And, of course, God doesn’t just have it out for us in this life; God has it out for some people for eternity too because as you say, “Those whom the Lord favors not with the direction of his Spirit, he, by a righteous judgment, consigns to the agency of Satan.” (2.4.1)
You say all of this wrath is due to our depravity. Ignoring Paul’s words affirming the complete opposite, you say ”wherever sin is, there also are the wrath and vengeance of God” (3.11.2) And as if to drive your point home at just how much God hates us, you claim that it’s not just adults that God despises, but infants too because they ”cannot but be odious and abominable to God.” (2.1.8) John, you go to great lengths to establish the total depravity of man, and I agree that we are indeed sinful people. But in the end, based on your own argument, the one looking the most depraved is God. For it is God, not humanity, who ordains evil and institutes eternal torture regardless of act or decision.
Yes, John, you’re right. All of these quotes and points are lacking in their immediate context, but they’re not random thoughts. They are, as you demonstrate so well, the logical conclusions of your theology of divine sovereignty and, therefore, at the very heart of what you believe about God. Worse, this isn’t a case of you overstating without thinking through the conclusions. You’re clear that this sort of God who ordains genocide, murder, rape, children abuse, and every other conceivable horrendous act is the God you worship.
Not surprisingly, you say that we should fear this God, not just honor and revere Him, but actually be terrified of Him. (3.2.26) I suppose on that point we are in at least partial agreement. If this is a God who arbitrarily ordains the death of children and the torment of people before they’re even born, then of course we should fear this God.
Which is why, John, I’ve got to be brutally honest with you.
I think your God is a monster.
I don’t say that casually or based on a handful of random one liners. I say it based on the foundation of your theological project and your insistence on a God who both ordains evil and creates people simply to torment them for eternity. John, this is not the God I find in the Bible, nor is it a God I think is worthy of worship. It’s a God who can only be feared for His arbitrary, callous, and evil ways, and pitied for his enslavement to wrath.
To me, John, your God looks nothing like Jesus of Nazareth. And, for me, that’s a big problem.
Now, John, it wouldn’t be a good breakup letter if I wasn’t clear about why I don’t like you like that anymore (or I guess ever did). I’m know a lot of those reasons are obvious already, but in the spirit of your Institutes, I don’t want to leave any room for doubt as to why we need to go our separate ways.
First, John, as awed as I am by your intellect, you’re way way way too overcommitted to your theological system. I know your methodology and meticulousness are derivative of  your training as a lawyer, and while those can be great qualities in a person, in your Institutes your utter devotion to your theological system creates an unbelievable callousness that is totally foreign to the Jesus I meet in the gospels. Experience, reason, compassion, and even huge chunks of scripture are sacrificed on the altar of your theological system. Relationships require compassion, humility, and at a times a bit of flexibility. John, we’ve all got some work to do in those areas, but that’s especially true for you.
You also have a tendency to talk out of both sides of your mouth. This isn’t good for a relationship because it means I can never really trust what you’re saying. F0r instance, in order to acknowledge the obvious reality of freewill while defending your hardcore understanding of divine sovereignty, you try to create a make believe difference between compulsion and necessity, as if just because we necessarily have to act in a certain way because God has ordained it so, we’re not actually compelled to do that. (2.3.5) John, that makes no sense. Likewise, you argue that even though everything is determined by God long before we even exist, we’re still responsible for out actions. (1.17.5)
Look, I get it, you’ve got a system to maintain and you need to make sense of sin and guilt. But, John, you can’t have your cake and eat it too. Either we freely choose to sin and are therefore responsible or God causes us by divine decree to sin and, therefore, God is ultimately responsible. Which leads us to the worst doublespeak of all in your book. You make is clear that God ordains evil, but isn’t the author of it. John, buddy, as you heard throughout your lifetime, if God is the source of and the one who ordains evil acts, then God is the author of evil. Which means your God isn’t really as loving and good as you would have us believe. In fact, your God is pretty stinking evil.
Which is why, John, it’s hard not to conclude that Calvinism is a sustained exercise in the defense against the obvious. By which I mean you’re constantly on the defense against the obvious conclusions of your claims. To your credit you offer up an exhaustive defense. It just runs counter to basic logic. There’s just no way around the fact that you’ve simultaneously created a God who is the author of evil while rendering the Christian life irrelevant because if our eternal fate is already sealed, there is absolutely no point in bothering to live in any particular way.
Also, John, and I’m not trying to be mean here, but your use of scripture is just awful. I know, I know, I know. Who am I to criticize the great John Calvin’s exegesis? But buddy you cherry pick scripture like it’s your spiritual gift. You completely ignore the context of the verses you pick. And, with only a few exceptions, either ignore or dismiss out of hand any and all passages that contradict your position. But, John, I’m not sure that’s even the worst part of it for me.
As a fellow Christian I know this might be a little hard to hear, but you deal surprisingly little with what Jesus himself actually had to say. Sure, you talk about his role in salvation plenty, but when it comes to supporting your various claims, you seem to quote everybody but Jesus. In fact, I’m pretty sure you quoted the entire book of Romans. And yet the words of Jesus himself were few and far between. Knowing your bravado, I’m sure this wasn’t the case but it was almost as if you intentionally ignored him because some of the things he said threw a huge wrench your system that could bring the whole thing crashing down on itself, like that pesky John 3:16-17 loving the whole world and not just the elect nonsense or that stuff in Matthew 25 or James 2 where salvation by faith alone seems to be an unwelcome guest.
But, John, I think the ultimate problem between you and me is the starting point in your grand theological endeavor. For you, everything begins and ends with the glory of God. I wholeheartedly agree that giving glory to God is an important thing. But John, I don’t know what Bible you’re reading if you think that receiving glory is God’s primary interest in and purpose for mankind. If anything, the Bible is a sustained account of God’s disinterest in glory. It’s the story of a God who desires above all to be in a loving relationship with His people and God’s willingness to do anything to make that happen, including abandoning all sense of glory even to that point of death on a cross.
But perhaps the most ironic point in your emphasis on glory is that in your attempt to glorify God you destroy that very glory through your understanding of divine sovereignty and election. For if God ordains murder, rape, and abuse, while creating some people – maybe most people – for eternal torment, then that God is not worthy of glory. Period.
Now, I know your followers today will tell me I’m “misreading” you and don’t understand what you’re “really” trying to say. I heard a lot of that this semester as we tried to reconcile the words on the page with their practical implications. But this letter isn’t about the 450 years of interpretation and reinterpretation that have followed in your wake. I’m responding to the words you yourself wrote. And, for me, what you wrote was far too often abhorrent.
And can I tell you something else, John? I don’t think your followers today are nearly as comfortable with your theology as you are. At least, not a lot of them. Don’t get me wrong. You’re on an incredibly high pedestal for them, but time and time again I see them jumping through hoops and doing mental gymnastics to avoid or at least soften the very clear claims you’re making. And I see others rejecting out of hand some of the things you said, while trying to hold on to the rest.
But I get that. We all want to defend our heroes. The bigger issue I have, John, is that you have a tendency (cause I’ll be the first to admit they’re not all like this) to create incredibly arrogant and sometimes hateful followers who are just as cold, calculating, and callous in their theology and selective in their use of scripture as you are. Just like you, too many of your prominent followers today denounce their critics as heretics while praising God for a whole host of evil things that happen in the world from earthquakes and tornadoes to the marginalization, oppression, and destruction of people made in the image of God.
John, I don’t know how to say it any other way – you’ve got a bad habit of making disciples that aren’t very christlike in their love, mercy, compassion, and grace towards others.
Now, I know if you were still around to respond, you would probably tell me like you did so many of your opponents, that I’m a “virulent dog” (3.23.2) or maybe a satellite of Satan (3.17.1) because in my “rebellious spirit” (3.21.4) I have the audacity to question your understanding of God, God’s sovereignty, and election which I should never do (3.21.1-2) because by doing so I ”assail the justice of God.” (3.21.7)
Maybe you’re right.
Maybe I am an agent of Satan lost in my own heresy and sin and I just don’t realize it.
But John, I don’t think I am. Like the millions of Christians that came before you and billions that have come after, I believe in a God who confronts sin with grace, defeats evil with love, and offers redemption to all.
Which is why, John, it’s not going to work out between the two of us.
Maybe when I see you in heaven and we both see things a bit clearer, we can try this relationship thing again.
But for now, I think you would agree, we need to go our separate ways.
It’s what’s best for the both of us.

Grace and Peace,
Zack Hunt

- See more at: http://theamericanjesus.net/?p=12190#sthash.BDLgTN1f.dpuf



Thursday, February 13, 2014

You might be a Bass Pro Wanna Be if...

Now for years I have been telling people that I am America's number 1 Bass Pro Wannabe. I mean I collect Big League Bass Pro Cards, have every Bassmater episode from 1985 to the present on VHS, and I can tell you who won Buggs Island in 1993. However I wanted to jot down a few thoughts that may show you if you just may be a Bass Pro Wannabe too. So in true Blue Collar Radio style… here's your sign!

1) If you have ever pulled up to fish the tournament and the guy checking live wells says "Let these guys through, they are going shrimping"! You might be a Wanna be!

2) If your boat dies 100 yards from the blast off. You might be a Wanna be!

3) If your number one Sponsor is Visa or Master Card. You might be a Wanna be!

4) If you live in a $15,000 trailer and you fish out of a $50,000 Bass boat.  You might be a Wanna be!

5) If your live well is a 105 Quart igloo cooler. You might be a Wanna Be!

6) If your go to bait is the Helicopter Lure. You might be a Wanna Be!

7) If Your wife can quote the top 5 finishers of Last year's Bass Master Classic. You might be a Wanna Be!

8) If you draw the #1 blast off and trade down for fear of being run over. You might be a Wanna Be!

9) If you have ever brought in a limit to the scales that weighed less than 5 pounds. You might be a Wanna Be!

10) If you spend your family Vacations at Bass Pro Shop instead of Disney. You might be a Wanna Be!

11) If You fish in a bass tournament on your wedding day! You might be a Wanna Be!

12) If you always say the name Rick Clunn in a Hallowed Whisper. You might be a Wanna Be.

13)If you have ever said the phrases: " It's just time on the water" or "If they gave me free stuff" I could be a Bass Pro too. You might be a Wanna Be.

14) If you consistently brag about "Winning Practice Day". You might be a Wanna Be!

15) If you have a sublimated shirt that has "Fruit Jar Tournament Champion" on it. You might be a Wanna Be.

16) If you are happy about winning $235  in a club tournament when you spent $2000 to do it. You might be a Wanna Be!

17) If you read Bass master Magazine in Church. You might be a Wanna Be!

18) If you film Bass fishing videos with your phone in your John boat, and put them on You Tube as instructional Fishing Videos. You might be a Wanna Be!

19) If You ACTUALLY want to Beat Charlie Moore. You might be a Wanna Be!

20) And finally. If you have ever gotten into a fight over whether you think Bill Dance or Roland Martin is a better fisherman. You might just be a Wanna BE!!

Monday, February 3, 2014




In 2004 I started Wellspoken Ministries with a passion to challenge people to live in an authentic relationship with Jesus Christ. I love opening up the Word of God to share with people about how they can know Christ personally. If you are thinking about doing an event to reach out to Sportsmen of any kind, I would love to speak with you about coming to your church.


Chris Wells
The Bass Chaplain

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Go ahead! Steal the Bible!!




If you look up a list of the Ten top selling books of all time, you will find the Holy Bible sitting on top of the  heap! It is estimated that over 6 Billion copies of the Bible have been sold world wide. The nearest competitor comes in at just over 600 million. I am looking over at my bookshelf as I write this, and from my desk I can see 7 copies of the Bible in plain sight. If I dug a little deeper Im sure that I could come up with a few more copies that are tucked away. My I phone has a Bible application that includes every known version of the Bible that exists today.

If you don't own a copy of the Bible it's your fault. You can download it for free, send for a free copy from me, or walk to most any Christian Church and get one. OR, the next time you check into a hotel…….TAKE THE BIBLE!  Yes I told you to steal the Bible. Do you know what will happen if you take the Bible out of a Hotel room? A Gideon will magically appear like a Gnome, and put it right back! That is why they place them there. For you to have.

It's safe to say that the Bible is more available now, than any other time in our history, however it's less read now than any other time in our history! How do I know that? Its simple. If people read the Bible it would change the way  they live their lives. You see the Bible is unlike any other book that has ever been written It's different from Treasure Island, Oliver Twist, Shades of Gray, and the Twilight Series. As a matter of fact I have never met anyone that has said: " I read the Twilight series and I really think God was speaking to me. He was saying "Be a Vampire, Be a Vampire!!" No one ever reads Treasure Island and says: " I think God wants me to be a pirate". However countless thousands have read the Bible and come away saying "God spoke to me through the Bible!" Why is that? Because the Bible is how God chooses to reveal Himself to us.

The Bible says about itself in Hebrews 4:12: "For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart".  It is a book that God actively uses to speak to the hearts of people. Why then if it is so widely available and the testimony is so powerful, do people, even Christians not bother to read it?

I want to challenge you to discover or re-discover the Bible this year. If you don't know where to begin or how to start, keep these tips in mind.

1) Don't worry about how much or how fast you read the Bible. Take your time. I have a friend named Jeremy Kingsley who said :"Read the Bible through in a year, why? We don't read the Bible to finish it. We read it to change." Let God change and correct you as you go.

2) Remember the Bible is a lamp to your feet, not a spotlight for your future. Have you ever been in a dark room where you couldn't see where to step? You light a match or use the light of your phone not to light the entire room, but to see your next step. The Bible wants to give you light for that day. When  you read ask God to show you your next step.

3) Learn to read the Bible in its context. One of the single greatest dangers of Bible reading is to take the verse out of its context. Read the passage and let it speak to you in the context of which it was written

4) Be a doer not just a hearer. So many of us know what the Bible says, but often times we don't DO what it says. Don't just read it. Let is sink in, and affect the way you live you life.



*For more tips on getting a Bible, reading a Bible, and putting the principles of the Bible to work in your life. Contact Chris at: Chris@chriswells.org



















Monday, January 20, 2014

Life Lessons from Richard Sherman.




Last night as the Seattle Seakhawks defeated the 49ers to advance to the Super Bowl, an interesting phenomenon occurred.  A reporter immediately stuck a microphone in the face of defensive back Richard Sherman for Seattle, and asked him to break down the final play of the game. His response as one person put it turned the vast majority of Americans into Denver Bronco fans for the super bowl.

As I watched and rewatched Sherman's self praising tirade played over and over on the Media. As it trended on twitter, yahoo. google and most every other major Social media outlets some major life lessons hit me like a ton of bricks. I wondered if 5 minutes after Sherman did that the sobering realization of what he said turned into deep regret. I thought about how many times in my own life I have said something I wish I hadn't, just moments after I said it. I look back at something in the light of common sense and think "Ohh that didn't come out like I thought".  So I want to take this opportunity to not bash Richard Sherman, but learn some life lessons and hopefully put them into practice in my own life, and maybe you can too.

1) Try not to speak in the heat of emotion.  Boy that's easier said than done isn't it. Anyone who played high school football with me knows I was that guy, and truth be told, I can still be that guy today.  This is especially true when you have the gift of zingers. When you  think fast enough to put a  little hurtful quip out there to put someone in their place.  The book of Romans says "Don't live under the control of your sinful nature. If you do, then you will think about what your sinful nature wants. Live under the control of the Holy Spirit."  Conviction duly noted Chris Wells.

2) Realize the tongue is dangerous. My pastor once said that the phrase: "Sticks and Stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me" is a lie from the depths of Hell. Words can damage far more than any physical assault. Sherman should have guarded his tongue, but before you go jumping Chris, walk to the mirror and examine yours. The book of James speaks of the dangers of the tongue. "but no human being can tame the tongue, it is a restless evil, full of deadly poison." Chris you need God to tame your tongue.

3) You always look better not tearing people down in public- I don't know what Michael Crabtree said to Richard Sherman during the game. Im sure it was probably as bad as anything Sherman said. However Sherman said it in public. Now I'm not saying at all that there isn't a time to say someone is doing wrong in public. There most certainly is. The Bible gives us this protocol: " If someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently."  The procedure is to seek that person out privately first. Then proceed from there. Take note Chris Wells.

Im sure Richard Sherman will regret that decision. We all have regrets. The key is to not live there. To confess forgive and Repent. That's what I'm going to do. How bout you?



Friday, January 17, 2014

5 Creative Evangelism Events for Sportsmen!



I have has the privilege of speaking at so many amazing events that are designed to reach sportsmen. Often times we think that only Mega Churches can reach lot's of people Below are 5 Churches that do Sportsmen Events that make a big impact.

1) Wildgame Banquet in the cow Shed- Summerton Baptist SC. Summerton Baptist is in a town that has around 1,000 people in it. They have a Church that runs about 100 on Sunday mornings. At the height of there Wildgame outreach event they have had as many as 2,000 people attend their event! That's doubling the size of the town folks!

2) Trout Outreach tournament- Helen Georgia. Helen Ga is a unique litte area nestled in the mountains of Ga. Known for its Alpine themes, River tubing, and Bigfoot sightings. Center Baptist near Helen does a Trout Tournament to reach people who would never attend a Church Service. They have the DNR stock the river the night before. On the morning of the event, fishermen register for the tournament and the Gospel is shared at the pre-tournament meeting. They have had over 600 fishermen attend. They offer prizes and a free fish cleaning station!

3) Free Bass tournament- Riverwoods Church near Benton Ky and my friends at Southside in Fayette Alabama both do a free Bass Tournament. They guarantee a first place salary, the only catch is all fisherman must come to the pre tournament meeting for a meal, rules meeting, and to hear the speaker share the good news. They have had over 250 boats participate in their event.

4) 3D-Archery Tournament- Polk County NC. The Polk country Baptist Association put together a competitive 3D archery outreach. Shooters go through a certified real life shooting simulation course and are scored based on the best shots. Lunch provided on the grounds drew over 300 shooters to compete and hear good news.

5) Big Buck Scoring Contest- Marion Kentucky. Marion Baptist Church hosts a unique event on the opening weekend of gun season in Kentucky. The Big Buck scoring contest tests hunters ability to look at a Buck and score it on the Boone an crocket scale. They have had as many as 600-700 sportsmen attend the event and see many people come to Christ each year.


You don't have to have a huge Church to have a huge impact. Look around your area and see where God is at work and join Him in it!

**If you would like more creative outreach ideas to reach sportsmen. Contact me at Chris@chriswells.org

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The truth About Prayer!


Type AMEN if Prayer Works!  Have you seen it? I can't go a day without seeing it on Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler, or whatever social media you hang out on. Sooner or later you are going to see it. Now I know the people who usually put this up have the best intentions, however I think it represents a fundamental flaw in our understanding of Prayer.

For instance, would you say: Type Amen if your son speaks to you when you speak to him? Or Type Amen if your pastor answers you when you ask a question? Or Maybe Type Amen if your wife chats with you when you have conversations? You see when we say "Type Amen if Prayer works" What we are really saying is Type Amen is God has ever given you what you asked for or what  you want. Because that is what  "prayer has become to most people. Reading our requests lists to God.

I do this little exercise when I speak sometimes. I ask how many of you who are Christian have prayed to God and He just didn't answer your prayers? Hands usually shoot up all over the room. The I say this. This is a trick question, because God answers the prayers of every Christian. It's just that sometimes the answer is "NO". Sometimes the answer is "YES". Sometimes the answer is "WAIT".

Far too many times we are "Santa Clausian" in our prayer times. We sit on God's lap and tell him what we want. We read Him our list and no one wants to listen to that. I will guarantee that if you ask any pastor what the least attended service that he could ever plan for is called. He will answer: A prayer meeting.  Why is that? Because most prayer meetings are people reading a list of the sick or their lists of needs off to God.

So what is real prayer?

 Prayer is communicating with God. It's speaking with him. It's "LISTENING" to Him. It's a time when we get in the very presence of the creator and commune, fellowship, and hear a Holy God that desires to be with us. It's when we come into His presence to hear what HE has to say, what HE desires, and what He wants. Does that mean we can't ask things of God. Not at all. He wants us to ask. But far too often all we ever do is ask.  Prayer is more than that.

 God is not in heaven with a counter that reads if you get to 75 prayers Ill answer. Oh No. God answers every single prayer his child prays.

Does prayer work? When thought of in this way…………….      AMEN.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Helpful Hints in planning a Wildgame Dinner or a Sportsman's Banquet




Determine the purpose of your Banquet- This may sound like a given, however this is the critical first step. The banquet’s purpose sets the tone for the planning of the event. Basically there are two types of banquets that we will be discussing today.
Banquets designed to reach the lost. Banquets designed to challenge Christians
For our purposes today we will spend most of our time on banquets designed to reach the lost.

Find a Keynote Speaker- The speaker should be someone who relates to your target audience. Think about who you are trying to reach and book accordingly. (A professional golfer is probably not the person to reach Duck hunters). Contact the speaker with several dates in mind. Choose a speaker who handles the Word of God correctly! Make sure your speaker is knowledgeable on how to extend an invitation.

Secure a Date and Location- A week night offers fewer conflicts than a Saturday. It is easier to get a person to come straight from work to an event than compete with Friday or Saturday Activities. Many people hunt and fish on the weekends. Secure a location away from the Church. Community Centers, High School Cafeterias, Armories are all good locations.

Charge Admission- Charge a nominal fee. One of the problems of the Church today is that we don’t think like lost people. Lost people are skeptical about free events from the Church. Budget for your banquet, and charge a small fee. This gives the event value. (Fee can help with d├ęcor, cleanup, speaker cost, etc)

Create a great Environment-  There is a reason people love to go into the Bass Pro shop and Cabelas. It's like walking into Man world!  Invite local game wardens, boat dealers, taxidermists, hunting and fishing store owners,policemen, firemen, etc. to be a part. This is a chance to get your entire community involved. Have them set up displays or booths about what they do. Make the place interesting.  Put up displays of wild game, fish, and other mounts. Ask people in your community (they love to show off their mounts). Assure them that they will be taken care of. Gun displays, knife displays, arrow heads, rods and reels, etc. Contact your local Game Wardens office for ideas.

Sell tickets/Sponsor Tables- This is one of the most important things to do. If people buy a table they will have ownership, positive peer pressure to bring people and accountability to fill the table. You can also get Church members to sell tickets. Think about selling tickets (or buying them to give away) other than at Church. Sporting goods store, hang outs, etc.

Music or Video –It is a good idea to have some music or video (Hunting or fishing) playing in the background. This helps people relax. Play some positive secular music ( Remember lost people don’t know or care about Church songs). Play it while people are in line and while they are eating.



Follow up Team- Have a team of men who will be able to make contact (phone, email, or mail) within one week of the banquet for people who make decisions that night. Mail out packets to people who want more info on your Church. Have a plan to disciple new converts! Don't just stick them in the old men's sunday school.

Decision Cards- These are important. Use the Decision Cards as your door prize card. Hand them out after the invitation. Each person needs their own pencil. Have them fill out the card all together at one time after the invitation. Cards should have: Name, address, phone, email, age. (see example) Use the decision card to draw for door prizes so that you are insured to get every card in the room.

Secure Good Door Prizes-  Go for  Quality not Quantity. You would rather hand out 5 good door prizes than 100 things people don't care about. Guided fishing trips, gift certificates, hunting supplies, shotguns, trolling motors, tools, rods, reels, etc. (Many door prizes can be donated).

Committees- Prayer, food preparation, food servers, setup, cleanup, door prizes, sound system, photography, displays, follow up, etc.
Get Sunday school classes to donate desserts. Secure wild game appetizers or meal. (Ask Chris for contacts on wild game dealers).

Serving lines-  Never Never Never let people serve themselves! If you do it will kill the program time of your Banquet. You will need one line for every 75 people. Have a server for each food item. This will cause the line to move faster and food will not run out. Position drink stations throughout the room not in a corner, allow space for people to enter and exit so the line does not back up. Locate the desserts away from the main serving line.

Miscellaneous
Have a starting and an ending time. Stick to it.
Be intentional about preparing spiritually for this event. Pray specifically and often.
Teach your people how to share their faith.
Don’t be flippant with the things of God.


**Chris Wells started Wellspoken Ministries with a burden and passion to reach people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He combines a blend of humor, passion, and intensity to convey his concern for those who don’t know Jesus. His messages are exciting, expositional, and inspirational with a strong evangelistic emphasis. He speaks for Wild Game Banquets, revivals, youth rallies and retreats, as well as men’s ministry events. He has spoken at over 700 Wildgame Banquets and Men's events.

In addition to speaking at your event, Chris is also available as a consultant in the planning and implementing of your Wild Game Banquet, from vision casting to follow up.
Chris can be reached at:
864-414-9453 
chris@chriswells.org

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Unsung Heroes of Wellspoken Ministries



Wow this ministry is starting its 10th year of challenging people to walk in an authentic relationship with Jesus Christ! In 9 years we I have preached across the country and have seen nearly 7,000 people come to faith in Christ! What a blessing it has been! In saying that I want to state publicly that I give our Lord Jesus the glory. He doesn't need any of us, but chooses to use us for His good will.

There are so many people that allow me to do what I do. So many behind the scenes people that help this ministry go forward. I want to thank a few of those people starting with the man who is the most unsung of all.

Larry Vaughn and I met when I was a Student Minister in Sumter SC. Larry is a devout Christian businessman and Minister. He is also my accountant. I have never met a man that radiates the total peace of our Lord than Larry. He emotes a calmness that can only come from a relationship with Christ.
God has used Larry to grow Churches and lead people to Jesus. When we first started Wellspoken Ministries I knew absolutely nothing about running a 501c3 Ministry. Larry helped me. He researched questions, problem shot for us, and talked with the people that helped us survive. In addition to that Larry has done the payroll for WSM for 9 years and never charged us a dime for it. He quietly and faithfully serves this  ministry, and is absolutely invaluable to it.

I want to thank Larry for what he does for us. I hope you will pray for him and his family as he continues to be used of God in Wellspoken Ministries and his life.