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Archive for September, 2010

Evangelism is proclaiming and sharing the gospel message with the world.  We do it in numerous ways and by various means, but we are all called to do it.  Evangelism should be at the core of what we do as churches open in the name of Jesus.

We can proclaim the gospel by preaching, witnessing, or even through written material such as Bible tracts.  We can share the gospel by demonstrating our love for Christ and our fellow man through service, addressing the needs of those within our communities, and personal testimony, sharing our own trials and struggles that provides hope to those who live in darkness. We have many open avenues to share the Good News.  We must be sure that our people are exercising their God-given giftedness to glorify God and edify the body of Christ “for the work of the ministry.”

If we do not proclaim and share the gospel, we neglect one of the main purposes of the church’s existence as well as one of the greatest commands of the Lord and the least that we could do since being saved by His shed blood.  You ought to see that god is so good that you can’t help but talk it up with others.  It should be so good to you that you can’t contain yourself.

For more posts on evangelism, please visit Rev. Bruce’s Blog.  Also, be sure to visit our Life Path Storefront for S.O.W.S. (Salvation Offered Without Strings) and A Short Course on Evangelism.

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Action springs not from thought, but from a readiness for responsibility.”- Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Many times we confuse activity with action.  We think of being active- simply doing something- doing what needs to be done, although doing something may not lead to accomplishing anything productive.  Activity just means that something is taking place.  Taking action is an entirely different definition.

One definition for “activity” that works here is : any specific behavior,  while “action” is  a deed; something done or accomplished.  Given those two definitions,  it is safe to say that we need to rethink our activities and actions.  They are not synonymous at all.  As we plan our daily activities, we need to ensure that we include particular actions that need to be accomplished throughout the day rather than simply taking up time doing and vegging.  

Will your actions make a difference in the lives of broken people?
Can you see yourself becoming more missional as you become more intentional?
Will you submit to His leading and your personal calling to take action?
See where he leads you and see how it feels.
Check yourself… If God thinks you are ready for the responsibility, then maybe you should stick to praying on your relationship with God, not your decision to do it or not.

Bonhoeffer spoke of responsibility, not simply thoughts.  He was a Lutheran pastor in WWII Germany.  He spoke of readiness.  He shared this openly.  Are you ready to take personal responsibility as you take action? Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s involvement in a plot to overthrow Adolf Hitler led to his imprisonment and execution. 19061945)

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S.O.S.: Share On Saturday

Have you ever shared your story with someone?

I am talking about a time where you just sat down and talked openly with someone about how God blessed you by saving you.  I mean a person who doesn’t know Christ and who doesn’t know your story.  It means being vulnerable.  It means being open and honest about yourself.  It comes down to being willing to share with someone.  Have you done that before?

Have you done it over breakfast or a cup of coffee? Maybe it was while you ate pizza or hit range balls at the local golf course.  Perhaps it was on that commute from work together or over the phone while catching up.  Have you done so with an old friend or a coworker? Have you done so with anyone?

If not, I dare ask you to try.

If you have, and it has been some time since you have done it, I dare ask you to try it again.

A cup of coffee or a slice of pizza may cost a few bucks, but the treasures and riches that may come out of you sharing with someone who doesn’t know Him could change and even save a life.

Take the time to take the S.O.S. challenge and share your personal testimony with someone this Saturday. 

Introduce them to Christ.

Invite them to church.

Involve yourself in the person’s life.

Invest in the person’s salvation.

Are you willing to share?

Will you share?

Share On Saturday (S.O.S.)

Make your church’s first Saturday monthly outreach “Church Shirt ” day.  Everyone wears a church or Christian t-shirt that day out and about while shopping and running errands, cutting the grass and hanging out.

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“Action expresses priorities.”- Gandhi

There is a time for analysis.  You study and survey the current condition, and then you become aware of what is really going on within and around your organization.  That’s analysis and it leads to awareness.  From there, you will need to take some form of action.

Taking action doesn’t mean just jumping out an doing something.  You have to be sure to do the right thing.  Taking the right action is critical.  When you step out to do whatever, you are guaranteed to get whatever in return.  You want to be precise with which actions are necessary and deliberate in taking those actions. 

Your goal is to identify the right action steps to take in moving forward.  You need a plan.  You need action steps to guide you in accomplishing your plan.  Too many people simply do and end up making due because they are working without a plan.  They are just shooting from the hip and taking on whatever comes their way.  That leads to disaster.

Identify 3 things that you can do about an existing problem this week.  Think like you need to get started today. What’s the immediate action? What’s the next step? Finally, what will be the follow-up to those action steps? Taking action requires accountability, too.  You have to ensure that the assignment is followed through until the end.  Review what needs to be done, and then keep track of what you do and its impact.  You may need to do more to get to the solution.

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1 Praise the LORD, O my soul;

all my inmost being, praise his holy name.

2 Praise the LORD, O my soul,

and forget not all his benefits-

3 who forgives all your sins

and heals all your diseases,

4 who redeems your life from the pit

and crowns you with love and compassion,

5 who satisfies your desires with good things

so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Psalm 103:1-5 (NIV)

There are some things about God that are just so good that we should never forget them.  Some of these things come to our remembrance and we just have to bless the Lord and praise the Lord because they are so good.  They are so good because they come from Him who is so good- the Lord Himself.

He forgives.  He heals.  He redeems.  He crowns.  He satisfies.  He does countless things to bestow blessings upon us.  He does so much that we should readily praise His name.
David tells us “forget not all his benefits” (v. 2).  He calls us to give praise and bless the Lord, joining him in adoration and acknowledgement of the Lord and His goodness (vv.1-2, 20-22).  He offers an open invitation for others to join in the praise.  He says for us to give praise to the Lord by blessing His holy name with the “inmost being” (v. 1).  In other words, give Him all that praise that is due to His name with all that you have within you.
 
You don’t owe it to the worship leader.  You don’t owe it to the pastor.  You don’t owe it to anyone except God.  You owe it to Him because He’s good to you.  You owe it to Him because you have witnessed how good He has been to both you and others.  We owe Him all of our praise, every ounce that we can muster.  Praise God.

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 “Need I remind you of the church motto?. . .You know the church rules. . .”- The Fighting Temptations

At times, we can have those who seem to guard the church’s rules and regulations with much more zeal than they advance the Good News.  They know what everyone else shouldn’t do and where it is forbidden, even where to find it in the church board minutes and the church’s bylaws.  Yet, some of the same people are a turn-off to those new converts who seek to find out where the new members courses are taught or who handles the children’s ministry.  They are guarding the door so rigorously that no one can squeeze their way into the church.
 
People need to feel that they are part of the process.  Whether they are in the church choir or on the usher board, people should feel included and considered when decisions are made for the entire church

There are people-oriented processes and procedures that lead to people-oriented programs.  If the process and policies get in the way of working with the people that they are designed to help, then you need to discover a new way to get things done.  The Lord expects His church to serve the needs of His people and give glory and praise to God Almighty.  We are treat people with respect and dignity, operating by the Golden Rule at the minimum in our daily interactions.

Think about the processes that you have in place.  If they do not help people or the church, why are in they in place? Could you explain your procedures and policies to your church’s youth ministry and senior citizens without losing anyone in translation? You should be able to do so.  The church is about the people being together as people of God.  It is the ecclesia.  We are His body, and He is the head.  Let the work that you do for the church speak volumes about Him.

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Going Astray

All we like sheep have gone astray…Isaiah 53:6 (ESV)

It is true.  We have strayed.  We have wandered away from the Good Shepherd.  Our own thinking has led us to a desolate and forsaken place, leaving us helpless and in harm’s way.

The key question is not why.  We know how we can be as mere human beings.  We understand our own inklings and behavior can get us into trouble.  Yet, we must why we go astray.  Why do we leave the protection of God provided by the Him for His flock? We must ask why and not dwell on the answer but develop a reminder for ourselves of how badly we need a shepherd to help lead us to green pastures and beside still waters.

As the sheep of His pasture, we wander and whine.  We do so as individuals (Psalm 119:176).  We do so as a collective body as Isaiah said in Isaiah 53:6. Since we know this, let us stay under the care of the Good Shepherd.  Let us never leave His protective and provisional care.  We may wander, but we have a loving and kind Shepherd who will seek us and save us, welcoming us back into the fold and accepting us with great joy.

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