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Archive for the ‘support’ Category

Bear ye one another’s burdens,
and so fulfil the law of Christ.
-Galatians 6:2 (KJV)

Christians are to bear one another’s burdens.  It is the way of Christ.  That’s what He did, right? Remember WWJD? Was that just a fad? Or, did you really take that to heart?

Bear ye one another’s burdens. . .

Wow! That’s heavy.  Literally, it is heavy due to what it really means.  We are to carry the burdens of our brothers and sisters.  We are to feel their pain.  That means that we should empathize with others.  We are not called to simply stand off to the side and sympathize with them, feeling bad for them and going on. 

God wants us to live with the burdens of others as if they are our own.  If your brother suffers from addiction, you should live with it.  Even if you have never indulged, you are to suffer with your brother and sister as well as seek a remedy as if it were your own life in a shambles.  The same goes for homelessness, adultery, selfishness, greed and other things.  We need to share with our brothers and sisters.

Let’s be Christlike about it.  He went out of His way for us.  He suffered for our sakes.

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Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.Ecc. 4:9-10 (NASB)
Prayer partners work well.  Accountability partners keep you honest and on your toes. A teaching partner should do the job of both as well as help you lead the Bible lesson.
For those of you who teach the Bible, find you a partner.  Find you someone who can pray with you and for you as you prepare your Sunday school lesson.  If you lead a small group, let your partner know as you begin to prepare.  Invite your partner to check in with you or to study the Scriptures with you in preparation.  Let them share insights with you and hear your concerns about nervousness and issues.
You might need this same person to hold you accountable.  You may be ready to skip some tough issues that are in the Bible lesson.  Be sure that your partner is a person of conviction who will tell you to keep to the text and keep it real.  You need someone who will force you to cut it straight and ensuring that you are rightly dividing the word of truth.

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Powered by Prayer

 And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
(Matthew 6:7-8 ESV)

 But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.
(Luke 5:16 ESV)

 

Jesus described prayer for His disciples.

Jesus participated in an active prayer life.

Jesus prayed.

Jesus expects us to pray.

Jesus also showed His disciples the power of prayer.

 On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry. And seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see if he could find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. And he said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard it.
(Mark 11:12-14 ESV) 

Consider what happened within Jesus before his words escaped from His lips.  Try to get a mental picture of what He through before you try to guess about what came out of His mouth.

And Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.” And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” (Mark 11:21-25 ESV)

Jesus shared about the power of prayer.  He pointed out the importance of faith, belief and expectations.  He spoke on the power of prayer and how we all can be powered by prayer.

Prayer Resources:

The above resources offer some support for prayer.  Prayerfully and hopefully, these are of some help to you. 

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From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. – Eph. 4:16 (NIV)

As the body of Christ, we have some real work to do.  Our work includes supporting, growing, strengthening, and loving together as the “whole body.” God expects us to do our work under Christ who is the head of the body.  We are to do our work joined and held together under Christ, the head of the body.  Our work is to be done in love.

Our work should lead to the body of Christ’s growth and strengthening.  The body should grow and grow stronger.  We are responsible to Christ for what we do and how we do it as a body of believers.  Paul says that if one part of the body suffers or receives honor, every part is impacted because it is one body with many parts.

  • Does what you do help to grow the body?
  • Does what you do help to strengthen the body?
  • Do you do what you do for the body in love?

Take these questions into careful and prayerful consideration.  Look at how you can help grow and strengthen the body of Christ.  Pray over your role and function within the body of Christ.  Build up and help grow the body of Christ.

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If God puts you there, He is amply sufficient.- Oswald Chambers

If the Lord sends you, He will most certainly supply you. That’s how God is. It’s how He works. He did it with Moses as He sent him to go before Pharaoh. He did it with Abram as He sent him from Ur of the Chaldeans to a land that He would show him. He did it with Jeremiah will He assured him that he knew him from the womb and had ordained him for a particular purpose.

He will give you exactly what you need to do exactly what He sent you to do. He will supply you for what He sent you to do. He supplies you to do what He calls you to do. His supply is sufficient. He does not always supply us with a surplus. His sufficiency is enough for us.

Go with God. Watch Him work on you. He’ll start to work with you. He will begin to work through you.

And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.- 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NASB)

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Dear Pastor/ Bishop/ Elder/ Reverend XXXX:

The church that God has blessed you with is sick.

Sincerely,
Concerned Christian

Can you imagine that popping up on your Blackberry Messenger app right before Sunday services? How about if it was a note passed up to you via the ushers or deacons just as you are getting ready to start prayer meeting? Either way, it is alarming. In either case, you are taken aback at least for a moment. You may even be startled.

Someone didn’t send you an instant message on your mobile. No one within your church or outside of it scribbled you a message about it. God didn’t set a bush on fire nor did He send an angel to deliver you the news. It’s been swimming and swirling around in your gut for some time now. It has preoccupied your sermon preparation and personal devotion. The signs are all around. There’s something drastically wrong with your church and your ministry. In fact, it may not just be sick. It may be debilitating to the point of near-death. It may very well be in Lazarus Mode.
 
When I posted Signs of a Dying Church, I was already prepared to go further into it by addressing Lazarus Mode. The scenario is similar to the story. There are plenty of churches who are like Lazarus. The Lord loves them, but they are “sick” and closer to death than they think. Unfortunately, unlike Lazarus, this sickness may not glorify God at all. Such churches and ministries are in need of a “spiritual wake-up call.” You don’t want to look up and discover that your ministry has been declared dead by the Divine.

Keep aware of the signs. Be sure to make the necessary changes. Stay on fire and keep blessing and boasting on the Lord.

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I am an avid “web-crawler.” I search the web for sites that can help me with my work and ministry. I have discovered some sites that truly can support you as you seek to enhance and expand your ministry for greater effectiveness in this day and age.

Here is a short list of sites for support:

  • http://www.outreach.com/ Great resources from banners to do-it-yourself templates; be sure to take a look at http://blog.outreach.com/ for tips and ideas on a wide range of outreach topics and http://www.outreachmagazine.com/ for articles and information on outreach. Look into their church-planting resources, too.
  • http://www.lifetreecafe.com/ If you are in ministry or seeking to get one started, here is a possible resource that will cause you to be “missional.” Check out what this conversational and casual gathering can do for your church and the un-churched. Read what it’s about. It will take some planning and strategies on your part.
  • http://www.lifechurch.tv/ This church is taking multi-site ministry into a whole new era. You have to check out their online worship experience as well as their resources and messages (even those that are not live.) Open is a great resource for downloads of templates and forms that will help administration and ministry leaders. YouVersion has to be one of my favorite sites on the web. With everything from “live” worship and the audio Bible to Bible reading plans and the means for sharing via Facebook and Twitter, this site will rock your world. Church Metrics is a cool free tool that allows you to track everything from attendance to commitments and baptisms. It’s web-based and even has a mobile application for on-the-go ministry and small group leaders.
  • http://www.urbanministry.org/ Tons and tons of information and resources for “street ministry” and beyond. I use the Word Press blog application for Saved2Serve, our network for ministries, faith-based organizations and parachurches. You have to check out their Church Grants and Volunteer sub-sites. This site is a real winner.
  • http://www.ebase.org/ I like E-Base for nonprofits and donor tracking because it does something different from Church Metrics. This download allows you to track donors, volunteers, and other things such as outreach campaigns. It allows you to see what works and what doesn’t in a data storage format almost like CRM software for business.

These sites are useful and worth exploring. I see them as mechanisms for strengthening and supporting your work in ministry. Be sure to visit our web database for the free download of “When the Laborers are Few.” This will help those who have few “workers” for the harvest that is before them in their part of the vineyard.

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Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.-1 Corinthians 11:1

Paul outlines the dynamics of discipleship that most church leaders should take today. He doesn’t offer a do-as-I-say-not as-I-do leadership credo. He simply shares truth with a church that had numerous internal struggles a way for getting on the right track and simply following another follower of Christ. Such an approach echoes much of what Jesus shared after offering the parable of the Good Samaritan when He stated: “Go and do likewise.”

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, Go and do likewise.”

Church leaders have to see themselves leading others down the right path of Christian living. Just as Paul shared, an example of faithful Christian living should be provided to the Christian newcomer in the form of a living, breathing believer who can mentor others as the embark on their personal journey with Jesus. Every pastoral leader should have a body of people he has trained and taught for leadership roles that may or may not fit into the church’s organizational chart. If you can’t find anyone you have taught and trained for leadership, then your first move may be to pray to the Lord for insight and ideas on how to identify and start training others for future leadership roles. Here is where vision serves as a key ingredient. You’ll have to see where you want to go and design a pathway for getting there.

Paul demonstrates another key component of discipleship. Discipleship is personal. You have to be willing to allow someone to examine you up close and personal as you seek to disciple them. They’ll hear you more as they come to know and understand you more. They need to know that you are still flesh and blood behind all of that saintly speaking and righteous rhetoric.

Don’t expect to be perfect. Try with all your might, but don’t simply expect it. We are all imperfect people privileged to be working on God’s perfect plan. The journey is worth telling others because they can look forward with hope to the joy that they will experience when their Bible students get a grasp of their weekly small group lesson on righteous redemption or when the man who struggled with his identity in Christ becomes at peace with striving to be more like Him. Discipleship is exactly that; a journey that you have agreed to go on with someone else as you serve as their tour guide. Yep. That’s what it is.

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For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. . . Mark 14:39 (ESV)

Things are out of balance. The poor seem to continue to get poorer. Look at what the government is telling us about our national deficit and bailouts as well as restructuring organizations such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  Even Ben Bernanke can’t seem to explain what is going on.  Don’t seek any insights from Steve Jobs or Warren Buffet either.  Look at what the Lord says.

The poor will be in our midst always.  Jesus put in real simple terms for us: “…whenever you want, you can do good for them…” That’s what we have to focus on today.  Those of us who can make a difference will need to step up and make a difference as the Lord directs us.  It came about in the days of Micah, men doing whatever they pleased while their neighbors suffered and struggled.   Haggai preached against such selfishness.  Many of the prophets spoke against it.  Let us do what we can based upon God’s leading and directing us.  Let us live like vessels that He pours into with His Spirit and pours out upon those in need of a spiritual uplift as we seek to meet their needs.

No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good,
and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right, to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6:8 (NLT)

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Here’s the lesson: Use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. Then, when your earthly possessions are gone, they will welcome you to an eternal home.
Luke 16:9 (NLT)
The Lord taught about the power of our possessions. Imagine if you used your wealth to build relationships. Many of the Quakers understood such practices when settling in Pennsylvania, establishing services and organizations that worked towards the greater good of society. Similarly, Richard Allen, founder of the A.M.E. denomination, used his resources to establish the Free African Society (FAS), a non-denominational mutual aid society, which assisted fugitive slaves and new migrants to Philadelphia. The Salvation Army, Goodwill, YMCA and YWCA were all established on Christian beliefs and principles, utilizing volunteer manpower and donated resources to conduct ‘good works.’ We have countless examples of it being done. Our issue is that we must continue the legacy of building a reputation among mankind by using our resources to provide services and support for the poor and the needy.

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