Archive for the ‘teams’ Category

They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers. – Acts 1:14 (NIV)

The church needs to team up.  The body of Christ needs to join together.  As the verse says, the disciples of the Lord all joined together.  When people team up, they can share and support one another.  The common ground for each and every individual sets the stage for further collective action.

The acronym T.E.A.M. stands Totally Engaging All Members.  The work of the church requires an engagement.  Engaging others requires energy and effort.  The people who are part of the body of Christ are to be engaged under the name of Christ, living out their lives in Christ and like Christ. 

Our commitment to engage others will reveal our dedication to the goals and objectives of the team.  The church may have some business functions, but it is an organization at its core.  The church is organized under the Lord and in His name.  Its essence is a universal body of believers in Christ, the Lamb of God and the risen Lord.

Team up! Exercise T.E.A.M. in your church and ministry.  Take the time to engage other people.  Engage people in love with grace, forgiveness and mercy.  Truly, if you do so, you and your people will grow together as you strengthen one another.  T.E.A.M. up!

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25Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul: 26And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.
 – Acts 11:25-26 (KJV)

The Bible speaks of partnerships.  We are given numerous New Testament examples through Paul and Silas as well as Paul and Barnabas, Peter and John, and the Sons of Thunder, James and John.  However, the Old Testament gives us a few partnerships, too.  Moses and Aaron,  Jonathan and David, and Joshua and Caleb

In fact, the Bible expressly states that Barnabas went out looking for a man who he knew could help this group of new believers along with him.  They connected in a previous period where Barnabas had vouched for the brother in his own style as the Son of Encouragement.  Barnabas contacted Saul in Tarsus.  They both committed to the work, spending an entire year strengthening these “Christians” which is what they completed. Those are some starting blocks for building a partnership in ministry: connect, contact, commit and complete.  You all of these together and with each other in mind.

Partnerships bring about:

  • Blessings: whether it is pray or collateral, you need a partner who will be a blessing to you; you should serve as a blessing to your partner in business or ministry
  • Benefits: your partner may bring something to the table that you do not bring; you surely do not carry the entire weight of the burden alone when you have a partner
  • Bonds:  your partner builds a bond with you over time that strengthens your relationship; you see him as a brother beloved or her as a dear sister; the bond between the two of you is solid

A Bonus View of an OT Partnership:

6Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes 7and said to the entire Israelite assembly, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. 8If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. 9Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will swallow them up. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.” – Numbers 14: 6-9 (NIV)

Joshua and Caleb seem to be a partnership that withstood some heavy opposition (Numbers 13, Numbers 14).  Imagine trying to hold on to what God says when the naysayers outnumber you and are convincing those who have authority over you.  Try as you might, both you and your partner can take a stand but neither of you can convince your Moses, the shepherd of your flock, to see what God is doing and can do for you and His people. In fact, it looks like speaking up could lead to your own doom.  Oddly enough, it appears that both Joshua and Caleb got a view of the on-the-job training of Moses and Aaron as they learned from God throughout the wilderness wanderings over those forty years.

In all of it, the people complained and condemned the two young men who had served as spies.  The people condemned them, but the Lord commended them and their belief.  Not one of you will enter the land I swore with uplifted hand to make your home, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun.  The Lord spoke of the two being the only two of those spies and that generation over twenty to make it into the promised land.  For forty years—one year for each of the forty days you explored the land—you will suffer for your sins and know what it is like to have me against you.  Then, the Lord seals it all up with a simple narrative:  Of the men who went to explore the land, only Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh survived.

If you are facing opposition, build your partnerships where you can.  Find someone of similar or like faith on your job, in your ministry, at your church or in your network of friends and associates.  Pray to God to show you who He has in mind for you to walk in tandem with.  God doesn’t intend for you to take on every obstacle alone.  See how He is working on your behalf.  See Him at work in the midst of the misery and through the trials and tests.  Start seeking that person now.

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 26 They came back to Moses and Aaron and the whole Israelite community at Kadesh in the Desert of Paran. There they reported to them and to the whole assembly and showed them the fruit of the land.
The Ten Commandments (Special Collector's Edition)
30 Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” 31 But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” 32 And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. 33 We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”

Moses Great Lives Series: Volume 4
I read this book some time ago and still regard it as a revealing study in leading God’s people.

Here is a lesson for some would-be promise-seeker in 2011.  Let His promises drown out the pessimists, the ‘problem-seers.”  The difference between problem-seers and promise-seekers is vast and wide.  They are almost galaxies apart. 

Problem-seers are exactly that; they only see the problem.  They have sat and thought of every imaginable way to solve their problem on their own and in their own power, but they just can’t seem to match up with their obstacles or opposition.  They only see the problem.  These people argued from a pessimistic position in response to Caleb’s promise-seeking perspective.  There objection started with “We can’t” and went on from there.

Remember that, when you start failing to see your opportunities from the right perspective, you can easily become objectionable, outspoken and obstinate. Don’t let that be you.  Take on positive thinking and see the possibilities that exist beyond the problems that you face.

Promise-seeking looks beyond the problem.  When you seek the promises of God, you do not simply see problems.  You seek His promises.  You are aware of His presence and rely upon His power to solve the problems in order to deliver on His promises.  God is a problem-solver in order to remain a promise-keeper.  The believer’s stance should be that of a promise-seeker, benefiting from the blessing of God’s unleashed power to solve even the most gigantic of problems.

Caleb saw more than giant-sized occupants of the land.  He saw a land promised to God’s people by the same God who delivered this very people out of enslavement and hardships.  He recognized that the same Almighty God- I AM- had provided for them with safety and supply, even in a wilderness environment.  Caleb knew what God was capable of from what he had witnessed.

Outnumbered by nays to yeas? Seek God’s promises.  Put down for standing up? Seek His promises.  Trouble and conflict keep finding their way to you, even in church? Keep seeking His promises.  God is faithful. He expects us to be as well.  He rewards the promise-seeker as He proves Himself as a promise-keeper.

Grasshoppers get squashed by giants when they fail to:

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The Web Designer's Idea Book: The Ultimate Guide To Themes, Trends & Styles In Website Design (Web Designer's Idea Book: The Latest Themes, Trends & Styles in Website Design)

“Things should be made as simple as possible, but not any simpler.”
Einstein: His Life and Universe

Today’s technology has all sorts of possibilities.  Can I offer some simple possibilities that float around in my imagination? Here there are:

Imagine if you thought more about how to use the technology as a tool.  See how you could get the Word out over the Web (Wow! That was another good one.  Can you patent online content? Hmmm…).


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Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but blessed is he who keeps the law.
Proverbs 29:18 (NIV)

Be sure that our people are:
  • Aware of the vision
  • Activating the vision
  • Advocating for the vision


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Go, assemble the elders of Israel and say to them, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers–the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob–appeared to me and said: I have watched over you and have seen what has been done to you in Egypt.- Exodus 3:16 (NIV)

Moses was to gather the people to garner the buy-in.  The burning bush encounter wouldn’t be enough to convince the children of Israel that God had spoken through the former prince of Egypt who now returned as a self-proclaimed prophet of God for their deliverance.  God told Moses what He planned to do.  God told Moses how He planned to use him.  It still did not register as enough for Moses.  He even offered Moses the evidence of signs if the people would not hear his voice

God offered Moses His divine guidance and support.  God offered Moses signs before his very own eyes.  God gave Moses everything he needed.  How did Moses respond?

But he said, “Oh, my Lord, please send someone else.”- Ex. 4:16 (ESV)

God answered all of Moses’ excuses, even his request for someone else to take on the task.  God asks about Aaron the Levite, the brother of Moses.  He tells Moses that He will use Aaron along with Moses to speak to the people and reveal what God’s plan for them to them.  They would even work together with the elders to take their request before the king of Egypt

Moses got more than he asked for with this task.  God did not relieve him of the responsibility of the task.  He offered him relief for his fear and reassurance through Aaron his brother being his mouthpiece.  The task was still in the hands of Moses.  He was still to take on the task to lead God’s people to deliverance.

28 And Moses told Aaron all the words of the Lord with which he had sent him to speak, and all the signs that he had commanded him to do. 29 Then Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the people of Israel.– Ex. 4: 28-29 (ESV)

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 “If you are too busy to pray then you are too busy.” -W. E. Sangster
I got a copy of a book that truly changed my prayer life about 3 or 4 months ago.  W.E. Sangster’s Teach Me to Pray spoke right into my personal life as well as my business life.  As a minister, it helped me to see how I need to assist others who need to organize prayer groups in the local Christian community.  As a businessman, it helped me see that I had done little to bring spiritual support and strength into secular interactions.  It helped me to see that prayer was something that could be done at lunch break and how prayer ministries could even meet after work and off site.  I realized that I wasn’t putting my business matters in the hands of God with the same due diligence that I would approach my spiritual or church matters, even ministry matters.  I decided to commit to praying for my partners, vendors and clients as much as I have prayed for my fellow brethren, God’s saintly sheep and the visitors and guests to our local church.
For those in business or in a business environment where you have identified other Christians:
  • Partner Up:  Make the commitment to pray for and with someone else.  Pray for them and the needs of their family on your own during your morning and evening prayer time with God.  Pray with the person at lunch or a scheduled break, even right after work in the parking lot. 

    Commit to a prayer partnership.

  • Pray Up: Lift your petitions to God. You can do so silently at your desk in your cubicle.  You can simply say a prayer under your breath in a short moment.  I like Spurgeon when he says: “Short prayers are long enough.”  Keep it strong and spiritual but short.
  • Power Up: Let your prayers power you and your prayer partner throughout the day at work. Have you ever prayed and felt the Holy Spirit keeping you uplifted longer than you ever imagined? I have been there.  It excites me to know that the same Spirit is seeking and searching souls that will fill the air with praises as He fills their hearts with joy.
Check out other books on prayer:

Spurgeon on Prayer & Spiritual Warfare, C.H. Spurgeon

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2When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples 3to ask him, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?”
4Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see

– Matthew 11:2-4 (NIV)

Jesus dealt with doubt.  This episode in the midst of Jesus’ earthly ministry offers us some insight into staying true to our mission.  When we deal with doubt, we don’t need to get off into the tangents of why would someone ask such a question or where they may havegotten the notion in the first place.  Jesus sets a prime example for dealing with doubters among our membership and in our ministries.

Jesus responded to those who brought John’s inquiry to Him.  He simply told them to relay a message to John.  Jesus answered by showing these messengers that the work was being done. The lame healed and the blind given sight. The Word was being preached to the poor.  He told the disciples of John to go back and tell John what they saw and heard.

He didn’t lay out some excuses or explanation of what He was doing and what He planned or in the works.  He simply offered an exhibition of what He was doing in Galilee and other places.  Jesus showed them by what He did before their eyes and ears, and then told them to go back and share that with John.  What Jesus did caused those who came with an inquiry to walk away with insight into what He actually was doing in word and deed. 

Let us see where we can do likewise.  Deal with doubt directly.  Deal with doubt without delay.  Deal with doubt deliberately.  Deal with doubt.  Demonstrate before the ears and the ears of the doubters.

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Here is a simple equation: Relationships = Resources.
Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. – John 15:4 (NIV)

Relationships are the basis for new partnerships and clients. Get to know people and you start to see how they can serve as resources in numerous ways.  Think about who you know and how they know others.  If you are a pastor, I dare you to look over the sea of faces that are within your congregation and see how many work for the local government and school system versus those who are part of the private sector.  Each one of those faces staring back at the pulpit represent resources and connections to other resources.  What you do with those relationships makes the difference. Do you only call on them when you need them? Or, do you call on them for prayer or just to check in, too?

Relationships represent resources.  You have to see beyond previous issues and humble yourself to see what the person represents.  Did they agree or disagree with the direction you took the church with the new building project? That’s not the issue.  Did you leave room for reconciliation? That’s the big question.  People disagree all of the time in church.  As a pastor or Christian leader, you need to get used to it and even expect it to a degree.  People are people. 

Gain resources by developing relationships.  You need to be sure to develop and maintain your relationships.

You need to manage your relationships.  Don’t let people slip away or become out of sight and out of mind.  Stay in touch with members who move away.  You never know how much you may need help from somebody from out of town. Be a bridge builder in your church and your community.

Develop more relationships by:

  • Expanding circle of influence & support
  • Forming genuine bonds through Christian fellowship
  • Learning not to hold grudges but keep doors open while not burning bridges

I posted a “special message” via my e-newsletter today.
Check out the Twitter “tweets” from Rev. Bruce @ www.twitter.com/lifepath01/

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“Only through Him are we one.”- Dietrich Bonhoeffer

We need to seek growth in our individual members rather than growth in our membership.

The church’s growth can stem from how the church grows each individual.  Part of the responsibility in Christian leadership is to feed His sheep.  We can help individuals grow on two levels: individualistic and inclusive.  As far as individualistic, we have to get personal.  We need to personalize our discipleship.  Use mentors and spiritual coaches or guides.  Look at Titus 2 to see how Paul prescribes the development of the people by the people.  In addition, we need to use strategies that make individuals feel included.  These are called “inclusive strategies.” People feel that they are part of the Christian family, part of the larger group.  They feel connected and included in the ministry and work of the church.  We do so through fellowship and discipleship, coming alongside of an individual and surrounding them with care and love.

People need to feel:

  • Invited, not itemized
  • Included, not isolated
  • Involved, not intimidated

Don’t let anyone under your care feel like you do not care about them.  Extend yourselves in grace and love with compassion and concern.  Make individuals feel included.  Become unified and live together as one body under Christ.  By doing so, these same members will share with others about the difference that the church has made in their Christian walk and lead others to Christ and possibly to your church.

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