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Posts Tagged ‘community’

Reflect on Thanksgiving as a holiday. Think on how you spent the time you had on Thanksgiving. Did you do a virtual turkey trot with family and friends? Did you serve others on that day? Did you reflect on what and who you are thankful for in your life? Look back and let yourself feel free to make the most of the days remaining if you feel like you might have missed the mark.

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Daily Theme

Thank God for family & friends, even community.

Giving Thanks

Message each family member your gratitude for them. If you have a large family, consider doing a video message of thanksgiving. You can even add a message via Facebook Messenger or Instagram Direct Message. The point is to share your gratefulness with as many family members as possible.

Giving Back

Model an attitude of gratitude. Show others the way by providing a grateful example, especially as you share a scrumptious meal together. Be sure to thank and acknowledge those who cooked and brought dishes, even the ones who just showed up with those King’s Hawaiian rolls. Just be sure to show yourself an example of gratitude. In case you forget somebody, make sure to circle back and talk to them one on one about how much you appreciate them.

Go Beyond the Norm

Message your local officials or church leaders with your gratitude for them. Give them an encouraging message of what they mean to you and your community. Take the time to send them a message, whether it be a simple tweet with the leader tagged on it or post to Facebook or Instagram with a photo or inspiring visual that you share with a message of gratitude for their service.

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Audio clip from Coffee & Chat with Rev Bruce Episode #4

When we talk about community leadership, Christians can tend to shy away or step up. There’s usually no middle of the road when it comes to Christian leaders actively engaging in community leadership. Usually, it is one extreme or the other.

Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds – Proverbs 27:23

For those who choose to get involved in community leadership, the challenge can be the lack of focus or attention to the flock. There are plenty of life hacks for getting a work-life balance, but that was not the case for two pastors that I have studied over the years.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. King struggled as the pastor of his flock. Not that King was not cut out for the position of a pastor but he also led the SCLC and was on the front lines of boycotts and other strategic activities related to what we have come to know as the Civil Rights Movement. While King was fundraising for SCLC and its efforts throughout the South, what condition did he leave Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery?

The challenge is real when Christian leaders evolve into community leaders, even national leaders. Unless you have a dynamic system in place within your church, you will struggle to lead in both areas. Know the condition of your flock. In a mega church era, do not get to the place as a shepherd where you do not recognize your own sheep or their condition. Make it a point to stay in touch and on top of what is happening with your folks.

Daddy King recognized the pressure and struggle that his son faced. He implored his son to give up Dexter Avenue and return home to Atlanta to continue his work with the SCLC and maintain his ministry ties under Daddy King’s leadership at Ebenezer. Without the shift, we may not have known the iconic orator and leader from the Civil Rights Movement.

Adam Clayton Powell

Famous People: Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Biography by [Letitia]

https://amzn.to/2NTrxT9 https://amzn.to/2VNVsRc

No one epitomizes the consummate community and church leader like Adam Clayton Powell. Pastor of Harlem’s famous Abyssinian Baptist Church, Adam Clayton Powell became a city council member, community leader, and a U.S. Congressman. Powell fought hard against racial segregation and introduced landmark civil rights legislation.

Standing at a slim 6’4”, Powell was an imposing figure in the pulpit as well as the congressional floor. Yet, Powell had an appetite for controversy and was never known to shy away from a challenge. His persona was often the fodder for headlines and scandal pages, leaving the congregation of 14,000 members to wonder where their leader’s focus lied from time to time.

Politics and civic leadership have a place in the Christian realm. We just have to manage the amount of attention other things receive instead of the church. If you do not know the condition of your flock, as the shepherd, check yourself and see what you need to do to get that balance back.

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Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. – Colossians 3:11 (ESV)

. . . but Christ is all. . .

Essentially, Christ is all that way we need.

  • He Complements Us:  For all that we are, Christ is the perfect fit for who we need to become.  He is complementary to us in that He offers us something that makes us function better as people of faith.
  • He Confirms Us: Whatever we might doubt or be unsure about, He is our answer.  He gives us confirmation of what is expected of us and what we will not be condemned for despite of how guilty and unworthy we truly are in accordance to his laws, decrees and statutes.  Despite all of that, He still calls us His own, His flock, His dear children.
  • He Completes Us: We need only look to him to fill the emptiness in our lives.  The voids and flaws are no match for His perfection.  Where we have shortcomings and failures, He comes in and completes us.  He makes us whole.  With Him as the head, we are able to strive towards maturing to “the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ,” a perfect man (Ephesains 4:13, KJV).

. . . and in all

The all that we see here is one with a focus on the parts making up a whole, as in totality of each and every part coming together as one.  In essence, Paul said this in a few different ways.

To the Corinthians. . .

For the body does not consist of one member but of many. . . As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. (12:14, 20, ESV)

To the Ephesians. . .

There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith,one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (4:4-6, ESV)

To the Roman. . .

For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. (12:4-5, NASB)

Beyond the emphasis on the body of Christ as a whole made up of many members or parts, there is continual evidence of the Scriptures providing us with more confirmation of our unity in Christ.

There is logic and reasoning that may have some to say that this is too touchy and feels phony, but let’s step back for a moment and evaluate the entire concept with both wisdom and discernment.  Let us look objectively at how this is laid out in the Scriptures, in particular in the New Testament and especially in the letters to the churches.

Gnostics and others like the Hellenists have reason to give heed to their feelings.  They have their own rationale for why they accept the labels that mankind has placed upon the very things that were to be so simple that we have somehow complicated and almost perverted into something else.  It makes sense to some of these folks to embrace something other than what was meant to exist as among us.  Concepts like love, unity, joy and compassion become mere words, losing their strength as concepts for Christian living.  They do not carry the same value when action words lead to little or no action and the descriptive words and phrases no longer fit the description within the profile of a Christian.

So, if logic stands to reason, then we face a sad truth that our very reason for being in Christ is endangered as we try to make Christ make sense in accordance with our own human reasoning.

What is irrational becomes totally rational.  What makes little or no sense is all the more sensible.  What is seen as off beat and way out there becomes our personal mantra of faith, hope and peace.  After all, He is our peace.

 


There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. – Galat
ians 3:28 (ESV)

For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body–whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free–and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. – 1 Corinthians 12:13 (NIV)

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith – Galatians 3:26 (NIV)

For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility – Ephesians 2:14 (NIV)

 

He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. – Colossians 1:28 (NIV)

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Okay, folks, it’s on again.  It’s an election year without a doubt.  The political groundswell is up and running with a lot of fanfare, especially in those little local elections.  It’s here again.  Obviously, that means there will be a whole lot of hype.

What kind of hype? I believe that any of us who have lived through the longsuffering agony of election years in the past have some understanding of the grandstanding that usually comes along with such a period.  Political muscles are flexed, in particular by those who work for candidates in PR and publicity, offering an appearance by their candidate here and there for this worthy cause or that one.  Usually, these folks are more pesky than anything that the politician may say or do.  They work the nerves of some folks in the church and community who toil by the sweat of their brow to do good, only to have some cheesy photo op replace the goodwill that the good folks seek to do.

Let’s look at it beyond the media hype that can be generated by candidates rolling up their sleeves and pitching in to pass out food to needy families or to sit and read before a classroom of wide-eyed and attentive elementary school children.  Yes, the camera flashes snap and the video is rolling, but we cannot become caught up or thrown off by such media frenzy during such times.

Some of this can help despite all of the seemingly unnecessary hype that comes along with it.  Political campaigns have a following of dedicated supporters who fund and man such large scale and long term endeavors.  We can benefit from a candidate coming down with his entire entourage and offering some helping hands in the name of getting out there among the people to gain votes for themselves and increase the visibility of their own campaigns.  Believe it or not, these volunteers can provide the necessary manpower to boost our efforts to reach more and serve more.

Weigh your options.  If you truly cannot stomach some would-be politician coming to your event to make himself or herself appear to be on the same level as the people, only to run off to Washington or Sacramento, or just down to city hall, and never be heard from again, then don’t bother.  Don’t accept the help or the hype.  However, if you think that the partnership could shed some light on your cause and make the evening news, you may want to think it through thoroughly.

They want the hype.  They need it.  They want the media to come out and snap photos of them doing good in the neighborhood.  Their campaign desperately needs to be seen as something vital to the needs of the community.  When they come, they come with a whole lot of hype.  However, they can also come with a whole lot of help.

27 Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ so that—whether I command see you or whether I remain absent—I should hear that you are standing in one spirit, by contending together with one mind for the faith of the gospel, 28 and by not being frightened in any way by your opponents. This is a sign of their destruction, but of your salvation—a sign which is from God. – Philippians 1:27-28

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All hard work brings a profit,
but mere talk leads only to poverty.

-Proverbs 14:23 (NIV)

You have been pouring your heart into this latest venture.  You can see the vision that you have for the future as clear as day.  It is in view.  Yet, as you continue to toil away by the sweat of your brow, you start to stress.  You feel yourself losing your nerve.  You begine to agonize over the potential pitfalls and staggering stumbling blocks that could emerge as you chase your dream.

That’s common.  You are just like many other entrepreneurs who fail to walk down beaten path.  Yes, it is common, but it far from healthy.

The Bible says that all hard work leads to a profit.  According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), that’s not necessarily so.  The births and deaths of business are measured in what is called “business churn.” Business churn amounts to combination of business births and deaths during a specified period, whether a quarter or a year, providing an indicator for the overall scope of business.  During this first quarter of 2012, things appear to be churning upward.  However, that means some businesses did still die during this period.  They closed shop and called it quits, never to arise from the ashes of defeat again (at least not under that company name).

So, what does that mean for Christians in business or seeking to jump into business?

It means that there is a slight and gradual recovery from the recession.  It means that the landscape is still full of uncertainty.  It means that, as Christians, we still have to have faith, even to go into business in this day and age.

Keep your faith.  Maintain your focus on what you can do.  Keep costs and expenditures, especially debt, low.  Seek to grow your business step by step, taking it slow if you have to in order to keep things balanced.  Stay close to the Lord throughout the venture.  Don’t wait until you have a pending bankruptcy to call on the Lord.  Start praying as you start planning.

After all, the profit that the Bible speaks of may not be limited to monetary riches and social prestige.  The type  of profit  spoken of by the Bible extends far beyond money.  You can be a success at making a difference in the community and in the lives of the people who benefit from your business, customers, employees, suppliers, partners and more.

Success is just within your grasp.  Go on and keep going for it.

Strive for Success with Life Path Consulting. . .

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Social networking is still the fastest-growing active social media behaviour online, increasing from 36% of global Internet users to 59% managing their profile on a monthly basis by the end of 2011…Facebook has 845 million active users –  http://thesocialskinny.com/100-more-social-media-statistics-for-2012/

Recently, the world’s largest social network made news when it released an initial public offering to become a publicly traded stock.  That’s not the big news.  The big news has more to do with the potential that lies within social networking as well as social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.  That’s the big news for those who proclaim the Good News.

Use Facebook for your ministry.  Set up a profile.  Find friends online.  Share the profile link via email with your ministry members or congregants.  Add the link to your Facebook to your email signature or link the Facebook button to your website or blog.

Here are some simple strategies for Facebook usage for ministry:

  • Post upcoming events and invite ‘friends of friends’
  • Share inspirational verses and passages through status updates
  • Upload photos from events like mission trips or church outreach activities
  • Start Facebook groups for prayer, Bible study or salvation Q&A
  • Set up a fan page for members to get updated information on church or ministry activities

Facebook has a lot of potential.  Use it to your advantage to advance the gospel.  Spread the Good News throughout cyberspace by using Facebook as a steward of the Good News.

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“Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life.” – Acts 5:20 (ESV)

We need to step out in faith and speak “all the words of this life.” The angel of the Lord freed the apostles from the jail that held them in bondage, but he insisted that they go share the message with the people.  Their instructions told them to specifically speak in the temple.  That was where they were divinely directed.

Where has the Lord directed you?

Has the Lord directed you to share your prayers with the world? How about your praise? Think hard about it.  Let the Holy Spirit lead you to where God has for you to go with your prayers and your praise.

Perhaps, if you listen to the urging of the Lord, you will discover how much He wants you to publicize your prayers and your praise.  He can lead you to a plethora places.  He can lead you into the public space to share with others.  Let Him lead you to the parks and recreation centers, even the bus stops and train stations.  Maybe, if you get that divine inspiration, you can lead a prayer at city hall or the courthouse steps.

Let Him lead you.  Let Him use you.

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 But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine.
  -Titus 2:1 (ESV)

There is nothing that comes naturally to us in this new life.  Our rebirth as children of God leads us to enter into a new life with a blank slate.  We are to put off the old man who has lived within us for so long, so that we may put on the new man who is to be developed and nurtured within us as new creations in Christ.

Sometimes it works.  At other times, it just doesn’t work.  We fail when we fail to rely upon the Holy Spirit.  We tend to not mature as steadily when we focus more on what we will get out of it or gain from it rather than simply submitting to the will of the Spirit.  We lose out when we lose sight of the unveiled mysteries that God has revealed to us through His Word and by His Holy Spirit.

Paul admonishes Titus to teach what is “sound doctrine.” In doing so, he shares with Titus how to lead multiple generations in ministry.  He offers a strategy for incorporating the people by empowering his people to teach one another in the Christian life.

Titus is to “exhort and rebuke with all authority”(Titus 2:15 ESV).  He, as the pastor and spiritual leader of the church, is to lead, guide, direct and provide the means for the older men to minister and mentor the younger men as well as the older women to do the same for the younger women.  In essence, according to Paul’s instructions to Titus, everyone has a role to play within the ministry of the church, ministering to each other in unity.

Read Titus 2 in its entirety.  Read through it, then study it.  See what God asks of us as believers when it comes to ministering to one another.  Pray over it.  Subject yourself to pastoral authority for the good of all concerned.  Do not simply go along to get along.  Give of yourself, sharing your experiences and lessons learned.  Let God use you to minister to your brothers and sisters so that the entire body of Christ will be strengthened in “sound doctrine.”

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“More people are coming to Christ now than at any other time in history.” – Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Church

The church has a real responsibility.  It is revealed in the Word of God.  It is real work.  It amounts to the work of people.  People make up the church.  Therefore, the work of the church has plenty to do with the people who come into the church and are touched by the church.

The church has a responsibility to the Lord for how it handles people.  Its ultimate responsibility is to answer to the Lord and His commands of them.  It represents the Lord on this earth.  Its works shed light into the darkness of this world and offers mankind a reason to glorify God the Father in heaven.

The church is called to reach people.  We reach people with people and through people.  We do the work that touches people and impact lives on this side of heaven.

The church is called to receive people.  The Lord adds to the church.  That part is on Him, but we have a responsibility, too.  We are to serve as wise stewards over what He provides for us.  We need to handle what (and who) God gives to us in a manner that blesses God.

“Jesus commanded us to make disciples.” – Ted Haggard

“People need to feel needed.” – Myron Rush

“God has ordained the church as a place of truth.” – Bob Russell

“Ministry is a marathon.” – Rick Warren

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“We have to take initiative where we are, not where we have not yet been.” – Oswald Chambers

Imagine helping everyone else except for those whom you love.  You offer strangers and others more than your own children and loved ones, even your closest friends.  That would sound sort of strange, right? That would make you seem like some sort of hypocrite.

You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me. – Matthew 26:11 (NLT)

We need to stop overlooking the needs that go unaddressed right around us daily instead of seeking to go off to some distant land and do the same good that we never ever attempted at home.  We should go abroad and carry the Good News of Jesus Christ.  That is certainly the truth.  However, we do not need to leave needs unmet right at our own doorstep.

What was it that James said about true religion?

Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. – James 1:27 (KJV)

We need to start right where we are.  We need to start doing good works right where we live every single day.  We need to do our part to keep things in order right where we live.  Our works should start with what we have done on our home turf.  Then, as we build up those around us by equipping and empowering them, we can branch out from there.

On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.” – Acts 1:4 (NIV)

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. – Acts 1:8 (NIV)

Until the Lord directs you, don’t leave where you are today.  Get busy doing His work with His Word right there.  Stay on task.  Once He has developed you, He will direct you.  When He has readied you for branching out, He will tap you for further service.  He wants you working on His good works in His name.  Your best bet is to start where He has planted you.  He has put you here for a reason.

You may not be able to go to the ends of the world and do every good work, but you have somewhere to start.  You something to offer.  You can get started right here.  You can grow as you do good.  Let doing good works do you some good, too.  Let it be right where you are today.

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