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Posts Tagged ‘outreach’

Discovering More Clarity with My Calling

In business, you set up and maintain a business identity.

It speaks to who you are and what you do. It becomes your brand. And it is how others come to know your business.

Ministry is similar, but there is a subtle difference between the two.

Firstly, the ministry calling is based on God giving you your marching orders. He usually pricks the heart of the believer for a cause or concern that invokes compassion or conviction, causing the believer to follow the leading of the Lord and His Spirit in that given direction.

Secondly, the ministry calling evolves over time. After one’s initial calling, God reveals more along the way. Greater clarity on the big picture is provided along the way during the journey.

My journey started around 2005 with an idea that would eventually take the form of Life Path Ministries & Services in 2008. It include Bible Stories & Beyond (Bible lessons and activities), All Men Edified Now (A.M.E.N.) (a monthly small group Bible study), and Operation Reach Out (evangelism and outreach). I added a weekly newsletter, self-published books of poetry and ministry guidance, and Bible study activities for A.M.E.N. over the course of several years.

I was content with what I was doing for God. I was confident that I was in the right place and on the right track.

Comfort Zones Cloud Clarity

Comfort zones can become dangerous places for anyone with a calling from God. That’s a particular place where business and ministry are truly similar. The amount of overlap is difficult to determine by degrees, but they at the least run parallel to one another once you get into the danger of comfort zones.

I knew what was doing in both ministry and business. I was struggling with completing my degree between Organizational Leadership at Chapman and Business Administration at Azusa Pacific. I knew how to do the work. I knew that the work was both important and critical. I even knew that the Lord had more in store for both myself and the ministry.

I was in a strange place. I was in an unknown zone. People applauded my work and what I was doing in the name of the Lord, but I felt an uneasy tension or frustration of the unknown lying ahead. I was engaged in what Keith Haney points out as motivating others like Jesus, but I had no name for it.

The evidence of the work was visible with tangible results, but I struggled with pinpointing what exactly it was that I was doing. Let me clarify that to say I struggled with what to call it. I was stumped with how to categorize it. I didn’t know what box to check when describing it.

Was it a ministry like Prison Fellowship, Salvation Army or YMCA? Was it a para-church ministry like Focus on the Family or 700 Club? What was this thing that I was doing?

I could not articulate it with clarity or with confidence if asked.

It took me over 12 years to realize . . .

I am in the inspiration business.

I am a preacher, rooted in a steep biblical basis of study and interpretation. I am a teacher and facilitator, focused on making tangible life connections for those with whom I study and lead. I am an evangelist, fired up with a passion for both those who the Lord calls “the least of these” and “sheep without a shepherd” similar to other street ministry efforts across the country.

I am in the inspiration business.

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In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. – Matthew 5:16 (ESV)

As promised, I have included a Black Friday free resource for you.

Let Your Light Shine: Share It & Show It

My hope is that this resource might serve as an impactful part of your reading.  It serves as a foundation for some other work that we have coming up but it also stands out as a simple reminder of our root cause and calling as a believer.

Faith Impact Training is about inspiring hearts, minds and souls, particularly for outreach/ evangelism and service through good works.  Our mantra is making a difference today, while leaving an impact for life.  Part of our work includes the development and distribution of publications and trainings.

Stay tuned.  There is more to come.

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“Give thanks to the LORD, because he is good, and his love is eternal” – Psalm 118:1

LifePath_hoody

Once again, I am purposefully pursuing a way to give thanks and give back this holiday season.

I have been here before.  I have done this a few times.  The problem is that I am persistent.  I have not given up yet.  I am either stubborn or faithful.

I just haven’t figured out which one yet.

I think I will go with faithful.

A Week of Works (download available)

However, this time I have approached things a little differently.  There are all sorts of ways to get the work done.  My goal is to share small and simple ways to give thanks by giving back.  It doesn’t matter if you do it as an individual or as a small group, even a church ministry or family.  I have included ways to support small businesses for Small Business Saturday.  I also have shared ways to extend yourself and your outreach on Black Friday.  It is about sharing the Word.  It is about truly being thankful.

What I am most proud of (if I can say so without boasting or bragging) is that I am involved in the same efforts that I sharing.  I am involved intimately.  I am involved intentionally.  I am involved.

Follow my feed and see how I am giving thanks by giving back.

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Be sure to download the Week of Works PDF

Check out my other e-Books at Sellfy and on Lulu.

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I Found the Answer

I was weak and weary, I had gone astray, … I found the answer, I learned to pray

I can relate.

I was weak.

I was weary.

I had gone astray.

I was not in the place or position for God to bless me.

I used to say: “Something’s got to change.” That was not the answer.

I needed to change.

The Body: Being Light in Darkness

Changing My Attitude

Lord, I thank you for changing my attitude about my calling, my ministry and my responsibility.  Continue to feed my spirit and cause me to become more and more open and obedient to You.

Changing My Approach

The Lord had to deal with me on an entirely different level.  He had to help me see how I was waiting when I need to be working.  He had to help me to see that I was forcing it, on the verge of faking, and not facing it. (The “it” was my ministry.)

Changing My Answer

I thank God for giving me the answer along with confirmation from all over the map.  My answer led to my acceptance, and then my actions.

During November, Life Path Ministries & Services will push and promote Giving Thanks by Giving Back: A Week of Works.  This will serve as a launch of our Holiday Outreach Service Team (H.O.S.T.) and the Saved2Serve Volunteer Network, both of which have been on the back burner for a few years now.  Stay tuned for more to come regarding this venture.

After all, I found the answer.

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18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:18-20 (ESV)

Many Christians have heard this passage referred to as the Great Commission.  It is filled with the work that Christians must do within this world to go out and make disciples.  It is oftentimes utilize to inspire us to get up and go out to spread the Word.  Yet, let us be careful to take heed of the actions that this passage requires of us.

  • Go. . . We need to see that the Lord calls us to “go” based on His authority that He speaks of in verse 18.  It is logical that we go based on His authority and lordship, but also based on His power, not our own.
  • Make. . . All of our going has an end result in mind.  All of our spreading and sharing should lead to a final objective.  Our objective is to “make disciples of all nations.”  In other words, we need to make disciples everywhere we go.
  • Baptizing. . . Baptism is a symbolic union of the believer with the Savior.  Our baptisms serve as an indication of the increase in unions that occur as we go out and do the work.  Baptizing is a sign of salvation having taken place.
  • Teaching. . . Introducing someone to Christ is only the starting point.  Once someone has accepted Christ as Savior, then he or she must be taught in the way of Christ to live for Christ and to live like Christ.

Remember, we are making disciples of the Lord.  We are not making converts to church but to Christ.  We are not making disciples of our denomination.  We are making disciples and that requires us to take action.

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Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
– Matthew 5:14-16

Jesus called it as He saw it.  He was straight forward and straight up about many things.

Yeah, He oftentimes used parables to teach the people.  What He was doing was using something that people were familiar with or understood well to share a life lesson in a subtle manner.

But He was usually straight out about things.

Ye are the light of the world. . .

The light of the world is a twofold metaphor.

The Light is Seen by Others

If we are the light of the world, then we should be shining as the light.  That’s the nature of light.  Light shines.  Jesus shared for us to live as the light and not hide our light under a bushel.

The Light Helps Others to See

. . . it giveth light unto all that are in the house.  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Others can see when you act as the light.  Others can see when you live as the light.  Others can see when you let your light so shine.

When you living as the light of the world, you can shine brightly and help others see the Truth and the Way.

 

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I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving. – Psalm 69:30

I can publish praise of God openly with my voice.  However, I begin to wonder about the effectiveness of that praise in light of good works that reflect in the shadow of His wondrous works.  My works, no matter how much good that they actually do for God or others, are totally eclipsed and overshadowed by His great works.

This Thanksgiving say a prayer for those who seek to do good works.  Many will feed the homeless.  Some will offer them clothing and shelter.  Others will open their homes to them.  Some will go and spend volunteer time with wounded veterans while others will read to children in the cancer unit of the local hospital or wash feet at the neighborhood hospice.

Offer a prayer for those who offer their service.  Join the ranks of men and women who make Christ come alive for some people who will never set foot in a church’s sanctuary or crack open a Bible to find an inspirational passage.

Thank God as you give the world a glimpse of Him in action.  Remember, He could choose anyone.

It did not have to be you.  The least becomes greatest and the last becomes first in God’s economy and on His balance sheet.  We should be thankful to have been chosen and in a position to give back.

 


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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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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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When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. – Matthew 25:31-33 (NIV)

On the Day of the Lord, the Lord will judge the people.  He will come in his glory “and all the angels with Him,” sitting up His glorious throne.  At that time, He will judge the works of us all as believers.  Here, in the Gospel of Matthew, it is written that He will have all the nations gathered before Him.  I do not mean to offer a deep discussion on or explanation of eschatology, but I must share that the sheep and goats are of the Lord’s flock.

The Lord will separate each of us based upon our attitude and actions related to the poor, the imprisoned, the hungry and others.  He will pass judgment on how well we loved our neighbor.  He will not measure our actions based upon something that He has hidden from us.  He is a righteous judge.  After all, He is the Good Shepherd.  He will separate the sheep from the goats.

Which side will you stand on when the Lord judges the ways of men? Will you be among the sheep? Or, will you be among the goats? Will you be on the right or the left? Which will it be?

Take into consideration the entire chapter 25 of Matthew.  Consider how well you are preparing for the Lord’s coming day.  Read it and the prophecies related to the day of the Lord.  Read up on Joel and Zephaniah’s prophecies about the day of the Lord.

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. – Matthew 25:40 (KJV)

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