Tag Archives: mission

5 Tips for Living On Mission with God

For us to live on mission with God and allow Him to do His work through us means that we must be attentive to how ‘we see life.’  It will help if we can see the whole of life in the context of sowing and reaping… understanding the importance and implications of this Biblical principle in the context of everyday relationships.

Sowing and Reaping1. Forget shortcuts

Don’t look for substitutes, cramming schemes, and quick-fixes when sharing the gospel.

2. Focus on sowing

Live to contribute, not consume… to invest, not get… to serve, not be served.  We are usually too harvest-driven, too focused on reaping.

3. The fruit is the seed

The Spirit’s fruit produced in my life is the seed planted in someone else’s life.  The Spirit’s fruit in me grows out of a good root system.

4. The field is not my solitude

The field of others is located a great distance from the solitude and isolation of self-interests.  I can’t live for self and others simultaneously.  Note: My interests may not be evil within themselves… only if they keep me from my purpose for being on earth as one who worships God.

5. My fulfillment in life will be the sheaves I bring forth with rejoicing

Praise the Lord!  It is after we go and sow in tears… that we come and reap with joy, bringing our sheaves with us… those we have influenced to follow Jesus.  In this experience, we find fulfillment and the joy of obedience.

 

by Pastor Bob Cook | facebook |  bio
The Church at Grace Park

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Postmortem for a Dream – Part Two

In February 2011, I wrote a series of blog posts for ChurchWorks Network about what has been by far the most acutely painful time of my ministry life. Though nearly two years have passed, I remember everything like it happened yesterday.   See Part 1.

praying-in-church-300x168A few months in, it became clear what I had: a decaying facility, and ten older white people who didn’t want to change. The battle on both fronts punished me and my family for the first three years.

When I think about that building, I laugh just to keep from crying. The boarded window spaces were only accentuated by the peeling paint on the outside, and mold was growing on the walls of the nursery inside. I distinctly remember arriving one Sunday morning to find that a raccoon urine had soaked through the dropped ceiling and formed a puddle directly on top of my hymnal. We spent thousands of dollars just dealing with issues, then we put the property on the market almost on the day that the real estate bubble burst, leading to three years of tire-kicking and paying for insurance on a building we couldn’t use.

When I think about the people, I mostly just cry. Nine months into my pastorate, a group had formed, discussed my leadership style and direction, boiled down their concerns into six bullet points, and appointed a spokesman to ask me for a meeting. At that meeting, deacons’ wives made it clear that they couldn’t ask their husbands about church issues (despite the instructions of Scripture) because their husbands were too dumb to answer their questions. They made this statement with no irony, as they sat on the other side of the room from the aforementioned husbands. One gentleman interrupted my speaking at a random point to yell “We’ll never change!” five times in a row.

So I fought these battles for about three years. At the end of that period, the people had mostly moved on to other churches, having stopped giving to the church for six months prior: and, after a year of Sunday mornings in a veterans support meeting space, we found ourselves meeting in our home, three times a week.

And during this whole time, God’s mission continued to move forward.

We saw people come to Jesus from a long ways away, and the relational style of ministry that God had put in my heart was bearing some beautiful fruit. We changed the name of our church as a means of embracing a new identity and identifying with the community we were placed in. Meeting in our home meant that we were less formal almost by default, and this gave people the space to engage a gospel lifestyle at the point where they actually were. Teens and young adults learned that children aren’t nuisances by being forced into close proximity with my children and others. Sunday nights were beautiful expressions of Christian community, as we prepared and shared meals together, laughed and cried together, and wrestled with what it looked like for us to follow Jesus.

I’d been forced into something beautiful, even as I now realize it wasn’t sustainable.

Article by Mike Rowell

@redhedrev

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Stuck?

I recently had the opportunity to attend a 1-day conference in Middle Tennessee at GVBC called ‘Stuck.’  This was not their first rodeo and you could tell.  They knew how to encourage pastors and church ministry leaders.  It was well-worth the 400 miles!  Kudos to Pastor Locke, the staff, worship team, and the church ladies who took care of the eats!  I feel compelled to pass on what I got out of the keynote session called

Top Reasons Churches Get
-[& Stay]- STUCK:

1. The lead pastor is not growing.  He is a catalyst for growth.  Everything rises and falls on -you guessed it- leadership! (-Lee Roberson)

“I’m not dying without trying.” (-GL)

2. No clearly-defined DNA.  If you can’t write down your church’s mission / vision on your palm – it’s too bulky and people will never remember it.  Not even your best people!  The church needs to know who you are and why you exist.

3. An aversion to technology and cultural advancement.  The website is the new front door of your church (more).  The hot-word today is contextualization.  Preach like they did in the past – but apply it to the days of the present!

4. An unwillingness to ask people to leave.  Some people are not part of the team.  They are not on board with your DNA and never will be.  Trying to keep them involved only deepens the problem (and your discouragement as a leader).  It’s not worth it!

New converts are never the ones who complain about the paint, the drum, etc.  It’s always the ‘transfers’ who are the most petty!

5. It’s structured for control rather than growth.  BR Lakin said: Beware of the church with two last names.  Some churches are run by a select few (a key family, the deacon board) and will never grow beyond those who dictate it.  It’s possible to have too many voices speaking into the vision of the church.  If you can’t trust your leadership, then you’ve got the wrong team!

6. Operating totally out of context.  Know your demographic.  You have an era – serve your “generation.”  You have an area – serve your “nation.”  Has your ‘target‘ audience been identified?  Do you really mean it when you say: Everyone Welcome!?  Really?  What about addicts, the homeless, hookers, the deaf, the bi-polar?  Are you ready to help them?

People want to hear your heart, but they are tired of hearing your head.

7. A lack of faith to operate out of the box – but by the book.  Zeal is the forgotten virtue, replaced by knowledge.  Look at the Old Testament prophets (Jeremiah, Hosea, etc.).  They totally destroyed the box of ‘How-to-Do-Ministry.’

8. An understanding of the gospel is merely assumed (especially in the Bible-belt / South).  Lost people are filling churches and, with their votes, controlling them.  Jesus gave no concessions for people claiming Christ who are not involved in church.

In Addition, Pastor Locke Gave 5 Pieces of Advice of Getting Unstuck…

1. Don’t pastor from a bitter heart or with a point to prove (spite and anger are terrible motivators).
2. Don’t allow the church to become to dependent on your personality as pastor – build a team of leaders.
3. Don’t build the church your critics want – build the church your community needs!
4. Don’t allow angry church people to make you an angry family man (leave that junk in the office).
5. Don’t read the Bible for material – develop the discipline of personal, private meditation for your own soul.

Article by Patrick Nix

@patchnix

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Who Would Carry You?

It is a sad commentary on Christianity that so many Christians stand opposed to their brothers and sisters in the faith. We have lost sight of the power God has given over our friends. We have allowed the world, flesh, and devil to keep our eyes focused on ourselves and we miss an opportunity to be a blessing.

In Matthew, Mark, and Luke we find a retelling of mighty faith that impressed Jesus. We find a man who was afflicted with palsy. We are not told the severity of his case, but in many cases a person has no ability to move. They are, in effect, paralyzed.

Jesus had come to Capernaum, and there was a great crowd of people who came to hear him. There were so many people there that the doors and windows were packed with people. The crowd pressed to hear Jesus. Into this crowd we see four men carrying a paralyzed man on a cot. We do not know the distance they had traveled, but they were there on a mission: to get the paralyzed man to Jesus.

We know that they tried to get into the house every possible way. They could not get through the door or windows. In desperation, they went to the roof and cut away a hole and lowered this man down.

Can you imagine the dust and debris that rained upon those in the house? This paralyzed man had just made a dramatic entrance. He now laid at the foot of Jesus. In the retelling of the event in four Gospels, we find the same response from Jesus: “When He saw their faith…” Not the faith of the crowd. Not the faith of the religious leaders present. Not the faith of the paralyzed man. When He saw ‘their faith’ He said, “Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.”

Let me stop and say that nowhere in the Bible do I see that my faith in Christ is enough to get someone else to Heaven; however, we cannot overlook the power of the faith in Christ that these four men exercised. The Bible speaks as to the rarity of these men.

Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?  Proverbs 20:6

I think that many times we think that our Christian life is one we must walk alone. We do our best to be a man of faith. We are able to accomplish some things for God, but for some reason we just cannot seem to get where God wants us to be. I believe the key is having friends of faith. A paralyzed man was healed because he had friends of faith. He could not go to Christ. Upon meeting Christ he could probably not speak. The one thing that he had in his favor was four friends of faith. Four friends who did not give up when the task seemed impossible. Four friends who did not quit, in spite of the stare of their peers. For friends who made quite a racket getting their friend to Jesus.

I believe to have friends of faith that we must be a friend of faith.

A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.  Proverbs 18:24

We have many brothers in Christ, but how few friends of faith. I think that this verse may be applying to those friends.

As Christians I think you would agree that we have an obligation to be a man of faith. I think that, that goes further. I believe God would have us be a friend of faith. We should be someone who takes their faith in God and uses it to help others. Do you have a friend that you are there for? Are you willing to take up their cot, and help them in their faith? We all struggle at times in our life, but what would God allow with four friends of faith working with you? How much stronger would our marriages, homes, and churches be if they were filled with men who had four friends of faith? I fear we are in a place where we do not know.

We have not, because we have asked not. 

The power of four friend’s faith was enough for Christ to heal him enough so that withered limbs received strength and he walked. What is God waiting to do for us, but for the lack of friends of faith? Who will carry you?

Article by David Wagner

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Getting to the Point

There are a lot of things to debate and dissect in the Christian life today.  There are multiple denominations, Bible versions and doctrines.  Everyone from scholars and theologians to new Christians have different views and interpretations of Scripture.

Some argue these things because they truly believe their views are correct and they do not want fellow believers to be deceived.  Others use these things to create trouble, or to set themselves apart from everyone else.  I too have gotten caught up in debates over Scripture for any or all of these reasons until I read Titus 3:9; But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.

I felt very convicted about how I had lived my Christian life – I had spent most of it spouting out views and opinions to prove how unwavering my faith was.  But if we are to spread the good news of the Gospel to the world and lead people to Christ, does it make sense to debate with other Christians the things that Paul called unprofitable and vain?  I could just imagine God looking down saying, “You spent so much time arguing this thing and you both missed the point.”

 I want to take as many people with me to Heaven as I can.

Please don’t misunderstand me.  The study of God’s word is a wonderful and necessary pursuit.  To read Scripture with a humble heart is exactly what Proverbs 27:17 means when it says, Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.  But Revelation 22:13,14 says I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.  Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

At some point, we will pass out of time into eternity.  Time will not stop.  It will cease to exist.  With no other plans to make, bills to pay, things to fix or schedule to keep, I will bow down at the feet of my God and Creator.  I will hold the hand of my Lord and Savior.  And I will hug my Father with the joy of a child and say, “I love you.”  And to be honest, I want to bring as many people with me as I can.  I want them to experience eternity being washed in the blood of Jesus Christ.  I would keep writing, but I don’t know how much time I have…

Article by C.S. Depew

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