Monday, September 16, 2019

The Presence of God

"the heart which is the first to live and which dominates all the other parts of the body - should be the first and last to love God."  - Brother Lawrence, The practice of the presence of God

Have you ever that day where you wanted to give up?  That day where nothing seemed to go right?  That day where you threw the towel in early in the morning and didn't want to face anything else?

I had one of those days recently.  It really tested me and my faith.  I found myself weak and in all the power and strength I could muster in my mind and in my heart, I couldn't fix the problem.  I couldn't fix the situation.  I couldn't lead any any differently.  I couldn't change the course of any action, or cause a different effect through my education or relationships.  It drove me to my knees, which is where I should have been at the start of all of this.

I had my quiet time that morning.  I prayed and enjoyed my coffee time with God.  I wasn't expecting what was to come next.  My faith was to be shaken, stirred, overturned, mixed up, dropped in the dirt and stepped on.  Satan came to attack and he brought the BIG GUNS.  Where was my trust in the Lord?  Where was my faith in Him?  Why would I stumble so easy?

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; 
in all your ways know him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6 

It's all in the TRUST. Followed by "you may not understand what God is doing". I have to be okay with that. I have to TRUST in that promise! I just need to know Him, have faith in Him and let Him work IN Me and THROUGH Me. With ALL MY HEART! There is no other way!


  


Wednesday, August 21, 2019

To KNOW Him

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To Know.....used 21 times in the letter of 1 John.  
  1. to learn to know, come to know, get a knowledge of perceive, feel
    1. to become known
  2. to know, understand, perceive, have knowledge of
    1. to understand
    2. to know
When you believe and confess in Jesus as your Savior, it's not a ONE time get to know Jesus.  It's not a meet and greet party that we come and go.  This word "ginosko" implies that it's not just a knowledge as book smarts, it's a relational knowing with our Savior.  An everyday challenge to KNOW Jesus and getting closer and closer and closer to Him every day.  

Why do you think when he called His disciples, He commanded them to "COME" to Him?  It's like He's calling us to Him constantly, daily, hourly to KNOW Him.  There is more than a lifetime of knowing Jesus and we will only spend few significant moments with Him throughout our lives when Jesus has asked/invited us for MORE.  

1 John 3:24 "The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us."  I had to learn to ABIDE.  When I did, I desired to KNOW Jesus more.  If you are seeking to KNOW Him,you will ABIDE in Him.  I challenge you today to begin.  

  

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

No Place Left Individual Plans

Can you imagine that a small group of trainers (disciple makers) from two churches partnering together in Allen would drive over an hour away to train 10 churches to go into the harvest?  I believe that the Holy Spirit is working in a mighty way in ALL of this.  The Great Commission is realized and some disciples there know the urgency, they feel the urgency, they are at work in the urgency!  The gospel is being shared!  Lives will be changed because of Jesus and the spread of the gospel!

So, this reminds me of my personal goals that we learned from Outreach Training that we have: 
1.  Praying for workers to go into the harvest (Luke 10:2)
2.  Pray and engage someone to train with the 4-1-1 (Core Discipleship Lesson for One Hour)
3.  Share the Gospel with someone in your Sphere of Influence - OIKOS)

Accountability is the KEY!  Disciple Making is being accountable to the Great Commission that Jesus has spoken before us to obey!  I need to PRAY, PLAN and PRACTICE!  Constantly.  It takes time, investing my life in sharing the gospel and then, following up and do life together in the Word and Prayer.  I am working with a PURPOSE in the kingdom of God.  It's not really WORK as I realize my PURPOSE.  It's ministry, it's sharing, it needs to become my life.  I need to plan on these all the time.  Would you join me? 
     

Monday, February 11, 2019

Disciple


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Disciple  

This is one of the most misunderstood words in the Bible.  It can be said that this is a churchy word but disciple is actually used in the gospels over 200 times.  It comes from the Greek word mathetes and simply means "learner" or "follower." - someone who is committed to a master.  1 Timothy 4:7 says "Train yourself to be godly."  As a believer in Christ, you are constantly learning from the Lord and the Word about your relationship with Him.  The question is, "Is there ever a time where you aren't learning?"  No.  Being a faithful believer in Christ means you are always being discipled, you are always following Him, and it is changing who you are in Christ.

Bill Hull, who wrote "The Complete Book of Discipleship", says there are three parts of disciple-making:
1.  Deliverance:  salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ followed by baptism.  Interesting point that Hull makes is that most churches limit disciple making to Christians and don't focus on sending disciples out to witness to the lost who need Christ.  The idea is that evangelism and discipleship have a very strong relationship in working together.  You can't have one without the other. 
2.  Development:  developing character and capacity.  Matt. 28:20 is the "teaching them to obey" part.  Its in our DNA as believers in Christ.  One of the issues with many so-called believers is that their capacity is already full.  They have had enough Jesus or church in a few weeks or a few months or years to last a lifetime.  These are the "dropouts" we find that are disconnected with the church, and eventually disconnected with Jesus.  We need the church of Jesus Christ to help with development...to put into practice the "one another's" of the New Testament.  To help us when we fall.  To help us when we are stumped. 
3.  Deployment:  Interesting that this is the first word of the Great Commission found in Matthew 28:19 - "Go!"  Hull writes "deploying the disciple in mission where he lives, works and plays."  I love this!  We live in a broken world and realizing that we have the message (gospel) that changes lives will help us see the Father's heart to reach out to others.  To be on mission constantly.   

Which stage are you in?  What's stifling your growth? Be the disciple God wants you to be.
 

 

Friday, February 1, 2019

Encourage Believers

Al and I were teamed up together and we met Gilbert.  Gilbert shared a prayer request that as a dad and husband, he was going back to college to get a higher degree.  Wow!  Kids running around in the house and like a boss, he had a pencil hanging out behind his ear.  We prayed for Gilbert and he allowed us to share the gospel with him (3 Circles). 

Most believers usually turn us down because they don't want to be bothered.  They are "good" since they went to church Sunday morning.  We hear this time and time again.  Or, "my husband leads a prayer group at our church, so....we're good." (shut door) Or, "I belong to a group at church and they pray for me." (shut door) Or, "I went to church this morning so I have all I need."  (shut door)

Gilbert, a believer, allowed us to share the gospel with him.  He payed close attention and responded with concern.  He wasn't sure about his relationship with Jesus.  He knew that he had believed in Him at one time and knew of salvation by grace through faith.  One of the great parts of going out into the city is to encourage believers in Christ.  We encouraged Gilbert.  We prayed with him.  We shared Scripture with him and after a brief visit, we offered to train him in the Great Commission. 

1 Thessalonians 5:11 says, "Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing."  The "one another" here is the church.  The body of Christ.  Give and accept encouragement, especially in the church.

 

Monday, January 21, 2019

She is a New Creation!

When Richard and I were going into the harvest on Sunday evening, we prayed and loaded index cards to share the 3 Circles (Gospel) and took to the street according to our assignment.  Months have past and I have shared the gospel yet no one has believed and surrendered to Christ.  I wasn't disappointed or frustrated because i know this is a marathon not a sprint. 

Halfway through the block, we rang the doorbell and Michael came to the door.  Asking for prayer requests, he said that he needed to get his girlfriend.  "Hold on for a minute."  I thought he was ditching us but Richard reminded me to be patient.  A few minutes passed and I was beginning to think we were suckers.  However, Ashley came out of the house on the front porch to share a prayer request.  We prayed over them and the request.  Then, i offered to show them a story that changed my life like we always do and Michael replied to "Go ahead."

They tracked the story well.  Michael shared some things along the way which would indicate he knew the Bible and was biblically correct on all things he shared.  I asked the question at the end with the choice.  "There are two kinds of people in the world....those in God's perfect design and those in brokenness....which one are you?"  Michael pointed to God's perfect design.  Ashley pointed to brokenness.  I asked both of them if they ever had believed and surrendered in Jesus.  Michael said yes, Ashley said no.  I quoted Romans 10:9-10 and asked that she pray to Jesus to profess her faith in Him and for forgiveness for her sins. 

Thank God that Michael was there to help as a believer who knew the Scripture.  Thank God that Ashley confessed Jesus as her Savior.  Thank God that we were sent to this particular street, to this particular house, and the Holy Spirit convicted her heart.  Praise Him!  She is a NEW CREATION!  (2 Cor. 5:17-21)  Now, we must disciple her.  Pray that Michael will be a great encouragement for her and she would join a body of Christ that teaches the Word correctly.   

Friday, January 11, 2019

Dad, Can we go to Church?

We did a follow-up on a family we visited and shared the gospel with a few weeks ago.  Immediately, the two children were excited to see us.  But the kicker was the youngest who asked the father "Dad, can we go to church?"  (repeatedly asked dad) As thoughtful and encouraging this question is, my question is "is that really the end result?"  Do we really want more people to go to church?

My Baptist instinct for years has been this mantra, "go to church."  And, obviously, get more into church.  But that has caused this HUGE spiritual problem in American Christianity.  We haven't truly seen spiritual growth, we have witnessed masses of people attending church.  We have forgotten that the gospel message leads people into a relationship with Jesus to change their lives.  Away from the selfish life of serving sin and turning to Jesus to follow him all the days of our lives, forgiven, redeemed and transformed.  

The pressure among most churches on it's staff would be to see numerical growth so that financial growth can happen, so that we can buy more stuff and hire more staff and put on more programs.  We have forgotten the "person".  The individual who needs Jesus.  The person that needs to be taught and needs to learn what a relationship with Christ is like.  Why have we left behind the person to feed the machine and to keep the machine running?  We are called to witness to people.  To share the gospel so that can know the Jesus we know.  To experience transformation like we have.  To worship a Risen Savior who is worthy of our worship.  

I pray that this Dad and kids would know Jesus.  That they would believe in Jesus and see their lives transformed because of their repentance and confession.  I pray that this Dad would not be introduced to the American Machine of Church, but know a loving fellowship of believers, a true Body of Christ, that are way more concerned with his spiritual growth and well being.  That he would know others that would walk through life with him, hold him up in prayer and help him in the good times and bad.  This is my prayer for this dad and for the church I serve.....that we don't forget about each person that God has placed in front of us.  God Bless, Brian