Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Missional Living Devotional - What's The Problem To Fulfilling The Great...

Friday, December 12, 2014

Joining Christ To Reach Your Community

In this weeks missional living devotional video you were more about what it means to live a missional life by joining Christ to reach your community and share the gospel with them.  You will here about a historical and Biblical case study of how a community began to experience the transformation of God's power as the Gospel of Christ was preached and disciples of Christ were made.




HOW TO TRANSITION ANY CONVERSATION INTO A CONVERSATION ABOUT CHRIST!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Monday, December 8, 2014

Peter's First Encounter With Christ Was Life Changing!

Take a few moments and hear a short devotional how Peter's first encounter with Christ became a life changing event.  And then take a few moments and meditate on how God wants to change not only life but your life's purpose.




Take a few moments and share this video with your Christian family and friends so they can be encouraged to be the Light of Christ in their part of this dark world.

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

DOES THE THOUGHT OF TALKING TO PEOPLE ABOUT JESUS MAKE YOU NERVOUS?

If you answered "yes" to that question then you are not alone! Many Christians all over feel the exact same way.  However, I got some good news for you!  I too once felt that way.  Watch this video and see what you think.






5 PRINCIPLES JESUS USED TO PURSUE HIS MISSION

I think we all would agree that Jesus lived a life on mission while he was here!  He didn't just aimlessly wander through life. He had a purpose, he had a mission and he was effective at it!  Jesus himself stated his purpose quite clearly during a conversation he had with Zacchaeus the chief tax collector from Jericho.  In that conversation Jesus said about himself, "For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost."  In this post we are going to look at 5 Principles that we find from Jesus and his missional activity.

"After this the Lord appointed seventy-two[a] others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.“When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you. Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house."  Luke 10:1-7 (NIV)

PRINCIPLE #1:  He Had A Vision That Guided Him (v. 2)


Jesus had a vision of a harvest field that was plentifully ripe and ready to be harvested. He didn't just see a few people ready to surrender their hearts and lives over to his care and control but a whole harvest field just waiting to be picked.

How do you view your mission field? Do you see people willing and ready to surrender their hearts over to Christ or do you see resistant people fighting God.  I think that many times our own personal perception of situations is the biggest hinderances.  If we think people are going to be resistant then that's what we are going to find.

Jesus using this same image, fields ripe for harvest, gives the explanation why he consider them ready for salvation. Look at what He says in Matthew 9:36,37;

"Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few."

Jesus described people who were ripe for harvest as being people who were "distressed", "dispirited" and aimlessly wandering like "sheep without a shepherd'.  Let me ask you: In your community do you find a lot of people who are distressed? Who are dispirited? And how wander around without any real direction in life?  If you answered "yes" then you have a Spiritually Ripe Harvest Field.  

GET THE VISION - VIEW YOUR COMMUNITY READY TO COME TO JESUS

PRINCIPLE #2:  Prayed For God To Provide.


In both Luke 10 and in Matthew 9 Jesus mentioned the major roadblock to bringing in the ripe harvest. He said the roadblock wasn't enough workers.  Jesus solution to this problem was not to guilt, bagger or twist the arm of people to get involved. No. Jesus' solution was to "pray to the Lord of the Harvest" to send more workers.  

The only one who can get the right workers into the harvest field is God.  It is God's responsibility to employ and deploy the workers!  Our job is to relentlessly to faithfully be in the harvest field making more disciples for Christ and praying for God to get us more help by raising up more workers.

How often are you praying for God to raise up, train up and unleash more harvesters to join us in the work?  Do you even think that Jesus was serious about this prayer or do you think He was just speaking figuratively?  

PRINCIPLE #3:  He Used Teams To Pursue His Mission.


Jesus sent the 72 out in teams of two. He also sent the 12 out in teams of two. Throughout the Gospels we see teams of 2 to 3 going out by the Lord's instruction.  At times we see Peter, James and John.  Other times we just see Peter and John.  In the book for Acts we see Paul and Barnabas and the examples could go on and on. 

Who makes up your team of pursuing Christ's mission?  Are you trying to do all alone? Who are the people you know you can cast a vision of Christ's mission and see if they would like to form a team with you in doing ministry?

PRINCIPLE #4:  HE LOOKED FOR GOD PREPARED PEOPLE.


In verses 5-7 we see Jesus telling the 72 to look for a "Person of Peace".  This is a person whom God has prepared and ready to receive the Gospel.  In John 5:19 Jesus said that he could do noting on his own but only what he sees the Father doing and whatever he sees the Father doing he also does.  In other words Jesus was looking for the Person of Peace, the person that God the Father has prepared to receive the Good News.  

This is to be our approach as well.  We are not on mission to convince people they need Christ. We are on mission to find those that God has already prepared to receive Christ.  I got to tell you this one principle really takes the pressure off us once we realized we are just to join God in the work He has already started.  

PRINCIPLE #5:  ONCE JESUS FOUND THE HOUSE OF PEACE HE THEN DISCIPLED THE WHOLE HOUSEHOLD.


In Acts 10:44 and Acts 16 we read about a Gentile by the name of Cornelius and a jail guard in Philippi that came to faith in Christ. But not just them! The Bible also says that "they and their household" believed and were baptized.  This was true also with Jesus. When Jesus reached Peter, Peters entire household came to faith, including his mother-in-law, who was healed by Jesus.  When Jesus reached the Samaritan Woman at the well; it says that she went back to her village and reach them for Jesus.

How are you reaching entire households?  

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A MISSIONAL ACTIVITY FOR HALLOWEEN

Halloween provides a great opportunity for shining the Light of Christ and living out a missional life! With a little thought and planning you can impact the lives of hundreds with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Ordinary Christians from every walk of life can leverage Halloween to share Jesus with neighbors, friends and co-workers.

Take a few moments and watch this video for one idea of how you can shine the Light of Christ during this Halloween season.







LEARN HOW TO TRANSITION ANY CONVERSATION INTO A CONVERSATION ABOUT JESUS!


MISSIONAL LIVING MEANS YOUR ARE TAKING A WALK OF FAITH!: How Strong Is Your Walk

In the 19th century there was a great English pastor by the name of George Mueller. Pastor Mueller had become concerned that God's people had become discouraged and no longer expected God to do anything amazing.  In Pastor Mueller's assessment people no longer believed that God could or would answer prayers.  In other words, the Ordinary Christians of his time had very little faith in God and that lack of faith was expressed in how they lived their everyday lives.

About that time God began to do a work in George's life to start praying like he had never prayed before.  George's prayers were to ask God to assign him to a ministry that could only be done and explained by the Christians of his time as an act of God.  George wanted Christians to learn and believe that their God still heard their prayers and would be faithful to answer them, if they would just pray in faith and that faith only needed to be the size of a mustard seed.

God led Pastor Mueller to a particular Bible verse that he held onto for the rest of his life and in which he would place his trust God.  That Bible passage was:

"Open wide your mouth and I will fill it."  
Psalm 81:10

George believed that God was giving him a promise through that verse that He, God, and God alone would be the one to meet his needs and the needs of the ministry that God would assign him to do.  From that verse Pastor Mueller was led by God to a walk in faith which became a powerful example and testimony to everyone watching.  When George felt led by God to do some particular ministry, he would pray to God alone for the resources needed and told no one else of the need.

George wanted all to know that God had provided for the needs of the ministry through the answers of prayers of faith.  


Here are some of the things that God did through George Mueller during that "Walk of Faith" time of his ministry:


  • The Scriptural Knowledge Institute for distributing of scripture and for religious education was started.
  • He established 4 orphanages houses that cared for 2,000 children at a time. Over 10,000 children had been provided for through those orphanages.
  • He distributed over 8 million dollars that had been given to him in answer to prayer.  When he died at the age of 93, his personal worldly possessions were valued at only $800.00.
An important note here for us to emphasis here is that Pastor George Mueller "NEVER" asked anyone for any of the money that was given to him.

The Only Person That Rev. George Mueller Ever Asked For Help Was

GOD!

QUESTIONS TO PONDER:


Question #1:  How strong is your faith in God?
Question #2: Do you believe that God still answers our prayers?
Question #3: What ministry are you doing, as an act of faith, that God has led you to do?
Question #4: What will you do as an act of faith today?

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

THE WHAT NOT TO DO FOR MISSIONAL LIVING: Part 1

Did you know that Jesus has just as much to say about what "not to do" and he does about "what to do"?  Powerful missional living is always about knowing what things to pursue and knowing what things to avoid!

By its very nature life needs to be lived in the pursuit of an object or goal. If not, life tends to wanter aimlessly, much like a ship without a rudder.   But having the correct objective/goal to pursue is as equally important, otherwise you might find out to late that what you were chasing after was the wrong thing.  Jesus had a lot to say about living a missional life and living it with the proper objective.  Jesus' desire was that we would live such powerful missional lives that it would bring would us meaning and fulfillment.

In this blog we are going to look at one of those things that Jesus said "NOT TO DO".  Here, on the sermon on the mount, Jesus begins to give a list of things we are to avoid and not do.  Avoiding these things will aid us in our ability to shine the Light of Christ brightly in our part of this spiritually dark world. Today, we are only going to look at one of the "What Not To Do's" but as we go through each of them you might begin to experience tension to what Jesus actually says and to we practice in our normal Christian life.

Here's a good place to give us this reminder:  
Jesus Hasn't Called Us To Live A Normal Christian Life.  
Christ Has Called Us To Live A Missional Life That Has A Totally Different Value Set.  

With that in mind let's get started!

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy,[a] your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!"  
Matthew 6:19-22

I.  DON'T STORE UP TREASURES HERE ON EARTH!

Back in Bible times the sources of wealth for people was land, produce and cattle. The more land you owned, the more produce you grew, and the more cattle your raised would position you to become a wealthy person.  But today the source of wealth for people is property, investments and businesses.
Here Jesus gives a command not to store up these kinds of things your life's goal and objective.  Now that just might be a bitter pill for you to swallow.  Think for just a moment about how much of your life is centered around obtaining these things!  Isn't that exactly the focus we are told to have if we are going to make it in this world?  
Look at what Jesus actually says, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth ..."  He didn't say, "I highly recommend you not to ..." or "Don't spend to much time storing up treasures on earth ...".  No. Jesus said, 
"DON'T DO IT!"  
The "storing up" of worldly riches, according to Jesus, isn't suppose to be even a consideration for God's people and certainly can't be for those who sincerely desire to live a missional life and join Christ where he is leading.

II.  OUR FIRST REACTION TO HEARING THIS COMMAND IS USUALLY:" WHY?"

Why can't we store up our riches? Shouldn't that be the aim and goal of every person in life?  Why is it so bad? Doesn't God want me to accumulate nice things? Doesn't having worldly riches make me more of an asset for doing God's mission?  
Oh, how the questions just keep coming!  We have been so conditioned and trained to believe that the accumulation of wealth is not only a good thing but a responsible thing. Society has taught us that if we are going to be good and productive citizens of society we need to become self-sufficient through the gathering of worldly wealth.  
But let's answer the question. Why should we gather up and store up worldly wealth? Why would Jesus instruct us not to do it?  And the answer is:  Because they are temporary and will not last. Jesus warns us that worldly riches can be stolen or destroyed and for sure we won't take any of it with us when we die!  It just isn't going to happen.  And on the Last Day, Judgement Day, all of the earth including its wealth will be destroyed by fire in God's righteous judgement.  There are only three things that can happen to worldly wealth. It either:
  • Wears Out!
  • Runs Out!
  • or Gets Stolen!
In other words, the gathering up and storing up of worldly riches is a useless goal or objective from an eternal perspective.

III.  JESUS THEN GIVES AN ALTERNATIVE!


In verse 20 Jesus says that instead of storing up treasures on earth we should store up treasures in Heaven.  The reason for it is because storing up treasures in heaven has the exact opposite effect of storing up treasures on earth.  Instead, of the treasure running out, wearing out or getting stolen;  treasures in heaven can never be stolen,  never run out and never wear out.  IT WILL LAST FOREVER!

IV.  HOW DOES ONE STORE UP TREASURE IN HEAVEN?


“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief 
comes near and no moth destroys" Luke 12:32,33

The way we a to store up treasures in heaven is through our generosity to those in need around us.  The wealth that God has provided you to have in this world is not for you to store up and hoard for yourself but for you to share with who are in need.  God wants you to use your earthly resources to help and benefit those genuinely need help.  God has given it to us for us to be a blessing to others.

Take a quick look at the parable in Luke 12:23-21:

"Someone in the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” But He said to him, “Man, who appointed Me a judge or arbitrator over you?” Then He said to them, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.” And He told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man was very productive. “And he began reasoning to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’ “Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. ‘And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”’ “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’ “So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

I really like the question that is posed at the end, " ... and now who will own what you have prepared?"  It's like Jesus is hammering in the point ... "you were given your worldly riches to be a blessing to those who are in need but if you refuse to use it for that purpose you will be removed from it and someone else will get it to use it the way I intended it to be used.  

When we begin to view missional living to involve everything about us, including our wealth, we begin to see that God is going to hold us accountable for all of the things that he has blessed us with and how we used it to be a blessing to others and if we used it in such a way that God gets the glory.  

On a final note in this passage of scripture Jesus is teaching us that our goal/objective to pursue in missional living is not the "Storing Up Worldly Treasures" but instead the "Storing Up Treasure in Heaven By Using Our Worldly Means To Help Those In Need." 

GOD HAS GIVEN US THINGS 
NOT SO WE WOULD HOARD IT
BUT IN ORDER TO SHARE IT!


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Friday, September 12, 2014

4 STEPS FOR ALLOWING GOD'S POWER TO WORK THROUGH YOUR WEAKNESSES

I don't know if you know it or not but God loves to use weak people! That's right! I said that God loves to use weak people.  And the good part is - everybody has a weakness! Everybody!  Some people have weaknesses physically, emotionally, intellectually, or spiritually. Regardless of what the weakness is the point remains - we all have one or more!

The way most people deal with their weaknesses is by either defending them, excusing them, hiding them or denying them.  But God has a different perspective about our weakness and how to deal with them.  The Bible tells us in Isaiah 55:9

"As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways

    and my thoughts than your thoughts."

You see God often works in the exact opposite way of what we expect.  We think God only wants to use our strengths but more often than not God wants to use our weaknesses to manifest His glory!

Why?

Because ...

  • They cause us to depend on God - Which is a very good thing!
  • They prevent arrogance from creeping it our hearts and keeps us humble.
  • They encourage fellowship between believers. Having limitations reminds us that we need help from others.
  • They give us the capacity to sympathize with others as we minister to them.

4 Steps For Allowing God's Power 

To Work Through Your Weaknesses


Step #1:  Admit You Have Weaknesses:
In the New Testament there were two great confessions.  The first one is with the Apostle Peter when he said about Jesus, "You are the Christ the Son of the living God."  The second was the Apostle Paul to an idolizing crowd who believed that he and Barnabas were Gods.  Paul said, "We are only human beings like you."  
If we want God to use us through our weaknesses we must first know who He is (He's God) and we must also know who we are (We're Not God).  We must never forget the 2nd truth. We are only humans and apart from Christ we can do nothing.

Step #2:  Delight In Your Weaknesses:
"But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Cor 12:9-10
This verse gives us the idea of being content with God's grace and with our weaknesses.  However, most of us don't want to be content with our weaknesses - we want to be freed from them. We want to eliminate our weaknesses.
But Why Should We Be Content Or Delight In Our Weaknesses?
"But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong." 1 Cor. 1:27 (NIV)
God likes uses our weaknesses to remind us that we are not all that important, that we truly are dependent upon Him for everything and thereby keep us humble.  Humility, not pride, is the virtue that God looks for in a person to do his extraordinary work.  
Step #3:  Honestly Share Your Weaknesses:


Ministry always begins with vulnerability. The more you let down your guard, take off your mask and share your struggles the more God can use you to serve others.  


Paul Modeled Vulnerability
  • Through His failures - Romans 7:19
  • Through His feelings - 2 Cor 6:11
  • Through His frustrations - 2 Cor 1:8
  • Through His fears - 1 Cor 2:3
Step #4:  Glory In Your Weakness:

Read how the Living Bible writes 2 Cor. 12:5

"I am going to boast only about how weak I am and how great 
God is to use such weakness for his glory."

Here's another way of putting it:
WE ARE GOD'S TROPHY'S OF GRACE!

This one verse in the song "He Covers Me" by Steve Camp's I think incapsulates the whole message of allowing God's power work through our weaknesses!

"Sometimes the pressure builds around me and I feel about to break
I suffer painfully from wrongs done to me but vengeance isn't mine to take
So let me glory in my weakness till Your strength's revealed in me
It is Your grace alone that helps me carry on to be the man I long to be
So let Your life be perfected, Lord in me
Until it's You they see"


In my group The Ordinary Christian we have a saying that is kind of our theme song.  It goes like this:

Just because I'm ordinary doesn't mean I'm secondary;
Ordinary Christians are God's primary choice
For accomplishing His extraordinary work!

So let us glory in our weakness and our ordinariness so that God's magnificence can be supremely displayed!

"Oh Father God and Lord Jesus may it be true with us that we are willing to lay on your alter all who we are including our weaknesses and allow you to have full control of them and to use them in whatever way you decide is best. Lord it is our prayer that through our weakness your power and glory is magnified.  Shine through us Lord Jesus.  Amen"

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

3 IMPORTANT FACTORS ABOUT GODS MISSION






John 5:17

"In his (Jesus) defense Jesus said to them 'My Father is always at his work to this very day; 
and I too am working."


3 Important Factors About Gods Mission


1.  GOD REALLY DOES HAVE A MISSION!

Did you notice that small but important part in that verse?  That part where it said that "My Father is always at "His" work...."  Jesus refers to it as "His" work!  God our Father has a work that He is actively and intentionally pursuing!

God is not sitting up in Heaven twiddling His thumbs trying to figure out what he should do each day.  God has a work and that work was determined by God a long time ago.  God isn't waiting for us to tell him what he needs to do for us - God is busy about doing what he knows is best.  And we can rest assured that if it is God's work - God's mission - it is the most important work and mission to do.


2.  GOD IS BUSY ABOUT HIS MISSION!

The next thing we can get from this verse is that God is actively accomplishing His mission. Every day and in every way God is fulfilling his purpose, plan and mission.  He isn't being lazy about accomplishing His work; God isn't procrastinating or putting off what needs to be done today for tomorrow and God is most certainly not waiting to get permission from anybody and including us to do his mission.  God is busy about his work!


3.  JESUS CAME TO JOIN GOD THE FATHER ON HIS MISSION!

As Jesus was speaking about the mission of His Father he then included himself in there by saying, "And I too am working."  Jesus is all about being apart of the mission of God. Everything Jesus did while he was here on earth was part of the plan of fulfilling God's mission.  Jesus didn't tell the Father was he was willing to do.  No. Jesus received His instructions from the Father and then was obedient to the Father.

Do you recognized that God is still actively pursuing the fulfillment of His mission?  Do you believe that God is not lazy about it or putting it off?  Do you understand that like Jesus we too are to be part of God's mission and to be faithfully obedient to whatever part he want us to do in the fulfillment of His mission?  Do you understand that you don't tell God what you will do but you are to obediently do what God has assigned you to do.

Here's a good video to watch on this subject:  
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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

GOD REALLY DOES HAVE A MISSION!

So I have a question for you? When you think of God in Heaven, what kind of image do you have of  Him?  What do you think God does in Heaven?   The reason why I ask that question is because the perception we have of Him will greatly affect how we chose to relate to Him.

In this weeks Missional Living Devotional we are going to attempt to ask and answer that question and prayerfully identify some implications that will affect Ordinary Christians in how they should relate to God.





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