Community is an amazing phenomenon. It's possible to be present and even plugged in, without feeling energized and empowered. This is seemingly normal and the stories of such an existence are abundant.
Yet such instances detract from the power of community. In fact, if you consider the analogy from the perspective of real life, being "plugged in" while not doing anything is actually a drain on the system. From the television to the toaster, the transfer of energy is still drawn, even if the unit is not on and functioning according to it's abilities and purpose.
So to, the power of the church community and it's engagement with the rest of world is affected when those within the church are drawing power, but not using it for the purpose for which they were created.
Yes, it is a balancing act, for there are seasons of rest at different times for different reasons, but by and large, the power of the church to impact it's community lies in the church using its power for which it was purposed and created.
On this #communitySaturday, pray that God would help to be plugged in; at the right places and times, in order that we might be best used for the purposes for which God created us. Pray for a strengthening of the church community, that we would be empowered and equipped to be a greater impact in the region in which they reside. May God grant wisdom and direction for churches struggling and those in the community feeling as they are being a drain rather than being used. Pray for the miraculous in such circumstances and situations.
May we live as God intended.
Fulfilling His calling and purpose
As He designed for us to be and do.
For the glory of God
For the cause of Jesus Christ.
Moody Radio Network was doing their fall fundraising campaign during this past week and they had a segment where the talked with car guy, Barry Meguiar. Full of life and energy, they were talking about evangelism and the Christian's interaction with the world.
He was talking about how much we over-complicate the conversation, at times. More often than not, we come across as more outspoken about the problems within society and the sins of others, rather than simply taking the opportunity to share our experience with Jesus Christ.
It's all relational.
We don't hesitate to share our experience and interaction with incredible or horrible service at a place of business; the review of an online purchase or product; the recommendation of a contractor; the latest big screen flick (or flop)... the list goes on.
Yet, we're all, myself included, a little to quick to think twice about relaying a story or experience of faith, testimony or trial from our everyday life or one that we heard from someone at church. Society is nothing but conversation after conversation and having conversations about "having the conversation", but it seems the body of Christ is not directing it, let alone, influencing it. I know that's not entirely true, but it feels that way most of the time.
As Christ interjected Himself into humanity, so must we interject Him into our interaction with humanity.
Pray, this #communitySaturday that the hesitance to share Christ would be lifted. As culture shares their experience over things that will pass away, may we share the transformation that will never pass away. May the body of Christ indeed, be relational and intentional in the conversations we carry on with those around; whether they be frequent or infrequent. May God grant us opportunities to impact our world and may we not be afraid to step through the door and speak when He opens it.
For the glory of God.
For the cause of Jesus Christ.
Well, I'm bummed. I heard a great statement the other day that was played on the radio, and not only can I can't remember it all, as it was a long thought, but I also can't find it online, as I only caught part of the reference of the one who said it. Thus you are getting a late post with a developing thought process.
For the past few hours I've been trying to track down these profound words, the Hallmark Channel has been playing in the background. It's sad really, that Saturday morning cartoons aren't what they used to be anymore and nothing else was worth watching, so their movie Love At First Glance is showing.
Giving up in frustration on my search, I have no idea what to write now. Not that I had much before. The long-lost profound statement was so powerful, I had nothing to add it actually. But in the movie, the main character a journalist, Ann is on a quest to learn about what makes the man who left his phone on the train so interesting. They didn't speak on the train, it was just a glance; but now she is faced with writing a Valentine's article on true love and James, a photo-journalist, has challenged her to learn about him by her contacting everyone in his contact list. As they exchange texts early on, Ann asks herself... "What is it about this man that makes me want to tell Him everything?"
Typical Hallmark, right?
Isn't amazing, that no matter what the nature of our "community" in which we live, we still have moments and times, even days and prolonged ones at the that; that we don't feel connected. We don't feel loved or appreciated or valued. We are present, yet silent. Onlooking, but not looked upon.
But then there is God. And the amazing relationship we have with Jesus Christ through the restorative effects of Calvary's Cross. Yet, sadly, even after returning to God, we still hold ourselves back. Not only from our fellow humanity, but from our eternal Father.
What if on this #communitySaturday, no matter where we are, what we do, what we've done or where we've been, we looked at the face of Jesus, with the desire and awe to want to tell Him everything?
Perhaps the shortest suggestion for a closing prayer ever left on a Bring Me 70, but as this has oddly written itself, I'm going to close with this, as we consider our loneliness in light of community and eternity, in the words of former U.N Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold:
"Pray that your loneliness may spur you into finding something to live for, great enough to die for."
Dr. David Jeremiah was talking about the friendship between Jonathan and David as he closed out a recent sermon series. In discussing the loyalty that existed between them, he made an incredibly profound point.
True friendships aren't built on the ruins of a lost friendship.
Inevitably it always happens on some family sitcom or movie. Some kid or teenager or even adult is ditched by their friend who by choice or circumstance become friends with someone cooler, more popular or whatever. Of course, it's always followed by the encouraging talk of a parent, teacher or trusted person that invests in them with the reminder that superficial and shallow friends aren't much of a friend.
The relationship that is built on the hopes that it will be better than the one that was just exited usually, and quickly, runs in to problems.
Jonathan and David are lesson in longevity. And respect. David didn't speak ill of Jonathan's father. And Jonathan didn't sacrifice his relationship with his father, despite how Saul treated his friend.
Not only is this seemingly lacking from today's circumstances, it's a reminder of the level of stability that true and loyal friendships bring into our lives. There is a rest and a peace in the assurance of true, meaningful, lasting friendships.
If David and Jonathan's lives aren't an incredible example of friendship, remember this...
There is a friend that sticks closer than a brother. Yes, even the best of brothers. Jesus Christ.
Pray this #communitySaturday that the church would be the place of friendships... of making great friends, of being great friends, of building great friends. May we be people that bring stability, love and hope to those we come in contact with and interact. Pray that we would not be superficial in our actions, attitudes and words, but genuine, loving and honest. May the body of Christ live loyal to the Cross and true to the calling God has placed upon our lives.
To be His hands and feet extended.
To a world who needs to know and have a friend
Who sticks closer than a brother.
In a world full of homes and damaged people.
For the cause of Jesus Christ.
I'm kinda bummed I was unable to join my church friends today in an outreach to a nearby community that has witnessed some serious decline over the past couple of decades. In more recent years it has only gotten worse.
Yet over the past few days I couldn't help but consider the power that is being displayed today, as a community of believers not only steps outside the four walls of their church, but also outside the four corners of their own community to drive to another area and make an impact.
It's a huge undertaking, but I'm believing as many are, that it will be a day of miracles, as many tangible and physical needs are met. People are experiencing an abundant outpouring of love, grace and compassion as the body of Christ steps up and steps forward to express care and concern to those in need and those less fortunate.
It's so easy for many churches and organizations, as well as individuals for that matter, to live life more concerned about personal lives, missions and goals that we neglect to seek and pursue opportunities whereby we show that others matter.
That this world is not our own, but God's.
That our lives are not ours, but His.
That we don't exist in a vacuum;
That our needs are not more important than another's
God shows His care for humanity by moving a humanity to care for others more than themselves.
While the evidence of the evil that resides within is great and often on prominent and dominant display, greater is He who is in us. We should be providing even great evidence of the goodness that we are capable of because of the work God has done in the hearts and lives of those who have submitted to His plans and purposes through the work of Jesus Christ on the cross.
So, pray this #communitySaturday that God would do the miraculous. Pray for today's outreach, that the compassion, love and grace of God would overwhelm those who are in need and receive the tangible touch of His hand through the people of God. Pray for connections to be made, that people would be connected to local churches and witness daily God's love and provision in their lives. May today be a day of glory and honor to God through the obedience of Christians who have been moved to compassion, to step outside their lives and make an eternal impact in the lives of strangers.
For the glory of God
For the cause of Jesus Christ.
A day that impacts eternity.
This morning, our thoughts and prayers continue to join with Texas and of course, everyone is talking and watching this hurricane that is about to wreak havoc on Florida. On of the islands affected has witnessed 95% of it's structures destroyed. The storm is nearly twice as wide as the state of Florida. There are reports this morning that 14 million people are under hurricane warning. Over 5 and a half million are under evacuation orders.
It is almost beyond comprehension, especially on the heals of what Texas and New Orleans just experience. Plus there are two other hurricanes coming behind Irma.
We've witnessed the power of community in Texas. I'm certain we will witness a similar outcome for the people of Florida. However, this is somewhat surreal to watch and comprehend.
As always life is complex and it continues. There remains many events and issues that have transpired in recent days that have many people frustrated and bothered that have nothing to do with the weather. In the totality of it all, it's hard not wonder if God is attempting to get our attention? It's not like there's no a precedent for it.
Whatever happens this weekend, with this storm and for the days that follow, we continue to be granted opportunities to return to God. We continue to be given moments to show and to share the love, grace and compassion of God. And we continue to witness reminders of the sovereignty of a just and holy God. We may not know the what and the why and the how of it all and the unfolding thereof as well as God's reasoning behind it, but that shouldn't keep us from drawing close to Him and living in right relationship with Him through Jesus Christ.
Let's pray, this #communitySaturday for those in the path of these physical storms and those affected by them. Pray for safety and protection over their lives. Indeed, pray that these circumstances and struggles will bring people closer to God and to each other rather than further away. Pray the church and people of God will have an increased awareness to show and share of the goodness of God even in the most simple and tangible ways. Pray for peace, in the midst of the storm. May we witness a mighty move of God in our society and culture, even in the face of tragedy and destruction on a physical level.
For this world is not our home
And our treasure is in Heaven
We place our trust in Almighty God alone
For we can control nothing but our response to Him
In life's most difficult moments.
For the glory of God.
What an incredible week this has been. Our thoughts and prayers continue to go out as we stand by those affected by Hurricane Harvey, whether directly or indirectly. We've witnessed amazing acts of kindness and love by those who were simply moved with compassion and compelled to step up and act when needed.
Conversely, if you've spent any time on social media, you've seen the church, some very notable, has received much criticism in regards to it's response or lack thereof in the midst of this tragedy.
What's been frustrating to watch about this whole ordeal, is that Christians have expressed their anger and emotions and justifications regarding the church. Meanwhile, non-believers will use this to justify having even less to do with Christians, the church or "organized religion" in general.
I fear that many will use this as opportunity to be convince that humanity can be good on it's own, when it wants to be without the influence of faith and a loving God. Furthermore, it will cement the perception that Christians are less like Christ than they profess.
Granted, we know this not to be true, as many major organizations have stepped up to aid in the relief efforts, many of them Christian or faith-based and quite reputable. Yet people's perceptions remain and the criticism stands.
Thus, will you pray this #communitySaturday, that God would continue to accomplish the miraculous in the midst of tragedy. Pray that God would intervene and fulfill his purposes in light of this life-changing event. May many come to Christ because they have experienced the love of humanity who has had a life-changing encounter with God. May the church be first to respond, not because it's what people perceive should be done, but what God calls and directs for our lives. Pray today would be the day of a new dawn.
That many lives would be changed.
Because Christians step out and live,
As those changed by the love of God.
For His glory.
I heard a candidate for governor last night talk about what was going on in the city where she plans to run and she was asked about the on-goings of Washington D.C. and it's effect on states and communities. And I thought to myself, what a timely question, as so many are outraged and seemingly full of hate and frustration, not only against the elected representatives, but also against the President.
So much so are people's attitudes, that it's beyond making the argument of whether one wins or loses. They want him decimated and destroyed.
Yet this candidates' response was direct. The success of what the federal government sets out to achieve absolutely affects people at the state and local level. To call for their defeat is to call for our own demise, essentially.
I've stated it many times before. The health of families leads to healthy communities and states and ultimately nations. Yet, if we send unhealthy people, attitudes and mindsets to lead at a national level, they will in turn, decide and determine to take actions and methods that will come back and both directly and indirectly affect how we live life on a daily basis and carry out our business.
The difference that will be made in our communities depends on our abilities to communicate and work through the differences that exist between experiences, attitudes and beliefs. Walls make for great boundaries and protective means, but sometimes can really mess up our abilities to communicate.
Thus, we need a super-natural ability to know what and when to defend and where and how to allow points of access. In this time of heightened sensitivity and overt perception to offense, we need God's help to be and remain constant declarers and defenders of truth.
Pray, this #communitySaturday, that God would indeed help us to know when to protect and defend and when to open up and communicate. Pray for discernment in our interactions and conversations. May we continue to positively impact our communities for Christ as we allow God to continue His Work that He has begun in us, for as we are changed for eternity, may we present that to those around us who are in need the saving grace of the Cross. No matter the troubles and trials that we face along the way, may we ever be prepared to give an answer for the hope that is within us, even in fierce times up frustration, angst and hatred, whether from afar or in close proximity to where God has placed us.
That we would be led
By the everlasting, steadfast hand of God.
Empowered by the Holy Spirit
To speak truth in all circumstances.
That Christ would be known and revealed.
Positively impacting eternity from this day forward.
?What does it profit a nation to focus on and debate the sins and wrong-doings of the previous generations rather than acknowledging and correcting the wrong-doings of the generation in which we live?
And how can we correct the the wrongs of our world, if we are not willing to work on the wrongs of our individual hearts?
For who can change the past by destroying it, whether in the life or their community?
We can only ruin our individual and communal future by mishandling what we do today.
Earthly change means nothing if it does not impact eternity.
On this #communitySaturday, we are in need of revival. May the love of Jesus Christ enlighten our minds and affect our hearts. May a genuine relationship with Christ impact our interaction with humanity; to respond in love... not as the world expects, but as God leads us. Pray we would not look at the world through the filter of our life and experience, but through the love and grace of God, given to us by Jesus Christ and empowered to live out daily through the Holy Spirit.
God, we cry out to you alone.
For you alone can heal the brokenness of our sinful hearts.
Call us to repentance,
That we may forgive as you have granted to us.
For your glory, we pray.
We live in challenging times; not because the world is difficult and complex, which it is, but because our understanding and perception of life is so "off-base" from it used to be not so long ago. So, it's inevitable that as society strays more and more from morality and truth that the Bible will continue to stand out and contradict the thoughts and actions of a society bent having less to do with the God of the Universe.
As a result, it's not a surprise to hear a pastor acknowledge that his words aren't politically correct, but one pastor I heard this week followed it up with the only reason that matters.
"I care about your soul."
Nobody is talking about being justified in speaking with malice or dealing with those we disagree with in a mean-spirited manner. At the same time, there are no points awarded for being nice while telling a lie. There are no points for being pleasant while affirming what is false.
Our fight is not carnal, but spiritual.
The battle is real.
Showing true love means a willingness to fight on someone's behalf.
We're not fighting with people for the sake of disagreement or because we think we are "right". It's a fight over eternity and the soul is the true casualty after the appointed time of death that awaits each of us. It's not about changing your life so that you have a better or more pleasant journey on this earth. It's about changing your eternal destination as to whether it is spent in the presence of Almighty God.
How can one who follows the God of truth continually speak and affirm what is false yet still be considered a follower and seeker of what is true? If Satan's native language is a lie, how can he be defeated with another lie? Are you not participating in advancing his argument?
Truth and our understanding of it wins every time. But it does no good for those who want nothing to do with or refuse to accept it when it is told to them.
On this #communitySaturday, pray that as the church reaches and interacts with society, that we would once again, be declarers of truth. May the fear of repercussion not dissuade us, in our efforts to point people to the truth of God and the love of Christ. Pray God would grant up opportunities to those around us, to know how to speak the truth and do so in a spirit of love; that we would not be antagonistic or abusive with our words, but real and genuine in showing our care and concern for the souls of the lost and dying. For indeed, we were once lost and dead in our sin as well.
Truth, in minefield of lies.
To save from the enemies grasps
And bring to Christ the souls of those He is unwillingly to let perish
To be brought to repentance and experience redemption
For the love of Christ will not speak a compassionate lie over a hard truth.
For the glory of God.
John MacArthur preached an incredible sermon series this past week on family and how the most basic unit of community begins with family... as I've often stated. Yet one statement in particular stood out, particularly as I thought of the application and implication of these words on my own life and in my own home.
"Family is the proving ground of Godliness."
I know, no family is perfect. We have our struggles and battles like everyone else. Kids don't always get along. Parents have bad days. Stuff gets missed and misplaced and life takes it's toll and somehow we all figure out ways to cope and manage. By the grace of God; with the love of God... and some days shear force of will.
As much as we know we must persevere in our faith, so to are the days where it feels as though we must persevere in family. But God is a god of relationships. As we were made in His image, part of that is shown through the relationship between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Having created male and female in His image, it's the relationship of the two of them coming together that reflect the power and the synergy that reflect the character of God.
It is with that understanding that helps to explain why society is having such an elemental breakdown in the fabric of community. If the enemy of our souls is successful in disrupting and destroying the family unit, then Godliness never leaves the proving ground where it can influence the open market of society.
The power of family is the testing, learning and developing of faith and the understanding of God whereby we are empowered and equipped to step in to the world and be used for His sovereign plan and purpose.
On this #communitySaturday, pray for families. Pray for those who are struggling with the realities and complexities of life; where the struggles and challenges stand to destroy and tear apart the very thing that God has created and brought together. Pray for healing and restoration in the lives of those whose homes are broken or on the verge of breaking. May the power and truth of God be revealed; may understanding come into existence as we see situations and circumstance in light of what God desires to accomplish in and through our lives. Pray the broken and damaged things would be healed and made whole.
The power of family.
Created and quickened by the Hand of God.
To be used for His glory.
Reflecting the character and love of God
To a world in desperate need of true and eternal relationship.
For the cause of Jesus Christ.
The more time I spend on social media, the more I understand why people take breaks from the forum and perhaps disengage altogether. Don't get me wrong, there some incredibly epic material online. Powerfully, profound perspectives. Hilarious moments of laughter that does good like medicine. And tons of sad and sobering stories that remind us of how precious life is, laced with stories that continue to tell us that politicians will be politicians to the bitter end.
Yet the more I read, the more I'm convinced, everything changes when we engage face to face. There's something about social media that empowers to people to speak on a level that they wouldn't engage in real life; certainly not to strangers passing them by on the street. But 30 seconds on somebodies profile page tells "all" and the assumptions are made and the attitudes step up to prove one's point that the other side is dead wrong.
Arguments of tolerance and love can't even be presented as in a tolerant and lovingly manner!
It's as about effective as my raising my voice instructing my kid to not raise their voice to me. I will get called immediately by that child. They know better. As do I.
How do you speak on love with a tone of hatred?
How do you speak on compassion with a tone of anger?
How do you speak about understanding while resorting to name-calling
How can one show they are open-minded as they simultaneously attempt to shut-down others?
None of these are possible. Certainly not very easily when face to face.
Crossing of boundaries and blurring of the lines results in open doors of interpretation. And some things are not meant to be open to interpretation. There are absolutes. If we take seriously the parents' instruction on clean rooms, homework, curfew and chores then how can we look at God's instruction and surmise that what's in Scripture isn't what He meant? Will He not bring greater discipline and correction than the most loving and intentional parent?
On this #communitySaturday, may God help us as we engage the world around us; whether online or in line; Facebook or face to face, pray our conversations with be laced and graced with love and truth. May we be people of understanding, capable of declaringly unabashedly, the truth regarding the fallen state of humanity and the redemptive plan of God. God help us to live authentic lives with no compromise. May God break through the damage and the brokenness; the verbiage and the vitriol that society is expressing towards Christianity and those who follow Christ and reveal His perfect love that casts out all fear.
That would be His light
In a world quickly going dark.
Salt, to a world in need of preservation
One by one, face to face;
That they would see Christ in us
And through every fiber of our word and deed.
For God so loved the world.
A day in which the post revolves around the concept and understanding of the church and how we relate and impact the world around us.
(at this point, I was just interrupted by the doorbell from our county's Democrat group, asking if I had any issues I wanted to discuss. After declining, I realized I should have taken them up on the offer!
Serious timing. That was funny)
What's not funny was my level of disgust in the past day or two.
There are so many disturbing stores in the news these days, and the situations and circumstances that are actually passing as "newsworthy" is simply mind-blowing. At the top are these two pieces.
First, a situation from April 2016 somehow made it back into a social media newsfeed, when a "prominent" musician (quotes, for the purpose of noting that I don't follow this genre, so I'm making an assumption of their influence) told a Christian Governor that she deserved to be gang-raped. There's much that I could say in response, but it wouldn't accomplish much. All I have is what I've told my kids...
There will always be people who won't like you; but don't give them a reason by being a jerk on purpose.
Worse, was late this past week, a pastor stated publicly that it was heresy to pray for the President. Seriously? Who we pray for is (or can be) considered heresy? Again...
To both the secular musician and to the church pastor; to the Governor and the President and everyone else on Earth and to those of you reading this guys perspective...
There will always be who won't like you.
Don't give them a reason for doing so by being a jerk a purpose.
What happened to pray for your enemies?
Pray for those who persecute?
Pray for those who revile you?
Who hate you, because they hated me?
As Timothy encouraged us; that all supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks be made for all men; for kings and for ALL that are in authority.
That we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
Obviously, this musician isn't in the know on this matter. But certainly, the Governor does. And I would dare say they are responding in prayer accordingly in their time with God. Even more-so, how does a pastor qualify praying for the authority of a nation as heresy? If that's true, then Timothy certainly has some explaining to do regarding his exhortation; which is what he calls it in the opening words of that verse!
Wherever you are; whatever your plans for the day... conversations, fellowship, gatherings and activities, clearly its effectiveness in displaying Christ is severely hindered if we are not people of prayer... for all people in all matters and walks of life.
Let's do that, shall we? On this #communitySaturday, pray for the President and kings and presidents of our nations; that God would use them to accomplish His purposes as He has placed them, respectively for such a time as this. For those in other positions of authority, may God do a work in their lives and may they come to the knowledge of His saving grace. Pray to for pastors, that they would lead their congregations to greater reflect the love of Christ rather than engage in divisive exchanges. While disagreements will inevitably exist, may God give us wisdom with our words and attitudes; that it would not be about agendas or rights, but of truth and righteousness according to the divine design and hand of Almighty God.
May our lands be healed
As God's people remain in prayer
For the battle is not carnal
But spiritual in nature.
Thus, may we be filled with Spirit
To fulfill the calling of God
For such a time as this.
For His glory.
No community is ever perfect... at least not once past the picturesque appearance. No geographic community. No organized community. No church or cause. And at it's most basic unit, neither is a family community, ever perfect.
Yet, as we look around us, at our world, whether locally or at-large, we quickly see that the problems and chasms that exist on a large scale also exist to some degree behind closed doors. So effectively engaging community can be a challenge in our neighborhoods and outside the four walls of our local church because engaging with each other at home can present just as many challenges.
Communication. Expression. Openness. Honesty. Discernment. Responsibility. Identity.
Whenever any of the above elements are non-existent, twisted, out of balance or misguided, then there are strong odds that life will be a tense, stressful struggle.
We've seen too much of it already. Throughout our world. Throughout our nation. In our home states. In our home towns. In our local church. Yet all of those things are built as the result of what happens behind our own front doors and what enters or escapes the back door when we aren't keenly aware and alert.
I'll be the first to admit, I could do better. Could you? Could the church? Could our governing authorities? Yes, yes, and yes! And I for one will need the grace and strength of God and the help of the Holy Spirit.
On this #communitySaturday, let's pray that indeed, God would help us, even as we lead our families in the basic structure of community. May God grant to us strength and grace to lead and by the power of the Holy Spirit, may we do it well. Pray that we would do better in our communications and responsibilities. Pray that each of us would have, hold and live our identities in Christ. May God grant to us discernment, as we engage in our relationships with those in our homes and the communities at large, with which we are apart throughout the week. Pray that we would be effective in representing the character of Christ and the love of God in all we say and do, regardless of who is in the room and a part of the conversation.
For before that was community
There was family.
Dwelling in the presence of God
Where He desires all man would live.
For His glory and honor, we pray.
At some point yesterday morning, I lost the idea I had for today's post. All afternoon, last night and this morning while laying in bed... racking my brain trying to remember where that train of thought was headed and alas... failing to find it.
But while I was sitting here with my laptop screen staring me down, as if to taunt me...
"You got anything to type? Huh? Huh? Do ya? Anything?"
I thought about the breaking that occurs when there is a disconnect within community.
We were made for community. So much so, that God Himself after He had made everything, looked at Creation and realized, there was nothing with which He could share... His presence, His glory, His being.
Thus, the vertical relationship with God begun. Shortly thereafter, it is not good for man to be alone. And the horizontal relationship was established, when Eve is created. God longs for relationship with humanity. Humanity desires relationship with those around them. And yet we fail on so many levels.
Society longs are a place to connect and yet fails to connect to with God, first and foremost. They fail to look to the church, second. We can all agree the church isn't perfect, nor the people in it, but it is the community God has established, that we might grow in our relationship with Him and connect with others, as well as be a unified witness of the love and glory of God.
As such, what a tragedy to hear, on both sides of the church walls, people wanting nothing to do with church or anything along the spectrum, short of coming to gather together with the people and presence of God.
Let's pray this #communitySaturday, that God would strengthen relationships within the church, that we may be a greater witness of the love and grace and glory of God. May God grant wisdom to work the problems and struggles that seek to divide and conquer us from within. Pray people would find their place, both in Christ and in relationship with man, for those where a seemingly disconnect exists; whatever the circumstance and reasoning. May we not seek God and community with God in the temporal and unhealthy places; but that people would be drawn to the person and presence of God through the love of the Christian community... to be a cup of cold water to those in need.
That the church would not be directed by society
But that we impact our world
And direct others to the face of God
That we would seek as His face in Heaven
As fervently as we desire to fill our lives on this Earth.
May God connect us with Himself and our neighbor
By the power of the Holy Spirit
For the cause of Jesus Christ.
We've discussed the past number of weeks on #communitySaturday, the power of engagement and how we present ourselves when we engage... that regardless of the situation, circumstance, or environment, we exist in a moment where we are with those who are without Christ.
Yet, the power of the Gospel exists in relationships.
He who wants friends must show himself friendly.
I heard it put another way, this past week...
...that he who wants to win some must be winsome.
Then we all have those days... caught up in what we are doing, totally unaware of why others are engaged in what they are doing and feeling as though we have a point of frustration worry to display. Having had such a moment the other day, I offered my apologies for my attitude, while hearing his situation. Yet, I found myself justifying my frustration by explaining that I had no way of knowing his circumstance, for surely if I did, I would have been more understanding.
Shouldn't my being in the dark on the matter been the prompt for being understanding from the start? No. My priority was more important than the problem he was sorting out. As it turns out, his is far more a life-changing matter than my momentary inconvenience as a mark in the day.
Thus, we all have our moments.
Less than pleasant. Less than nice.
Less than the reflection of the character of Christ.
(see what I did there?)
On this #communitySaturday, pray God would help us to not be so earthly-minded that we are no heavenly-good. May we view our place in the world as opportunity to impact the kingdom of Christ. Pray that we would become lovers of the truth and of God, desirous for those around us to no longer be slaves to sin, but free in Christ. Though the days may be difficult, may we possess an awareness of the presence of God, at work in all circumstances that people may be drawn closer to Him. Pray God would give us wisdom and compassion in our conversations and interactions; that many would experience the cross as the recognize that the church cares for them.
That we might win some.
For the glory of God
For the cause of Jesus Christ.
I watched a thread on social media in the past 24 hours or so and I couldn't even keep up with all the comments and back and forth as people responded to the post itself and everyone else' comments, opinions, sarcasm and theology. What an incredible conversation. As always happens in these debates, the original poster even got called out and into question, on a number of levels.
Ultimately, though this was the acknowledged realization of this man whom I greatly respect and I have to agree with him.
The post, even if done in error, served to "expose an angry and vindictive spirit in the church... one that must be confessed if we are ever to reach the world for Jesus"
I've posted in the past, who the world is seemingly coming to the place to the truth of Mylon LeFevre's song from decades ago; that if we are going to witness the Gospel of Christ, the world will be won by one.
Social media posts aren't changing the minds. Nor are they allowing the Holy Spirit to change hearts. People are seemingly wanting less and less to do with church, while recognizing that something is missing from life. We are more sensitive to offense than we are sensitive to the truth. We recognize and respond more quickly and passionately to the offense than we do the truth. Whether inside or outside the church, being "called out" has, or remains becoming taboo.
And yet, that's what Christ does. Call out. He calls out for relationship. He calls out for discipleship. He calls out that He may change the hearts and lives of His Created. And yet we all stand resistant.
Welcome to the sinful nature of man, that wages war in all of us against the things of God.
Pray, this #communitySaturday, that God would help us remain faithful to the truth of God and love of Jesus Christ. May the spirit of offense not hinder or derail the message of the Gospel nor our commitment to declaring such to the world. Pray that the church would live lives that would declare and speak to the change that Christ has made within us, before we ever utter a word. Pray that God would begin to move on hearts and minds to receive the truth of His Word and the power of the cross of Christ. May the church ever be mindful that it's the Holy Spirit that convicts and the Christian who simply shares. Pray the church would engage, in both love and in truth.
Now, more than ever...
May we know God
And desire others to know the same.
For the cause of Jesus Christ.
The local, Christian radio station is the metro area does #payitforwardFriday. It's been incredible to listen the past few weeks of what they have accomplished, as individuals have called in, facing incredible dire and even crisis situations. And throughout the morning, the host plays clips from phone calls of those in the community who are moved with compassion to respond.
How can we send them some money.
I don't have much, but others helped me in a similar situation a while back, and I want to do the same today.
We own a company; how do we get in touch them and possible offer them a job.
The radio station partnered with a local charity, and gave a good, really nice, used vehicle... to a couple who has made incredible sacrifices as they fulfill their calling and ministry. The station shared their story and handed over the keys as a part of yesterday's program.
It got me thinking this morning, about the time a man at church asked how we were doing. We were in very hard place and I think my hesitation pretty much answered his question. He followed it up, by asking if we had food in the house. That was a Sunday after church. That Sunday night when we walked in to service, I was handed a stack. I'm not sure who he talked to, but we handed... cards with cash and gift cards for groceries and fuel. Quite a few. It was an amazing blessing and we made it stretch as far as we could.
Along with that, though, I was reminded of Jesus' words. Which is easier. To forgive this man his sins or to tell him 'rise up and walk'? But so that you'll know I have the authority and power...
What a powerful way to engage, this #communitySaturday, than to offer something tangible to someone, whether in obvious need or not, that might help relieve some of the stress, pressure and worry in their life. It probably won't be a car, or hundreds or thousands of dollars. But nothing says I don't care about you and your situation like the one standing next to them and doing nothing to help or bless.
Pray, this #communitySaturday, we would have a greater awareness of the needs and circumstances that surround us daily. May we not be so about our own lives and problems that we neglect our neighbors; for we are not blessed for the sake of hoarding, but for sharing. May we get passed the mindset that our $5 will do little, for Christ accomplish the miraculous even through meager resources. Pray that today will be a day that many are impacted with the message of Christ, because the church offered a cup of cold water, in whatever form they could and felt led of the Holy Spirit to offer.
That all may know we are His
By our love.
We don't have to change the whole world.
But we must start with the one where we live.
For the glory of God
For the cause of Jesus Christ.
Think about things that are unhealthy. Once there is an awareness and an understanding of the situation, we should be about the business of correcting the matter. Although much stands in the way. Addictions and bad habits are hard to break. Of course, in the back of mind, as I write this, I'm think of a couple of physical issues in my own life that I've been putting off, in terms of getting corrected... so I guess this post on unhealthiness should come with a disclaimer.
What really stood out though, was in an interview yesterday on the radio, a concept was mentioned that was incredibly profound and true.
"An unhealthy relationship isn't a relationship."
I understand, we're never going to "get along" with everyone. Not everyone was meant to be your best friend. There are different levels of relationships and various levels of trust. But as understand with regards to our faith, relationships are a spiritual connection. There is meaning; there is purpose, this unity and fellowship. Thus, when it exists in an unhealthy state, when it is damaging and detrimental... can it really be considered a relationship when it is hazardous to your spiritual, emotion, mental and physcial health?
The baseline equation as we engage community? Speaking the truth in a spirit of love.
While the truth may be unpopular, that's doesn't mean it shouldn't be spoken. Despite people's reaction to not wanting to hear or deal with it.
So, pray this #communitySaturday that God would help us have, maintain and create healthy relationships. In troubled times when the truth is under attack, may God help us keep proper perspective and speak the truth in love. May we be effective in communicating the love of God to a world is desperate need of revival. As we've prayed previously, may the church exemplify the nature of healthy relationships with both God and man.
While sin has left holes in our heart
Christ has made us whole through the Cross.
For the glory of God
For the cause of Jesus Christ.
I think building the kingdom of God is about the small things... it's about the way we go about our lives; and reach out to others. - Eddie DeGarmo
On this #communitySaturday, what could be more simple?
Sure, the grand gestures are moving.
The deep, meaningful moments and conversations have their place.
Power-filled times of gathering are awesome to experience.
But it is the insignificant; the little things that contribute. I'm reminded of the scene in Sleepless in Seattle, where Dr. Marsha is on the phone with Sam and asks what made his wife so special? Not knowing how to respond exactly, he finally responds with, "It was a million little things."
And so it is for the church. What are the differences we are making and contributing to those around us, both from within and outside the four walls of the church. Helping those in need, whether visible or not. Investing in relationships. Open and honest communication without the entrapment of offense.
Of course, if we don't practice making a difference in the lives of those closest to us through small and random acts of kindness, then how will be ever be illuminated to the possibility and vision of doing something great? As the old book reads, big things happen when you do the little things right. And let's be honest... doing the little things right can be a struggle.
Guess that explains so much emphasis on daily bread and worry not about tomorrow, nor be anxious for anything. For if you are not faithful with little, who will trust you with great treausre?
Really tempted to keep this #communitySaturday prayer short, in keeping with the sentiment.
God help us be faithful in doing the little things right and building the kingdom of God in the small things. Give us eyes that see, hands that help and feet that move. Not in our own strength, but with the power of the God and the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
Your kingdom come
On earth as it is Heaven.
For your glory.
Just a man, attempting to fulfill God's plan. Husband, Dad, Dreamer. Blogger.