Sunday, October 25, 2009

Touch People (for Jesus)

I don't think we have to get all wound up about what we're supposed to do as we go to and fro in this world. Yep. I know some well-intended person hit you up about doing this for Jesus or doing that for Jesus, even doing and saying this in the name of Jesus. That sounds totally theologically sound until you check the Word. Jesus said love and you're on the right track. After all, God kicked salvation in based upon His love for the world (John 3:16).

Jesus' earthly ministry is recorded in all four Gospels. What's interesting about all of them is that we see Jesus revealed to the world. We get an upclose and personal glimpse of Him in ministry, conducting healing and teaching among the people. He serves as our example. It's easy. We see Jesus and should do the same as He did. It's not about what you know. Do you know Him? That's enough. Act on that if that's all that you've got. He's the truth. trust him to give you what you need.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Tear Down the Walls

We need to tear down the walls that hinder us from true unity. We have the same God and Holy Spirit, even the same Savior. What's the problem? We are the main problem. Well, it is not simply us. It's all the stuff that we have piled on top of what the Lord has said.

What do I mean? Survey the Bible. You won't find the various degrees of denominations in the Bible that we have come up with these days nor the widespread reasoning for them. Yes, he was called John the Baptist, but most of us Baptists tend to take that totally out of context. He was John the Baptizer because he baptized people with the baptism of repentance. Look out. Beware. Someone will spit hate and spite simply based upon what offends them about that and that is the Word of God.

I have to give it to some of my brothers and sisters who seek out the truth from the Word. They recognize that we may have been raised Baptist, Methodist, Pentecostal or otherwise, but they know the truth of the Word. God wants our hearts, not simply our adherence to denominational ties and covenants because we've always- as long as we've known at least- been this or that, done it this way or that way. Bless those who hold fast to all of that, but also bless those who seek and find the truth in the Word.

I say simply tear down the walls. Rip apart the barriers. Eliminate what's in the way. Let's come together and worship the Lord as one body. Share in His Spirit together as one. Let's be a single Christian community.

Unity Worship Service
October 31st
10 AM
Golden Hill Park (San Diego)
Spreading Unity Throughout the Community

Friday, October 23, 2009

Outreach = Reaching Out

You can't have outreach without reaching out. You may have an outreach program in place, but if you do not implement outreach, then it"s just a program. There is no true outreach. You can have an outreach plan, designed and written by a team of experts, but without anyone reaching out, it's just a plan. You need to reach out to have outreach.

We can reach out in many ways. You have to investigate the various means to reach out to people. One of the shining examples comes out of the New Testament. Paul did a variety of things to reach people. From street preaching in Gentile marketplaces to visiting Jewish synagogues and "reasoning out of the Scriptures." He wrote letters, sent delegates and visited churches and cities with a mission of preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.

We have to be sure to see what works and fits for us and our ministry, then commit to taking on the calling by doing it and reaching out. Think about how you can reach out to those in your community for Christ. Could you go on a prayer walk, soliciting prayer requests from neighbors? Is there a Pop Warner or Little League that could use volunteers? How about adopting a school from your neighborhood? Take a walk through your community and see what is needed and possible. Pray over it and see where God leads you in reaching out.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Blogging and Other Venues (For the Lord)

He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
Matthew 11:15 (NKJV)

No matter what vehicle we choose to use to spread God's Word to the far reaches of the earth, we must be sure to choose something that will reach a market of people with "ears to hear." If you choose MySpace over Twitter and Facebook, then let it be because there are those out there with ears to hears the Word. When you blog, you could use Blogger or Wordpress. You just need to make sure your blog is reaching and touching some people for the Lord and to His glory. Whether you write Bible studies or spread via spoken word, be sure that you offer something that can be comprehended with conviction and compassion. No matter what you do, you need to do your best to honor God through what you do. Let God make the most of your YouTube or Gmail accounts. Ensure that God gets the glory from every one of your sermons on podcast, each Bible teacher training on webcast, and all of your other venues. Let God get the glory from all that you do.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

First Love

We love Him because He first loved us.
- 1 John 4:19 (NKJV)

It has fascinated me for years. My daughter and I just had one of our theological debates about it in the car ride from school the other day. Even my fellow brothers in the ministry discuss and share their opinions, views and experiences regarding it all of the time. What is it?

Love of course. You can't truly talk about God without love coming up somehow. In fact, as Christians, we have to come to the realization that if it were not for love, God would not have sacrificed His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ (John 3:16). Redemption, regeneration, grace, mercy, justification, atonement and many of these other concepts that come up related to salvation itself all point back to God's love for His unlovable people (Romans 3:23; John 3:17; Luke 6:31; Romans 5:8; Isaiah 53). Love settles the score. Love seals the deal. Love never fails. Love is constantly working on our behalf. Love gives life.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Kingdom Business

Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth,
who will entrust the true riches to you?
Luke 16:11 (NASB)
Being in business, I learned early that there are both blessings and benefits to just hanging out a shingle online or otherwise. However, I also learned that I had a unique responsibility to contribute to the kingdom of God because I was a business owner. We tend to call those who own small businesses those who are "in business for themselves," but I really cannot see it that way any longer.
Christian business owners need to do at least two things for the kingdom of God. It is by doing at least these two things that these Christians can make a difference by being in business.
1. Contribute to the Church: I call this a "business tithe." Through this effort, a business owner can add to the kingdom on a consistent basis with a consistent amount. I would go so far as to say make a commitment about the contribution by consecrating yourself in prayer regarding the gift. Even if it is not your home church, commit to giving and supporting the ministry and mission of the church for the kingdom of God.
2. Contribute to the Community: Give back. Don't just give (throwing money at the issues and problems that exist and persist within our communities). Give of yourself. Volunteer on local boards and coalitions to address pressing issues facing the community such as drugs, gang violence, education, and others. Mentor youth. Offer free or discounted services. Lend your expertise.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Changed for the Better

Lord, I know I've been changed. . .
Negro spiritual
What do you think is going to happen when Christians start "walking" according to the change that the Lord has made in their lives? Will we see a difference in one another? Will our perspective on the world be altered? Will we have a new view on life?
I imagine that many Christians feel that they are in a sanctified slump at times. What I am getting at is that nagging feeling that you know the Lord but you just aren't growing closer to the Lord. It's not that you don't have the desire to get closer to Him. It's not like you have left your "first love." It's just that you don't feel that you are growing in your spiritual walk with the Lord. I've been there. I think, if most of us were truly honest about it, most of us have been there, too.
The problem is with us, not God. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow (Heb. 13:8). We need to change. We need to give up our worldly perspective for a kingdom perspective. We must go from our nature that was in the likeness of Adam to a new birth that alows us to be fashioned after Christ. It's that same put off the old man and put on the new man (Eph. 4:22). In essence, we must embrace being changed as part of the change. Otherwise, we find ourselves straddling the fence of acceptance and tolerance, still being led by our sinful nature and not fully submitting to our new nature in Christ. drop your old ways and determine to live in the newness of Christian joy.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

What Will We Do?


More Bob Marley lyrics and video

You may think that the whole Rasta movement only speaks of smoking kaya and sporting dreads, but Bob Marley offers something real that we all must ponder. What do we do about the poor? Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. sought equality for the poorest of people. Rev. Jesse Jackson slept with the poor and the homeless for Operation P.U.S.H. and Mother Teresa lived among the poor and disabled in India. Jesus offered hope for the poor. He even shared a blessing for the "poor in spirit" in the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-16).

So what will we do? Will we just simply sit around, sing hymns and collect an offering to mail to someone else who will do the "dirty work?" Will we adopt a child or some poor family and offer them a turkey dinner for Thanksgiving and gifts for the needy kids on Christmas? What will we do about the poor and needy among us? I love what Micah 6:8 says:
He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
What will we do?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Together in Unity (Psalm 133)

I have always thought of Psalm 133 as a simple way to squash a lot of the "stuff" between men. I mean its first verse alone sets up a plethora of ideas on how things could and should be done among men. The psalm simply speaks of it being both good and pleasant for brothers to dwell together in unity. Something can be good for you and not necessarily pleasant. You know what I mean. It's like some veggies. Sure, they're good for you, but they may not be pleasant. The Word says that brothers coming and dwelling together in unity is both good and pleasant. It's helpful, not harmful. It's fruitful, not fatal. It's both good and pleasant.
There is a certain aspect of this unity that helps us to understand and see that when we bond together good things are bound to grow out of it. There may be some rocky places and some bumpy spots, but there is something good and pleasant in the making among us.
Dwell on it. Think on it. Watch and see what happens.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Reliable Resources


Finding the right resources in a day like today makes a big difference. You can lose a lot of time trying to sort out which sites are worthwhile and which ones are totally worthless. I spend countless hours on the Web tryingout different things and seeking a variety of resources for everything from Bible study and small groups to evangelism and church growth strategies. Let me say it like this first of all and be done with it. I love John C. Maxwell and Max Lucado, two definitie marketing and mega-messengers. In addition, I find Dave Ramsey to have a simple and straightforward approach to dealing with dollars and sense. The websites listed here are primarily those that i find helpful with Bible study, outreach, evangelism and small group information.
One of my favorite sites to visit and just get ideas is www.lifeway.com. Also, www.family.org has numerous resources that I get a kick out of when I am on the web. I don't tend to visit www.christianbook.com or www.pocketpower.org that often, but I believe that each has a great wealth of resources that help me in my Bible study and outreach time. Other than Relevant Magazine, I am probably the biggest fan of www.outreachmagazine.com and not just because they're located in Vista (San Diego County). I like www.christianitytoday.com and www.bibletools.org as well as www.ministrymaker.com. If I had to choose a social network for ministry, I would have to settle on two: www.facebook.com and www.twitter.com.

Friday, October 2, 2009

First Things First (Matthew 6:33)

Seek ye first the kingdom of God . . .- Matthew 6:33 (KJV)
God desires for us to make Him a priority. He's already told us that He's jealous and that we should have no other gods beside Him. He's exhausted His all in trying to redeem us. He extended all of His love to us through Jesus (John 3:16). The issue is that we need be sure to get these things in order as we go through our daily walk. We must make God a priority. We must make first things first.
We must make first things first. It's not because we have to do so. It certainly is not due to Him forcing us and twisting our arm about the the whole matter. It is a matter of the heart. It is about us feeling a deep-rooted desire to be in touch with God ona personal level. That's when we strat on the path towardsmaking God a real priority. In fact, that's the type of spiritual transition that God expects us to make after we've been in touch with Him. We make a change based upon the change that has taken place within me.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Where are You Headed?

I want to say this with as much sincerity nd gentleness that I can muster up in times like these. There seems to be a great falling away from what we know and believe. Some of us may have started out wrong by putting our faith in the man of God rather than what he was supposed to be preaching about. Some may have taken the low road and just slid out of church through some back door or open window, but you voted with your feet and didn't sy a word when you went out. Others just stayed and stuck around waiting for something better, so when the next big thing came along and the church wasn't moving fast enough, you got yourself up and went to the next big thing until better things come along. It's just sad. Faithless followers filling up pews, waiting on the "show." They don't want church. They want to be entertained by praise and worship duets and quartets that are professional without professing Christ. They want a preached word that may not even be the Word but that sounds good to what Paul called itching ears. It's just sad to see.

Where are you headed? Where are you going as you go away from the church? Will you find Jesus in your escape? Will He visit you as you depart? Consider carefully how you answer. If you have one foot in the sanctuary and another foot hovering over uncertainty, please reconsider. Take a moment and pray before drifting and straying away from the flock. We've all been there in one way or another. Talk to an experienced Christian who has walked with the Lord for some time. We all lose people. We will suffer losses great and small, but we have assurance in Christ for our souls.

Trust God. Keep the faith. Stay strong in spite of adversity. Live like Christ, loving those around you. Stay the course.
 
Amen Me!