Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Lead Them to Christ

And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit.- 1 Corinthians 2:4 (NLT)


People need to hear the gospel, not gimmicks.  Paul shared the message was about the Master.  He didn't get into clever wordplay and double talk that confused people and complicated salvation.  He made his message very plain.  He just preached about Christ and relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit.  Paul kept it simple and direct.

We should be more concerned with leading someone to Christ more than inviting them to church.  Simply inviting them to church has more to do with the various selling points of what our church has to offer as opposed to the multitudes of blessings that Jesus Christ our Savior has to offer those who will hear and come to Him.

Gospel means "good news." When we share the gospel with others, we engage in the delivery of the message of the Messiah and his mighty work of salvation.  Good News Bible: With Deuterocanonicals/Apocrypha [Good News Translation]Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, SpyPeople need to know that Jesus is the root and foundation of the Good News, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Share the good news of Jesus, not simply the good things about your church.  Your church should help disciple new believers, but it is Jesus Christ who converts them by faith upon belief in Him.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer put it in real simple terms: "Up with Christ, down with church."



Download the latest Evangelism Tip Sheet: Reaching Out to Others http://tinyurl.com/3j24vpf

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Poetic Postings from Pain

My painfulness often inspires my poetry.  Sadly, if I experience something that bothers me or gets me down, I find more inspiration to write.  It is my hope that I am able to shed some light on such circumstances for some aspiring poet who wonders why he or she may not feel so inclined to embrace the valleys and low points as much as the peaks and the mountaintops.

Selected Poems of Langston HughesMaya Angelou: PoemsI believe that other poets and authors have inspired my writing and poetry.  Among them, I would have to say that Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes, Dorothy West, Henry David Thoreau, William Shakespeare and Claude McKay are some of my favorites.  I have enjoyed reading them and their various styles of literature.





My poetry is posted on various sites on the web, including but not limited to:
Here is a poem that has been published in my book Words from the Underground:
Smoke Screens
They appear to be little more than detrimental detours.


Yet, they are detrimental nonetheless.

Our expectations exclude them,

While our conclusions include them.

We do not see them but after the fact.

They disappear as swiftly as they appear.

Some attribute their ways to magic.

Others say they are derived from madness and mayhem.

They are smoke screens.

They exist to serve only as illusions.

They are smoke screens

And they leave us spellbound.

When you least expect them,

You find yourself in their midst.

Your best option is to pay them no mind.

They will choke you with their smoke.

They will engulf you from head to toe.

They will keep your head spinning.

Don't pay them any mind.

You may not expect them.

You may not avoid them.

Pay them no mind,

For they truly do exist.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Add a Personal Touch

Jesus: Up Close & Personal (101 Beginner Bible Study)He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him.

Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith let it be done to you

But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.

Read the Gospels carefully.  Go beyond the surface.  Don't just skim it for its finer points and holy highlights.  Read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John thoroughly.  Read them intentionally.  Read with probing eyes.  Search the Scriptures to discover how Jesus truly reached out and touched people as God in the flesh.

Wwjd What Would Jesus Do Designer Rubber Saying Bracelet #50Not long ago, every Christian knew about WWJD.  The letters represented What Would Jesus Do? The question seems a bit rhetorical.  Yet, it caused many of us to rethink our approach to certain situations in daily life's many interactions and encounters.  We asked WWJD and wore it on t-shirts, Bible covers and bumper sticks.  Did we really want to do things the way Jesus would have done them?

Jesus did not leave Bartimaeus blind by the wayside.
Jesus did not let the woman with the issue of blood go one more step in that condition.
Jesus forbid to leave the invalid laying on a mat beside the pool.
Jesus added a personal touch throughout His ministry that left no one the same.

The House Church Book: Rediscover the Dynamic, Organic, Relational, Viral Community Jesus StartedDo we really want to do things the way Jesus would have done them?

Start by getting personal.  Don't leave it as drive-thru worship services on Sunday.  You know what I mean.  You moved out of the neighborhood to get away from the drugs, the gangs and all of that other stuff, but you still drive through on Sunday mornings for some old time religion and maybe a taste of some after-church soul food.  That's "drive-thru" Sunday worship.  You only drive through the 'hood, never doing any of your good works where you hear from the Good Book

God bless your heart.  You mean well.  Your intentions are good.  You just need to know where to get started.  Start by getting to know some folks on a personal level.  Take that church bulletin out of your Bible.  Yes, the one from Sunday where you did not use it to take notes on the sermon.  Use that and see what fellowship opportunities exist at the church.  Are there small groups that meet during the week on site or in the community? Can you join the men's monthly fellowship? Do you believe that there is room for you in the women's ministry circle? See what there is available and make some personal connections with other congregants.

Creating Community: Five Keys to Building a Small Group Culture
Start small.  Volunteer to serve on an outreach team or a service team.  Get trained in sharing the Good News with others, so that you are equipped to say more than what's on your mind and our heart.  Get equipped, but be sure to get your heart in it more than your hands or your head.  Share with your heart and touch someone's life.  Add a personal touch to your ministry repertoire.  Be sure to get personal in such a way that people truly get a sense that you truly care.  Care for others the same way that Jesus, the Good Shepherd, looked after His own sheep.  Just start by getting a little more personal when you do it.


 
The Road to Daybreak: A Spiritual Journey"When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares." — Henri J.M. Nouwen 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Where God Could Exist

What if God was one of us?
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Trying to make his way home

 - Joan Osborne

"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars."
Oscar Wilde (Lady Windermere's Fan)

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? - Psalm 139:7 (NIV)

We spend a lot of our earthly time debating on whether God exists or not.  We tend to make a big deal about the possibilities of God being the Almighty or just some "supreme being." The truth of the matter is that we just cannot keep debating what natural occurrences make obvious.  God does exist.

Where?

If your only notion of God's existence is in heaven, then you are gravely mistaken.  You may also want to check your thoughts on how you view God.  You do understand that Jesus said it this way: "God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth." (John 4:24, ESV).  We have to see God as a spiritual being who occupies any and all spaces possible.

Psalm 139 tells us that we need to be mindful of our feeble efforts to flee God's presence.  He's all over, no matter where we go.  He's here and there.  Let it be understood that we may not fully understand everything about God, but do understand enough to know that His omnipresence means that He is just as real in your life as He is in mine.  He isn't any less present during your hard times just because i got my prayers in earlier than you.  He can still show up for the both of us.


Psalm 139
For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.
1Lord, you have searched me
and you know me.
2You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4Before a word is on my tongue
you know it completely, O Lord.
5You hem me in—behind and before;
you have laid your hand upon me.
6Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
7Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths,a you are there.
9If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
-Psalm 139:1-10 (NIV)
 
Amen Me!