Archives For Discipleship

5 Reasons Believers Should Be BloggingYou may not own a home or even your own car. But if you’ve got a blog today, you’re sitting on a very valuable piece of property. With the trust in traditional media decliningand trust in social media channels on the rise, bloggers today have undisputed influence. This moment in time is especially true for Christians who are brand advocates for history’s most powerful message—the gospel.

Think about it. Some blogs get more visits each day than churches get on Sunday, giving some bloggers more influence than some pastors. While that’s certainly not the intended goal, it is the reality.

Brian Bailey, author of The Blogging Church, says the case for Christian bloggers comes down to one point: “Blogging is simply a new way of telling stories. In the same way that we seek out new modes of worshipping, preaching and reaching out, we must find new methods of sharing stories. The message doesn’t change when the methodology changes. If the methodology fails to change, however, we begin to distance ourselves from the people we are called to reach, and we risk becoming irrelevant.”

So what’s your…

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Hand BookEver notice God is constantly “flipping the pages” of our lives? We go from place to place (page to page), and season to season (Chapter to Chapter). Some places are easy, some hard, some seem unbearable!

But in each place God wants us to Win It! Have victory in EVERY place, every page and in every season.

I have found these 4-steps to be invaluable to me in seeing that victory. Simple but very powerful…

Step

God leads and directs our next move as we delight in Him. In life we will take many steps, if we walk in the Spirit, each step will be in the right direction, and lead to the right place.

Stand

Once there, we ask God “What must I do here?” With each new place, we have to take a stand there. There is something we are to get done for the Kingdom in that place. Make sure you know what you’re supposed to do.

Surrender

We ask God “how” are we to get done what He said. There are a lot of different ways to “getter done!” But, there is only one “how” that will actually get it done, make sure…

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Grace Based LivingEven though none of us actually plays by the rules (according to Romans 3:10, 23), we still try rather hard to do so. We’ve all sinned and fallen short, but in our broken condition, we just keep on plugging away in hopes that in eternity all of our trying and fighting and working will somehow qualify us for heaven in God’s eyes.

Most of us find ourselves living a rules-based life. We have an assumption that our Creator will someday evaluate our performance to see if we’ve measured up to His standard. If we’ve been mostly good, we’re in! But Scripture is clear that God has already evaluated our performance. And the bad news is that He has already concluded that we don’t measure up. So that issue is settled. We can stop trying, stop fighting, and stop working.

When Paul wrote the letter to the Romans, he expounded significantly on the subject of the grace of God. In chapter five, he proclaims that, “since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith,…

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Working Woman2011 was the year in which it became clear that while women were outperforming males in education and their early careers, they were running into the same challenge: burn out.

Think about this, pastor. Many families start regularly attending church after the birth of a child or a career move often at the behest of the mother in the family. And now, research is showing that these same women, aged 25-32, are experiencing career burn out in greater numbers than men (via ForbesWoman).

This screams out for an outreach to women in the workplace specific to dealing with stress God’s way. Here are three quick outreach keys:

MAKE THE IMPACT IMMEDIATE

Service projects that have an immediate impact will attract the career obsessed who don’t think they can help, until they see a web video about a single Mom in need of tax help.

DON’T BE SHY

People that see themselves as ‘busy’ also see themselves as ‘doers’. Clearly asking for their help to achieve a specific, achievable outcome, will start that internal conversation of, ‘I can do that, and it is only a Saturday morning.’

LET SERVICE BE SERVICE

Start the project with a very…

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During every minute of the day, people around the globe are actively using the Bible App to engage with Scripture. This infographic shares a quick look at what happens in just one minute in the YouVersion Community.

Click the image to view full size.

YouVersion Community

 

Source: The YouVersion Blog

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Pain CenterAs Paul concluded his second letter to Timothy, he expressed some hurt. Demas had forsaken him. Alexander the coppersmith had caused him much harm. At one point, no one was willing to stand with Paul. Rejection, criticism, and abandonment hurt! The world is watching believers to see how we’re going to handle it all.

Most of us handle hurt in one of two ways: we ignore or hide it so that nobody sees, or we handle it in all the wrong ways. Paul demonstrates some appropriate responses to hurt…

  1. Stay positive. Paul had been through some rough stuff, but he was looking forward to Timothy’s coming, to seeing John Mark again, and to receiving the parchments. There’s always a brighter day coming for the believer.
  2. Forgive. When Stephen was stoned to death for his faith in Christ, he asked God’s forgiveness upon his persecutors, who were laying their garments at the feet of Paul, who in turn prays the same for those who had forsaken him.
  3. Cling to God’s Word. Paul was looking forward to getting his books, but he couldn’t wait for the parchments – the Scriptures. The Bible speaks to…

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Turkey HeadThanksgiving is a great holiday. I find that this holiday provides a great time to refresh and recharge for the final push of the year.  I must admit that I have not always maximized this time.  Below I have tips to help you not MESS UP Thanksgiving.

1. Work more than you rest.

It is okay to STOP and REST.  Your body and mind need rest.  You have been going hard for almost an entire year. Twitter, Email, Facebook can all go on hold.  Put down the phone and step away from the computer.

2. Talk more than you listen.

More than likely you will attend many social gatherings over the holiday with friends and family.  Please do not be the one who talks more than listens.  You know this person …  The one obsessed with using the popular pronoun “I” over and over again.

3. Spend more than you give.

Black Friday.  Need I say more.  It is called Black Friday.  The color black reminds me of death.  Do not blow all the money you earned on what retailers call “great deals.”  Set a budget and buy only what people need and want….

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Thank YouThis morning I tweeted:

Good morning! Instead of 1 day of Thanksgiving, how about living a life of thanksgiving?

That’s because I believe as Marcus Tullius Cicero has been quoted as saying:

A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all the other virtues.

An unthankful person complains. A thankful person compliments.

An unthankful person discourages those around her. A thankful person encourages those around her.

An unthankful person hoards because he thinks he doesn’t have enough. A thankful person gives.

An unthankful person selfishly pushes her own agenda ahead of others. A thankful person selflessly puts others first.

An unthankful person lacks compassion. A thankful person recognizes he wouldn’t be where he is today without the help and has compassion on others who are in need.

An unthankful person disrespects the gifts she’s been given. A thankful person stewards well the gifts she’s been given.

An unthankful person may lie, cheat or steal to get what he thinks he deserves. A thankful person respects the rights of the people around him.

This is why starting each day with gratitude sets the tone for your entire day and therefore also sets the tone for…

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DirectionAs we saw in our first article spiritual direction has long roots going back to the ministry of the Apostle Paul. In our second article we explored how this ministry of companionship and guidance needs to play a central role in the pastoral vocation. In this article we look at four ways spiritual direction can become a value in our church.

First, it always begins with us pastors. How we view people and consequently relate to them speaks volumes to our congregation. If we have space for people, and are intentional about listening and attending to the unique journey of each person in our church it will not go unnoticed. Our posture towards people is infectious. By modeling spiritual direction we will organically create a culture of individuals who care deeply about each other’s spiritual lives. Thus, we as pastors must lead the charge in embracing the values of spiritual direction.

Second, pastors and church leaders need to receive spiritual direction as well. Pastors and ministry leaders not only need to serve as models in the giving of spiritual direction, but also in the receiving of spiritual direction. For us to provide care…

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Thanks LoveWhat kind of heart do you have?

We often describe a person’s character, strengths, and faults with an adjective attached to the word “heart”. A person is described as being: warm hearted, cold hearted, lion hearted, big hearted, or even “heartless”.

In the last couple of centuries, The poets and songwriters have used a phrase to describe the excitement
when seeing the object of one’s romantic affections: “Be still my beating heart”. In truth, our heartbeat is often noticeable during times of fear, great surprise, and hard labor. The strong and accelerated beat of the heart is the same in each case, but the cause is different. Yet, in every case, the beating heart represents a response to the events of life.

How would someone describe your heart today? The holiday season reminds me that my heart should not only be big and warm, but also thankful. I like to think that when our hearts beat with thankfulness, we will also have a heart that is warm, generous, and caring .

In Luke 17, Jesus tells the story of one man whose heart beat with thanksgiving…

Now it happened as He went to Jerusalem…

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Ted WilliamsI’m a big fan of baseball – especially the way it used to be – such as 1941, when Ted Williams finished the season with a .406 batting average. He was the last player to break the elusive .400 mark. In 60 years, nobody else has done it. Tony Gwynn, Wade Boggs, and a few others have come close, but the best players in baseball today can’t quite break through this ceiling.

Do you realize what that means? It means that the best hitters in baseball fail 60% of their times at bat (if we don’t worry about walks). When you hit the ball and get on base one out of three times, you’re one of the best in the league. But sometimes, in my relationships, I expect others to bat 1.000. I expect a 100% performance. Ted Williams was a scientific hitter. He could see which way the seams on the ball were turning and could tell how the ball would move as it approached the plate. Ted Williams was one of the best, but he was far from perfect.

We all tend to “perform” at different levels in life, but even the…

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Secret ChurchNote: Jason Hayes, young adult ministry specialist at LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, reports on the Secret Church gathering and simulcast by David Platt on the topic of “Family, Marriage, Sex and the Gospel,” Nov. 4 from The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Ala.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP) — Martin Luther once declared, “My conscience is captive to the Word of God. To go against conscience is neither right nor safe.” I see a similar conviction in David Platt.

As someone who also loves to teach, I admire David’s passion for the Word of God. His commitment to the Bible is seen in both his knowledge and zeal for teaching with conviction.

I hadn’t been on the campus of The Church at Brook Hills long before I knew my anticipation for Secret Church was well warranted. Even in the parking lot there was a spirit of anticipation among those involved — from the LifeWay crew in a broadcast truck sending a simulcast to some 43,000 worshippers around the world to the dozens backstage making Secret Church a success. They were confident in the God who had led them…

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