Archives For Ministry

These articles are written to encourage and equip you and your people to serve others by meeting needs in love.

Topics include: leadership, preaching, vision, SHAPE, building ministry teams, developing leaders, becoming Purpose Driven, mental health, kids, students, etc.

No Condemnation

By Rick Warren

“There is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.”

Romans 8:1 (NLT)

Conviction comes from God, and condemnation comes from the devil. The purpose of conviction is to correct something that’s wrong in your life. The purpose of condemnation is to put you down, to make you feel guilty and ashamed.

God’s motivation for convicting you is that he loves you and wants to help you mature. Satan’s motivation for condemning you is that he hates you and wants to make you miserable.

When God speaks to you about an area in your life that needs changing, the conviction is very specific. He will tell you what is wrong, and then he’ll give you the solution. When you confess the issue to God, the sense of conviction goes away instantly.

When Satan condemns you, it comes as a general sense of disapproval and guilt about nothing in particular. It can leave you with a sense of hopelessness—that there’s nothing you can do to get out from under the endless condemnation.

Many Christians live under condemnation and guilt, thinking it’s the voice of God. But it’s…

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6 Actions Every Christian Should Take in Light of Jesus’ Return

The last year has been tough—no doubt about it. Many people have asked me how I’ve stayed so positive during such a difficult time.

Here’s my answer: I’ve read the end of the story. I know we win. I don’t know when Jesus will return (no one does), but I know we’re closer than we’ve ever been in the history of the world. 

Many Christians know that Jesus is coming back someday, but it doesn’t affect their lives. They don’t understand how the truth of Jesus’ return connects to the problems they’re facing. But James 2:12 says, “Speak and act like people who will be judged by the law that sets us free” (CEV). Jesus wants his followers to be ready for his return.  

So as we lead our churches through this tough season, one of our responsibilities is to help people get ready for the second coming of Jesus.

How should we live in light of Jesus’ return? Here are six actions to take from the book of James: 

Clean up…

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hand in grass, free

By Roger

I’m a faithful believer in Christ overcoming a Sexual Addiction to pornography and a lust for fantasy, and my name is Roger.

I was born into a family that stayed heavily involved in church my entire childhood. Growing up, our family certainly had its ups and downs, but I never questioned whether I was fully loved. Having no brothers, my childhood choices were to play with dolls or ride my bike, so I did both. I was the lead Barbie car driver and took great pride in chauffeuring my sisters’ dolls to the appointed location as reckless as I would imagine Bo and Luke Duke would. But riding my bike with my dog, Gummer, by my side was where I spent most of my childhood. I would imagine I was on a motorcycle as I rode by myself. It was like the noise of the wind would drown out all the real parts of life that I didn’t want to experience. Looking back, I am now able to see this season as the start of the longing for fantasy in my world.

As the teenage years commenced, the draw…

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Man Walking

By Roger Stanton, Nation Assimilation Coach

A year ago, my wife and I were faced with an incredible opportunity to move our family from the Pacific Northwest to Hawaii. We were met with a decision that pitted the life we loved against what may be an even better life for our family. In the end, we decided against the move, but we have spent the last year in quarantine, wondering what life would have been like if we did go.

Abram, along with his wife and nephew, faced a similar situation at the end of Genesis 11. While he and his family had set out for the Promised Land of Canaan, the Bible says they settled in Harran. And then Genesis 12:1 happened:

“The Lord had said to Abram, ‘Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed…

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Trust God to Provide

By Rick Warren

Man's Hand Releasing Sand

 

“Since he did not spare even his own Son for us but gave him up for us all, won’t he also surely give us everything else?”

Romans 8:32 (TLB)

The major cause of stress in your life is worry. You worry because you wonder if you will have what you need when you need it.

If you want a cure for stress, you need to learn to turn to God to meet your needs.

Some people find their security in their job. But when they lose their job, they lose their peace of mind. Others put their security in their marriage. But when their spouse dies or they go through a divorce, they ask, “Who am I? What is my identity?” Or maybe they put their security in their money. But when the money’s gone, they lose their sense of self-worth.

Why would you put your security in anything that can be taken from you? You can lose your job, your health, your reputation, your spouse, and even your mind. But you cannot lose your relationship with Christ.

When you put your security…

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By Rodney Holmstrom, National Field Director  

The holidays can be especially tough for so many. It can bring up past memories, losses, and even unwanted anniversaries. This year seems to add an extra level of heaviness with Covid and ongoing strife in our world.

The question that seems to be resonating in this season for me, and may apply to you as well at this time, is: “Am I ‘struggling’ or am I ‘challenged’?” I am learning that there is a difference between the two for me. If we are facing a trial in our life but are not using the tools around us to deal with it in a healthy way, then it is struggling…with no hope. However, if we are facing the trials, temptations, or all our battles with the tools we have before us, it moves us from “struggling” to “challenged,” which comes with hope for a better future. I don’t know about you, but I will take challenged over struggling any day.

As it’s been said, “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.” This season may bring up some old memories and pains, leaving you challenged today as…

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By Mac

I’m a believer in Jesus Christ whose drug and alcohol addiction brought me to Celebrate Recovery, my name is Mac. Being raised in the church by godly parents is no sure ticket to heaven. There are still choices to make. And my choice was to party! At all costs, I did what made me feel good at the moment, and I would forget all the church talk of living the good life ingrained in me from my first memories. Now I was free to do what made me feel good: drugs, alcohol, and getting my girlfriend, Mary, pregnant at age 15. We married at age 18, and that’s when I really became free to do whatever I wanted. No one was going to tell me how to live. Ironically, by the age of 29, all the things I was doing that were part of my freedom became my master. I was now a slave. My wife had chosen to go back to our church roots and re-engage her relationship with Jesus Christ. My drug addiction became a heavy yoke, while Mary found true freedom in a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Mary…

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“We stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead.”

2 Corinthians 1:9 (NLT)

God’s strength will carry you through every storm. Sometimes we experience storms that push us to the limit. The apostle Paul would agree. He was once so depressed by his circumstances, he felt like he was out of options. Paul had come to the end of his strength. On his own, he could no longer endure.

How did Paul get through that difficult time? He plugged into God’s power—the same power that raised Jesus from the dead.

How about you? Have you come to the end of your own strength? Are you out of options and wondering where you’ll find the power to take another step forward?

There is just one condition for receiving God’s power in your life: humility.

God doesn’t give his power to arrogant people. Humility is simply admitting to God, “You are God, and I am not. I am powerless to change this situation, so I am giving it to you.” The moment you do, God brings…

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By Richard

 

Hello, I am a believer in Jesus Christ recovering from chemical dependency and compulsion. My name is Richard.

 

At 16, only two days into my school year, I was in a car wreck that left me in the hospital with months of rehabilitation, and my best friend dead. I felt powerless watching him die, but I thought I had to be strong.

 

Only two years later, I started five years of insanity, not a single sober day. I was experiencing many blackouts with no recall of what I had done. I never thought about God, family, or friends. My life was meaningless, compulsive, and all about me.

 

I married my girlfriend, who was pregnant. Our relationship was all about the party life. We had three daughters in three years, but that did not stop the partying. When my wife was pregnant with our third daughter, she went into premature labor while trying to lift me from the floor after another blackout. My daughter Ashley lived for 11 hours, and it seems like I would die with her. When the doctor told me, my knees buckled, and I collapsed on the floor in a…

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“The Shepherd”

By Celebrate Recovery

by Andy Petry

I was reminded of something important this week as I was reading: we don’t walk this path alone, but we have a God who is willing to walk alongside us and picks us up like a loving Father when we’re struggling. I was reminded of this passage in Isaiah 40:11:

 

“He tends his flock like a shepherd:

He gathers the lambs in his arms

and gently carries them close to his heart;

He gently leads those that have young.”

 

As I’ve walked through this season, this has been an enormous truth I’ve needed to grab on to. I love every time in the Bible where it talks about God as a shepherd.  Because a shepherd in those times was dedicated entirely to caring for and nurturing their flock, even to the point of fighting off the bears and lions that tried to harm the sheep. This dedication was a beautiful mixture of compassion, strength, and a willingness to live in the middle of the mess and grime that came with living with a bunch of livestock. A shepherd wasn’t afraid of the mess. He loved the sheep with all his heart and fought…

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“The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.”
Psalm 37:23-24 (NLT)

Do you feel like you aren’t growing fast enough?

When you first become a Christian, you start growing quickly in your faith. After a while, the growth slows down. Your spiritual growth is like a baby; they double in size within their first year. However, that growth isn’t sustained. If they grew that fast every year, they’d quickly be bigger than a house!

God isn’t in a hurry for you to grow—he is never in a hurry! You might be, but he isn’t. He wants you to have a life deeply rooted in Christ. He wants you to stand strong so when the rough winds of life hit you, you won’t get blown over.

In seasons of slow spiritual growth, you may feel like God has stopped caring about you. This is never true because he “delights in every detail” of your life. Your spiritual growth is a process that will take your entire life. You won’t finish growing in a week, a month, or…

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11 Ways to Help Your Congregation Apply God’s Word

Many pastors would say the purpose of preaching is “to interpret the text” or “to help people understand God’s Word.” Those aren’t bad reasons, but they are incomplete. 

The Bible says, “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up” (Ephesians 4:11-12 NIV).

The aim of preaching is to change the character and the conduct of the listener so we can lead them to maturity, ministry, and missions. Ultimately, the purpose of preaching is the same as God’s purpose for human beings—for God’s people to become like Jesus.  

That’s why I believe the number one problem in today’s church is “application-less” preaching. How can you put more application in your preaching?

Look for ways to include these 11 practices in your preaching:

Aim for a specific action.

The more you know what you’re aiming for, the easier it is to get a response. A purpose-driven sermon is like a bullet. Your…

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