Challenging believers in Jesus to think and act based on Bible truth.

Friday Feature 6.28.13 – Three Relationships Every Believer Needs

It’s obvious that I am a fan of discipleship.  All Christians should be: it’s what the guy who raised Himself from the dead told us to do. Out of this week’s Monday Challenge articles, this article (and short 2 minute video) on discipleship received the most clicks. CHECK IT OUT!

Three Indispensable Discipleship Relationships.

A few quick words:

1. I like the balanced approach.

The idea of discipleship can seem overwhelming.  “What do I do?” is a question that will often pop up when a believer wants to make discipleship, but isn’t sure how. This quick article and video give good balance to the types of relationships we should be seeking.

2. Yes, even a brand new believer can help others grow.

If it wasn’t in Scripture, I wouldn’t argue for it. If I hadn’t seen it numerous times on short term missions trips, I wouldn’t encourage it. But, every believer can be an encouragement and reach out to someone farther behind them on the arc of growth.

3. Please don’t wait for your pastor to do it.

Discipleship is for every believer. Don’t wait for your pastor to do the job that Jesus commanded you to do. These three relationships ensure you will be grounded in Scriptural principles as you seek to grow in faith and help others do the same.

 

Think and Act 6.26.13 – Two Examples of God in the Small Things

Two recent examples of God in the small things:

1. I decided I would not buy Skillet’s new album so we could track expenses better over the next few weeks. I wanted to be sure we were honoring God in our spending. The next day, a friend offered me a free code for a download of the album (did I mention I really wanted it badly?) that he had received in the mail.

Wow! What a great blessing.

2. Tuesday night we took the kids out to a local metro park for swimming and outdoor dinner. While attempting to get a charcoal fire going, I failed several times (and wasted a lot of matches in the process). I decided to give it one more shot.

I made a big pile in the grill, doused it with lighter fluid, then waited a couple minutes. Then I called the kids over, and we prayed. After several minutes we had a fire to cook hotdogs!

I hope these stories encourage you not to forget that God is active, even in the small things. Don’t forget to rely on Him all the time. He can definitely help when things don’t seem to be going your way!

Tuesday Rambling 6.25.13

Tuesday Rambling.  In no particular order, here we go:

Sports

  • It’s been a while since I said much about sports.  Going with baseball first, I think the Indians will finish with a better record than the Yankees, assuming the Yankees don’t get any additional offensive help.
  • I was really rooting for the Spurs (who really blew game six), but you have to hand it to LeBron.  He truly is the best, and the best usually win championships.
  • Rafa Nadal out in the first round of Wimbledon? Ouch!

Growth

  • I am really pondering God’s sovereignty.  I am growing in my understanding of what He is doing and in my ability to discern His activity (and conversely, the devil’s plans for destruction).
  • Authority is power rightly held.  This phrase, used by our Project Shine speaker Ryan Lawrence last week, taught me much about how to approach God.  Humans trying to say how God should or should not be without consulting God’s Word are trying to use authority they simply don’t have.  Wow.
  • Out of a very challenging incident God is teaching me a lot.

Family

  • I am looking forward to catching up on some family time this week.  It will be fun to chill out by some water and cook a little dinner together.
  • Still no calls for any boys for us to bring into our home for foster care.
  • Any parents out there struggle with summer bedtime? We are laying down the law (with reasonable exceptions, of course).  Our biggest need? We still need time when the kids are in bed and we have time to read, relax, and talk without them needing things from us!

America

  • I value my personal freedom highly.  I value my spiritual freedom more.  The presence of personal freedom does not guarantee success in promoting my Christian faith.  The absence of personal freedom would not guarantee failure in promoting my Christian faith.  Hmmmm…..
  • I truly don’t know what to make of all this scandal.  The best way for me to articulate it is that I think our government is very sloppy in the way it’s being run, yet very strong in the way in which it is getting people to depend on it.  Maybe I’ll chew on that and flesh it out a bit more, but for now that’s a decent summary.

 

Monday Challenge 6.24.13

Ahhhh…..Monday.  A relaxing day after a very tiring Project Shine week last week.  But, still enough energy to dish up a good challenge.  Here you’ll find a collection of links intended to challenge you to both think and act.  Friday I’ll summarize and feature the article that is most read by Monday’s visitors. Enjoy, and be challenged!

Link of the Week

Here’s an article I quoted in yesterday’s sermon.  It’s a fantastic read by John McArthur about women and their place in the Bible. It takes into account views regarding women from both Biblical times and contemporary times.

Question: How does this article help you when people say the Bible suppresses women?

The Christian Faith.

1. Believers: you should have three types of relationships.

Act on this: what can you do to develop these types of relationships?

2. I’m willing to bet you won’t click on this article.  It summarizes the efforts of a Christian group near Newtown, CN to provide hope and healing in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy.

Are you willing to do something to help this community process its grief in the coming years?

3. Marriage and freedom.  It’s an important topic and this article comes highly recommended. It does make me wonder, thought, if the side pushing for gay marriage sees the Christian view the same way this article presents their view?

Is our religious liberty at risk with the passage of such laws? If so, what should the average Christian do about it?

4. Where do you find your worth?

What false measuring sticks do we use? More, how can we practically remove them?

Project Shine 2013: I Am a Man of Small Faith

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Project Shine 2013 has come and gone.  Photos and videos will be posted on our Facebook page and our webpage in the coming week.

As I reflect on the week, I confess that I under-estimated God. Project Shine had experienced a lot of change in the past twelve months.  For a couple months last fall we weren’t even sure Project Shine 2013 would even happen. Step by faithful step, God provided. As the weeks went by, though, I continued to doubt.  I just wasn’t sure this was going to work.  I kept exercising my own faith in the process with step by trusting step. Things seemed to be coming together, but my confidence just wasn’t there.

Just as each month leading up to Shine seemed like it presented its own challenge, each day of the week presented challenges of its own.  Satan is no dummy when it comes to getting me frustrated and distracted.  Let’s have a messy worksite; some communication breakdowns; a major accident at our church causing thousands of dollars of damage; an hour lost on Monday due to rain; work-related problems on my worksite I just couldn’t solve; about five hours of sleep each night on average; on and on and on I could go.

I prayed like crazy.  I asked others to pray.  We prayed leading up to Shine.  During Shine I prayed prayers of utter desperation, at times needing strength and focus moment to moment. Others prayed in deep faith as well. And what happened?

  • 39 total service projects were done (a few are still needing completion which will push the number higher)
  • The Gospel was shared with unbelieving residents.
  • Believing residents were encouraged.
  • One resident attended worship one night and responded to the talk that was given.
  • Several people (don’t really know for sure how many) committed their lives to Christ.
  • One young person committed their life to Christ after seeing the cross in the sky in the picture above.
  • God sent that cross-shaped cloud formation to our parking lot celebration as an encouragement to believers as we ministered (at least one person was led to Christ during that celebration!)
  • There was repentance of deep rooted sin as the love of Christ was taught.
  • All participants were encouraged and instructed clearly about God’s authority.
  • We participated with Mission Akron (a group from ABT, a larger church about a mile from ours), and enjoyed fellowship, worship, and serving with about 60-70 awesome people.

And, God provided.  And, last night before dinner, I felt the emotion of God lifting the burden and reminding me just how powerful He was. And it was a beautiful thing to experience. The joy of serving with other believers and new friendships and partnerships in the Gospel were beautiful as well.

Leading up to and during Project Shine 2013, I felt like a man of small faith.  Lord Jesus, thank You for Your blessings during this week. Please increase my faith!