Tag Archives: teaching

A Conversation For The Church

onward-christian-solider

Since the day I stepped into the ministry I’ve looked to define who I am, where I should be and where I should go. That changes most every day, and truthfully many days I’ve been directionless. My fear is, that that is truth in regards to many churches.

I’m always seeking leadership ideas. It drives me and excites, and it’s why I believe God has placed that purpose in my heart and placed me in the positions in life for which He has. But… that’s not to say that I don’t fail… really often. So as I approach a leadership event this weekend my mind is in hyper-drive for ways to encourage church staff, but I don’t want it to be about fluff (i.e. church programming, church events, etc.) I want a meeting that charges an ongoing conversation among the people who attend.

Ha! That should be what church should be, right?

So three questions I ask myself this morning about my ministry direction:

  1. Does my conversations bear witness of Christ and His cross?
  2. Is my conversation bold?
  3. Does my conversation bring a battle?

John 10:25

Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me.

Bearing Witness

Christ and the cross should be first and foremost in anything I do in ministry work. And yet it’s often down the list. It’s very easy to get programs started that are to entertain but if they don’t sustain a conversation once the program has ended then they likely didn’t serve the purpose we intended, which was to draw folks to Christ.

As an example that likely most in the ministry can relate to; how many pizza parties have you had that netted members? Owch…

Acts 9:29

And he spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians: but they went about to slay him.

Being Bold

Speaking boldly is speaking in confidence. How confident am I? I for certain am confident in the message I want to relay but my methodology is not always so sure. If I want to relay a message that is a conversation starter I have to exude courage and confidence in a way that causes the listener to want to pick up the cross as well! And that takes preparation, which takes time and commitment, and that my dear fear is a church wide failure. People are not committed to anything past 12 o’clock noon on Sunday.

1 Corinthians 1:10

Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

The Battle Plan

You better believe if you are a bold, witness bearing child of God starting conversations for Christ, you are in for a battle. And not just from other people! You yourself will be your most vicious opponent.

ry to study the word and see how many other notions come into mind, try to speak boldly and watch timidity rear its ugly head, try to share an idea and watch fear enter your heart as to the reaction of people. Creating change in the church always brings apprehension but it doesn’t have to bring division. If the purpose is for Christ’s glory and you’ve earnestly sought God’s plan, God’s people will more than likely get on board… even if you have to nudge them from behind.

I’ll leave you to talk amongst yourself…

We are without excuse

#WithoutExcuse

We’re without excuse. I look about me this morning and I’m grateful for the “raisin’ up” I had in the hills of West Virginia. This is where God placed me and by His grace I was placed in the hands of two wonderful Holy Spirit filled parents. But were I not, I’d still be without excuse. And though I was, that still did not guarantee me to become who I am; a child of God. We all get to grace the same way, by accepting what Christ did; not by being born into a certain family. The world is so full of excuses. This morning I’ve had my eyeballs full…

  • The World says: “So and so made me who I am.”
    • No, “so and so” may have hurt you, but you decided who you are.”
  • The world says: “All religions lead to Heaven.”
    • No religion is just the practice of a learned behavior, Heaven comes from a relationship with Christ. Side note: If you have a relationship with someone, you’re pretty close.
  • The world says: “We control our destiny.”
    • Only so far as God allows. So technically you don’t.
  • The world says: “There is no God.”
    • Those who say that are without excuse because we’ve been raised better.

Gene and Violet Hardway raised me, but God raised me up.

Amos 2:11-13 says

And I raised up of your sons for prophets, and of your young men for Nazarites. Is it not even thus, O ye children of Israel? saith the Lord. But ye gave the Nazarites wine to drink; and commanded the prophets, saying, Prophesy not. Behold, I am pressed under you, as a cart is pressed that is full of sheaves.

It is God who put me in a higher place that I may have the privilege of sharing the gospel. Not because I am great, but because I am His. A privilege afforded anyone who accepts the holiness, sacrifice and will of God. He has a purpose for you just as He had a purpose for Israel, and still does. But they rejected Him. Here God tells them I raised up your sons for prophets. God selected and set into place men of God to shine the light to Israel but they chose to ignore it; continually falling back into the ways of the world until disaster struck and then they’d call on God.  But there came a day when God had been rejected one too many times. (His eyeballs eventually got full too I guess.)

Is America there? God raised up prophets and of those He set aside the Nazarite men, many in the prime of their life vowed themselves to the service of God to the extreme, and today we have as those as well. Sure, there are those in the ministry who do not walk the walk they profess, but there are those who do. They’re not perfect, no man is, but they live what they preach. America is without excuse. I speak collectively. I’m an American, but my country is not here, my homeland awaits on the other side of Jordan.

I understand Amos’ frustration at Israel. That’s how I feel about the arrogant lot of people in my face every day. Those who justify their immoral behavior because of how they were raised or treated. I am truthfully sorry for your heartache… but you’re without excuse. Someone else may have hurt you, but Christ, the Creator of all the earth,  loved you enough to die for you and longs to be in a relationship with you through the Holy Spirit and you have hurt and turned your back on Him. He who is your perfect friend and Father. You are without excuse.

The trash talkers of the waves tell the world that all religions are right. Tell me any other than Christianity who’s God died for them.  None. Tell me any other religion that has the moral standards that every human being in their soul knows is right. None but Christianity. Tell me any other that puts themselves in the role of a servant to a heathen nation that rejects them so they might be saved. None but Christian. … Yes… I’m with Amos!

Our destiny is written in the scripture of old. It’s done. Or in Christ’s words, “It is finished.” The only thing we control is self-will; God has the power at any time to stop the world from spinning and throw us into space. Dwell on that thought for a second. God has put the evidence of Himself through His creation before us and He sent messengers to tell the world of His desire to be our Father. I am one.

Amos prophesied that when judgement came, and it would, it would feel like a cart bogged down with weight to the point it couldn’t move. How many in America feel like that today? I love America… but I do not love what she has become. I love her people… but I’m not fool enough to think that God won’t wipe that arrogance off of their faces through judgement so harsh I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.   Saved and unsaved we are without excuse.

There’s no excuse for rejecting Christ.

There’s no excuse for not telling someone about Him.

Empty Bellied Sheep on the Road to Heaven

Matthew 9:37

King James Version (KJV)

 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;

Our church over the past few months have taken on discipling like we’d not in a very long time. It was indeed discipling that made the difference in my life as a new convert by having two or three people who took an interest in my life and encouraged me daily in my walk with Christ. They walked along beside me encouraging me daily; not necessarily by saying or doing, but simply “being.”

Being available

Every day someone would swing by my office just to say hello, or call to find out how I liked the church or how life was going. I’m sure they had other things they could have been doing. But one thing was certain, I felt loved!  They made themselves a part of my life and in so doing I learned servitude.

Being approachable

If I’m not the queen of dumb questions, I’m at least the princess. Getting saved puts a burning desire down within to read the Word of God and with reading comes wondering. While the Holy Spirit certainly poured an understanding into me that I had never known, I still didn’t understand many of the cultural aspects and theological terms. It was wonderful having people that I could unashamedly ask the “dumb” questions and who were grounded in the Word enough to know the answers and in so doing I learned study.

Being abased

Much of the time an outspoken church has a reputation of being haughty or holier than thou. Their focus is on appearance rather than attitude and the result is those around them feeling less, or so it was with me. A perfectly dressed saint did not inspire me so much as a saint (who though he or she may have been dressed to the nines or in jeans and a flannel) would make me feel as though I had just had my feet washed by the King. I cannot count the times my new friends not only took care of my spiritual needs but my physical needs as well – and in so doing I learned humility.

Our primary responsibility is leading souls to the saving grace of Jesus Christ, but that’s only the beginning; the actual work for the cause of Christ has just begun. If I had not had wonderful people encouraging me along my new found path, I’d have been back to the old path in no time flat. Our church had gotten away from that and was doing a great injustice to the service of the Lord. His sheep were walking around with empty bellies.

In John 21:15-17 the Lord asks Peter three time “Lovest thou me?” and Peter (to paraphrase) said – “You know I do Lord!” Christ answered once to feed the lambs, and twice to feed the sheep. The lambs (new converts, the sheep (those who are stable and unstable in church) ~ We all need fed, we all need encouragement. Some days the road to Heaven is long…

Call and encourage one of your peeps today!