Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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Improve the Economy

Posted: August 17, 2013 in Uncategorized
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I had breakfast yesterday with a friend. He is a friend that challenges me to be a better Christian. Thank God for people like that in our lives who encourage us when we need it, and who can bring correction to our lives when we need it. This friend often challenges me in the area of finances. He believes the commands and the promises of God’s word. He works hard, knowing that God said through the apostle Paul, ‘If you don’t work, you don’t eat.” He gives generously to those in need, knowing God’s word challenges us to care for the poor, the orphans, and the widows. He believes in saving and budgeting. And he believes that all good gifts ultimately come from God and completely belong to Him.

So today I am thinking about God’s principles related to giving. In the Old Testament, God commanded His people to give a tithe. We are taught that everything belongs to God, and by setting aside the first 10% for Him, we are reminded it is all His, and that He was the one who provided for us. In the New Testament the focus is on grace giving. The tithe is assumed as the starting point and we are encouraged to give graciously, knowing that Jesus said, “Give and it will be given to you. . .”

My friend shared yesterday of helping someone re-evaluate their budget. The person had told them, ‘I cannot seem to manage on my income.’ He gave a recommended budget that started with 11% giving to God, included gifts for the poor through some hunger ministry or gospel rescue, paying all the bills, putting money in savings, and having some disposable income, with some left over. The person was surprised, and said, “I just don’t know where my money goes.” To which my friend replied, “Do you keep receipts?” They said, “No.” Keep your receipts and you will know. It is simple math.

I want to challenge you to be a good manager of the resources God has entrusted to you. Personally, I think you should work hard. If you don’t have a job, your job is finding a job. Spend the 8 hours a day you would have worked looking for work. Pay your bills, and include a savings account in that. If you don’t feel you can afford to give back to God, perhaps you should simplify your life. Drive a less expensive car. Get rid of cable and unnecessary expenses. I believe you should give at least 10% of your income through the church you are a part of. Beyond that, give generously to support ministries that you know are honoring God and advancing His kingdom.

Who Will Tell Them?

Posted: August 15, 2013 in Uncategorized

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All around the world there are beautiful children like these in the picture. They are someone’s sons and daughters, someone’s grandchildren. These children live in a village of West Africa where only 7 years ago they had little hope, because the Gospel of Jesus Christ had not come yet to them. They had hope because there was always the chance someone would come. These children are a part of a people group ethnically that number over 4 million. And yet less than .001% of these people are followers of Christ. Many villages of this people group have yet to hear the name of Jesus.

There are 477.5 million people in North India. That is one of every 12 people on our planet. Each day 10,500 of those people die, and all but a handful enter into a Christless eternity. Many of them have never heard the name of Jesus before.This is true of nearly 2.8 billion people in our world who have either little or no access to the Gospel message.

Jesus chose to pass through Samaria in John 4, a region of the world avoided by most of His people. But He had a heart to carry the Good News to a town there near Jacob’s well. He met a woman who was scorned by most of the village, and yet He told her of living water that offered eternal life. She met the Savior, and then she went and told her entire village. Like that woman, you can make a difference in our world. People who know tell people who don’t know about Jesus.

Today we have the technology and opportunities to make sure that every people group in our world has access to the Gospel. The promise of God is that anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. (Rom. 10:13). But before they can call on Him they have to hear of Him. That is where you and I can make a difference. God has called His church to Go into all the world and make disciples. You can be a part of that. Your church can be a part of that.

As the villagers responded to the woman’s invitation to come meet a man (Jesus), the Lord said to the disciples there, “You say there are four months and then comes the harvest; I say to you lift up your eyes and behold, the fields are white unto harvest now.” Let’s make sure every child grows up in a village where the Gospel is proclaimed.

http://www.churchunleashedglobal.org

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I heard an African man say, “God gave Americans watches, but He gave Africans time.” So let me make a confession right here at the beginning. I am not the most patient man in the world. (Some who know me well just thought, “Really?”) And please don’t put my patience on the top of your prayer list. James speaks of God teaching us patience through trials and testing.

But I have been spoiled with the post modern ideas of speed and having it right now. When someone recently offered to buy me a new computer, I chose faster speed with the most update processor over a touch screen. So when it comes to ministry I struggle with the same matters of time. I want my calendar organized and filled today. I want my finances in order, today. I want what I want when I want it.

But don’t judge me. God isn’t finished and He often teaches me “Wait on the Lord.” In fact, like many people I know, I pray, and then when God doesn’t act in my schedule I battle the temptation to just do something. And usually the biggest problems in my life occur when I get ahead of God.

Now personally, I don’t think the instructions to “Wait” in the Bible mean do nothing. Usually they come in the form of “Wait before the Lord.” I see in those words a call to prayer. I believe God often asks us to wait before Him so that we will seek Him, and His word promises we will find Him when we seek Him with all of our hearts.

I am glad that God is patient. In fact, more than that He is long-suffering. He has certainly been patient to wait on me.If God were impatient with me, as slow as I am to get it most of the time, I would be in big trouble. There is an urgency, however. There are people dying all over the world and entering into a Christ-less eternity. Somewhere around 2.8 billion of the people on our planet have limited and sometimes no access to the Gospel message. We must be swift to obey the commands of our Lord to “Go into the world and proclaim His kingdom.” We must wait in prayer before the Father praying to the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into His harvest. We need to be willing to stay but planning to go. And not just some of us. He has commissioned every believer.

Church Unleashed Global is a ministry to assist churches to embrace an Acts 1:8 strategy. We can help you. Contact us today; check out connection opportunities at http://www.churchunleashedglobal.org

How Deep are Your Roots?

Posted: August 13, 2013 in Uncategorized

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The Bible often uses images such as a tree and its root system. I think about Psalm 1 that talks about the man who is blessed of God. “Blessed is the man that does not walk in the path of sinners. . .” And the psalmist compares that man to a tree with a deep root system.

Jesus spoke of our relationship with Him as one of “abiding”. He said that He was the vine and we were the branch. And He spoke of the vital union necessary to produce fruit that glorifies God with our lives. So all of that got me to thinking. “How deep are your roots?” We want the fruit in our lives. We want the beautiful tree above the ground.
But without a healthy root system, that is not possible.

Deep roots in our lives as Christians are cultivated through living in the Word of God, and through prayer. So how is your daily devotional life? Do you greet God in the morning and take time to spend with Him in intimate fellowship? Or do you or do you just rush out into the day hoping to catch up with God later? Consider today the root system of your life. Be blessed.

I sat through a worship service yesterday where the pastor challenged his congregation to see 3000 people come to the Lord in faith two weeks from yesterday. I thought, “Wow, a 21st century Pentecost moment, right here in South Carolina. Wouldn’t that be awesome.” The sermon focused on the woman of Samaria that Jesus encountered in the heat of the day beside Jacob’s well. Here was a woman of bad reputation. She had been married and divorced five times and now was living with a man she had not married. She was not likely on anyone’s list of most likely evangelists to impact a city.

And yet when she met Jesus she did exactly that. She went and shared her testimony with her village, and many of them became followers of Christ. The pastor had asked at the outset of the service, “Have you ever believed a lie that crippled you in some way?” In fact he pointed out that essentially one sentence from this woman changed an entire town. We have believed the lie that we cannot make a difference.

Oh, did I mention this church had 35,000 in attendance two Sundays back? SO the pastor said, “If God could use one woman to change an entire town, could he not use 35,000 people to change the state?” I love the vision and the challenge. Why not today? Why not you and me? Why not our church? Is God not the same today as He was in the book of John, or Acts for that matter. So why not a 21st century Pentecost right here in S.C.? Or in your church?

You know it is interesting that this woman did not know Jesus long, before she told others. It is incredible that this woman who was ostracized by her village so that she had to come alone to draw water in the heat of the day, when she met Jesus she couldn’t wait to tell others. Why aren’t we that quick to tell others?

I have heard some say of this church, “Well, it is all about entertainment.” So let me ask you something. If someone insists that a church be the way they prefer, music style, program style, etc., are they not equally guilty of wanting to be entertained? Others have said, “Well, not all those decisions are real?” Guess what, they aren’t at any other church, either. Or someone will say, “In all that crowd, some aren’t involved, they are just hiding in the crowd.” I have seen churches with less than a hundred where only a small percentage are actually involved. I praise God for a vision like I experienced in worship yesterday. I pray we can reproduce that in more churches.

I spent all day Thursday with a group of ministers from Columbia, SC, but touring the inner city of Atlanta with Send Atlanta coordinator Jim Haskell, of the North American Mission Board. Here is a quote from NAMB’s web page, “Though it sits in the biblically saturated South, the city itself is no longer considered to be the hub of the Bible Belt. Only a small percentage of the millions living inside the city’s perimeter have any inclination toward church. With a population of more than 5 million in the metro area, only 27 percent are considered evangelical believers, leaving millions that still need to know Christ.

“There’s an idea that because we’re sitting in the middle of the Bible Belt, we don’t need more churches or evangelism in a city like Atlanta,” explains Send North America: Atlanta City Coordinator Jim Haskell. “But the truth is, the majority of our city is uninterested in church. We have 62 planters on the ground in the metro Atlanta area but we need hundreds more to reach our city.”

We made one stop in a neighborhood notorious for drugs, prostitution, and human trafficking. It is like an area of the city designed to “contain” the problems in one spot. We met a man committed to plant a church in that community by loving people who much of the world has overlooked. It was an amazing ministry. But then all of the church planters we met were impressive.

As I wake up this morning and face a new day, I cannot help but wonder, “Where would we find Jesus today?” I believe we would find Him in places like we visited yesterday. We saw wealthy communities where there are hundreds of thousands of people with no inclination toward church or faith. We saw a city that once would have boasted churches ministering to people needing to know God, but where most churches had either closed their doors and moved on (some were rock concert venues), or churches that had been walls around them to insulate them from the people in the communities. I never would have thought of Atlanta, Georgia as a mission field.

You can make a difference. Contact the North American Mission Board and ask for Jim Haskell.

http://www.namb.net/atlanta