Category Archives: Community

The Power of 1

Dayton area friends you need to check out this site. The site is by a group who is bringing awareness of the human slave trafficking problem to those who live in the Dayton area. http://powerof1movement.wordpress.com/

Also I would encourage you to mark 1/11/11 on your calendar. The Power of 1 will be holding an event to educate people and to raise funds to help Love146 The event will be held at the Underground in Cincinnati.

Friends let me encourage you to take some time to look into the issue of human slave trafficking. This is an issue I thought was mainly in other countries but am learning that it is becoming huge in America and that it affects the kids of America. As those who know Jesus and His love we must fight for justice and the spreading of His kingdom! If nothing else start praying daily for God to raise up the church and governments to attack this head on!
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Your Role is Bigger than you Realize

This is an article that I wrote to the growth group leaders at our church MorningStar Baptist Church. I hope and pray that it can be helpful to others as well.

My wife and I have four children and one of the hardest things for them to understand is how much influence the older have over their younger siblings. I feel as though everyday I have a discussion with one of them explaining how much their younger siblings will follow their example. Our three year old often amazes me with how much she knows and the physical things that she is capable of doing. As much as I would be honored to have a prodigy I realize that she has learned quickly and is very confident because of the influence of her older two siblings. I must continually remind them of the influence they have and how important it is for them to honor God with that influence.

Lately I have come under conviction as a husband and father feeling the weight of responsibility that I have as I influence my family. The things that I value will be the things that my wife and kids value. If I like ice cream then probably they will end up liking ice cream. Today as I got dressed and put on jeans one of my little girls came out with jeans on and told me she was wearing jeans like I was. If they here me being critical of others then they become critical of others. If my kids see me loving my wife/their mom in a godly way then one day they will be in much better shape to have a strong marriage. On a more serious note if my relationship with God is a show and only matters on Sunday then they will begin to see me as a hypocrite and eventually reject the faith. I wield influence in their lives even when I don’t realize it.

In the Old Testament the nation of Israel was led by kings and in the life of those kings we learn about the power of influence. John Maxwell defines leadership as influence. The kings of Israel are a great example of the influence that leaders carry. Take time to read 2 Chronicles and take notice of the pattern that emerges. When a new king is introduced it records for us how many years that king reigned and then shares what kind of life the king lived. The writer describes how the king followed the Lord. Then as you read about the king’s reign we learn how that affected the nation. If the king sought after the Lord then the nation of Israel sought the Lord, and if the king rebelled against God then the nation rebelled against God. Take Manasseh for example in 2 Chronicles 33:
Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem. 2 And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to the abom-inations of the nations whom the LORD drove out before the people of Israel.

Then if you read v. 9 we learn how the people responded:
Manasseh led Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem astray, to do more evil than the nations whom the LORD destroyed before the people of Israel.

This is just one example of many throughout 2 Chronicles that reveals the influence that the kings had on the people. Maxwell makes a strong point in saying that leadership is influence.

When is the last time that you took the time to stop and think about your role as a growth group leader? Have you contemplated how valuable you are to the health of your church? Do you understand how the life you live as a disciple affects the influence you have on your group? In a lot of ways you are the king of a small nation and the way that you lead that nation and the way you live your life before them will have great influence on their spiritual health. In turn it will affect the health of the church.

As growth group leaders you hold extremely important positions in the life of your church. Your role isn’t important because you have the ability to make decisions that affect the whole church and it isn’t important because you control a large portion of the budget. Your role is so important because of the influence you have over the lives of the members in your group. The spiritual health of you as growth group leaders is essential to the health of the group. Your energy and the dedication given to connect group members to God and others cannot be underestimated. Your buy-in and support of the vision of the church is important to the whole body becoming aligned to focus on the mission God has called us to.

Your ability to recruit people who are not in groups will determine how successful we are at getting a high participation rate of members in growth groups. The more that individuals are connected to a growth group the less likely we are to lose them out the back door of the church. Leaders, you will influence your group, the question is what kind of influence are you being? Over the next few weeks you will receive a number of articles that address how you will influence your growth group. The goal is that as you come to understand the importance of your role you will then be able to become laser focused with how you lead your group to connect with God and to connect with others.

May you be challenged to take time this week and pray through the kind of influence that you are having on your group. Remember these are God’s children that you are providing oversight with in His group. Are you honoring Him and the work His Son did on the cross as you influence your group. Finally this is not about how capable you are but rather how dependent you are on God and His Spirit, allowing Him to work through you. The best thing you can do for your group is to walk humbly and intimately with Jesus.

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He is with you

A few months ago I noticed a friend was talking about twitting and reading twitter feeds and I was quickly intriueqed to find out more. I wondered what this thing was that he was reading and wondered how I could be apart of it. Now a few months and 582 tweets later I have found it to be a lot of fun. Not because I like to detail every moment of my life for others to read or because I am extremely well known and I get to have a ton of followers. Rather I have come to enjoy Twitter because of who I get to follow and get a glimpse into their life. No I am not a stalker! It would be better to say that you get to get a glimpse of their mind.  Many of those I follow have similar interest and passions and as a result as I read their tweets I gain great resources and find myself encouraged by the things they say and share. In some ways you begin to be mentored by people that you may never have had a chance to interact with before. To me that is really cool!

Just the other day someone tweeted saying that the reason people tweet when they are with a group of people is that they are lonely. I would imagine that this is true.  They really are lonely or they are bored. When I read that I was struck and found myself wondering if I tweet sometimes because I am lonely even though I am surrounded by a group of people whom I know love me. I must say that if this is true it is sad that I can not find companionship with those I love. Secondly it is sad that instead of finding comfort and peace in Christ I am searching for it on a phone with people who honestly give a rip about me.

“I will never leave you nor forsake you” is a promise from God in regards to contentment. Yes the context is talking immediately about money and possessions but the application is for every area of our lives where we may find ourselves wanting. For those of us who have found forgiveness and grace in the arms of our savior we must recognize that Christ alone will fill any void we find.  Until we realize this and live this we will continue to be brought to great lows of loneliness and discontentment. We are promised that He will not leave us because in Him alone we will find the cure for the lack of peace and loneliness we have.

Twitter has a lot of good for us to take advantage of but we must also be careful to not allow it to be a comfort to us. Christ alone is our comfort. Perhaps I am preaching to the choir, but for each of us, what is that thing that we find comfort in that is not our Saviour? What do you turn to when you are hurting, discontented and lonely. Our savior alone will bring the lasting comfort that we all long for! Seek Him and Him alone!

Have to run to the cross and our Savior today?

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Zealous for Good Works

new-orleans-0282The last couple of days I have been reading through the book of Titus and this morning I was amazed at the emphasis of good works in the book. As a follower of Christ for many years now, I know that good works are to be a part of the Christian life but today the importance of them hit me more than ever. I would like to leave you with a few initial observations that are swirling in my head.

As followers of Christ as we grow in the truth and follow sound doctrine we will grow in our good works. Essentially sound doctrine results in good works.  In chapter one the author points out that false teachers are unfit for good works. The teaching that they proclaim does not lead to good works nor is their life fit for good works.  This makes me ask myself, when I teach are believers compelled to do good works. Also would the mark of a healthy church be that it is full of God’s children doing good works.  Is the church impacting the culture and community through service?

In chapters two and three Paul tells Titus that believers are to be zealous for good works and devoted to good works.  This does not mean that every once in a while we do something good but rather one of the marks defining the Christian is that they are all about good works. Paul uses the same word “zealous” of himself in Galatians 1:14 when he was talking of his following the traditions of the Jews.  It says he was more zealous than his fathers. Paul was so zealous that it led him to persecute the church in order to protect Judaism. My son Noah is a great picture of being zealous for something.  He loves apple juice and when he wants it nothing will get in the way of him attaining it.  He will ask Amy and I over and over again until he gets it. No answer is sufficient unless it is that we are going right that second to get it. That is how we as believers should be towards good works. They should consume us, we should be defined as ones who do good works. Is this how you or your church are defined? I think of the body we are a part of right now and what would happen if all 200 people were devoted to good works. How would Centerville be changed? How would your community be changed if everyone in the church were zealous for good works.

The last thought that I would like to leave you with is some thoughts about the gospel impact of being zealous for good works.  I was intrigued because Paul did not say that they would be zealous for sharing the gospel or to be devoted to sharing the gospel but instead he focused on the end result of God’s grace in our life is being zealous for good works.  Why is that? I mean if they don’t hear the gospel how can they be saved? It is my conviction that every follower of Christ should be proclaiming the gospel but in this book why is there no emphasis on this. As I ponder this I realize that could it not be because as we are selflessly invovled in good works doors for the gospel will begin to open up. If we are zealous for good works and we begin to interact with people will they not begin to ask why we do such things. In the end when the church gets outside of its walls and gets active they will begin to find many opportunities to share the gospel with people around their community and the world!

Am I zealous for good works? Are you? If not lets begin to pray that God would refine our heart to be devoted to good works.  Also go out and look for opportunites to do good in the church and outside the church! I bet each of us will be blown away by what God does!

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