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Great article via Love Never Stops

man and woman forming heart hand shape

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2 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

I am writing today about systems for church planting in diverse neighborhoods. I was challenged to identify what we can do better as men and women who equip church planters for their journey. I started with scripture and today I received an insight on a text that I read often.

Do we spend enough time praying and waiting on the Holy Spirit to give us direction in our endeavors to develop new faith communities? WIth a 3-year funding clock worshipand the need to be self-sustaining in 5 years most planters rush through the process. The focus becomes on getting member rather than making disciples.

The goal is 1,000,000 new disciples for Jesus Christ not 1,000,000 new members for the UMC. Developing new faith communities must be focused on organic community engagement and intentional disciple making. My encouragement to you is to find a place to speak to God and wait on the Holy Spirit then to speak to you for direction in your new faith communities. The gift of the Holy Spirit was for all disciples. It is our responsibility to get ready to receive and act!

I was listening to the lectionary scripture {Matthew 2:1-12} being read yesterday and began to reflect on the many times that I had listened to the story of the three kings and never asked a critical question. What are the lessons that we learn from the Magi that visited Jesus which will help me be a better disciple of Jesus?

They were full of faith – They had followed other stars that led them to other kings and they were confident in this new star also leading them to a new king.  This was not a spiritual journey for them but it was about honoring the office and person.  This required great faith. To grow as a disciple means that you are growing in your faith.  To become mature would indicate that you walk daily by faith. This is a place of surrender.  Faithree-kings-day-january-6thth is not about you and what you can acquire but faith is about God working in you so that you can trust God completely.

The journey was a part of the process – Many times as people are maturing in Christ there are complaints about meeting the class schedules, driving across town for to pray with a group, meeting a new believer at times that are not convenient to you and questions about “Why isn’t Sunday morning enough?” The reality is that if we are going to grow as disciples of Christ we will have to learn that the process is not linear and the process will not be the same for everybody.

The magi were clear that the goal was to see the new born king even if it was 2 years after his actual birth. If our goal is to become mature committed disciples, we have to expect some challenges during the journey but never give up on the goal

They were generous – They brought their valuables to a future king. They had no previous relationship or allegiance to the future king and they gave freely.  This is especially interesting since they had to barter for their needs during the journey.

As we grow in our discipleship may we all be full of faith, be comfortable with the journey and be generous.

 

Excellent blog!

Ray McDonald's Blog

Luke 15:7

I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

RayMcDAs we near the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017 – I’ve mentioned a focus for the new year. That focus is reaching the next generation. Our church is mainly made up of aging saints. The medium age of Laurel is 35 and our medium age at First Church is probably closer to 55 or higher. We have an awesome church – but – if we do not reach the next generation with Christ – in 10-30 years there will not be a First Church. I say that not to scare us but to bring into focus what the problem is as we make plans to reach the next generation.

Many churches focus…

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Some of my fond early memories are connected to times when I was able to spend holidays with my extended family. Jeanette and Otto Thomas had seven children that nicknamed themselves the Fantastic 7. Along with their 18 children it was always a lot of fun.

Holidays were special already but when we meet at grandma’s house dinner time was a major production. There is always lots of food, lots of laughter and lots of conversation.  Needless to say with large families there were times when everybody did not agree on a specific topic or opinion and the volume level and intensity of the conversation would increase as the evening progressed but inevitably grandma would walk in the room and state her position and for the rest of the evening the focus would be on what activities we would participate in.  Grandma Thomas had a way of ending the confusion and redirecting everyone’s attention to what was really important, being with each other.  She had a unique way of not telling everybody that they were wrong but affirming her position and bringing everyone together.

As we live into this season of celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ we are reminded that there is one way to God and that is through Jesus Christ.  We are reminded that we can respect other religions, but the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross is what makes it possible for me to have a relationship with God almighty.” I have no need to attack what others believe because I am clearly focused on the reality that my salvation is firmly rooted in the resurrection of the only man who was divine and human and lived on this earth with no sin.”

Challenge
As disciples of Jesus Christ how will you focus people on the essentials of the faith.  God’s sacrificial love for sending Jesus.  Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for our sins and the resurrection that gives us access to God.

Prayer

Keep us on what really matters.

http://www.musicalinda.net/2016/02/black-sketch-in-worship/

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