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Saturday, March 31, 2007

Bridge Run: The Facts


I finished. And in under an hour too! Special thanks to Kent, my brother, who encouraged me to train and run this year. Special thanks also to all those who prayed for me to actually finish. You guys are awesome!

Pics and more to follow. For now, the facts.

Bib # 12323
Darien Gabriel
Summerville SC
Age 41
Sex M
ChipTime 00:58:23 (my official running time)
ClockTime 01:00:55 (Not everyone crosses the starting line at the same time)
Overall 6537 (what place I finished out of over 30,000 people)
SexPl 4645 (what place I finished out of the guys)
DivPl 491 (what place I finished in the 40-49 division)
AgeGrade 49%
pace 9:48.5 (time to run my average mile)

Monday, March 19, 2007

1/3rd

The Barna Update: March 19, 2007
Life in America has changed greatly since 1994, but one constant has been the proportion of adults in the population who are unchurched. The annual tracking study of religious behaviors conducted by The Barna Group shows that one-third of the population is currently unchurched - meaning they have not attended a religious service of any type during the past six months. Some segments of the population are substantially more likely than others to remain outside the walls of the church, and a new book by a pastor and an atheist provides some insights into why that is. To figure out what’s going on with church attendance, read the free Barna Update edition just posted to the Barna Group’s website. Click on the link below or go to www.barna.org and click on the main story.

1 in 3 People in America are unchurched. Then consider the sobering fact that many of those who are "churched" (the other 2/3rds) are not followers of Christ. Even if half are Believers, that's only 100 million or 1/3rd of the 300 million in America.

What are we doing? Are we so busy playing video games, keeping up with Survivor, and watching March Madness that we don't have time to invest in the lives of those around us? (I've done 2 of 3 the last week) I'm preaching to myself--but I'm not alone.

Ask yourself this sobering question: How many people have you led to Christ in the last 12 months?

Perhaps, you say, you've shared but have had no takers. No problem. How many have you shared Christ with the last 12 months?

"Each day proclaim the good news that he saves." Psalm 96:2b, NLT

What will you do tomorrow to change your answer? I know what I'm going to do.

Friday, March 16, 2007

It's Necessary


This is so great:

"There is a popular campaign going around some churches. It's called "Silent Witness Week," where people wear a little button with three crosses on it, with the words "He Lives!" The quote from St. Francis of Assisi is used for the silent witness: "Preach the gospel at all times. Use words if necessary." So, we hereby declare next week "Break the Silence Witness Week," with a slightly amended quote: "Preach the gospel at all times. Use words, they are necessary" (St. Francis of Assisi--corrected)." -Kirk Cameron & Ray Comfort, livingwaters.com

Have you ever heard a Christian say, "I don't talk about my faith. I just let my life speak for itself"? Well, I used to believe that was a legitimate witness. But it's as legitimate as being a witness in a court of law, taking the stand, and then not saying anything. You're spiritually "Taking the 5th" when you don't open your mouth and share Christ with others. By definition a witness is someone who tells what they've seen and heard. Let's "Shatter the silence" this week (borrowed from persecutedchurch.com) and bear witness to what Christ has done in and through us.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Pleases God

"This is good, and pleases God our savior" -Paul, 1 Timothy 2:3, NIV

What's so good and what pleases God? Prayer. God also says in Hebrews 11:6, "Without faith, it is impossible to please God." That's because prayer is faith in action.

"Father, we confess our lack of faith seen in our prayerlessness. Increase our faith. May we decrease but you increase in our lives. Teach us how to trust you more. Help us rely and depend on you for everything in life-not just the big things. Help us to live our lives by faith knowing that this pleases you and makes you smile. In the trustworthy name of Jesus we pray, amen."

Monday, March 12, 2007

Prayer Walkers


Saturday morning Anita, Emma and I prayer walked around the Southern Magnolia subdivision. We'd never done it before and so we were learning by doing.

Emma (7) wasn't sure what she was getting into so once we started walking she had questions. Patiently I explained to her what we were trying to do (figuring it out as I'm explaining it). "Emma, we're praying for the people in this neighborhood as we walk. No we won't close our eyes. See that lady there? 'Lord, I pray for her to find Christ if she hasn't already.' See those toys there. 'Lord, I pray for those children that they would meet Jesus.' True, Emma. Children may not live there..."

It was truly a learning experience for all of us. We prayed for small group host homes, first-time guests from this neighborhood to come to our worship service, salvation, help for kids struggling in school, single parents, the new neighborhood under construction next door and more.

It was a great experience and I sensed the pleasure of God as we walked around the neighborhood. I think it's because what we were doing was done "In faith" and "Incarnationally."

In Faith

Simply, we were praying and walking believing that God would answer our prayers. So we took the time to go to that neighborhood (and risk being seen by others(!)) and prayed that God would bless them. "Without faith, it is impossible to please God." Hebrews 11:6

Incarnationally

This is the Christmas story. God put on flesh and came down. The Creator became a creature. This is the basic mission for all of us as followers of Christ. To engage the mission by engaging people wherever they are with the love of Christ.

A cool ministry I've recently discovered along these lines is found at www.withreach.com. They have coined this word "Withreach" as a reaction to typical outreach. Instead of spending money to simply attract people to church, they are encouraging people to engage people where they are with the love of Christ. It rings so true because that's exactly what Jesus did.

That's what I want to do. That's what I want my family to do. I want our church to do.

By God's grace, we will-today. Will you?