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Thursday, January 27, 2011

So how are we doing?


Nobody wants to be a significant part of something that is irrelevant. We want to believe that what we're a part of is making a real difference in our world on some level.

I ask you: Do you think we (GCF) are relevant in our community? More importantly, do our neighbors think we are relevant? Does anyone outside of the US think we are relevant?


I ask the question because I believe we are irrelevant if we're not doing all that Jesus told us to do. That means we're emphasizing what he emphasized. We're prioritizing what he prioritized. We love what he loved. We are passionate about what he was passionate about.

So how are we doing? (What would our friends say?)

I'll tell you what I fear. I fear being irrelevant. Because Jesus left us here to do something that was the most relevant thing on the planet. Nothing is more relevant than passing on Jesus. Making disciples. Relevant. 

So how are we doing? (What would our co-workers say?)

Here's a statement I want you and I to consider. It may be wrong or poorly worded but help me think this through...

Until we make the Gospel the priority of our church (by our actions, not just words), we will be irrelevant to our "neighbor" both here and abroad.

The Gospel meaning more than "Admit, Believe, Commit" and more than even doing the Great Commission. It's realizing that the overflow of my faith in Christ results in the Gospel being shared through me. In other words, it's not just something I do. It's who I am. The Gospel is who I am in Christ. And that will be obvious and relevant to our hurting world.

It's like God is love. God loves because He is love. We share the Gospel because we've been transformed by the Gospel. It's in us!

So how are we doing? (What would our neighbor say?)

If we use other churches as our standard, we'll be tempted to believe we're doing better than most. But that's not our standard by a long-shot. Our standard is found in the New Testament. "This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples." -Jesus, John 15:8

So how are we doing? (What would the unreached peoples of Kazakhstan say?)

1 Peter 5:6 & start with me, Lord,
Darien

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Knowing Christ can be a Pain

Whenever we suffer, it's real easy to get tunnel vision where feeling better physically (or otherwise) can become our all-consuming agenda. Scripture tells us that there is a better way.

The apostle Paul had a "Ph D" in suffering. And He knew Christ intimately beginning with his up-close and personal encounter on the Road to Damascus.

So it should be of no surprise that he has some instructive words for us to live by as we consider the relationship between knowing Christ intimately and suffering. Paul writes in Philippians 3:7-15a (emphasis mine):

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. 

In a generation and culture that believes there's never a good reason to suffer, Paul says that while suffering is not pleasant, it can be life-changing. It can lead to knowing God better than ever.

Because it is so hard, we must pray for and encourage one another regularly as we all suffer to varying degrees in life. And we must view our suffering through God's eyes as well. Yes, knowing Christ can be a real pain. That's why we must learn to suffer well...together.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Do you know the Preamble for your state?

Alabama 1901, Preamble We the people of the State of Alabama , invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish the following Constitution.
Alaska 1956, Preamble We, the people of Alaska , grateful to God and to those who founded our nation and pioneered this great land.
Arizona 1911, Preamble We, the people of the State of Arizona , grateful to Almighty God for our liberties, do ordain this Constitution..
Arkansas 1874, Preamble We, the people of the State of Arkansas , grateful to Almighty God for the privilege of choosing our own form of government...
California 1879, Preamble We, the People of the State of California , grateful to Almighty God for our freedom...
Colorado 1876, Preamble We, the people of Colorado , with profound reverence for the Supreme Ruler of Universe.
Connecticut 1818, Preamble. The People of Connecticut, acknowledging with gratitude the good Providence of God in permitting them to enjoy.
Delaware 1897, Preamble Through Divine Goodness all men have, by nature, the rights of worshipping and serving their Creator according to the dictates of their consciences.
Florida 1885, Preamble We, the people of the State of Florida , grateful to Almighty God for our constitutional liberty, establish this Constitution...
Georgia 1777, Preamble We, the people of Georgia , relying upon protection and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish this Constitution...
Hawaii 1959, Preamble We , the people of Hawaii , Grateful for Divine Guidance ... Establish this Constitution.
Idaho 1889, Preamble We, the people of the State of Idaho , grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, to secure its blessings.
Illinois 1870, Preamble We, the people of the State of Illinois, grateful to Almighty God for the civil , political and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy and looking to Him for a blessing on our endeavors.
Indiana 1851, Preamble We, the People of the State of Indiana , grateful to Almighty God for the free exercise of the right to choose our form of government.
Iowa 1857, Preamble We, the People of the State of Iowa , grateful to the Supreme Being for the blessings hitherto enjoyed, and feeling our dependence on Him for a continuation of these blessings, establish this Constitution.
Kansas 1859, Preamble We, the people of Kansas , grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious privileges establish this Constitution.
Kentucky 1891, Preamble. We, the people of the Commonwealth are grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberties...
Louisiana 1921, Preamble We, the people of the State of Louisiana , grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberties we enjoy.
Maine 1820, Preamble We the People of Maine acknowledging with grateful hearts the goodness of the Sovereign Ruler of the Universe in affording us an opportunity .... And imploring His aid and direction.
Maryland 1776, Preamble We, the people of the state of Maryland , grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious liberty...
Massachusetts 1780, Preamble We...the people of Massachusetts, acknowledging with grateful hearts, the goodness of the Great Legislator of the Universe In the course of H is Providence, an opportunity and devoutly imploring His direction
Michigan 1908, Preamble le . We, the people of the State of Michigan , grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of freedom establish this Constitution.
Minnesota, 1857, Preamble We, the people of the State of Minnesota, grateful to God for our civil and religious liberty, and desiring to perpetuate its blessings:
Mississippi 1890, Preamble We, the people of Mississippi in convention assembled, grateful to Almighty God, and invoking His blessing on our work.
Missouri 1845, Preamble We, the people of Missouri , with profound reverence for the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, and grateful for His goodness . Establish this Constitution...
Montana 1889, Preamble. We, the people of Montana , grateful to Almighty God for theblessings of liberty establish this Constitution
Nebraska 1875, Preamble We, the people, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom . Establish this Constitution.
Nevada 1864, Preamble We the people of the State of Nevada , grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, establish this Constitution...
New Hampshire 1792, Part I. Art. I. Sec. V Every individual has a natural and unalienable right to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience.
New Jersey 1844, Preamble We, the people of the State of New Jersey, grateful to Almighty God for civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing on our endeavors.
New Mexico 1911, Preamble We, the People of New Mexico, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of liberty..
New York 1846, Preamble We, the people of the State of New York, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, in order to secure its blessings.
North Carolina 1868, Preamble We the people of the State of North Carolina, grateful to Almighty God, the Sovereign Ruler of Nations, for our civil, political, and religious liberties, and acknowledging our dependence upon Him for the continuance of those...
North Dakota 1889, Preamble We , the people of North Dakota , grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, do ordain...
Ohio 1852, Preamble We the people of the state of Ohio, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, to secure its blessings and to promote our common...
Oklahoma 1907, Preamble Invoking the guidance of Almighty God, in order to secure and perpetuate the blessings of liberty,  establish this
Oregon 1857, Bill of Rights, Article I Section 2. All men shall be secure in the Natural right, to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their consciences
Pennsylvania 1776, Preamble We, the people of Pennsylvania, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, and humbly invoking His guidance...
Rhode Island 1842, Preamble. We the People of the State of Rhode Island grateful to Almighty God for the civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing...
South Carolina, 1778, Preamble We, the people of he State of South Carolina grateful to God for our liberties, do ordain and establish this Constitution.
South Dakota 1889, Preamble We, the people of South Dakota, grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious liberties.
Tennessee 1796, Art. XI.III. That all men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their conscience...
Texas 1845, Preamble We the People of the Republic of Texas, acknowledging, with gratitude, the grace and beneficence of God.
Utah 1896, Preamble Grateful to Almighty God for life and liberty, we establish this Constitution.
Vermont 1777, Preamble Whereas all government ought to enable the individuals who compose it to enjoy their natural rights, and other blessings which the Author of Existence has bestowed on man.
Virginia 1776, Bill of Rights, XVI Religion, or the Duty which we owe our Creator can be directed only by Reason and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian Forbearance, Love and Charity towards each other
Washington 1889, Preamble We the People of the State of Washington, grateful to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe for our liberties, do ordain this Constitution
West Virginia 1872, Preamble Since through Divine Providence we enjoy the blessings of civil, political and religious liberty, we, the people of West Virginia reaffirm our faith in and constant reliance upon God ..
.
Wisconsin 1848, Preamble We, the people of Wisconsin, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, domestic tranquility...
Wyoming 1890, Preamble We, the people of the State of Wyoming, grateful to God for our civil, political, and religious liberties, establish this Constitution..

    (Please note that at no time is anyone told that they MUST worship God.)
    "Those people who will not be governed by God will be ruled by tyrants." - William Penn

Monday, January 10, 2011

We're not finished

Tears of the Saints from HistoryMaker on Vimeo.

Don't let this overwhelm you. You CAN'T do everything. But you can do something. Pray and then do what God puts on your heart.

Pray.

Send.

Give.

Go.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Would They Miss You?

If our church disbanded, would the community miss us? Sadly, many churches today would not be missed by anyone outside of their own people. God leaves us here for more than that. He left us to make a difference in our community.

The same is true of us individually. If you moved out of town, would your neighbors miss you? Would they even remember your name?

My challenge for you is to make a difference in your neighborhood, school or place of work this year. A real difference.

But it won't just happen, will it. You must resolve to do it. So what will you resolve to do this year that will make a difference?

Suggestion: Resolve to act by resolving to prepare.

You don't have to know exactly what you will do this year to be effective. After all, we're supposed to be listening to God's lead. All we really need to do is to pay attention and when he directs go quickly and completely.

But how do we insure we do that? We prepare.

Suggested steps:

1. Prayer. Intentionally pray each day for the people God wants you to love this year. Start with people you live near, work with or go to school with.

2. Care. If you are faithful to pray and then pay attention, you'll start noticing opportunities to serve the people you're praying for. Respond quickly and completely to each opportunity.

3. Share. Be ready to share your hope in Christ. As God works in the lives of those around you this year, there will be a few times when people come to you. They may not even know why. But because you've been praying for them (whether they know it or not) and serving them, they will be very open to you sharing with them. Be ready and be watching.

Prayer. Care. Share.* Sounds like a great strategy for shining the light of Jesus Christ in our community this year. Do this as a family or with a friend. Will you refuse to maintain the status quo and act?

Running to win,
Darien

* Prayer. Care. Share. comes from the Lighthouse Movement is a part of the Mission America strategy. LighthouseMovement.com