Faith Community Online

Day 5: Search for the Person of Peace (read Luke 10)

Filed under: Pray & Fast,Prayer and Fast 2013 — Pastor David Jan 10, 2013 @ 11:24 pm

The secret locked up in these verses is what unleashed the early church, allowing them to reach so many in such a short amount of time. This chapter is regarded by scholars as the chapter that became the plan used when entering new territory and expanding God’s kingdom.

The secret was rediscovered just a few years ago by a missionary church planter. He had been successful and planted many churches in different parts of the world, so it was decided that they send him to Buddha’s home town where a church had never been planted. For a few years he gave it all he had with no success. Discouraged he contemplated giving up. But then he prayed, “Lord the answers are here in this Book. Show me what to do.” For the next six months he did nothing but read the Bible. He came to Luke 10 and his eyes were opened to “the man of peace” concept.

What is a man or woman of peace?  It is someone who has an ability to include and welcome others into their life. They have a natural ability to connect with others and bridge relationships.  People are drawn to and feel accepted and  welcomed around them.

Next, they have responsiveness to spiritual things. They are willing to talk about the Bible, God, and their own need for Him.  Throughout the gospel accounts we are able to see these special people. Luke 10 records the first person of peace when Martha welcomes Jesus into her house. This opened up the village of Bethany!  That’s what these kinds of people do, they create greater and more opportunites for the greater!  Another person of peace was Legion. As shocking as this is, the reality is that this demon possessed man responded and opened his heart to Christ.  He later, as a believer, opened up the entire Decapolis area.  We can also see that the Samaritan woman was another person who opened up a whole city. Later in Acts we see Cornelius, Lydia, the Philippian jailer, and Aquila and Priscilla…the list goes on!

My last insight into a person of peace is that they are those who encourage and build an environment of trust. People relax and settle in and are usually  willing to share very intimately with them. They are trusted. This is a crucial quality. People do not open up and share real stories if they do not trust their audience.   Take our Connect Groups, the “I will” statements or applications to personal lives will never be deep and transformational if the audience (in this case the small group) is not trusted.  People will not be free to give or to unselfishly serve others if they do not trust the one encouraging them to get involved. Trust opens hearts and hands! Trust built within a group will also create the freedom to invite others to come as well!  Trust is what creates opportunities for many kinds of new relationships and opportunities to share the Gospel.

How do we find these people of peace? Prayer is where we start! Pray for laborers and pray for persons of peace. They will be the ones who tend to have a lot of friends or influence in their community. They may be well liked or very important to the world they work in, like a baseball coach in the community, or snack shack mom, a boss at the local deli, or even the mailman, etc… They can use their influence to open or even to close opportunities. This is the secret of why Jesus said for us to find this person and work with them and through them! They can be seen to be used to open up the hardest to reach areas of the world.

This is what the missionary I spoke about earlier found out. He went on to plant thousands of house churches in the area where there had never been a church. The same idea has been used all over India, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, and other nations with incredible success!

What will God do here through our wise use of this insight Jesus taught? May our prayers open our eyes to see these precious people and connect with them. And may they then come with you to church or join a Bible study, or join us in building strong and thriving connect groups which… is ultimately building… the kingdom of God!

 

Day 4: Multiplication (read 2 Tim 2)

Filed under: Pray & Fast,Prayer and Fast 2013 — Pastor David Jan 9, 2013 @ 10:57 pm

Gen 1 teaches us that God commanded the original couple to be fruitful and multiply. This desire of God is that His gift of life is expressed and continued by the process of multiplication. This command and process, this vision and desire of God, will take more than one person to fulfill. Once again we see the genius of God. We must work and connect with others effectively if there is ever to be a new generation of believers and leaders. We cannot do this alone!

Look at verse 2 closely. Paul writes to Timothy that there is generation one developing generation two. Timothy was to pass on what Paul gave to him to “faithful men”, resulting in… generation three!  The third generation was to pass it on to “others” who would be generation four. In one verse, 4 generations!

It is not enough to train one person and stop there. We must see that person train another who in turn trains another. The cycle must continue from one generation all the way past the fourth generation by our careful looking after it!  This process does not just happen! It must be very intentional and deliberate.  Paul gave illustrations of a teacher, a soldier, a farmer, and an athlete. All four of these illustrations show us the strategy involved in success. The teacher plans ahead what will be taught and how they will develop their students. The soldier focuses on the battle and knowing the orders and obeying His superiors. He knows he must be available and willing to go where it may be dangerous. War is very strategic and deliberate. So is farming. What we plant, when we plant, and where we plant is part of what we do as a farmer. The athlete is extremely strategic if he plans on winning.

What will the future be if the soldier does not think ahead? Or the teacher, or the farmer, and the athlete? Will there be a future? What about the future of God’s kingdom if we are not thinking ahead?

Pause right now and see who there is in your life who needs you to develop them and encourage them to think like this in their walk with God. Every person we train must be encouraged and trained to pass on their training to another. Every group must have in their plans the desire and goal to also start another group. Every leader we develop must develop other leaders. And it doesn’t just stop here in our local body… we need to think about multiplying new churches as well!

I get very excited when I consider this, for it breaths into our hearts a future and a hope for the world. If there are no new followers of Christ, then there is no hope for the future.  We will all die and that will be the end of the matter. And so it is the same for us if we do not multiply new leaders, new groups, and especially…new churches!  If we will multiply, just as the early Christians did, there is hope, real wonderful hope for our city, and our world!

Prayer is vital to our success.  I encourage you to take today to pray and plan where you will start multiplying. If you do not know where to start, I encourage you to talk to an elder, a Connect Group leader or myself and we will help you make this a reality.

Pray this week about the future of your family, our church…our city!  Pray for a multiplication movement!!

 

Day 3: (Read John 13-14)

Filed under: Pray & Fast,Prayer and Fast 2013 — Pastor David Jan 8, 2013 @ 11:24 pm

“The purpose of the Bible is not for information but for transformation.” Martin Luther

We are told in the Bible to “grow in knowledge and grace” (2 Pet 3:18). This is God’s desire for our lives. The knowledge opens up our minds and heart so that we are able to receive His grace and therefore live a lavish and generous life. Reflect on how generous Jesus was. How many people did He teach and help? The answer to that question comes to so many, that the authors of the Gospels said, “He did so many things that there would not be enough space to write about it even if we filled the world with books about it”. He was extremely generous as a Man! This shows us that our obedience will lead us into a resource of unimaginable power and life!

Our personal obedience is what opens up a whole new world. It unleashes God’s power! It reveals to us God’s wisdom! It deepens our faith! It strengthens our will and fortifies our determination! The more we obey the more we want to obey. Once we start to do God’s will, we begin to know the reality that it is God’s will that we are doing!

As you hear a message on Sunday morning, think to yourself, “How am I going to apply this to my life?” This type of thinking is a skill of our listening. How can we develop this skill? Take a common verse such as the one that says, “to seek first the Kingdom of God”. How can we seek first God’s kingdom if we do not make it a priority? For example, we begin expressing this priority by giving Him the first of our week… by being a part of the corporate worship time. Make it a priority by being on time! Do not be late! i.e. seek His kingdom first. Give Him the first hour of your day! Let it be the best hour that you use to seek Him and worship Him privately. Remember that something that is a priority is shown through our giving the first of what we earn not the leftovers!  These are just a few applications to a very common verse.

Ponder John 13-14 and what it says about our obedience to His word and will. 13:17 says we will be “blessed” or fulfilled and full of joyful happiness (that is the meaning of makarios). 13:34-35 says we will love others and prove to our world that Jesus is real and the movement of Christ is worth taking seriously. 14:12-14 says we will do greater works than Jesus and see answers to prayers revealing the power of God and His activity in our lives. 14:23 is deep and reveals God will make His presence very real and powerful in our lives. Read this section and see what is says about the importance of obedience. Jesus succeeded for one reason; He did what the Father said!

Dedicate yourself today to being a person who applies what you learn within 48 hours of learning it. Why 48 hours? Research shows we are far more apt to do what we learn if we practice it within 48 hours and far less likely to remember or apply the truth after 48 hours.

Nike! =  “Let’s do it!”

 

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