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Be amazed and wonder

 
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Posted by on December 14, 2017 in Quotes, Tim Challies

 

Getting back to normal

 

As part of my rehab and recovery from a broken leg/hip, I was told it would take 4-6 months to get back to normal. In one of my more reflective moods, I began to contemplate what that means and whether or not it is possible.

How can you get back to normal when everything will be different? At the end of the recovery period, I will be headed to Russia on my annual ministry trip. With a titanium rod and pins in my right leg, navigating airport security will be completely different. I will need greater patience to constantly explain why my leg is setting off the metal detectors. Traveling will never be normal again.

Preaching will require a new normal. I do not use a pulpit and move constantly while I preach. I hold a Bible in one hand and a remote mouse in my other hand. I use PowerPoint and visuals when I preach. Since I now use a walker to get around, I cannot carry things in my hand. I will need a podium or music stand to set things on. Since I cannot stand for long periods, I will need to sit on a stool. My style of preaching will need to change.

Our church staff has stepped up in my absence to fill the void while I’m on the DL. Jack Gilbert has preached for several weeks. His skills and abilities have grown. When I return, there will be a new and different dynamic. There will be a new normal.

During my recovery, I am sleeping in a recliner since getting in and out of bed is too painful. Since I used to sleep on my right side, and since I broke my right leg, will I need to learn a new way of sleeping? Will my nights ever be normal again?

Is it realistic to think life will ever get back to normal? In one sense, it’s like standing in a river and then stepping onto the riverbank for a period of time. When you step back in, it’s a different river. The water is different. Erosion has occurred and the river bottom has changed slightly. Rocks have shifted their positions. I stepped out of the river of my normal life for several weeks/months. When I step back in, will it ever be normal again?

I am reminded of the words of Frodo Baggins at the end of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

How do you pick up the threads of an old life? How do you go on when in your heart you begin to understand there is no going back? There are some things that time cannot mend. Some hurts that go too deep that have taken hold.

Rather than expect everything to remain static and on hold for my return, I need to understand that things have changed. I will need to adapt and adjust and change and develop a new normal. Life will never be the same again. And that is not necessarily a bad thing. It might be even better.

 

 

 

Levels of Evangelism

Levels of Evangelism

Gary L. McIntosh, Growing God’s Church: How People Are Actually Coming to Faith Today

 

    Persuasion Evangelism

Goal: Helping others become disciples of Jesus Christ.

Evaluation: How many people have become lifelong followers of Jesus Christ?

 
Proclamation Evangelism

Goal: Helping others hear about and decided to believe in Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.

Evaluation: How many people have believed?

Presence Evangelism

Goal: Helping others in the name of the Lord

Evaluation: How many people have been helped?

 

 

 
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Posted by on December 2, 2017 in Church, Evangelism, Quotes

 

A balanced approach to ministry

Do we share the gospel or do we feed the hungry? Do we pour our efforts into evangelism or digging wells for clean water? The nature of these questions assumes an either/or answer. However, as Dr. Gary McIntosh explains, we need a holistic approach to ministry, but one which keeps sharing the gospel as the first among equals.

Our priority to proclaim the gospel of salvation to all the nations does not mean we should ignore serving our communities or mankind. Service without proclamation and proclamation without service are both futile. It is the gospel preached and lived that impacts humanity and society with power. Both need to be preserved, and the church must practice both. In truth it is difficult, perhaps impossible, to disentangle preaching and service. Preaching the gospel of salvation must be done among the people, not just to the people. Yet it must also be admitted that the best service the church can render to humanity is the proclamation of the gospel of salvation. Numerous nonprofit organizations, Christian and non-Christian, address social justice issues around the world. But only the church is called to proclaim salvation in Jesus Christ.

What makes the church unique is not its good deeds but its message of salvation in Jesus Christ. If we feed the hungry today but fail to preach the gospel of salvation and thereby see few or none turning to Christ, those we feed will ultimately die in their sins. They may be well fed, but they will go into eternity apart from Christ. The ultimate service is to win souls, whereby they go into eternity as children of God.

Gary L. McIntosh, Growing God’s Church: How People Are Actually Coming to Faith Today

 
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Posted by on December 1, 2017 in Church, Evangelism, Ministry, Quotes

 

Disturb Us, Lord

Disturb Us, Lord

Sir Francis Drake, 1577

(cited in Survive or Thrive: Relationships Every Pastor Needs, by Jimmy Dodd)

 

Disturb us, Lord, when

We are too well pleased with ourselves,

When our dreams have come true

Because we have dreamed too little,

When we arrived safely

Because we sailed too close to the shore.

 

Disturb us, Lord, when

With the abundance of things we possess

We have lost our thirst

For the waters of life;

Having fallen in love with life,

We have ceased to dream of eternity

And in our efforts to build a new earth,

We have allowed our vision

Of the new Heaven to dim.

 

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,

To venture wider seas

Where storms will show your mastery;

Where losing sight of land,

We shall find the stars.

 

We ask You to push back

The horizons of our hopes;

And to push into the future

In strength, courage, hope, and love.

 

**********

Lord, help me not to play it safe. Help me not to settle for the secure, guaranteed outcome. Expand my vision and stretch my horizons. Help me to step out in faith, trusting and depending on you for greater things. Disturb me, Lord.

 
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Posted by on November 27, 2017 in Personal growth, Quotes

 

Helpful relationships that enhance growth

I am working my way through Jimmy Dodd’s book, Survive or Thrive: 6 Relationships Every Pastor Needs.In part 1, he describes what happens when a pastor lacks integrity, that is, his front stage personality or character is different from his back stage personality and character. In part 2, he introduces his solution of the six relationships a pastor needs in order to be healthy and grow. In visual form, his model looks like this.

His model reminds me of what Prof Howard Hendricks often said, “Every man needs a Paul, a Timothy, and a Barnabas in their life. Every woman needs an Elizabeth, a Mary, and a Martha in their life. We all need a mentor, a protege, and a friend.”

 
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Posted by on November 25, 2017 in Books, Mentors, Ministry, Quotes

 

Insight from a Country Music Hall of Famer

Book Review: Never Look At the Empty Seats: A Memoir, by Charlie Daniels

Charlie Daniels was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2016, shortly before his eightieth birthday. In this memoir, Charlie shares his story from growing up in North Carolina in the late 1930’s and 1940’s to becoming a self-taught guitar, mandolin, and fiddle player. He describes the people who mentored him and help him grow as a person, musician, and performer. He also shares some personal photographs during different eras of his life.

Three-fourths of the book describe his personal, musical, and professional journey. The remainder of the book shares his faith journey, including a clear presentation of the gospel, his non-politically correct thoughts on issues of the day, and his induction into the Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame.

The book is not flashy or a literary masterpiece. Instead, it is a plain-spoken, heartfelt reflection on one man’s journey and the people who helped him make it. I found it to be insightful and encouraging.

While I am not a musician, I am a performer of a different sort as a pastor. Consequently, I found one of his life lessons to be extremely encouraging and helpful.

One of life’s most important lessons I’ve learned, as it relates to the path I’ve chosen, is like the old song says, “accentuate the positive; eliminate the negative.”

Walk onstage with a positive attitude. Your troubles are your own and are not included in the ticket price.

Some nights you have more to give than others, but put it all out there every show.

You’re concerned with the people who showed up, not the ones who didn’t. So always give them a show, and never look at the empty seats.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

 
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Posted by on November 14, 2017 in Books, Quotes