Elders: Acts of Love ? part 3
on October 23, 2019 at 12:00 pm
The book Why Nobody Wants to Go to Church Anymore makes the assertion that there are four acts of love that will make your church irresistible. (These acts have been condensed for our purposes.) Act of love 3: Experience and express genuine humility. We express genuine humility if we are doing the following: Being radically relational. This means recognizing that we are really all the same, even if we are at different places in our lives. We are all ?Becomers.?35 It means being willing to engage with people who are quite different from us and being willing to put aside judgments long enough to emphasize the value of those we are engaged with. Being open to learning from others with different beliefs. How can we be salt and light if we are unwilling to give others an honest hearing (see Matthew 5:13, 14)? We can learn things from everyone. Being open to learning from people of different ages. Younger people bring a curiosity, freshness, and exuberance to life, while older adults offer wisdom and life experience. It is in our cross-fertilizing that the best ideas emerge. So try to find what is helpful in our interactions with those of a different age grouping. Putting people first. How many times in church life do rules and policies take precedence over people? For example, Ellen White?s most devastating criticisms were aimed at sitting General Conference presidents, who were resorting to political tactics that ignored the broader needs of members.36 People have to come before policies. ### Get your copy or read a sample chapter.
Elders: Acts of Love ? part 2
on October 22, 2019 at 12:00 pm
The book Why Nobody Wants to Go to Church Anymore makes the assertion that there are four acts of love that will make your church irresistible. (These acts have been condensed for our purposes.) Act of love 2: Offer fearless conversation. One of our challenges today is finding ways to show people a God who is more accessible. Paul wrote to one of the churches, ?I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow? (1 Corinthians 3:6, NLT). We can share our witness, realizing that it is just one part of the story God is telling. It is fearless conversation because we have a story to tell in order for God to use it in His own ways. The apostle Paul once asked, ?What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?? (Romans 8:31, NLT). So we may offer fearless conversation if we are doing the following: Honestly seeking to understand where people are coming from. Really listening before speaking. Asking great questions. Allowing others to talk, even when we are a bit uncomfortable. Offering nonjudgmental responses. Trusting the Holy Spirit to be on our side. ### Get your copy or read a sample chapter.
Elders: Acts of Love ? part 1
on October 21, 2019 at 12:00 pm
In discussing the role of the local elder, I have referred several times to the book Why Nobody Wants to Go to Church Anymore. The book makes the assertion that there are four acts of love that will make your church irresistible. (These acts have been condensed for our purposes.) Act of love 1: Emphasize radical hospitality. Most Adventist elders, I am sure, would argue that our churches are hospitable. We promise the evangelist, for example, that if he comes and baptizes people, we will keep them. Within a year or so, however, many of these new members stop attending, not because the evangelist did not do his job, but because we have not done ours. How would radical hospitality be different from what we are typically doing? Our Adventist hospitality can only be called ?radical? if we are doing the following: Authentically welcoming others and being glad to be with them. Being a friend, even when it is not our job. Accepting people, even if we do not like what they are doing. Seeing it as something that takes time. Allowing it to be unnerving, surprising, and messy. ### Get your copy or read a sample chapter.
Stepping Out In Faith
on October 20, 2019 at 12:00 pm
We all know that God wants us to walk in faith. We all know that it is easy to walk in faith when there are no trials, pain, loss, or con?ict?but that is not good enough. God needs to develop faith in us that will endure. He wants us to grow strong in faith. The only possible way that He can do that is to teach us to weather the storms that appear from nowhere in our lives. Faith is a verb. It requires acting on what we know to be true based on Scripture. As we act, our faith will strengthen and grow in proportion to our step of obedience. When we act in faith, we will encounter trials, but through this experience we learn that God will never forsake us. Trials are a natural part of following Christ. Second Timothy 3:12 says, ?In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.? These trials come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and involve different aspects of our lives. Jesus never promised His followers an easy life. Instead, He promised to walk through life with them. ### Buy the book (or watch a video about it) or start with a sample chapter.
on October 19, 2019 at 12:00 pm
God calls us to partner with Him, and it is in our best interest to ful?ll His vision in our lives. We were created to do good deeds: ?For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them? (Ephesians 2:10, ESV; see also 2 Timothy 3:17). We are called to live to God?s glory (1 Corinthians 10:31), and our lives are judged according to the ful?llment of this God-given goal and mission. Ellen White aptly notes that people?s lives are ?measured by the ?delity with which they ful?ll God?s purpose.?1 Indi?erence to God?s leadership is dangerous. He has plans for our lives, and our participation brings joy and satisfaction. Ellen White o?ers this assurance about His benevolent will: ?God never leads His children otherwise than they would choose to be led, if they could see the end from the beginning and discern the glory of the purpose which they are ful?lling as co-workers with Him.? Of course, it is one thing to believe God has plans for your life and quite another to understand what those plans are. Most believers have experienced the challenge of discerning God?s will. We are all wrestling with this important question. God?s will for us is like a large highway with various lanes to choose from?it is best to seek His direction as you make your choice.
on October 18, 2019 at 12:00 pm
The Saviour?s commission to the disciples included all the believers. It includes all believers in Christ to the end of time. It is a fatal mistake to suppose that the work of saving souls depends alone on the ordained minister. All to whom the heavenly inspiration has come are put in trust with the gospel. All who receive the life of Christ are ordained to work for the salvation of their fellow men. For this work the church was established, and all who take upon themselves its sacred vows are thereby pledged to be co-workers with Christ. . . . . . . Whatever one?s calling in life, his first interest should be to win souls for Christ. He may not be able to speak to congregations, but he can work for individuals. To them he can communicate the instruction received from his Lord. Ministry does not consist alone in preaching. Those minister who relieve the sick and suffering, helping the needy, speaking words of comfort to the desponding and those of little faith. Nigh and afar off are souls weighed down by a sense of guilt. It is not hardship, toil, or poverty that degrades humanity. It is guilt, wrongdoing. This brings unrest and dissatisfaction. Christ would have His servants minister to sin-sick souls. ?The Desire of Ages, p. 822.
The Falling Out of Love
on October 17, 2019 at 12:00 pm
By means of deception, Satan has stolen the human heart from God, and has stolen a clear sense of God?s love from the human heart. To destroy us by that theft is his ultimate purpose. With evil genius he crafts all his lies to contribute to the one lie first forged of jealousy in his dark heart: God does not love you, but lives only for Himself. Therefore flee from His dominating control and live only for yourself. . . . ?The same God who said, ?Out of darkness let light shine,? has caused His light to shine within us, to give the light of revelation?the revelation of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ? (2 Corinthians 4:6, NEB). Our blindness of mind is healed as we look to Jesus, believing that in Him we see ?the best picture of God we?ll ever get? (2 Corinthians 4:6, TM). The spell of darkness cast upon our first parents is broken when we allow the revelation of God?s glorious love in Jesus to shine into our hearts. Then God?s most heartfelt anticipation will be realized: ?As I passed by again, I saw that the time had come for you to fall in love. I covered your naked body with my coat and promised to love you. Yes, I made a marriage covenant with you, and you became Mine? (Ezekiel 16:8, TEV). Fallen humanity is redeemed as we fall back in love with God. ### Read the first chapter or buy the book