Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

Think back – how old were you when you came to faith in Jesus? I was 16.

Charles Spurgeon was 15, William Booth was 15, George Whitfield was 16, C T Studd was 16,             D L Moody was 18 and Billy Graham was 17.

Jesus was in his early 30’s and most of the disciples were aged between mid teens and early 20’s! The first youth group…they went on to turn the world upside down.

It is generally thought that the best age to be a youth leader is 20-25. The older brother or sister approach. But in Gavin Calver’s book ‘Disappointed with Jesus?’ he tells of a survey of about 200 young people asking what type of youth leaders/mentors would they like. Over 85% of them said a parent or grandparent figure! Wow! The church is full of them!

A few years ago I was told this story of a chapel in Wales who started a Youth Club where most of their youth workers were over 70! They had 16 active members, all retired. Three teenagers walked in one January to get out of the cold. They got such a good welcome that they came again.

After a month or so, the YP asked for a youth club. The local Head of Youth For Christ in the area who lived a couple of villages away agreed to run it for the chapel on condition that they helped.      2 members were present each time to welcome the children and do the refreshments, though they have been known to join in quieter games. The first volunteer to help was Beryl who was 98! The youth club needed a budget. Chapel cash-flow was a bit tight so they used the old Sunday school account which was sitting doing nothing and the members also each gave £1 a week into the youth club fund. The YFC leader later suggested that they start giving less as the money was coming in faster than she could spend it. The average youth club attendance was 6.  The youngsters then asked for cooking lessons so that they could throw a Christmas party for the old people who help run the youth club for them.

There is something dynamic in the amazing combination of the enthusiasm of youth and the wisdom of age.

Who are you mentoring?

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I am currently reading ’Explore’ daily bible notes from ‘The Good Book Company’. I’d like to share the opening days describing one way to check on your spiritual health as the new year begins.

They ask the following questions:

  1. Are you in love with Jesus? (Revelation 2 v1-7, 1 Corinthians 13 v4-7)
  2. Are you grateful for the cross? (1 Timothy 1 v15, Mark 15 v1-39)
  3. Are you excited about your eternal life? (Romans 8 v18-25)
  4. Are you committed to God’s people? (John 15 v9-15, Romans 12 v9-16)
  5. Are you pursuing godliness? (2 Peter 1 v1-8)

Another good question is to ask ‘How healthy is my church spiritually?’ Colossians 3 v5-17 has some pointers on how this may work in practice.

Make a point of encouraging each other regularly, sending notes of thanks to build one another up. Stand shoulder to shoulder as you journey together through this new year.

May you thrive in the new adventure God has for you in 2017.

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Let your Light Shine

In Matthew 5, Jesus was talking about believers as being salt and light.

Light is the source of all life (Gen 1 v1-3) we need light to help us to see, to make plants grow etc. We have our natural body clock, to be awake in the light and asleep in the dark. In believers, its God’s light that shines, not ours.

In John 9 v 4-5 Jesus said “While I am in the world, I am the light of the world”. Now he is not physically here, we are the light of the world. He described John the Baptiser like “a lamp, burning and shining” (John 5 v35). We need to let people see Jesus shining through us, keep your oil topped up!

Jesus said don’t hide your light – let it shine.

How can we hide our light?

  1. Being quiet when we should speak
  2. Going along with the crowd
  3. Denying the light
  4. Letting sin dim our light
  5. Ignoring the needs of others

The world is full of darkness, we need to shine in dark places. We used to be living in the dark, now we are in the light. That’s good news to share!

Ephesians 5 v 8-10 For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true. Carefully determine what pleases the Lord.

We need to fulfil our job description of salt and light – Stop talking about it, show it! Be aware that people are watching you shine (or not!). Let us reflect Jesus, we are ambassadors

Edgar A Guest wrote this (part) poem:
I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day;
I’d rather one should walk with me than merely tell the way.
The eye’s a better pupil and more willing than the ear,
Fine counsel is confusing, but example’s always clear;
And the best of all the preachers are those who live their creeds,
For to see good put in action is what everybody needs.
I soon can learn to do it if you’ll let me see it done;
I can watch your hands in action, but your tongue too fast may run.
And the lecture you deliver may be very wise and true,
But I’d rather get my lesson by observing what you do;
For I might misunderstand you and the high advice you give,
But there’s no misunderstanding how you act and how you live.

Happy Christmas!

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New Disciples

  • Join a church
  • Pray to be empowered by the Holy Spirit
  • Tell your family and friends about Jesus
  • Get Baptised in water
  • Be part of a small group for teaching, friendship and support
  • Read the Bible starting with a gospel
  • Use some daily Bible reading notes to help you – see resources chapter
  • Be a prayer partner or part of a triplet
  • Find a basic Christianity course – see resources chapter
  • Talk to the pastor or other mature Christian about being free from your past
  • Explore your gifts, talents and abilities
  • Discover your passions
  • Follow the guidelines on Christian living in the Bible
  • Find an opportunity to serve in your church – get involved!
  • Don’t worry when you have a bad day
  • Get involved with mission, at work, with your church, at school
  • Worship Him wherever you are and thank Him for all His provisions for you. This will become a daily routine
  • Ask yourself if you would do your usual things if Jesus was physically with you.
  • When a tough decision comes, ask what would Jesus do? (Remember, he did some pretty radical things!)
  • Ask God for His direction in all aspects of your life – involve Him in all decisions
  • Mix with Christians from other denominations and appreciate the breadth of his kingdom
  • Take an opportunity to go on a short-term mission abroad.

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I was at a leadership conference recently where some deep, and searching questions were asked. See how you get on with answering them…

What sort of church do you want to lead?

What kind of leader do I want to be?

Do I desire intimacy with Jesus?

Do I cherish worship?

Do I enjoy serving?

Am I still amazed at the gospel?

Do I love what Jesus loves?

Reflect on Ephesians 3:17-19

Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. NLT

Be encouraged!

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Matt 6:19-21

“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. (NLT)

This passage spoken by Jesus resonates with 10 chapters in Isaiah (13-23). Here God is instructing Isaiah to speak to several nations about their demise from worldly success to rags. The key seems to be in chapter 17 v10 -You have forgotten God.

People, nations and even churches are successful economically, socially, financially etc, forging ahead leaving God, their author and sustainer behind.

The warning came again in Revelation 2 v4 in the letter to the church in Ephesus. Jesus said through John that despite their ‘successes’, they had forgotten their first love. It is interesting to note when reading through the 7 letters to the 7 churches, that only 2 out of the 7 towns have Christian churches there today…

In your life and in your church, what is your treasure and where is it? How do we measure success?

It is good to have a place to live, clothes to wear and money to pay the bills. But Jesus challenge was all about attitude. Are we holding tight to our ‘stuff’ or are we happily sharing it? Are we living in a way that reflects Jesus to people? Are we allowing Him to produce the fruit of the Spirit in us and hone our character?

Reflect on your treasure. Jesus said that where your treasure is, that’s where your heart is.

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I think we all agree that most of the news we hear or read is bad news. The good things that are happening in our town, city or country, and there are many, don’t seem to make the headlines. Maybe it just doesn’t sell papers.

However, we really need to hear good news to keep up morale and make us smile.

A few years ago, our church chose a few streets in our parish and distributed a monthly publication called ‘The Good News’ paper (www.goodnews-paper.org.uk).

We delivered it for a few months to each house in those streets, then knocked to ask if they wanted the paper to still be delivered. Most people said yes and how refreshing it was to hear good news for a change. The publication is unashamedly evangelistic in nature and it does the heart good!

Last week I visited a church who had some copies of the paper and they very excitedly showed me the following story.

‘An ISIS fighter who enjoyed slaughtering Christians, has converted to Christianity after Jesus spoke to him in dreams. According to a Christian missionary, the ISIS jihadi dreamed of a man in white who told him ‘You are killing my people.’ He stared feeling really sick and uneasy about what he was doing. The fighter said that just before he killed one Christian, the man said ‘I know you will kill me, but I give you my Bible’ The Christian was killed, but this ISIS fighter actually started reading it. In another dream, Jesus asked him to follow Him and this ISIS man is now asking to become follower of Christ.’

This is the kind of story we need to be hearing. It encourages us to pray.

If you wish to receive a free sample of the paper, go to the website www.goodnews-paper.org.uk or call 0115 923 3424.

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