As we continue our discussion on Bridges, Keith Haney has presented his eye-0pening interview allowing us to understand a little more about our black brothers and sisters. Read this interview and listen with your heart. Evaluate your own feelings in light of his words, and in light of God’s Word, and decide if there is more you can do as a Christian to encourage one another.
Next Month I will be speaking to the Senior Luncheon for our Church. In preparing for this talk I happened upon this article. After reading please give sincere thought and make a commitment rather than a resolution this year.
It’s that time of year again.
We’re going to lose weight, exercise more, get out of debt, stick to a budget, stop smoking, save for the future and spend more time with family.
We make resolutions because we want to bring change to bear on our circumstances. We want to improve ourselves and our quality of life. And the top resolutions, for most people, tend to revolve around the same three poles: money, health and family.
But what would a set of New Year’s resolutions look like for you and your church, your role as a leader, or simply as someone who wants to live a life of strategic Kingdom investment?
Though many more could be added, here are fifteen to consider:
1. Pray more.
So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord… ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’” says the Lord Almighty. (Zechariah 4:6, NIV)
2. Invest in your spiritual gift(s).
Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you. Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. (I Timothy 4:14-15, NIV)
3. Get more intentional about evangelism.
I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. (I Corinthians 9:22, NIV)
4. Care for yourself spiritually.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. (Philippians 3:12, NIV)
5. Make the tough decisions you know are best.
And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me — the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace. (Acts 20:22-24, NIV)
6. Confront debilitating patterns of sin.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. (Hebrews 12:1, NIV)
7. Do the hard work needed to build community.
If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. (Matthew 18:15, NIV)
8. Keep in touch with contemporary culture.
From the tribe of Issachar, there were 200 leaders… All these men understood the signs of the times and knew the best course for Israel to take. (I Chronicles 12:32, NLT)
9. Quit comparing yourself to other Christians, other leaders, and other churches.
Turning his head, Peter noticed the disciple Jesus loved following right behind. When Peter noticed him, he asked Jesus, “Master, what’s going to happen to him?” Jesus said, “If I want him to live until I come again, what’s that to you? You – follow me.” That is how the rumor got out among the brothers that this disciple wouldn’t die. But that is not what Jesus said. He simply said, “If I want him to live until I come again, what’s that to you?” (John 21:20-23, Msg)
10. Read more.
Timothy, please come as soon as you can…When you come, be sure to… bring my books,… (II Timothy 4:9, 13, NLT)
11. Prioritize your family.
A leader must be well-thought-of, committed to his wife,…attentive to his own children and having their respect. For if someone is unable to handle his own affairs, how can he take care of God’s church? (I Timothy 3:2-5, Msg)
12. Refuse to use ministry to satisfy your personal ambition.
Should you then seek great things for yourself? Seek them not. (Jeremiah 45:5, NIV)
13. Love people, not just crowds.
If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love. (I Corinthians 13:1-3, Msg)
14. Be more open to change.
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? (Isaiah 43:19, NIV)
15. Stay focused on the vision.
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. (Acts 2:42-47, NIV)
Dr. James Emery White
James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC, and the ranked adjunctive professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, which he also served as their fourth president.
Second in our series called Bridges is written by Lilka Raphael over at bisforblessed.com.
He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.
Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” Luke 17:16-19 NIV
Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.
John 4:9 NIV
As we celebrate this Christmas season, we would all do well to ponder “goodwill to men.”
Merriam-Webster defines goodwill as “a kindly feeling of approval and support: benevolent interest or concern” It is also defined as “willing effort.”
“Relationship” may be an…
View original post 453 more words
How can I hope to bridge the gap and promote meaningful conversation in regard to race? What pre-conceived notions do I need to leave behind in order to bridge the gap? How far across the bridge do I need to walk? What conversations are pertinent and necessary right now to bring unity to a hurting […]
Saw this on Christian Blessing Blog! Hope you enjoy it. Please feel free to send me your stories like this as well!
The younger, Lauren (age 4) wanted me to play Barbie with her. Now, Lauren is very insistent that some toys are boy toys and some are girl toys. So I asked her if grandpa, being a boy and all, should play with Barbies.
“Grandpa, you’re just an old fuddy-duddy, ” Lauren exclaimed.
“Lauren, what’s a fuddy-duddy?” I asked.
“Then why did you call me a fuddy-duddy?”
“’cause grandma said you are.”
Well, I can’t argue with that!
So, I played with Barbies. But I got to be a prince!
Life is good, especially with the blessing of grandkids!
Alive in The Word
I am taking a moment to present an important part of my family to you this morning. Ken Oldham is my nephew. His wife Keli and their three children, Grace, Zeke, and Titus are all missionaries in Egypt. Not only do they serve in Egypt but all over the Middle East. God has not only protected them but has greatly blessed them. His grandfather, and my Dad, was a beacon for Ken’s direction in the ministry. While Dad was alive he taught so much to Ken and Keli about ministry. The result was that when Ken turned 39 he went on the Mission Field at God’s calling. The really neat thing is that it was the same age my Dad took us to British Guiana on his first missionary assignment.
One of Ken’s most recent blog post blessed me beyond measure. I had to stop and think about the legacy I was leaving for my children and grandchildren. Her name was MS Jane. She never went to Egypt. No her ministry was right here, at home. As you read Ken and Keli’s farewell letter you will begin to understand what a minister she was. Take the time to reflect on your own heart and ministry as you read it. Remember that when we are able we all can retire from earthly toils–we NEVER retire from God’s work and His plan for our life. Let me know your thoughts.
Posted: 14 Mar 2014 03:03 PM PDT
Moments ago, i learned of Ms Jane Bradford’s passing from this life to the next. I can’t help but take a moment to reflect on our relationship.
Ms Jane was like no other.
I am sure we met at some state event before, probably initiated by her to, no doubt, discern my proximity to the Doug and Dale Oldham whom she knew well and greatly admired. But I remember her first greeting of me at the Ryan’s Steakhouse in Decatur at a Caleb Club lunch held there with the intent of meeting Keli and I who were candidating at the Sixth Avenue Church of God that weekend. She was enthusiastic to meet me and eager to make sure we knew her.
I think she called me “son” in that first meeting, and apologized for it then as she would often do. Ms Jane never married and had no children; though she claimed she used the term “son” because I was so much younger than she, there really couldn’t be a higher term of honor from her to me.
Ms Jane could scold and confront me like a mother. For dressing inappropriately as a pastor, and pointing out how much better the more respectable pastors would dress. For challenging risky decisions that were sure to ruffle feathers. Or for dozens of other unique conversations we would have. She would later admit that it would drive her nuts that I really did have a good reason for everything that I did or didn’t do and that it just wasn’t a matter of youthful carelessness that needed elder wisdom and correction.
She would always compliment me in some backhanded way; “you might become a preacher yet,” she would say after a sermon she would like, perhaps to prevent me from getting a big head.
Ms Jane was quite the musician and passionate about the organ and hymns. Changes in church music were always a source of discussion and controversy between her and me. I truly loved to watch Ms Jane play the organ because it was like watching a person on a time machine–every melody seemed to transport her to another time and place, and the smile on her face told me she was home, wherever & whenever that time and place was located.
Now with these previous comments, you may think I disliked Ms Jane, which couldn’t be farther from the truth. I loved and sincerely liked Ms Jane, though no one was really sure why.
It wasn’t because we both loved the Church of God because we loved it for different reasons; she loved it for what it was, often lamenting over all that was lost in either the passing of friends or great preachers, and saddened over any change from the historical. I love the Church of God for what it can be, not denying the good of the past but rather hopeful that positive changes can be made to make for an even better future. We would talk about these different perspectives, even occasionally agreeing.
I liked Ms Jane because she was passionate in her conviction and willing to be a risk-taker. She didn’t just believe something, she would share it I a letter to the editor, speak up in a town meeting or at city hall, or even make a homemade sandwich sign and stand at a busy intersection to get her message out there. I didn’t often agree with her messages, but I admired her passion to take the risks to share her belief.
I liked Ms Jane because she was a servant. She served neighbors, the church, and strangers. She volunteered to clean bathrooms when funding for janitors was low; she was a regular in the Angel Food program, she’d fund-raise or network for any cause, and she would do whatever was asked. She and I served together as regulars in leading a worship service for a local nursing home. She tried so hard to relate in the children’s outreach program though she couldn’t have been more different in background to most of those kids. She knew those kids needed Jesus, and if she could contribute, she would do it.
I liked Ms Jane because even though she disagreed with me, she respected me enough not to be disagreeable in attitude, to affirm the relationship before and after each confrontation, and to always confront me directly instead of through some manipulation, power play, or word-of-mouth gossip trail. I never wondered where I stood with Ms Jane.
If she didn’t tell me first, she typed it first and requested a meeting–yes, Ms Jane had and used an old type-writer for her correspondence. She had an aversion to technology and may have never sat at a computer nor held a smart phone. Emails would be sent to the Maples and they would graciously print her a copy. She often said that some of these new ideas that used these “gizmos” were a part of the greater things that Jesus said we would one day do in His name.
I liked Ms Jane because the honesty led to great vulnerability with me. Because she knew I patiently loved her even in the midst of our controversies, she respected me. She even trusted me: with feelings of hope and sadness, question and doubts, and allowed me the opportunity to serve her in times of embarrassing need.
Ms Jane couldn’t be prouder of us than when we announced the end of our pastorate to serve the Church globally. She lamented losing her relationship with us, but she rejoiced with our opportunity to serve in Egypt. Having traveled to Egypt, she shared several pictures with us from her journey, as well as her memories. She prayed for us, of that I have no doubt. She gave to us when she could and she wouldn’t let us refuse the gift no matter how much we knew she needed it. Truth be told, at a moment when I was uncertain that she would be able to make it any longer, I confessed that we were likely to be leaving the church for Egypt–that’s right 6th Ave, outside of family, Ms Jane knew at least 6 months in advance.
In this latest wave of difficulty, we had to keep informed from afar; we couldn’t walk these steps with her, not this time. We had hoped to see her again this summer, hoping one more miraculous recovery would lead to a happy reunion on this side of heaven. But it was not to be.
Ms Jane’s faith has been made sight today.
Me Jane, I’m sorry I wasn’t there to kiss you goodbye. I look forward to our next talk, though starting the conversation will be harder because you won’t be able to criticize my clothes ;). We’ll have much to agree on one day soon.
I’m sure a gracious and loving Heavenly Father had a new organ waiting for her; He likely watched and listened with joy as He watched her sit down to play a classic hymn, just the way that it was written. Except The Lord will not see what I used to see–that heavenly organ won’t be a time machine–the smile on Ms Jane’s face is no longer longing for another time and place. No, the smile on and Jane’s face today is because she arrived there, right where she belongs.
If you would like to contact Ken and Kelli and bless them with your prayers in this world of uncertain safety, here is their information:
~ Or ~
“Our dead are never dead to us, until we have forgotten them”
Some thoughtful information for those who are daughters, were daughters, have daughters, intend to have daughters, or intend to date a daughter.
Rule One: If you pull into my driveway and honk you’d better be delivering a package, because you’re sure not picking anything up.
Rule Two: You do not touch my daughter in front of me. You may glance at her, so long as you do not peer at anything below her neck. If you cannot keep your eyes or hands off of my daughter’s body, I will remove them.
Rule Three: I am aware that it is considered fashionable for boys of your age to wear their trousers so loosely that they appear to be falling off their hips. Please don’t take this as an insult, but you and all of your friends are complete idiots. Still, I want to be fair and…
View original post 663 more words