Sunday, February 28, 2010

To Communicate.. Listen And Hear!

Had a few moments free, so I thought I'd write something about effective hearing. That's an area that I really want to get stronger in. I'm easily distracted sometimes. I've actually got several areas to grow in (yup, duh!), but God is so good cuz He ain't finished workin' with me yet. Hope you are having a wonderful start of a new week. Anyways, here's my short devo...  

To Fully Communicate.. Listen And Hear!

"Now when Job's three friends heard of all this adversity that had come upon him, each one came from his own place—Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. For they had made an appointment together to come and mourn with him, and to comfort him. And when they raised their eyes from afar, and did not recognize him, they lifted their voices and wept; and each one tore his robe and sprinkled dust on his head toward heaven. So they sat down with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his grief was very great" ~ Job 2:11, nkjv

Ever been suffering and had some friends drop by just to be there and to cry with you? How valuable that can be just to have someone near. How cool to have someone there for you—not to miss-speak or insensitively spout off a bunch of lame Christian clichés that don't comfort at all, but instead just to bring you a bite to eat or to listen as you try to start catching some sort of healing from God.

Man, sometimes that healing stuff can take some time, if it even arrives at all. It can take time to land on your feet again and to start recovering. 

Do you remember Job and all the severe trials that he went through? Sure you do!

Remember how his wife wasn't much of a faith-filled encouragement at all? What about his buddies. Now those guys get nothing but a bad rap in a lot of churches, but these guys really wanted to comfort Job.

They might not have been perfect, but they did feel for him in his horrific plight. They kinda seemed sickened inside to see their friend in such pain and grief.

Merciful.. sure we can say that about them.. they kept their mouths shut for an entire week. They might not have done a whole lot of hearing from the Lord before opening their mouths about Job's situation, but they did sit there with him and they listened to him for seven days and seven nights. Commendable huh. I sure can't remember doing that for my buddies in pain.

What are some of the Words that God says about this kinda stuff (Please see these verses in their context when you get time. I say always be careful of half verses that could possibly be taken out of context. Yup, test even the words that I say against God's Book)?

"When they heard of the tragedy he had suffered, they got together and traveled from their homes to comfort and console him." ~Job 2:11, nlt

"Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep." ~Romans 12:15

"A heartfelt tear, an attentive ear.. these can show our love as words can never do. They clearly say 'My God is there, your burdens.. He will bear. And I also want to share your cares.. for our hearts really go out to you." ~kVs

"A wise son heeds his father's instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke." ~Proverbs 13:1 

"Listen to counsel and receive instruction, that you may be wise in your latter days." Proverbs 19:20 

Listen to your father who begot you, and do not despise your mother when she is old." Proverbs 23:22

Holy Spirit, we would hear Your inner promptings, soft and clear;
And help us know Your still, small voice so we may make God's will our choice. ~D. De Haan

"To Him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear His voice; and He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out." ~John 10:3

"After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them." ~Acts 16:7

"In the multitude of counselors there is safety." ~Proverbs 11:14

Jesus Christ, our great Example and faithful High Priest, will be close to us when we call out to Him and He will certainly listen to our prayers in a time of need.

"But know that the Lord has set apart for Himself him who is godly; the Lord will hear when I call to Him." ~Psalm 4:3

"Now therefore, listen to Me, My children, for blessed are those who keep My ways. Hear instruction and be wise, and do not disdain it. Blessed is the man who listens to Me, Watching daily at My gates, Waiting at the posts of My doors." ~ Pro 8:32-34

"He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them." ~Psalm 145:19

When a crisis looms before you, don't face it on your own;
Seek advice from godly counsel, and take it to God's throne.  ~Sper

Perhaps these three guys understood an important truth on the horizontal plane with Job… people don't give up any level of intimacy in a relationship when they stop talking for a time, but they will for sure ..if they stop listening.

Christians who would be fruitful often fail to realize how radically important it is, to simply take some time to stop.. to focus in on.. and to just listen to a needy person.

I suspect from looking at the life and ministry of Christ in the Bible, that if you follow His Example and are led by the Spirit ..this type of listening-thing will happen in your life often.  

Leaders who follow the Lord and listen to other followers, literally seem to empower the other followers in one sense. Listening and really hearing what the other person has to say.. and hearing what the Lord might have to say about that person.. says something.

I says, "I care about you" real loud! When Christians do this it represents the Love of Christ to that person.

Christian, do you listen up and hear your wife? You'd be very wise to do that! Get in agreement on stuff. Do you listen to your children? I'm not saying that they are to lead you around, but they might just have something really good to say.

"Have you never read, 'Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have perfected praise'"? ~Matthew 21:16

Do you ever call up your wise dad for advice, or maybe a mature Christian in your church? Wise people don't want to give out uninvited advice or impose upon others, but they can often help in a big way ..if you'll simply ask.

- After you listen to hurting people, go before God for them. Ask Jesus if He would have you say or do anything at all? Ask Him again just to make sure you heard correctly.
- Be quick to hear and slow to speak—don't draw wrong conclusions or judge according to the flesh. Why be rebuked by the Holy Spirit later on?
- Don't fill up the air around needy people with useless or vain words of frivolity, or joke around when no one there wants to laugh. We can easily miss in speaking the truth that they really need to hear and end up only making matters worse. Read all of the book of Job to see what God had to say to the three men.

A primary purpose of Christian marriage is so that married people can learn to listen well and then die to self (easy for me to say huh - I'm still learning this). Marriage is a good gift for those called to it because of sanctification's sake—it's like a tool for God to help you become holy, humble, and not merely happy. To us holy is happy plus some. Can you think of what might challenge your self-centeredness more in this life? I am really blessed with a great wife, but I sure can't think of anything that would do the job better.

Please, please, please do not go do church or evangelistic ministry if your wife can't firmly say that you would indeed die for her ..if the need for that type of protective decision was there before you.

The Bible says that we are to "always give thanks for everything to God the Father in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ. And further, you will submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. You wives will submit to your husbands as you do to the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of His body, the Church; He gave His life to be her Savior. As the Church submits to Christ, so you wives must submit to your husbands in everything. And you husbands must love your wives with the same love Christ showed the Church. He gave up His life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by baptism and God's Word" (Eph. 5:20-26, nlt). God has two rules for marriage.. love and submit. Pretty simple, but we need Him to help us. 

Listen, if you have any authority at all, the sheer act of listening or hearing another person out private speaks uber-gobs beyond that of any great speech or sermon in public you could give. If our Christianity is real, then it must start at home with Jesus first, before we start exporting it! Why else would they want what you have?

So where do we start with listening to God? Wanna get right with God so you can really hear His voice?

Saturday, February 27, 2010

What Kind Of People Are Drawn To You?

".. Jesus withdrew with His disciples to the sea. And a great multitude from Galilee followed Him, and from Judea and Jerusalem and Idumea and beyond the Jordan; and those from Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude, when they heard how many things He was doing, came to Him." ~Mark 3:7
Are people drawn to you?
Man, is it because of what you are doin' ..or perhaps due to what you are saying.. or do you feel more like you typically repel people away?
Good questions for all of us to think about ..huh.
If they are "being drawn," what do you do with em once they show up? Can you sing kinda? I sure can't—it's pretty sad. Who or what do you point them to in order for them to see their needs met?* 
That's slightly important! You know that what you do with them and perhaps even the kind of people that are drawn to you could speak volumes of who you are as a person. It might not as well. What exactly is it about you that makes people want to approach ..or get to know you better?**
The Bible tells us that Christ wasn't passive. He drew sinners like you and me.. "Now the tax collectors and "sinners" were all gathering around to hear Him. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, 'This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.' Then Jesus told them this parable: 'Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?'" (Lk. 15:1-4, niv). People climbed on a clay roof to get near Jesus, 'cause they couldn't pack em in any tighter down below in the house (See Mark 2:2-5). And He still lovingly draws people! And the religious folk still get jealous as well.
If God uses you as a "fisher" to draw people by His anointing towards Christ, then you can be sure that arrogant religious folk will get in your way. They will popup to block, to confuse, to impede and to give you a hard time. Just don't take it personal. It's the living Word of God in you (or that can be in you..) that they dislike. They won't place themselves under the Word's authority and they simply don't realize that they are like puppets on the devil's string if you will.
Let's talk about charisma for a minute. What is it ..or here's another good question: Do you have any attractive charisma about you? More importantly, do you have godly character, honest reliability and the Word of God as your boss? Bible "believing" actually includes real repentance and this is about you getting tired of being your own boss, admitting it, changing, and going forwards letting Christ be the Boss from this point on.
Are you constantly going against your own conscience and then feeling too guilty to even function right? Hey that problem can be solved! Do people trust what you say? Would they say if interviewed, that you always keep your promises and walk your talk? That's so awesome if they would.
Is there purity, genuineness and a fresh sparkle ..or maybe an upbeat exuberant joy—a supernatural JOY that's like.. on steroids (only positive) about you that's kinda hard for them to explain? How about a wholesome sense of humor.. or are you uber-uptight and take yourself way too seriously?
Is there an anointing from the Holy Spirit and God's wisdom in your life that makes em think you will somehow add value to their lives? If you're ever called to speak publicly, you will be called to diligently study Bible-truth as well! Perhaps you are semi or very popular and people want to hang out with you, so they can become cool and popular too. We're not responsible for their motives. But if so, please don't be all full of yourself constantly pointing back at yourself, or boastful like you're all that and a big bag of pretzels. Too many folk are already taking that stance brazenly telling you all that they will accomplish (Personally, I've rarely seen one braggart pull it off).
Ever thought about this stuff before? Sure you have, but I just want to remind you of these things again cuz it never hurts to be reminded of such important things.
Maybe you feel that nobody is drawn to you at all and that you are not quite sure why? Perhaps you wonder why God even has you down here in the first place. Well, He ain't done with you yet.
I had the privilege last week to listen to, to counsel some, and to witness to three brokenhearted young people who believed that they had zero charisma. A few were recently rejected by their boyfriend and girlfriends. It was so sad and it moved me inside. I hope that I helped them some!
Yeah, I really felt for these lonely ones and wanted so much just to hug em, to cry with them, or to go by force into the matter (as if..) and make it all right somehow.
Hey, I'm no mother Teresa-type by any means, but I really wanted to tell them something that would comfort and encourage them in the Lord—their first Love faithful Companion!
They literally felt hopeless, distressed and depressed, and there is so much life ahead for these people. And there is the potential of L-I-F-E ahead for you as well in Christ!  
It can be frustrating to be so limited in helping..and weak when there is so much acute need right in front of me! But that's where the Lord comes in to empower us. When we are weak, He is always strong!     
When speaking with these singles (not together at one time..), I learned that they actually didn't think they were loveable at all, or that they had any natural gifting or charisma at all.
They didn't think anyone would ever care for, or even like them ..ever.. and that something was majorly wrong with them—basically unfixable in their personalities.. and that they would always be repeatedly rejected. We ought not to believe those lies! And yet they were attractive, healthy looking young people. Who can know the inner damage that was either self-inflicted ..or from others? God can and that's why we need His discernment.
One lost teary-eyed young lady who traveled to Dallas from Berlin to meet a so called boyfriend that she had been long-time corresponding with over the internet, got really hurt when he basically threw her and her luggage out of his place. Why did he? Why was she even in his place?
Well, she got tossed aside because she wouldn't have sex with him. Their expectations were vastly different from each other's, but she thought she already knew him well enough to take this huge romantic travel-risk that he invited her on.
It had happened to her before. She exclaimed this to me in youth-German mixed with English gangsta slang. I don't mean it happened to her transcontinentally before.. but she confessed that she had been drawn to the same type of lost hip hoppers with their flashy glitzy lifestyle for years ..who were letting her down hard each time (and not all are like that).
Her dad died young, her mom remarried a puffed-up Muslim guy who was often angry and didn't want her around at all ..because she rejected his faith outright and now she found herself alone again ..but this time in a strange city far away.
I called around and did find her some safe transportation with safe friends and a safe place for her to stay for the night as she had requested, and she seemed very receptive when I explained to her about Christ and His Love for over an hour. I even got to tell Sabrina about some decent Bible teaching churches near her home in Germany. She wants to visit, but please do pray for her.
To tell you the truth, I think there must be more than ten thousand people around us each week who have similar stories.. and feel this same way pretty much. Desperate people needing direction, but what voice can they trust?
Who will reach the next (fatherless) lonely generation?
Who will tell them in our place ..if we merely "live the life" but keep our mouths shut so as not to come off as intolerant, brash or offensive people? Jesus Christ loves them so! He has a plan for each one of em and sure, that plan will include some suffering, some changes, some persecution, some growing, and some real friends in church fellowship who really care.
Man, who hasn't heard that before? But perhaps there's a new way we can convey old truth where they won't quickly turn us off and put us in a leave-that-freak-alone-they're-dangerous-box?
How can we begin to scale the language barrier so that confused people will get found and so that the already found can also be ministered to.. rather than become neglected or discarded on the ash heap of rejection?
They all need to be touched and heard.. just like you.
Many people today when they think of charisma, they think it's some sorta hyper-esoteric energy, some cosmic force, some radically-mystical glowing aurora, or a non-tangible asset not to be had past your birth—an undefinable commodity for a few up-and-outers. Charisma is simply the God-given ability to draw people.
Some television personalities and movie stars (both moral and immoral..) have it. Some so called ministers (both false teachers and faithful ones..) have it, while others merely claim to have it. And many Christians have also cultivated it in their own lives to the benefit of the Kingdom of God.
Have you ever asked others if they think that you have some degree of charisma?
Did you know that charisma, like other character traits, can be developed for a noble Purpose? Yup, it sure can be!
Question: How do you rate when it comes to charisma?
Charisma is the transference of enthusiasm. ~Ralph Archbold
Epaphras… greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers… I bear him witness that he has a great zeal for you. ~Paul, Colossians 4:12-13
How can ya have charisma? Be far more concerned with knowing and pleasing the Source of it—Jesus Christ! Seek to serve and help people rightly connect with Him rather than merely trying to make em feel good about you. ~kVs
Are other people naturally attracted to you, or are you feeling naturally attracted to some individuals you're around because of their gentle optimism and compassion?
If not, it could be due to you possessing a charisma-blockade such as…
A Prideful Attitude – no one will feel drawn towards a so called fisher of people who has an imperious superiority complex. Do you think that you are better than other people? Loose that stinking thinking!
A Poor Me Insecurity – if you love to hold pity parties or to dump on others or choose to believe the lies of fallen angels regarding yourself, then guess what.. you will be miserable inside. And if you feel uncomfortable with who you are, then others will be too. Choose to be thankful and happy biblically in your Savior! 
A Dry Sponge Uber-needy Possessiveness – if you have no righteous quiet time or proper intimacy with the Word of God (Jesus Christ), then you will lack power in witnessing and end up looking to inferior sources to meet your needs. Nothing drives people away faster than a graspy, clingy, controlling idolater looking to a mere human (or thing) as their god. Hey, this could lead to stocking and jail time if not repented of. 
A Credibility Lack – If you play and talk like you're one way and then act another way, you will eventually be found out. No one wants to hang tight with a hypocrite, especially if they never take responsibility for their behavior or attitudes. Everyone who ever sins basically commits the sin of hypocrisy when they do, but that doesn't mean they have to stay a hypocrite. Why become a traitor to who you were called to be and to the One who lovingly calls you? 
A Self-centered Moodiness – if people never know what to expect from you, then they will never expect anything good at all ..preferring not wanting to be disappointed.
A Hard-driving Perfectionism most people respect the desire for excellence along with an accompanying wise-diligence, but they hate inordinate and insensitive pressure along with unrealistic expectations.
An Unloving Cynicism – clear thinking children of the day and others do not want to be rained-on by someone who is determined to see a cloud around every silver lining. Love chooses to believe the best of people. Show respect to those in absentia and to other people as well. Be inclusive until one proves to be on a destructive mission out to hurt relationships. 
A Rebellion-based Anger – Submission to Direct and even flawed delegated authorities is very important in regards to charisma cultivation. It's imperative for maintaining order in a family, in a church, or in an organization as well. Misdirected blame, people-ward hate or anger only drives others within ear-shot away including those who are not even involved. Love all people, submit, own your blunders and be prayerfully humble. Listen, you don't have to be close to unreasonable creeps who see themselves as perfect yet keep brutally wounding the innocent ..minus any apologies or positive change. The cost can be very high and permanent if you make a creep a close friend. 
Not a bad list huh. Perhaps you'd like to add to it. Go for it! Yeah, I'd say that…
Gracious-transparency, consistent credibility, godly character, candid authenticity, rock-solid integrity—these qualities make up the currency of personal evangelism ministry. And this currency if you will sure easy to lose, but it's hard to regain. Without it you might be a witness, but you won't be an effective or good witness, or an impacting minister of any kind for that matter ..even if you land a really cool title!
Paul told Titus to, " sober-minded, in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned" (Tts. 2:6-8).
Want to gain trust and be a decent influencer of any kind? Appropriate these above characteristics ASAP!
Let us serve the Lord with gladness and enthusiastic praise,
Telling all who do not know Him of His great and wondrous ways!

Godly zeal that employs righteous charisma is love on fire! ~kVs

Hey gang, I'm not here to point a finger or reform the bad behavior or negative attitudes of sinners. I'm not here to justify anyone or save anybody really. No mere man can do that, but if you are a real Christian then you can develop some winsome charisma unto the glory of God by steering way clear of those ugly blockades! Ask God to help you cultivate your relationship with Him until you are red-hot for the Word of God with a passion to rescue others who are on a destructive path. Trust Him to use you today as you spread the Good News with charisma from Him. He won't let you down!  
* Christian, it's great when people are drawn to you for the right reasons and we indeed have God to thank for that. Wonderful! It's also important for us to point these people to Jesus Christ in a natural winsome way—the Savior and Source of everything that they really need. Ultimately.. for their own good, we want them following Him instead of us as we give all the glory to God.
** Is there an effervescent joy, purity, or a quality of a wholesome sincerity in your life that is attracting people? What is it that makes them come to you? I am talking about investigating the underlying reasons here, not guilt by association here. I think people from every strata of society, of every color and background, who maybe live in close proximity to you.. should be drawn, but if it's constantly pervs and base individuals who show up in your face then you might just want to ask yourself if it's all about something you are habitually doing wrong that needs to change. In our sex-crazed sensual Western culture today, it's important for Christians to dress modestly and be real instead of flirting around or dressing seductively. 

Visit F4S for more!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Throwin' Down The Blam The Way Most Preachers Fear To - Love It!

Just wanted to say hi friends. Here's a "Been Hook?-vid" and more of a personal evangelism vid-thingy in the same style or genre of sorts.. that I just made for you! Been so busy lately paying taxes, bills, and with just keeping up with the practical things. Got some time free of many commitments today and am 'bout to go work out, but thought you'd kinda like a couple short clips from these guys boldly throwin' down the blam with no scam or sham. BTW.. Have ya visited, fan-ed, or shared some personal witnessing stories at our page? Love your edifying input. Thanks!!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Huh, Being Before Fishing ..Before Any Serving?

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. —Jesus, Matthew 11:28


Results, results, results.. gotta see the results! The proof is in the pudding. No time to waste—we've got to see the positive results of your labor! Think bottom-line dude. Meet your quotas or you're out. More numbers! Work it and then you can approach. NOT!


Hey Buckeroo, ever seen a tree straining to produce?


How 'bout a fisherman out at the lake?


Not so much?


With this in mind, how do ya personally feel when people bring up the subject of personal evangelism? "Oh man, Martha, I'm sure the pastor wants more service from me now out there in the neighborhood, but I've been working like a dog at my job. How can I ever satisfy God.. and him?"


I believe that Christians tend to think of "fishing for men" only in terms of action these days ..maybe because when people go fishing for fish it's supposed to be about doing something. But being the kind of fisher that God wants to make every believer into is much more than that.


The godly are like trees that bear life-giving fruit, and those who save lives are wise. ~Proverbs 11:30, nlt


I walked life's path with worry, disturbed and quite unblest,

Until I trusted Jesus; now faith has giv'n me rest. ~Bosch


Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. ~Jesus, John 15:4, nkjv 

Factoid for ya: Fishing for souls is not merely something you do, but it's much more about something you are.. in Christ. It's a lifestyle of agape-connection.


Saturday, February 6, 2010

Ever Seen A Ship Or A Watch Up Close? Can Ya Make Sense Of It?

"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son…" ~Romans 8:28-29
Painful trials, vicious personal tragedy, personal attacks, temptation, sin, stinging setbacks or unexpected reversals.. hugenormus loss, stumbling here and there, embarrassing failure—what have you been through?
Got any really ugly stuff like these things in your past?
Perhaps you've had a bad day today, a bad month, a really bad decade, or thus far.. a really bad life? I really hope you are having a good day, but I want to encourage you.. just in case.. not to give up or become despondent, hopeless or given to self-pity.
In Christ, your best days are indeed ahead of you ..yup, unto the furtherance of His Kingdom and unto His eternal glory as you live wholeheartedly for Him!
Wanna tell you about a suffering soul-winner, a local church pastor that was trying his best to make some sense out of his family's darkest, most horrific tragedy.
He was emotionally besieged as you could imagine, basically coming up empty handed and without words or any relief. He just couldn't on his own and started to pray for God's strength. You see, his son had committed suicide. Ever met anyone who has lost a loved one by this selfish sin? It breaks your heart in half!
There were things that this fisherman of sorts knew and felt he understood ..and many other things that he just didn't get. I know that I wouldn't fully get it if I were in his shoes at the time.
How could God allow this to happen when He is all-powerful and all-knowing? Couldn't He have overridden or blocked the serious folly of his son ..early enough? Many ministers totally leave God and ditch the ministry after going through such brutal and merciless circumstances. Many Christians backslide and stay angry at the Lord for a lifetime after experiencing similar pain. I know some who have and some who refused to.   
But after ten days this believing minister did return to his pulpit. Under such massive duress he read his text from the familiar words of Paul found in Romans 8:28, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."
Yeah, visibly shaken, radically care-worn, shell-shocked and struggling for some composure, the minister said:
"I cannot make my son's suicide fit into this passage. It's impossible for me to see how anything good can come out of it. Yet I realize that I only see in part. I only know in part. It's like the miracle of the shipyard. Almost every part of our great oceangoing vessels are made of steel. If you take any single part—be it a steel plate out of the hull or the huge rudder—and throw it into the ocean, it will sink. Steel doesn't float! But when the shipbuilders are finished, when the last plate has been riveted in place, then that massive steel ship is virtually unsinkable. Taken by itself, my son's suicide is senseless. Throw it into the sea of Romans 8:28 and it sinks. Still, I believe that when the Eternal Shipbuilder has finally finished, when God has worked out his perfect design, even this senseless tragedy will somehow work to our eternal good."
Yes, even this tragedy will be put together to serve the high purpose of the God who experienced His own son being murdered. It's because of faith—this pastor had a vital relationship with Jesus Christ and new supernatural strength from Him.
For the committed believer there are no permanent tragedies. For the committed unbeliever there are no permanent triumphs. ~Erwin Lutzer
"Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:  but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy." ~1 Peter 4:12-13

Thursday, February 4, 2010

How ‘Bout Learnin’ To Tell Em From An Excellent Fisherman?

Paul can help you know how to do it without fear. Do what? Well, go and share your faith in a way that gets the Message across.

"Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, 'Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you: God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with men's hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us…'" ~Paul, Acts 17:22-27, nkjv

There are two types of people today, 1.) Those who have found the love of Jesus Christ in a born again experience and 2.) Those who are still looking for the love of Jesus (..even if they don't yet realize what they are really looking for).

There are two types of Christians in relation to this as well, 1.) Those who are worshiping and fishing right in Jesus, and 2.) Those who basically need a divine kick in their lazy blessed assurance ..or something even more fitting than that.

I'm out to see Solution meet up with Answer today.. to see spiritual Christians meet up with lonely open unbelievers today. When these things happen, America will see the Change it's been voting for and not before. Face it, we are beyond the point of no return and no amount of decent politicians are going to fix our Land. America (and your country too wherever that is..) needs witnessing believers praying and a genuine spiritual awakening again!
Hey gang, got a moment to look at effectual fishing-communication? This will be part of it! Got a lifetime to think and practice compassionate missional living? Let's take another look at the four sermons that Doctor Luke recorded in the book of Acts today. What happened with that early church out amongst their community of seen-it-all-skeptics is exactly what I am talking about!

Don't cha love how the Holy Spirit used Pete, Steve, and Paul to effectively connect with their hearers back then? You can do that too! You know, an effective fisher, by the wooing wise Spirit of truth, will go for touching a heart before they call for a response.
To me it is interesting when I read different books in the Bible to see how God, the ultimate missional Fisher ..coming from a totally different culture if you will, is the Initiator in entering and addressing the culture and minds of blind people. Yup, the people are the responders (which is totally opposite from what we typically see today on speak-it-to-see-it-happen, give-more-to-get-it, push-to-get-to-the-next-level, and praise-harder-to-snag-your-blessing Christian TV in the Western world).  Don't laugh; you know it's true!

We look in the Word and first read about all that God did for needy people, and then subsequent to all that He calls them to do such and such but not before (i.e., See Ephesians). What a great Example Fisher we serve.. "We love Him because He first loved us" (1 Jn. 4:19)!

Don't you love how Paul followed the Lord and His example well? In Acts 17, Paul showed how he understood Greek society, loved sinners and could relate to their most important needs. Why not check out how a wise fisherman reaches out and connects with those he seeks to net…

He opened with genuine affirmation minus all flattery and deception.
He wasn't going for their wallets first, but for pleasing Jesus and doing the will of God.
He quickly and accurately built a bridge to his hearers using what was already familiar to them.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Dealin’ With Difficult People Above Or Below Ya.. Man That’s Challenging!

"Therefore David said to the Gibeonites, 'What shall I do for you? And with what shall I make atonement, that you may bless the inheritance of the Lord?'" ~2 Samuel 21:3

Ever read about the Gibeonites? David had to deal with them and also with difficult Saul (v. 1). Maybe you have some difficult people in your life these days… some who are believers and some who are unbelievers.. some who are in authority over you (like say at work..), some who are under your authority and some who are neither.

Following Dave's example in dealing with difficult persons above and below would be a wise thing to do.

The Gibeonites were difficult for David, but he called for them, met with them, communicated with them ..asking good questions (vv. 2-7) and in this relating he settled things down.

Every Christian fisher and leader will have their moments with difficult people to work with too. Of course it's a totally different ballgame when the difficult person is above you in authority (See Matt. 18:16) or even peer-level.

Draining circumstances are one thing to handle—we all have those at times as well, but how do you deal with people are regularly difficult?

Maybe you are an employer? Of course we as Christians are to show all wrong and right doers God's love, grace and respect, but where in the Bible does it say that you must be a sissy or a doormat for the staff that you pay or work with? Won't find it. Will find passages that talk about you being humble and kind though.

Perhaps you are an underling in a church? Hopefully you will never have a difficult prayer-less, heartless, grace-killer pastor to deal with.. or a sicko-church.. or bullheaded religious leaders.. or yes-men board members who insists on doing things their own way… or a difficult closed-minded sin-hiding bishop.. or hurt friends who start hurting others. If you ever do, then please seek the Lord and some godly counsel. You'll need it.    

"If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone."
~Paul, Romans 12:18, niv

Jesus didn't have human pastors ranked above Him, but He did deal with a lot of difficult people (..still does). Here are four methods that Christ personally modeled throughout His life here on earth:

1. Realize you can't please everybody (Jn. 5:30). Hey, even the Father hasn't done that! One wants rain while the other demands sunshine.

2. Refuse to play their game (Matt. 22:18). Learn to say no to people with unrealistic expectations. Yup, confront and help them by "telling the truth in love."

3. Wisely protect people, but never retaliate when they do you wrong (Matt. 5:38-39). It only lowers you to their level.

4. Show respect to people even when they are disrespectful and pray for them (Matt. 5:44). It will be a plus for both of you. Let God handle them—they belong to Him.

Now, here are different types of difficult people who have been known to accost Christian fishers and even leaders…
                            Personally Type                                  Coping Strategy
The Tiger Army Tank:
likes to ride over the top of all tank-crunchies (gullible people).
Consider the specific issue;
prepare well and confront them in love about agape Love (1 Cor. 13).
The Space Cadet:
seems to spend a lot of time in another world (Tts. 2:6).
Stay grounded; give em duties that require pragmatism. Find, challenge and develop their unique giftings.
The Small Volcano,
unpredictable, explosive, lusts and goes after more power. Wants to be the church boss (1Ti 3:3/Tts 1:7/3 Jn. 1:9).
Don't fund or promote em. Promise nothin' to. Be direct. Clearly explain with right verses on self control. Warn and remove from crowd when needed. Listen/pray for.


How To Know God Personally

Hearing His Voice Doesn’t Have To Be All ..Out There

"My sheep recognize my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them away from me, for my Father has given them to me, and He is more powerful than anyone else. So no one can take them from me." ~ Jesus, in John 10:27-29, nlt

How do you honestly feel about God speaking to others? You hear about it sometimes at work.. at school.. on the streets and maybe you are downright sick of hearing about it, because it seems way past due—yeah, high time that God speak to you personally. Maybe you've been burned before by people who are quick to say that this type of thing can still happen. Do ya think it could really happen for anyone? Why not? 

Ok, so there are indeed a lot of so called Christians and even cultists out there, even as of late on TV etc, who have allegedly said some pretty whacko things in the name of God told em to say it ..even though what they said contradicted the Bible or went against His holy nature.
Do you feel slightly skeptical inside at times? Listen, them talkin' all stupid n stuff doesn't mean that "hearing from God" for real ..couldn't ever happen in your experience.

"Then said I, Lo, I come in the volume of the book it is written of me, to do thy will, O God." ~Hebrews 10:7, kjv

"Whatever our need for guidance or protection, Jesus calls us to heed His voice and follow Him."  ~David McCasland

"To Him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear His voice; and He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out." ~John 10:3

Shepherds in the days when Jesus was here walking on dirt, basically raised sheep out in the uplands of Judea where the land was very rocky, rough and hilly. Read more...

Get in Jesus ..get into Christ's love letter and yes, let His Words get into you!
For more on this topic - F4S!