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Dr Tony Evans: Become an Ambassador of Kindness

Dr Tony Evans: Become an Ambassador of Kindness

https://tonyevans.org/blog/become-an-ambassador-of-kindness

Our culture has become contaminated and saturated with hatred, racism, meanness and a host of other expressions of contempt. And like a bad virus, it’s spreading through our society.

it’s time for kingdom people like you and me to start spreading good things, including kindness.

But it’s time for kingdom people like you and me to start spreading good things, including kindness. In 2022, I am launching a national initiative called “Kindness in the Culture” to challenge believers to reclaim the attitude of civility that’s necessary for a peaceful and kind environment in our homes, our workplaces and our society.

It’s time for us all to get involved in making a difference in our conversations, whether they be in our living rooms or on social media or in the public sphere. Those of us who love God should be the first to sign on to a movement for change that begins by simply practicing an act of kindness for a neighbor, a friend or a stranger.

Because kindness is contagious, you can affect others by the way you speak to them and the way you treat them.

You and I can become ambassadors of kindness, offering a kind and respectful response to everyone we meet. Because kindness is contagious, you can affect others by the way you speak to them and the way you treat them. Let’s not be afraid to commit what someone has called “random acts of kindness.” They make a difference.

So, let’s take up the cause of spreading kindness rather than sowing discord. Let’s take an honest look at the way we are communicating with others and make the changes we need to make. Let’s surprise someone today with an act of kindness. Let’s spread something good. 

Be on the lookout for more information coming soon on our national initiative of “Kindness in the Culture” as we examine ways to increase the level of kindness in our culture.

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Deuteronomy 8:11-20

11 Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day:

12 Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein;

13 And when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied;

14 Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the LORD thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage;

15 Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint;

16 Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end;

17 And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth.

18 But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.

19 And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the LORD thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish.

20 As the nations which the LORD destroyeth before your face, so shall ye perish; because ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the LORD your God.

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Radiant Church

Radiant Church:

Restorng The Credibility of Our WItness

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The Church Movement as a Whole Must Be Born Again


In what way has your heart been heavy about the witness of the North American church?

Tara Beth Leach: My heart has been burdened for the diminished witness for the bride of Christ in North America. She has
rooted herself in narratives of this world rather than God’s story. As a result, our light isn’t as bright as Jesus says it can be,
and we are a far cry from the radiance of the earliest church. I wrote this book in hopes of holding up a mirror to the church
so that she can confess the reality, grieve the reality, and have hope for a better and more radiant reality.

What are your hopes for this book?

Tara: I am a “prisoner of hope.” I believe in the God of resurrection, and I believe in us. I pray that when this book is read,
imaginations will be sparked and expanded to be the radiant bride that Jesus believes we can be.

 

In reading this book, what can readers learn about themselves and the church?

Tara: We as the people of God in Christ are rooted in narratives that produce a diminished witness. Radiant people have allegiance to King Jesus alone, and when our allegiance is divided, our witness is diminished. We can no longer point the finger away from the church. Instead, we must look inwardly and bravely enter into the wilderness. A radiant church has men and women together at the table. We don’t just need individual born again Christians. Our movement as a whole must be born again.

 

Something is not right. The witness of the church in North America is eroding. 

Many Christians are alarmed by the decline in church attendance and seek a culprit. Too often, we point the finger away from the church, make culture the enemy, and build walls between us and others. But our antagonism and enemy-making are toxins that further eat away at our witness. Is there a better way?

Tara Beth Leach could easily be one of those millennials giving up on the church. Instead, she is a pastor who loves the church and is paradoxically hopeful for its future. In an era where the church has lost much of its credibility, Leach casts a radiant vision for Christians to rediscover a robust, attractive witness. We need to name the toxic soil we've grown in, repent for past wrongs, and lean into a better way to become the church that Jesus proclaimed we would be.

Leach casts down idolatrous false images of God to recover a winsome picture of a kingdom of abundance and goodness. We can be sustained by practices that will tune our hearts to God's and form us into the radiant communities God intends for us and those around us.

Introduction: A Dim Light (see excerpt just below)
1. The Call to Radiance
2. The Radiant Story
3. The Radiant Vision of Jesus
4. The Radiant King and Kingdom
5. The Radiant Witness
6. The Radiant Partnership
7. Radiant Evangelism
8. Radiant Practices
9. The Radiant Future

  

EXCERPT

In 2016 I accepted the new role as senior pastor of First Church of the Nazarene of Pasadena, affectionately known as “PazNaz.” PazNaz is a large and historic church in Southern California with a rich history in Pasadena as well as the Nazarene denomination.

I began to discover that hidden behind the curtains of evangelicalism’s golden crowns of success was a malnourished vision for flourishing in the kingdom...Perhaps “success” wasn’t what we thought it was. 

"What we have discovered in many of evangelicalism’s successful megachurches is that behind closed doors of rising attendance, building, and cash the situation isn’t what it seems.

Take, for example, Willow Creek, Harvest Bible Chapel, and the Southern Baptist Convention.

The curtains were pulled back and the light shined in the darkness. We all saw moral failures happening behind closed doors in some of America’s largest churches. 

It turns out we had been using the wrong metric all along.

Suddenly, we all had to come to terms with the reality that whatwas once anointed as a success wasn’t successful after all. These old metrics only told some of the story. 

Imagine going into a doctor with chest pains and the doctor pulling out a stethoscope. After listening for a moment, the doctor says, “Your heart is beating rhythmically. I think you’re in great shape!” I imagine that you would explain to the doctor that more sophisticated measuring tools are needed. The stethoscope shows only part of the picture. 

We are acting like this doctor by measuring the health of the church numerically. Of course, measuring numerically is far easier than measuring faithfulness or love or kindness or hospitality or integrity. Measuring numerically is low-hanging fruit. At the same time, what if our measuring system has been covering up symptoms for decades, and only recently are we coming to terms with the severity of the crisis? 

You see, it isn’t just about Willow Creek, Harvest Bible Chapel, and the Southern Baptist Convention. It isn’t only about evangelicals’ propensity for partisan politics. We could find many symptoms: #ChurchToo, segregation, polarization, hypernationalism within local-church worship, and a history of systemic racism. These didn’t happen overnight; rather, they are symptomatic of a crisis that has been brewing for decades. 

The erosion of the witness in the church began to crumble years ago, and today we are trying to make sense of it all.

Through all of this there have been ongoing conversations on the post-Christian context. There is a notable shift happening in churches and communities all around America. PazNaz has been around for decades, which means many of its members have been around for long enough to talk about what they call “the good old days.” To them, the “good old days” are the days when “most people went to church.” Now, most people don’t go to church. 

Many look for somewhere or someone to point the finger at, and the finger is often pointed outward instead of inward.

Blame the millennials, blame the erosion of Christian morals in America, blame the liberals, blame immoral presidents, blame the decay of culture. Perhaps we are pointing in the wrong direction. Maybe we ought to honestly and humbly look in the mirror and turn the finger back toward ourselves. Maybe it isn’t the post-Christian culture, and instead we have a post-Christian church.

Maybe it’s time for us to look in the mirror, examine our hearts, and ask the Lord to show us where we’ve fallen short, confess, lament, and repent. 


Let’s Get Uncomfortable ... and step intp new wineskins

I can remember back when I was a young student studying to be in ministry; whenever someone would critique the church, I got uncomfortable. Don’t talk about my family like that, I’d think. Don’t talk about the very people that birthed me, nurtured me, fed me, and formed me. But these days I can see the ways that systems of evil have entrapped us, and I yearn for the church to break free from the systems that entangle us and experience the free, full, flourishing life that Jesus came to teach, live, die, and ascend to the throne for. We were meant for so much more than this. But before we experience freedom, we need to first be uncomfortable. It’s time to name some things, lament some things, repent of some things, and step into new wineskins. 

No longer can we ignore our symptoms or turn a blind eye. It’s time we courageously poke at the things that may sting a little.

Actually, you may get angry, and I’ll be honest, that makes me a bit nervous. I once heard someone say that good rabbis makes their listeners mad. If a doctor pokes and prods and I suddenly yell, “Ouch!” then the doc has exposed a painful symptom. I’m not a rabbi, and I’m certainly not a doctor, but I do see concerning symptoms these days. I’d rather poke than turn a blind eye. 

But after some of the poking, I want you to know how much I think Jesus believes in us. I actually think it’s a gift that our symptoms are being exposed. Perhaps the curtains are being pulled back so that the Spirit might do a new thing in our
midst. Perhaps this wilderness will bring us to our knees so we might experience new humility, new dependence, and new freedom. Lisa Sharon Harper says it best about evangelicals, 

”What if the process of repentance—restitution and repair—is
the way of God, the narrow road to the health of our world? And what if repentance is the way to the restoration of the
image of God in a people twisted by hubris?”

Who Am I Critiquing? 

I am a child of white evangelicalism, and I am speaking primarily to both pastors and lay leaders of the white evangelical church. While I know that not all evangelicals are white and certainly have diversity, I am speaking to a generation of believers who have historically worshiped in white evangelical churches. It is my hope that we as pastors and leaders can name and acknowledge the places where we have become entrapped by “the powers not of this world.”

The apostle Paul names this for us, “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Eph 6:12).  There is indeed a struggle happening within the white evangelical church; there are places where we are under the grips of dark powers of this world. It’s time we move away from dismissiveness and denial, and face reality. I hope that we don’t just name our problems, but I pray this brings us to our knees. I pray we lament, confess, and repent. I pray we lean into the creative and missional imagination of the triune God. Lisa Sharon Harper poses an important and uncomfortable question for us, “What if the call to white evangelicals is to stop trying to be God, to control everything and everyone and to join the rest of humanity—the beloved dust? . . . Will lament lead to surrender? 

Are you squirming yet? I am.

Perhaps you find yourself a bit uncomfortable like I was years ago. I get that. The church is my family. And week in and week out I get to worship with, journey with, and live in a mutually edifying relationship with a local church in Pasadena. The church is the radiant bride of Christ, and I too get defensive when others trample on the bride’s garment. But the way I see it, the bride’s garment is tangled up and entrapped in ways that are holding us back from the free, full, and flourishing life we were meant to live. 

I pray you hear my words like a mother or aunt who deeply loves her family and wants to see her family live into its full potential—that is, the radiant church in all its beauty. I believe the whole church is called to total radiance, and while I may be critiquing what is primarily white evangelicalism, I am calling the whole church to radiance. May we come alongside our brothers and sisters of color and partner to be radiant people. 

Who Is Radiant? 

The writer of Hebrews says this about Jesus, “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven” (Heb 1:3). Jesus is in the radiant image of the glory of our majestic God. No one is fully radiant but God, and we see this embodied in the person of the radiant king Jesus. We are the bride of the King, called to bear witness to this radiant gospel and this radiant kingdom where Jesus rules. In Christ, we are brilliantly radiant. Throughout history, Jesus’ radiant bride has shined with luster and brilliance, but at times it has waned. As a pastor I lament when our light is pale, and I rejoice when we shine with brilliance. There is nothing more that I long for than a radiant church that blazes in the darkness. My hope is that throughout these pages I’ll be able to name the places our light is diminished, and paint a vision for a church that illuminates in a weary world. 

—Adapted from the introduction, “A Dim Light”

 

Radiant Church
Restoring the Credibility of Our Witness

Tara Burns, print and online publicity
800.843.4587 ext. 4059 or tburns@ivpress.com
Krista Clayton, author interviews
800.843.4587 ext. 4013 or kclayton@ivpress.com

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GUEST POST ~

Christ-Like Behavior Reveals Your Identity

February 6, 2022 
 
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“Here is a simple rule of thumb for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them!”—Luke 6:31 (MSG).

If you were to walk through the front door of my house, you’d be able to identify my favorite color. After a brief look around my living room, you’d know red is my favorite. I chose neutral colors for my furniture but use colorful red pillows, candles, and other décor to liven up my living space. You’ll also find pops of red in my kitchen.

Other décor throughout my house reveals my identity as a Christ-follower. On my bookcase, are mementos of my trip to the Holy Land in 2010, including a small statue of Jesus washing Peter’s feet. On another shelf, one of my favorite framed pictures is displayed.

In the painting, Jesus is shown writing in the sand beside a woman who has been accused of adultery. In John 8: 3-11, we read about the Pharisees who tried to trap Jesus into condemning this woman to death because of her sinful behavior. They want to stone her. However, Jesus tells the Pharisees, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

What Our Behavior Reveals to Others

Remember the story of the Good Samaritan? In Luke 10:25-37, Jesus is confronted by an expert in the law who asks Him, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Verse 25).

When Jesus asks him about the Law—what is written in it, and how do you read it—the law expert replies, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and love your neighbor as yourself” (Verses 26-27).

Jesus tells him the answer is correct, and adds, “Do this and you will live.” However, to justify himself, he asks Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

When We Try to Justify Our Behavior

Justifying our behavior by giving excuses or demanding more answers is what we often do when we want to prove we’re right. In the scripture above, Luke 10:25-37, Jesus goes on to share the story of the man who was headed to Jericho from Jerusalem. On the way, he is attacked, beaten, and stripped of his clothes and belongings. He is left half dead.

Three men pass by on the road. A priest, a Levite, and a Samaritan. The first two ignored the injured man and passed by. The third showed compassion, bandaged his wounds, and took him by donkey to an inn. There, he tended to his injuries and paid the innkeeper to look after him until he returned and could reimburse him for any extra expenses.

Finishing the story, Jesus asked the expert in the law, “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” (Verse 36). Replying, the expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise” (Verse 37).

Go and Do Likewise

We can always justify our behavior but that doesn’t change the fact that as Christians, we are judged by our actions as well as our words. Sometimes, we might feel as if we’re under a microscope. We can wear a cross around our neck, put Christian bumper stickers on our cars, and still exhibit un-Christlike behavior. Yes, we’re human, prone to give in to our carnal nature.

Our carnal natures can only be quelled by surrendering to Christ, reading and studying scripture, attending corporate worship and Bible studies. Even then, it’s a daily surrendering to Him that keeps us in check.

If we find our identity in Christ, our actions will reflect it. As Jesus says in the NIV version of Luke 6:31, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”

I always love hearing from my readers. Please feel free to e-mail me at carol@carolaround.com with your thoughts, or visit my blog for more inspiration at www.carolaround.com. If you need a speaker or workshop leader, you can contact me at the above e-mail or through my website. I’d be delighted to hear from you.

Photo credit: redeemer-charleston.org
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Eternal Sunrise

 

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For you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings.
              And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture.

                                                     Malachi 4:2  NLT

 

Dawn of eternity will inspire a beautiful morning song.
     The celebration will never end—there will be no sunset there.
     We are saddened by sin, but we will soon join a heavenly chorus—
          a new song of joy sung by the redeemed from every nation,
          accompanied by millions of angels around the throne adoring Christ.

Dawn of God’s planned future will bring miraculous strength.
     His promises will never fail—we have his Word.
     People who love God experience daily grace sunrise in their heart.
     Warm rays of peace reinforce trusting souls to persevere in difficulties.

Dawn of full redemption will reveal a Merciful Savior.
     Heaven will never disappoint—it is not too good to be true.
     Healing is on the way—the handicapped will leap like a deer,
          the blind will see,  the deaf will hear,  the mute will shout and sing.
     No one will cry, hurt, get sick or die—evil and its effects will be gone.
     Humiliating, mortal bodies will be replaced by heavenly, immortal ones.
     Freed from sins by Jesus’ blood, we will stroll golden streets in His light.

Dawn of glory will unveil Messianic splendor.
     Christ’s magnificence will never dim—it is not too good to last.
     First light will shine forever—Light beyond light will illuminate heaven.
     Infinite sunrise will blind the rebellious, and bless the obedient.
     Holy Radiant Light will flood the new earth with beauty and grace.
     The Old Testament ends with a threatened curse—
          the New Testament ends with a promised blessing.
     The world makes us sing the blues—soon we’ll be dancing for joy.
     Trouble dogs our steps—but sunrise will be here before we know it.


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© Pastor Johnny R. Almond

Day 304,  Gentle Whispers from Eternity

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GUEST POST ~ Back to the Future?

GUEST POST ~ Back to the Future?

 

LOOKING TO THE PAST TO MOVE TO THE FUTURE

The early church fascinates me; especially the practices of those Christians who were disciples of people like Paul, Peter, Barnabas, and Timothy–the first century giants of the New Testament who set the foundation for Christian belief and practice. I’m often curious about what their disciples did to carry on the work of the gospel throughout the Roman Empire and, indeed, around the world.


Different Christian authors throughout the history of early Christianity give us a glimpse of how the early disciples continued the work of those New Testament saints. For example, in the fourth century, Eusebius, known as the father of church history, writes about those first-second century disciples, 

Then starting out upon long journeys they performed the office of evangelists, being filled with the desire to preach Christ to those who had not yet heard the word of faith, and to deliver to them the divine Gospels. And when they had only laid the foundations of faith in foreign places, they appointed others as shepherds, and entrusted them with the nurture of those that had recently been brought in, while they themselves went on again to other countries and peoples, with the grace and the co-operation of God. For a great many wonderful works were done through them by the power of the divine Spirit, so that at the first hearing whole multitudes of people eagerly embraced the religion of the Creator of the universe. (H.E. III.37)

This morning of 1 January 2022, I awoke and read from what we today call the Didache. It was well-known from Egypt to Syria in the late first century to early second century as the “Teaching of the Twelve Apostles.” Its short 16 chapters were used as a sort of training manual for the early church. It would not have been a book that the disciples had in their homes, but rather the oral traditions of the apostles read and passed on as believers gathered together. Perhaps most notable in the Didache are the number of direct references to passages from the books of the New Testament.

The church manual begins with ethical instructions (1-6) as well as instructions for ritual practices like baptism and communion (7-10). Chapters 11-13 provide interesting directives for interacting with those who were called teachers, apostles, and prophets of the church. These disciples especially worked itinerantly as they traveled to equip the saints for works of ministry. And the final chapters provide further instructions for corporate worship and church governance as well as encouragement to be watchful for the return of Christ (14-16).

While the Didache is not an authoritative text as it includes some practices that seem strange to the New Testament, it was often included in the regular reading of Scripture. Nevertheless, it does gives us a glimpse into early church practices. A few of the practices that capture my attention are:

  • The frequency in which the church gathers. The manual instructs daily gathering of the saints (4.2; 16.2).
  • Emphasis on fleeing things which are evil (that lead to the path of death) and pursuing the things which are good (that lead to the path of life).
  • Recognition of the sovereignty of God in the face of hardship (3.10).
  • The continuing ministry of what we often call APEST typology given by Jesus and explained by Paul (Eph 4:11-16). 
First, love the God who made you, and second, your neighbor as yourself. And whatever you do not want to happen to you, do not do to another. (Didache 1.2)CLICK TO TWEET

The Didache begins with something that is all too familiar to those of us who are followers of Christ. I thought this passage was a great place to start the new year and want to share it with you:

This then is the path of life. First, love the God who made you, and second, your neighbor as yourself. And whatever you do not want to happen to you, do not do to another. This is the teaching relating to these matters: Bless those who curse you, pray for your enemies, and fast for those who persecute you. For why is it so great to love those who love you? Do the Gentiles not do this as well? But you should love those who hate you—then you will have no enemies. Abstain from fleshly passions. If anyone slaps your right cheek, turn the other to him as well, and you will be complete. If anyone compels you to go one mile, go with him two. If anyone takes your cloak, give him your shirt as well. If anyone seizes what is yours, do not ask for it back, for you will not be able to get it. Give to everyone who asks, and do not ask for anything back. For the Father wants everyone to be given something from the gracious gifts he himself provides. How fortunate is the one who gives according to the commandment, for his is without fault. (1.2-5)

Happy New Year! I pray that the Lord, our God, will sustain us to stay on the path of life for His glory’s sake in 2022. And, in the words of that early church instruction manual, to “…engage in all your activities as you have learned in the gospel of our Lord” (15.4). Seems to me that this look at the past might be a good reminder as we move to the future.

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GUEST POST ~

GUEST POST ~ Toxic Positivity

 

Kate Bowler, professor of the history of Christianity in North America at Duke Divinity University, is a person I admire but have never met. I came across her account of American “prosperity” Christianity about two year ago. Later I read her book about her experience of dealing with stage four colon cancer. She continues this battle to this day. The realism of Kate’s faith, tested in the fire of suffering, has been a valuable source for me in my struggle with chronic physical challenges for two-plus decades. (You can check out Kate’a work at her webpage: https://katebowler.com).

On her most recent podcast Kate interviewed Harvard professor, Dr. Susan David. The subject was “toxic positivity.” This dialogue helped me see how this toxic teaching has often tripped me up. Let me explain why this matters for the church in America. 

Toxic positivity deprives us of the serious motivation to make healthy changes. We face some massive challenges in the early 21st century. But forms of toxic positivity tell us all we need to do is seek to be more positive and trust God. In so doing this limits our awareness of almost every negative, and uncomfortable, reality that would lead us to make serious changes. It sets us up to judge those we think too negative. It easily leads many Christians to live a life that is set up for massive failure. You hear this when a person says, “We should just trust God and everything will be better.” I often hear Christians say things like: "We should not fear COVID19, the death of our loved ones or the problems of the poor and oppressed. Stop seeking to solve problems and just look for the world to come.” 

Here is a major personal example of what I refer to – a person with toxic positivity will likely return (repeatedly) to an abusive relationship “because I want to just focus on the positive aspects of our relationship and hold out hope that he will change!" Another might run up huge credit card bills on frivolous things because they’re "staying positive" about their future earnings. Some Christians use Scripture to argue that they should give more generously because this will lead to bigger blessings. I could list dozens of examples but you get the picture. 

Make no mistake about this – we do need to have a heart filled with Christ-centered hope. But real Christian hope is not positive thinking. Jesus was filled with hope and suffered immeasurably. If you think you might have been infected with some form(s) of toxic positivity ask questions like these:  Are you afraid of conflict? Do you lack confidence in your problem-solving skills? Do you have a belief that certain emotions like anger are “bad” rather than recognizing that anger is often a healthy indicator that someone may be violating our boundaries? Christians commonly dodge such probing questions. They look for peace, in the wrong place, and end up embracing toxic positivity in new forms. 

I am learning to face each day with hope, not positive energy generated by toxic self-help talk. The way to keep hope alive is to experience divine love leading me to deep joy in all circumstances. Can we find a way to seek joy in our suffering and darkest moments? Jesus did when he became God forsaken on Calvary. Look to him, not to cultural cliches and self-help counsel.

Pax Christi,

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John H. Armstrong
www.theinitiative.org

 

They Initiative will again have an annual meeting at Green Lake (Wisconsin). We plan to gather in person, June 20-23, 2022. Go to the website and make plans now to join us. 

www.theinitiative.org 

I am seriously considering making short YouTube videos again. (I stopped about a year ago to focus on finishing my book, Tear Down These Walls.) Here is how you find my channel – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjylGCjuuS4rxZIQaic_7pQ

My good friend Steve Crosby put together a video that includes contributions I made to his project several years ago. Finally, after many delays, this film is available. https://youtu.be/MexBtKxtcrw

 
"All things are possible to him who believes . . . they are less difficult for him who hopes . . . more easy for him who loves, and still more easy for him who perseveres in the practice of these three virtues."

Brother Lawrence 
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GIEST POST ~ "Wipe The Slate Clean!"

GUEST POST ~  "Wipe The Slate Clean!"

 

Wipe the slate clean


A new year is an opportunity to wipe the slate clean. 

Dare to dream for more than just a continuation of last year. Don't miss the mindset advantages of a new year to beginning fresh and starting new.

I'm not referring to New Year's resolutions. I'm mean making changes. And January is a great time to make changes. 

I use a basic two-step process:

1. To start new, you have to decide what you want to be different this year. At the beginning of 2021, I wanted to have a different work, family, friends, and life rhythm. I reflected on my, then current, rhythm and what I didn't like about it. Then prayed and thought about how I'd like it to be. About here, in the middle of dreaming, the doubts started speaking up, "You can't do this. You've tried before." Which leads to the second step. 

2. Consider how you're going to change to make it different. Notice I didn't write, "what you're going to do..." It's more than just doing something. You have to change something. Which is more difficult. You have to not do the things that got you your previous result, and instead do other things that will get you your new result.

For my new rhythm this meant not working on the weekends, scheduling time with friends and family, planning activities (not just work) ahead of time, and getting vacations and staycations in the calendar. Did I get the exact rhythm I dreamt of in January? No, but I got about 2/3 the way there, which is much better than the previous year!

I see this "missed the goal, but did way better than before" often when coaching. It's a win!

Go for progress, not perfection. 

 
Grace & Peace, 
--Mo4tGp9ZLponiduYyiY58ozrys3nhG-r_BdBiXqDsiA4buX786V0rs63g9hjz9YsGmLD7ypq1x5WFzBDFHoqoNJ_IB3K_lSGh8bskOL-Hws4sJL_jgZp9c7OAosECgdw4LHYYXIw5vt3G3bV4Y8tI2NtKkG-dE078=s0-d-e1-ft#<a href=
Keith Webb
 
Change your conversations, and your results. The Coaching Mastery Certificate Program will equip you to have more productive conversations with everyone. Coaching conversations, yes, but also conversations with your teammates, direct reports, kids, and friends. I'm not overstating it, just ask anyone who has joined the program.

I'm thankful for the dozens of people I had the privilege of working with this year, and look forward to new plans for 2022!
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GUEST POST ~ Time For A Change

GUEST POST ~ Time For A Change

"Those Who Say It Can't Be Done, 

Should Never Interrupt Those Who Are Doing It!"

Time For A Change

 

Well, we are down to the wire of a new year approaching. Many of us use this time to reflect on the current year we've had, good, bad or indifferent. The majority of us have made many life adjustments during the last couple of years. Sometimes when things are going array in our lives, and it seems complicated to grasp our lives, we think about making changes; however, we wonder when is the right time. The answer is NOW! Many times we make excuses for making changes in our life. We say things like "Only if I had enough time," "When the money is right," "When the pandemic is over," "In the new year," and the infamous answer "One Day..."

 

Sometimes it may look like the goal you want to achieve is unattainable, and we make excuses cause we are scared and unsure of the outcome. Sometimes the goals we set for ourselves are merely indicators of the need for change and help move us in the right direction.

 

If you start on the journey slowly, you have the chance to look around and consider other options as you learn and grow. We have time to examine the underlying values of the desire for change and find ways to manifest those feelings, whether it looks exactly like our initial goal or not. Taking small steps forward gives us time to adjust and find a secure footing on our new path.

 

As you can attest, "time waits for no one." And the one lesson I have learned throughout this whole ordeal is not every bad moment makes for a bad life, and sometimes a challenging moment is simply that. And there can be times when feeling stuck turns out to be a good thing, and especially when it forces us to stop and notice what's happening around us.

 

Life doesn't always allow us to anticipate or prepare for a significant change, and we may find ourselves overwhelmed by what is in front of us, by choosing to move forward in our goals and focusing our attention on our change. Eventually, we will look up to see that we have accomplished quite a bit.  Different results will only be available to you as you make the necessary choices to understand that you are more significant than any current problem. It's time to make that change!  As our fearless leader Dr. Wilkins says, "Welcome To One Day!"

 

By Tammy Montgomery-Doz'ier , SPAA's National Vice President

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The Surprising God

 

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                                                                              Golden Sunrise 

Rejoice greatly, O people of Zion!  Shout in triumph, people of Jerusalem! Look, your king is coming to you. 
         He is righteous and victorious, yet he is humble, riding on a donkey--even on a donkey’s colt.
                                                                          Z
ECHARIAH 9:9 NLT


Humility will surprise the proud.
     The Messiah’s triumphant entry surprised spectators lining the parade route.
     They dreamed of a conquering-hero lion, not a Humble-Servant Lamb.
     Heaven’s front-row seats are not reserved for earth’s big shots.

Life will surprise the materialistic.
     
Atheists expect a finale, not an encore—death will not have the last word.
     Faith and hope will be vindicated in the saints’ resurrection dance.
     Epicureans will be dazed by an afterlife they never dreamed of.

Ecstasy will surprise the doubtful.
     
The despondent will be delighted when they see the dawn—
          triumph over despair will dumbfound ones who had given up on joy.

Calamity will surprise the cynical.
     
Christ’s return will shock those who never thought it would happen.
     Skeptics will be jolted into reality by an unanticipated Wrathful Judge.

Heaven will surprise the incredulous.
     
The death of death, the burial of heartache, the destruction of pain—
          these miracles will be more than unbelievers ever thought possible.

Judgment will surprise the rebellious.
     
Doomsday will be a shock with no remedy—panic will be pointless.
     Apostates expect a lamb, not a Lion—revelation will be an eye-opener!

Victory will surprise the pessimistic.
     
The Servant King rode a donkey into old Jerusalem to die—
          the King of kings will ride a white charger into new Jerusalem to rule.
     His war to end all wars will astonish those who had given up on peace.
     Whatever happens on earth, never give up hope—your King is coming.
     Begin the celebration today—and heaven will not be a surprise party!                                          

                                     

                                   (c) Johnny R. Almond 
                      Pastor, Hull's Memorial Baptist Church
                       Author, Gentle Whispers from Eternity 

 

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GUEST POST ~ Rethink God's "Wrath"

GUEST POST ~ Rethink God's "Wrath"

 

MqZnBOdLdafEvRmyB1BvvR95bYsgAz_dVTmnTuKKArDQJMuwk362RS9-BLJa6-Aa3k3yoE2nh84Sc6_v-OqQHuWVydO1sIC7f-otRCwSlmPwCETjp0n2FmoK-Zeyd7nkVHfRi6Bg1c-IxKto5SBuNN2yjI0cAnR0Cf2ioeo65Xjd91VcdLEGnenpfnXjC2iAq_7WfMQwSxC2-FDe0l8itF1-dNHBOBMsqX78g2Gi1HPj6k6PgaG8J1uullluE495KD50eA=s0-d-e1-ft#<a href=On the coast of Scotland is a cape called Cape Wrath. The name is derived from a Norse word meaning "Turning Point."

It is a formidable natural structure and it does not move to accommodate ships. It has a long history of being a navigational edifice. A wise captain will adjust the ships course accordingly.

Wrath is not the opposite of love. It is a category, expression, and remedy of love applied to restore a state of love.

Wrath is a turning point.

With that assumption, I take Psalm 21, verse by verse.

Psalm 21:1 – O LORD, the king rejoices in your strength. How great is his joy in the victories you give!

The truest and noblest kind of joy is always rooted in who God is and what God does. Human victories are inconsequential. Heavenly victories are sources of great rejoicing because they are divine in origin, eternal in duration, and complete in their perfection. Jesus told the disciples to rejoice, not because the demons were subject to them, but because their names were written in the book of life. Rejoice today in the victories that God is working and, by faith, embrace them.

Psalm 21:2 - You have granted him the desire of his heart and have not withheld the request of his lips. Selah

God answers prayer. The words have been spoken so often that they constitute and cliché. However, they remain true in every sense. In the case of this king, the desires of his heart have come to fulfillment and the requests of his lips have been granted. To what extent is your heart moved by God that He can trust you with the desires that originate there? How God-directed are the prayers of your lips that each may be granted with confidence by God? As God to change your desires that you may be more effective at prayer.

Psalm 21:3 - You welcomed him with rich blessings and placed a crown of pure gold on his head.

God’s welcome is a magnificent gift. The king so often received official guests – many begging favors. But when he approached the throne of God, it was as a mere mortal. His testimony is as surprising as our own when we meet the generosity and goodness of God. He is amazed. God, the King of the universe, crowned him! God, the Supreme Master, blessed him! Never stop being astounded by the goodness of God and always give thanks..

Psalm 21:4 – He asked you for life, and you gave it to him-- length of days, for ever and ever.

Life is that gift which God most freely gives. He has given it to every man and woman. Eternal life is a treasure that He offers in the same and greater abundance. And it is always just for the asking. Have you received life from God? If not, you are not yet truly alive. If so, you must live it out. It is too precious to take for granted.

Psalm 21:6 - Surely you have granted him eternal blessings and made him glad with the joy of your presence.

How about you? Have you taken stock of the enormous storehouse of eternal blessings you have received from the hand of God? Have you responded with joyful thanksgiving? As we approach month’s end, take time to be specifically thankful and lift up your joyful voice to God the Giver in whose presence you stand.

Psalm 21:7 - For the king trusts in the LORD; through the unfailing love of the Most High he will not be shaken.

Trust God. It is the source of life and joy. God’s unfailing love is our stability and confidence. Let not your heart be shaken whatever the circumstances of life. You are encompassed by the goodness and love of God.

Psalm 21:8 - Your hand will lay hold on all your enemies; your right hand will seize your foes.

Trust God to handle His enemies. Let Him fight His own battles and vindicate His own Name. Then let Him have yours as well. He is perfectly capable of handling His business and yours and emerging victorious from any battle. Trust Him!

Psalm 21:9 - At the time of your appearing you will make them like a fiery furnace. In his wrath the LORD will swallow them up, and his fire will consume them.

God’s anger consumes all that wars against His ways and His people. Truth always swallows up lies. Truth makes untruth irrelevant and exalts only the God of truth. To be an enemy of God, one must embrace a lie so tightly and with such adhesion that one is swept away with it. God’s judgment is the process by which He sets all things aright and makes plain what has been distorted. His wrath is not an emotional outburst of a spoiled child, but the energy with which He speaks and restores His reign.

We would be wise to pray for God’s judgment within us that we might be liberated

Psalm 21:10 - You will destroy their descendants from the earth, their posterity from mankind.

Lies perpetuate themselves.

If we are looking at enemies as spiritual forces working inside and all around us, then we recognize that God’s enemies are our enemies – even if they are so intertwined with our personalities and character that we have come to identify them with who we are.

Allow the Word of Truth to pry your soul away from the sin distortion that has erroneously redefined your humanity. Then, cheer as those falsehoods are destroyed and their power to reproduce is obliterated from the face of the earth.

Pray to that end today – ruthlessly. This is about being made free!

Psalm 21:11 – Though they plot evil against you and devise wicked schemes, they cannot succeed;

If it were not so dead serious, the comedy of God’s enemies plotting and devising wicked schemes against Him would be overwhelming. We smugly decry the audacity and, without making the connection to ourselves, try to “pull the wool over” God’s eyes in our own secret sins.

We cannot succeed.

God knows all, sees all, anticipates all, and always has the last word. He is not shocked by our addictive and destructive behaviors, but He calls us to truth and reason. He enables us to see failure as the inevitable outcome of sin and His way as the only hope for real success.

Get real!

Psalm 21:12 -… for you will make them turn their backs when you aim at them with drawn bow.

Sin cannot face truth.

Test it.

Darkness will turn away from the light. It always retreats. Liars are not prone to confront the evidence that discredits them. They run away. It does not require argument or eloquence to expose falsehood or to disarm God’s enemies and those enemies of our souls that are devouring us from within.

It only requires truth. It is your best medicine in the war for healing from negative “self-image,” destructive thoughts, and corrosive behaviors. Take a dose of truth daily. Chase it with Living Water and be refreshed. Watch sin turn away in fear and defeat.

Psalm 21:13 - Be exalted, O LORD, in your strength; we will sing and praise your might.

If you can pray for the exaltation of God, then you are, at the very core of your being, a friend of God. The enemies within you do not constitute the real you. The sin residing in your soul is not your true nature. You desire the things of God at the very depths of who you are. Build upon that desire with the practice of praise.

Do not allow the satan to torment you with insidious notions like, “You hypocrite! You don’t mean it – I saw you …bla, bla, bla...”

Resist those thoughts and praise God with all your might. The Holy Spirit will activate your spirit and God will fight the enemies within you.

 

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Mid-term Exam

10038656054?profile=RESIZE_710xMID-TERM EXAM      

Now therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways.
                                       Haggai 1:5 MLB

Life University curriculum consists of God-designed courses.
     It is time for serious self-examination—a check-up on our progress.

Perseverance—Are we hanging in there with Jesus?
     When the fight gets fierce, do we cringe and run for cover?
     Memo from the Master—Endure cross splinters, and wear a crown.

Priorities—What is highest on our personal agenda?
     Working hard to build our kingdom?  At a standstill advancing Christ’s?
     Memo from the Master—Realign priorities, placing God over all else.

Purpose—Where are we headed?
     Do we sing “To God be the Glory” then live “great things I have done”?
     Memo from the Master—Life has no nobler purpose than Christ.

Passion—What gets us hustling?
     Are we lackadaisical, or enthused and zealous for our Savior’s cause?
     Memo from the Master—You are My ambassador, so represent Me well.

Perspective—What are we hoping for?
     More concerned with earthly things than heavenly realities?
     Memo from the Master—Let heaven be uppermost in your mind.

Purity—How is our heart?
     Is Jesus our Center of Gravity or just another line in our creed?
     Memo from the Master—Internalize and practice My Word 24/7.

Peace—Are we working for harmony?
     Are we kind and merciful to others, the way God has been to us?
     Memo from the Master—Calm life’s troubled sea by a tranquil lifestyle.

If we learn lessons well and apply them carefully, we will graduate with honor.

                                                                                                                                                                        
         
                                                                                                                                                                   © Pastor Johnny R. Almond
                                                                                                                                                          Day 302, Gentle Whispers from Eternity

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Jesus Saves

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The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; he has appointed me to preach Good News to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released,

that the blind will see, that the downtrodden will be freed from their oppressors,

and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.

Luke 4:18-19 NLT

 

Jesus’ plan will include a new earth for the meek.

Saints are ignored by big shots now, but one day they’ll be on the front row. 

The Great Reversal will turn everything around and right side up.

Big wheels rule the world now, but God’s favorites will reign in paradise. 

When the Lord lives with the humble-hearted, crying and pain will disappear. 

When God makes his home on earth, death and evil will be forever history.

The world mistreats God’s children now, but He will save us from oppression.

 

Jesus’ peace will bring elation to the believing.

The Day of all days will make heaven’s blessings evident to the universe.

Glory will cascade ecstasy through the heart of every trusting soul.

The beauty of heaven will replace the ashes of earth’s disappointments.

The joy of Jesus’ company will transcend heartache of earth’s discouragement. 

The praise of his love will cancel loneliness of earth’s despair.

The world breaks hearts of his disciples now, but He will save us from sadness. 

 

Jesus’ Presence encourages the desperate.

Can’t get it all together?  Ready to give up the noble quest?  About to quit?

Seek his face and listen to his voice and you will find strength to go on.

Listen to God’s future melody and you can dance by faith here and now.

When perplexities crowd our heart, his consolations cheer our soul.

Just when we need him the most, He is there for us.

With Jesus on our side, we’re richer than we think—He saves us from poverty.

 

Jesus’ power extricates the shackled.

Jesus is the key to freedom—He alone can emancipate us from sin.

A lifestyle of rebellion imprisons the soul—a lifestyle of obedience frees.

Fettered in a dark cell?  Let his sunshine set you free and you’ll leap with joy.

Resolve and dogged determination only go so far—He saves us from addiction. 

 

Jesus’ promise opens the eyes of the blind.

Without seeing him, we follow him by faith—one day we’ll meet face to face.

Eyes of the heart see things as they will be, not as they are now. 

Faith is an eye-opening experience, giving confidence of ultimate victory.

Believing we’ll at last see him motivates us to purify our heart to get ready.

The world will go up in smoke, then the New Jerusalem will materialize.

Painting a mural of heaven on condemned building?  Jesus saves from despair. 

 

 

 

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© Pastor Johnny R. Almond

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GUEST POST ~ Praying for People Who Do Not Fear Death. But Should.

By Dr. Jim Denison

...a cultural apologist who helps people respond biblically and redemptively to the vital issues of our day. He is also the co-founder and Chief Vision Officer of the Denison Forum, a Dallas-based nonprofit that comments on current issues through a biblical lens.

As the news constantly reminds us, any of us could die at any time. And yet, if you ask Americans to name their top fears, their personal death ranks surprisingly low. More than half of us either are “not very afraid” (27 percent) or “not at all afraid” (25 percent) of death. Only 11 percent of us are “very afraid” of death, while 31 percent are “somewhat afraid” to die and 7 percent “don’t know.” 

We are more afraid of the way we might die than the fact of our death. In a list of our “top ten fears,” “mass shootings” comes in at #3, followed by “terrorism” at #5 and “becoming terminally ill” at #7. Each points to how we might die rather than the fact of death itself. 

Why are we mortals not more afraid of our mortality? 

The answer is tragically not that we are prepared to meet God. Only 35 percent of American adults believe salvation comes through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. And yet, 54 percent believe they will go to heaven, many of them because they think they have earned their place in paradise through their good works. 

What of the rest? 

  • 15 percent say they don’t know what will happen after they die.
  • 13 percent say there is no life after death.
  • 8 percent expect to be reincarnated.
  • 8 percent believe they will go to a place of purification prior to entering heaven.
  • Just 2 percent believe they will go to hell.

“I don’t believe in the queen of England” 

I remember a day when an intense fear of hell was commonplace. Even though our family never attended church before I heard the gospel at the age of fifteen, I have strong memories of fearing what would happen to me if I died. Evangelists and pastors could present the “plan of salvation” in the knowledge that most who heard them wanted to know and then follow that “plan.” 

However, one of the many ways Satan is using the postmodern denial of objective truth is to convince millions that their opinion of the afterlife determines the afterlife they will experience. A man once confidently told me “I don’t believe in hell” as if that changed the existence of hell. 

We would not make this assumption in any other dimension of reality. Imagine your response if I assured you that the queen of England does not exist because I don’t believe in her existence. On the contrary, we know that denying reality typically harms us far more than it helps us, as when a doctor tells us we have cancer or the meteorologist warns of severe weather. 

But “the natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14). This is because “the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4). 

Unlike those who are directionally lost and stop for directions, most who are spiritually lost don’t know they are lost. If Satan has his way, they will persist in this condition until it is too late. 

Four empowering prayers 

What can we do to help them? 

I doubt your first response is to inform them that they are lost and destined for hell. If a Muslim told you that you would go to hell unless you converted to Islam, would this make you more or less interested in his faith? While lost people definitely need to know their peril and need for salvation, four preceding steps can make this news much more effective. 

1. Ask God to make our lives consistent with our message (cf. Romans 12:1–2). 

People are far more likely to believe our faith is relevant to them when it is obviously relevant to us. 

2. Ask our Father to give us his love for the lost. 

We will risk anything for those we love. When we love others as Jesus loves us (cf. John 13:34–35), our words will be empowered and inspired by compassion and grace. While no one wants to be told they are wrong and we are right, everyone wants to be loved. 

3. Ask the Spirit to lead us to those he has prepared for our witness. 

He is actively cultivating the minds and hearts of the lost to hear the good news of God’s grace. He is thus preparing someone specifically for your compassionate witness today. 

4. Ask the Spirit to inspire your words and actions. 

He knows just what this person needs to hear and see from you. If you submit to the Spirit each day (Ephesians 5:18), even when facing skeptics and critics, your words will be God’s words because “it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you” (Matthew 10:20). 

If we will make these four requests of our Lord every day, our lives and our witness will be transformed. We will know Jesus and make him known with passion and compassion out of the overflow of his Spirit in our hearts. 

The late Senate chaplain Richard Halverson noted, “New Testament Christians did not witness because they had to but because they could not help it.” 

Will you join them today?

NOTE: For more practical advice on being used by the Spirit, please see my latest personal blog, “Going barefoot in winter.”

Original posting >>>

 

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GUEST POST~ How Your Worldview Affects How You Make Disciples

Worldview Discipleship

By Freddy Davis

In years past, in America, Christians could easily get away with a superficial understanding of their faith because it was pretty rare that anyone would challenge their beliefs. That was a time when most people actually went to church, at least on Easter and Christmas, when schools would not schedule sporting events on Wednesday evenings because that was prayer meeting night, when school children prayed The Lord’s Prayer at the beginning of the school day, and when being a member of a church was a good look for one’s business. In those days, it was pretty much assumed that people believed in God, and if someone came out as an Atheist, it was considered socially scandalous.

 

Of course, even in those days, not everyone was a Christian – even those who self-identified that way. A lot of people who did go to church only did it for show, or because that was their tradition. While they might not have had other scheduled events on Wednesdays, they, themselves, never went to prayer meeting. While the children may have repeated The Lord’s Prayer at school, many, if not most, didn’t really pray it sincerely – it was just a tradition repeated by rote. And many of the business people who were active in church really did view it as a means for making a good impression on people, and networking to promote their business. Yeah, those might have seemed like the “good ol days” for the church on a superficial level, but in some ways the church was a mile wide and an inch deep.

 

So how is it different today? Well, it’s different in a very profound way. In modern society, the script has, in many places, been completely flipped. Now, many people consider it scandalous to be associated with a church, church activities are not considered at all when schools schedule sporting, and other, events, it is against the law to have a school sanctioned prayer, and church is not considered to be a reputation enhancer for business. And, on top of that, it is not unusual at all for people to openly challenge the beliefs of Christians.

 

While in the past, a superficial understanding of one’s Christian faith may have been sufficient in order to successfully navigate local society, in many places that is just not the case anymore. In fact, for people who actually do want to live out their Christian faith, it is not even enough to simply know what we believe – even at a deeper level. If we want to be able to stand upright in the radical anti-Christian society that currently exists, we not only need to know what we believe, but why what we believe is the truth. But even that is not enough in many cases. We even need to know why the beliefs of those coming against us is NOT the truth.

 

So how do we do that? We do it by understanding worldview concepts, and by using those concepts to understand our own faith and the faith of those who oppose us.

 

What is Worldview?

So just what is a worldview? The quick formal definition is that a worldview is the assumptions people make about the nature of reality. That is, it is a set of beliefs that define for an individual what they consider to be real vs. what they consider to be fantasy. Now that is an easy definition to quote, but the depth and significance of the definition needs to be pondered a bit for it to truly hit home in our lives.

 

Interestingly, most people’s worldview beliefs are assumed to the degree that they are totally unconscious. After all, if a person considers certain particular beliefs to be fantasy, it is not even worth the time to give deep thought to them at all. People consider their own worldview beliefs to be true – just because they are true.

 

For example, as a Christian, you believe in God. The idea that someone would say they don’t believe in God seems rather senseless – a fantasy. It seems that way because your experience, at the most foundational level, has brought you to the place where you believe. You have met Christ and interact personally with God in your spiritual life. Many Christians reason that, “Yeah, they say they don’t believe in God, but just wait until a serious crisis hits ....”

 

But here’s the kicker, those Atheists have the same sense of assurance that God does not exist that you have that he does. They look at your belief in God as a fantasy. Very few have ever considered why they believe that way. It is just that, to them, the idea of God simply doesn’t make sense.

 

So a worldview is a set of assumptions that people hold, generally at an unconscious level, that helps them organize their thoughts about what is real and what is fantasy.

 

How Do We Recognize a Worldview?

The next question relates to where a person’s worldview comes from. And there are actually three different possibilities.

 

•Circumstances

The first possibility relates to the environment a person was raised in. Every person has been raised by people who, themselves, held some set of worldview beliefs. Those beliefs were simply assumed to be true, and they taught them to their children by word and by deed without even realizing they were doing so. A social environment just is what it is, and those raised in it just pick it up. It’s never questioned because children don’t know enough to question them.

 

•Conversion

The second place a worldview can come from is by conversion. At some point in life, most people will come face-to-face with an opposing worldview. In many cases, the beliefs they were raised in are strong enough that the conflicting worldview beliefs are merely seen as fantasy – nonsensical.

 

But some people encountering those new beliefs are challenged by them – they somehow make sense. When that happens, it shakes them to the core, because if those new beliefs are true, that means their previous understanding of reality is a lie.

 

This is what happens when a person comes face-to-face with the realization that God is a real person that they can know in an objectively real personal relationship, and they invite Christ into their life. It is a conversion experience. It also sometimes happens the other way around. When a person who was raised in a Christian home is taught the Theory of Evolution in school, for instance, and it somehow ends up making makes more sense to them than the belief that God created life, they will convert to Atheism. The shock of the new belief is such that they change their understanding of reality and convert to believing a different narrative.

 

•Choice

The third place a worldview belief can come from is choice. Since most people’s worldview beliefs are completely unconscious, there is not a conscious choice to be made. But if a person comes to a place where they actually study worldview concepts and learn the various possibilities, it is then possible to analyze those possibilities and choose the one that seems to best match up with what they experience as reality. This is probably the least common way people come to their worldview beliefs because so few people actually ever study worldview concepts.

 

What Are the Implications of Thinking in Worldview Terms?

It is important to understand that grasping worldview concepts is not simply an academic exercise. There are very real and practical implications in these concepts that relate to real life. These implications not only affect our understanding, but also the way we think about our own, and other people’s, beliefs, and the way we interact with other people. There are five primary areas where the practical implications of worldview knowledge come into play.

 

1. It Defines the Essential Elements of the Christian Faith

We are all aware that there is a lot of variety within the Christian faith. Sadly, this variety accounts for much of the division we see within the Christian community. The variety, in and of itself, is not necessarily a bad thing, but it becomes a problem when people who hold certain theological views are not willing to accept those who hold differing views.

 

At this point there is a certain distinction that needs to be made. Not all beliefs within the Christian faith are equal. There are certain beliefs that are essential and others that are not essential.

 

The essential ones actually define the outer boundaries of the faith itself. Those who hold to beliefs that are outside of the essentials are actually outside of the Christian faith. Those essential beliefs relate to what the Bible teaches about God, man, and salvation. We get at these beliefs by answering three questions:

1. Who is God?

2. What is man?

3. What is salvation and how do we achieve it?

 

The non-essential beliefs relate to other doctrines such as what one believes about baptism, predestination, eschatology (last things), and the like. Note, it is not that these other doctrines are not important. They actually are. But they are not important to the extent that they affect whether or not one is legitimately a Christian. A person can even have absolutely wrong beliefs about these non-essential things and still be within the family of believers.

 

Having a firm grasp on what the Bible teaches about God, man, and salvation provides Christians with the absolute essential core elements of the faith. This is the starting point for being able to use worldview knowledge in ways that strengthen our Christian faith.

 

2. It Defines the Essential Elements of Other Faith Systems

The essential beliefs that were referred to in the previous section also have an important part to play in our understanding of other, non-Christian, belief systems. In fact, every belief system in existence has some way that it answers the three essential questions about God, man, and salvation. The answer to these three questions based on the beliefs of any given belief system, defines it’s essential core beliefs. Having that information allows us to understand other beliefs, and gives us a tool to analyze them for truth.

 

3. It Defines the Core of the Gospel Message

There is a third value for understanding a worldview paradigm when it comes to expressing our Christian faith out in the world. As it turns out, not only does knowing the biblical answers to the three essential worldview questions help us understand the core essentials of our Christian faith, it also provides us with the information we need to share our faith. In fact, the biblical answers to the three questions comprise the Christian plan of salvation. We are sharing the gospel message when we share with a non-believer how the Bible answers those three questions.

 

4. It Can Be Used as a Means of Bible Study

Another value of understanding the worldview paradigm is that it helps us focus in on the essential elements of biblical faith as we read the Bible. There are a lot of topics that are addressed in the Bible, and it is possible to discern various doctrines from the biblical text as we read it. Proper biblical interpretation would have us search the entire Bible to see what it says on particular topics, and that gives us the whole counsel of Scripture on those topics. More importantly, as we study the Bible, if we read with a view to how particular passages and verses answer the three essential questions, we have a way of studying the Bible that keeps us focused on the essential core of the Bible’s message.

 

5. It Can Be Used in Incursion Apologetics to Break down Non-biblical Beliefs

One other value in understanding the worldview paradigm is that it gives Christians the tools to stand strong against those who try to attack the Christian faith. These days, many people, particularly those who hold a naturalistic worldview, are not content to merely believe something different, they want to destroy Christians to the greatest degree possible. To do that, they use all kinds of arguments and tactics – from questioning the validity of the Bible’s message, to condemning the beliefs and values of Christianity, to asserting that the Bible has been accurately preserved through the centuries, and others.

 

When people become antagonistic like that, it is generally not sufficient to merely answer their taunts. Rather, one must actually question the validity of the attack itself. The use of a worldview paradigm to understand the beliefs and weaknesses of an attacker is extremely valuable in pulling off that kind of response. When we know what other people believe and why what they believe is not true, we are in a position to make them justify their attack before being required to answer them. This approach also puts us in a position to express the truth of the gospel message and share a Christian witness to them.

 

What Does a Church Need to Do to Prepare its People?

In these days, false beliefs are ubiquitous – that is, there are scores of different false beliefs that are prominent in the public square. So how can a church help its people deal with this issue – not only for helping them discern between true and false beliefs, but also help them become able to share an effective Christian witness in this complicated societal soup?

 

The key is to do what the Bible teaches in Ephesians 4:11-13 – to equip the saints for the work of ministry. We should not abandon the ministry that is already being done, but at the same time an increased emphasis must be placed on Christian discipleship efforts. And a special emphasis needs to be placed on biblical worldview training.

 

Make no mistake about it, this is much easier said than done. People get settled into their regular routines in all areas of life – including church life. But unless this new emphasis is intentionally implemented, Christians will continue falling further and further behind. We need to be equipped!

 

 

MarketFaith Ministries exists to equip Christians to become more knowledgeable of and confident in their Christian faith by providing worldview training. We have resources to help individuals as well as the ability to train congregations to stand strong for Christ in our rapidly declining society. Contact us today at 850-383-9756 or info@marketfaith.org and let’s discuss how to bring this cutting edge training to you. Also, be sure and check out the free worldview training resources as well as those available for purchase on the MarketFaith Ministries website at www.marketfaith.org.

 

Reprinted from Worldview Made Practical; a free e-zine produced by MarketFaith Ministries featuring practical teaching and life tools to help Christians become more effective in their faith life. Discover MarketFaith Ministries at www.marketfaith.org. 

***Related articles:

The Danger of A Homogeneous Blindspot by Phil Miglioratti

Discipleship That FLows From A CHristian Worldview

https://reimaginenetwork.ning.com/forum/topics/mini-course-discipleship-flowing-from-a-christian-worldview

 

Read more…

GUEST POST~ Discipleship Principles vs. Methodology

New blog post from Bob Logan

Methods, approaches, and styles change over time. Different strategies work in different seasons. Trends in ministry come and go. Yet I wonder: among all the change, what stays the same? As the culture shifts and changes around us, what proven principles remain firm and reliable? Applying those principles to discipleship methodologies can help your church grow more and better disciples. So, what are discipleship principles?

“The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.” —Isaiah 40:8

6 Principles of Discipleship

When you study the way Christ discipled his followers, a pattern emerges. He applied different methods but the heart and purpose—the principles—behind the method is consistent. These are the principles behind discipleship:

     1.Discipleship is personal. It’s always tailored and customized to the individual and their own unique journey of growth. Their path of discipleship must fit them… otherwise it’s like David in Saul’s armor. 

     2.Discipleship is relational. It’s always done in connection with other people: never alone. One can never disciple oneself. 

     3.Discipleship is intentional. It’s never accidental, but on-purpose. There is a direction and flow of energy in that direction: toward fullness in Christ. 

     4.Discipleship is consistent. It’s constant over time, not one-and-done. “A long obedience in the same direction,” as Eugene Peterson put it. 

     5.Discipleship is Spirit-led. The Holy Spirit must lead the process because we don’t know ahead of time where he wants to take us or what specifically he wants us to do. There is no prefab template to follow; what we need to follow is the in-the-moment leading of the Holy Spirit. 

     6.Discipleship is outcome-focused. Obedience takes precedence over knowledge as we move more and more towards forming the character of Christ and the following the mission of Christ. What matters is what we do with it. 

    Consider: can you find any exceptions? Any instances in which the above items were not an essential component of discipleship?

Methodologies Measured by Principles

Principles never change. Methods can and should change. If you are doing discipleship the way it’s always been done or you are not experiencing growth, it’s time to take a hard look at effectiveness of your discipleship methods. People change. Cultures change. Context changes. If you are serious about living out the Great Commission, you have to ensure your discipleship methods are effectively reaching your community.

Take an honest look at your current discipleship methodologies by holding them up to the timeless principles. Here are some examples of low, average, and high effectiveness in each principle. Where does your discipleship program land?

Discipleship is personal.

•(L) If people are involved in our ministries we assume that they are growing as disciples.

•(A) We have a linear discipleship program. Everyone starts in the same place and follows the same path.

•(H) We meet people where they are at and help them determine and take their next best step toward Jesus.

Discipleship is relational.

•(L) We don’t have intentional, personal discipleship conversations.

•(A) We have some mature Christians who meet one-on-one to disciple others.

•(H) Our congregants have healthy relationships inside and outside of the church. People are growing as disciples while making more disciples.

Discipleship is intentional.

•(L) We seek to address discipleship needs through sermons and curriculum.

•(A) A high percentage of our people attend a small group.

•(H) We equip people to discern and live into their gifts and calling.

Discipleship is consistent.

•(L) Discipleship relationships tend to fall apart without ongoing staff involvement.

•(A) Our church has rhythms for classes and small groups that address discipleship.

•(H) We continually help people engage in their spiritual formation and build redemptive relationships.

Discipleship is Spirit-led.

•(L) We stick to a curriculum based approach to discipleship.

•(A) When the Spirit provides a word that directly speaks to someone we don’t follow up on it.

•(H) We discern the promptings of the Holy Spirit and maintain focus until the vision becomes reality.

Discipleship is outcome-focused.

•(L) Church is a come and see model. We provide solid biblical teaching for those who enter our doors.

•(A) We have a solid mission statement but only a few are actively engaged pursuing that mission.

•(H) We have stated goals and objectives that relate directly to the Great Commandments and Great Commission. We regularly assess our methodologies and adapt them for greater effectiveness.

Principle-based Discipleship Programs

Where did you come out? A good way to check your answers is to measure the overall fruit produced. If you landed on the Low side, your church has likely plateaued or even experiencing slow decline. If you determined you are Average, you likely have a solid core group of people who are close to one another. Growth is slow and mostly church transfers. However, if you are seeing new people come to Christ and people are experiencing lasting transformation, it’s safe to confirm you are indeed on the High end of discipleship programming.

Wherever you land, it’s always good to make sure your methods—and your people—are solidly formed in discipleship principles.

In what ways can you ensure that each of the principles listed above remains present and central in the discipleship process used by your ministry? What methods or trends are you including in your discipleship process are no longer working? How can you better connect them to the discipleship principles?

Resources

The Discipleship Difference– Are you frustrated with your discipleship efforts? Are you noticing an imbalance between personal growth as a disciple and passing it on? The Discipleship Difference lays out an intentional, holistic, and relational approach to discipleship. It is simple in structure and flexible enough to meet each person wherever they are and help them take their next best step in their relationship with God.

Guide for Discipling- Ready for serious growth as a disciple of Christ? This scripture-based guide will challenge you to take the next steps. This nonlinear guide is great for personal study but better done in community with others. Grab a couple of people to walk through this guide together to experience transformation. Available for the LutheranVineyard, and Episcopal church cultures as well.

The post Discipleship Principles vs. Methodology appeared first on Logan Leadership.

 Copyright © 2022 Robert E. Logan, All rights reserved.

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Secularism shared Evanlogically.

Secular:  “The goal is not to be liked, it's to be respected.”— Unknown

Evanlogicals:  Just want to be good and faithful servants.

 

Secular:  “Albert Camus noted that ‘integrity has no need of rules’, an observation lamentably in stark conflict with the leadership of today’s American institutions, be they political, governmental, commercial, educational, community, charitable or spiritual.”— Coe D. Behr, Southern humorist, critic and canophilist

Evanlogically:  We all need rules.  For all have debauched and fall short of the Integrity of God.  Romans 3:23… kinda sorta.

 

Secular:  “Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.”— C.S. Lewis, (1898-1963)

Evanlogically:  Getting over religion and coming to Faith is so painful because the monkey bars are made of bricks, mortar, liturgy, ritual and tradition.

 

 

 

Read more…

The Purpose of Christ's Church

 

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There are different kinds of service in the church, but it is the same Lord we are serving. 

A spiritual gift is given to each of us as a means of helping the entire church.

1 Corinthians 12:5, 7 NLT


 

Christ’s church exists to worship Him.

     He is glorified when his children sing his praises wholeheartedly. 

     Humbling ourselves in his Presence—

          we acknowledge that God is our Creator and Master;

          we submit to his guidance and sincerely follow his lead;

          we thank him for rich blessings He showers on us day by day;

          we honor his name in our words, thoughts, and actions.

     We exalt Christ above everything, avoiding false gods of the heart. 

 

Christ’s church is designed to provide fellowship for his family.

     No saint should declare emotional independence from other saints.

     Every member needs help from other members—no one is an island.

     Jesus’ sheep flock together—love for him unifies and cheers our hearts. 

     God blesses his people with a kaleidoscope of gifts to build each other up. 

     We encourage others, showing sincere and loving interest in them.

 

Christ’s church is a school for his students.

     Disciples have different experiences, personalities and abilities;

          but we share one common need—to grow up in faith and grace.  

     Studying God’s’ Word, we try to live by the Book in our everyday lives. 

     Walking in God’s Light, we take one step at a time in life’s journey. 

     Reflecting on God’s Law, we obey his orders and set the pace for others.

     We educate all who enroll in Jesus University—there’s a lot to learn. 

 

Christ’s church is commissioned to share the best news every announced.

     Jesus died for the world’s sins so people wouldn’t have to experience hell.

     He rose again from the grave so people could be free from fear of dying. 

     Sowing Gospel seed in tears, we celebrate the harvest in joyful triumph.   

     We evangelize the world with a sense of urgency—time is ticking away.

 

Christ’s church is called to minister to others in his name.

     Our mission field is the world—compassion for others marks his servants. 

     Heartless service is useless service—love alone makes the difference.

     Shouldering our cross in the shadows of our Master, we serve the world. 

     We love beyond stained-glass windows—Christianity is made for the road.

 
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                                           © Johnny R. Almond

                              Pastor, Hull’s Memorial Baptist Church

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Happy 2022!
 
Good Questions allow the one asking to find out something they did not know!
 
Great Questions allow the one being asked to discover things about themselves that they were unaware of! 
 
Below are 365 Great Questions for you to ask others and yourself throughout 2022  to discover things you were previously unaware of!  Yes - a question for every day of the year.
 
I recently heard from a friend who shared that she and one of her friends connect for a quick phone call daily to ask each other the question for that day!  Other than discussing the usual topics of weather and family and what's on their schedule for the day, these questions allow both of them to discover new things about themselves and each other that they were previously unaware of!
 
Ministry is really about relationship!  A quote I love by Andrew Sobel says, "Telling creates resistance!  Asking creates relationship!"   Here is a steady supply of questions that will allow you to build relationships with the new acquaintances that God puts in your path and will allow you to deepen relationships with those you are already connected to! 
 
After you have had the opportunity to take a quick look at all 365 - I would love to know the Top 10 Questions you have identified from the whole list!  You can simply type the number of the question in the "Comment Section" below​.
 
Here are some that allow me to reexamine and rethink​:​ 7, 30, 71, 185, 209, 326 and 358.
 
Love in Christ,
Bob Tiede
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Leadership Development Team  /  Cru
bob.tiede@cru.org   /   214-213-2179
LeadingWithQuestions.com   /   339QuestionsJesusAsked.com
Happy 2022!
View this email in your browser
 
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365 Thought Provoking Questions to Ask Yourself and Others in 2022CeScgR6kd76Y6CBJ_V8H_frJDnscdqwcjqjvC4mnx1nuEWpVz5NvCudUavLuLjxKU_F7gVes53_dzuXRo65Yxf_uvMNrbL0NByp1hwVY3ZgZI7ypHJ_RAToHxwVOMJGPicjw3dacYUj7FPyB6twKyag97aE3fg=s0-d-e1-ft#<a href=

Guest Post by Marc and Angel Chernoff

 

Happy 2022!


       "Asking the right questions is the answer.”

That’s the tagline at the top of our sister site Thought Questions.  The site thrives on the philosophy that a question that makes you think is worth asking.  So we’ve made a ritual of asking one new thought provoking question every day for our visitors to ponder and answer.

Over the past years we have received countless requests to compile all the questions and place them on a single page that can be easily printed and reviewed.  So here it is.  A whole year’s worth of thought provoking questions to get your mind moving.

  1. When was the last time you tried something new?
  2. Who do you sometimes compare yourself to?
  3. What’s the most sensible thing you’ve ever heard someone say?
  4. What gets you excited about life?
  5. What life lesson did you learn the hard way?
  6. What do you wish you spent more time doing five years ago?
  7. Do you ask enough questions or do you settle for what you know?
  8. Who do you love and what are you doing about it?
  9. What’s a belief that you hold with which many people disagree?
  10. What can you do today that you were not capable of a year ago?
  11. Do you think crying is a sign of weakness or strength?
  12. What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?
  13. Do you celebrate the things you do have?
  14. What is the difference between living and existing?
  15. If not now, then when?
  16. Have you done anything lately worth remembering?
  17. What does your joy look like today?
  18. Is it possible to lie without saying a word?
  19. If you had a friend who spoke to you in the same way that you sometimes speak to yourself, how long would you allow this person to be your friend?
  20. Which activities make you lose track of time?
  21. If you had to teach something, what would you teach?
  22. What would you regret not fully doing, being or having in your life?
  23. Are you holding onto something that you need to let go of?
  24. When you are 80-years-old, what will matter to you the most?
  25. When is it time to stop calculating risk and rewards and just do what you know is right?
  26. How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?
  27. Would you break the law to save a loved one?
  28. What makes you smile?
  29. When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?
  30. If you had the opportunity to get a message across to a large group of people, what would your message be?
  31. If the average human lifespan was 40 years, how would you live your life differently?
  32. What do we all have in common besides our genes that makes us human?
  33. If you could choose one book as a mandatory read for all high school students, which book would you choose?
  34. Would you rather have less work or more work you actually enjoy doing?
  35. What is important enough to go to war over?
  36. Which is worse, failing or never trying?
  37. When was the last time you listened to the sound of your own breathing?
  38. What’s something you know you do differently than most people?
  39. What does ‘The American Dream’ mean to you?
  40. Would you rather be a worried genius or a joyful simpleton?
  41. If you could instill one piece of advice in a newborn baby’s mind, what advice would you give?
  42. What is the most desirable trait another person can possess?
  43. What are you most grateful for?
  44. Is stealing to feed a starving child wrong?
  45. What do you want most?
  46. Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things?
  47. What has life taught you recently?
  48. What is the one thing you would most like to change about the world?
  49. Where do you find inspiration?
  50. Can you describe your life in a six word sentence?
  51. If we learn from our mistakes, why are we always so afraid to make a mistake?
  52. What impact do you want to leave on the world?
  53. What is the most defining moment of your life thus far?
  54. In the haste of your daily life, what are you not seeing?
  55. If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don’t like and like so many things we don’t do?
  56. What lifts your spirits when life gets you down?
  57. Have you ever regretted something you did not say or do?
  58. Has your greatest fear ever come true?
  59. Why do we think of others the most when they’re gone?
  60. What is your most beloved childhood memory?
  61. Is it more important to love or be loved?
  62. If it all came back around to you, would it help you or hurt you?
  63. If you had the chance to go back in time and change one thing would you do it?
  64. If a doctor gave you five years to live, what would you try to accomplish?
  65. What is the difference between falling in love and being in love?
  66. Who do you think stands between you and happiness?
  67. What is the difference between innocence and ignorance?
  68. What is the simplest truth you can express in words?
  69. What gives your life meaning?
  70. Can there be happiness without sadness?  Pleasure without pain?  Peace without war?
  71. What’s the one thing you’d like others to remember about you at the end of your life?
  72. Is there such a thing as perfect?
  73. To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life has taken?
  74. What does it mean to be human?
  75. If you looked into the heart of your enemy, what do you think you would find that is different from what is in your own heart?
  76. What do you love most about yourself?
  77. Where would you most like to go and why?
  78. Is it more important to do what you love or to love what you are doing?
  79. What do you imagine yourself doing ten years from now?
  80. What small act of kindness were you once shown that you will never forget?
  81. What is your happiest childhood memory?  What makes it so special?
  82. Do you own your things or do your things own you?
  83. Would you rather lose all of your old memories or never be able to make new ones?
  84. How do you deal with someone in a position of power who wants you to fail?
  85. What do you have that you cannot live without?
  86. When you close your eyes what do you see?
  87. What sustains you on a daily basis?
  88. What are your top five personal values?
  89. Why must you love someone enough to let them go?
  90. Do you ever celebrate the green lights?
  91. What personal prisons have you built out of fears?
  92. What one thing have you not done that you really want to do?
  93. Why are you, you?
  94. If you haven’t achieved it yet what do you have to lose?
  95. What three words would you use to describe the last three months of your life?
  96. Is it ever right to do the wrong thing?  Is it ever wrong to do the right thing?
  97. How would you describe ‘freedom’ in your own words?
  98. What is the most important thing you could do right now in your personal life?
  99. If you could ask one person, alive or dead, only one question, who would you ask and what would you ask?
  100. If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich?
  101. What is your number one goal for the next six months?
  102. Would you ever give up your life to save someone else?
  103. Are you happy with yourself?
  104. What is the meaning of ‘peace’ to you?
  105. What are three moral rules you will never break?
  106. What does it mean to allow another person to truly love you?
  107. Who or what do you think of when you think of love?
  108. If your life was a novel, what would be the title and how would your story end?
  109. What would you not give up for $1,000,000 in cash?
  110. When do you feel most like yourself?
  111. When you help someone do you ever think, “What’s in it for me?”
  112. What is your greatest challenge?
  113. How do you know when it’s time to continue holding on or time to let go?
  114. How do you define success?
  115. If someone could tell you the exact day and time you are going to die, would you want them to tell you?
  116. If I could grant you one wish what would you wish for?
  117. What have you read online recently that inspired you?
  118. Why do religions that advocate unity divide the human race?
  119. If you could live one day of your life over again, what day would you choose?
  120. What can money not buy?
  121. If you left this life tomorrow, how would you be remembered?
  122. Beyond the titles that others have given you, who are you?
  123. If you could live the next 24 hours and then erase it and start over just once, what would you do?
  124. Is it possible to know the truth without challenging it first?
  125. What word best describes the way you’ve spent the last month of your life?
  126. What makes everyone smile?
  127. What do you owe yourself?
  128. What would your ‘priceless’ Mastercard-style commercial be?
  129. Can you think of a time when impossible became possible?
  130. Why do you matter?
  131. How have you changed in the last five years?
  132. What are you sure of in your life?
  133. When you think of ‘home,’ what, specifically, do you think of?
  134. What’s the difference between settling for things and accepting the way things are?
  135. How many of your friends would you trust with your life?
  136. What’s your definition of heaven?
  137. What is your most prized possession?
  138. How would you describe yourself in one sentence?
  139. What stands between you and happiness?
  140. What makes a person beautiful?
  141. Is there ever a time when giving up makes sense?
  142. What makes you proud?
  143. How do you find the strength to do what you know in your heart is right?
  144. Where do you find peace?
  145. When have you worked hard and loved every minute of it?
  146. How short would your life have to be before you would start living differently today?
  147. Is it better to have loved and lost or to have never loved at all?
  148. What would you do if you made a mistake and somebody died?
  149. Who do you trust and why?
  150. If you were forced to eliminate every physical possession from your life with the exception of what could fit into a single backpack, what would you put in it?
  151. When does silence convey more meaning than words?
  152. How do you spend the majority of your free time?
  153. Who do you think of first when you think of ‘success?’
  154. What did you want to be when you grew up?
  155. How will today matter in five years from now?
  156. How have you helped someone else recently?
  157. What is your greatest skill?
  158. Do you see to believe or believe to see?
  159. How are you pursuing your dreams right now?
  160. What’s the next big step you need to take?
  161. If today was the last day of your life, would you want to do what you are about to do today?
  162. If today was the last day of your life, who would you call and what would you tell them?
  163. Who do you dream about?
  164. What do you have trouble seeing clearly in your mind?
  165. What are you looking forward to?
  166. What is the number one thing you want to accomplish before you die?
  167. When is love a weakness?
  168. What has been the most terrifying moment of your life thus far?
  169. Who is the strongest person you know?
  170. If you could take a single photograph of your life, what would it look like?
  171. Is the reward worth the risk?
  172. For you personally, what makes today worth living?
  173. What have you done in the last year that makes you proud?
  174. What did you learn recently that changed the way you live?
  175. What is your fondest memory from the past three years?
  176. What are the primary components of a happy life?
  177. How would the world be different if you were never born?
  178. What is your favorite song and why?
  179. With the resources you have right now, what can you do to bring yourself closer to your goal?
  180. What are your top three priorities?
  181. Why do we idolize sports players?
  182. What is the nicest thing someone has ever done for you?
  183. What do you see when you look into the future?
  184. What makes you angry?  Why?
  185. What is the most valuable life lesson you learned from your parents?
  186. What does love feel like?
  187. What are your favorite simple pleasures?
  188. If you could go back in time and tell a younger version of yourself one thing, what would you tell?
  189. What do you do to deliberately impress others?
  190. What will you never do?
  191. Excluding romantic relationships, who do you love?
  192. What is your earliest childhood memory?
  193. What book has had the greatest influence on your life?
  194. What three questions do you wish you knew the answers to?
  195. What is the greatest peer pressure you’ve ever felt?
  196. What’s the biggest lie you once believed was true?
  197. In your lifetime, what have you done that hurt someone else?
  198. What’s the best part of growing older?
  199. What’s been on your mind most lately?
  200. What do you think is worth waiting for?
  201. What chances do you wish you had taken?
  202. Where else would you like to live?  Why?
  203. What motivates you to go to work each day?
  204. What do you wish you had done differently?
  205. What is your greatest strength and your greatest weakness?
  206. When was the last time you lied?  What did you lie about?
  207. What made you smile this week?
  208. What do you do with the majority of your money?
  209. What motivates you to be your best?
  210. When was the last time you lost your temper?  About what?
  211. What will you never give up on?
  212. When you look into the past, what do you miss the most?
  213. How would you describe the past year of your life in one sentence?
  214. What is the most spontaneous thing you’ve ever done?
  215. What makes you uncomfortable?
  216. If you had to move 3000 miles away, what one thing would you miss the most?
  217. What worries you about the future?
  218. What one ‘need’ and one ‘want’ will you strive to achieve in the next twelve months?
  219. What life lessons did you have to experience firsthand before you fully understood them?
  220. Do you like the city or town you live in?  Why or why not?
  221. What’s the best part of being you?
  222. When you look back over the past month, what single moment stands out?
  223. What do you do to relieve stress?
  224. What is your happiest memory?
  225. What is your saddest memory?
  226. What would you like to change?
  227. How many people do you love?
  228. What’s the best decision you’ve ever made?
  229. What’s your favorite true story that you enjoy sharing with others?
  230. Right now, at this moment, what do you want most?
  231. What are you waiting for?  How are you writing your life’s story?
  232. What makes love last?
  233. What good comes from suffering?
  234. What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in the last year?
  235. Based on you current daily actions and routines, where would you expect to be in five years?
  236. What was your last major accomplishment?
  237. Through all of life’s twists and turns who has been there for you?
  238. What or who has been distracting you?
  239. What are you looking forward to in the upcoming week?
  240. Who is your mentor and what have you learned from them?
  241. What are you uncertain about?
  242. What do you think about when you lie awake in bed?
  243. What’s something most people don’t know about you?
  244. When you have a random hour of free time, what do you usually do?
  245. What makes you weird?
  246. If you could relive yesterday what would you do differently?
  247. What do you do over and over again that you hate doing?
  248. Would you rather your child be less attractive and extremely intelligent or extremely attractive and less intelligent?
  249. What white lies do you often tell?
  250. What is the biggest change you have made in your life in the last year?
  251. What do you understand today about your life that you did not understand a year ago?
  252. Whose life have you had the greatest impact on?
  253. What did life teach you yesterday?
  254. Who impresses you?
  255. What have you done that you are not proud of?
  256. When should you reveal a secret that you promised you wouldn’t reveal?
  257. How would you spend your ideal day?
  258. What is the one primary quality you look for in a significant other?
  259. What do you admire most about your mother and father?
  260. What is the best advice you have ever received?
  261. If you could live forever, would you want to?  Why?
  262. If you had to be someone else for one day, who would you be and why?
  263. What positive changes have you made in your life recently?
  264. Who makes you feel good about yourself?
  265. What is your biggest regret?
  266. Which one of your responsibilities do you wish you could get rid of?
  267. What’s something you don’t like to do that you are still really good at?
  268. What type of person angers you the most?
  269. What is missing in your life?
  270. What is your most striking physical attribute?
  271. What has fear of failure stopped you from doing?
  272. Who would you like to please the most?
  273. If you could go back in time and change things, what would you change about the week that just passed?
  274. When you meet someone for the very first time what do you want them to think about you?
  275. Who would you like to forgive?
  276. At what point during the last five years have you felt lost and alone?
  277. What is one opportunity you believe you missed out on when you were younger?
  278. What do you want more of in your life?
  279. What do you want less of in your life?
  280. Who depends on you?
  281. Who has had the greatest impact on your life?
  282. Are you happy with where you are in your life?  Why?
  283. In one year from today, how do you think your life will be different?
  284. How have you sabotaged yourself in the past five years?
  285. Other than money, what else have you gained from your current job?
  286. Whom do you secretly envy?  Why?
  287. In twenty years, what do you want to remember?
  288. What are you most excited about in your life right now – today?
  289. What experience from this past year do you appreciate the most?
  290. What is the most enjoyable thing your family has done together in the last three years?
  291. How many hours of television do you watch in a week?  A month?  A year?
  292. What is the biggest obstacle that stands in your way right now?
  293. What do you sometimes pretend you understand that you really don’t?
  294. What do you like most about your job?  What do you dislike most about your job?
  295. What’s something new you recently learned about yourself?
  296. In one sentence, how would you describe your relationship with your mother?
  297. What was the most defining moment in your life during this past year?
  298. What’s the number one change you need to make in your life in the next twelve months?
  299. What makes you feel secure?
  300. What is your favorite sound?
  301. What are the top three qualities you look for in a friend?
  302. What simple gesture have you recently witnessed that renewed your hope in humanity?
  303. What is your favorite smell?
  304. What recent memory makes you smile the most?
  305. In one word, how would you describe your childhood?
  306. What celebrities do you admire?  Why?
  307. What is the number one motivator in your life right now?
  308. What music do you listen to to lift your spirits when you’re feeling down?
  309. If I gave you $1000 and told you that you had to spend it today, what would you buy?
  310. What was the last thing that made you laugh out loud?
  311. What is your biggest pet peeve?
  312. Who was the last person you said “I love you” to?
  313. What is your biggest phobia?
  314. What are some recent compliments you’ve received?
  315. How many friends do you have in real life that you talk to regularly?
  316. How much money per month is enough for you to live comfortably?
  317. When was your first impression of someone totally wrong?
  318. How many hours a week do you spend online?
  319. What do you love to do?
  320. What specific character trait do you want to be known for?
  321. Are you more like your mom or your dad?  In what way?
  322. What is the number one quality that makes someone a good leader?
  323. What bad habits do you want to break?
  324. What is your favorite place on Earth?
  325. What do you love to practice?
  326. What questions do you often ask yourself?
  327. What are you an expert at?
  328. How would an extra $1000 a month change your life?
  329. What things in life should always be free?
  330. What is your favorite time of the year?
  331. What is something you have always wanted since you were a kid?
  332. What is the most recent dream you remember having while sleeping?
  333. What confuses you?
  334. In what way are you your own worst enemy?
  335. When did you not speak up when you should have?
  336. What is your favorite quote?
  337. What is your favorite fictional story?  (novel, movie, fairytale, etc.)
  338. Where or who do you turn to when you need good advice?
  339. What artistic medium do you use to express yourself?
  340. Who or what is the greatest enemy of mankind?
  341. What’s something you wish you had done earlier in life?
  342. What is the closest you have ever come to fearing for your life?
  343. How do you deal with isolation and loneliness?
  344. What do you know well enough to teach to others?
  345. What’s a quick decision you once made that changed your life?
  346. What have you lost interest in recently?
  347. What makes life easier?
  348. What was the last thing you furiously argued about with someone?
  349. What job would you never do no matter how much it paid?
  350. What is the number one solution to healing the world?
  351. What could society do without?
  352. What stresses you out?
  353. Now that it’s behind you, what did you do last week that was memorable?
  354. Where do you spend most of your time while you’re awake?
  355. What makes someone a hero?
  356. When in your life have you been a victim of stereotyping?
  357. When was the last time you felt lucky?
  358. When did you first realize that life is short?
  359. What is the most insensitive thing a person can do?
  360. What can someone do to grab your attention?
  361. What do you usually think about on your drive home from work?
  362. What’s one downside of the modern day world?
  363. What simple fact do you wish more people understood?
  364. If you could do it all over again, would you change anything?
  365. How would you describe your future in three words?

Also, we’d love it if you visited MarcAndAngel.comand shared some of your answers with us.

 

 
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Marc and Angel Chernoff are professional coaches, full-time students of life, admirers of the human spirit, and have been recognized by Forbes as having “one of the most popular personal development blogs.”  Through their blog, book, course and coaching, they’ve spent the past decade writing about and teaching proven strategies for finding lasting happiness, success, love and peace.  Click "HERE" to purchase their newest book: "1000+ Little Things Happy Successful People Do Differently."

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GUEST POST: A New Call for Extraordinary Prayer

9973809292?profile=RESIZE_400xBy Dave Butts

With all that has been happening in our nation, it eventually becomes very easy to allow our attention to be diverted back to what we call “normal.” Unfortunately, “normal” often means life without God and without a dependence upon Him in prayer. I believe it is vital for us to hold on to our first response – – the response of prayer.

The Church desperately needs to both issue and respond to a new call for extraordinary prayer. Extraordinary prayer goes beyond the normal expectations of the past. It is prayer that can bring God’s power to bear on a whole new world facing us–a world of uncertainty, fear and war.

The Bible records times of extraordinary prayer like this. One good example occurred in the Book of Esther. The crisis there concerned the lives of every Jew held captive in Babylon. A decree had been issued that would result in genocide for the Jews. Queen Esther was going to risk her life by going to the King on behalf of her people; however, before she went, she called her people to three days of prayer and fasting for her mission. Extraordinary prayer brought about extraordinary deliverance.

The Book of Ezra gives another good example of extraordinary prayer. Ezra was preparing to lead a group of the exiles back from Babylon to Jerusalem. The king had even offered troops for protection on the perilous journey. But Ezra had refused the troops, pointing out that God Himself would protect them. As the people gathered, Ezra began to realize how dangerous the trip would be and that they should not merely presume upon God’s protection. So he called the people to humble themselves and pray and fast over the journey. God heard their prayers and gave them safe passage to their destination.

There are many examples of this in more recent history. The great British preacher, Charles H. Spurgeon, was used by God to bring many into the Kingdom and in the process, a large church was built in London. He challenged his people to extraordinary prayer if they wanted to see God’s hand at work in their church. He wrote, “Dear Friends, we do not know what God may do for us if we do but pray for a blessing of the Holy Spirit… Have we not tried to preach without trying to pray? Is it not likely that the church has been putting forth its preaching hand but not its praying hand? O Dear friends! Let us agonize in prayer, and it shall come to pass that this Music Hall shall witness the sighs and groans of the penitent and the songs of the converted. It shall yet happen that this vast host shall not come and go as now it does, but little the better; but men shall go out of this hall praising God and saying–It was good to be there; it was none other than the house of God, and the very gate of heaven. This much to stir you up to prayer.”

In the United States, the revivals known as the Great Awakenings came in response to Christians gathering for extraordinary prayer. Often called “Concerts of Prayer,” God used these times of prayer to bring awakening to His people. Robert Bakke in his wonderful book, The Power of Extraordinary Prayer writes, “It (the Concert of Prayer) was born out of convictions that say with certainty that, regardless of how bright or dark the hour we live in, God is about to do something greater than He’s ever done before. Furthermore, it said that God would not move forward with His ever-increasing and ever more marvelous plans until Christians agreed with Him and agreed with each other about what He was going to do. A great and lucid vision of Christ’s earthly reign was before their eyes–with every nation, people, tribe and tongue united as one company before the throne of God, Christ the Son, and the sevenfold Spirit. It was a compelling vision that would not let Christians rest or let go of God until the rule of God held sway in every aspect of life.” (Pg.133)

Read again that last sentence from Bakke: “It was a compelling vision that would not let Christians rest or let go of God until the rule of God held sway in every aspect of life.” Have you ever made a decision to pray like that? Not merely God bless us or even God protect us–but a life-changing commitment to pray until the “rule of God held sway in every aspect of life”? This should not just be a response made only by individual Christians. Has your church made a decision to pray extraordinarily for the working of God’s power? The key to the Concert of Prayer was for Christians to gather together for times of extraordinary prayer–as was the practice of the early Church.

We are living in times that are not “normal.” What has been normal for us in our prayer life and experience of Christianity will not suffice for this hour. God is calling us to extraordinary prayer! How will you respond?

Dave Butts is the chairman of America’s National Prayer Committee and the co-founder and president of Harvest Prayer Ministries. His popular prayer guide, Asleep in the Land of Nod has been used by hundreds of churches to help their congregations pray for revival.

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